Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Augustus (27 BC-AD 14). AR denarius. NGC XF, bankers mark. Lugdunum, 12 BC. AVGVSTVS] - DIVI F, bare head of Augustus right / Capricorn right, holding globe; below, IMP · XI. RIC 174. RSC 147. Rare! Handsome high-relief portrait, lightly toned; tiny crescent baker's mark in reverse field.

    According to Suetonius, Gaius Octavius, later known as Augustus, was born the morning of September 23, 63 BC, under the sign of Capricorn. Modern astrologers tend to favor the sun sign, but the ancients believed the rising moon was more important in a horoscope, so it is more likely Capricorn was his moon sign. Later in life,  he placed great stress on his natal sign, as related in this account by Suetonius:

    "In his retirement at Apollonia (a Greek colony in Illyria), Augustus went with his friend Agrippa to visit Theogenes the astrologer in his gallery on the roof. Agrippa, who first consulted the fates, had great and almost incredible things predicted of him. Augustus therefore did not wish to make known his nativity, and persisted for some time in the refusal, from a mixture of shame and fear, lest his own fate should be predicted as inferior to that of Agrippa. When Augustus had been persuaded, however, after much importunity, to declare his nativity, Theogenes started up from his seat and paid him adoration. Not long afterwards, Augustus was so confident of the greatness of his destiny that he published his horoscope, and struck a silver coin bearing the image of Capricorn, the sign under which he was born."

    Why was the sign of Capricorn considered so important in establishing his right to rule? Three reasons suggest themselves: (1) Capricorn, in ancient times and now, was associated with stern moral authority; (2) Capricorn is the sign through which the sun passes at winter solstice and is, in a sense, reborn, like the Roman state in Augustus' propaganda; (3) Capricorn, then as now, was associated with the planet and god Saturn. According to Roman mythology, Saturn had come to live in Italy when his son Jupiter had kicked him out of heaven, and the age in which Saturn ruled as king over Italy was a "golden age" of paradise on earth. Virgil took up this theme in his treatment of Augustus' reign as a return of the Saturnian age. Late in life, Augustus issued a decree forbidding private or public persons from casting a horoscope, probably because he feared some of them might prove as auspicious as his and would incite a struggle for power upon his death. 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2017
    25th Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,332

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 43 days left to consign to the 2019 October 15 - 18 US Coins Signature Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    I found it reassuring that your appraisal of my coin was realistic.
    J.G. ,
    Red Rock, TX
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 July 11 - 14 Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando
    2019 July 11 - 14 Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando
    REALIZED $5,813,512
    2019 June 27 - 28 HKINF World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    2019 June 27 - 28 HKINF World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    REALIZED $3,112,945
    2019 June 26-28 HKINF World Paper Money Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    2019 June 26-28 HKINF World Paper Money Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    REALIZED $2,686,315