This denarius is the famous elephant denarius of Julius Caesar. They were minted in the millions in 49-48 BCE. The obverse has an elephant trampling an object which could be a snake, a Carnyx (war trumpet), or even a dragon. There are many theories as the what the elephant represents. The one I find most interesting is the idea that Julius Caesar is the elephant and that the object, a snake for example, represents Pompey, his adversary.
On the reverse is a group of priestly implements. Julius Caesar was not only the ruler, he was also the chief priest. The objects include an Aspergillum (horse-haired sprinkler), a Culullus (a horn shaped vessel), an axe, and an Apex (a hat with a spike on top).
I wanted this coin because I was interested in the symbolism, and of course because one cannot have too many coins of Julius Caesar. I also like that this coin was owned by E. E. Clain-Stefanelli, a former curator at the Smithsonian.
Iulius Caesar. Denarius mint moving with Caesar 49-48., AR (18.66 mm., 3.85g).
Obv: Pontifical emblems: culullus, aspergillum, axe and apex.
Rev: Elephant r., trampling dragon; in exergue, CAESAR.
Babelon Julia 9. C 9. Sydenham 1006. Sear Imperators 9. RBW 1557. Crawford 443/1.
SRCV I (2000) 1399, RSC 49
Ex: E.E. Clain Stefanelli, Ex: Naville Numismatics Auction #25 Lot 378 September 25, 2016.