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Zarco's Top 10 Coins for 2023

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Happy New Year! 

2023 was another good year for my collection. My interest is primarily Roman Imperial, but I also dabble in Roman Republic and Greek types.  I like architectural types and types commemorating historical events. Both are well represented in my list. The coins are not arranged in any particular ranking but rather in order of acquisition date.  All photos are from the sellers.


1. Faustina Senior Sestertius with Temple Reverse: Technically, I acquired this one in 2022, but it arrived in January 2023, so I didn't include it in last year's top 10.


Faustina I, AD 138-140.
AE Sestertius, 23.6 g, 31.99 mm, 12 h.
Struck under Antoninus Pius.
Rome mint, AD 143-144.
Obv: DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA; Bust of Faustina I, draped, right, hair elaborately waved and coiled in bands across head and drawn up at back and piled in a round coil on top.
Rev: PIETAS AVGVSTI S C; Hexastyle temple on podium of four steps; on fastigium, quadriga; on angles, Victories.
Refs: RIC III 1148, Sear RCV 4632.
Acquired from Classical Numismatic Group, Electronic Auction 529, lot 680, 14 December 2022, received in January 2023.
Ex Antonio Carmona Collection (Roma E-Sale 82, 15 April 2021), lot 1368.

2. Another Faustina Senior Sestertius with Temple Reverse:  In addition to the temple reverse, I like this one for the veiled portrait.


Faustina I, AD 138-140.
AE Sestertius, 22.6 g, 33.4 mm, 6 h.
Struck under Antoninus Pius.
Rome mint, AD 150.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA; Bust of Faustina I, veiled, right.
Rev: AETERNIT[AS] S C; Hexastyle temple, in which is seated figure of Faustina I.
Refs: RIC III 1115b.
Acquired from Roma Numismatics, E-Sale 105, Lot 870, 19 January 2023.
From a private UK collection.

3: Claudius As with Minerva Reverse:  I always like the style of lettering on the Julio-Claudian bronzes.


Claudius, AD 41-54.
AE As, 12.0 g, 29.9 mm, 6 h.
Rome mint, AD 50-54.
Obv: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P; Head of Claudius, bare, left.
Rev: S C; Minerva, helmeted and draped, advancing right, levelling javelin in right hand and shield in left.
Refs: RIC I 116, Sear RCV 1861.
Acquired from Ken Dorney Ancient Coins & Antiquities, 23 February 2023.

4. Trajan As with Temple Reverse: It's not the prettiest example, but I really like the temple with colonnades.  According to Philip Hill in "The Monuments of Ancient Rome as Coin Types," this is the temple of Jupiter Victor.  This is one of the first slabbed coins I have owned, but I broke Trajan out of that slab shortly after receipt.  The other is a Trajan sestertius with temple reverse from the same CNG auction.


Trajan, AD 98-117.
AE Sestertius, 11.8 g, 29.0 mm, 6 h.
Rome mint, AD 103-111.
Obv: IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M T[R P COS V P P]; Bust of Trajan, laureate, slight drapery, right.
Rev: S P Q R OPTIMO PRI[NCIPI] S C; Jupiter seated in center of octastyle temple; architrave decorated with figure of Jupiter among other figures; figure holding spear between two Victories on roof.
Ref: RIC II 577 var. (bust type).
Acquired from Classical Numismatic Group, Electronic Auction 534, Lot No. 569, 15 March 2023.

5. Tarentum Dolphin Rider Didrachm: Such a cool type! I had been wanting one of these for awhile, just waiting for the right one to come up.


Calabria, Tarentum.
AR Didrachm, 6.3 g, 19.7 mm, 9 h.
Tarentum, 272-240 BC.
Obv: AΡΙΣΤΟ/KΡΑΤΗΣ; Youth on horseback right, crowning horse and holding rein; behind, Nike flying right, crowning youth.
Rev: ΠI TAP[AΣ]; Phalanthos riding dolphin left, holding cornucopia and trident; ΠI to left, herm to right.
Ref: Vlasto 908.
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, 16 April 2023.

6. Domitian As with Secular Games Reverse: The temple depicted here is that of Jupiter Capitolinus, which was rebuilt by Domitian and dedicated in AD 82.  The is is my third in a mini set of Domitian's secular games coinage.


Domitian, AD 81-96.
AE As, 10.1 g, 29.0 mm, 6 h.
Rome mint, AD 88.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, right.
Rev: COS XIIII LVD SAEC FEC S C; Domitian standing left over altar; flute and lyre players left; temple behind.
Ref: Sear RCV 2803, RIC II, Pt. 1 (2nd ed.) 623.
Acquired from Classical Numismatic Group, Electronic Auction 539, Lot No. 657, 31 May 2023.
This type commemorates the secular Games, celebrated in Rome by Domitian in October of AD 88.

7.  Augustus Denarius with "Julian Star" Reverse: This is a type I have been wanting for a long time. The "Julian Star" is the comet that appeared in the sky shortly after Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 BC and was taken as a sign of his divinity.


Augustus, 27 BC - AD 14.
AR Denarius, 3.4 g, 20.9 mm, 5 h.
Caesaraugusta, 19-18 BC.
Obv: CAESAR AVGVSTVS; Head of Augustus, oak-wreathed, left.
Rev: [D]IVVS IVLIVS; Comet with eight rays and tail.
Refs: RIC I (2nd ed.) 37B, Sear RCV 1607.
Acquired from Savoca Coins, 168th Blue Auction, Lot no. 1227, 16 July 2023.

8.  Caligula Pietas Sestertius:  Another type I have been wanting for a long time.  It has the nice Julio-Claudian lettering, plus the temple of Divus Augustus on the reverse.


Caligula, AD 37-41.
AE Sestertius, 26.5 g, 35.2 mm, 7 h.
Rome, AD 37-38.
Obv: C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS P M TR POT PIETAS; Pietas, veiled, draped, seated left, holding patera in right hand and resting left arm on a small draped figure, standing on a basis, facing.
Rev: [D]IVO AVG S C; Front view of hexastyle garlanded temple surmounted by quadriga. In front, Caligula, veiled and togate, sacrifices with patera over garlanded altar right; one attendant leads bull to altar right; a second holds patera.
Ref: RIC 36
Acquired from RomanCoinShop.com, 2 October 2023.

9.  Augustus Denarius with Signis Receptis Reverse:  I like this one because it commemorates a historical event, the restoration of the standards captured by the Parthians from Crassus and Antony.


Augustus, 27 BC - AD 14.
AR Denarius, 3.7 g, 21.1 mm, 7 h.
Colonia Patricia, 19 BC.
Obv: CAESAR AVGVSTVS; Head of Augustus, bare, right.
Rev: SIGNIS [R]ECEPTIS; Round shield inscribed CL V, with S P Q R in corners between aquila, left, and standard, right.
Refs: RIC I (2nd ed.) 86A, Sear RCV 1633.
Acquired from Naville Numismatics, Auction 84, Lot no. 386, 8 October 2023.

10. Trajan Sestertius with Trajan Spearing Dacian Reverse: One of many types to depict Trajan's conquest of Dacia.


Trajan, AD 98-117.
AE Sestertius, 26.3 g, 33.9 mm, 6 h.
Rome mint, AD 107.
Obv: IMP CAES NERVA[E TRAIAN]O AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V [P] P; Bust of Trajan, laureate, draped on left shoulder, right.
Rev: S P Q R OPTIMO [P]RINCIPI S C; Trajan, bare-headed, in military dress, cloak floating behind him, riding right, thrusting spear at Dacian in front of horse.
Ref: RIC II 534, Sear RCV 3204.
Acquired from Incitatus Coins and Antiquities, 18 November 2023.







Edited by Zarco
Corrected issue date for #2.
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Great selection! My three favorites are numbers 2, 5, and 7 (the second Faustina I sestertius, the Tarentum didrachm, and the Augustus denarius with the Julian comet on the reverse).

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I absolutely love this list! Is this your usual collecting preference? Lot's of imperials and with architecture on the reverse, or otherwise reverses referring to interesting historical events. Hard to pick favorites, but those Faustina sestertii are beautiful, the Trajan AE is, despite the pitting, fantastic, and you even added a scarce Caligula sestertius with the temple of Divus Augustus, and a Domitian Ludes issue to the list. In fact, there are quite a few resemblances between your list and my, yet to be posted, list 😁

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@Limes My collection is primarily Roman Imperials, with a few Roman Republican and Greek types as well.  My favorites are architectural types and coins that tell a story, mostly historical events, but also some mythological, like the dolphin rider.  Looking forward to seeing your list!

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