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a snag in most everyone's 12 Caesars Sestertii collection


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I'm a large coin lover so early Sestertii are right up my alley.  I have the 12 Caesars in Sestertii (Caesar doesn't count, unless that heavy dupondius is a Sestertius and Otho is also not applicable), save for the biggie, Vitellius.  I've always wanted one.  There was a really damaged one on vcoins recently, but it appears to have been sold.

There's a handful of collectors around here who problably have a Vitellius or two.  Please feel free to post any Sestertii of Vitellius (or your 12 Caesars Sestertii).

Some of mine are more decrepit than others, and some aren't photographed, so it would be somewhat embarrassing if I posted mine. My Titus and Vespasian examples are relatively decrepit.  Ditto, Claudius.

The Augustus CA in wreath is technically provincial, but I think it counts.  My CA is actually fairly nice:

13311.jpg.479741883e3b191688307f5fe419427c.jpg

Attribution: RPC 2233
Date: 25 BC
Obverse: AVGVSTVS, Bust right within border of dots
Reverse: CA within circle in wreath, all within border of dots
Size: 34.58 mm
Weight: 18.6 grams

 

54869q00.jpg.4dc9a516525696ab4092b03fbdee0103.jpg

SH54869. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 37; BMCRE I 38; Cohen 24, F, rough, Rome mint, weight 24.698g, maximum diameter 34.9mm, die axis 180o, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, laureate head left; reverse S P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS, legend in four lines within Corona Civica oak wreath; ex Edward J. Waddell; ex Forum.

The Caligula's less awful in hand, although not the prettiest coin (the green has been stable).  Lousy cleaning's probably the culprit.

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From what others have said, at least you know they haven't been tooled...

I only have 2 sestertii and only one of the 12 Caesars - so I post it a lot 🤣 It's also in terrible state but somehow that makes it more attractive, like a gnarled tree.

Claudius Sestertius with PROB Countermark, 41-50image.png.4587b4ae08d326942efe481481365c13.png

Rome. Bronze, 24.75g. Laureate head right; TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP. Oak-wreath; EX SC OB CIVES SERVATOS (RIC I, 96). After the conquest of AD42, large quantities of early OB CIVES SERVATOS (without PP) were issued for Britain, all countermarked PROB.

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If I were going to buy just one Paduan, I think it'd be an Otho Sestertius, but I suspect that type is in demand for people wishing to complete just this kind of set.

Personally, I've never been concerned with "sets," but I would like to have all 12 Caesars (and someday complete my fallen horseman mint set). I don't have Vitellius (sold my denarii 8-10 years ago) or Galba (well, Provincials and countermarks).

Here are a few of my more presentable Sestertii from that period, though these are not the high demand types that people would buy for a 12 Caesars set (depending on how you count, this could be as few as one Twelve Caesars Sestertius):

Tiberius / Divus Augustus (does this one count as two? 🙂 )

image.jpeg.cd816208147dac7441f061af3e9dbe56.jpeg
Æ Sestertius (35mm, 25.64 g, 7h). Rome mint. Struck under Tiberius, AD 22-23. RIC 49 (Tiberius).
Ex CNG Keystone 4, 121; ANS (non-accessioned), Robert W. Bartlett (1931-2017) Bequest; Birkler & Waddell III (10th NYINC Show, 10 December 1981), lot 260.

 

Claudius ("branch mint" or imitative), NCAPR countermark temp. Nero or possibly through Vespasian or later (?) (per CNG [as cataloged by Bill Dalzell - Ardatirion] & Richard Baker, suggesting later based on "the NCAPR-Vespasian" but I find that to be too much weight to put on a single coin that is only minimally published)

image.jpeg.0f14d131fd6470719b6eb8718370d645.jpeg

Claudius (Augustus, 41-54 CE) AE Sestertius (35mm, 21.84g, 6h). Contemporary imitation or Western “Branch Mint” [NGC], c. 41/2 CE or later. Countermarked under Nero or Vespasian. Cf. RIC 99. Countermark: Pangerl 60; BMCRE I ("Introduction," p. xxxi);.
Ex Al Kowsky Collection; Richard Baker Countermark Collection; CNG EA 439 (6 Mar 2019), Lot 224.

 

Nero Claudius Drusus -- not a 12 Caesar, but struck under Claudius:

Nero_Claudius_Drusus_AE_Sestertius_Draft.png.a946318ae3bde4ebf66fc24cc8cab75d.png
Nero Claudius Drusus. AE Sestertius (34mm, 25.4g). RIC 109 (Claudius).
Purchased from a collector in Yonkers, NY, 2015.

 

Domitian Germania Capta type:

image.jpeg.9456a97aaf34c53158c92f8f53572b9a.jpeg
Domitian AE Sestertius. Rome, 85 CE. RIC II.1 356 (on OCRE)
Ex Ben Mous, 2021, from a private Washington State collection.

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Those are really nice, Octavius!

CurtisJJ, I wish there were a dedicated thread to imitative Sestertii of Claudius.  There's much debate whether that particular one is British/Gallic or from the Balkans. I myself have one in approximately the same condition, sans countermark.  My crappier version, with DV countermark, is the only one photographed, however.

I am perhaps having some breakthroughs tonight with my photography, though.

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5kcdie.jpg.3350d47f14ae8cbab3dd36f90da05a16.jpg

2104767398_AgrippinaSrpawnstars.jpg.c5a20c1d52a84e8ad5b3db37a0f11d04.jpg

964132461_AgrippinaSrSestertius.jpg.ee8ea7b0396d71bb8f3691e9521f6cba.jpg
Agrippina I, wife of Germanicus, 14 BC - AD 33
Roman AE Sestertius 27.92 gm, 34.8 mm, 7 h
Rome mint. Struck under Claudius, 42-54 AD
Obv: AGRIPPINA M F GERMANICI CAESARIS, bare-headed and draped bust right.
Rev: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P IMP P P around large SC.
Refs: RIC I 102 (Claudius); BMCRE 219 (Claudius); Cohen 3.
 

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Completing a 12 Caesars set has been one of my goals but I am not following the goal(s) too carefully.
A very interesting sub-goal is to have 3 sets - imperial bronze, imperial silver and provincials (where this is possible, as already stated, for Otho one would need to buy a Paduan).

But I reached the obstacle others reached too - $$$. And compromise between a high price and an attractive coin (not just condition, but also design, which is important for me). This is why some of the 12 Caesars are missing from my collection completely.

I have 12 sestertii in my collection but only 1 from the 12 Caesars. This was also my first sestertius.

image.png.1798a1c5706dd95f79c0155041ee09a2.png

 

As for Otho, I have just one coin from him and this was a compromise. The name is not readable, the portrait is ... approximative but at least it's a well preservated portrait and it was cheap, although it's from what I call "the emergency mintmark" when you need an emperor.

image.png.add87258b34d688fee9068a7b46291be.png

 

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First Century sestertii are among my favorite coins though I will have to give a shout out to the sestertii of Trajan. Some of the most impressive sestertii are those minted by Nero from the mint of Rome 

Ae Sestertius of Nero Rome 65 AD Obv Head right laureate Rv Temple of Janus with door to right RIC 267 25.47 grms 34 mm Photo by W. Hansenneros4.jpeg.7d409ed0fe4b90ace2715597b6dcb849.jpeg

I believe that the image of Nero on his sestertii from the mint of Rome are just slightly more refined than those from Lugdunum. I fell that the image from Lugdunum attempt to make him appear more military thus they lack some of the subtlety of the images from Rome. Oddly the image of the Temple of Janus  struck at Lugdunum appears to have more intricate detail than those struck at Rome. 

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Vespasian. AD 69-79. Æ Sestertius (34mm, 25.30g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 71. Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Laureate head right. Rev:  MARS VICTOR; Mars advancing left, holding Victory and trophy; S-C across fields. Ref: RIC II.1 175. Near Very Fine, brown patina, scrape on obverse. From the Toliver Besson Collection. Ex Palm Desert Collection. Ex Goldberg 106 (4 Sept 2018), Lot 1270. Purchased from Stephen Huston in the 1980s. Ex CNG eAuction 475 (26 Aug 2020), Lot 558.

image.jpeg.fccea18d88b39b31eb95f890e2947104.jpeg

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5 hours ago, idesofmarch01 said:

Some very attractive sestertii!

In particular, the Nero AD LOCVT is quite a find!  Did you acquire it via auction, dealer, or private sale?

 Got it from a dealer - Kirk Davis - many years ago. He has always had very nice coins to offer. Here is another ADLOCVTIO of Nero - maybe not as nice as the first, but pretty nice , natural surfaces. I also got his one many years ago, I believe from CNG.

782839.jpg.d113b0123ae41ff2ff26b71261d0df6a.jpg

Another scarcer issue of Nero was his platform sestertius (CONIVGARIVM). This was also from CNG years ago. (Gee, it's starting to feel like everything was "years ago").

75001005.jpg.25e4291163de2c2ef15fcf948cf7ec02.jpg

I used to try and specialize in Nero at one time.

 

My previous Caligula SPQR was from a Rauch auction ; my Caligula /Adlocutio was from Tom Cederland, (I miss him); The Titus was either from Harlan and Berk or CNG - can't remember offhand.

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1 hour ago, Octavius said:

 Got it from a dealer - Kirk Davis - many years ago. He has always had very nice coins to offer.

Speaking of Kirk Davis --  I think he's one of the very few coin dealers who still mails out small booklet-sized catalogs. They're one of my favorites of the FPL genre. Of the >79 since 1992, I've got ~50 (1995-2022; always happy to send a page scan to anyone checking refs.). I've tried to order a few coins (not as many as I'd like) from him over the years, since I hope he'll keep producing the catalogs and sending them to me (though I see it's been a couple years now...).

I have bought one 12 Caesars coin from him (Catalog 74, Fall 2019, Lot 65) -- a Denarius, though, not a Sestertius...

Just the (slightly) expandable thumbnails since it's a bit off-topic...

image.png.11224b95740a4462cfcefa6cc3c592a6.png2114087030_KirkDavisFPL74(F2019)CoverLot65(redacted).jpg.05bc5b4c6f813ab7a83578d521a964d4.jpg

Edited by Curtis JJ
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1 hour ago, Octavius said:

 Got it from a dealer - Kirk Davis - many years ago. He has always had very nice coins to offer. Here is another ADLOCVTIO of Nero - maybe not as nice as the first, but pretty nice , natural surfaces. I also got his one many years ago, I believe from CNG.

782839.jpg.d113b0123ae41ff2ff26b71261d0df6a.jpg

Another scarcer issue of Nero was his platform sestertius (CONIVGARIVM). This was also from CNG years ago. (Gee, it's starting to feel like everything was "years ago").

75001005.jpg.25e4291163de2c2ef15fcf948cf7ec02.jpg

I used to try and specialize in Nero at one time.

 

My previous Caligula SPQR was from a Rauch auction ; my Caligula /Adlocutio was from Tom Cederland, (I miss him); The Titus was either from Harlan and Berk or CNG - can't remember offhand.

Thanks for the info.  All your coins are from excellent sources, and are correspondingly outstanding coins.  Plus, you can trust their authenticity and further feel comfortable that they're not tooled, which is probably the most important aspect when acquiring Roman AEs.

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My incomplete 12 Caesars collection consists mostly of denarii with a couple of sestertii and asses.  This sestertius of Claudius is my first ancient coin.  I purchased it from Marc Breitsprecher in 2018.

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Claudius, 41-54 AD.
AE sestertius, 23.6 g, 34.9 mm, 5 h.
Rome mint, 41-42 AD.
Obv: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP; Head of Claudius, laureate, right.
Rev: NERO CLAVDIVS DRVSVS GERMAN IMP SC; Triumphal arch surmounted by an equestrian statue, right, between two trophies; rider holding spear in right hand.
Refs: RIC 98, Sear RCV 1851.
Acquired from Marc Breitsprecher, Classical Numismatist, 2 February 2018.

"This ornate structure probably represents the Arcus Drusus, erected over the Via Appia, just north of its junction with the Via Latina, to commemorate the military exploits in Germany of Claudius' father, Nero Claudius Drusus (died 9 BC)." Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume I, David R. Sear, No. 1851.

 

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Galba, 68-69 AD.
AE sestertius, 22.4 g, 34.2 mm, 6 h.
Rome mint, October 68 AD.
Obv: [IMP] SER GALBA CAES AVG T[R P]; Bust of Galba, laureate and draped, right.
Rev: AVGVSTA S C; Livia seated left, holding patera and scepter.
Refs: RIC 336.
Acquired from Classical Numismatic Group, Electronic Auction 490, Lot 270, 21 April 2021.
Provenance: From the Peter J. Merani Collection. Ex Harding Collection (Hans Schulman, 10 October 1972), lot 486.

"Galba always behaved most graciously to Livia Augusta, who showed him considerable favor while she lived, and then left him half a million gold pieces, the largest bequest of all." - Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars. The support of Livia allowed Galba to legitimize his rule by associating himself with Augustus and the foundation of the principate.

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I think the common element in this thread is twofold: first, sestertii are just fun to handle -- one can hold them and imagine how they were the denomination of reckoning in ancient Rome.  Roman costs were always estimated in sestertii, rather than denarii or aurei.  Second, the larger flan allows for better artistry -- both portraits and especially reverses where the scenes are typically more complex than other denominations.

Note that all of the sestertii in this thread, regardless of their condition, are well centered and exhibit at least good-quality portraits and engraving.  Every one is truly an appealing ancient AE.

My own collection of the 12 Caesars is complete to the extent that Julius Caesar and Otho aren't available in this denomination.  Plus, I like the artistry of Caligula's sestertii so much that I expanded to three of his issues and hope to add the SPQR type sometime in the future.

image.jpeg.6c7b293ccc1956cfcacb15f61efe2708.jpeg

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7 hours ago, idesofmarch01 said:

I think the common element in this thread is twofold: first, sestertii are just fun to handle -- one can hold them and imagine how they were the denomination of reckoning in ancient Rome.  Roman costs were always estimated in sestertii, rather than denarii or aurei.  Second, the larger flan allows for better artistry -- both portraits and especially reverses where the scenes are typically more complex than other denominations.

Note that all of the sestertii in this thread, regardless of their condition, are well centered and exhibit at least good-quality portraits and engraving.  Every one is truly an appealing ancient AE.

My own collection of the 12 Caesars is complete to the extent that Julius Caesar and Otho aren't available in this denomination.  Plus, I like the artistry of Caligula's sestertii so much that I expanded to three of his issues and hope to add the SPQR type sometime in the future.

image.jpeg.6c7b293ccc1956cfcacb15f61efe2708.jpeg

 What a magnificent sight!

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One has to be liberal in the denomination to complete the set.  Many use provincials, posthumous issues, etc.  I thought I had a set, but when I went to the trays I see its far from complete.  Last 20 years I've been holding out on Caligula, I just didnt want to pay $1,500 for a nice one.  I guess I should have paid considering what they sell for now.  Anyway, sestertii are my favorite coins, but I also collect any larger provincials.

IMG_4505.JPG

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