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Zarco's Top 10 Coins of 2022


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Happy New Year!

It's always fun reading the top 10 lists at year's end, so I've decided to put together one of my own.  2022 was a successful year for me.  I managed to add 23 coins to my collection, including two I needed to complete my Twelve Caesars collection.  I'll do a post on the Twelve Caesars sometime in the new year.  It was not easy getting the list down to just 10 coins and would have been even tougher if the coin I won in CNG 529 had arrived.

All photos are from sellers.  My New Year's resolution is to improve my technique and take photos of all my coins.

Without further ado, here are my top ten coins of 2022, arranged in order of acquisition date.  Which ones are your favorites?

1.  Antoninus Pius - Denarius with Marcus Aurelius Reverse

Two of my favorite emperors on one coin, how could I resist?  


Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161.
AR Denarius, 3.2 g, 19.0 mm, 12 h.
Rome mint, AD 140-141.
Obv: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III; Head of Antoninus Pius, laureate, right.
Rev: [AV]RELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F COS; Head of Marcus Aurelius, bare, right.
Refs: RIC 417A, Sear RCV 4524.
Acquired from Numismatik Naumann Auction 113, Lot 667, 6 February 2022.

2.  Roman Republic - Quadrigatus

I've always liked this type, so jumped on this one when Aegean Numismatics listed it at a modest price.  It's a small thing, but I've always thought the incuse inscription on these looked cool.


Roman Republic
AR Quadrigatus, 6.2 g, 22.1 mm, 6 h.
Uncertain mint, 225-214 BC.
Obv: Laureate, Janiform head of Dioscuri. Border of dots.
Rev: ROMA; Jupiter in quadriga, right, driven by Victory. Jupiter holds sceptre in left hand and hurls thunderbolt with right hand; incuse on tablet, inscription. Line border.
Refs: Crawford RRC 30/1.
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, 18 February 2022.

3.  Otho - Denarius

Otho was one of two emperors needed to complete my Twelve Caesars collection.  Since he reigned for less than a year, I didn't want to pay a huge amount of money for one of his coins, which can be very expensive.  This one wasn't bad for an Otho denarius.  While the reverse is not so great, the obverse has a pretty good portrait that shows his famous toupee.  It is light in weight for a denarius, possibly due to its condition, but I have seen online a few other authentic denarii of his come in under 3 grams.  Plus, it is from Leu, a  reputable auction house, so I am fairly confident in its authenticity.  


Otho, AD 69.
AR Denarius, 2.5 g, 18.0 mm, 6 h.
Rome mint, Jan-Feb AD 69.
Obv: [IMP] M OTHO CAESAR AVG T[R P]; Head of Otho, bare, right.
Rev: SE[CVRITAS P R]; Securitas, draped, standing left, holding wreath in right hand and sceptre in left.
Refs: RIC 8, Sear RCV 2162.
Acquired from Leu Numismatik, Web Auction 19, Lot 2566, 27 February 2022.

4.  Roman Republic - Denarius with Roma Seated with Wolf and Twins on Reverse

This is one of my favorite Republican types.  I love the depiction of the founding myth of Rome and as an anonymous issue, it is so much cleaner without the moneyer's name.


Roman Republic
AR Denarius, 3.84 g, 20.3 mm, 1 h.
Rome mint, 115-114 BC.
Obv: ROMA; Head of Roma, right, wearing winged Corinthian helmet with curl on left shoulder. Border of dots. X behind.
Rev: Roma, wearing Corinthian helmet, seated right on pile of shields, holding spear in left hand; at feet, helmet; before, she-wolf, right, suckling twins; on either side, bird flying. Border of dots.
Refs: Crawford RRC 287/1, Sear RCV 164.
Acquired from Roma Numismatics E-Sale 96, Lot 896, 5 May 2022. From the collection of Z.P., Austria.

5.  Antoninus Pius - Sestertius with Hadrianeum Reverse

This is not the prettiest coin, but it was a lot of fun to learn about it and the Hadrianeum.  RIC describes the figures inside the temple as Augustus and Livia, but according to David Sear and Philip Hill, it is the Hadrianeum with cult statues of Hadrian and Sabina inside.


Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161.
AE Sestertius, 27.3 g, 31.7 mm, 5 h.
Rome mint, AD 151.
Obv: IMP [CAES T AE]L HADR ANTONINVS AV[G P]IVS P P; Head of Antoninus Pius, laureate, right.
Rev: [TR PO]T XIIII [COS IIII PI]ETA[S S C]; Octastyle temple of Hadrian (Hadrianeum), containing cult-statues of Hadrian and Sabina.
Refs: RIC 873, Sear RCV 4204.
Acquired from Victor's Imperial Coins, 2 July 2022.

6.  Otacilia Severa - Antoninianus with Hippopotamus Reverse

I have been building a little sub-collection of the Secular Games issues of Philip the Arab, and it was a real pleasure to finally add this one.


Otacilia Severa, AD 244-249.
AR Antoninianus, 4.2 g, 23.7 mm, 7 h.
Struck under Philip I.
Rome mint, AD 248.
Obv: OTACIL SEVERA AVG; Bust of Otacilia Severa, diademed, draped, on crescent, right.
Rev: SAECVLARES AVGG IIII; Hippopotamus, standing right.
Refs: RIC 116b, Sear RCV 9160.
Acquired from CIVITAS Galleries, 30 August 2022.

7.  Augustus - Denarius with Capricorn Reverse

I have acquired other coins of Augustus over the past few years, but this is the one that will represent him in my Twelve Caesars collection.  It is fitting because the the Capricorn reverse was specifically mentioned by Suetonius:

"At Apollonia, Augustus and Agrippa together visited the house of Theogenes the astrologer, and climbed upstairs to his observatory; they both wished to consult him about their future careers. Agrippa went first and was prophesied such almost incredibly good fortune that Augustus expected a far less encouraging response, and felt ashamed to disclose his nativity. Yet when at last, after a deal of hesitation, he grudgingly supplied the information for which both were pressing him, Theogenes rose and flung himself at his feet; and this gave Augustus so implicit a faith in the destiny awaiting him that he even ventured to publish his horoscope, and struck a silver coin stamped with Capricorn, the sign under which he had been born." Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Augustus 94 (translated by Robert Graves.)


Augustus, 27 BC - AD 14.
AR Denarius, 3.3 g, 19.5 mm, 5 h.
Colonia Patricia, 18-16 BC.
Obv: Head of Augustus, bare, right.
Rev: [A]VGVSTVS; Capricorn right, holding globe with attached rudder, cornucopia above.
Refs: RIC 126, Sear RCV 1592.
Acquired from Silbury Coins, 30 September 2022.

8.  Trajan - Ropsley Hoard Denarius with DAC CAP Reverse

As a hoard coin and such an iconic historical type representing Trajan, I couldn't pass this one up.  This coin was part of the Ropsley hoard of 522 denarii found by a metal detectorist in Lincolnshire, England on 16 March 2018.  The hoard is believed to have been deposited between AD 150 and 152.


Trajan, AD 98-117.
AR Denarius, 3.3 g, 18.1 mm, 6 h.
Rome mint, AD 103-111.
Obv: IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P; Bust of Trajan, laureate, right, draped on left shoulder.
Rev: COS V P P S P Q R OPTIMO PRINC DAC CAP; Dacian seated left on a pile of arms in an attitude of mourning; round him, left and right, various arms.
Refs: RIC 98.
Acquired from Silbury Coins, 30 September 2022.

9.  Caligula - Dupondius Honoring Germanicus

I really like this coin, both because of the unique horizontal inscriptions and the history it represents.  In AD 9, three Roman legions (Legio XVII, Legio XVIII and Legio XIX) under Quinctilius Varus were defeated by Germanic tribes in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, resulting in the loss of the three legions' military standards (eagles). This was a huge disgrace to the Romans and the legion numbers XVII, XVIII and XIX were never used again.  Augustus "took the disaster so deeply to heart that he left his hair and beared untrimmed for months; he would often beat his head on a door, shouting 'Quinctilus Varus, give me back my legions!' and always kept the anniversary as a day of deep mourning." (Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Augustus 23)  From AD 15-16, Germanicus, Caligula's father, conducted three campaigns to avenge the defeat of the legions and to recover the lost eagles. After recovering two of the eagles, Germanicus was recalled to Rome by Tiberius and awarded a triumph.  This is what is depicted on this coin. On the obverse, we see Germanicus driving a quadriga in his triumph.  The reverse shows Germanicus addressing his troops with right hand raised and holding one of the recovered eagles in his left.  The legend translates to "standards recovered, Germans defeated."


Caligula, AD 37-41.
AE Dupondius, 15.4 g, 29.1 mm, 7 h.
Rome mint, AD 37-41.
Obv: GERMANICVS CAESAR; Germanicus, bare-headed and cloaked, standing in quadriga, right, holding eagle tipped sceptre.
Rev: SIGNIS RECEPT DEVICTIS GERM S C; Germanicus bare-headed and cuirassed with tunic standing, left, right hand raised and left hand holding aquila.
Refs: RIC 57, Sear RCV 1820.
Acquired from Artemide Kunstauktionen, Artemide eLive Auction 24, Lot 767, 1 October 2022.

10.  Caligula - Adlocutio Cohortium Sestertius

Caligula was the last emperor I needed to complete my Twelve Caesars collection.  I had been trying to get one of these for the last year or so, but the prices have been a bit crazy.  Because of the wear, I was able to get it for a very reasonable price for this type.  It was worth getting up before 5 AM for this auction.  This coin was probably minted as part of the payment of Tiberius' bequest to the Praetorian Guard, which Caligula doubled to 500 denarii in total.


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.

Edited by Zarco
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