Tiberius. 14-37 AD. Rome.

Tiberius. 14-37 AD. Rome.


AR Denarius, 3.84g (19mm, 2h). TI CΛESΛR DIVI ΛVG F ΛVGVSTVS, laureate head right / PONTIF MΛXIM, Livia (as Pax) seated right on chair, holding scepter in right hand and olive branch in left; plain chair legs, double line below.

Pedigree: Ex HJB BBS 197, 27 April 2016, lot 197

References: RIC I 30. RSC 16A. BMCRE 48. BN 28

Grade: EF (re1075c)

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The Tiberius “Tribute Penny” is a coin that is popular not only among collectors, but also among Christians. While Tiberius was not directly responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, he also was not without guilt. Tiberius was emperor and placed Pontius Pilate as Roman prefect of Judea, who condemned Christ to death.  The Tribute Penny is biblically significant because it was the coin that was shown to Jesus when he made his famous speech about “rendering unto Caesar”. Tiberius struck only a few types in silver, however, the portrait styles can vary dramatically. Some have a portrait more reminiscent to his step-father and first emperor, Augustus.  Others appear to be more in-line with what Tiberius actually looked like. This coin is more like the latter. His mother is on the reverse of the coin. Livia was a strong woman in her time and was considered to be a strong advisor to her second husband Augustus. Her first husband, Tiberius Claudius Nero, was forced to divorce Livia when Augustus became smitten with her while still married to Scribonia.