Jump to content

Emperors of Rome - A (Chronological) Portrait Gallery


Recommended Posts


Caligula, AD 37-41
Caria, Cidramus
AE 17
Obv.: ΣΕΒΑΣTOΣ, Bare head left.
Rev.: ΚΙΔΡΑΜΗΝΩΝ ΜΟΥΣΑΙΟΣ ΚΑΛΛΙΚΡΑΤΟΥΣ ΠΡ, Goddess Sparzene standing facing, with outstretched arms.
AE, 5.33g, 17mm
Ref.: RPC I 2874

Edited by shanxi
  • Like 16
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two coins minted by Gaius in honour of his deceased father Germanicus :




And a crappy Gaius as, most difficult to picture due to a glossy pitted patina




Edited by Qcumbor
  • Like 19
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have Caligula, only Agrippa issued by Caligula. Countermarked for reuse by Claudius. I never know where to put this in my collection.

Caligula As, 37-41
Rome. Bronze, 27mm, 10.26g. Agrippa (45-12BC) issued by Caligula (37-41) and countermarked by Claudius (41-54). Head of Agrippa, left wearing rostral crown; M AGRIPPA L F COS III. Neptune standing left holding dolphin and trident; S C; TIAV countermark (RIC I, 58). Ex James Pickering. The countermark was applied to barbarous imitations and worn coins to allow their use in provinces like Britain, where there was a coin shortage.

Edited by John Conduitt
  • Like 17
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/2/2023 at 12:57 PM, CPK said:

2. The idea is to post your best/favorite portrait coin(s) of that emperor, with a short explanation for why you selected it.

For me, Caligula's portraits come in two flavors.  The first is the imperious, imperial portrayal as a regal leader of the empire (although the solemnity is oddly undone by the reverse portrayal of his three sisters in a Three Graces pose):


AE Sestertius (28.56 g.)   Rome c. 37 - 38 A.D.  RIC 33
C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT Laureate bust l. Rev. AGRIPPINA – DRVSILLA – IVLIA Sisters standing: Agrippina as Securitas holds cornucopiae; Drusilla as Concordia holds patera and cornucopiae; Julia as Fortuna, holds rudder and cornucopiae. In exergue, S·C.  From the Gasvoda collection.

The second type is the somewhat crazed-looking portrait, with an odd look in the eyes:


AV Aureus (7.66 g.)  Lugdunum ca. 37 - 38 A.D. (No RIC entry/number)
C CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR POT Laureate head r. Rev. S P Q R / P P / OB C S within oak wreath.
From the Biaggi collection.


  • Like 20
  • Heart Eyes 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are my portrait coins issued by Caligula, two of the emperor himself and one of Agrippa.  All photos are from the sellers.

1.  Adlocutio Cohortium Sestertius

You have seen this one already in my 2022 Top Ten list.  It completed my Twelve Caesars collection and I feel fortunate to have acquired it.  It was worth getting up at 4:45 for this auction.  I remember watching the live feed from Baldwin's when the auctioneer remarked "Someone is getting an inexpensive sestertius of Caligula today."


Caligula, AD 37-41.
AE Sestertius, 21.9 g, 33.6 mm, 6 h.
Rome, AD 37-38.
Obv: C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT; Head of Caligula, laureate, left.
Rev: AD[LO]CVT COH; Caligula, bare-headed and togate, standing, left, on low platform on right extending right hand to five soldiers standing in front of him, helmeted with shields and parazonia; the two rearmost pairs carry an aquila.
Ref: RIC 32
Acquired from Baldwin's Auctions, Auction No. 108, Lot 28, 8 November 2022.

2.  Vesta As

I bought this coin only about a week before the I won the sestertius at auction.  The obverse is pretty nice, the reverse not so much, but I wasn't buying this coin for Vesta.  The sestertius was on my radar, but I wasn't sure I could win it, so I jumped on this one.  It was the nicest portrait I had seen for a price point just above my sweet spot ($100-200.)  Additionally, this variety appears to be the least common of the three Vesta types issued by Caligula.


Caligula, AD 37-41.
AE As, 10.4 g, 27.6 mm, 6 h.
Rome, AD 39-40.
Obv: C CAESAR DIVI AVG PRON AVG P M TR P III P P; Head of Caligula, bare, left.
Rev: VESTA S C; Vesta, veiled and draped, seated left, on throne with ornamented back and legs, holding patera in right hand and long transverse sceptre in left.
Ref: RIC I 47
Acquired from Marc Breitsprecher, Classical Numismatist, 29 October 2022.

3.  Agrippa As

This is one of the earlier additions to my collection.  Caligula issued this coin in honor of his maternal grandfather, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.  Agrippa was also the right-hand man and son-in-law of Augustus.  I'll always remember Mike Duncan saying in his The History of Rome podcast, "We should all be so lucky to have a best friend as utterly kick-ass as Marcus Agrippa.”


Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.
AE As, 10.7 g, 29.0 mm, 12 h.
Struck under Caligula.
Rome, AD 37-41.
Obv: M AGRIPPA L F COS III; Head of Agrippa, left, wearing rostral crown.
Rev: S C; Neptune, cloaked, standing left, holding dolphin in right hand and trident in left.
Refs: RIC 58, Sear RCV 1812.
Acquired from Victor's Imperial Coins, 6 January 2019.

  • Like 16
  • Yes 1
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted · Supporter
Posted (edited)

We now move on to Claudius!


I have a soft spot for this emperor, having been introduced to him (as many no doubt!) through Robert Graves' historical novels/biographies I, Claudius and Claudius the God. Claudius was an unlikely figure for Emperor in more ways than one, but with all his foibles he proved himself to be a competent administrator - and a vast improvement over his nephew and predecessor!

There exists a fairly wide variety of portrait styles of Claudius. Here is my favorite portrait coin of him - offering perhaps a slightly more regal image of him than some coins. In addition to the portrait, the coin has a warm patina and pleasing surfaces:



Let's see your portraits of this unexpected Princeps!

Edited by CPK
  • Like 16
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two portraits I like very much of this emperor : a very classic one and another from a branch mint where he looks very much like Nero Claudius Drusus


Claudius, Dupondius
CERES AVGVSTA, Ceres, veiled and draped, seated left on ornamental throne, holding two corn-ears and a long torch, S C in exergue.
11,20 gr
Ref : RCV # 1855, RIC # 94



Claudius, As produced at a "branch mint", AD 41-42
TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP, Bare head of Claudius left
CONSTANTIAE AVGVSTI, Constantia helmeted standing left holding spear, SC in field
10,84 gr
Ref : RCV #1857, Cohen #14
For better understanding of where this might have been minted, see : http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=65318.0


Edited by Qcumbor
  • Like 14
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry I missed seeing this thread during the first three but I no longer live online for coins and missed seeing it.  For Claudius, I am fond of my sestertius with the NCAPR countermark which is unusual in that the mark is usually placed behind the head rather than in front.  This mark is found on several different types and each has a 'usual' location for the mark but not all follow the same rules.  I have no explanation. 



Second is the Alexandrian tetradrachm with reverse showing his wife Messalina.  Claudius was not good at selecting women.   Many of these are higher grade but many are less clear in the legends.  This 'only fine' example has her name rather clear. 


  • Like 16
  • Clap 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

57 minutes ago, dougsmit said:

Claudius was not good at selecting women.

True. Here's another bad choice. A fatal attraction, if you will.

Claudius, AD 41-54 and Agrippina II, AD 50-59.
Roman provincial Æ 20.2 mm, 5.81 g, 10 h.
Lydia, Thyatira, AD 50-54.
Obv: ΤΙ ΚΛΑYΔΙΟC CЄΒΑCΤΟC, bare head of Claudius right.
Rev: ΑΓΡΙΠΠΙΝΑΝ CЄΒΑCΤΗΝ ΘΥΑΤΙΡΗΝΟΙ, draped bust of Agrippina right.
Refs: Sear 507; RPC I 2380; BMC 22. 301, 57; SNG München 611; SNG von Aulock --; SNG Copenhagen --; Mionnet --; Wiczay --.

  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will continue with my worst condition coins... 🤣 Even so, I've managed to find reason to post this one a lot.

Like Doug's NCAPR, the PROB countermark is supposed to be in a different position to the emperor's face.

Claudius Sestertius with PROB Countermark, 41-50
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 42, large quantities of early OB CIVES SERVATOS (without PP) were issued for Britain, all countermarked PROB.

  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Denarius of Praetorian camp - where it all started for Claudius.


My favorite portrait of Claudius - purchased from Sear many years ago at the NY show.


Ceres dupondius and couple of "realistic" portraits...





Sestertius with a more "idealized " portrait of the emperor...


  • Like 11
  • Heart Eyes 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This coin has had a hard life :   Antonia Minor

obv : ANTONIA AUGVSTA : draped bust to right

rev : TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP / S - C Claudius, veiled and togate, standing left, holding simpulum.

 Dupondius , 10.00 gr , 29 mm, Rome , A.D. 42-43 AD.


and a provincial coin from Claudius :

Obverse: ΤΙ ΚΛΑV ΚΑΙ ϹƐΒΑϹ ΓƐΡΜΑ, LΙ; laureate head of Claudius right.
Reverse: ΑVΤΟΚΡΑ; winged caduceus and four ears of corn
City: Alexandria, Region: Egypt, Province: Egypt
RPC : 5175 , 7.01 gr , 25 mm , LI = year 10, A.D. 49 / 50
Edited by mc9
  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Claudius Ae AS - Barbarous Imitation

Obv:- TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP, bare head left
Rev:- CONSTANTIAE AVGVSTI S-C, Constantia, helmeted and in military dress, standing left, holding long spear in left hand
Minted in Rome. A.D. 41-50
Reference:- RIC 95, Cohen 14, BMC 140

The style looks a little crude and the legends lack uniformity though are quite legible. It is also light, weighing in at only 7.85 gms. The die orientation is 180 degrees.


  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Dupondius, Rome Mint
Obv.: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP, bare head left
Rev.: CERES AVGVSTA, S C, Ceres, veiled, seated left, branch in right, torch in left
AE, 11.36g, 26.1mm
Ref.: RIC I 94, BMCRE I 136

  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A little late to this one.

But, since we're still in the Julio-Claudian era...  How about the brother of Tiberius, the father of Germanicus and Claudius, and the grandfather of Caligula?


Nero Claudius Drusus. (Died 9 BC). Æ Sestertius. Rome mint. (36mm, 28.05g).

Struck under Claudius, (AD 42-54).

OBVERSE: Bare head left.

REVERSE: Claudius seated left on curule chair, holding branch and scroll; below, weapons and armor on either side of globe.

RIC I 109 (Claudius)

  • Like 14
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sestertii of Claudius (featuring "a bold portrait of provincial style with uplifted gaze" according to David R.Sear), his wife Agrippina Minor (struck by a military mint in Thrace), and his father Nero Claudius Drusus:


TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP - laureate head of Claudius right, traces of oblong countermark PROB in front of emperor’s neck /
EX S C OB CIVES SERVATOS in four lines within oak-wreath
Orichalcum Sestertius, irregular mint, probably in Gaul, ca. AD 43
34,75 mm / 23,49 gr
RIC 96, note; BMCRE 120; CBN 155 and pl. XXV; cf. Cohen 39
this coin illustrated in Ernesto Gutierrez Guinea "El Valor de los Sestercios", 2011 ;
ex Auction Cayon Subastas July 2016 (06.07.2016), Lot 52


AGRIPPINA AVG GERMANICI F CAESARIS AVG - Draped bust of Agrippina Junior right /
(no legend) – Carpentum left, drawn by two mules, the cover supported by standing figures.
Brass Sestertius, Perinthus (?) mint, AD 51-54 (struck under Claudius)
32 mm / 26.99 g / 6h
Cohen -, BMCRE Claudius p. 195 note and plate 37.3, RIC I (Claudius) 103 (R3), H.-M. von Kaenel, “Britannicus, Agrippina Minor und Nero in Thrakien”, SNR 63 (1984), p. 130 ff, Type A (7 specimens) and plate 24, 30 (same obverse die), Cayon “Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano” Vol. 1 (1984), 1 (80.000 SFR) and plate p.74 (same reverse die), Sear RCV I, 1910

ex CNG E-auction 525 (19.10.2022) lot 1045, “From the S & S Collection”


NERO CLAVDIVS DRVSVS GERMANICVS IMP - bare head of Drusus left /
TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP S C - Claudius (?), bare-headed and togate, seated left on curule chair amidst arms, holding branch in extended right hand
Orichalcum Sestertius, Rome mint, ca. AD 41-42
34,96 mm / 23,88 gr / 6 h 

RIC 93; BMCRE 157; CBN 125; Cohen 8; Sear 1896

ex Dr. Busso Peus 270 (1969), lot 200; Dr. Kurt Wiemers collection; Kricheldorf Auction Nr. 49 (20.02.2017), lot 257

  • Like 15
  • Cookie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of great coins in this thread! Its a pleasure to go through them. Here are my coins of Claudius:

Denarii, including a rare and very worn denarius for Divus Claudius:







A provincial AE, supposedly showing Britannicus. But if Im correct, professional opinion today is more inclined towards Nero:


  • Like 12
  • Cookie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two very different portrait styles:



And possibly the cheapest ever Britannicus, which I picked up (unidentified) in an auction for a 5 euro hammer:


^AEOLIS: Aegae, AE18. BPЄTANNIKOC KAICAP Bare head of Britannicus to right. Rev. ЄΠI XAΛЄ/OY - AIΓAЄωN Zeus standing front, head to left, holding eagle in his right hand and scepter in his left. RPC I 2431.

  • Like 9
  • Clap 1
  • Mind blown 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Copper Coin (AE as) minted at Rome during the reign of CLAUDIUS between 41-50 A.D. Obv. TI.CLAVDIVS.CAESAR.AVG.P.M.TR.P.IMP. Bare head left. Rev. LIBERTAS.AVGVSTA.S.C. Libertas, dr., stg. Facing, head right, holding pileus, l. extended; S—C to l. and r. RCS #638. RICI #97 pg.128. DVM #16 pg.82. RCS #1859.

ADA-332 OBV.jpg

ADA-332 REV.jpg

  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...