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Unexpected Augustus purchase, common yet scarce!


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I just finished my exams this week and got a notification of a coin show that happened on Saturday, I just went to destress and was not planning on buying anything. Since only last month I got a cob reales from a show by a different organisation. As I was browsing the tables, this coin caught my eye! I've always wanted a denarius of him (I do have one but it doesn't have his bust) so I had to have it even if it meant breaking my budget, cuz the price was really good for AUD that I could never get from online sources. While not spectacular as compared to other denarii of Augustus, couple of things I like about this coin is the bust of Augustus, and a nice reverse with good centring, which I think is hard to find on these coins. And last but not least, there is a 'X' mark on the reverse, which I assume means a scarcer type? while there're no good reasoning for this, I guess the X meant to signify the death of these children? Looks like there is also a die break causing a cud on the obverse at 5'o clock .


2 BC - 4 AD
Gaius and Lucius Caesar standing, each, togate, resting hand on shield and spear, simpulum, left, and lituus, right, flanking, right and left respectively; X below.
RIC 211

Please share your first emperor!


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Cool addition, and a good way to destress after exams

My example of your coin, not "X rated" unlike yours, i.e. suitable for young spectators 😉 


Augustus, Denarius - Rome mint, 2 BCE
CAESAR AVGVSTVS DIVI F PATER PATRIAE, Laureate head of Augustus right
AVGVSTI F COS DESIG PRINC IVVENT, Caius and Lucius holding shields and spears
3,65 gr
Ref : RCV # 1597, Cohen # 43, RIC # 207



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Ar Denarius of Augustus Lugdunum 2 BC-12 AD Obv Head right laureate Rv Caius and Lucius Caesars standing facing with two round shields between them. RIC 208  3.81 grms 18 mm Photo by W. Hansen


Another denarius that is not X rated. Many years ago I read that the "X" marked denarii of this time were minted sometime after the installation of Tiberius as the official heir to Augustus (sometime after 4AD) I have not seen this idea repeated, so I cannot say that it had found any favor. However such a theory is worthy of further investigation. The X marked coins are much scarcer than the unmarked. 

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Great score!.....Nice looking example....!

Alas these are usually out of my budget range so the only Augustus portrait I have is this Spanish depiction but I do find it quite attractive..20211207_AUGUSTUS.jpg.1195cc36244a707c700954e4a84d2252.jpg

Spain, Kelse-Celsa. Augustus. 27 BC-14 AD. AE Unit (10.98 gm, 28mm). Velilla de Ebro (Zaragoza) mint.
Obv.: IMP. CAESAR. DIVI. F. AVGVSTVS. COS. XII, laureate head right.
Rev.: CN. DOMIT. C. POMPEI. II. VIR. C. V I. CEL, bull standing right. Abh. 811. VF.

7 hours ago, JayAg47 said:

I guess the X meant to signify the death of these children?

If this is true the coin would have been minted in AD 4 or later as this is when gaius died....His younger brother Lucius died in Spain AD 2...

All in all quite a tragedy for Augustus..

I'm also interested in what the X stands for?...Also the shields on this type are the other way around?

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Good on finishing your exams, I hope you passed them! And neat coin, with the 'X' is scarcer indeed. I found the following a while ago, by auction house Kunker (translated from German to English via google translate, piece to be viewed here: https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=2655174😞

The piece celebrates, as Reinhard Wolters was able to prove, the lex Valeria Cornelia and was coined in AD 5 either in Lugdunum for a city-Roman audience or possibly even in Rome itself. The law provided for the establishment of 10 electoral centuries for the primary election of consuls and praetors. The X on the reverse and the choice of the Gaius/Lucius type after the death of Augustus' grandsons can be explained by the fact that the 10 centuries were named after Gaius and Lucius Caesares. For dating, interpretation and mint see Wolters, Gaius and Lucius Caesares as designated consuls and principes iuventutis. The lex Valeria Cornelia and RIC I² 205 ff., in: Chiron 32 (2002), p. 297 ff.

Below is my example (horrible photo's, I need to take new ones), but without the 'X'. I really find the development of the portrait interesting; very stylized in comparison to earlier denarii, and denarii struck when 'Augustus' was just 'Octavian'. 


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@Limes....Thanks for the X interpretation....Interesting how Augustus still waited a year'ish before minting these types...

Here's a coin of one of them..Gaius.

Unsure why this coin was struck after the death of Gaius?


Phrygia, Laodikeia. Gaius Caesar, grandson of Augustus. AE 15mm (3.53 gm). Struck circa 5 AD under the magistrate Antonius Polemon Philopatris.
Obv.: ΓΑΙΟΣ ΚΑΙΣΑΡ (GAIOS KAISAR), bare head right.
Rev.: Eagle with spread wings between two monograms ΠΟΛΕ (left),ΦΙΛΟΠΑΤ (right),("Polemon" and "Philopatris"). ΛΑΟΔΙΚΕΩΝ (LAODIKEON) below. RPC I 2900; BMC 154. VF

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No X, but I really like this one. 3,46g.


Sorry for the bad pictures, but the ones from Kuenker were even worse. I just took the risk because their description said xf/ms

It was unexpected too. i just watched the auction, read their description and as it was under the estimate, I just placed the bid. Did not regret it. it's a wonderful coin in hand.



Edited by Mucius Scaevola
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Nice coin! I bought this one for $11, couldn’t say no to that price. The silver is crystallized and broke again on the way to me… a little glue and 🤷🏻‍♂️. Not a stunner but a piece of history for the price of a lunch. The pieces remaining have some good detail too!


Edited by Orange Julius
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