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How to buy a Julius Caesar coin using a cheat code


ambr0zie

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Sorry for the clickbait - I hear in my mind the curses of millions of collectors who clicked this, waiting to see a MS denarius with Julius Caesar portrait. In fact, my coin is a Julius Caesar coin ... and in the same time it isn't. 

Acquiring a Julius Caesar coin is a goal that most of the collectors have. And most of them know this is difficult because they are pricy, especially if you want the actual portrait of the man himself. 

There are some options

1. Actually buying a lifetime portrait of Julius Caesar, like @CPK did here (doing a great job)
2. Buying a lifetime JC with his name on the legend, but without his portrait. The most popular is the elephant/pontifical implements denarius
3. Buying a RR coin from his dictatorship but without any direct clues pointing to Julius Caesar - I have 2 of those - a Mn Cordius Rufus (46 BC)

image.png.28a7ca3aa949778e5d28e2621e2ceff8.png

and a L. Platuius Plancus (47 BC) 

image.png.66f0cbe5ea1b1faeed020a9ec000abdc.png

4. Buying a Thessalonica provincial with Augustus and Julius Caesar portraits. I had this option in mind but I didn't particularly like the examples I saw in auctions. 

So I used the cheat code - why not buying a coin that shows Julius Caesar but in a very generic way, difficult to recognize? Especially since the coin had 2 major advantages - 1. A good portrait of the actual ruler (in this case, Claudius) and 2. low price. 

image.png.9463fb25e823ee75835c99767e21c6d5.png

26 mm, 10,95 g.
Macedon, Philippi. Claudius 41-54. Ӕ.
TI CLAVDIVS CAES AVG IMP P M TR P P P, bare head of Claudius, l. / COL IVL AVG PHILIP, DIVVS AVG (on base); statue of Augustus in military dress crowned by statue of Divus Julius Caesar wearing toga on central base; altar, l. and r.
RPC I 1654 var. (reverse legend COL IVL AVG instead of COL AVG IVL); SNG Copenhagen 307-8; Varbanov 3774 var.

Interesting fact about this coin - it looks like it's an unrecorded variety. RPC 1653 and 1654 have the reverse legend COL AVG IVL PHILIP. My coin has COL IVL AVG PHILIP. I could not find a match anywhere. 

I knew about this coin type as I saw other examples and I think this is an interesting reverse. My coin is not exactly FDC (the base of the statues does not have the legend visible anymore) but is good enough for the type. I like the depiction of these statues (not sure if these are based on real statues - I suspect they are). 

The reverse of this coin is not random. Philippi was the place of the final battles of the Liberators' Civil War in 42 BC, between the forces of Octavian and Mark Anthony vs the leaders of the plot that lead to Julius Caesar's assassination - Brutus and Cassius. 

The result is well known - the members of the Second Triumvirate won, Cassius and Brutus committed suicide and the history of the Roman state took a decisive turn. Mark Anthony was at the peak of his political career. Octavian was just starting to ascend. 

In the following years, the two mentioned triumvirs will not exactly remain allies. Mark Antony lived in Egypt, with Cleopatra. Octavian became Augustus - dawn of a totally new era. 

Let's see Philippi coins or coins related to Julius Caesar!

Edited by ambr0zie
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Very nice! That type actually happens to be on my wishlist - they are a scarcer than one might think. A great score!

Here is a coin of Philippi, struck around the same time with a somewhat related theme:

PhilippiAEVICAVG.jpg.e55af9ada03592b90a13f726e33b7bef.jpg

 

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There's another cheat- always looking for new additions on online stores (although I'd recommend doing something better with your life). 

Here's my cheapest Caesar, just under $100. I was browsing newly listed coins on Vcoins, and it only took me minutes from seeing this coin and ending up paying for it. An added bonus was the comet above his head. 

Caesar.jpg.da43e0eb6bd676351b0b3e419e7f8f8d.jpg

 

Edited by JayAg47
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Great score @ambr0zie

There's an option 5 : Vienna dupondii showing both portraits of Caesar to left and Octavian to right are often cut in halves, allowing for decent prices, while the whole thing remains pricey (the last one sold by MDC Monaco fetched 2600 € + fees).

Below are my worn down JC and more than decent Octavian. The JC was less than 50 € (I'm constantly in chase for a better one 🙂 )

8e933904715e41538955fac749bb7489.jpg

795cc4f8e6ed4e839a50bc19b8dc316d.jpg

 

And something I wrote about the subject on the other forum https://www.cointalk.com/threads/of-galleys-and-crocs-about-a-nice-portrait-of-octavian.370127/

Q

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25 minutes ago, Qcumbor said:

Great score @ambr0zie

There's an option 5 : Vienna dupondii showing both portraits of Caesar to left and Octavian to right are often cut in halves, allowing for decent prices, while the whole thing remains pricey (the last one sold by MDC Monaco fetched 2600 € + fees).

Below are my worn down JC and more than decent Octavian. The JC was less than 50 € (I'm constantly in chase for a better one 🙂 )

8e933904715e41538955fac749bb7489.jpg

795cc4f8e6ed4e839a50bc19b8dc316d.jpg

 

And something I wrote about the subject on the other forum https://www.cointalk.com/threads/of-galleys-and-crocs-about-a-nice-portrait-of-octavian.370127/

Q

Q, You posted some wonderful coins on the CoinTalk thread 🤩!

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2 hours ago, ambr0zie said:

Sorry for the clickbait - I hear in my mind the curses of millions of collectors who clicked this, waiting to see a MS denarius with Julius Caesar portrait. In fact, my coin is a Julius Caesar coin ... and in the same time it isn't. 

Acquiring a Julius Caesar coin is a goal that most of the collectors have. And most of them know this is difficult because they are pricy, especially if you want the actual portrait of the man himself. 

There are some options

1. Actually buying a lifetime portrait of Julius Caesar, like @CPK did here (doing a great job)
2. Buying a lifetime JC with his name on the legend, but without his portrait. The most popular is the elephant/pontifical implements denarius
3. Buying a RR coin from his dictatorship but without any direct clues pointing to Julius Caesar - I have 2 of those - a Mn Cordius Rufus (46 BC)

image.png.28a7ca3aa949778e5d28e2621e2ceff8.png

and a L. Platuius Plancus (47 BC) 

image.png.66f0cbe5ea1b1faeed020a9ec000abdc.png

4. Buying a Thessalonica provincial with Augustus and Julius Caesar portraits. I had this option in mind but I didn't particularly like the examples I saw in auctions. 

So I used the cheat code - why not buying a coin that shows Julius Caesar but in a very generic way, difficult to recognize? Especially since the coin had 2 major advantages - 1. A good portrait of the actual ruler (in this case, Claudius) and 2. low price. 

image.png.9463fb25e823ee75835c99767e21c6d5.png

26 mm, 10,95 g.
Macedon, Philippi. Claudius 41-54. Ӕ.
TI CLAVDIVS CAES AVG IMP P M TR P P P, bare head of Claudius, l. / COL IVL AVG PHILIP, DIVVS AVG (on base); statue of Augustus in military dress crowned by statue of Divus Julius Caesar wearing toga on central base; altar, l. and r.
RPC I 1654 var. (reverse legend COL IVL AVG instead of COL AVG IVL); SNG Copenhagen 307-8; Varbanov 3774 var.

Interesting fact about this coin - it looks like it's an unrecorded variety. RPC 1653 and 1654 have the reverse legend COL AVG IVL PHILIP. My coin has COL IVL AVG PHILIP. I could not find a match anywhere. 

I knew about this coin type as I saw other examples and I think this is an interesting reverse. My coin is not exactly FDC (the base of the statues does not have the legend visible anymore) but is good enough for the type. I like the depiction of these statues (not sure if these are based on real statues - I suspect they are). 

The reverse of this coin is not random. Philippi was the place of the final battles of the Liberators' Civil War in 42 BC, between the forces of Octavian and Mark Anthony vs the leaders of the plot that lead to Julius Caesar's assassination - Brutus and Cassius. 

The result is well known - the members of the Second Triumvirate won, Cassius and Brutus committed suicide and the history of the Roman state took a decisive turn. Mark Anthony was at the peak of his political career. Octavian was just starting to ascend. 

In the following years, the two mentioned triumvirs will not exactly remain allies. Mark Antony lived in Egypt, with Cleopatra. Octavian became Augustus - dawn of a totally new era. 

Let's see Philippi coins or coins related to Julius Caesar!

What a cool coin and informative post!! I wasn't even aware that this interesting provincial existed!!

SCORE.jpg.ff5e40c3d17ae690ac2131874bc2513b.jpg

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Here's a contemporary imitation of the type I referenced.  I can't find the official one in my Sear references.  Souther Italian mint, c. 40 B.C. for the original.

The listing referenced CRI 308.  Perhaps it's in the Sear Imperators volume and I missed it?

https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/civitas_galleries/33/product/octavian_and_divus_julius_caesar_38_bc_dupondius_imitating_southern_italian_mint_gaul_fair_includes_antique_collectors_ticket_in_french/1814862/Default.aspx

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Or, you could simply buy an example of this type of Lucius Julius L.f. Caesar -- the first Roman coin on which the name CAESAR appeared -- for a reasonable price! Even though he was actually more closely related to Mark Antony (he was his grandfather) than to the Divine Julius.

Roman Republic, L. [Lucius] Julius L.f. Caesar, 103 BCE, Rome Mint. Obv. Head of Mars left wearing helmet with long crest, feather on side, and peaked visor; behind, CAESAR upwards; above, control-mark (retrograde open “P” with two dots, one above and one below) / Rev. Venus Genetrix driving biga of cupids left, holding scepter in right hand and reins with both hands; above reins, control-mark (same as on obverse); beneath cupids to left, lyre; in exergue, L•IVLI•L•F. Crawford 320/1, RSC I Julia 4 (ill.), Sydenham 593, Sear RCV I 198 (ill.), BMCRR 1405-1434 [this control-mark not included; cf. 1430-1431, each with retrograde open “P” with only one dot as control-mark, one with dot above and the other with dot below.] 16 mm., 3.83 g., 9 h.*

image.jpeg.74818b82e1161f25bb686bf7545c218b.jpeg

*The moneyer, Lucius Julius Caesar, son of Lucius, was Consul in 90 BCE. (Crawford Vol. I p. 325.) Through his daughter Julia, he was Mark Antony’s maternal grandfather. (See Wikipedia; cf. Grueber, BMCRR p. 210 n. 1.) In addition, the moneyer was either the second cousin or the second cousin once removed of Julius Caesar: his grandfather, Sextus Julius Caesar, was either a brother or uncle of Julius Caesar’s grandfather, Gaius Julius Caesar. This was the first Roman coin on which the name CAESAR appeared. (However, in 129 BCE, another relative, named Sextus Julius Caesar, issued a coin [Crawford 258] on which the name CAISAR appeared, i.e., the same name with a different spelling.)

The reverse type, depicting Venus, “alludes to the descent of the Iuli from Venus by way of Aeneas and Ascanius-Iulus" (Crawford p. 325): Iulus, the legendary ancestor of the Iuli, was the son of Aeneas, who, in turn, was the son of Venus. The figure of Venus on the reverse is identified in RSC and BMCRR (but not in Crawford or Sear) as Venus Genetrix, i.e., Venus in her capacity as goddess of motherhood and as a generative force, specifically as ancestress of the gens Iulia and generally with respect to the Roman people. (Query, however, whether that term was commonly used at the time this coin was issued, as opposed to more than 50 years later after Julius Caesar’s dedication of the temple of Venus Genetrix in 46 BCE and the sculpting of a cult statue to her. The concept was also poeticized by Lucretius, long after the issuance of this coin. See http://archive1.village.virginia.edu/spw4s/RomanForum/GoogleEarth/AK_GE/AK_HTML/TS-060.html.)

According to Crawford, the lyre “is presumably explained by the links of the Iuli with Apollo.” (Id.) Similarly, according to Grueber, “the head of Mars on the obverse may point to past military successes gained by members of the family as well as to the mythical connection between that divinity and Venus.” (BMCRR p. 210 n. 1.)

Crawford also explains at p. 325 that the control-marks are the letters of the Latin alphabet as far as S, either normally disposed or retrograde, alone or accompanied by one or two dots above, below, to the sides, and/or within the letters. The control marks are “invariably” the same on the obverse and reverse, and “[n]o pair of control-marks has more than one pair of dies.” In total, there are 92 obverse and 93 reverse dies. The two examples in the Schaefer Roman Republican die project of Crawford 320 with a retrograde open “P” with two dots, one above and one below -- and it took me a while to realize that the control-marks on mine were supposed to be reversed P's -- do appear to be die matches with this coin. (See p. 11 of the Crawford 320 die clippings in the RRDP.)

 

Edited by DonnaML
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11 hours ago, DonnaML said:

Or, you could simply buy an example of this type of Lucius Julius L.f. Caesar 

I do have one of those! It was shown here 

 

image.png.9b9934443373bf197e3b73b8d39d7e07.png

Definitely a Julius Caesar coin and nobody can say otherwise, but the cheat was too obvious, this is not the Julius Caesar. 

Edited by ambr0zie
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Great post @ambr0zie.  I too "cheated" my way into a similar Julius Caesar from Macedon - mine is from Domitian's reign and I got it cheap, in an unattributed eBay lot - 2-and-a-half emperors?  Domitian, Augustus and the-never-quite-emperor Julius Caesar:

image.jpeg.a500d7fe746850f6a73a7c02aef47ceb.jpeg

Domitian Æ 25 Philippi, Macedon  (87 A.D.) [IMP CAES D]OMIT AVG GERM COS XIII, laureate head l. / [COL A]V[G I]VL PHILIPP three bases; on middle one, statue of Augustus in military dress crowned by statue of Divus Julius wearing toga, D[IVVS]|A[VG] on base. Attribution:  Only type for Domitian with COS XIII. RPC II 345; Varbanov 3779; Mionnet I, 283. (7.03 grams / 25 x 24 mm) eBay April 2022 Lot @ $5.00  Possible Die Match: Coin no. 11 of RPC II,345 Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Inventory 1132

 

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