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GAVIN'S TOP 10 2022

Gavin Richardson

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Hi Folks. Here are ten coins that I really enjoyed acquiring and learning about this year!

10. GALERIUS GPR FOLLIS, ANTIOCH. Nothing special here, just an attractive tetrarchic follis. I'm trying to complete as many mint “sets” of tetrarchs as budget allows. Only need Constantius now for Antioch.


9. BRONZE PRUTAH OF PONTIUS PILATE. This coin had been on my want list for a while. These coins are pretty common but tough to find in nice shape. Mine is middle of the pack, but I did want one that showed the lituus clearly. David Hendin has argued that the appearance of the lituus, a Roman religious implement, on this coin was either a deliberate insult to the Jews or a demonstration of imperial indifference. Pilate had been trained as an augur, so he might have been especially keen to include the lituus on his coinage.


8. CONSTANTIUS I AS CAESAR ANT., WITH SOL REVERSE. I'm interested in the relationship between Sol Invictus and the House of Constantine. I don’t think Constantius I had any great solar devotion, but this scarce coin might suggest some affinity. RIC dates this coin to 295 A.D. Some date this coin earlier, to 293, though the rationale is unclear. Example: “Scarce coin, struck during the few months between his enthronement as Caesar (March … 293) and the monetary reform of Diocletian (second half of 293) when the antoninian (together with the rest of traditional Roman coins as sestertius, denarius, etc.) was removed from the cash Roman system.”


7. CONSTANTIUS II FEL TEMP REPARATIO WITH EMPEROR RIDING DOWN CAPTIVE. One could probably handle a thousand FEL TEMP REPARATIO coins before encountering this one. It’s one of two scarce FTR reverse types.




5. DOMITIAN DENARIUS WITH MINERVA I don’t have too many Twelve Caesars denarii, but I decided that if I were to get one for Domitian, it would be with a Minerva reverse. Not too hard to find. 😉


4. RR DENARIUS; RAPE OF THE SABINE WOMEN So according to legend, Romulus, the first King of Rome, believed that he did not have enough women in his nascent kingdom to develop the population. So he invited Tatius, King of the Sabines, to bring his people to a celebration in Rome. Once they were there, Romulus gave the signal, and the Romans abducted their women. This event is known to history as the “Rape of the Sabine Women.” The term “rape” might be better termed “abduction,” from the Latin word rapio, which means “to seize.” But since these women were seized for sex, perhaps that’s a non-distinction. At any rate, you might expect the Romans to be a bit ashamed of this dark episode in their history. This denarius, struck in 89 BC, featuring King Tatius on the obverse and two Roman men carrying away Sabine women on the reverse, suggests otherwise.


3. CARTHAGE; TANIT WITH HORSE REVERSE. I am breaking with my custom to post only coins that I have in hand. This was a recent auction win, and I hope I'm not tempting the postal gods as I go ahead and list it here. I teach the Aeneid regularly, and the opening to that epic makes clear that Carthage is Juno’s beloved city. There’s some speculation that Virgil is aware that Carthage worships the goddess Tanit, syncretized with Juno. The horse head likely alludes to the legend that Dido found a horse head at the spot where she was to establish her city. These Tanit coins are common but command a premium to be well centered with detail.



2. PROBUS; SOL IN QUADRIGA. If one were to have one coin from the reign of Probus, I suspect this would be it. I love how the quadriga fills the space on the reverse. Though there’s no trace of silvering left, the coin is well-centered with a sharp strike, showing Probus’s fancy (consular?) robe. At $54 shipped, I regard it as one of my better bargains on the year. A nice coin of an underrated emperor.


1. NERO AE AS; NERO AS APOLLO WITH LYRE I had been wanting one of these for a while, but I think they are scarcer than many think. For every twenty “Victory with Shield” reverse coins, you might see one of these. The patina and surfaces are a bit mottled, compromising eye appeal. But I am happy with the strike; you can count the lyre strings. The reverse is conventionally thought to be Nero in the guise of Apollo playing the lyre, though the graceful figure on the reverse does not seem to have the same physique as the fleshly figure of the obverse. The traditional identification comes ultimately from the ancient Roman historian Suetonius. In his LIFE OF NERO, Suetonius describes a Neronian procession through Rome, ultimately referencing the coin: “[T]hrough the arch of the Circus Maximus…he made his way across the Velabrum and the Forum to the Palatine and the temple of Apollo. All along the route victims were slain, the streets were sprinkled from time to time with perfume, while birds, ribbons, and sweetmeats were showered upon him. He placed the sacred crowns in his bed-chambers around the couches, as well as statues representing him in the guise of a lyre-player; and he had a coin too struck with the same device.” [NERO §25]


Thanks for looking. Happy new year!




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1 hour ago, Ancient Coin Hunter said:

Nice coins Gavin. The Constantius II piece with the nimbate emperor riding down a foe is one I have never seen.

Yes, that purchase and the other scarce FTR demonstrate the value of these discussion boards. Valentinian—Warren Esty—posted about these a few years ago on another board. So when I saw this one at Incitatus Coins, I recognized it and snapped it up. And the very next week the other one appeared on eBay. Boom boom. 

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Showing my lack of knowledge here, but I didn't know there were coins of Pontius Pilate. So that is my favourite, as once again I've learnt something new from reading others top 10 lists.

My favourite to look at is the Probus, with the very attractive Sol reverse. $54 well spent!

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