My $30 sestertius

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by hotwheelsearl, Oct 24, 2020.

  1. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I bought my first "real" sestertius for a bit over $30. I previously had a large, sestertius-sized Vimanacium Gordie, but that didn't count.

    Here's a legitimate Roman sestertius, of Severus Alexander.

    Although the field surfaces are rather rough, the artistry is pretty high. I'm also a big fan of those Mars reverses.

    Ruler: Severus Alexander
    Denomination: AE Sestertius
    Weight: 19.5g
    Diam: 28.5mm. 3mm thick!
    Mint: ?
    Mintmark: none
    Reference: RIC 635?
    (reverse legend break not found in Wildwinds)

    If you still have your first sestertius, please post it!
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  3. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Nice sestertius, hotwheelsearl. I am astonished at what nice big portraits you can get for a low price.

    I think this is my first sestertius - Dec. 2016, so I haven't been at them very long. It took me forever to attribute it because I had no idea what I was doing:

    Julia Mamaea - Sest VENVS VICTRIX Dec 2016 (0).jpg
    Julia Mamaea Æ Sestertius
    228-229 A.D.

    IVLIA MAMAEA AVGVSTA, diademed bust right. / VENVS VICTRIX, S-C, Venus standing left holding helmet & sceptre, shield at her feet.
    RIC 705; Cohen 78; BMC 718

    And just in the mail yesterday - a $20 Hadrian. It was listed as a "provincial" on eBay. For many this isn't "collectable grade" but again, I can't believe what a great ancient portrait you can get on the cheap - and the jaunty Virtus on the reverse is still discernable. Good enough for me!

    Hadrian - Sest VIRTUS Oct 23 2020 (0).jpg
    Hadrian Æ Sestertius
    (124-128 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    HADRIANVS [A]VGV[STVS], laureate bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder / [COS III], S C across field, Virtus standing left, right foot on helmet, holding parazonium in right hand and inverted spear in left.
    RIC II, 3 741 (old RIC 638).
    (23.01 grams / 32 mm)
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  4. Bradley Trotter

    Bradley Trotter Well-Known Member

    I bought my first Sestertius a few months ago for roughly the same price you paid @hotwheelsearl. I personally wouldn't mind finding a nice sestertius of either Trajan or Hadrian as well.


    Marcus Aurelius, Sesterius 178 AD.JPG


    Marcus Aurelius, Sesterius 178 AD Reverse.JPG

    Marcus Aurelius
    AE Sestertius
    177 - 178 A.D.
    Obverse: M AVREL ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXXII, laureate head right
    Reverse: IMP VIIII COS III PP SC, Aequitas standing left, holding scales and cornucopiae
    Rome Mint
    RIC 1230
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
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  5. tibor

    tibor Well-Known Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but that cleaned up rather nicely.
    If so, what is your secret?
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  6. singig

    singig Well-Known Member

    nice coin with sharp details ! do you intend to clean it more ?
    this is my first one

    Claudius , AE sestertius. Lyons mint. AD 46-47. RIC 96
    TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP, laureate head right /
    EX SC-OB-CIVES-SERVATOS legend in four lines within oak wreath.
    claudius2 .jpg
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  7. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I do intend on cleaning the coin a bit more. There is some encrustation that should be relatively easy to remove with a bit of chemical and elbow grease. Stay tuned...
    singig likes this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @Bradley Trotter, That's Some Of it. Demonstrating Exactly Why there are still some of them in the market, at less than stratospheric prices.
  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That's not RIC 635 (MARS VLTOR), but 626 (VIRTVS AVGVSTI). The reverse legend break on your coin is well-described. Here's page 119 of RIC:

    According to Carson (BMCRE6, p. 163), it was issue 9, AD 228. It is BMCRE6 524-26. This, for example, is BMCRE 525:

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  10. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much! I thought that pose looked a lot like Mars.

    thank you again for correcting my mistake!
  11. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Very nice... what accounts for the different photos? Cleaning or just seller VS in hand?

    Trying to recall - I may be wrong .. but I think this Vespasian is my first sestertius. I am a terrible photographer - this coin in much nicer in hand (but ya - rough!). Its very large, hefty and satisfying in-hand....- and I have no desire to upgrade as of yet (with so many targets)!

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
  12. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    The top photo is the in-hand. The bottom photo is just super saturated to show some of the extra details I got from a light cleaning. I should have explained that earlier.

    Nice coin! No better way to start off than with one of those super beefy ones
    +VGO.DVCKS and Clavdivs like this.
  13. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    That's a nice coin for $30. A good acquisition.

    Sometimes a good coin comes out of a lot of sestertii. Earlier this year I purchased a lot of three sestertii from a seller in France, through eBay. The total cost, including shipping was $57.

    One of the coins turned out to be a very decent Faustina Junior sestertius (Juno reverse), not in itself a great rarity - it is quite readily available - but nonetheless a nice coin, a few issues (minor roughness, somewhat off-center, and a patina chip at 12 o'clock on the reverse) for $20, perhaps a bit more as the two other coins have some condition issues.

    D-Camera Faustina Junior sestertius, eBay lot.2,  8-21-20.jpg

    This is the other Faustina Junior sestertius from that lot. As you can see, it is not nearly as nice as the Juno sestertius.
    D-Camera Faustina Junior sestertius, eBay lot.1,  8-21-20.jpg
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  14. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Quite a good one as a first and cheap acquisition
    I won't post my first sestertius, everyone here is tired of seeing it, and moreover I didn't purchase it, as it was a gift from my grandfather.

    The first one I bought is the following, that was back in 1988, and it wasn't cheap, as far as I remember.

    Crispina, Sestertius - Rome mint, circa AD 180-182
    CRISPINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right
    LAETITIA, Laetitia standing left, holding wreath and rudder, SC in field
    19.86 gr
    Ref : Cohen # 27, RCV # 6007

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  15. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    That's a nice SA sestertius!

    Here's my first sestertius, of Marcus Aurelius. Got it for 50 euro (without ridiculous fees that is).
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  16. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    My first sestertius! It started a lifelong Faustina fascination. I love the smooth black patina on this one!

    Faustina Senior, AD 138-141.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 24.57 g, 32.0 mm.
    Rome, AD 145-147.
    Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: AVGVSTA S C, Vesta veiled, standing left, holding palladium and scepter.
    Refs: RIC 1124; BMCRE 1519-20; Cohen 110 = 122 corr.; Strack 1294; RCV 4617.
    Notes: Cohen 122 (Wiczay): "Concordia? standing l., holding statue and wand," (La Concorde? debout à gauche, tenant une statuette et une baguette) is almost certainly a badly described specimen of this type.
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  17. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Well-Known Member

    My first Sestertius is ... 6 days old (give or take 1940 years)
    Bought my first lot of ancient coins, it arrived this Monday.
    Of course, not the best condition, but I'm very glad I was able to identify it without issues.

    Type: Head of Titus, laureate, right; Portrait: Titus

    Type: Felicitas standing left, holding sceptre and cornucopiae

    From Date: AD 80
    To Date: AD 81
    RIC 143
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  18. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Nice big bronzes!.....This was my first Sestertius from early last year...
    Antoninus Pius. Æ Sestertius (33mm, 26.75 g.) Struck 159/160 AD.
    Obverse..ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXIII, laureate head right
    Rev. PIETATI AVG COS IIII SC, Pietas standing left holding globe, Faustina Junior as Pietas standing left, between Faustina Minima, Lucilla & holding baby Fadilla.
    RIC III 1031
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  19. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Here’s my first sestertius, a Gordian III... probably cost around the same as yours. Big bronzes can be a lot of fun to collect on a budget...hope this is the first of many for you.

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