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Denarius of Tiberius

This Roman denarius is the first from a batch of seven that came in from Robin Domes. Some detectorists never manage to locate is a single denarius so Robin has done very well to accumulate so many.

We start with a coin of Tiberius, who succeeded Augustus in AD 14 and proved to be a very able emperor. However, after becoming increasingly disillusioned, in AD 26 he retired to Capreae and never returned to Rome. In AD 37 he died at the age of 78.

On the obverse of this denarius the legend reads TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS around the laureate head of Tiberius. On the reverse the seated figure of Livia has PONTIF in front and MAXIM behind. This type was struck at Lugdunum after AD 16 and in volume I of David Sear’s Roman Coins and Their Values it is listed as number 1763.

This particular type of denarius is supposed to be the Tribute Penny referred to in the gospel of St. Matthew. When Christ was asked if believers should pay tribute to the Roman emperor his reply was that earthy tribute could be paid to Caesar but spiritual tribute should be paid to God alone.


Both sides of the coin have been struck off centre. The obverse would grade slightly better than Fine, the reverse about VF. I’ve seen a number of examples as detecting finds, which proves that it isn’t particularly scarce. In its present overall condition I would give this denarius a price range of £90 – £120.

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