COINS of the Imperatorial Era

I. These are coins of the breakup of the Roman Republic)

click on the pix for a view of both sides of the coin

Rome Republic page                  Rome Imperial

Julius Caesar (postumus)featured on
a sestersius/dupondius of Octavian
issued 38 BC

This piece is unusual because the obverse and reverse legends are clear and legible; although you can't tell from my photo.

Legend Rev: Julius the god;
Legend Obv:  Son of the God

I believe this is the largest portrait of Julius Caesar on a coin, at least for those made in ancient times. With this coin as I was able to buy a very unusual portrait of Julius somewhat inexpensively. An acceptable grade of denarius would have been about $4K at the time.

Julius Caesar was a supreme general who used his power to overthrow the decaying Roman Republic.  Caesar was his family name but later it became a title for future Emperors.  He adopted Octavian as his heir. After JC's assassination in 44 BC Octavion issued this piece in 38 BC to show his status as Julius' son for his upcoming fight with Marc Antony.

Octavian Caesar as shown on a denarius
issued 31 BC by Marc Antony
Exf condition

  (coin store, New Orleans, LA)

Obv: Portrait of  Marc Antony
Rev:  Portrait of  Octavian


After he formed the Principate in 27BC, Octavian took the name "Augustus". He is is technically the 1st Roman Emperor as Julius was assassinated before he had that title.

portrait sestersius of Tiberius

issued under Augustus ca 12-14 AD
this was worth 1/4 of the silver denarius

(NFA auction ca. 1990)

Tiberius silver denarius
VF condtion
this coin is referred to as the "Tribute penny of the Bible"

Tiberius was Caesar from 14 - 37 AD.

The coin at left was originally purchased as a VF ca. 1989. To see how grading standards have changed since then, look at this one
to see a Tiberius denarius graded full EXF by a major US dealer.

Caligula sestersius

  ascention issue   issued 37-38 AD  (VF)
(Nick Economopolis, ca. 1989)

Reverse - Caligula addressing the Cohorts. There were 10 cohorts (480 men) per Legion

Early on Caligula experienced life at a Legionary camp and saw that he owed his position to the Roman Legions. Also I imagine that the discipline and patriotism of the Army also were gratifying & in contrast to the depravity and politics of Rome.

When Caligula ascended to the throne he omitted the usual "SC" (Senatus Consultum) on the bronze coins and showed his respect instead for the Army. Unfortunately he soon developed a brain fevor which left him unstable early in his reign.

Caligula was Caesar from 37 - 41 AD.

Claudius Aes

  none; (VF)

reverse: none



Claudius was Caesar from 41 - 54 AD.

Nero Caesar sestersius (EF)
(Y.Hafietz: Superior Auction, 1989)


Nero was Caesar from 54 - 68 AD. He was the original party animal although he meant well. He kicked his pregant wife Poppea to death (well 1 kick: but she still died) because she was nagging him about coming home late from the chariot races. D.Vagi's book states that Nero truly loved Poppea & it was just a temper tantrum. Anyhow the great fire occured in Rome during 64 AD (date?). I understand that no bronze coins of Nero were made before the fire so this piece was made after 64 but before 68.
Nero went on a big art/party tour of Greece & when he returned he had lost popularity. The Senate (I think) declared him a public enemy and he committed suicide as he heard a calvary troop coming to imprision him and no doubt put him thru a painful death. His coinage does show a high degree of artistianship although he debased the silver slightly to pay for all his stuff.

Rome Republic page                 Rome Imperial