Sestertius of Agrippina Senior

By Geoffrey ……..

“It was, in my eyes, the perfect coin” The Love of a remarkable ageless Sestertius of Agrippina Senior. Now given a new provenance Nov 2015

This Sestertius coin was a lone piece amongst 200 of the world’s finest Greek & Roman in an Auction at Sotheby’s in the 1995; time has made me forget the full story of who told me about the item. I do remember visiting London and meeting Tom Eden specially to see it; if one can ‘love’ a coin at first site then I was bewitched by the brass Sestertius. I was to have it at any price, the ageless portrait smiled at me from the coin, she was beautiful and dignified and I had not realized that such a piece existed with such beauty.

An embarrassing story of total irresponsible action of any human being to mortgage to acquire a coin. Prior to the sale I deposited the deeds of our house to get a loan. We acquired the coin for which I had a large pictures on the wall in my study for many years, she is as beautiful as the day I met her. The donkeys with such minute details.

There are coins that I enjoy for the perfect quality and those that are a “work of art”; a few are ‘masterpieces’. I am asked what you mean by a ‘masterpiece’, ask ten people and get ten answers; everybody has his own opinion of what is a ‘masterpiece’. I am spending a lot of time considering this point. Is it were the artist has detached himself to create a piece of art that will last for time memoriam.

Such items are the Mona Lisa. David these are ‘masterpieces’. I suppose any item can be deemed a ‘masterpiece’. This artist created for Caesar a piece that would be treasured throughout time, a portrait of his mother, a coin that would never age in its beauty, maybe for several thousand years more and be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Sestertius of Agrippina Senior

Description and Details:


Draped bust r., hair falling. This coin is the cover coin of the ‘Women of the Female Caesars’ by Giorgio Giacosa [See Below].

A coin of incredible detail & condition from the ring holding the reigns of the donkeys to a portrait that launched a “love” to acquire the coin. Very few coins of this period exist in such a natural condition. 28.82 g. die axis 6.00.

The rev. S P Q R / MEMORIAE / AGRIPPINAE Carpentum drawn l. by two mules; the cover supported by standing figures at the corners with ornamented side.

Provenance: Petitioncrown
LVH 1995
Cahn (M&M)
Athos Moretti (1907-1993)

Agrippina Senior, one of the most tragically unfortunate women of Roman history. Agrippina was destined to achieve the highest possible status that did not happen. In 29AD she was deprived of her  freedom, and in 33AD of life itself. This sestertii dedicated to Agrippina was produced by her son Caligula, The inscription, SPQR MEMORIAE AGRIPPINAE, is itself dedicatory from the Senate and the Roman people to the memory of Agrippina.

Giorgio Giacosa wrote:-

This coin is the cover coin of the ‘Women of the Female Caesars’. You have the very best Agrippina the Elder I ever saw in my long numismatic life. The coin was – when I wrote my book – the property of Mr Athos Moretti (1907-1993), as were most of the coins illustrated in the book. The beautiful Agrippina was already in his collection in these early years. That is why you wrote on the invoice “Moretti – Italy”.
Athos Moretti was a Swiss gentlemen, based in Milano (Italy) and Bellinzona (Switzerland). He collected mainly Greek and Roman coins.

How the coin came in the hands of LVH, Moretti used to sell coin, mainly, but not only, to Cahn (MM), Mildenberg (Leu) and Russo (NAC).

At the sale in 1995 it was written ‘with a superb brown patina, extremely fine and virtually as struck, of a quality very seldom encountered on a Roman coin’

I chose the Agrippina as front cover coin because I thought it to be the best sestertius of Moretti’s collection and because Agrippina Senior is, on this coin, a woman of great beauty and dignity, a sort of “out-of-time “beauty. She has an appeal also today. I also felt that the magnificent lettering around the head of Agrippina was so perfectly “roman“. It was, in my eyes, the perfect coin.


Agrippina Senior Sestertiuses Currently Available on eBay



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.