The nine Roman coins used in this illustration are from the author's collection. They are some of his favorites from the standpoint of artistic style, interesting portrait, beautifully colored patina and bold, full strike. None of them are exceptionally rare or expensive, save the little gold tremissis of the empress Eudocia, a coin type which shows up very infrequently even in major international auctions held by the large auction houses. Even so, the author obtained this rarity in gold for a bid of only two hundred twenty dollars. Though the coin was once holed and later crudely plugged, it is still a desirable rarity. One of the points in which collecting U.S. coins differs from collecting ancients is that a holed or damaged U.S. coin is virtually worthless with even great rarities selling for only a few dollars. Many ancient coins, on the other hand, are damaged and still held in esteem as valuable pieces by most knowledgeable collectors.
The coins in the top row of three, rising to the right are:
Silver denarius of Septimius Severus which illustrates his strong military bearing in this bold portrait of his face clearly showing the three - forked beard which is a feature of most of his portraits. Value is about forty five dollars.
Small bronze AE4 of Constantine II showing patches of the original thin silver wash which has toned to a light pearly gray along with the rest of the coin. This coin is about as close to uncirculated as a Roman coin is found. This little gem has a two soldiers, one standard reverse and cost the author only thirty five dollars.
Silver denarius of Faustina the Younger clearly illustrating the ornate hairstyles popular amongst imperial ladies of the Second Century A.D. Faustina the Younger was the wife of Marcus Aurelius and was considered to be one of the most beautiful women of her time. Standards of femiminine beauty held by most civilizations in the classical world valued a female figure that was quite a bit plumper than that which our society holds in high esteem. The rounded cheeks and the soft neck lines on this portrait amply indicate this trend in classical thinking.
The coins in the center row of four are:
Bronze AE3 of Fausta, wife of Constantine the Great. This coin clearly shows her hair style, now pulled back into a bun, giving her a much more severe look than the ornate hair styles of the Severan woman of a century earlier. This example is in extremely fine condition, a nicely struck up example that would probably bring ninety to one hundred dollars full price at an ancient coin dealer's
The second coin in this row was chosen for its beautiful green patina. It is a dupondius of Antoninus Pius depicting him sacrificing over a tripod on the reverse. Much of the VOTA SVSCEPTA legend is worn off. Though the coin is not technically in very good condition, the lovely patina highlights what detail is left and makes this a very desirable piece.
This small Fifth Century AE4 with Cross in Wreath reverse was struck by Theodosius II. These tiny coins are not very common, but they are not rare either. This example is not shown to scale here as it is approximately 14mm in diameter.
The coins in the bottom row of two are:
Gold Tremissis of the empress Aelia Evdocia, wife of Theodosius II. This is an extremely rare coin, but nevertheless affordable because it had been holed and later repaired at some time in its past.
The coin at the extreme bottom right is a Centenionalis of Constantius II. A Roman infantryman is depicted on this reverse spearing a fallen enemy horseman, probably a Persian since this coin was struck at the Alexandria mint. These FEL TEMP REPARATIO (Happy days are here again or Return of good times) usually have a theme depicting Roman military superiority over her enemies. They are quite common, even in nice condition.