Denarius of Caligula and Germanicus

Denarius of Caligula and Germanicus

Denarius of Caligula and Germanicus. Silver roman coin with a portrait of the Emperor Caligula for one side and his father Germanicus in the other.

Period: Roman Empire

Country: Rome

Ruler: Caligula and Germanicus

Denomination: Denarius

Mint: Lugdunum (Lyon, France).

Weight: 3.67 g

Auction house: Harlan J. Berk

Date: 13 July 2017

Starting price: 7.800 USD

Historical context

When Germanicus died at Antioch in AD 19, the Roman world was plunged into mourning. His wife, Agrippina the Elder, han a conflict with the Emperor Tiberius, which led to the destruction of her family. However, this made Caligula (son of Germanicus, who was grandson of Augustus) to be the only male survivor directly related to Augustus once Tiberius died. Hence, Caligula was named Emperor in AD 37.

Caligula is always ranked among the worst and cruelest of all Roman emperors. It is clear that he was not a good Emperor. For this reason he issued coins representing himself and Germanicus, thus showing that his power came from his lineage. Interestingly, Caligula also issued very rare coins representing himself and his mother.


The price of the denarius of Caligula and Germanicus significantly increased during the last decade. Five to ten years ago nice specimens were sold for less than $10.000 (one example and another). By 2015 the price of these coins was much higher and they were hammered for $16.500 and even more. Later on we could even see specimens hammered for $26.000, although it is true that this specimen is better than the one now in the auction. Taking all this into consideration and seeing that not all the digits of the legend are clear, I would consider that $10.000 to $12.000 are reasonable hammer prices for the coin in auction.

Description from the seller

Caligula and Germanicus. Denarius
Caligula and Germanicus. Denarius; Caligula and Germanicus; 37-41 AD, Lugdunum, 37-8 AD, Denarius, 3.67g. BM-19, Paris-15, C-2 (25 Fr.), RIC-18 (R2). Obv: C CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR POT Laureate head of Caligula r. Rx: GERMANICVS CAES P C CAES AVG GERM Bare head of Germanicus r. These dies not illustrated in Giard’s Monnayage…de Lyon.Exceptional toned portraits



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