I believe this coin is Roman but I'd like that confirmed. Can anyone give an approximate date and any other information possible (maybe difficult as it is quite worn). It measures between 2.5cm and 2.7cm in diameter.


enter image description here

I'd also be interested to know (if possible) what it could have bought at the time (e.g. a loaf of bread?, a pair of shoes?).


Examining the coin in bright light under a magnifying glass, one can detect more than in the photos. Specifically, one can see 4 letters (circled below).

letters on coin

There are two letters inside the yellow circle AV, presumably the first two letters of 'AUGUSTUS', though I'm not sure this helps much.

Perhaps more useful are the letters in the white and blue circles. These letters look too far apart to be from the same word. The one inside the white circle looks like 'T' while the one inside the blue circle could be P, R or possibly even B.

If the second letter is R, I'm wondering if the two letters in the white and blue circles could be the first two letters of T R P (TRIBUNICIA POTESTATE)...

  • It was given to me by an uncle 20 or 25 years ago. All he said was that it was from the time of the Roman empire. Nov 17, 2017 at 13:50
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    It is Roman. The S.C. on the reverse stands for "Senatus Consulto" ("supported by the decree of the Senate") which was common on bronze coins from 27BC to 376AD. My first thought for the portrait on the obverse was Gaius, but it is so badly worn it's hard to be sure. Nov 17, 2017 at 13:52
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    @LarsBosteen I would guess it is a dupondius then, which coincidentally actually is about the price of a loaf of bread.
    – Semaphore
    Nov 17, 2017 at 15:35
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    Although we prefer the less worn coins, consider how many hands have touched this! This is the essence of numismatics: a common-place item, used, as the answer indicates, to buy bread by an unknown and unknowable person more than 2000 years ago. Never sell this, make sure a young person in your family who appreciates it gets it someday!
    – Jeff
    Nov 17, 2017 at 20:20
  • @Jeff. Love your comment. The real value of the coin lies in imagining the people who used it. Nov 17, 2017 at 22:12

3 Answers 3


Although the coin is quite worn, you can clearly on the reverse the inscription S C, meaning senatus consulto. This confirms that it is a Roman coin and probably one from an early period.

Based on the size and colour, your coin could be a dupondius which was worth 2 as or 1/8 of a denarius. In the early imperial period, this buy you perhaps one to two loafs of baked bread depending on the local prices.

The busts on most Roman coins face the right, so this is somewhat uncommon, and further points to something pre-Severan. It's hard to positively identify without inscriptions, though the obverse - to me anyway - looks rather similar to the Divus Augustus on this coin issued under Titus:

enter image description here

The figure on the reverse is too worn to be identifiable, but the position of "S C" fits several designs including Sicilia, Felicita, Aequitas, Victoria, Ceres, and Pax.

enter image description here
Example: Sicilia, wearing triskelis, standing left, holding crown and poppies

In general, the name of the figure depicted is inscribed on the left edge. The apparent lack of letters around the possible P for instance may suggest this might be Pax, though that doesn't explain the possible T character to its lower right.

Note that distance between letters does not prove they're from different words. It is quite common for letters to spaced far apart or unevenly, especially for shorter words.

enter image description here
Example: Pax, draped and holding branch cornucopia. Notice how the X is extremely distant from PA.

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    According to this site this most commonly occurred on bronze coins, which may help narrow the search (and provide some value information).
    – justCal
    Nov 17, 2017 at 15:14
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    I am accepting this answer as, although I don't think it is Titus, there is a lot of other useful information which really helped me find what I think is the answer. Nov 20, 2017 at 13:45
  • @LarsBosteen Oh, I meant the coin was issued during Titus's reign, not that it depicts Titus (Divus Augustus is the deified persona of Augustus). But I agree with you, it does look like an unbearded Antoninus Pius. What a rare find!
    – Semaphore
    Nov 20, 2017 at 14:33
  • Apologies for the misunderstanding :) Nov 20, 2017 at 14:36

After trawling through hundreds of coin images, I am reasonably sure that the emperor depicted in the coin in the question is Antoninus Pius (138 - 161 AD).

In the compilation below, the top left coin is the one in the question. The other coins are all confirmed as Antoninus Pius.

Antoninus Pius

Sources: https://www.ma-shops.com/roman-empire/antoninus-pius/?catid=717&lang=en&ajax=2z6 http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/ric/antoninus_pius/i.html

One thing that made identification difficult is that most Antoninus Pius coins show him with beard (perhaps to hide the rather prominent chin?).

  • I should add that without Semaphore's post and various helpful comments, I doubt if I would have been able find this (at least, not for another year or two...). Nov 20, 2017 at 23:43

Very difficult to identify, but pretty surely a "Claudius", many of them faced to the left, and the profile is very similar. Alas, hints don't help much...

What you think as "AUgustus" can be "AVG" (shortcut for AUGUSTUS of course). For blue/white circles that could be LIBERTAS.

face back face

Look at comptoir-des-monnaies.com or maybe comptoir-des-monnaises.com.

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