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  1. KD, Thanks for your comment on my research. Indeed this is a very small coin, I found a bit challenging to grab and manipulate in hand (that is, before I sent off to NGC Ancients for encapsulation).
  2. Teacher Brian, thanks for your comment, I really appreciate the feedback!
  3. BipolarBaby, I completely agree with you on the pricing of ancient coins being all over the place. At least with modern coins, in particular slabbed modern coins, there are usually a plethora of specimens of each date/mint to choose from, and their strikes and surfaces are very consistent (cleaned coins are a notable exception of course!), so the pricing is relatively competitive and consistent, for instance from dealer to dealer. When it comes to ancient coins, each type is relatively more rare, oftentimes extremely rare, and much more variable in their strike and the chemical degradation on their surfaces. I think that NGC is the on the correct track in that they not only give a traditional grade on the ancient coins' condition (like VF), but also give their opinion of the strike and surface quality as well. Having said that, I am not necessarily suggesting you should be an already NGC-slabbed Sulla coin. Actually, most ancient coin collection eschew "slabbing"; I am in the minority in that I prefer to slab my ancients. Indeed, at this point in my ancient coin collecting journey I almost exclusively purchase "raw" coins, and then I encapsulate later. It took me time and experience to get comfortable with that. (I will post detailed comments on that in the future.) Having said that, I do have a number of ancient coins that I decided not to slab, for various reasons, including that sometimes I prefer to hold certain coins directly in my hand. I encourage you to get multiple perspectives on collecting ancient coins, but as a start I will provide some of my own thoughts. For collecting ancient coins in general, I advise at the beginning a bit of patience. Peruse what is out there currently, and study the prices, descriptions, and photos of each one, especially for your own impression of "eye appeal". Even if the coin has chemical degradation on its surface, understand that is also part of that particular coin's history, and sometimes can be artistically appealing (I will post my comments on my Domitia coin later to give more of my perspective on that point). If the photos are not well done, then I would avoid (means the selling is either trying to hide something or isn't experienced, both have obvious drawbacks). I like to purchase from auctions (a few good places to at least look are CNG auctions, Heritage, biddr.ch, etc). I personally do not recommend ebay for ancients, unless in NGC slab. Another great place to look at is vcoins or ma-shops (a lot of dealers are there). For not only upcoming, but importantly previous realized price, other good resource are out there such as coinarchives, and there are similar sites as well. Once you have seen what is available, you can choose from that, or wait for new examples to come to market, for example a lot of auctions occur each month. Once you see what seems good for you, then you have some confidence that it is the right time/price to go for it. I am sorry you had to read all this content, and I realize I still haven't answered you question: Could you help me gauge an actual price for a vf Sulla? I would need to know exactly which Sulla coin you want? For the moment I would assume that you are looking for the same denarius I posted. In this case, I would say probably $300-$400 range for VF example, maybe up to $500 for example with high eye appeal. I realize that is still a big range, but that is where VF doesn't tell the whole story and strike/surface comes in. For coinarchives, here is a recent example in VF-ish condition... https://www.coinarchives.com/a/lotviewer.php?LotID=1435129&AucID=2931&Lot=896&Val=d44bd0d5960200b25dc66e03aa7be35e That one sold for about $300 US + commission, and I think has a lot of nice eye appeal (I am surprised it did not sell for higher, actually). Here is another recent example from coinarchives... https://www.coinarchives.com/a/lotviewer.php?LotID=1433589&AucID=2929&Lot=417&Val=5665308db5a22c8f830747b388ba28b9 This one sold for $340 + commission, and I think the first was nicer. Here is an ebay example, starting at $349... https://www.ebay.com/itm/L-Cornelius-Sulla-L-Manlius-Torquatus-Roman-Republic-Silver-Denarius-82BC/273781403202?hash=item3fbea4ae42:g:IpMAAOSw76JcWh-R&frcectupt=true Example sold in ma-shops,not super nice, and probably a bit below VF, $308... https://www.ma-shops.com/henzen/item.php?id=25363&lang=en Just because I can't help myself from sharing, here is a gorgeous example in Ch EF condition that sold recently for $1600+ commission... https://www.coinarchives.com/a/lotviewer.php?LotID=1410931&AucID=2868&Lot=833&Val=ca2f6b92b54b4153e564056cff096c6d I hope my diatribe-ish response helps!
  4. Newly edited and re-posted Owner's Comments for an ancient obol struck by Lepidus, part of The Roman Empire, an NGC Ancients Custom Set. Participating in the Roman Empire’s genesis were many monumental figures of ancient history: Julius Caesar, his ally-turned-assassin Brutus, Pompey the Great, the famous lovers Marc Antony and Cleopatra, Octavian (a.k.a. Augustus), and then there is…Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (88? - 12? BC). If the name isn’t familiar, no wonder - Lepidus turned out the prototypical persona non grata of Roman politics. Borrowing sic erat scriptum the tagline of a late, modern-day comedian, he didn't get no respect. Lepidus, an early supporter of Julius Caesar, held the post of praetor in 49 BC, and watched over Rome while his mentor defeated Pompey at Pharsalus. On March 14, 44 BC, while Lepidus served as Caesar’s magister equitum (Master of the Horse), he warned his leader about an imminent murder plot. Lepidus’ arguments proved unpersuasive, and the next day Caesar fell at the hands of a mob. (If Lepidus had been a more effective communicator, history might have turned out vastly different!) Afterwards, Lepidus had an opportunity to redeem himself by avenging Caesar’s murder and punishing the known perpetrators. Instead, Lepidus stayed his hand, following Marc Antony’s advice. Furthermore, Lepidus went along with Antony's opposition of Caesar's legally named heir, Octavian. However, the power grab by Lepidus and Antony failed, and the duo retreated to Gaul. It was in Gaul during this period (44 to 42 BC) that Lepidus struck this silver obol. It is rare, and one of only perhaps two issues he struck there. For the obverse, Lepidus portrayed Apollo, a traditional choice as opposed to the bold, new trend of self-portraiture. The verso presents a cornucopia encircled by a wreath, promising future prosperity. Lepidus’ own fortunes improved when Octavian convinced him and Antony to form together as Triumvirs. They divided Rome’s demesnes amongst themselves: Lepidus was assigned Spain and shared Gaul with Antony, junior partner Octavian controlled North Africa, and all three shared responsibility over Italy. The Triumvirs needed to re-conquer the rest: Sicily under Sextus Pompey’s control, and the eastern territories dominated by Brutus and Cassius. The latter duo fell in 42 BC at the Battle of Philippi. Afterwards, the Triumvirs readjusted their power-sharing. This time, Lepidus - almost expelled by Octavian as a suspected Sextus Pompey sympathizer - was demoted to control over North Africa. Understandably, Lepidus disapproved his reduced role. He strove to improve his lot while jointly campaigning with Octavian against Sextus Pompey's Sicilian forces. Lepidus landed on Sicily, and then proceeded to lead a land assault. He succeeded in regaining control over Sicily, and then, with Octavian still busy battling the enemy's navy at sea, Lepidus announced his intention to keep it. Lepidus’ land grab did not sit well with Octavian, who issued a challenge in response. Consequently, Lepidus’ legions defected en masse, fearing Octavian’s displeasure. The defenseless and humiliated Lepidus had no choice but to beg for Octavian’s mercy. Octavian indeed spared Lepidus’ life. However, Lepidus was required to abdicate all his political powers and titles, except for the largely meaningless post of Pontifex Maximus. Lepidus was expelled to the remote promontory of Mount Circeo, where he spent his remaining years in obscurity, watching Antony’s fall, Octavian's transition to Augustus, and the Republic’s transformation to Empire. Occasionally, Lepidus was allowed to visit Rome on official business. Even then, the humiliation continued; he was required to speak last. Historians traditionally view Lepidus as the Triumvirate’s weakest link, untrustworthy and ineffective. Even Shakespeare disparaged Lepidus, depicting him as a simpleton and a drunkard. Evidently, Lepidus still doesn’t get much respect. Coin Details: ROMAN IMPERIATORIAL, M. Aemilius Lepidus, as Triumvir(?), AR obol (0.43 g, 10.6 mm), Cabellio (Cavaillon), Gaul, 44-42 BC, NGC Grade: AU, Strike: 4/5, Surface: 3/5, Obverse: Head of Apollo right, CABE before, Reverse: Cornucopia, LE-PI in left and right fields, all within wreath, References: RPC 528; Sear CRI 491.
  5. Thanks for your comment, I am glad you found worthwhile to read!
  6. I had been hunting for this coin for a while, and I passed on a few "raw" opportunities since, exactly as you say, I was not keen on the strike and/or condition. I saw this one selling as already encapsulated, and I could not resist the chance at such a nice speciment!
  7. thisistheshow, I am not an expert on this point, but from my researching it appears that the coins produced by military mints, especially during the and Imperatorial periods were produced in all major metals/denominations (e.g., bronze, silver, gold) and were of the same size, shape, mass, and artistry, an used the similar motifs as official produced coins. It is pretty amazing for the time to think how practical and efficient the Romans were, given that they could accomplish a mobile mint which required, at minimum, infrastructure required to produced the coins, namely skilled workers to set up, maintain, and operate the equipment, and the workers to strike the coins, not to mention dealing with storage and security related to carry around a large mass of precious metals! For a general background, I found the following information interesting and informative... https://www.academia.edu/35950471/Travelling_with_Roman_Military_Mints ...and, adding to the debate over who was the first living Roman on coinage, the author of that link posits it may have been Scipio Africanus!?
  8. Kohaku

    Et Tu, KOSON?

    deposito, Indeed XRF is the next frontier for studying ancient coinage. Since I am a scientist, and actually employ XRF (not for examining purity of metals, but rather carbon and silicon materials) I found that paper particularly fascinating. I am also intrigued about the sources that describe the link between Brutus and Polemocratia. I am not sure any definitive conclusions can be made from that, but is at least suggestive of a link between Brutus and those staters. If you are interested, here are some pics of my other KOSON/Brutus stater posted below. It is hard to tell from the pics (I always have trouble taking photos of coins), but in hand I get the distinct impression that my monogram coin is comprised of higher quality gold than my non-monogram coin, consistent with Constantinescu et al.
  9. The question of slabbing is even more hotly contested when it comes to ancient coins. For me, I appreciate the security on having an ancient coin protected within the slab, as well as confirmation of attribution and condition (even if I don't always like the result for the latter!). Having said that, I have some ancient coins that I decided not to slab, for various reasons.
  10. desposito, I'm not sure about the timing for that movie, but I definitely would love to see it! Yes, I agree that Sulla's early years carousing with entertainers and the story his girlfriend/benefactor would make excellent material for that (I didn't get too much of chance to discuss in my Owner's Comments since I had a lot to cover already regarding his military exploits etc). Thanks for your comment on my denarii. I think that Roman denarii are quite fascinating and reasonable to collect, although I only have a few, including the Fostlus denarii that I highlighted in an earlier Journal entry. Perhaps my most prized denarii is one issued by Lucius Marcius Censorinus, featuring Marsyas on the verso. Here are pics if you want to take a look...
  11. Newly Edited and Re-Posted Owners Comments posted on an ancient denarius struck by Lucius Cornelius Sulla, part of the Roman Empire Custom NGC Ancients Set... Julius Caesar may have been Rome’s most famous dictator, but he certainly wasn’t the first. Dozens held the title in the early Roman Republic, wielding varying degrees of absolute power, up until 202 BC. After that, the title was seemingly abandoned for more than a century, until someone rose up to claim it again: Lucius Cornelius Sulla (138 – 78 BC). Although he re-instated the role of dictator, Sulla did not wish Rome to evolve into an autocracy. In fact, Sulla relinquished his totalitarian power once he thought his actions had secured the Republic’s future. Even so, Sulla’s actions upset Rome’s powers structure to an extent that facilitated the ascent of Caesar and his successors. Intentionally or not, Sulla’s turn at dictatorship proved the prelude to Empire. Sulla hailed from a patrician family, and reportedly spent his youth consorting with Rome’s performance artists. It was not until his thirties that Sulla earned fame for his first significant accomplishment: the 107 BC capture of the Numidian usurper Jugurtha. After Sulla turned forty, he distinguished himself as administrator over Cilicia, battling pirates and thwarting a Persian invasion. After that, the rising general returned to Italy, joining the fight against several city-states that were former socii, or allies, but now sought separation from Rome. That conflict, known as the Social War (91-88 BC), secured Rome’s mastery over the Italian peninsula and propelled Sulla’s career even further. Sulla managed a series of impressive victories, including one after which the troops awarded him their very highest form of exaltation: a corona graminea, or grass crown. Sulla also managed to win the post of consul, Rome’s highest elected political office. Even while Rome outlasted its enemies in the Social War, another crisis brewed. To the east, Pontic King Mithridates VI planned and plotted his realm’s expansion. In a shocking development, Pontus launched a highly orchestrated massacre of many thousands of Roman men, women, and children residing throughout Asia Minor. Rome sought revenge, and Sulla was the Senate’s logical appointee for the task. However, Sulla’s military and political mentor-turned-rival, Gaius Marius, preferred his own glorification, and managed a popular assembly’s override of the Senate’s decision. The political unrest spawned violent protests and rioting, even within the Forum, the very center of Roman public life. Sulla, who had a long history with Marius, decided that Pontus could wait. He mustered his available forces (six formidable legions) and marched against Rome. It was the first time that a Roman general had ever stormed the Eternal City. The forces supporting Sulla (mostly the optimates, or “best men,” who championed oligarchic rule) battled those favoring Marius (mainly the populares, who preferred power via popular assemblies). Sulla’s battle-hardened forces proved stronger, and Marius barely managed to escape. Sulla proceeded to establish his power over Rome, at least to the extent he re-established the Senate’s authority. Having stabilized the situation in Rome, Sulla turned his earnest attention to Mithridates. He rallied his troops and merged them with Rome’s remaining eastern forces to wage the First Mithridatic War. For further support, Sulla also called upon the realm of Bithynia, whose ruler, King Nicomedes IV, had developed the habit of giving up his throne to Pontus, then seeking Rome’s assistance to regain it. Sulla and his Bithynian allies waged several epic battles against Mithridates’ forces; of particular note was a brutal siege of Athens. By 85 BC, Mithridates was forced to surrender his control over Greek territories, not to mention a large portion of his own personal wealth. Meanwhile back in Rome, Marius returned, and managed his re-election as co-consul for an unprecedented seventh time. It proved his last; he died just two weeks later. It was enough time, however, to launch a vicious purge of Sulla’s supporters. After Marius’ death, his co-consul, Lucius Cornelius Cinna, continued persecuting the pro-Sulla faction. With Pontus out of the way, Sulla returned his attention back to Rome and retribution against his domestic enemies. Cinna, perhaps fearing Sulla’s growing popularity, decided that the best course of action was to set forth from Rome with a pre-emptive attack force. Cinna’s men, not eager to engage Sulla’s battle-hardened veterans, decided to murder their leader instead. Although Marius and Cinna had both been eliminated, many of their followers (referred to as the Marians) remained, and still controlled much of Italy. But their power did not last for long. A highly determined Sula returned to Rome, and, with local supporters including future triumvirs Crassus and Pompey, he once again waged civil war. In 82 BC, he achieved final victory at the monumental battle of the Colline Gate. Subsequently, the Senate granted Sulla the title dictator legibus faciendis et reipublicae constituendae causa, meaning dictator for the making of laws and for the settling of the constitution. Apparently, no term limit applied, effectively bestowing perpetual, unlimited power. It was now the great imperator’s turn to carry out bloody proscriptions. Sulla reportedly killed thousands of Romans who he deemed had acted against the Republic’s best interests. Escaping the bloodbath was Julius Caesar, a potential target since he happened to be Cinna’s son-in-law. Sulla reportedly lamented his failure to deal with Caesar, foreseeing him as a future threat to Rome’s political system. Besides brutal proscriptions, Sulla issued many reforms to promote economic recovery, as well as renew the power and prestige of the Senate. Sulla also issued coins, including this well-preserved denarius, probably struck by his own travelling military mint. The obverse features the classic motif of a helmeted Roma, along with the inscription PROQ L MANLI T, indicating Lucius Manlius Torquatus, Sulla’s proquaestor during the Pontic war. On the verso, an exultant figure drives a quadriga (a four-horse chariot), while holding a caduceus (a winged staff), and being crowned by Victory (the Roman goddess personifying the same). Based on the inscription L SVLLA IMP, the scene was probably portrays Sulla celebrating a triumphus, or triumph (a public ceremony reserved for Roman military commanders who have achieved a great victory). It is not clear which victory is being represented, and it may be the case that Sulla issued the coin in anticipation of his final victory over the Marians. It is conceivable that Sulla approved of the design, despite the numismatic tradition that living Romans not be depicted on Rome's coinage. In 81 BC, Sulla, keeping his resolve to maintain Rome as a Republic, resigned as dictator and restored the Senate's power. He served as consul for a second term, then retired from public life in 79 BC. He died shortly thereafter. Sulla married five times, and sired several children, ensuring the continued political prominence of his clan for decades. More than descendants, precedents define Sulla's legacy: marching on Rome, reigning as dictator, and even issuing coins invoking his own image. These bold moves set the stage for similar actions by Caesar and the Republic’s subsequent transformation to an Empire. Like many figures of ancient Rome, Sulla's personal history is complex and subject to interpretation. His brilliant, yet brutal, tactics were enacted not merely for personal glory, but also out of a deeply-rooted patriotism and his own sense of justice. Sulla is perhaps best epitomized by his purported epitaph: "No friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full." Coin Details: ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, died 79 BC, AR Denarius (3.94g), NGC Grade: MS, Strike: 4/5, Surface: 5/5, Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma right, L. MANLI. PROQ (L. Manlius Torquatus, proconsul), Reverse: Triumphator Sulla, crowned by flying Victory, in quadriga right, holding reins and caduceus; in exergue, L. SVLLA IMP, References: RRC 757; Crawford 367/5. (less...)
  12. deposito, You make an excellent point! It is indeed true that a denarius struck by Sulla shows on its verso a figure riding in a chariot, and that figure - while difficult to identify - almost certainly represent Sulla. Since it's not a portrait, Caesar's lifetime portrait coinage is often described as the first time a living Roman appeared on Rome's official coinage. But that doesn't take away from Sulla's appearance in the chariot, its just that you can not unambiguously see his face to identify him. In my Owners's Comment I make the statement that prior to The Coin That Killed Caesar "...Rome’s coinage had never portrayed the face of a living Roman". Since you make your excellent point, I decided to amend my comments to say "......Rome’s coinage had never portrayed the unambiguous face of a living Roman" Regarding my acquisition of the coin, I was lucky to win at auction (after several failed attempts on similar coins that ended up selling beyond what I was willing to pay!). Of course, I was thrilled by the results bestowed by NGC Ancients graders. Returning back to the Sulla denarius, I actually also own that particular coin, and it is an important part of my Roman Empire collection since Sulla's rise to power as Rome's dictator in many ways paved the way for Caesar's rise, which in turn paved the way for Rome's transition from Republic to Empire. My next Journal Entry will feature that particular coin (which I purchased already encapsulated by NGC Ancients).
  13. Kohaku

    Et Tu, KOSON?

    Newly Edited and Re-Posted Owners Comments posted on an ancient Dacian/Thracian stater mimicking Brutus' designs, part of the Roman Empire Custom NGC Ancients Set... Marcus Junius Brutus (85 – 42 BC) was the son of Brutus the Elder and Servilia Caepionis. Servilia was also mistress to Julius Caesar, prompting uncertainty regarding Brutus’ true biological father. The young Brutus started his career working for his uncle, Cato the Younger. He later held important political posts and made a fortune moneylending in the provinces, subsequently becoming one of Rome’s most influential Senators. In 49 BC when Caesar started a Roman civil war, Brutus initially aligned with Pompey (even though the pair were former enemies). After Pompey’s defeat, Brutus switched sides, and Caesar accepted him into his inner circle, even making him governor of Gaul. While Brutus appreciated Caesar’s confidence, he was troubled by colleague’s obsession with controlling Rome. He became even more disturbed as Caesar made himself non-impeachable, and gained censorial control and veto power over the Senate. By 44 BC when Caesar earned the title of Dictator for life, Brutus was alarmed to the point he took drastic action. Brutus was not alone. Many of Rome’s elite opined it was in Rome’s best interests - if not their own - to murder their dictator. On the Ides of March 44 AD, Caesar was stabbed to death by Brutus, along with dozens of other aristocrats led by Gaius Cassius Longinus. After the assassination, Brutus fled Rome, and soon became embroiled in civil war against Caesar’s co-consul, Marc Anthony, and heir, Octavian, later known as Augustus. In October 42 BC at Philippi, Rome’s latest civil war reached its climax. Brutus and his ally Cassius agreed beforehand that if victory escaped them, the best course of action would be to take their own lives. As it turned out, that suicide pact sealed their fate. As the epic Battle of Philippi unfolded, Brutus managed the upper hand against Octavian, at least to the extent he took the latter’s camp; Octavian managed to escape, according to one account by hiding himself in a marsh. Unfortunately for Cassius, he was unaware of Brutus’ achievement, and, even worse, he mistakenly thought that Brutus’ camp had fallen. Consequently, Cassius, fearing the worst, responded by dutifully committing suicide. Brutus managed to rally Cassius’ remaining forces, and fought a second battle weeks later. As it turned out, Brutus’ men were defeated, and he fled the battlefield. Realizing he would soon be captured, Brutus committed suicide. This gold stater was struck in Thrace or Dacia concurrent with these historic events. The obverse depicts three men wearing togas, walking to the left, two of them carrying objects over their shoulders. The figures are Roman lictors (bodyguards) carrying fasces (axe-like weapons), and the motif bears striking resemblance to coins issued by Brutus a decade earlier. In exergue is the enigmatic epithet KOSON. On the verso, an eagle stands on a scepter, facing to the left, its right claw raised, holding a wreath. This design also resembles earlier Roman coins. Attribution of this issue has been the subject of lively numismatic debate. According to one hypothesis (which has fallen out of favor over time) Brutus struck coins like this one after he fled from Rome to Greece, tapping into his enormous personal wealth combined with funds from sympathetic Senators. An alternate theory (which has gained favor over time) attributes a Thracian or Dacian King named Koson, who imitated Roman designs. According to this scenario, Brutus was not involved in the coins’ production besides providing numismatic inspiration. Adding to the perplexity, two versions of the coin exist, those with a mysterious BR monogram on the obverse, and those without. It has been postulated that the BR refers to Brutus. An alternate view is that the letters relates to BA(sileus), i.e, king, as in King Koson. Curiously, no other records mention a monarch by that name (although there was a King Kotison). Many modern scholars espouse the view that there was a local King Koson; perhaps he was Brutus’ ally. It is interesting to note that since ancient times, several large hoards of coins inscribed KOSON have been discovered in the land formerly known as Dacia. The largest group, comprising thousands of gold coins and other gold objects, was discovered in 1543. If there was indeed a Dacian King Koson, he apparently had access to vast wealth (adding to the mystery of his historical anonymity). Recently, both monogrammed and non-monogrammed versions of so-called Koson staters were examined for their composition. These studies provided a highly sensitive elemental fingerprint for each coin. It was found that all coins without the monogram were made from native alluvial gold, (i.e., had trace amounts of tin) the same composition found for other Dacian gold artifacts (i.e., bracelets) that were made at the time. In contrast, all the coins with the BR monogram lacked tin, and were of highly purified gold. This finding leads to an intriguing possibility – BR-monogrammed coins were produced by Brutus using highly refined gold, and non-monogrammed coins were imitations by Thracians or Dacians using their own methods and local alluvial gold. This particular coin is the non-monogrammed type. At the time it was graded by NGC Ancients, its was attributed according to the Brutus origin theory. An example of the monogrammed counterpart – which, perhaps ironically, was attributed to Thrace or Dacia – is present in another NGC Custom Set, The Ancient World Collection. Whether Brutus took part of the production of either, or neither, coin remains uncertain, illustrating the fascination and intrigue of ancient coin collecting. Additional Reading: B Constantinescu, D Cristea-Stan, A Vasilescu, R Simon, D Ceccato, “Archaeometallurgical Characterization of Ancient Gold Artifacts from Romanian Museums using XRF, Micro-PIXE and Micro-SR-XRF Methods,” Proc Romanian Acad 13:19-26, 2012. Coin Details: ROMAN – BRUTUS, 44-42 BC, AV Stater (8.52 g), NGC Grade: Choice Uncirculated, Obverse: Roman Consul with two Lictors, KOSON in exergue, Reverse: Eagle on scepter, holding wreath, References: RPC 1701B; BMC Thrace pg. 208, 2; BMCRR II pg. 475, 50.
  14. Interesting indeed! I hope this doesn't seem to be confusing, but to be comprehensive on this point, it should be noted prior to this time, there was one example wherein a living Roman was depicted on a Greek coin. That Roman was Titus Quinctius Falmininus, and the coin was a Greek gold stater that probably intended to honor Flamininus' 197 BC victory over Philip V of Macedon. There was also at least one provincial issue, from Corinth about 45 BC, that also shows Julius Caesar portrait, and also existed during his lifetime. So, when I say my denarius is an example of the first time a living Roman appeared on "Rome's coins", I mean first time a living Roman appeared on "official" Roman /Imperatorial/Imperial coins! Sorry to numismatically geek out here on the details here, but I thought I thought I would share more of my research!
  15. Newly Edited and Re-Posted Owners Comments posted on an ancient denarius struck by Julius Caesar when he reigned as Rome's Dictator for Life, part of the Roman Empire Custom NGC Ancients Set... The Coin That Killed Caesar is the dramatic epithet attached to denarii, such as this example, featuring a lifetime portrait of Julius Caesar. Before that time, Rome’s coinage had never portrayed the face of a living Roman. Beyond breaking from numismatic tradition, these coins also proclaimed Caesar as dictator-for-life. It plausibly comprised the final straw that compelled anti-Caesarians to take matters into their own hands. Given Caesar’s obvious political savvy, it is curious that he did not foresee his growing peril. Previously, he introduced propagandist masterpieces such as his elephant denarius and his Venus/Aeneas denarius, both featured in this NGC Ancients Custom Set. Interestingly, Caesar was not directly responsible for his lifetime portrait coinage. The quattuorviri monetales produced them. Those four men (whose numbers had recently been increased from the traditional three) were moneyers responsible for supervising Rome’s coinage. One of those moneyers was P. Sepullius Macer, the issuer of this historically important coin. Like much of Caesar’s lifetime portrait denarii, this coin’s strike is slightly weak and off center, suggesting haste and urgency in its production. The obverse infamously features the veiled head of Julius Cesar, depicted in a highly veristic style, consistent with Caesar’s actual age and literary descriptions of his appearance. Caesar’s veiled visage has led to some speculation that this coin was struck posthumously. However, the obverse inscription, CAESAR DICT•PERPETVO, strongly suggests that the strike occurred the last month of Caesar’s life. In this case, Caesar’s veil probably reflects his position as Rome’s highest pontiff (Pontifex Maximus). The verso artistically returns to a more traditional Caesarian theme, featuring Rome’s counterpart of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. That goddess, who Caesar claimed as forebear, was Venus, representing various related aspects such as love, beauty, sexuality, fertility, prosperity, and victory. Specifically portrayed in this coin’s reverse is the goddess’ latter aspect, namely Venus Victrix. She stands above a shield on the ground, with Victory (the divine embodiment of the same) in her extended right hand and a vertical scepter in her left. The inscription P SEPVLLIVS MACER encircles and completes the scene. It is widely discussed that Caesar’s lifetime portrait coinage may have reflected the dictator’s aspirations for kingship. Even so, Caesar adamantly eschewed any comparison of his regime to monarchy. For example, Caesar thrice rejected a crown offered to him by Marc Antony at the Lupercalia (a Roman religious festival) held on February 15, 44 BC. In the end, Caesar’s efforts to mollify his detractors backfired - his infamous murder transpired just one month after this coin’s debut. Coin Details: ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, The Caesarians, Julius Caesar, February-March 44 BC, AR Denarius (17mm, 3.92 g, 3h), Lifetime issue, Rome mint; P. Sepullius Macer, moneyer, NGC Grade: AU, Strike: 3/5, Surface: 4/5, Obverse: Laureate and veiled head of Caesar right, CAE[SAR DICT•PE]RPETVO, Reverse: Venus Victrix standing left, holding Victory in extended right hand and vertical scepter in left; shield set on ground to right, [P SEPVLLIVS] MACER, References: Crawford 480/13; Alföldi Type IX, 40 (A3/R28); CRI 107d; Sydenham 1074; RSC 39; RBW 1685.