Thirty Roman Imperial coins - Notes & Exemplars

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by jamesicus, Aug 9, 2020.

  1. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    I collect Roman Imperial coins of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and those that have significant Romano-British historical connection. I particularly like, and seek out, coins that have been circulated and show the wear and tear of everyday use - often with surface blemishes and other imperfections. I especially like coins that are centered on a large flan with complete and readable inscriptions. I like portraits and depictions that are clear, although I do not mind those that show some wear. I frequently handle my coins with bare hands and permit others to do so. Because I have been a Calligrapher for some eighty years with a special interest in Roman Capitalis Monumentalis lettering (as found on Roman Imperial coins), I frequently comment on Coin lettering.

    I spend most of my time these days researching my coins and reading about their historical associations. My main coin references are volumes I and II of BMCRE (British Museum Coins of the Roman Empire) and volume VI of RIC (Roman Imperial Coinage). Harold Mattingly is my favorite author.

    I have increased my “end game” collection from twenty to thirty Roman Imperial coins.

    My collection is now housed in an old Abafil case with one tray that accommodates twenty as/dupondius size coins and a second tray that accommodates twelve sestertius size coins.

    That adds up to thirty two coins. So why only thirty Roman Imperial coins?
    Well, the area of northern England where I was born and grew up not only had strong historical connections to the Roman Campaigns of Septimius Severus and Constantius, but also the English Civil war - Cavaliers and Roundheads. So I simply had to make room for two of my favorite coins from that era: a half-crown of Charles I on horse back and a “rose” crown of Charles II.

    3CC82A80-0C2D-40BA-B9B4-B068BE95A56D.jpeg
    Charles I (1625-1649) Silver Half-Crown (1625)
    Tower Mint (Harp), Seaby 2771, North 2207, Diameter: 35mm, Weight: 15.13gm

    Obverse depiction: Charles I wearing crown and holding sword over his shoulder, mounted on plumed caparisoned horse walking left.
    Inscription: CAROLVS DG MAG BR FR ET HIB REX
    (Charles by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, France and Ireland)

    Reverse depiction: Garnished oval arms at center.
    Inscription: CHRISTO AVSPICE REGNO
    (I reign under the auspices of Christ)


    604D7939-BC43-4F57-93B8-0596D3A851EF.jpeg
    Charles II (1660-1685) First year (1662) issue Milled silver crown, Diameter: 40mm (initial issue large flan) Weight: 29.57gm

    Obverse depiction: Draped laureate bust with Rose below (minted using native silver from western Britain).
    Inscription: CAROLVS II DEI GRA
    (Charles the second by the Grace of God)

    Reverse depiction: Four crowned shields, cruciform, the top bearing the arms of England and France quartered, the right bearing the arms of Scotland, the bottom bearing the arms of England and France quartered and the left bearing the arms of Ireland. In the angles formed by adjoining shields are two intertwined C's. At the center is the Star of the order of the Garter.
    Inscription: MAG BR FRA ET HIB REX 1662
    (King of Great Britain, France and Ireland)

    Edge Inscription: * + * DECVS ET TVTAMEN
    (An ornament and a safeguard - against clipping).

    I will be posting numerous Roman Imperial coins and associated information in this thread from time to time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
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  3. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    One sestertius that I especially like is this one:

    Pretty poor surfaces, but nicely patinated orichalcum, fairly well centered on the flan and magnificent lettering. And that is what I like.

    C9C3E00A-C024-43C5-B244-874F66C62811.jpeg
    RIC Vol. I, CLAUDIUS, SESTERTIUS, Rome, No. 109, 42-43AD (38mm, 28.0gm) BMCRE, Vol1, No. 208, Plate 36-8

    Obverse depiction: Nero Claudius Drusus, bare head facing left
    Inscription: NERO CLAVDIVS DRVSVS GERMANICVS IMP
    Reverse depiction: Claudius seated left on curule chair holding olive branch, weapons and armor beneath
    Inscription: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG PM TRP IMP PP - S C (exergue)

    Nero Claudius Drusus was the father of Claudius and this coin pays homage to him as a great warrior on the northern frontier who Claudius wished to emulate.

    The depiction of Claudius on the reverse is wonderful but I have always wished the portrait of Drusus on the obverse was not so “pock marked”. I thought it would be great if I could find an identical sestertius with a better condition portrait of Drusus at an inexpensive price to compliment this one.

    As I stated in my introductory remarks, surface blemishes do not bother me too much, but still, in this case ……………

    Well, lo and behold, I found such a coin! It has been heavily cleaned and it is not actually identical, for in addition to the portrait being a little larger, the reverse titulature ends in IMP rather than PP on the original - thereby making it an earlier issue. Drusus has a nicer face - not perfect, but it will do for me.

    5B547206-12E4-4903-AF3C-88E3A59A17D4.jpeg
    BMCRE, Vol. I, CLAUDIUS, SESTERTIUS, Rome, No. 157, Plate 35-7 42-43AD (38mm, 28.9gm)

    It was a real coincidence that I found that coin - one of the joys of collecting Ancient coins!


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Here are the two coins juxtaposed:

    C9C3E00A-C024-43C5-B244-874F66C62811.jpeg 5B547206-12E4-4903-AF3C-88E3A59A17D4.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  4. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    It wasn’t only Julio-Claudian Sestertii that featured really excellent lettering, the asses and dupondii of Caligula, Claudius and Nero also featured some really elegant lettering:

    DCD15826-5A43-4CC8-9635-79BD5F3FA478.jpeg
    RIC Vol I, Claudius, As, Rome, No. 106

    Obverse depiction: Germanicus, bare headed facing right
    Inscription clockwise from bottom: GERMANICVS CAESAR TI AVG F DIVI AVG N

    Reverse depiction: large S. C.
    Inscription clockwise from top: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P IMP PP

    A7CE6F02-9D18-4EED-9950-52D02B5A7DB0.jpeg
    BMCRE Vol I, CLAUDIUS, As, Rome, No. 206 (Pl. 36.6)
    RIC Vol I, CLAUDIUS, As, Rome, No. 113


    Obverse depiction: Claudius, bare headed facing left
    Inscription clockwise from bottom: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TRP IMP P P

    Reverse depiction: Personification of Liberty, standing right, holding Pileus (Freedman’s cap) in right hand
    Inscription clockwise from bottom: LIBERTAS AVGVSTA | S -------- C (left and right)

    13251C69-D1DF-42ED-9F82-A299DAFC6FA1.jpeg
    RIC Vol. I, NERO, As, Lugdunum, No. 543

    Obverse depiction: Nero, bare headed, facing right
    Inscription clockwise from bottom: IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PMAX TRP P P

    Reverse depiction: winged Victory, advancing left, holding shield inscribed SPQR
    Inscription: S -------- C (left and right)
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
  5. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    I have always liked the moneyer coinage of Augustus. At one time I had an extensive collection of all sizes and issues. I think it is so great that relatively unknown officials of lesser standing should have their names preserved for posterity - just like Caius Cassius Celer:

    90C2318A-2CC4-4197-B9BD-F6479E7E6FC6.jpeg
    Obverse: AVGVSTVS / TRIBVNIC / POTEST in three lines within wreath
    Reverse: C. CASSIVS CELER. III VIR A.A.A. F.F. around large S C
    Size: 28.81 mm, Weight: 12.71 grams, 16 BC
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
  6. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Several of my thirty coins fill multiple roles in my Ancient coin pursuits. I use my coins as teaching aids whenever I give talks/lectures to groups of friends, clubs, family gatherings (strictly voluntary :)) relating to the historical association of my coins or how to produce correctly proportioned Roman Capital lettering, etc. - or just general information about collecting ancient coins.

    For example I might use a coin such as the following Tetrarchic follis to talk about the coinage produced by Constantius preparatory to his invasion of seccessionist Britain, or as an example of the general conformity of Tetrarchic folles, or the titulature of the Caesars in the Tetrarchy or the state of inscriptional lettering on coins in the later empire and so on.

    A07961D1-0E15-4B46-A9D6-C77B36DB3010.jpeg RIC Volume VI, Lugdunum, folles, No. 17a, Constantius, Caesar of the West, 10.1 gm

    Obverse depiction: Constantius, truncated bare neck bust, laureate, facing right.
    Inscription: FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB C (earliest titulature)

    Reverse depiction: Genius of the Roman people facing left
    Inscription: GENIO POPV -- LI ROMANI

    Britannia invasion coinage produced in Gaul at unknown Continental mint

    ……………
     
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Mine retains little legend but fortunately does show it is the reverse ending in IMP. I bought it over 30 years mostly for the NCAPR countermark (my first of these).
    rb0970bb0065.jpg
     
  8. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

  9. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    I had the same thing in mind when I recently bought this coin:
    8F447B37-2F6C-4E55-AE32-9484F1F6F867.jpeg
    Agrippina Senior, Sestertius, RIC I (Claudius) No. 102, AD 42-54, 25.2 gm.

    Obverse depiction: Agrippina, draped bust facing right, hair in long plait down back
    Inscription: AGRIPPINA M F GERMANICI CAESARIS

    Reverse depiction: Large SC centered
    Inscription: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P IMP P P

    NCAPR in rectangular countermark above (by Vespasian?)

    I sold off or gifted my countermarked coins and then regretted doing that for I missed having at least one. The coin I picture here is a good one for me for it has the Nero countermark prominently stamped at the top center of the reverse - it seems this was how coins of this issue were always stamped. Additionally, this is a very hard to come by coin issue, so it was a winner all around for me.

    Agrippina the elder was the daughter of Agrippa and Julia (the daughter of Augustus). She married Germanicus, the brother of Claudius, and was the mother of Caligula.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  10. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    It is interesting that the NCAPR stamp was almost always applied in the same place on each coin type but that place was not the same for each type. I bought but am still a bit concerned about my Claudius which shows the NCAPR in front of his face while the usual position is behind his head. I bought it from a trusted dealer and it looks OK to me but I wish I were completely sure of the authenticity. This is a coin that I will not sell to anyone unless they convince me that they know enough to have an opinion on the matter. I really do not. I suppose it could just be an error. See:
    http://www.romancoins.info/CMK-Nero&later.html
    rb1025fd2545.jpg
     
  12. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    That coin looks fine to me.

    I am interested in this also. I do not know how authoritative this reference is ……………

    https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/...nerva-countermarks-on-roman-imperial-coinage/

    …………… it depicts a Nero Drusus Caesar sestertius with the NCAPR countermark positioned behind the head on a left facing portrait.
    I wonder if the worker tasked with stamping the countermarks that day had just finished a batch of left facing portrait coins and then began stamping a batch of right facing portrait coins and absent-mindedly stamped the countermark on them in the same location? Of course, there is no way of determining that - I was just trying to imagine how the countermark on your coin ended up being in front of the portrait face.

    Of course it just might have been a one-time mistake as you speculate.

    I have not encountered NCAPR ………“being most likely ‘Nerva Caesar Augustus Probavit” ……… before.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
    TJC, Egry, +VGO.DVCKS and 1 other person like this.
  13. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Again, here is the well-worn NCAPR countermarked Sestertius I used to own:

    BDAA9ACF-D952-46B8-AC50-E0896ED8BA40.jpeg
     
  14. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    My restored Julio- Claudian coins by Titus do double, and sometimes triple, duty now:

    ACDE612B-1907-414B-B2EA-61EF58A23CF9.jpeg
    AUGUSTUS AS, TITUS RESTORATION ISSUE, 80-81 AD
    (27mm, 10.71 gm)

    BMCRE Volume II, Rome, Titus No. 273-275
    RIC Volume II, Part 1 (second edition), Titus, No. 462

    Obverse depiction: Augustus, radiate head facing left
    Inscription: DIVVS AV _____ GVSTVS PATER

    Reverse depiction: Eagle with wings spread standing on Globe
    Inscription: IMP T CAES AVG RESTITVIT - S C (above, left and right)


    7460484B-04BC-4408-A4EC-1B57D452F12D.png
    AUGUSTUS AS, TITUS RESTORATION ISSUE, 80-81 AD
    (27mm, 10.03 gm)

    BMCRE Volume II, Rome, Titus No. 271 (variant)
    RIC Volume II, Part 1 (second edition), Titus, No. 454

    Obverse depiction: Augustus, radiate head facing left
    Inscription: DIVVS AVGVSTVS PATER

    Reverse depiction: Altar enclosure with double doors
    Inscription: IMP T VESP AVG REST - S C (left and right) - PROVIDENT (in exergue)


    AF14E422-9ACC-4346-8B32-77AF14EC84E2.jpeg
    AGRIPPA AS, TITUS RESTORATION ISSUE, 80-81 AD
    (27mm, 10.00 gm)
    BMCRE Volume II, Rome, Titus No. 281 (Pl.54.9.)

    Obverse depiction: Agrippa, radiate head facing left wearing rostral crown
    Inscription: AGRIPPA L F COS III

    Reverse depiction: Neptune standing left holding small dolphin and trident
    Inscription: IMP T VESP AVG REST - S C (left and right)


    EF0E2DA8-938B-4ECE-8B87-82C44E42117E.png
    TIBERIUS AS, TITUS RESTORATION ISSUE, 80-81 AD
    (27mm, 11gm)
    BMCRE Volume II, Rome, Titus No. 284 (Pl.54.11.)

    Obverse depiction: Tiberius, bare head facing left
    Inscription: TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS IMP VIII

    Reverse depiction: Large S C
    Inscription: IMP T CAES DIVI VESP F AVG REST


    3A054270-7A88-468E-BDCF-1212B568B5B8.png
    CLAUDIUS SESTERTIUS, TITUS RESTORATION ISSUE, 80-81 AD
    (34.5mm, 23.12 gm)

    BMCRE Volume II, Rome, Titus No. 297 (pl. 56.1)
    RIC Volume II (1962 Edition), Rome, Titus, No. 234
    RIC Volume II, Part 1 (second edition), Titus, No. 472 (Sear No. 2601)

    Obverse depiction: Claudius, laureate head facing right
    Inscription: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG PM TRP IMP PP

    Reverse depiction: Personification of Spes holding flower
    in right hand and demurely raising skirt with left hand
    Inscription: IMP T VESP AVG REST - S C (left and right)
     
  15. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Two more Claudius Sestertii for comparison - same RIC number - one with typical patination, the other with substantial verdigris.

    B9F8C954-5682-4D8E-A7D8-A12F1C3C126A.jpeg
    RIC Vol. I, CLAUDIUS, SESTERTIUS, Rome, No. 112, 50-54AD, (36mm, 28.2gm)
    Obverse depiction: Claudius, laureate head facing right
    Inscription: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG PM TRP IMP PP
    Reverse depiction: Civic Oak Wreath
    Inscription in four lines:
    EX SC
    P P
    OB CIVES
    SERVATOS
    (within wreath)


    BA41EA8E-2172-454E-AE89-F30FA9D1382B.jpeg
    RIC Vol. I, CLAUDIUS, SESTERTIUS, Rome, No. 112, 50-54AD, (35.7mm, 27.9gm)
    Obverse depiction: Claudius, laureate head facing right
    Inscription: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG PM TRP IMP PP
    Reverse depiction: Civic Oak Wreath
    Inscription in four lines:
    EX SC
    P P
    OB CIVES
    SERVATOS
    (within wreath)
     
  16. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Claudius approved the use of countermarked sestertii, dupondii and asses in order to extend the supply of money after his invasion and conquest of Britain in 43AD.

    [​IMG]
    BMCRE, Vol. I, CLAUDIUS, SESTERTIUS, Rome, No. 120, 41-45AD (38mm, 29.2gm)

    Obverse depiction: Claudius, laureate head facing right
    Inscription: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG PM TRP IMP

    Countermarked PROB (Probatum - temporarily accepted)

    Mattingly note - Cmk. in oblong incuse in front of neck and face; end of legend obliterated

    Reverse depiction: Civic Oak Wreath
    Inscription in four lines:

    EX SC
    O B
    C I V E S
    SERVATOS
    (within Civic Oak Wreath)


    [​IMG]
    BMCRE, Vol. I, CLAUDIUS, SESTERTIUS, Rome, No. 123, 41-45AD (35mm, 22.3gm)

    Obverse depiction: Claudius, laureate head facing right
    Inscription: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG PM TRP IMP

    Countermark NCAPR in oblong incuse rectangle behind head (unknown mark on head)

    Reverse depiction: Triumphal arch surmounted by equestrian statue of Nero Claudius Drusus
    Inscription: NERO CLAVDIVS DRVSVS GERMAN IMP

    The countermark NCAPR was most frequently employed under Nero and is interpreted different ways by collectors and researchers, with the most popular and frequently used interpretations being Nero Caesar Augustus Probavit or Nero Caesar Augustus Populo Romano.


    [​IMG]
    TYPICAL IMITATIVE CLAUDIUS SPES SESTERTIUS WITH DEVALUATION COUNTERMARK

    Pangeri 85d, (29mm, 14.6gm)

    Obverse countermark DV (denoting half value) on neck

    This is a devaluation countermark indicating this coin is re-valued as a Dupondius (half value) due to its low weight. Note edge chisel mark on the obverse at approx. 3 o'clock which is always present on DV countermarked coins.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
  17. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Walking/flying/alighting Victory Nero coins.


    60455248-8AC2-43BC-AE22-07C1BD497AC1.jpeg
    Nero portrait facing right
    RIC Vol. I, NERO, As, Lugdunum, No. 543

    31C9362D-6010-4DDD-A0FC-26816B869383.jpeg
    Nero portrait facing left
    RIC Vol. I, NERO, As, Lugdunum, No. 544

    BABB3214-C614-4608-A322-4718B1C663EE.jpeg
    Nero portrait facing right
    BMCRE, Vol. I, NERO, As, Rome, No. 242

    Please post your examples.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
  18. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Antoninus Pius Restoration of Divus Augustus Temple coins.

    This is a follow-up to a previous post. It seems there is still some controversy or confusion relating to the depiction on the Antoninus Pius coins which illustrate a Corinthian octostyle (eight column) structure versus the hexastyle (six column) original structure depicted on the Caligula Sestertius.

    The consensus now appears to be that the Antoninus Pius building engineers, while generally adhering to the original design, were permitted to exercise some of their own discretion in designing the reverse on the Antoninus Pius restoration coins.

    But the question remains in my mind: was that really the case, or was the rebuild of Antoninus Pius based on the restoration of Domitian after a fire - no depiction of which has survived?

    I would appreciate any input from CT members relating to this.

    Reference coins:

    [​IMG]
    CAIUS (CALIGULA), SESTERTIUS, BMCRE Vol. I, Rome, No. 69 (Pl. 29.12)
    CAIUS (CALIGULA), SESTERTIUS, RIC Vol. I, Rome, No. 51
    (40-41AD, 35mm, 26.2gm)

    Obverse depiction: Personification of Pietas, draped, seated left
    Inscription: C CAESAR DIVI AVG PRON AVG PM TRP IIII PP (in exergue): PIETAS

    Reverse depiction: Caligula, veiled and togate, standing left holding patera over altar - attendants (victimarius) on either side holding bull for sacrifice - hexastyle temple of Divus Augustus, surmounted by quadriga and festooned with garlands, in background.
    Reverse Horizontal Inscription: {small lettering} DIVO AVG and below: S C (left and right)

    Note: Also BMCRE 41, RIC 36 - with obverse legend: C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PM TR POT (in exergue): PIETAS


    [​IMG]
    ANTONINUS PIUS, DENARIUS, RIC III, ROME, NO. 284
    16.67mm, 3.73 grams

    Obverse depiction: bust of Antoninus Pius, laureate, facing right
    Obverse Inscription: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXII

    Reverse depiction: Octastyle Temple with figures (Augustus and Livia) inside.
    Reverse Inscription: AED DIVI AVG REST - COS IIII in exergue.
     
  19. GregH

    GregH Well-Known Member

    Very nice coins @jamesicus
    I'm a strong believer in small collections - quality over quantity.

    I'm a portrait collector, so I limit myself to one per ruler and upgrade when something better comes along.

    I like the first Nero Claudius Drusus you posted the most. The perfect NCD is pretty much unattainable - i think this is as good as it gets.
     
    TJC and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  20. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you, Greg. I like your “quality over quantity” comment. You are a man after my own heart! I especially appreciate your comments relating to my Nero Claudius Drusus Sestertius very much.

    James
     
  21. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Even the lowly Julio-Claudian quadrans had well formed inscriptional lettering:

    DBCC5B9F-C8D1-427A-872D-9A5725BA120B.jpeg


    E9B7793C-EF0E-4BB0-97C4-D5C0E444FD15.jpeg
     
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