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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

ROME L. Saufeius. 152 BC

Silver Denarius (3.24 g), Rome. Helmeted head of Roma right; behind, X. Reverse: L SAVF below, ROMA in exergue, Victory driving galloping biga right. Crawford 204/1; Sydenham 384; Saufeia 1

beautiful iridescent tone. unimprovable for the type

NGC Graded 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 - thanks in no small part to his literary acheivements. . 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 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 (3,85g). 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.Sear 106

A regal portrait of excellent style, beautifully centered on a full flan with a striking old cabinet tone.

NGC Graded XF ** Strk 5/5 Surf 5/5
Fine Style noted.......................POR

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

FINE STYLE: The Twelver Caesars. After Julius, Caesar became a title. The lives of the next eleven Emperors along with Julius, were chronicled by the Roman historian Seutonius. Thereafter these became know as the Twelve Caesars. There were six from the Julian Clan: Caesar, Augusts, Tiberius, Caligula (Gaius), Claudius and Nero. After Nero was murdered there was 'the year of the four Caesars:' Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and finally Vespasian who founded the Flavian dynasty and was succeded by his two sons: Titus and Domitian.

The coins of the Twelve Caesars are relatively common by ancient standards. The monetary requirements of the Empire were as vast as its ever expanding territory and citizenry. Nevertheless, coins engraved in true fine style by artists of merit are rare. NGC, on the whole, does a good job of identifying these coins, but inevitably a few coins will slip through the cracks; and even within the "fine style" designation there can be coins of vastly differing artistic quality.

Coins that capture and convey the personalities of the Twelve Caesars, and other charismatic Emperors will, over time, certainly provide collectors with far more satisfaction than those that are merely well preserved.

Augustus. 27 BC-AD 14.

AR Denarius (17.5mm, 3.62 g). Pergamum mint. Struck 27 BC. Bare head right / Bull standing right. RIC I 475; RSC 28.

This coin was struck in the first year of Augustus' reign by an artist of great talent.. The issue is scarce, but very few of the examples are represented by this engrossing realistic portrait. Here we see Augustus as a handsome, noble and victorious young man. He has just defeated Marc Antony and married the young, beautiful Livia. At this moment, Augustus and Livia were the most powerful and glamorous couple of the ancient world.

NGC Graded CH XF strike 4/5, surf 4/5
fine style noted

Nero. AD 54-68.

AR Hemidrachm (15mm, 1.82 g, ). Struck circa AD 56-58. In CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea-Eusebia. Laureate head right / Nike seated left on globe, holding wreath. Sydenham, Caesarea 82; RPC I 3645; RIC I 617.

Here we see a rare portrait of the young charismatic Nero: the handome, roguish, self-styled award winning artist. It was Nero's habit to enter music and drama contests throughout the Greek world - where, as a member of the Julian clan, he was guaranteed a first prize. Upon his assassination, his dying words were "With me, dies Rome's greatest artist."

NGC graded CH AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5, fine style noted................$1200

Galba. AD 68-69.

AR Denarius (17mm, 3.49g). Rome mint. Struck circa July AD 68-January AD 69. Laureate and draped bust right / Diva Livia standing left, holding patera and scepter. RIC I 189; RSC 55a

Here we have a very rare and wonderfully realistic portrait of Galba as the 72 year old General that he was when he assumed the throne for seven months in 68 AD.
The line of the Julio-Claudian emperors had died out with Nero, but the new emperor Galba still wished to demonstrate continuity with the dynasty that had ruled for the last century, via his close friendship with Livia.

NGC Graded CH VF Strk 5/5 surf 4/5 fine style noted...........................$1400

Vespasian. AD 69-79.

AR Denarius (16mm, 3.49 g,). Rome mint. Struck AD 70. Laureate head right / Pax seated left on throne, holding branch and caduceus. RIC II 29; RSC 94h.

Vespasian was a powerfully built, highly intelligent general with an earthy sense of humor that endeared him to his troops. All of this is reflected in this magnificent portrait, of this Emperor who joked on his death bed: "Vae, puto deus fio." ("Alas, I think I'm becoming a God")

NGC Graded: Ch XF strike 4/5 surf 4/5 fine style noted.............................$600

Domitian. as Caesar, AD 69-81. Rome, under Titus, AD 80/1.

Silver Denarius (3.17 g),CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head of Domitian right. Reverse: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, helmet set on draped throne. RIC 271; BMC 98; RSC 399a.

NGC Graded CH XF strk 5/5 surf 3/5 Fine style noted, graffiti noted....$400

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

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: 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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