Roman Empire, Augustus - The Puns of the Republic Live On

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Punning allusions were a well-established tradition on coins of the Roman Republic, and we find a number of them on coins from the middle of Augustus’s reign. This superb denarius shows a flower in bloom with the moneyer’s name L. Aquillius Florus around it. The similarity of the Latin floris (meaning a flower or a blossom) to the moneyer’s name florus would not have been lost on recipients of this coin. That a coin type of such a personal nature was struck is evidence of Augustus’ desire to restore the semblance of the old Republican institutions. Indeed, he restored the appearance of moneyers’ names on coinage in 19 BC after they had been absent for more than a generation. Augustus allowed moneyers to strike coins with their names and personalized designs until 12 BC and thereafter he allowed the tradition to linger until 4 BC in a somewhat more constrained fashion with moneyers’ names still appearing on dupondii, asses and quadrantes of generic designs.

Augustus AR Denarius. L. Aquillius Florus, moneyer. Rome, 19-18 BC. CAESAR AVGVSTVS, bare head of Augustus right / L•AQVILLIVS FLORVS•III•VIR, open flower with six petals seen from above. RIC 309; BMC 46; BN 183; C. 364. 3.57g, 21mm.

Very Rare. Fleur De Coin. A bright, lustrous and exceptionally sharp example of this very rare type. Certainly one of the finest known.