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Roman Gold Coins
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Roman Gold Coins

Between 211 and 202 BCE, the Romans defeated Carthage in the Second Punic War, took over the gold mining region of Spain, and minted their first gold coins.

But it wasn't until Caesar returned from his victories in the Gallic wars with enough gold to issue 200 coins to each of his soldiers, and pay off the Roman Debt, that the aureus was born.

Originally, at about 8 grams, the aureus was comparable to the stater in weight; and one aureus was a month's pay for a legionaire.

Coinage also served as the Empire's newspaper, as each issue served notice as to who was in charge, what they looked like, their military accomplishments, conquests, public building projects, and religious affiliations.

As the Empire expanded, Rome was able to acquire gold from West Africa, Macedon, the Bosporus region and the Zagrean Mountains. At the same time, Rome was able to export a stable monetary system as well as a network of relatively safe highways and shipping routes that promoted an era of prosperous world trade.

By the time of Constantine, after many reforms and debasments, the areus weighed slightly more than half its original weight and was replaced with the Solidus at about 4.5 grams. The solidus (fine gold) retained it's status as the world's trade coin for the next 500 years.

ROME Anonymous. Ca. 211 BCE.

AV 60 asses , (3.31 gm)   Head of Mars right, bearded, wearing crested Italo-Corinthian helmet; mark of value VI (ligate) X beneath / Eagle standing right on thunderbolt, wings spread; ROMA below. Crawford 44/2. Bahrfeldt 4a. Sydenham 226. A nearly perfect specimen, with full mint luster, cleanly struck from fresh dies, and possessing considerable detail seldom encountered on this type.

NGC graded CH MS strk 5/5 surf 5/5

After 2000 years, Julius Caesar is still the most famous human ever to have lived. His very name has come to mean "king" in various languages. He hailed from a patrician family that was relatively poor and dwelled on the fringes of Roman politics. In spite of this he was able to outmaneuver opponents such as Cato and Cicero to attain his Consulship and then a Pro-Consulship in Gaul. Once there, his military achievements are legendary. He was also the first Roman to communicate offically through the use of letters within Rome, as well as the first consul to have scribes officially record and publish every speech he gave at the senate. His own written accounts of the Gallic wars rank amongst the best selling books of all time.

Caesar was also the first Roman to put his portrait on a coin. Octavian struck many Caesar portrait coins during the Roman Civil Wars. But the vast majority of Caesar portraits portray a cartoonish stick-figure hastily engraved at military mints in the midst of war, to pay impatient battle weary troops. Fine style Caesar portraits engraved by artists of talent a rare.

The Caesarians. Julius Caesar. 44 BCE.

AR Lifetime Denarius (3,48g). P. Sepullius Macer, moneyer for. Julius Caesar, Mzst. Rom. Vs.: Caesar with laurel crown r., CAESAR IMP Rs.: , Venus with Victoria, scepter and sheild P SEPVLLIVS / MACER Cr. 480/5b; Syd. 1071.

A sensitive portrait of very fine style, on superb, spectacularly toned metal.

Ex Hirsch 123, 1981, 2322.

NGC Graded CH XF strk 4/5 surf 4/5
fine style noted.........................$17,500

The Caesarians. Divus Julius Caesar. 41 BCE.

AR Denarius (3.27 g.) 41,. Rome. L. Flaminius Chilo moneyer. Laureate head of Caesar to r. Rev. L • FLAMINIVS - III • VIR Pax standing to l., holding caduceus in r. hand and with left, leaning on sceptre. Cr. 485/1. Syd. 1089

A portrait of fine realistic style depicting a mature, somewhat careworn Caesar, with a lovely tone, in VF condition, and thus quite affordable.

NGC Graded VF Strk 5/5 surf 3/5
banker's marks noted.........$3600

The Caesarians. Divus Julius Caesar. 40 BCE.

AR Denarius (19mm, 3.58 g, 12h). Rome mint; Q. Voconius Vitulus, moneyer. Wreathed head of Caesar right / Bull-calf walking left. Crawford 526/4; CRI 331; Sydenham 1133; RSC 45. Very Rare portrait.

A very rare portrait of wonderful style of a youthful vigorous Caesar by an artist of great talent. Amongst the finest style Caesar portraits, perfectly centered on a broad flan and with a beautiful old cabinet tone. The moneyer Vitulus was an ally of Octavian, and this coin was struck during his war with Antony to emphasize the youthful vigorous Octavian's lineage to Julius Caesar.

Ex NGSA VII (2012) lot 318

NGC Graded CH XF ** Stk 5/5 Srf 4/5 Fine Style noted...................POR

VENI VIDI VICI: This coin is usually included in the Greek section, but as it is so indellibly linked to Julius Caesar, I include it here. Ceasar's victory over Pompey at Pharsalus was followed by a quick victory over Pharnakes, the upstart, self-styled, 'King of Kings', at Zela in 47 BC. This victory prompted one of Antiquity's most famous quotes - a three word dispatch to the Roman senate: "I came, I saw, I conquered."

The great rarity of this coin, and the fact that there is no concomittant silver or bronze coinage suggests that it was a purely ceremonial piece issued to proclaim Pharnake's rule over the region of the Bosporus. The tenuousness of that rule is underlined by the fact that Caesar, who wrote an entire tome chronicling his defeat of the Gauls, saw fit to dispatch with Pharnakes in a three word missive.

After this Victory Caesar continued on to Egypt to collect Pompey's head, after which he sojourned a while with Cleopatra, with whom he fathered a son: Caesarion, before retuning to become Dictator over Rome.

Kings of Bosporus, Pharnaces c 63 – 46 BCE

AV Stater, (8.23 g) Panticapaeum 51-50 BCE (year 245), . Diademed head r. Rev. BAΣIΛEΩΣ / BAΣIΛE - ΩN (King of Kings) Apollo seated l., holding laurel branch in extended r. hand over tripod, l. arm resting on kithara at his side; behind, EMΣ (245) / ivy leaf. Below, MEΓAΛOY ΦAPNAKOY. (Pharnakes the Great) Golenko-Karyszowski, NC 1972, p. 37, 10 (these dies) and pl. 2, 10. A. N. Zograph, Ancient Coinage, part II, pl. XLIV, 3.

Well struck on a large flan, and a superior example of this extremely rare, and historically fascinating issue.

NGC graded CH AU Strk 5/5 surf 4/5

Claudius (AD 41-54) Aureus (7,74 g), Rome 44/5. : TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG PM TRP IIII, Laureate head right. Rv.: Praetorian camp gate with guard holding speer and standard IMPER RECEPT. RIC:25, C:43. Perhaps the most famous gold coin of antiquity (After the ides mar). Provenance Peus Nachf. auction. Rare - awesome claudius portrait, well centered, struck
Good VF....................sold

VESPASIAN (AD 69-79) Av Aureus (7.39g) Rome 69-70 Laureate Head of Vespasian right, IUDEA mourning jewess seared right beneath trophy. Mazzini I pl lxii (this coin) RIC 15. Provenance: Ex Kollack collection. Ex Mazzini collection, Ex Burrage collection. Antiqua.
Commemorates Vespasian's victory in the Jewish War. Very rare
Several surface scrapes and marks, superb Vespasian portrait
EF ...........................SOLD

Constantius II (AD 337-361).

AV solidus (4.50 gm,) Antioch mint., AD 347-355. FL IVL CONSTAN-TIVS PERP AVG, draped and cuirassed bust of Constantius II to right, wearing pearl diadem / GLORIA REIPVBLICAE, Roma, seated facing on left, and Constantinopolis, seated left on right, supporting round shield inscribed VOT/XX/MVLT/XXX, SMANΓ in exergue. RIC 83. Depeyrot 6/3.

ex Patrick Tan Collection

NGC Graded CH AU Strk 5/5, surf 3/5 (surface is absolutely clean).........$3500

Western Roman Empire Valentinian II (AD 375-392).

AV solidus ( 4.48 gm). Constantinople, AD 378-383. D N VALENTINI-ANVS P F AVG, rosette-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, bust seen from front / CONCORDI-A AVGGGΘ, Constantinopolis, helmeted with head right, seated facing on throne, holding scepter in right hand and and globe in left; right foot on prow; CONOB in exergue. RIC IX 46(d)4. Depeyrot 33/2. Fully Detailed strike.

NGC graded MS strk 5/5, surf 4/5

Two near-perfect late Roman gems: Coins can recieve near perfect grades and still be unattractive on account of old dies, or very slight unsteadiness of hand during the strike which can mar the facial features. Here below are two spectacularly well struck pieces on with prooflike surfices with unusually high grades:

Eastern Roman Empire: Marcian, AD 450-457

AV solidus (4.47 gm) Constantinople, AD 450-457. D N MARCIA NVS P F AVG, diademed, helmeted and cuirassed bust of Marcian facing three-quarter right, holding spear over shoulder and shield decorated with horseman motif / VICTORI-A AVGGG, Victory standing left, holding long jeweled cross in right hand; star in right field; Z // CONOB. RIC X 510. Depeyrot 87/1:

A perfect coin: rare thus.

NGC graded Gem MS Strk 5/5, srf 5/5

Eastern Roman Empire: Leo I AD 457-474

Leo I AV Solidus. (4.50gm) Constantinople, AD 465/466. D N LEO PERPET AVG, helmeted, pearl-diademed and cuirassed bust three quarters facing, holding spear and shield, decorated with horseman motif / VICTORIA AVGGG H, Victory standing left, holding long jewelled cross; star in right field, CONOB in exergue. LRC 527; Depeyrot 93/1; RIC 605.

A near perfect coin - rare thus.

NGC graded Choice MS strk 5/5 srf 5/5



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