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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Collateral Semilibral Struck AE Sextans - Crawford 39
Rome, The Republic.
Anonymous (Semilibral) Series, 217-215 BCE.
AE Sextans (25.91g; 29mm).
Uncertain Italian Mint.

Obverse: She-wolf facing right, head turned left, suckling the twins, Romulus & Remus; ●● (mark-of-value) below.

Reverse: Eagle facing right with flower in beak; ROMA to right; ●● (mark-of-value) behind.

References: Crawford 39/3; Sydenham 95; BMCRR (Romano-Campanian) 120-124; RBW 107.

Provenance: Ex Reinhold Faelton Collection [Stack's (20-2 Jan 1938) Lot 923]; Otto Helbing Auction (24 Oct 1927) Lot 3267.

The economic hardship imposed by Hannibalís invasion led to a rapid decline in the weight of Roman bronze coins, resulting in the adoption of a semi-libral bronze standard (AE As of Ĺ Roman pound) and eventual elimination of cast coins. From 217-215, Rome produced two, contemporaneous series of struck bronzes on this new, semi-libral weight standard. From hoard evidence, we know the first of the two series was Crawford 38, consisting of ďprowĒ types derived from the libral and semi-libral prow Aes Grave (Crawford 35 and 36) that preceded it. These "prow" coins were almost certainly produced in Rome and likely also in satellite military mints as needed. The second series of struck semi-libral bronzes was the enigmatic Crawford 39 series, with its unusual types, production of which commenced after the start of the 38 Series prow-types (hoards containing 39s almost always include 38s) and produced in much smaller numbers than the huge 38 Series.

The types on the Crawford 39 series are entirely pro-Roman, at a time that the Republic was in dire straits under threat of Hannibalís invasion. This Sextans depicts the favorable founding of Rome, with the She-wolf suckling the Cityís mythical founders, Romulus and Remus, on one side, and a powerful eagle bringing them additional nourishment or good omen on the other. This is the first depiction of the Wolf and Twins on a Roman bronze coin, the scene previously being depicted on a silver didrachm circa 269 BCE (Crawford 20/1).

Reinhold Faelton (1856 - 1949) was a musician, composer, the Dean and founder in 1897 of the Faelton Pianoforte School of Boston, Massachusetts, and a coin collector for over 50 years. His collection of ancient coins was sold by Stacks in January 1938. This Stack's catalogue was one of the earliest to feature photographs of actual ancient coins in the plates, rather than photos of plaster casts of the coins (which was the standard at the time). The resulting plates were mixed-quality but mostly poor, making it an arduous task to use this catalogue for provenance matching.
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Album name:Carausius / Second Punic War (218-200 BCE)
File Size:164 KB
Date added:Nov 16, 2019
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curtislclay  [Nov 25, 2019 at 06:51 PM]
Nice coin, pedigree, and write-up!