The Most Expensive Sestertii

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Aug 27, 2020.

  1. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

    I had always thought that the sestertii of Severus Alexander indicate some loss of craftsmanship and art compared to other sestertii of the period and despite the high relief of some coins. Your Severus Alexander sestertii shows my view to be utterly incorrect! What a beauty - and that goes for the other one as well.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2020
    +VGO.DVCKS, jamesicus and Cucumbor like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

    Yet more of an indication - to me anyway - that one does not have to have a coin in near perfect condition for it to be fantastic. This is something I have learned or been forced to learn as the number of (to me) collectible coins dwindles and the prices for high grade examples reached the stratosphere, while, ironically, lower grade coins plummet - or at least do it appears to me.

    The portrait on the Hadrian is magnificent!
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  4. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    I am happy that I decided on restricting my one-per-ruler collection to Sestertii, but you do have to compromise a lot if you want a full size Tiberius, Vitellius or Aemilian instead of an affordable silver piece and not break the bank.

    Bildschirmfoto 2020-08-30 um 21.59.39.png
    Bildschirmfoto 2020-08-30 um 22.00.05.png
  5. finny

    finny Active Member

    I only have a couple of sestertii. This thread makes me want lots more though, lol!
    IMG_20200830_162754.jpg IMG_20200830_162810.jpg

    Antoninus Pius

  6. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

    For my collecting goal I had also decided on a variation of the one coin per rule - I had restricted it to sestertii, and tried to collect one per emperor, empress, prince, princess, family member or usurper in all major styles and ranks that sestertii were struck for that person - in aVF - or better. For example there were three major styles for Trajan so I have three sestertii - there might be more but that's what I limited it to.

    After almost 20 years I had come a ways (the "aVF" or better rule was quickly doscarded) but still needed many more and things started to get absurd - for example, would I want to pay a lot of money for a worn out ugly looking sestertii of Domitilla, or a nice but more common sestertii of someone else? And how could I possibly afford or even find many, especially the princesses and empresses, like Plotina, Tranqullina, Plautilla, Domitilla et als? Has anyone even ever seen a sestertii of Tranquillina outside of the British Museum?

    So I tossed in the towel, and now only collect sestertii of the family of Septimius Severus, in collectable condition and keep my eyes open for travel sestertii of Hadrian. But even that is getting more and more difficult - It is now almost impossible to find affordable - or any - sestertii of Septimius that I do not have - even ones that are supposedly common in RIC, but according to the databases I have reviewed have very rarely if ever been offered for sale. A good example is a "Securitas Publica" type for Septimius - I managed to buy one worn example I found on French ebay, and according to the databases very few of this type have been offered for sale since 1998, despite being designated in RIC as scarce, not rare. And yes, I know that the rarity designations in RIC are not that reliable but still one would think that "Securitas" would be a common coin for Septimius as it is for Caracalla.
  7. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    How about this one?

    1 Colosseum O.png 1 Colosseum R.png

    No, it's not my coin ... It's in the British Museum.
    DonnaML, eparch, +VGO.DVCKS and 4 others like this.
  8. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    DonnaML, +VGO.DVCKS, finny and 4 others like this.
  9. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

    I need to make clear that I was referring to the coins in the slideshow not to coins posted by anyone - I just think that the prices paid for some of the slideshow coins was way too high. But given recent sales maybe not.
    +VGO.DVCKS and Roman Collector like this.
  10. Salaethus

    Salaethus Well-Known Member

    Missed this thread! Love seeing everyone's sestertii collections, some really nice coins posted. I started collecting sestertii this year:
    Hadrian.jpg Aurelius.jpg Septimius.jpg Caracalla.jpg Geta.jpg Geta 2.jpg
    DonnaML, Limes, +VGO.DVCKS and 9 others like this.
  11. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Thank you, @Roman Collector. I was waiting for someone on your level to comment on this. ...Especially given some very recent posts, from you, or someone as good.
  12. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    I have a few decent Sestertii but this one is probably my best or at least my most interesting Besides I am a sucker for sestertii of Trajan Trajan Sestertius RIC 642 Woytek 590v3 Obv Bust right laureate and draped. Rv. Trajan standing facing head right holding spear to left Tigris reclining. To right Armenia in attitude of mourning and Euphrates reclining 116-117 AD 28.37 grms 33 mm Photo by W. Hansen trajans18.jpg
    Johndakerftw, DonnaML, eparch and 7 others like this.
  13. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    The Hadrian is a one in a million combination of individual points collectors value and a few that most collectors never experience. 99% of all sestertii left the mint in less than perfect condition due to strike or flan preparation errors. Big bronze is harder to strike than small silver or gold but less care was regularly put into the production of a coin of lesser value. At this point we might mention that not all designs were created equal. Some were interesting and complex while more were some generic figure standing there. Lets add to that the facts that the mint had more than one person cutting dies and every die was individually cut with the masters ranging from good to great and the new fellow falling in a acceptable to good. Next the coins entered the real world where they served daily transactions buying bread rather than being put in a pot full of saved precious metal. When we find a pot full of bronzes, my mind assumes that it was the cash register of a restaurant or market stall. Each exposure to handling would drop a coin even further down even if it had been one of the few that left the mint in great condition. Next the coins had to find a place to spend nearly 2000 years. Some were luckier than others. Some entered to ground in perfect shape and were eaten alive by chemicals. Others developed pretty protective patinas. Some coins were found by a digger who rubbed it on the face of a brick to reveal the date of the coin. Some were sent to a professional processor who cleaned them in huge batches with varying degrees of success. Some fell in the hands of someone who decided the coin could be improved with a little tooling or smoothing. If we ranked each of the steps along the way on a scale of one to ten it would only take six steps to achieve my 'one in a million' figure but my incomplete list above is over twice that so 'one in a million' is waaaaay to optimistic. The perfect coin in every respect would be one in a million million (each step adds a power of ten). It is a miracle that any coin even approaches a '10' level in every regard.

    My personal 'best' sestertii rarely rank 10/10 in even one of the categories listed (and I guarantee I neglected to mention one or two at least). Mine strive to rate even a 5/10 with more than a few deserving a few 1/10 ranks. I enjoy rare, interesting and attractive coins just like everyone else but I take what I can get and what I can afford. The coin below is an example. It left the mint with pretty good numbers (maybe a few 9's or even 10's???) but things went straight downhill from there. I have seen few enough of these SAECVLO FRVGIFERO TRP COS sestertii that I was happy to find one even this good. I might have found one twice as good given time and money. I predict one twice this good would sell for over 10x what I paid.
  14. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    And then there is the dreaded bronze disease, which, in combination with other factors, can devastate a coin. Dealing with BD is a tough proposition with many bronzes.

    I have a Cleopatra VII drachm that has recurring BD, and I am reaching the conclusion that it will never be eliminated for this coin.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page