AUGUSTUS SILVER CISTOPHORUS – CAPRICORN ISSUE OF EPHESUS – VF NGC GRADED ROMAN PROVINCIAL COIN OF THE 12 CAESARS (Inv. 18094)
ROMAN EMPIRE. AUGUSTUS, 27 BC – AD 14.
Silver Cistophorus, 11.72 g, 25 mm. Issue of Ephesus 27-26 BC.
Obv. IMP CAESAR, bare head of Augustus right, lituus in right field.
Rev. AVGVSTVS, capricorn right, with cornucopia, within wreath.
RIC I 488; RPC 2208.
NGC graded VF, Strike 5/5, Surface 3/5, “banker’s mark”.
The Capricorn is among the most interesting of all images on Augustus’ coinage since it was promoted as the emperor’s astrological sign guaranteeing his great rule and the prosperity that would accompany it. Even the Roman biographer, Suetonius, the man who wrote about the Twelve Caesars, mentioned the Capricorn: “From this moment (when an astrologer acknowledged Augustus’ greatness after reading his horoscope) he had such great faith in his own destiny that he made public his horoscope and later minted a silver coin with the Zodiac sign Capricorn, under which he was born” (Suetonius, Augustus, 94, as cited in Zanker’s The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus, p. 48).