IYO what is the most estically eye pleasing roman coins

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by edteach, Mar 22, 2023.

  1. edteach

    edteach Well-Known Member

    Can be any ancient coin. I can not post because being so new to this I have not seen enough to know.
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  3. Noah Worke

    Noah Worke Well-Known Member

    I really like the Denarii of the Antonine emperors, though I may be biased. However, most of them were active during the Pax Romana, a golden age, so that's not really a surprise. This Hadrian aged incredibly well: HadrianRomeDenarius.jpeg 3.27g, 17mm
    Laureate bust of Hadrian right "HADRIANVS AVG COS III PP"
    Roma seated left, holding a branch and spear. "ROMA FELIX"
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    "Hoard Patina" is my favorite form of ancient beauty. There is some variations to it, but most of them are jet black or dark grey.

    Trajan (98 - 117 A.D.)
    SYRIA, Seleucis and Pieria. Antioch.
    AR Tetradrachm
    O: AYTOKΡ KAIC NEΡ TΡAIANOC CEB ΓEΡM ΔAK, laureate bust right
    R: ΔHMAΡX EX IΣ YΠAT Σ, Eagle standing facing on club, wings spread, head left, palm branch right. Struck 110 -111 A.D.
    McAlee 439; Prieur 1504 (Tyre).

    Not a perfect example, but close.

    L. Titurius L.f. Sabinus. (89 B.C.)
    AR Denarius
    O: Bare head of King Tatius right, SABIN downward behind, TA in monogram before;
    R: Two Roman soldiers running left, each bearing a Sabine woman in his arms, L·TITVRI in ex.
    Crawford 344/1a,RSC I Tituria 2, Sydenham 698a, SRCV I 249
  5. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    A well centered coin is probably the most pleasing to me.
    Claudius ll
    Æ Antoninianus, 268-9
    RIC 201
  6. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    For me, the coins that I most enjoy looking at are those where a satisfying amount of detail can be observed at arm's length. This comes down to things like size, wear, and surface quality.

    Tops on the list for me would probably be early imperial aurei. With the chemically inert properties of gold, this is where we probably get closest to a "fresh from the mint" type of look. Other than that, a big, well-struck, smooth-surfaced, nicely/consistently colored sestertius can be pretty amazing (and my go to if possible since I can't afford the aurei! :().
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  7. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    The topic is very subjective, but here are some I find stylistically appealing. There are many others I could have chosen.

    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: Bust of Hercules left, wearing lion's skin headdress, club over shoulder
    REVERSE: two horses left, rider on the nearer horse, dot X; TI Q and rat below, DOS.S in incuse on tablet in ex.
    Struck at Rome 112-111 BC
    3.92g, 18mm
    Cr297/1;Quinctia 6
    Mn Fonteius 2b.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: Jugate heads of the Dioscuri
    REVERSE: Galley under oar
    Struck at Rome 108-109 BC
    3.9g, 20mm
    Cr.307/1, Fonteia 7
    Augustus 21.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: CAESAR AVGVSTVS, head left wearing oak wreath
    REVERSE: DIVVS-IVLIVS to left and right of eight rayed comet
    with tail upwards
    Uncertain Spanish Mint, possibly Caesaraugusta 19-18 BC
    3.45g, 21mm
    RIC 137b RSC 97
    Domitian 8.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG - GERM P M TR P VIII Head laureate right
    REVERSE: IMP XVII COS XIIII CENS P P P Minerva fighting right with spear and shield atop capital of rostral column, owl at her feet
    Struck at Rome, 88-89 AD
    3.55g, 18.44mm
    RIC 657 (R )
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  8. GarrettB

    GarrettB Active Member

    I also like the Antonine emperors (perhaps I'm also biased as that was the first little collection/set I completed). This Trajan is probably my favourite from my set. I like how they squeezed so much into the legend.


    Trajan AR Denarius. Rome, AD 116. [IMP] CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC, laureate and draped bust to right / P M TR P COS VI P P S P Q R, Genius standing to left, holding patera and corn-ears.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2023
  9. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    Beautiful portrait on that Trajan. What an eye pleasing coin.
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  10. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member


    Gordian III, sestertius, Rome 238/9
    Obv.: IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right
    Rev.: PROVIDENTIA AVG / S C, Providentia, draped, standing front, head left, holding globe in extended right hand and transverse sceptre in left hand
    RIC IV Gordian III 257

    I find it eye-pleasing because
    - it is large : 32 mm (and 4 mm thick)
    - it is relatively well-preserved and green patinated
    - the portrait is elegant and shows the emperor is only 13 years old
    - the obverse is well-centered and the legend is clear and complete
    - this coin was a present from somebody special for me
  11. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    That is a nice looking coin for sure!

    The thing that I like about sestertii is that they don't have to be in all that great condition, or even represent a fine style to be enjoyable. These aren't great, and the die cutters weren't masters by any stretch, but I still find that I tend to linger on them when looking through the collection. There's something about the large size, odd shapes, and cartoonish busts that are appealing to me :shame:

    Mr. and Mrs. Aurelius and their Bratty Son
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  12. The Meat man

    The Meat man Supporter! Supporter

    That's a tough question to answer. Roman coins, unlike the earlier Greek coins, tended to be focused more on Imperial messaging and propaganda and less on aesthetics.
    For me, I am drawn to a really well-executed portrait. The large portrait sestertius coins from Nero to Antoninus Pius represent the high point in Roman numismatic portraiture IMO.
    Hard to beat this Hadrian sestertius, which sold for $2,561,530.74 (including the buyer's premium) back in 2008:


    You know what, sure, we'll say it's my coin. :p
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  13. sand

    sand Well-Known Member

    Wow. It's a beautiful coin. But, two million dollars for a Hadrian sesterius in 2008? Sure, it has a beautiful style of portrait, and it seems to be uncirculated and well struck, and the patina is beautiful, but I'm surprised. I wonder, what's so special about it?
  14. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    I had the same response. When I initially scrolled down on it, I thought "Damn @The Meat man ! Now that is a coin!"

    Then when I saw the price tag, I thought, "Well, it's not THAT much of a coin!"

    I would have guessed $20-30k...... but then again, I unfortunately don't get much practice with coins of that caliber haha.
  15. The Meat man

    The Meat man Supporter! Supporter

    @sand and @Cherd Here is a bit more history behind the coin, from this online CoinWeek article:

    Hadrian “Medallic” Sestertius 135 CE
    Struck at Rome in 135 or 136 CE in “orichalcum”[13], a brass alloy, this coin (formerly in the Hunt collection) is described as “the most beautiful Roman coin ever struck”[14]. The intense, sensitive portrait of Hadrian is attributed to “The Alphaeus Master”, a die and gemstone engraver known from other sources as Antoninianos of Aphrodisias. On the reverse, Pax, the personification of peace, cradles a cornucopia while gracefully extending an olive branch.


    This coin, the best of five examples known, sold in December 2008 for 2.3 million Swiss francs (over $2 million USD) against an estimate of 400,000 francs. At the time, it was the highest price ever paid for an ancient coin at auction.
  16. Limes

    Limes Well-Known Member

    It goes without saying its subjective, but it's interesting to read everyone's preferences.

    I follow the taste of @The Meat man: a big bronze with a splendid imperial portrait is for me "the most estically eye pleasing roman coin". I especially like the portraiture on coins of Nero, and on the sestertii of the adoptive emperors. Unfortunatelly, I own only one of this category, with a portrait that ticks the boxes, because they are very, very expensive.... But looking at them in auctions catalogues brings a smile to my face :)

    For example, simply love this one, sold in yesterdays Roma auction. But its way too expensive for me.

    A categorie with eye appeal, but multiplied with historical interest, are Roman coins showing monuments on the reverse. I have quite a few of those, varying from poor to 'very fine' condition. So when it comes strictly to eye appeal, the score is a bit less, so to say. If it were both a beautiful coin, and with a monument on the reverse, my bank account wont allow it!
  17. edteach

    edteach Well-Known Member

    All are wonderful coins. If you don't mind me asking what did your Augustus go for Limes?
  18. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    The most eye-pleasing coin in my collection is this Sestertius of Macrinus:

    Bildschirmfoto 2022-03-13 um 19.09.59.png
  19. edteach

    edteach Well-Known Member

    The detail on that is amazing.
  20. Limes

    Limes Well-Known Member

    Thanks, and do you mean the Hadrian sesterius? It sold for 2400 GBP! Again, waaaay out of my reach...
  21. MasterVampire

    MasterVampire Active Member

    It’s gotta be without a doubt the Roman Republic Gellius.

    The wreath around the coin makes it lovely.

    This is mine:
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