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5612849.

A complete set of the Twelve Caesars in Silver. Featuring twelve (12) exceptional AR Denarii. Includes:

1)The Caesarians. Julius Caesar. 42 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.55 g, 9h). Rome mint; L. Mussidius Longus, moneyer. Laureate head right / Rudder, cornucopia on globe, winged caduceus, and apex; L • MVSSIDIVS • LONGVS in semicircle above. Crawford 494/39a; CRI 116; Sydenham 1096a; RSC 29; BMCRR Rome 4238-9; Kestner 3750; RBW 1742. Toned, minor porosity. Near EF. Fine style.

Lucius Mussidius Longus, a moneyer with an otherwise unknown cursus honorum. His nomen Mussidius indicates that he was a novus homo, or up-and-coming man with no long family pedigree. As such, he would have allied himself to any potential long-term power base. In 42 BC, as the Second Triumvirate was defeating Caesar’s assassins, Mussidius oversaw the striking of this denarius of the now-deceased and soon to be deified dictator, a clear nod to the Caesarian cause. Apparently, such a move benefitted the gens Mussidia. A distant relation, T. Mussidius Pollianus, was a senator under the new regime in the first century AD.


2)Augustus. 27 BC-AD 14. AR Denarius (21mm, 3.88 g, 6h). Uncertain Spanish mint (Colonia Patricia?). Struck 17-16 BC. Bare head right / AVGVSTVS below, capricorn right, holding globe attached to rudder between front hooves; cornucopia above its back. RIC I 126; RSC 21; BMCRE 346-8 = BMCRR Rome 4374-6; BN 1266-7. Traces of find patina. Near EF. Superb portrait.

According to Suetonius, Augustus had been born while the moon was in the sign of Capricorn. Seeing this as a sign of his great destiny, Augustus associated the symbol closely with himself by striking it on coins and incorporating it into numerous works of art, so that it became a standard part of the imperial iconography. In order to legitimize their own claims, his successors periodically employed the capricorn imagery on their own coinage. Adding the cornucopia, or horn of plenty, to the back of the capricorn symbolizes the prosperity brought about by the emperor.


3)Tiberius. AD 14-37. AR Denarius (16mm, 3.62 g, 10h). “Tribute Penny” type. Lugdunum (Lyon) mint. Group 2, AD 15-18. TI CAESAR DIVI [AVG F] AVGVSTVS, Laureate head right, one ribbon on shoulder / PONTIF MAXIM, Livia (as Pax) seated right on chair, no footstool, holding spear and olive branch; ornate chair legs, three lines below throne. RIC I 28; Lyon 146; RSC 16b. Deeply toned, minor metal flaw, light deposits on reverse. Near EF. Struck from artistic dies.
Ex Roma XVIII (29 September 2019), lot 1074; Gorny & Mosch 261 (4 March 2019), lot 648.

The denarius of Tiberius with Pax reverse is commonly known as the 'Tribute Penny,' the coin to which Jesus referred when he was discussing the payment of taxes to the Romans: "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:17). Although there are two other reverse types on the denarii of Tiberius, those were only issued during the first two years of his reign, while the Pax reverse was employed throughout the remainder, making it the more likely coin referred to. It was also the most common imperial-issue coin circulating in the region at the time. The term 'penny' is from the 1611 King James translation of the Bible, and was adopted since the penny was the standard denomination of the time.


4)Gaius (Caligula), with Agrippina Senior. AD 37-41. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.35 g, 5h). Lugdunum (Lyon) mint. C • CAESAR • AVG • GERM • P • M • TR • POT •, bare head of Gaius (Caligula) right / AGRIPPINA • MAT • C • CAES • AVG • GERM, draped bust of Agrippina right. RIC I 8; Lyon 162 (unlisted dies); RSC 4 (Caligula and Agrippina Senior); BMCRE 8; BN 12-13; Mazzini 4 (Agrippina and Caligula). Iridescent toning over lustrous surfaces. Near EF. A pair of attractive portraits.

Ex Thomas A. Palmer Collection; Berk BBS 68 (13 November 1991), lot 272.

Agrippina’s last surviving son, Gaius, survived the purges of Seganus and Tiberius to become emperor in AD 37, four years after his mother’s passing. This coin commemorates his mother’s enterrement at the Mausoleum of Augustus shortly after his elevation to Augustus.


5)Claudius. AD 41-54. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.75 g, 12h). Lugdunum (Lyon) mint. TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P, Laureate head right / EX • S • C/ OB • CIVES/ SERVATOS in three lines within oak wreath. RIC I 16; von Kaenel Type 8; Lyon 17; RSC 35. Lightly toned with hints of iridescence. Good VF.

The reverse of this attractive denarius depicts the Corona Civica or “Civic Crown,” the second highest military decoration of the Republic, which took the form of a chaplet of oak leaves woven into a wreath. It was awarded to a citizen who had saved the lives of his fellow citizens by defeating or slaying an enemy of the state. The recipient was required to wear the wreath at any public gathering. Julius Caesar won the award for his actions during the Siege of Mytilene in 81 BC, which gained him immediate entry into the Senate. Augustus was voted the honor by the Senate for ending the destructive Roman civil wars. Caligula was granted the honor for “saving” Rome from the tyranny of Tiberius. Ironically, Claudius was bestowed the Corona Civica for saving Rome from the tyranny of Caligula.


6)Nero. AD 54-68. AR Denarius (17mm, 3.24 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck circa AD 64-65. NERO CAESAR, laureate head right / AVGVSTVS GERMANICVS, Nero standing facing, radiate and togate, holding branch in right hand and Victory on globe in left. RIC I 47; RSC 45. Attractive toning, minor porosity. Near EF. Fantastic portrait.

Ex Professor David R. Beatty, C.M., O.B.E. Collection (Classical Numismatic Group 114, 13 May 2020), lot 761; CNG Inventory 717644 (December 1999).

The reverse depicts Nero’s Colossus, a roughly 120 foot tall bronze statue of the emperor as Sol that was created by Zenodorus for the vestibule of the Domus Aurea, or Golden House, the massive palace constructed by Nero after the fire of AD 64. Hadrian moved Zenodorus’ work, by this point altered so that it no longer represented Nero, closer to the Favian Amphitheater. The sculpture’s memory was retained in the popular name of that amphitheater - the Colosseum.


7)Galba. AD 68-69. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.42 g, 12h). Rome mint. Struck circa July AD 68-January AD 69. IMP SER GALBA CΛESΛR ΛVG, laureate and draped bust right / DIVA AVGVSTA, Livia, draped, standing left, holding patera in right hand and long scepter in left. RIC I 189; RSC 55a. Lightly toned, hairlines. Near EF. Nicely centered with a wonderful bust of Galba.

Ex Pecunem / Gitbud & Naumann Auction 9 (3 November 2013), lot 440.

He (i.e., Galba) showed marked respect to Livia Augusta, to whose favor he owed great influence during her lifetime and by whose last will he almost became a rich man; for he had the largest bequest among her legatees, one of fifty million sesterces. But because the sum was designated in figures and not written out in words, Tiberius, who was her heir, reduced the bequest to five hundred thousand, and Galba never received even that. (Suetonius 5.2)

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.


8)Otho. AD 69. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.28 g, 5h). Rome mint. Struck 15 January-8 March. IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right / PAX ORBIS TERRARVM, Pax standing left, holding olive branch in right hand and caduceus in left. RIC I 4; Muona Group 1, Type 5B, Portrait A; RSC 3. Light cabinet tone, scratches. Good VF. Great portrait.

Marcus Salvius Otho was a minor functionary in the court of Nero, known more for his enthusiastic participation in the emperor’s revels than for any real competency. His one mistake was in introducing his beautiful wife Poppaea Sabina to his master. Very soon, Otho got the governorship of the remote province of Lusitania, and Nero got Poppaea. With Nero’s downfall, Otho aligned himself with his fellow governor Galba, fully expecting to be named the elderly emperor’s successor. When Galba designated Piso as his successor, the disappointed Otho joined the conspiracy that lead to Galba’s assassination. Otho himself would perish three months later, a suicide as the armies of Vitellius approached Rome.


9)Vitellius. AD 69. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.46 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck circa late April-20 December. [A VITEL]LIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, laureate head right / S P Q R/ OB/ C S in three lines in oak wreath. RIC I 83; RSC 86. Light iridescent toning around the periphery. Near EF. Fantastic portrait.

Ex Künker 341 (1 October 2020), lot 5828.

The last of Nero’s three successors, Vitellius was declared emperor by his troops while campaigning in lower Germany in January, AD 69. His reign was short lived however, as Vespasian was hailed emperor in Judaea only a few months later. Vitellius’ troops gave little resistance as Vespasian entered Rome where he quickly abdicated but was murdered by a mob with great brutality in December of the same year.


10)Vespasian. AD 69-79. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.58 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 77-78. CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right / IMP XIX, sow standing left, with three piglets below. RIC II.1 982; RSC 213. Deeply toned, die break on reverse. Near EF.

Ex Benito Collection (Classical Numismatic Group 114, 13 May 2020), lot 797.

From The Aeneid, Book VIII: “And now, lest you think this sleep’s idle fancy, you’ll find a huge sow lying on the shore, under the oak trees, that has farrowed a litter of thirty young, a white sow, lying on the ground, with white piglets round her teats, That place shall be your city, there’s true rest from your labours. By this in a space of thirty years Ascanius will found the city of Alba, bright name.” Hence, this type signifies part of the foundation myth for Rome. 11)Titus. AD 79-81. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.58 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck 1 January-30 June AD 80. IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M, laureate head right / TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P, pulvinar (throne) of Mars and Venus: curule chair, above which is a wreath. RIC II.1 108; RSC 318. Faint hairlines. Good VF.

This reverse type may belong to the “atonement” series of coins issued shortly after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, which destroyed Herculaneum and Pompeii. Carradice and Buttrey (RIC II, p. 186) disagree, stating the curule chair is “...symbolic of high Roman magistracy rather than divinity.” They suggest the impetus for the types could have been the inauguration of the Colosseum, “...at which such seats for ‘honored guests’ would be provided.” 12)Domitian. AD 81-96. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.50 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 92-93. IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM PM TR P XII, laureate head right / IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P, Minerva standing right on capital of rostral column, brandishing spear and holding shield; at feet to right, owl standing facing. RIC II 740; RSC 281. Wonderful old cabinet tone. Choice EF.

Ex Long Valley River Collection (Roma XX, 29 October 2020), lot 589; Numismatik Naumann 48 (20 November 2016), lot 561.

Domitian considered Minerva to be his own personal patron goddess and devoted much of his personal time, and public funds, to her worship. He constructed the Templum Minverva Chalcidicia in close proximity to the Pantheon, restored the Templum Castorum et Minervae, had built a substantial altar to the goddess in his bedroom, and erected multiple statues around the city. The symbolism on his coinage is obvious with over 75% of his denarii and aurei having Minerva on the reverse.


. Twelve (12) coins in lot.