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Denarius of Tiberius

Apart from it being Roman and silver, Jamie New said he had no idea what this coin is. Rather than being a recent find, it turned up about 20 years since.

The coin is not in good condition but enough detail is visible to provide a full ID. Firstly, it is a denarius of Tiberius, whose dates are AD 14 to 37. On the obverse the legend reads TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS around the laureate head of the emperor. On the reverse is the seated figure of Livia (mother of Tiberius) and a legend reading PONTIF MAXIM

This type of denarius is sometimes referred to as the tribute penny mentioned in the Gospel of St. Matthew. The relevant passage reads: “Render unto Caesar the things that ae Caesar’s and render unto God the things that are God’s“. This was a reply the question whether or not it was lawful for Jews to pay taxes to Caesar. Matthew’s answer means that worldly taxes can be paid to the Roman authorities but spiritual matters belong to none other than God.


Jamie’s find is weak in places, the reverse has been struck well off centre and overall, the coin would grade at best Fair to Fine. Those with Christian leanings could regard the connection with the gospel of St. Matthew as a plus point. It’s not a particularly scarce denarius and in its present condition I’d price it no higher than £40 – £50.

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