OCTAVIAN / AUGUSTUS SILVER DENARIUS – VICTORY ON GLOBE TYPE WITH EXCEPTIONAL PORTRAIT OF AUGUSTUS – CHOICE XF NGC GRADED ROMAN IMPERATORIAL COIN OF THE TWELVE CAESARS (Inv. 15482)
ROMAN IMPERATORIAL. OCTAVIAN / AUGUSTUS, 27 BC-14 AD.
Silver Denarius, 3.78 g, 20 mm, struck at an Italian mint, ca. 31-30 BC.
Obv. Head of Octavian left.
Rev. CAESAR DIVI F, Victoria left, alighting on globe, holding wreath and palm.
RIC 254b; BMC 603
Ex Phil Peck/Morris Collection
NGC graded CHOICE XF, Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5, FINE STYLE, “brushed”, light gray toning and faint iridescent highlights, with an exquisite portrait of the young Octavian as he moved to solidify his power following the victory at Actium over Antony and Cleopatra. Employing the legend, CAESAR DIVI F(ILIUS), Octavian now proclaims that he is the son of the deified Julius Caesar. This belongs to the early series of Octavian’s coinage about which the eminent art historian Paul Zanker wrote the following:
“Never before had coins of such beauty been minted in Rome. But it was a case of aesthetics in the service of political end. In comparison with the crowded and barely legible coins of the Late Republican period these were models of clarity and simplicity. The legend could be dispensed with, save for the name of the individual being commemorated. The images needed no explanatory words and were in fact more effective against a plain background. The minting of related series of coins may have inspired people to form collections and that would also have drawn attention to their message.”
Paul Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus (Univ. of Michigan Press, 1988), p. 54.