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Ephesus, Ca. 27 BC - AD 14
Octavian as Augustus Ar. cistophoric tetradrachm, Ephesus. IMP·CAE – SAR; Bare head right. Rev. AVGVSTVS Capricorn right, head reverted, carrying cornucopia on its back; all within laurel wreath. C 16; BMC 696; Sutherland group V; RIC 477; CBN 916; RPC 2213. Extremely fine.

The Capricorn at the centre of this reverse design exemplifies the variety of animal types that occur on Octavian/Augustus’ coinage, a trend that is unique among the Julio-Claudian emperors. The combination of Octavian’s birth sign with a cornucopia and laurel wreath likely symbolises the peace and prosperity bestowed on Rome by his successful military efforts.

This coin also demonstrates the continuation of established minting patterns under the Empire. The cistophoric tetradrachm, originally created by the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon in the 2nd Century BC, continued to be struck by emperors and constituted the value of three denarii. Ephesus was one of the chief sites of production for such tetradrachms.

For additional information see: Sear, D. R., 1988, Roman Coins and Their Values: 4th Edition. Spink Books.


  • Dimensions 

    D: 26mm ; 12.08g 


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