Bust types on coins

With the exception of a few rare facing portraits, Roman coins normally have a right of left facing profile on the obverse. The headdresses and dress of the emperor vary greatly, but the following common types should be noted. The headdress of the emperor is particularly important as it can help to determine the denomination of the coin.


  • Bare-headed
  • Laureate (crown of laurel leaves)
  • Radiate (crown of sun rays)
  • Pearl-diademed (band of pearls)
  • Rosette-diademed (band of pearls and rosettes)
  • Helmeted
  • Veiled


  • Draped (wearing toga)
  • Cuirassed (wearing breastplate)
  • Draped and cuirassed (It is often only the finger-like shoulder protectors of the breastplate that are visible beneath the drapery)
  • Drapery on left shoulder
  • Consular robes (ornate dress of the Roman consul)
  • Aegis (snake skin cloak with gorgon-head fastener)


  • Holding spear
  • Holding spear and with shield on shoulder
  • Holding sceptre
  • Holding eagle topped sceptre
  • Holding globe
  • Holding Victory on globe ( Victoriola )

Multiple heads

  • Jugate (overlapping) busts (double)
  • Jugate (overlapping) busts (triple)
  • Facing busts