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Augustus, denarius

This is another Roman denarius from the collection of detecting finds built up over many years by Jamie New. This one dates from the reign of Augustus (27 BC to AD 14), who was the first emperor of the Imperial period.

Caius Octavius Thurinus was born in 63 BC and was the great-nephew of Julius Caesar. Shortly before his death (44 BC) Caesar adopted Octavianus (as he was then called) as his heir. After the deaths of a number of high-ranking Romans, including Mark Antony, in 27 BC Octavian was given the name ‘Augustus’. Thereafter, Augustus was undisputed master of Rome and its empire. After years of strife and conflict the rule of a single man was welcomed. His reign would be looked back on as the ‘Augustan Age’, a time when peace and prosperity prevailed.

On the obverse of this denarius is the laureate head of the emperor. The legend on this side reads CAESAR AVGVSTVS DIVI F PATER PATRIAE.

On the reverse are the standing figures of Caius and Lucius Caesars (grandsons of Augustus), with shields and spears between them. The legend on this side (starting in the exergue) reads C L CAESARES AVGVSTI F COS DESIG PRINC IVVENT. Both Caesars died early in the 1st century, which led Augustus to designate Tiberius as the next emperor.

David Sear, in volume I of Roman Coins and Their Values lists denarii of this type as number 1597. They were struck at Lugdunum (Lyon in France) between 2 BC and AD 4.


Both sides of Jamie’s find are slightly off centre but the coin is otherwise in Fair to Fine condition. This isn’t a particularly rare denarius but it is early and marks the start of the long Imperial period. I’d give it a price range of £45 – £55.

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