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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Plautius Plancus, AR Denarius
Rome. The Republic.
L. Plautius Plancus, 47 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.94g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: L∑PLAVTIVS; Facing mask of Medusa with coiled snakes on each side.

Reverse: PLANCVS; Victory facing, leading four horses and holding palm.

References: Crawford 453/1a; HCRI 29; Sydenham 959; BMCRR 4006; Plautia 14.

Provenance: Ex The New York Sale Auction XXXII (8 Jan 2014) Lot 205; NAC 54 (24 Mar 2010), Lot 256.

Lucius Plautius Plancus was a brother of L. Munatius Plancus, who became Prefect of the City under Caesar. Lucius was adopted by L. Plautius. In 47 BCE, Lucius was a moneyer and produced this coin. Two styles of the obverse were produced, one with coiled snakes on either side of Medusa's head; the other without snakes.

In 43 BCE, Lucius was proscribed by the Second Triumvirate and executed. The same year of Luciusí proscription and execution, his brother, L. Munatius Plancus, placed in the capitol a painting by the 4th century BCE, Greek artist, Nicomachus of Thebes in which Victory is driving a quadriga and holding a palm. David Sear, in ďHistory and Coinage of the Roman ImperatorsĒ suggests that Lucius may have owned the Nicomachus painting in 47 BCE (it would have passed to his brother upon his execution) and that the reverse of this coin was inspired by the painting. Sear is not the first numismatist to have proposed this theory regarding the Nicomachus painting. Eckhel had an equally conjectural theory for this coin type that connected the devices to a story involving one of Luciusí ancestors as the basis for an annual celebration in Rome where masks were worn.

Regardless of the true derivation and meaning of the type, the coin is a remarkably artistic design for the period, and surely the devices must have some connection to the moneyerís natural or adopted family.
File information
Album name:Carausius / Imperatorial (49-27 BCE)
File Size:1751 KB
Date added:Jul 02, 2018
Dimensions:3816 x 1866 pixels
Displayed:62 times
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laney  [Jul 02, 2018 at 02:42 PM]
That's an extremely interesting coin. Gorgeous too.
PMah  [Jul 04, 2018 at 10:31 PM]
Superb example! A complex coin that almost always has something that disrupts the reverse, but yours is nearly pristine.
Norbert  [Jul 15, 2018 at 08:00 PM]
A wonderful coin. In my eyes one of the most fascinating reverses and in wonderful condition.