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Last additions - Carausius
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Marc Antony, AR Denarius - Crawford 488/250 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Marcus Antonius. 43 BCE.
AR Denarius (4.19g; 19mm).
Military mint in Cisalpine Gaul.

Obverse: M.A[NTON IMP RPC]; Antony's bare, bearded head facing right; lituus behind.

Reverse: CAESAR DIC; Laureate head of Julius Caesar facing right; jug behind.

References: Crawford 488/2; HCRI 123; Sydenham 1166; BMCRR (Gaul) 55; Antonia 5-6.

Provenance: Ex Roma E-Live Auction 1 (25-6 Jul 2018) Lot 531; Bernard Poindessault Collection [Oger-Blanchet (17 Nov 2017) Lot 148]; Edouard Schott Collection [E. Bourgey (21 Mar 1972) Lot 337].

This is one of Antony’s earliest issues following the creation of the Second Triumvirate with Octavian and Lepidus. The titulature "RPC" (tip of "C" just barely visible beneath Antony’s portrait on this specimen) reflects the new status. Antony is depicted with a slight beard of mourning, as is Octavian on his coins until the defeat of the Tyrannicides at Philippi the following year. Both Antony and Caesar have symbols of the augurate behind their portraits, as both were members of the college of augurs, and this served to highlight their common bond. The somewhat comical portrait style is reflective of the military mint, with limited die engraver talent.
3 commentsCarausiusJun 23, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Anonymous, AE Litra - Crawford 16/1a16 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous. 275-270 BCE.
AE Litra (9.89g; 22mm).
Southern Italian Mint.

Obverse: Nymph’s head, facing right, wearing diadem.

Reverse: Lion walking right, head facing; ROMANO in exergue.

References: Crawford 16/1a; Syd 5; BMCRR (Romano-Campanian) 23-27; RBW 10.

Provenance: NAC 114 (7 May 2019) Lot 1241; Hoskier Collection [Hess (15 Feb 1934) Lot 543].

Based on fabric, and style, this early Roman struck bronze was probably produced in southern Italy. The flan, which appears to have been cast with hemispheric molds that leave characteristic edge sprues, is typical of Neapolitan coins of similar age. The lion on the reverse is sometimes shown with a spear in its mouth and sometimes not. There is no spear evident on this coin.
1 commentsCarausiusJun 14, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L Series, AE As - Crawford 97/22a16 viewsRome, The Republic.
L Series. 211-208 BCE.
AE As (27.67g; 37mm).
Luceria Mint.

Obverse: Janus head; --- (mark of values) above; L below.

Reverse: Prow to right; ROMA below; I (mark of value) above.

References: Crawford 97/22a; RBW 417-419.

Provenance: Ex Ambrose Collection [Roma X (9 Sept 2015), Lot 659]; Tkalek AG (8 Sept 2008), Lot 236.

Possibly over-struck, though the under-type is not attributable.

1 commentsCarausiusJun 14, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Anonymous, AE Half-Litra - Crawford 26/413 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous. 234-231 BCE.
AE Half Litra (1.58g; 12mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Roma in Phrygian helmet, facing right.

Reverse: Dog prancing toward right; ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 26/4; BMCRR (Romano-Campanian) 44-48.

Provenance: Ex NAC 84 (20 May 2015), Lot 765; purchased privately from Or Gestion Numismatique (Paris) in 2009.
1 commentsCarausiusJun 14, 2019
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, M. Arrius Secundus, AR Denarius - Crawford 513/221 viewsRome, The Imperators.
M. Arrius Secundus. 41 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.82g; 20mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: M. ARRIVS - SECVNDVS; bare head, with slight beard, facing right.

Reverse: Victory honors - wreath, spear and phalera.

References: Crawford 513/2; HCRI 319; Sydenham 1084; BMCRR 4210; Arria 2.

Provenance: Nomisma 59 (14 May 2019) Lot 134; Munzen und Medaillen XIX (5-6 Jun 1959) Lot 172; Munzhandlung Basel 10 (15 Mar 1938) Lot 486.

M. Arrius Secundus was likely son of Quintus Arrius, who had a victory in the Servile War against one of Spartacus’ lieutenants, but subsequently lost a battle to Spartacus himself. He was the only member of his gens to strike coins, and not much else is known about him.

The slightly-bearded, obverse portrait, while probably depicting the moneyer’s father, Quintus Arrius, also bears a striking resemblance to contemporaneous portraits of Octavian. However, without any inscription naming Caesar, a positive identification of the portrait remains debated by scholars. David Sear suggests that the portrait is deliberately ambiguous, as the political and military climate was very risky and the moneyer likely wanted plausible deniability that the portrait was Octavian. The reverse shows awards of victory granted to the moneyer’s father for his Servile War victory: a laurel wreath, golden spear and phalera (a military decoration attached to a harness and worn over a cuirass).
2 commentsCarausiusJun 14, 2019
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Cassius, AR Denarius - Crawford 500/116 viewsRome, The Imperators.
C. Cassius Longinus. 44-42 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.38g; 20mm).
Military Mint in Smyrna.

Obverse: C. CASSI – IMP; tripod with cauldron and laurel fillets.

Reverse: LENTVLVS SPINT; jug and lituus.

References: Crawford 500/1; HCRI 219; Sydenham 1308; BMCRR (East) 79; Cassia 14.

Provenance: Nomisma 59 (14 May 2019) Lot 121; P&P Santamaria (4 May 1961) Lot 168.

This coin was struck for Cassius, one of the chief assassins of Julius Caesar, when Brutus and Cassius met in Smyrna, circa early 42 BCE. The tripod obverse type was borrowed from a slightly earlier Aureus produced for Cassius by his legate, M. Aquinus. The tripod may reference Cassius’ membership in one of the sacred colleges. Cassius was elected to the augurate in 57 BCE, to which the implements on the reverse of this coin certainly allude. The coin was produced on Cassius’ behalf by P. Cornelius Lentulus Spinther, who also produced coins for Brutus at the same time. For more information on Spinther, see my example of his Brutus denarius at: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-145289

Until the discovery of a large, mint-state, hoard in the early 2000’s, this was one of the rarest types in the Roman Republican series. While recent hoard examples of the type are scarce, old provenanced examples, like this, remain extremely rare.
2 commentsCarausiusJun 14, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Anonymous, AE Double Litra - Crawford 17/1a11 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous. Before 269 BCE.
AE Double Litra (5.7g; 18mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Goddess in crested Corinthian helmet, facing left.

Reverse: Bridled horse head on base, facing right; ROMANO behind.

References: Crawford 17/1a; Sydenham 3; BMCRR (Rom-Camp) 6-7.

Provenance: Ex Dan Clark Collection (active 1980s-1990s).

CarausiusJun 14, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Anonymous, AE Litra - Crawford 25/310 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous. 241-235 BCE.
AE Litra (2.67g; 15mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Beardless head of Mars in crested Corinthian helmet, facing right.

Reverse: Bridled horse head facing right; sickle behind; ROMA below.

References: Crawford 25/3; Sydenham 26; BMCRR (Romano-Campanian) 64-67.

Provenance: Ex Volteia Collection.

This series is the first Roman coinage to bear the inscription ROMA, a change from the earlier ROMANO inscriptions. The early ROMANO inscriptions may have been either an abbreviation of the genitive plural ROMANORVM (“of the Romans”) or dative ROMANO (“by the Romans”) either of which would be similar grammar to Greek coin inscriptions. The move to the nominative case ROMA, may have been a simple shift to Roman/Latin usage consistent with the coinage taking on a more “Roman” character, as minting activity had moved from southern Italy to Rome many years before. The sickle symbol on the reverse, as well as common devices across denominations, links this issue to contemporaneous Roman silver didrachms also bearing the sickle. This marks the first time in the emerging Roman coinage that a clear-intentioned, bi-metallic series emission can be established.
CarausiusJun 14, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Q. Pomponius Musa, AR Denarius - Crawford 410/318 viewsRome, The Republic.
Q. Pomponius Musa, mid-50s BCE
AR Denarius (3.58g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo(?), hair tied-up, facing right; tied scroll behind.

Reverse: Q. POMPONI – MVSA; Clio, muse of history, facing left and leaning on column, while reading open scroll.

References: Crawford 410/3; Sydenham 813; BMCRR 3610-11; Pomponia 11.

Provenance: Ex Heritage Auction 3072 (15 Jan 2019), Lot 35407; E.J. Haeberlin Collection [Cahn-Hess (17 Jul 1933) Lot 2490].

As the muse of history, Clio is typically depicted in ancient art with an open scroll or tablet.

Q. Pomponius Musa, who punned his name by depicting the Muses on a series of coins, is unknown except for his coins, which makes precise dating of the series difficult. For many years, scholars (including Crawford) dated the series to 66 BCE. However, the absence of any examples of the series in the large Mesagne hoard caused Hersh and Walker to bring down the date of the series to 56 BCE. Michael Harlan, retracting his reticence with the Mesagne dating, later proposed a date of 52 BCE.

There are two varieties of Musa denarii: the first depicts Apollo/Hercules Musarum (see my gallery example); the second, of which there are nine sub-varieties, depict Apollo and a Muse. The above coin is of the second variety.

Apollo is often depicted androgynously on ancient coins. The standard references consistently attribute the obverse heads on both varieties of Musa’s coins as Apollo; but the depictions are notably different between the Hercules and Muse varieties. On the Hercules variety, the deity’s hair is down and tied, and generally consistent with many depictions of Apollo on other Roman Republican coins (see, e.g., denarii of L. Calpurnius Piso and C. Calpurnius Piso). Comparatively, the head on the above Muse variety is considerably more feminine in appearance and laureate, though lacking earrings, necklaces or other feminine accents. Admittedly, this more feminine type head has also been attributed by scholars as Apollo on other coin types (see, e.g., denarii of P. Clodius and C. Considius). However, within the same series the different styled heads appear to depict different deities. Given the Muse emblems behind each head on the nine Muse types, it’s possible that the feminine heads do not represent Apollo, but the Muses themselves. Michael Harlan agrees with this interpretation in both editions of "Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins." More research on this issue is needed.
3 commentsCarausiusMar 31, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Q. Pomponius Musa, AR Denarius - Crawford 410/48 viewsRome, The Republic.
Q. Pomponius Musa, mid-50s BCE
AR Denarius (3.96g; 18mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo(?), hair tied-up, facing right; scepter behind.

Reverse: MVSA - Q.POMPONI; Melpomene, muse of tragedy, facing left and holding club and theatrical mask.

References: Crawford 410/4; Sydenham 816; BMCRR 3615-16; Pomponia 14.

Provenance: Ex Fay Beth Wedig Collection [CNG eSale 439 (6 Mar 2019) Lot 442]; NAC 11 (29 Apr 1998), Lot 253.

Q. Pomponius Musa, who punned his name by depicting the Muses on a series of coins, is unknown except for his coins, which makes precise dating of the series difficult. For many years, scholars (including Crawford) dated the series to 66 BCE. However, the absence of any examples of the series in the large Mesagne hoard caused Hersh and Walker to bring down the date of the series to 56 BCE. Michael Harlan, retracting his reticence with the Mesagne dating, later proposed a date of 52 BCE.

There are two varieties of Musa denarii: the first depicts Apollo/Hercules Musarum (see my gallery example); the second, of which there are nine sub-varieties, depict Apollo and a Muse. The above coin is of the second variety.

Apollo is often depicted androgynously on ancient coins. The standard references consistently attribute the obverse heads on both varieties of Musa’s coins as Apollo; but the depictions are notably different between the Hercules and Muse varieties. On the Hercules variety, the deity’s hair is down and tied, and generally consistent with many depictions of Apollo on other Roman Republican coins (see, e.g., denarii of L. Calpurnius Piso and C. Calpurnius Piso). Comparatively, the head on the above Muse variety is considerably more feminine in appearance and laureate, though lacking earrings, necklaces or other feminine accents. Admittedly, this more feminine type head has also been attributed by scholars as Apollo on other coin types (see, e.g., denarii of P. Clodius and C. Considius). However, within the same series the different styled heads appear to depict different deities. Given the Muse emblems behind each head on the nine Muse types, it’s possible that the feminine heads do not represent Apollo, but the Muses themselves. Michael Harlan agrees with this interpretation in both editions of "Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins." More research on this issue is needed.

Melpomene, whose name actually means “songstress” was originally one of the muses of song, but her role changed to muse of tragic theater after the development of drama in classical Greece sometime in the sixth century BCE. She is generally depicted holding a club or knife and a tragic mask, which Greek actors wore on stage when performing dramatic plays.
2 commentsCarausiusMar 31, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Piso Frugi, AR Denarius - Crawford 340/111 viewsRome, The Republic
L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi, 90 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.78g; 19mm)
Rome mint.

Obv: Laureate head of Apollo facing right; N (control mark) below chin.

Rev: Horseman galloping to right, holding whip; dolphin above; L·PISO·FRVG and ROMA below.

References: Crawford 340/1; Sydenham 658a; Hersh Class IV, Series 20.

Provenance: Ex Spink & Son Ltd; Mario Ratto Fixed Price List (Feb 1966) Lot 297.

Apparently overstruck with remnants of undertype visible on reverse.

L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi was moneyer in 90 BCE, during the time of the Social War. He later attained the office of Praetor in 74 BCE, but did not appear to distinguish himself further.

The Social War was a civil war between Rome and her Italian allies who had broken-away in a demand for citizenship rights. It was a time of massive coinage output by the Rome mints, likely to pay the costs associated with the conflict. As a result, Frugi’s coins are among the most common in the entire Roman Republican series. Crawford estimates 864 obverse and 1080 reverse dies were used to produce Frugi’s denarii. Both obverse and reverse dies bear control marks of varying complexity, and no control mark has more than one die. The earlier dies in the series which bear ROMA, either spelled-out (as on this coin) or in monogram, in the reverse exergue, are typically of finer style than the later dies without ROMA or monogram. For another fine-style example with ROMA in monogram form, see my gallery coin at: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-146453

This type alludes to the annual celebration of the Ludi Apollinares instituted by Frugi’s ancestor during the Second Punic War. These games were held at the Circus Maximus in July of each year and lasted 8 or 9 days, consisting of horse racing and performances.
2 commentsCarausiusMar 23, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Semilibral Struck AE Quadrans (Crawford 39)0 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, Semilibral Reduction, 217-215 BCE.
AE Struck Quadrans (38.77g; 31mm).
Uncertain Italian Mint.

Obverse: Youthful head of Hercules in boarskin headdress, facing right; three pellets (mark of value=3 unciae) behind.

Reverse: Bull leaping right, snake below; three pellets (mark of value = 3 unciae) above; ROMA below.

Reference: Crawford 39/2; Sydenham 94; BMCRR (Romano-Campanian) 116.

Provenance: Ex SKA/Credit Suisse (Bern) 7 (27-29 Apr 1987), Lot 656; Dr. Busso Peus Auction 300 (28 Oct 1980), Lot 206.

This coin is part of a short-lived, semi-libral series, struck collateral to the standard prow types (Crawford 38) in 217-215 BC. The economic hardship on Rome imposed by Hannibal’s 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 ½ Roman pound) and eventual elimination of cast coins. The Series 39 types and their relationship to contemporaneous Second Punic War events are interesting to ponder. Hercules is an important figure, appearing on two of the 10 available sides of the series. Likely this is a paradigm of Roman strength and heroism during the War. While Crawford attributes this series to the Rome mint, I believe the types and fabric of the coins are inconsistent with the contemporaneous, Crawford 38 prow types which are also attributed to Rome.

Frequent visitors to my gallery may notice that this coin is a duplicate of a coin already in my collection. Indeed, I recently chose to upgrade my original specimen (viewable here: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-143993 ) with this companion. The type is difficult to find as well preserved as this specimen, so when I saw this coin, I snatched it up. For now, I’ll keep them both. The pair illustrates the general fabric of this series – well made, conical flans, likely produced in open moulds; flat fields (struck from flat-planed dies); and generally low relief.

CarausiusMar 02, 2019
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, L. Valerius Acisculus, AR Denarius - Crawford 474/1b - SEAR PLATE COIN!10 viewsRome, The Republic.
L. Valerius Acisculus, 45 BCE.
AR Denarius (4.17g; 21mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Filleted head of Apollo facing right; star above; pick-axe and ACISCVLVS behind; all within a wreath border.

Reverse: Europa riding bull to right with billowing veil; L VALERIVS in exergue.

References: Crawford 474/1b; HCRI 90a; Sydenham 998a; BMCRR 4102; Sear RCV I 469/2 (this coin illustrated); Banti 35/2 (this coin illustrated); Valeria 16.

Provenance: Ex Student and his Mentor Collection [NAC 83 (2015) Lot 442]; Credit de la Bourse (1995) Lot 1146; Munzen und Medaillen Liste 412 (1979), Lot 43; E.J. Haeberlin Collection [Cahn-Hess (17 Jul 1933) Lot 2800].

L. Valerius Acisculus issued an interesting series of types in 45 BCE. Not much is known about the moneyer except that he was also a Tribune of the Plebs. The pick-axe on obverse of these types is a punning allusion to the moneyer’s name, as the Latin word for pick-axe is “acisculus”. Scholars have long debated the meanings of the other devices, some going to great lengths to argue connections to the moneyer’s family. However, more recently, Crawford and Sear both concluded that the types, including the laurel wreath border on the obverse of this coin, likely allude to Julius Caesar’s military successes against Pompey and in the East.
2 commentsCarausiusMar 02, 2019
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, L. Valerius Acisculus, AR Denarius - Crawford 474/51 viewsRome, The Republic.
L. Valerius Acisculus, 45 BCE.
AR Denarius (4.17g; 22mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Radiate, draped head of Sol facing right; pick-axe and ACISCVLVS behind

Reverse: Luna in biga galloping right; L. VALERIVS in exergue.

References: Crawford 474/5; HCRI 94; Sydenham 1002; BMCRR 4110; FFC 1171 (this coin illustrated); Valeria 20.

Provenance: Ex Jose Fernandez Molina Collection [Aureo & Calico Alba Longa Auction (7 Nov 2018) Lot 716]; NAC 18 (29 Mar 2000) Lot 337.

L. Valerius Acisculus issued an interesting series of types in 45 BCE. Not much is known about the moneyer except that he was also a Tribune of the Plebs. The pick-axe on obverse of these types is a punning allusion to the moneyer’s name, as the Latin word for pick-axe is “acisculus”. Scholars have long debated the meanings of the other devices, some going to great lengths to argue connections to the moneyer’s family. However, more recently, Crawford and Sear both concluded that the types likely allude to Julius Caesar’s military successes against Pompey and in the East. The obverse of this coin, in particular, is likely a nod to Caesar's eastern victories, with Sol's cult having a strong eastern following.

CarausiusMar 02, 2019
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Octavian, AR Denarius20 viewsRome. The Imperators.
Octavian, 44-27 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.92g; 20mm).
Italian Mint, Summer 30-29 BCE.

Obverse: Octavian’s bare head, facing right.

Reverse: Roman Senate House; IMP CAESAR on architrave.

References: RIC 266; HCRI 421; BMCRR 4358; Julia 161.

Provenance: Ex Heritage Auction 3063 (16 Jan 2018) Lot 33381; Spink Num. Circ. Vol LXXVIII, No. 6 (June 1970), inv. #6871, pl. 11.

The coin celebrates the dedication of the Curia Julia, a new meeting house for the Roman Senate, construction of which was commenced under Julius Caesar and completed by Octavian circa 29 BCE. Julius Caesar was assassinated at the Theater of Pompey where the Senate was meeting while construction of this new Senate house was underway. It is both ironic and politically astute that Octavian should commemorate this new Senate house on a coin, given that his hold on power made the Senate effectively irrelevant. The structure still stands today, having been restored through the imperial period and later converted to a church.
3 commentsCarausiusFeb 17, 2019
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Octavian, AR Denarius - Crawford 538/116 viewsRome. The Imperators.
Octavian, 44-27 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.79g; 20mm).
Italian Mint, Summer 37 BCE.

Obverse: IMP CAESAR-DIVI·F·III·VIR·ITER R·P·C; Octavian’s bare head, bearded and facing right.

Reverse: COS·ITER·ET·TER·DESIG; Simpulum, aspergillum, jug and lituus.

References: Crawford 538/1; Sydenham 1334; HCRI 312; BMCRR (Gaul) 116.

Provenance: Ex Ernst Ploil Collection [NAC 101 (24 Oct 2017), Lot 41]; Peus 386 (26 Apr 2006), Lot 663; Astarte 5 (1999), Lot 703.

The obverse inscription records the renewal of the second triumvirate in 37 BCE.
4 commentsCarausiusFeb 17, 2019
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Brutus, AR Denarius - Crawford 502/211 viewsRome. The Imperators.
Brutus, 44-42 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.76g; 17mm).
Military Mint, Spring-Summer 42 BCE.

Obverse: L·SESTI - PRO·Q; Veiled and draped bust of Libertas, facing right.

Reverse: Q·CAEPIO·BRVTVS·PRO·COS; Tripod with axe on left and simpulum on right.

References: Crawford 502/2; HCRI 201; Syd 1290; BMCRR East 41; Junia 37; Sestia 2.

Provenance: Ex Alan J. Harlan Collection [Triton XXII (9 Jan 2019), Lot 951]; Kunker 288 (13 Mar 2017) Lot 314; Theodor Prowe Collection [Hess (20 May 1912) Lot 933].

Marcus Junius Brutus was posthumously adopted by his maternal uncle, Quintus Servilius Caepio. Afterward, Brutus sometimes used the name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, which both honored his uncle and advertised his maternal descent from Gaius Servilius Structus Ahala. Ahala was a Roman Republican hero who had killed someone with regal aspirations. In his early political career, Brutus issued coins with the portrait of Ahala on one side (see Crawford 433/2; http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-144687). Following the assassination of Caesar, Brutus resurrected his use of the name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, as on this coin, again alluding to this Servilian connection in his family tree. Combined with the bust of Liberty on the obverse of this coin, the message is clear: that the assassins were liberators from monarchy in the old Republican tradition of their ancestors. The reverse shows the symbols of Brutus’ membership in the college of priests.

This example comes from the collection of Theodor Prowe of Moscow, one of the great collections of the early 20th century, which was auctioned in three separate 1912 sales by Bruder Egger (Greek) and Hess (Roman).
2 commentsCarausiusFeb 17, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC - Didrachm - Crawford 25/114 viewsRome. The Republic.
Anonymous, 241-235 BCE.
AR Didrachm (6.62g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Helmeted head of beardless Mars with crested Corinthian helmet decorated with gryphon, facing right.

Reverse: Bridled horse head facing right; sickle to left; ROMA below.

References: Crawford 25/1; Sydenham 24; BMCRR (Romano-Campanian) 57.

Provenance: Ex Ed Waddell inventory #7484 (c. 1985).

This didrachm series is the first Roman silver coinage to bear the inscription ROMA, a change from the earlier ROMANO inscriptions. The early ROMANO inscriptions may have been either an abbreviation of the genitive plural ROMANORVM (“of the Romans”) or dative ROMANO (“by the Romans”) either of which would be similar grammar to Greek coin inscriptions. The move to the nominative case ROMA, may have been a simple shift to Roman/Latin usage consistent with the coinage taking on a more “Roman” character, as minting activity had moved from southern Italy to Rome many years before. The sickle symbol on the reverse, as well as common devices across denominations, links this didrachm issue to contemporaneous Roman bronze coinage also bearing the sickle. This marks the first time in the emerging Roman coinage that a clear-intentioned, bi-metallic series emission can be established.
3 commentsCarausiusFeb 17, 2019
AntonyLeg2.jpg
ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Antony Legion II Denarius13 viewsRome. The Imperators.
Marcus Antonius, 44-31 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.64g; 17mm).
Military Mint traveling with Antony, 32-1 BCE.

Obverse: ANT AVG III VIR R P C; galley facing right.

Reverse: LEG II; Aquilia between two standards.

References: Crawford 544/14; Sydenham 1216; HCRI 349; BMCRR East 190-92; Antonia 105.

Provenance: Ex Pat Coyle Coll. [Goldberg Auction 69 (29 May 2012) Lot 3471]; NAC 40 (16 May 2007), Lot 624.

Produced by Antony in the lead-up to his final defeat at Actium by Octavian’s navy (commanded by Agrippa), the legionary series was a huge issue that recognized 23 legions under Antony’s command. These coins would continue to circulate throughout the Empire for several centuries after Antony’s loss, partly because their notoriously debased silver discouraged hoarding. Forty examples of the LEG II variety appeared in the 1905 Delos hoard of 604 Antony Legionary denarii, making it one of the most common varieties of the series.

The Legio II was likely a legion that was disbanded after Actium.
2 commentsCarausiusFeb 05, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, M. Marcius, AR Denarius - Crawford 245/18 viewsRome, The Republic.
M. Marcius, 134 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.95g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma facing right; modius behind; * below chin.

Reverse: Victory in biga galloping right; two wheat ears and M-MAR-C below; RO-MA in exergue.

References: Crawford 245/1; Sydenham 500; BMCRR 1008-13; Marcia 8.

One of the moneyer’s ancestors was an aedile in charge grain distribution to the Roman people, and the modius and wheat ears refer to this family connection.
1 commentsCarausiusFeb 04, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Prawn Series, AR Denarius - Crawford 156/111 viewsRome. The Republic.
Anonymous Prawn Series, 179-169 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.87g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma facing right; behind, X.

Reverse: Luna in biga galloping right; prawn below horses; in exergue, ROMA in linear frame.

References: Crawford 156/1; Sydenham 343; BMCRR 585.

Provenance: Ex Frederick S. Knobloch Collection [Stack's, 3-4 May 1978, Lot 97].
2 commentsCarausiusFeb 04, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, P. Maenius Antias, AR Denarius - Crawford 249/17 viewsRome, The Republic.
P. Maenius M.f. Antias, 132 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.88g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma facing right; * behind.

Reverse: Victory in quadriga galloping right; P. MAE ANT below; ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 249/1; Sydenham 492; BMCRR 988-90; Maenia 7.

Provenance: Ex Stack's Auction, 14-15 June 1971, Lot 109.

The reverse refers to the moneyer’s ancestor, C. Maenius, consul in 338 BCE, who had a victory over the Latins near Antium and received the surname Antias or Antiaticus. Antium was a Volscian city that was in revolt at the time. The rams of the ships of Antium were taken by Rome and used to adorn the Rostrum in the Roman Forum.

CarausiusJan 09, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Q. Cassius Longinus, AR Denarius - Crawford 428/324 viewsRome, The Republic.
Q. Cassius Longinus, 55 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.91g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Bonus Eventus or Genius of the Roman People head facing right; scepter behind.

Reverse: Eagle on thunderbolt, facing right; lituus to left; jug to right; Q CASSIVS below.

References: Crawford 428/3; Sydenham 916; BMCRR 3868; Cassia 7.

Provenance: Ex Fernandez Collection [Aureo & Calico Alba Longa Auction (7 Nov 2018) Lot 227].

The identity of the head on the obverse is in doubt. Crawford interprets the obverse as Genius of the Roman People and the reverse an allusion to imperium. Michael Harlan theorizes that the head is Bonus Eventus and that it ties to symbols of the augurate on the reverse. Augurs, after all, want to predict good outcomes. Harlan's interpretation doesn’t fully explain the scepter on the obverse, which is not a typical characteristic of Bonus Eventus.
3 commentsCarausiusJan 07, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Cornelius Sulla, AR Denarius - Crawford 359/212 viewsRome, The Republic.
L. Cornelius Sulla, 84-83 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.88g; 21mm).
Military Mint.

Obverse: L·SVLLA; diademed head of Venus facing right; before, Cupid holding palm to left.

Reverse: IMPER – ITERV; two trophies with jug and lituus between them.

References: Crawford 359/2; Sydenham 761a; BMCRR East 3; Cornelia 30.

Provenance: Ex Nomisma 58 (6 Nov 2018) Lot 76.

These coins were struck in the east, just before Sulla’s march on Rome. The fabric and style of these coins are certainly different from other Roman Republican denarii of the era, more eastern than Roman. Perhaps not obvious from my photo, the obverse is struck in very high relief and the reverse has pronounced cupping (from a convex reverse die, which more efficiently drives the metal into the high relief obverse die). The obverse honors Venus, whom Sulla considered his protectress. The jug and lituus on the reverse are suggestive of the office of Augur, but Crawford did not think Sulla was an Augur at the time these coins were produced. The implements may refer to an ancestor of Sulla that was an Augur, or, as Crawford surmises, to Sulla’s imperium. The trophies on the reverse refer to Sulla’s victories in the east against Mithradates. Two trophies were also used by Sulla in an issue of tetradrachms in the Athenian “New Style” form.

Sulla’s seizure of dictatorial power following his march on Rome (leading an army that was loyal to him, rather than to the state) became a paradigm for Roman political struggles thereafter. Julius Caesar would initiate similar consequences when he crossed the Rubicon at the head of his army 30+ years later. Unlike Sulla, Caesar showed no interest in resigning his power. Also unlike Sulla, Caesar would strike coins bearing his own likeness. Sulla’s portrait did not appear on a Roman coin until 25 years after Sulla’s death (See, Crawford 434/1).
1 commentsCarausiusJan 07, 2019
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Antony Legion XVII Classicae Denarius12 viewsRome. The Imperators.
Marcus Antonius, 44-31 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.41g; 20mm).
Military Mint traveling with Antony, 32-1 BCE.

Obverse: ANT AVG LLL VIR R P C; galley facing right.

Reverse: LEG XVII CLASSICAE; Aquilia between two standards.

References: Crawford 544/10; Sydenham 1238; HCRI 373; BMCRR East 223; Antonia 128

Provenance: Ex Nomisma 58 (6 Nov 2018) Lot 214.

Produced by Antony in the lead-up to his final defeat at Actium by Octavian’s navy (commanded by Agrippa), the legionary series was a huge issue that recognized 23 legions under Antony’s command. These coins would continue to circulate throughout the Empire for several centuries after Antony’s loss, partly because their notoriously debased silver discouraged hoarding. Only 8 examples of the LEG XVII Classicae type appeared in the 1905 Delos hoard of 604 Antony Legionary denarii.

The Legio XVII Classicae was likely a legion of marines formed by Antony and disbanded after Actium. They were not the Legio XVII destroyed at Tuetoburg Forest under Varus in 9 CE.
2 commentsCarausiusJan 05, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, C. Fabius C. f. Hadrianus, AR Denarius - Crawford 322/1a10 viewsRome. The Republic.
C. Fabius C. f. Hadrianus, 102 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.99g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Veiled and turreted head of Cybele, facing right; Є behind.

Reverse: Victory in fast biga galloping right; heron/stork below; C· FABI· C· F in exergue.

References: Crawford 322/1a; Sydenham 589; BMCRR 1581; Fabia 15.

Provenance: Ex Nomisma 58 (6 Nov 2018) Lot 93.

This is the second variety of Fabius’ denarii, without the obverse inscription referencing public silver [EX· A· PV] behind the head of Cybele. For more on the public silver inscription variety and an explanation of the heron/stork on Fabius’ coinage, see my other gallery entry here: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-149699

CarausiusJan 05, 2019
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, M. Sergius Silus, AR Denarius - Crawford 286/114 viewsRome, The Republic.
M. Sergius Silus, 116-115 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.94g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Roma in winged helmet, facing right; ROMA and * (mark of value) behind; EX S C before.

Reverse: Horseman galloping left, holding severed head and sword in extended left hand; Q and M SERGI below horse; SILVS in exergue.

References: Crawford 286/1; Sydenham 544; BMCRR (Italy) 512; Sergia 1.

Provenance: Ex Nomisma 58 (6 Nov 2018) Lot 165.

M. Sergius Silus struck this coin as quaestor by special decree of the Senate. The coin celebrates the deeds of the quaestor’s ancestor, also named M. Sergius Silus, the great grandfather of Cataline (the infamous conspirator prosecuted by Cicero). During the Second Punic War, he lost his right hand in battle, and fitted a prosthesis that allowed him to hold a shield. Thus, he is depicted holding both his sword and the severed head of a foe in his LEFT hand.
1 commentsCarausiusDec 31, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L Series, AE Quadrans - Crawford 43 (unlisted) and 97/5b - EXTREMELY RARE!7 viewsRome, The Republic.
L Series, 214-212 BCE.
AE Quadrans (22.56g; 29mm).
Luceria Mint.

Obverse: Hercules facing r wearing lion skin; ●●● (mark-of-value=3 unciae), behind and below.

Reverse: Prow right; ROMA above; L●●● (mark-of-value=3 unciae), below.

References: Crawford 43 (unlisted) and 97/5b; Syd --; BMCRR --; RBW 400 (see discussion at 399); see Russo, “Unpublished Roman Republican Bronze Coins” (Essays Hersh, 1998), #37 discussion.

Provenance: Ex Kölner Münzkabinett Auction 109 (16 Nov 2018); ex Prof. Hildebrecht Hommel Collection; purchased from Cahn (Basel), 13 Mar 1973.

This type is extremely rare, with no examples appearing in the Paris collection as of 1974, none in Berger’s Kestner-Museum Hannover catalogue, and only 4 examples in addition to my coin on ACSEARCH as of 31 December 2018. Crawford cites an example in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, collection. Both Roberto Russo and Andrew McCabe have persuasively argued that Crawford 97/5b should be reassigned to the Crawford 43 L series, which otherwise lacks a quadrans. Both the weight and style of this coin are consistent with the earlier Crawford 43 series, which is based on an As of about 83 grams. McCabe notes that the Oxford example, on which Crawford based 97/5b, was badly corroded and probably lightweight. Subsequent examples of the type in trade have weighed 22+ grams, consistent with an As of about 85-90 grams.
CarausiusDec 31, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Appuleius Saturninus, AR Denarius - Crawford 317/211 viewsRome, The Republic.
L. Appuleius Saturninus, 101 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.92g; 18mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Saturn driving fast quadriga right, holding harpa; ROMA in exergue.

Reverse: Saturn driving fast quadriga right, holding harpa; ·V below; L·SATVRN in exergue.

References: Crawford 317/2; Sydenham 580 (R6); BMCRR 1561-3; Appuleia 3.

Provenance: Ex P&P Santamaria (4 May 1961) Lot 150.

The type is one of an interesting series of three types by Saturninus, two of which depict Saturn as a naming pun. The first of the three types is a standard Roma head/quadriga; the second has Roma heads on both sides of the coin; the third (this coin) has quadrigae on both sides of the coin. The letter control marks on this double-quadriga type are unique to each die.  Crawford attributed Saturninus' coinage to 104 BCE; but H.B. Mattingly, in Essays Hersh (1998), argues for a slightly later date based on a consensus that Saturninus was Quaestor in 104 BCE. 

Saturninus was Quaestor in 104 BCE and Tribune of the Plebs in 103 and 100 BCE. He was a supporter of Marius and as Tribune he engaged in a series of aggressive political maneuvers including introducing land grants for Marius’ veterans. During an election, he arranged the brutal murder of the political rival of one of his allies, and this proved to be his downfall. Cornered and captured by a militia assembled by Marius himself, Saturninus and his conspirators were ultimately killed by a lynch mob.
1 commentsCarausiusDec 31, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, AR Denarius - Crawford 419/1c16 viewsRome, The Republic.
M. Lepidus, 61 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.97g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate and diademed female head, facing right; palm branch behind.

Reverse: Horseman advancing toward right with trophy over l shoulder; AN. XV. P.H.O.C.S. around; M.LEPIDVS in exergue.

References: Crawford 419/1c; Sydenham 830a; BMCRR 3644; Aemilia 22.

Provenance: Ex Fernandez Coll. [Aureo & Calico Alba Longa Auction (7 Nov 2018) Lot 85]; Leo Benz Collection [Lanz 88 (23 Nov 1988) Lot 118]; Künst und Münzen 18 (June 1978), Lot 250.

This coin was produced by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, later triumvir with Octavian and Antony, during his early political career. The reverse celebrates the Second Punic War heroism of his ancestor, also named M. Aemilius Lepidus, who killed an enemy and saved a citizen at the age of 15 and in whose honor a statue was erected in Rome. That statue may be depicted on this coin. The reverse inscription abbreviates “AN[norum] XV PR[ogressus] H[ostem] O[ccidit], C[ivem] S[ervavit]” (Aged 15, he killed an enemy and saved a citizen.)
2 commentsCarausiusDec 31, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, P. Plautius Hypsaeus, AR Denarius - Crawford 420/2a26 viewsRome, The Republic.
P. Plautius Hypsaeus, 57 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.96g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Draped bust of Leuconoe facing right; dolphin behind; P.YPSAE·S·C before.

Reverse: Jupiter driving quadriga left; C·YPSAE·COS / PRIV – CEPIT in exergue and behind.

References: Crawford 420/2a; RBW 1515 (this coin); Sydenham 911; Plautia 12.

Provenance: Ex NAC 84 (20 May 2015), Lot 807; RBW Collection [NAC 63 (2012), Lot 291]; Crédit de la Bourse (April 1995), Lot 1068; NAC 6 (11 Mar 1993), Lot 285.

This coin is a special issue by Senatorial decree (S.C.) for reasons unknown to history. The moneyer, P. Plautius Hypsaeus, struck coins individually, as moneyer, and jointly with M. Aemilius Scaurus as Curule Aedile. On both series, he used this reverse type, referring to the capture of the Volscian town of Privernum by his ancestor, C. Plautius Decianus, consul in 329 BCE. The obverse refers to the mythical descent of the Plautia gens from Leuconoe, the daughter of Neptune.

Crawford thought Hypsaeus’ individual series preceded his joint series as Curule Aedile with Scaurus; however, the individual coins were absent from the Mesagne Hoard, suggesting it must have post-dated the 58 BCE terminus of that large hoard. Accordingly, Hersh and Walker redated Hypsaeus’ individual series to 57 BCE.
2 commentsCarausiusDec 18, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, L. Lentulus and C. Marcellus, AR Denarius - Crawford 445/222 viewsRome, The Imperators.
L. Lentulus, C. Marcellus, 49 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.89g; 18mm).
Apollonia in Illyricum Mint.

Obverse: Head of Apollo facing right; L·LENT·C MARC COS surrounding.

Reverse: Jupiter facing right, holding thunderbolt and eagle; to right, alter decorated with garland; to left, * Q.

References: Crawford 445/2; HCRI 5; Sydenham 1030 (R3); BMCRR East 21; Cornelia 65.

Provenance: Ex NAC 92 (24 May 2016), Lot 1866; Vico 120 (2009), Lot 173; Argenor Numismatique Auction 4 (27 Apr 2001), Lot 94.

The dating for this type is firm because it was struck for the consuls, Lentulus and Marcellus, who shared the office in 49 BCE. Both consuls were Pompey supporters who fled Rome when Caesar marched on the City. Lentulus was later killed in Egypt, where he fled with Pompey following the defeat at Pharsalus. Little further is known of Marcellus and he likely died during the wars.

The head of Apollo on this type was chosen because the coins were struck in Apollonia, where Apollo was prominent on the coinage.

The Quaestor that produced these coins was T. Antistius. Antistius was already Quaestor in Macedonia when the Pompeians arrived in flight from Caesar. Cicero reports that Antistius was reluctant to assist the Pompeians who forced him to produce their coins. Antistius’ ambivalence is evidenced by his desire to remain anonymous, choosing only to identiy his office by the letter Q. He was pardoned by Caesar following Pompey’s defeat at Pharsalus.
3 commentsCarausiusDec 18, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Anonymous (Semilibral) Series, AE Sextans - Crawford 38/525 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous (Semilibral) Series, 217-215 BCE.
AE Sextans (24.25g; 31mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Mercury facing right wearing petasus; ●● (mark-of-value=2 unciae), behind.

Reverse: Prow right; ROMA above; ●● (mark-of-value=2 unciae), below.

References: Crawford. 38/5; Sydenham 85; BMCRR 59.

Provenance: Ex Burgan Numismatique Auction (17 Nov 2017), Lot 102; ex Etienne Page Auction, Hotel Drouot (1972).

The economic hardship imposed by Hannibal’s 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 ½ 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 “prow” types derived from the libral and semi-libral prow Aes Grave (Crawford 35 and 36) that preceded it. These 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 (see them in this gallery), 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 Crawford 38 series of struck bronzes, to which the above coin belongs, consisted of only four denominations: sextans, uncia, semuncia and quartuncia. In addition, Aes Grave production continued on a semi-libral basis for the As, Semis, Triens and Quadrans. Those Aes Grave denominations would later be replaced with struck coins when the weight standard reduced even further.
3 commentsCarausiusDec 18, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, C. Vibius Varus, AR Denarius - Crawford 494/3837 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Caius Vibius Varus, 42 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.56; 20mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: Bust of Minerva wearing crested Corinthian helmet and aegis, facing right.

Reverse: Hercules standing front, head left, holding lion skin, hand resting on club.

References: Crawford 494/38; HCRI 194; Sydenham 1140; BMCRR 4303-5; Banti 67/10 (this coin illustrated).

Provenance: Ex Künker Auction 280 (26 Sep 2016), Lot 396; ex Peus Auction 328 (1990), Lot 507; ex Kunst und Münzen (June 1977), Lot 209.

There is little known about any of the four moneyers of 42 BCE besides their coins. Grueber notes that there is equally little known connection between the Vibia gens and the devices on this coin. Sear suggests that the type represents the strength of the triumvirs in their impending fight with the republican forces.

6 commentsCarausiusDec 16, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, H Series, AR Quinarius - Crawford 85/1a12 viewsRome, The Republic.
H Series, 211-210 BCE.
AR Quinarius (2.3g; 17mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: Roma wearing helmet with splayed visor, facing right; V (mark-of-value = 5 asses) behind.

Rev: Dioscuri galloping right; H below horses; ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 85/1a; Sydenham 174; BMCRR (Italy) 199.

Provenance: Ex Student and Mentor Collection [NAC 73 (18 Nov 2013), Lot 32]; ex Nicolas Collection [Leu 17 (1977) Lot 41].

The H quinarii should be divided into multiple series, because several distinct styles have become apparent which are not contemporaneous per the hoard evidence. This particular coin is from the earliest phase, notable for its splayed visor and simple necklace on obverse, and “large” H and raised horse tail on reverse.
CarausiusDec 16, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Procilius, AR Serrate Denarius - Crawford 379/213 viewsRome, The Republic.
L. Procilius, 80 BCE.
AR Serrate Denarius (3.77g; 20mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Juno Sospita, wearing goatskin, facing right; S.C. behind.

Rev: Juno Sospita, holding shield and spear, in biga galloping right; snake below horses; L. PROCILI F in exergue.

References: Crawford 379/2; Sydenham 772; BMCRR 3150; Procilia 2.

Provenance: Ex Student and Mentor Collection [NAC 83 (20 May 2015) Lot 339]; privately purchased in 1968.

The letters S.C. on the obverse indicate that this coinage was a special issue, by decree of the Roman Senate, for an unknown purpose. Like the coins of Papius and Roscius Fabatus, the images of Juno Sospita on this coin suggests that Procilius was native of Lanuvium which was home of a cult to Juno Sospita. The snake on the reverse, alludes to the snake in the grotto of Juno Sospita’s Lanuvium temple. Each year, a girl was sent to the grotto to feed the sacred snake, and only a virtuous girl would survive the ordeal.

The reason for serrating the edge of certain Roman Republic denarius issues remains uncertain. Some moneyers issued both serrate and plain edged coins. The practice ended with the serrate issue by Roscius Fabatus in 59 BCE. Possible reasons for the serrations include:
• Proof that the coins were not plated.
• Confounding forgers.
• Making the coins look painful to swallow (reducing theft by mint workers).
• Artistic preference.

1 commentsCarausiusDec 16, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, C. Postumius, AR Denarius - Crawford 394/1a15 viewsRome, The Republic.
C. Postumius, 74-73 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.95g; 20mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: Draped bust of Diana facing right, with bow and quiver over shoulder.

Rev: Hound running to right; spear below; C. POSTVMI and AT or TA (ligate) in exergue.

References: Crawford 394/1a; Sydenham 785; BMCRR 3238; Postumia 9.

Provenance: Ex Student and Mentor Collection [NAC 83 (20 May 2015) Lot 347]; ex Frank Sternberg Auction VII (24-5 Nov 1977), Lot 390.

They moneyer may have been the Caius Postumius that prosecuted Lucius Licinius Murena for election fraud in 63 BCE. It is uncertain what the ligate letters AT (or TA) denote on the reverse, and there is another variety of this issue without the monogram. Diana is a popular deity on coinage produced by the Postumia gens, and the hound and spear on the reverse are also attributes of Diana, the huntress. Diana appears so frequently on Postumian coins because on the eve of the battle of Lake Regillus (c. 496 BCE), during a sacrifice to Diana, the augurs foretold the domination of Rome over Latium. A. Postumius Albinus led the troops at this decisive battle. Thus, the gens subsequently claimed responsibility for fulfilling the prophecy of Diana.

Crawford dated this issue to 74 BCE, but Hersh and Walker in Mesagne down-dated the issue to 73 BCE. Michael Harlan suggests an even later date of 71 BCE.
1 commentsCarausiusDec 16, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, P. Sulpicius Galba, AR Denarius - Crawford 406/118 viewsRome, The Republic.
P. Sulpicius Galba, 69 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.85g;18mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: Veiled head of Vesta facing right; S.C. behind.

Rev: Priestly implements, i.e. knife, culullus and axe; P GALB in exergue; AE-CVR in fields.

References: Crawford 406/1; Sydenham 839; BMCRR 3517-8; Sulpicia 7.

Provenance: Ex Student and Mentor Collection [NAC 83 (20 May 2015) Lot 356]; ex Münzen und Medaillen Auction 52 (19-20 June 1975), Lot 378.

Galba issued these coins by special Senatorial decree while he held the office of Curule Aedile. The type selection suggests that he was also a Pontifex at this time, as the reverse depicts the priestly implements used in ritual sacrifice and often included on coins struck by members of the priestly college. The Senatorial decree, represented by “S.C.” on the obverse may have been related to grain distribution, though this is conjectural. Among other duties, Curule Aediles were responsible for maintenance and distribution of the public grain supply.
1 commentsCarausiusDec 16, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Octavian and Antony, AR Quinarius - Crawford 529/4b13 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Antony and Octavian, 39 BCE.
AR Quinarius (1.60g; 14mm).
Military mint moving with Octavian.

Obverse: III ·VIR - R·P·C; veiled and diademed head of Concordia facing right.

Rev: M·ANTON - C·CAESAR; two hands clasped around caduceus.
References: Crawford 529/4b; HCRI 304; BMCRR (East) 128.

The coin likely celebrates the reconciliation of Octavian and Antony, memorialized by the pact at Brundisium in October of 40 BCE. Sear suggests that Octavian may have issued this type in Gaul, a former Antony stronghold and a big user of quinarii.
1 commentsCarausiusDec 07, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Scribonius Libo, AR Denarius - Crawford 416/1c20 viewsRome, The Republic.
Lucius Scribonius Libo, 62 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.76g; 20mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: LIBO - BON EVENT; diademed head of Bonus Eventus facing right.

Rev: Scribonian well head, decorated with garland and two lyres; anvil symbol on top step; [P]VTEAL above; SCRIBON below.

References: Crawford 416/1c; Sydenham 928; BMCRR 3381; Scribonia 8.

This type was produced with at least four different reverse symbols on the top step of the well head: hammer, tongs, cap and anvil. The hammer is extremely common, tongs scarce, and the anvil and cap are the rarest of the four reverse symbols on the type. Previous authors, including Crawford and Michael Harlan, have not recognized the cap variety which is distinct from the anvil by its domed top. The anvil is squared, as on this coin.

The moneyer may have been Lucius Scribonius Libo, who was the father-in-law of Sextus Pompey, son of Pompey the Great. He took the side of the tyrannicides in the Civil War after Caesar’s death. He later deserted Sextus Pompey and was elected consul in 34 BCE. It’s also possible that the moneyer was the father of this later consul.

The Scribonian well head was in the Roman Forum and designated a sacred spot that had been struck by lightning. Grueber and Crawford suggest that the reverse symbols, of which they only recognized three (see above), were actual decorative devices on the four-sided wellhead, and that they allude to Vulcan, whose thunderbolt had struck the spot. The added cap symbol confirms their analysis and is also consistent with the Vulcan theme.
3 commentsCarausiusDec 07, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, M. Atilius Saranus, AR Denarius - Crawford 214/1b14 viewsRome, The Republic.
M. Atilius Saranus, 148 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.95g; 20mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma facing right; SARAN behind; X (mark-of-value = 10 asses) before.

Rev: Dioscuri galloping right with couched spears; M·ATILI, below; ROMA in linear frame in exergue.

References: Crawford 214/1b; Sydenham 398; BMCRR 679-682; Atilia 9.

Provenance: Ex Varesi (4 Jul 2018), Lot 142.

This is one of the first denarii to include the moneyer’s praenomen, nomen and cognomen, an important development in the evolution of the coinage as a means of advertising young politicians. The obverse mark-of-value is moved from behind Roma’s head to under her chin to make room for the cognomen.
1 commentsCarausiusDec 04, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, MT Series, AR Victoriatus - Crawford 103/1c - VERY RARE7 viewsRome, The Republic.
MT Series, 211-210 BCE.
AR Victoriatus (2.79g; 17mm).
Apulian mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Jupiter facing right, hair falling in neat ringlets; border of dots.

Rev: Victory crowning trophy; MT ligate in lower right field; ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 103/1c; Crawford Plate XX (same dies); Sydenham 117; BMCRR (Italy) 232.

Provenance: Ex RBW Collection [NAC 61 (Oct 2011), Lot 457]; purchased from Ed Waddell in Dec. 1983.


About 212 BCE, when the Romans introduced the denarius system, they also introduced a collateral denomination of silver coin, the victoriatus. As evidenced by its different weight standard, debased metal, iconography and missing denominational mark, the victoriatus was not integral to the denarius system but was produced for a special purpose. While the denarius and its fractions, the quinarius and sestertius, all depicted Roma and the Dioscuri, victoriati depicted Jupiter and Victory crowning a trophy. Further, while denarii were produced from nearly pure silver, victoriati were made from debased silver of about 70% purity. Based on the weight standard of Magna Graecia drachms, victoriati were likely designed specifically for payments to Greek cities of southern Italy and hoard evidence supports circulation largely in southern Italy.

The MT Victoriati come in three varieties: those with straggly hair (which come with either a bead and reel border or border of dots) and those with neat hair. This example is the “neat hair” variety. MT Series Victoriati are very rare; there were only three examples (including this specimen) on acsearch on 9/15/18. Crawford counted only six obverse and five reverse dies covering all 3 varieties of the type.

Rome ceased issuing victoriati circa 170 BCE. Perhaps because of their debased metal (which discouraged hoarding), victoriati continued to circulate in Gaul for many years until they functioned as de facto quinarii due to metal loss from wear. Their continued popularity caused Rome to later issue quinarii bearing the same devices (Jupiter/Victory and trophy).
CarausiusDec 04, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, M. Aemilius Scaurus and Pub. Plautius Hypsaeus, AR Denarius6 viewsRome, The Republic.
M. Aemilius Scaurus and Pub. Plautius Hypsaeus, 58 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.87g; 19mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: King Aretas kneeling right and extending olive branch in right hand and holding reins of camel in left hand; M SCAVR/AED CVR above; EX-SC on side; REX ARETAS in exergue.

Rev: Jupiter in fast quadriga galloping left; scorpion below horses’ feet; P HVPSAEVS/AED CVR, above; CAPTV on right; C HVPSAE COS PREIVER in exergue.

References: Crawford 422/1b; BMCRR 3879; Sydenham 913; Aemilia 8; Plautia 8-9.

Provenance: Ex SC Collection; Stack's Auction (14-15 Jun 1971), Lot 240.

Scaurus and Hypsaeus struck these coins as curule aediles, by Senatorial decree. Grueber states that lavish public games were the reason for the special issue, while Crawford suggests the corn dole and/or Caesar’s agrarian law were the more likely reasons. Scaurus, as governor of Syria, was victorious against the Nabataean king Aretas who surrendered and paid a fine of 300 talents to Pompey. It was this event that he chose to depict on the obverse of the coin. On the reverse, Hypsaeus refers to the capture of the Volscian town of Privernum by his ancestor, C. Plautius Decianus, consul in 329 BCE. Hypsaeus chose to repeat this reverse type on a denarius he struck as moneyer in ca. 57 BCE (Crawford 420). This issue has a large number of legend varieties and the scorpion is missing from some dies.
CarausiusNov 26, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Sextus Pompey, AR Denarius25 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Sextus Pompey, 42-36 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.49g; 20mm).
Sicilian mint, 42-40 BCE.

Obverse: MAG PIVS IMP ITER; Pharos of Messina with two windows and a balcony, surmounted by statue of Neptune wearing helmet and holding trident and resting foot on prow; galley with aquila passing before.

Rev: PRAEF CLAS ET ORAE MARIT EX S C; the monster, Scylla, her body terminating in two fish-tails and the foreparts of three dogs, facing left and wielding a rudder with two hands.

References: Crawford 511/4a; HCRI 335; Sydenham 1348; BMCRR (Sicily) 18-19; Banti 8/3 (this coin illustrated); Pompeia 22.

Provenance: Ex Kuenker Auction 312 (8 Oct 2018), Lot 2712; Walter Niggeler (d. 1964) Collection [Leu/Muenzen und Medaillen (21-22 Oct 1966), Lot 964].

Sextus Pompey was younger son of Pompey the Great. After Caesar's assassination, in 43 BCE, he was honored by the Senate with the title "Commander of the Fleet and Sea Coasts" (Praefectus classis et orae maritimae). Shortly following this honor, the Second Triumvirate was formed and placed Sextus' name on their proscription list. Sextus soon occupied Sicily where he provided haven to other Romans proscribed by the Triumvirs. He retained control of Sicily from 42 to 36 BCE. In 42 BCE, Octavian sent Salvidienus Rufus to dislodge Sextus, but Rufus was defeated. It was likely between this defeat of Rufus and the Pact of Misenum with the Triumvirs (39 BCE) that Sextus struck much of his coinage, including this type. The rough seas around Sicily were beneficial to Sextus and particularly rough on his enemies, thus Neptune and the marine monster Scylla, destroyer of ships, are prominently displayed on this coin.
3 commentsCarausiusNov 26, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Octavian, AE 314 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Octavian, 38 BCE.
AE 31 (16.72g; 31mm).
Italian mint.

Obverse: DIVI F; Bare head of Octavian facing right; star before.

Reverse: DIVOS IVLIVS inscription in two lines within laurel wreath.

References: Crawford 535/2; HCRI 309; RBW 1823 (this coin); Sydenham 1336; BMCRR (Gaul) 108-110; Julia 101.

Provenance: Ex RBW Collection [CNG e-Sale 364 (2 Dec 2015), Lot 190] and [NAC 63 (17 May 2012), Lot 572]; ex Stack's (30 Apr 1986), Lot 1761; ex Frederick Knobloch Collection [Stack's (3 May 1978), Lot 737].

While probably a dupondius or sestertius, the actual denomination of this coin is uncertain, thus I call it AE 31. The star on the obverse may represent the bright comet that was seen for 7 days shortly after the assassination of Julius Caesar and was interpreted as a sign of his divinity. The reverse refers to the laurel wreath that the Senate granted Julius Caesar the right to wear at all times. The coin type is certainly Octavian’s attempt to portray himself as the son and rightful heir of the god Julius.
CarausiusNov 25, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Octavian, AR Denarius11 viewsRome. The Imperators.
Octavian and Lucius Cornelius Balbus, 41 BCE
AR Denarius (3.36 grams; 18mm).
Military mint in Italy.

Obverse: C•CAESAR • III • VIR R•P•C; Bare head of Octavian, facing right.

Reverse: Club; BALBVS above, PRO • PR below

References: Crawford 518/1; HCRI 298; Sydenham 1325a; BMCRR (Gaul) 83-5; Julia 91.

Provenance: Ex Andrew McCabe Collection [CNG Esale 432 (14 Nov 2018) Lot 276]; ex American Numismatic Society Collection 1001.1.12863 [CNG 96 (14 May 2014) Lot 732]; ex Archer M. Huntington (d. 1955) Collection.

This scarce type was produced by Octavian’s legate, Lucius Cornelius Balbus, as propraetor. Balbus was a native of Gades (Cadiz) in Spain where there was a temple to Hercules, to which the Club reverse alludes. Balbus was favored and honored by both Pompey and Caesar. Upon Caesar’s assassination, he allied with Octavian who appointed him praetor urbanus and ultimately, in 40 BCE, he received the consulship (the first foreign-born citizen to do so). He was extremely wealthy and bequeathed 25 denarii to every Roman citizen in his will!
1 commentsCarausiusNov 25, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Semilibral Struck AE Triens (Crawford 39)31 viewsRome. The Republic.
Semilibral Reduction, 217-215 BCE
Æ Triens (54 grams; 37 mm).
Uncertain Italian Mint.

Obverse: Head of Juno (?) right, wearing double-crested diadem, her hair tied in three ringlets down neck; scepter or sword over left shoulder (?); ●●●● (mark of value) behind.

Reverse: Hercules, naked but for lion skin, grasping centaur by hair and preparing to strike him with club; ●●●● (mark of value) before; ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 39/1; Sydenham 93 (R6); BMCRR (Romano-Campanian) 113-115.

Provenance: Ex Munzen und Medaillen 47 (1972), Lot 74.

Crawford dates his 39 series of collateral, semilibral struck bronzes to the early years of the Second Punic War, 217-215 BC. The economic hardship on Rome imposed by Hannibal’s 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 ½ Roman pound) and eventual elimination of cast coins. Crawford deduces that Hannibal’s defeat of Rome at Trasimene in 217 B.C. likely tipped the financial scales to the semilibral reduction. He notes that Capua overstruck Roman coinage of the late semi-libral period when Capua joined with Hannibal in 216-215. Further, in Roman Republican Coin Hoards, Crawford reports that hoard #56, found at Capua in 1909, contained three trientes and four sextantes of the “collateral” series; thus the series must have circulated in Capua for a time before the town switched sides to Hannibal in 216-215. It appears that the standard, prow-type semilibral coins (Crawford 38) came first, because hoards containing the Crawford 39 coins almost always contain semilibral prow types as well.

The obverse of this Triens is particularly enigmatic. Both before, during and after production of this series, the goddess depicted on trientes was typically Minerva. In Roman iconography, Minerva’s attributes are the Corinthian helmet, aegis and spear. The goddess on this triens lacks the Corinthian helmet that was used to depict Minerva in previous Aes Grave series of libral and semilibral weight standard (See Crawford 35 and 38 Aes Grave) and on the subsequent, prow-type, struck trientes (Crawford 41 and 56). Some authors are non-committal as to the goddess’ identity (Crawford, for one, in his catalogue; though elsewhere in his text he refers to “Juno”); others attribute the goddess as Juno who, as Jupiter’s consort, is typically rendered with a diadem crown and scepter; and others believe the goddess is Bellona, a war goddess who is typically rendered with helmet and weapon. Firm identification depends, in part, on proper understanding of the headgear. I think attempts to call the headgear a “helmet” or “partial helmet” are misguided efforts to explain the crest. In my opinion, the headgear is a crested diadem. The odd crest attached to the end of the diadem is possibly a misinterpreted element borrowed from portraits of Tanit on Punic coinage, which always show Tanit with a stylized wheat leaf in this location (Tanit’s depiction was likely borrowed by the Carthaginians from Syracusan tetradrachms). There is also some confusion as to what the goddess holds over her left shoulder. Condition issues and poor strikes on some examples often eliminate this aspect of the design. Fortunately, my example is quite clear and one can see the shadowy image on the left shoulder which extends in straight-line behind the left side of the goddess’ head ending in a visible, rounded point above her head. Crawford may have thought the lower part of this element represented the goddess’ far-side curls (“hair falls in tight rolls onto BOTH shoulders” emphasis added), but this interpretation does not explain the point above her head. The point is not likely to represent the opposite crest, as the crest on the visible side does not extend above head-top level. A more plausible theory, proposed by both Grueber and Sydenham, is that the goddess is holding a scepter over her left shoulder, which is consistent with Juno’s attributes. Other possibilities are that she bears a spear, which is an attribute of Minerva, or a sword, which is an attribute of Bellona.

The Series 39 types and their relationship to contemporaneous Second Punic War events are interesting to ponder. Hercules is an important figure, appearing on two of the 10 available sides of the series. Likely this is a paradigm of Roman heroism during the War. In the myth depicted on this Triens, Hercules kills a centaur for assaulting his wife – is this an allegorical reference to Hannibal’s assault on Italy (and the likely response from Rome)?

Despite its beauty, this type would never again be repeated on a Roman coin. However, related imagery can be found on quincunxes of Capua and quadrantes of Larinum, Apulia, immediately following the defection of those towns to Hannibal’s side of the Second Punic War.
3 commentsCarausiusNov 25, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Semilibral Struck AE Sextans (Crawford 39)7 viewsRome. The Republic.
Semilibral Reduction, 217-215 BCE.
Æ Sextans (24.15 grams; 30 mm).
Uncertain Italian Mint.

Obverse: She-wolf suckling the twins, Romulus and Remus; ●● (mark of value) below.

Reverse: Eagle facing right holding flower in beak; ●● (mark of value) behind; ROMA before.

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

Provenance: Ex Goldberg 87 (15 Sep 2015), Lot 2084; Sternberg XXII (20-21 Nov 1989), Lot 173.

Crawford attributes the 39 series to the Rome Mint, circa 217-215 BCE. While I agree with the dating, I question the mint attribution. They are among the earliest Roman struck bronze coins intended for use in central Italy. Previously, Roman struck bronzes were generally intended for use in Magna Graecia, while the cast bronze Aes Grave were used in Rome and central Italy.

The types in this series are beautiful, bold and unusual, and, excluding the Hercules/bull Quadrans type, were never wholly repeated in subsequent Roman Republican bronze series. The types are entirely pro-Roman, at a time that the Republic was in dire straits under threat of Hannibal’s invasion. This Sextans depicts the favorable founding of Rome, with the She-wolf suckling the City’s 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).
CarausiusNov 25, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Corn-ear and KA Series Sextans overstruck on Heiron II bronze9 viewsRome. The Republic.
Corn Ear and KA Series (211-208 BCE), overstruck on bronze of Hieron II (275-215 BCE)
AE Sextans (5.87g; 20mm).
Sicilian Mint.

Obverse: (overtype) Mercury head right, wearing petastos, two pellets above; (undertype) Poseidon head left.

Reverse: (overtype) Prow right, corn-ear above, IC before, ROMA below; (undertype) Trident; dolphin on either side; IEPѠNOΣ below

Overtype References: Crawford 69/6b; Sydenham 310d.
Undertype References: SNG Copenhagen (Sicily) 844-856
Overstrike References: Crawford Table XVIII, No. 65.

Provenance: Ex Forum Ancient Coins.

During the Second Punic War, Roman military mints often overstruck war booty bronzes into Roman types. Weights of the bronze undertypes were of little consequence since the coins were fiduciary anyway; thus we often see a wide-range of weights on these overstruck coins. Module was perhaps more important for visual differentiation. Sometimes, the undertype is barely noticeable. Other times, the result is a clear melding of the devices of overtype and undertype, as on this coin. Here we clearly see Poseidon’s remaining profile from 6-9h on the obverse. The reverse shows signs of the trident base at 8h to the left of the prow. The Mercury/Prow overtype is remarkably crisp and complete. Crawford contains a table of known overstrikes in the Roman Republican series which includes the types combined on this coin.
CarausiusOct 18, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Semilibral Struck AE Uncia (Crawford 39)15 viewsRome, The Republic.
Semilibral Reduction, 217-215 BC.
AE Struck Uncia (10.88g; 24mm).
Uncertain Mint.

Obverse: Facing draped bust of Sol; pellet (mark of value) to left.

Reverse: Crescent, two stars and pellet (mark of value) above; ROMA below.

References: Crawford 39/4; Sydenham 96; BMCRR (Romano-Campanian) 125-135.

Provenance: Triskeles 5 (27 June 2013), Lot 95; ex RBW Collection (not in prior sales); purchased privately from Ed Waddell in 1994.

This coin is part of a short-lived, collateral series struck contemporaneously with the standard prow types (Crawford 38) in 217-215 BC. The economic hardship on Rome imposed by Hannibal’s 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 ½ Roman pound) and eventual elimination of cast coins.

In attributing the 39 series to the Rome mint, Crawford relied on the earlier analysis of Rudy Thomsen in “Early Roman Coins”. However, Thomsen’s analysis of the hoard evidence was flawed, in my opinion, because he included temple deposits north of Rome which deceptively widened the apparent circulation dispersal of this collateral series. Eliminating these temple deposits shows a clearer circulation focus south of Rome, in Campania. Also, the types and fabric of the coins are inconsistent with the contemporaneous, Crawford 38 prow types which are similarly attributed to Rome (and which do have Roman prototypes in the prow series Aes Grave). However, some of the unusual collateral types are copied by Campanian towns after their defection to Hannibal. Further study is needed.
1 commentsCarausiusOct 04, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Papius, AR Serrate Denarius9 viewsRome. The Republic.
L. Papius, 79 BCE.
AR Serrate Denarius (3.82g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Juno Sospita, wearing goat skin headdress tied at neck, facing right; control symbol (aplustre) behind.

Reverse: Griffon leaping right; control symbol (prow stem), below; L•PAPI in exergue.

References: Crawford 384/1 (symbol pair 134); Sydenham 773; BMCRR 2981 (symbol pair 5); Papia 1 (symbol pair 47).

Provenance: Ex Herbert & Aphrodite Rubin Collection [Goldberg 96 (14 Feb 2017) Lot 1963]; bought from Ariadne Galleries in 1980’s; The Numismatic Auction Ltd. (Tradart) 1 (13 Dec 1982) Lot 203.

Papius is only known through his coins. Juno Sospita was a deity who’s temple was in Lanuvium, a Latin town 32 kilometers southeast of Rome, and it’s likely that Papius came from that town.

These denarii have paired obverse and reverse control symbols, with almost all symbol pairs appearing on only one set of dies (N.B.: I'm aware of at least one pair that appears on multiple dies). Crawford counts 211 die pairs. The paired control symbols have some loose relationship to one another, i.e. the bow and stern of a galley on this coin. Sydenham argued that the symbols were propaganda for popularist trade guilds. However, because of the breadth and variety of symbol material, Crawford rules-out any intended meaning. This same control system of paired symbols would be re-used 20 years later by another Lanuvian, L. Roscius Fabatus.
1 commentsCarausiusOct 04, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Roscius Fabatus, AR Serrate Denarius17 viewsRome. The Republic.
L. Roscius Fabatus, 59 BCE.
AR Serrate Denarius (3.95g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Juno Sospita, wearing goat skin headdress tied at neck, facing right; L•ROSCI, below; control symbol (two-handled cup or bowl) behind.

Reverse: Female figure feeding serpent from fold of cloak; control symbol (pileus/cap?) behind; FABATI in exergue.

References: Crawford 412/1 (Symbols 199?); Sydenham 915; BMCRR 3394 -3510; Roscia 2.

Provenance: Ex John Barton Collection; Aes Rude Chiasso 4 (6 Apr 1979), Lot 240.

Crawford dated the issue to 64 BCE, but Hersh and Walker brought that date down to 59 BCE based on their analysis of the Mesagne hoard. Harlan picks a median date of 62 BCE based on some prosopographic assumptions.

The moneyer would go on to serve as lieutenant for Caesar in Gaul in 54 BCE. In 49 BCE, he was elected praetor and intermediated between Pompey and Caesar. He was killed at Mutina in 43 BCE.

Juno Sospita was a deity who’s temple was in Lanuvium, a Latin town 32 kilometers southeast of Rome, and it’s likely that both Roscius and L. Papius, whose 79 BCE coinage is a model for Roscius’ issue, came from that town. The reverse depicts an annual rite of the Juno Sospita cult in which a girl is sent into the grotto beneath the temple to feed the sacred snake. Only chaste girls could survive the ordeal.

Like Papius’s coins, these denarii are struck on serrated flans – the last of the Roman Republic to be produced with this fabric. Like Papius’s coins, Roscius’ denarii have obverse and reverse control symbols that are paired, with no pair of symbols appearing on more than one pair of dies. On both Roscius’ and Papius’s coins, the paired control symbols have some loose relationship to one another. Roscius re-used many of Papius’s symbol pairs, but reversed their locations on the coins.

The symbol pair on my coin is very rare. As of 10/1/18, there are no matching examples on Acsearch, Coinarchives or CNG’s website database. The pair is unlisted in Babelon, Sydenham, BMCRR and Banti. It resembles symbol pair 199 in Crawford, although some differences are evident. In his manuscript on Roman Republican series marks, Charles Hersh includes a hand drawn entry AI within the section of previously unpublished Roscia symbol pairs that is a precise match for the symbols on this coin. He cites the Vienna Museum (38465) and Vatican Museum (5158) for that entry.
2 commentsCarausiusOct 04, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Q. Pomponius Musa, AR Denarius27 viewsRome, The Republic.
Q. Pomponius Musa, mid-50s BCE
AR Denarius (3.98g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo(?), hair tied-up, facing right; star behind.

Reverse: Q. POMPONI – MVSA; Urania, muse of astronomy, facing left, holding wand over globe on tripod.

References: Crawford 410/8; Sydenham 823; Pomponia 22.

Provenance: Ex William C. Boyd (d. 1906) Collection [Baldwin's 42 (26 Sep 2005), Lot 64]; bought from Spink in 1900.

Q. Pomponius Musa, who punned his name by depicting the Muses on a series of coins, is unknown except for his coins, which makes precise dating of the series difficult. For many years, scholars (including Crawford) dated the series to 66 BCE. However, the absence of any examples of the series in the large Mesagne hoard caused Hersh and Walker to bring down the date of the series to 56 BCE. Michael Harlan, retracting his reticence with the Mesagne dating, later proposed a date of 52 BCE.

There are two varieties of Musa denarii: the first depicts Apollo/Hercules Musarum (see my gallery example); the second, of which there are nine sub-varieties, depict Apollo and a Muse. The above coin is of the second variety.

Apollo is often depicted androgynously on ancient coins. The standard references consistently attribute the obverse heads on both varieties of Musa’s coins as Apollo; but the depictions are notably different between the Hercules Musarum variety and the nine Muse varieties. On Hercules variety, the deity’s hair is down and tied, and generally consistent with many depictions of Apollo on other Roman Republican coins (see, e.g., denarii of L. Calpurnius Piso and C. Calpurnius Piso). Comparatively, the head on the above Muse variety is considerably more feminine in appearance and laureate, though lacking earrings, necklaces or other feminine accents. Admittedly, this more feminine type head has also been attributed by scholars as Apollo on other coin types (see, e.g., denarii of P. Clodius and C. Considius). However, within the same series the different styled heads appear to depict different deities. Given the Muse emblems behind each head on the nine Muse types, it’s possible that the feminine heads do not represent Apollo, but the Muses themselves. Michael Harlan agrees with this interpretation in both editions of "Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins." More research on this issue is needed.
3 commentsCarausiusSep 29, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Club Series, AE As - Crawford 89/39 viewsRome. The Republic.
Club Series, 208 BCE.
AE As (54.36g; 37mm).
Southeastern Italian Mint.

Obverse: Head of Janus; I (mark of value = 1 As) above.

Reverse: Prow facing right; club, above; I (mark of value), before; ROMA, below.

References: Crawford 89/3; Sydenham 213; BMCRR 312.

Provenance: Ex Roma E-Live Auction 2 (30 Aug 2018), Lot 495.

Club Series Asses are massive. Crawford suggests that the weight standard of this series was based on an As of approximately 54 grams, and the weight of this well-preserved example is consistent with that proposed weight standard. The fabric of this coin and other examples (see, e.g., McCabe “Anonymous Struck Bronze Coinage,” example RRC89.3.3) display a pronounced, conical-shaped flan consistent with flans produced in open molds. Note how the reverse face of this coin has a much smaller diameter than the obverse face, evidencing the conical flan.
CarausiusSep 29, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, C. Fabius C.f. Hadrianus, AR Denarius - Crawford 322/1b11 viewsRome. The Republic.
C. Fabius C. f. Hadrianus, 102 BCE.
AR Denarius (4.01g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Veiled and turreted head of Cybele, facing right; EX· A· PV, behind.

Reverse: Victory in fast biga galloping right; A· and heron/stork below; C· FABI· C· F in exergue.

References: Crawford 322/1b; Sydenham 590; BMCRR 1592; Fabia 14.

Provenance: Ex Heritage Europe Auction 44 (26 Nov 2014), Lot 35.


While not certain, the moneyer may be Caius Fabius Hadrianus, who was praetor in 84 BCE, propraetor in 83–82 BCE and who was burned alive in his official residence during a Sullan uprising in 82. He struck two distinct series of this denarius: one, without an obverse inscription but with Greek letter control marks behind the obverse head; the other with Latin letter control marks on the reverse and the EX· A· PV obverse inscription. The obverse inscription is an abbreviation for EX A[RGENTO] PV[BLICO] meaning “from the public silver”. Only eight issues of Roman Republican coins reference the public silver, and it is not abundantly clear why this reference is needed since official silver coinage should always be struck from state silver. Fabius’s issue is the first of four issues struck circa 102-100 to bear a “public silver” inscription, which Crawford attributes as a sign of the populist times. Given that Hadrianus may have been killed in 82 by Sulla supporters because of his populist sympathies, Crawford’s attribution of the inscription as a populist message may be correct.

The bird on the reverse of the coin deserves some comment. According to Pliny, some members of the Fabia gens took the cognomen Buteones (a Buteo is a type of hawk or bird), after a bird settled on a Fabian’s ship and was taken as a good omen in advance of a victory. Both Grueber and Crawford interpret the heron/stork on the reverse of this coin as further evidence of Pliny’s story, and as likely proof that Pliny got the type of bird wrong in his retelling of the story. The bird is certainly important to the moneyer, as he also included the symbol on his AE Asses.
CarausiusSep 29, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Manlius Torquatus, AR Denarius20 viewsRome. The Republic.
L. Manlius Torquatus, 59-58 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.92g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Sibyl facing right, wearing ivy wreath; SIBVLLA below; all within laurel border.

Reverse: L•TORQVAT - III•VIR; Amphora on tripod flanked by stars; torque border.

References: Crawford 411/1a; Sydenham 837a; BMCRR 3512; Manlia 11.

Provenance: Ex Baldwins Auction 100 (27 Sep 2016), Lot 505; Künker Auktion 216 (8 Oct 2012), Lot 642; Numismatica Ars Classica Auction 54 (24 Mar 2010), Lot 232; Spink Num. Circ. March 1989, No. 948.


There are two obverse varieties of this denarius: one with a laurel border (as this coin); the other with a border of dots. The torque border on the reverse is more than just a naming pun; it refers to an ancestor’s defeat of a Gallic warrior in a one-on-one challenge, following which the Manlia ancestor removed the bloody torque from the dead Gaul and wore it – earning the cognomen Torquatus. The remaining devices allude to the position of either the moneyer or an ancestor on the 15-member (quindecemviri) religious college who guarded the Sibylline Books.

With its very high obverse relief and deep reverse cupping, this coin shares similar fabric with those of C. Calpurnius Piso Frugi. Crawford dates their issues two years apart (67 for Frugi and 65 for Torquatus). However, in their analysis of the Mesagne hoard, Hersh and Walker downdated Frugi to 61 and Torquatus to 58. In “Roman Republican Moneyers and Their Coins” (2nd ed.), Michael Harlan dates both Frugi and Torquatus to 59 BCE, based on their common fabric, prosopography and because Torquatus’ small output could not have been the sole issue in his year. Indeed, Crawford estimates fewer than 10 obverse dies and fewer than 11 reverse dies for both varieties of Torquatus’ denarii which suggests a very small issue.
1 commentsCarausiusSep 29, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, T. Cloulius, AR Quinarius14 viewsRome. The Republic.
T. Cloulius, 98 BCE.
AR Quinarius (1.79g; 16mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Jupiter, facing right; O control mark below

Reverse: Victory crowning trophy with wreath; T·CLOVLI between; captive seated below and carnyx to left of trophy; Q in exergue.

References: Crawford 332/1b; Sydenham 586a; BMCRR 1103; Cloulia 2.

Provenance: Ex Boston Museum of Fine Arts Collection [Triton I (2-3 Dec 1997), Lot 2313 (part)], acquired before 1968.

The silver quinarius, a half-denarius denomination, was introduced as part of the denarius reform of the silver coinage circa 212 BCE. The early quinarius and its fraction-sibling, the sestertius, were discontinued just a few years after their initial introduction. However, the contemporaneous victoriatus, a coin produced on the drachm standard largely for trade with Greek communities, continued in production until about 170 BCE. By the close of the second century and later, many worn victoriati continued to circulate but were valued as quinarii because of wear and their debased fabric. Thus, when the Romans reissued the quinarius, they employed the victoriatus imagery of Jupiter/Victory crowning trophy. Indeed, these new quinarii were referred to as victoriati. The denomination was particularly popular in Gaul and often turns up in first century Gallic hoards. 

This quinarius was struck by T. Cloulius, a partisan of Marius. The carnyx near the trophy on the reverse refers to Marius’ victories over invading Gauls in 102-101 BCE. The coins may have been issued in connection with Marius giving colonial lands to the veterans of these Gallic victories. No obverse control mark has more than one die. The reverse exergual letter Q likely refers to the moneyer's office of quaestor rather than a denominational mark.

The coin was formerly part of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts collection. In 1997, the MFA deaccessioned a group of 890 coins which had been acquired by the MFA between 1872 and 1968. 
1 commentsCarausiusSep 13, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, T. Cloulius, AR Quinarius19 viewsRome. The Republic.
T. Cloulius, 98 BCE.
AR Quinarius (1.94g; 17mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Jupiter, facing right; D control mark below

Reverse: Victory crowning trophy with wreath; T·CLOVLI between; captive seated below and carnyx to left of trophy; Q in exergue.

References: Crawford 332/1b; Sydenham 586a; BMCRR 1103; Cloulia 2.

The silver quinarius, a half-denarius denomination, was introduced as part of the denarius reform of the silver coinage circa 212 BCE. The early quinarius and its fraction-sibling, the sestertius, were discontinued just a few years after their initial introduction. However, the contemporaneous victoriatus, a coin produced on the drachm standard largely for trade with Greek communities, continued in production until about 170 BCE. By the close of the second century and later, many worn victoriati continued to circulate but were valued as quinarii because of wear and their debased fabric. Thus, when the Romans reissued the quinarius, they employed the victoriatus imagery of Jupiter/Victory crowning trophy. Indeed, these new quinarii were referred to as victoriati. The denomination was particularly popular in Gaul and often turns up in first century Gallic hoards.

This quinarius was struck by T. Cloulius, a partisan of Marius. The carnyx near the trophy on the reverse refers to Marius’ victories over invading Gauls in 102-101 BCE. The coins may have been issued in connection with Marius giving colonial lands to the veterans of these Gallic victories. No obverse control mark has more than one die. The reverse exergual letter Q likely refers to the moneyer's office of quaestor rather than a denominational mark.
1 commentsCarausiusSep 10, 2018
411607.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, Tiberius Claudius Nero, AR Serrate Denarius21 viewsRome. The Republic.
Ti. Claudius Ti.f. Ap.n. Nero, 79 BCE.
AR Serrate Denarius (4.13g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Draped bust of Diana facing right, with bow and quiver over shoulder; S.C, before.

Reverse: Victory driving biga galloping right; A.LXXXVIII below; TI CLAVD TI F AP N, in exergue.

References: Crawford 383/1; Sydenham 770a; BMCRR ;Claudia 5.

Provenance: Ex CNG Classical Numismatic Review (Fall 2015), Lot 411607; CNG Inventory 735603 (August 2003); Numismatica Ars Classica N (26 June 2003), lot 1540; Eton College Collection [Sotheby’s (1 December 1976), lot 195].

The moneyer is Tiberius Claudius Nero, son of Tiberius ("TI F") and grandson of Appius ("AP N"). He served under Pompey in the war against the pirates in 67 BCE, and was the grandfather of the Roman emperor Tiberius. There are two series of control marks for the reverse: one, marked from I to CLXV; the second marked with letter A and I to CLXXXII. Each reverse control mark has only one die. The letters S.C on the obverse mean that this coin was struck by special Senatorial decree, as opposed to routine coinage which was still authorized by the Senate but not specially marked. The reason for the special decree is not certain in this case. The obverse of the coin may refer to the introduction of the worship of Diana by the Sabines from whom the Claudii originated, though Crawford disputes this reading. The reverse may refer to the Second Punic War victories of C. Claudius Nero.

This example comes from the Eton College Collection, which was auctioned by Sotheby’s in 1976. Eton College initiated its ancient coin collection by acquiring a large group of British Museum duplicates in the 1870s, and Eton added to this collection in the ensuing years. By the mid-1970s, the ancient coin market was white-hot, and Eton decided to cash-out the lion’s share of its collection, keeping a representative core for study purposes.
2 commentsCarausiusSep 09, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Appuleius Saturninus, AR Denarius - Crawford 317/3a7 viewsRome. The Repubic.
L. Appuleius Saturninus, 101 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.88g; 18mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma, facing left.

Reverse: Saturn holding harpa in fast quadriga galloping right; pellet and sideways E, above; L·SATVRN below.

References: Crawford 317/3a; Sydenham 578; BMCRR 1533 var (dot to left of control letter); Appuleia 1.

Provenance: Ex Stöcklin Family Collection [Nomos 14 (17 May 2017) Lot 229].

The moneyer was L. Appuleius Saturninus, who was Quaestor and twice Tribune near the close of the second century BCE. Crawford attributed the coinage to 104 BCE; but H.B. Mattingly, in Essays Hersh (1998), argues for a slightly later date based on a consensus that Saturninus was Quaestor in 104 BCE. This was a large issue with Crawford estimating 370 obverse dies and 462 reverse dies. No reverse control mark has more than one die. Given the large number of reverse dies, the control marks get somewhat convoluted, with letters in various orientations and combined with one or more pellets. The type, bearing Saturn, is certainly a pun on the moneyer’s name (Saturninus); a common practice among both Greek and Roman coin producers (see, e.g., Greek coins of Selinos bearing celery plants and Roman coins of Q. Pomponius Musa bearing the Muses).
CarausiusSep 09, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Caius Junius, AR Denarius - Crawford 210/119 viewsRome. The Republic.
Caius Junius C.f., 149 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.70g; 18mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma, facing right; X (mark-of-value = 10 asses), behind.

Reverse: Dioscuri galloping right with couched spears; C·IVNI· C· F, below; ROMA in linear frame in exergue.

References: Crawford 210/1; BMCRR 660-3; Sydenham 392; Junia 1.

Provenance: Roma Numismatics Auction VIII (28 Sep 2014), lot 832; Roma Numismatics Auction V (23 Mar 2013), Lot 504; NAC Auction 54 (24 Mar 2010), Lot 166.

This moneyer is unknown except for his coins. His coins have the distinction of being the first in the Republican series to bear patronymic initials, specifically identifying the moneyer versus other family members. In this case, the letters “C· F” represent Caii Filius (son of Caius). Thus, the moneyer is clearly identified as Caius Junius, the son of Caius Junius. In the later decades of the second century, this practice of individual identification, combined with type selections that highlighted ancestral deeds, was employed for political messaging campaigns by young moneyers on the path to consulship. The practice appears to have accelerated following the adoption of secret ballots circa 139 BCE (See, H.B. Mattingly, “Roman Republican Coinage c. 150-90 BC”: Essays Hersh, 1998).

1 commentsCarausiusSep 09, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Julius Caesar, AR Denarius45 viewsRome. The Imperators.
Julius Caesar, 47-6 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.87g; 18mm).
Military Mint in North Africa.

Obverse: Diademed head of Venus facing right, wearing necklace.

Reverse: Aeneas walking left, carrying his aged father, Anchises on his shoulder and the palladium in his right hand; CAESAR in right field.

References: Crawford 458/1; HCRI 55; BMCRR (East) 31-5; Julia 10.

Provenance: Ex Stöcklin Collection [Nomos 14 (17 May 2017) Lot 275]; ex E. J. Haeberlin Collection [Cahn-Hess (17 Jul 1933), Lot 2663].

Struck in Africa near the end of Caesar’s civil war struggle with Pompey, the coin advertises the mythical roots of the Julia gens descent from Venus and Anchises. The obverse depicts the goddess, Venus, while the reverse shows Aeneas carrying his aged father, Anchises, from Troy. Sear thought that among Caesar’s coinage, this issue was second in size only to the "elephant" coinage, and Crawford estimated 390 obverse dies and 433 reverse dies.
4 commentsCarausiusSep 03, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Piso Frugi, AE As16 viewsRome. The Republic
L. Piso Frugi, 90 BCE
AE As (11.3g; 27mm)
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Janus; I (mark of value = 1 As) above.

Reverse: Prow facing right; Victory on prow; L PISO, above prow; [FRVGI] in exergue.

References: Crawford 340/4; BMCRR Rome 2179; Sydenham 677 (R2).

Provenance: Ex NAC 92 (24 May 2016), Lot 1626.

L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi was moneyer in 90 BCE, during the time of the Social War. He later attained the office of Praetor in 74 BCE, but did not appear to distinguish himself further.

The Social War was a civil war between Rome and her Italian allies who had broken-away in a demand for citizenship rights. It was a time of massive coinage output by the Rome mints, likely to pay the costs associated with the conflict. As a result, Frugi's coins are among the most common in the entire Roman Republican series.

In addition to a copious silver coin production, Piso also struck a full complement of bronze coinage. The appearance of Victory on the prow of Piso’s asses, together with some naval imagery on his quadrantes, may either refer to a past naval victory of an ancestor or to the progress of the Social War.

Bronze coins of this era of the Republic often have pronounced casting sprues from the flan production phase of the minting process. This coin has two sprues at 1h and 7h obverse, and at 3h and 9h reverse. These are an expected part of the fabric of Roman Republican bronze coins of the Social War era.

1 commentsCarausiusSep 01, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, D. Silanus, AE As6 viewsRome. The Republic
Decimus Silanus, 91 BCE
AE As (13.46g; 28mm)
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Janus; I (mark of value = 1 As) above.

Reverse: Prow facing right; D SILANVS L F, above.

References: Crawford 337/5; Sydenham 649; BMCRR 1853-8; Junia 23; RBW 1234 (this coin).

Provenance: Ex Roma Auction XI (7 Apr 2016), Lot 590; ex RBW Collection [NAC 63 (2012), Lot 9]; purchased privately from Freeman & Sear 14 Jan 2006.

The moneyer is unknown except for his coins. The As is the only denomination of bronze coin known to have been struck in Silanus’s name. There was a full series of contemporaneous, anonymous bronze coins struck in response to the Lex Papiria. It’s likely that additional bronze coin production was simply not required, and so Silanus focused on silver coin production to defray the costs of the war.

Bronze coins of this era of the Republic often have pronounced casting sprues from the flan production phase of the minting process. This coin has a sprue at 11h obverse, 7h reverse. These are an expected part of the fabric of Roman Republican bronze coins of the Social War era.
CarausiusSep 01, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, P. Clodius, AR Denarius - Crawford 494/23 - Sear Plate Coin!7 viewsRome. The Imperators.
Publius Clodius M. f. Turrinus, 41 BCE.
AR Denarius (4.01g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo, facing right; lyre behind.

Reverse: Diana facing with head right, holding a torch in each hand; M.F – P.CLODIVS in fields.

References: Crawford 494/23; Sear, HCRI 184 (this coin illustrated); BMCRR 4290-1; Sydenham 1117.

Provenance: Ex The Mayflower Collection [Heritage Auction (30 April 2012), Lot 26089]; ex J. Schulman Auction 262 (14 May 1975), Lot 1249.

Nothing certain is known of this moneyer besides his coins. The Clodii were an old patrician family of Sabine origin that also had plebeian branches. It is impossible to know whether this moneyer was of the patrician or plebeian side of the family, though his use of the spelling Clodius suggests he was plebeian. Some researchers have suggested (others disagree) that he was the Clodius sent into Macedonia by Caesar in 48 BCE, who fought on the side of Antonius in the Perusine War, and who was put to death by order of Octavian in 40 BCE.
CarausiusSep 01, 2018
Didrachm31.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, Didrachm-Quadrigatus (Crawford 31/1)12 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, 225-214 BCE.
AR Didrachm/Quadrigatus (6.81g; 20mm).
Rome Mint (?)

Obv: Janiform head with V neck truncation; pellet beneath neck.

Rev: Jupiter and Victory in quadriga galloping right; beneath, ROMA semi-incuse on raised tablet.

Reference: Crawford 31/1; Sydenham 64c; BMC 100; Gentilhomme Class B, 5th Variety, No. 103 (Plate 3, No 1 and Plate 2, No 9).

Provenance: Ex Freeman and Sear, 2003.

The last few series of Roman silver didrachm coinage, produced from 225-214 BCE, are nicknamed "quadrigati" because of the common reverse type of Jupiter and Victory in a fast quadriga. Crawford's arrangement of quadrigati into distinct series requires a great amount of study to understand. Collectors and dealers alike often misattribute quadrigati among Crawford's series.

Crawford 31 series didrachms are generally of weak style, low relief and debased metal. The series is recognizable by the Janiform head with a “V” neck truncation, sideburns forking into four, distinct tendrils, and either with or without a pellet control mark below the neck. Although not catalogued separately by Crawford, I find that there are two distinct varieties of Crawford 31 didrachms: the first with a pellet below the Janiform neck and an incuse or semi-incuse ROMA inscription; the second with no pellet below the neck and ROMA in relief within a linear frame. The above coin is the first variety, showing the pellet and semi-incuse inscription. I believe the two should be recognized as separate and distinct varieties within the same series. The meaning of the obverse pellet is unclear, but it may be a control mark indicating the workshop or source of the silver for the issue. Crawford attributes the series to the Rome Mint; however, given the debased metal, fabric and mediocre style common to the series, it’s also possible that the series was struck by a military mint or Italian satellite mint early in the Second Punic War.
CarausiusAug 29, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Anonymous, AR Denarius - Crawford 53/226 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, ca. 209-208 BCE
Uncertain Italian Mint
AR Denarius (4.64g; 19mm)

Obv: Head of Roma in peaked-visor helmet, facing right; X (mark of value = 10 asses) behind.

Rev: Dioscuri galloping right with couched spears; two stars above; ROMA, within full trapezoidal frame, below.

Reference: Crawford 53/2.

Provenance: Ex Hess Divo 331 (1 Dec 2016), Lot 75; ex Giesseener Munzhandlung Dieter Gorny Auktion 44 (1989), Lot 525.
1 commentsCarausiusAug 25, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Julius Caesar, AR Denarius30 viewsRome. The Imperators.
Julius Caesar and Lucius Aemilius Buca, 44 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.77g; 21mm).
Rome Mint, Feb-Mar 44 BCE.

Obverse: CAESAR DICT- PERPETVO; wreathed head of Julius Caesar facing right.

Reverse: Fasces and winged caduceus in saltire; axe, globe, clasped hands and L BVCA in angles.

References: Crawford 480/6; HCRI 103; Sydenham 1063; BMCRR 4157-9; Julia 37; Alföldi, Type XIII, Plate XCVIII, No. 78.

Provenance: Ex Goldberg Auction #104 (12 Jun 2018) Lot 3248.

Caesar was granted the title of Dictator for Life in mid-February, 44 BCE, thus all coins bearing DICT PERPETVO inscriptions can be firmly dated to the final month of Caesar’s life. This was a period of massive coinage output because Caesar was preparing for a campaign against the Parthians for which a substantial war chest would be needed. To meet the production needs, the college of moneyers was expanded from 3 to 4 moneyers. Nevertheless, manufacturing stress is evident by the frequent poor strikes and off-struck coins that survive today from these final Caesar portrait issues.

The moneyer Lucius Aemilius Buca may have been a relative of Sulla. He does not appear to have struck coins after Caesar’s assassination. With its symbolism, the reverse of this coin suggests Caesar’s growing grasp on religious, military and political power.
2 commentsCarausiusAug 19, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Julius Caesar, AR Denarius22 viewsRome. The Imperators.
Julius Caesar and P. Sepullius Macer, 44 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.84g; 20mm).
Rome Mint, Feb-Mar 44 BCE.

Obverse: CAESAR - DICT PERPETVO; wreathed head of Julius Caesar facing right.

Reverse: P SEPVLLIVS – MACER; Venus facing left, holding Victory and staff; shield at feet.

References: Crawford 480/10; HCRI 107a; Sydenham 1073: Julia 48; Alföldi, Plate LXVI, No. 2 (this coin illustrated).

Provenance: Ex Andrew McCabe Collection; privately purchased from Ritter 2010; ex Rauch Auction 85 (26 Nov 2009) Lot 323; ex Professor L. Fontana Collection (bef. 1974).

Caesar was granted the title of Dictator for Life in mid-February, 44 BCE, thus all coins bearing DICT PERPETVO inscriptions can be firmly dated to the final month of Caesar’s life. This was a period of massive coinage output because Caesar was preparing for a campaign against the Parthians for which a substantial war chest would be needed. To meet the production needs, the college of moneyers was expanded from 3 to 4 moneyers. Nevertheless, manufacturing stress is evident by the frequent poor strikes and off-struck coins that survive today from these final Caesar portrait issues.

The moneyer P. Sepullius Macer struck coins during and after Caesar’s lifetime, including one type for M. Antony that also appears in my gallery. His output of coins was particularly high compared to the other three moneyers of 44 BCE. This reverse type, common among the four moneyers, alludes to the descent of the Julia gens from Venus and Anchises.
1 commentsCarausiusAug 19, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Julius Caesar, AR Denarius24 viewsRome. The Imperators.
Julius Caesar, 49-44 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.93 g; 19mm).
Military mint travelling with Caesar, 49-48 BCE.

Obverse: Elephant walking right, trampling serpent; CAESAR in exergue.

Reverse: Simpulum, aspergillum, axe and apex.

References: Crawford 443/1: HCRI 9; Sydenham 1006; Julia 9.

Provenance: Ex Ploil Collection [NAC 101 (24 Oct 2017), Lot 10]; privately purchased December 1980.

Caesar’s “elephant” issue was massive, with Crawford estimating 750 obverse and 833 reverse dies. Stylistic variations range from elephants depicted accurately to elephants with pig-like characteristics. The CAESAR inscriptions on the well-executed elephant varieties typically have letters with serifs; while inscriptions on the piggish varieties have letters without serifs. Woytek believes the series was struck in Gallia Narbonensis and Hispania Citerior in circa 49BC during Caesar’s campaign against Pompey loyalists in Spain. Other scholars, like Crawford and Sear, believe the issue was commenced shortly after Caesar invaded Italy in 49 and continued until the defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus in 48 BCE. What’s clear is that Caesar struck these coins without authority, as he did not hold the office of moneyer or legate. As for interpretation of this coin type, many scholars, including Crawford and Sear, interpret the obverse (elephant trampling the serpent) as representing good (Caesar) triumphing over evil. Michael Harlan interprets the obverse as blaming the civil war on Pompey’s faction; the elephant representing Pompey’s supporter, Metellus Pius Scipio (whose family badge, frequently seen on Metellan coins, is an elephant), trampling the snake symbol of Salus, the health and safety of Rome. The reverse clearly depicts the emblems of the priesthood and alludes to Caesar’s office of pontifex maximus.
1 commentsCarausiusAug 19, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, C. Considius Paetus, AR Sestertius21 viewsRome. The Imperators.
C. Considius Paetus, 46 BCE.
AR Sestertius (0.89g; 12mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: C·CONSIDIVS; winged bust of Cupid facing right.

Reverse: Two filleted cornucopiae on globe.

References: Crawford 465/8a; Sydenham 997 (R6); Banti 31/3 (this coin illustrated); BMCRR 4097; Considia 10.

Provenance: Ex Professor Hildebrecht Hommel Collection [Dr. Busso Peus Auction 422 (26 Apr 2018), Lot 192]; Kress Auction 137 (1966), Lot 254.

The moneyer is not known except for his coins. The type is rare, with Crawford counting an aggregate of 13 obverse and 14 reverse dies for two varieties of the type. The meaning of the type is pro-Caesar, with Cupid on the obverse relating to Venus and referring to the Julia gens' mythical descent from that deity; and the cornucopiae and globe on the reverse referring to domination. The silver sestertius, equal in value to a quarter denarius, was originally established with the adoption of the denarius system in circa 212 BCE. However, the denomination soon ceased, perhaps because reduction in the size and weight of the bronze coinage during the Second Punic War made tiny silver coinage less convenient than reasonably sized bronzes. The silver sestertius was revived in 91 BCE with the adoption of the Lex Papiria, and therefore AR sestertii of 91-90 BCE, which are rare, bear the legend E.L.P. (e lege Papiria). This revival was short-lived and the silver denomination would again sink into obscurity until revived a final time during the Imperatorial era. The reason for the attempted revivals of this silver denomination may be that the Roman unit of account had changed from the as to the sestertius when the denarius was re-tariffed at 16 asses in circa 141 BCE. Ultimately, Augustus would restore the sestertius denomination as a large bronze coin.
CarausiusAug 17, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Anonymous, AR Sestertius - Crawford 44/761 viewsRome. The Republic.
Anonymous, 212-208 BCE
AR Sestertius (1.0g; 12mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma, right; IIS (mark of value) behind.

Reverse: Dioscuri galloping right with spears; two stars above; ROMA below in linear frame.

References: Crawford 44/7; Sydenham 142; BMCRR 13-18.

Provenance: Ex Volteia Collection [CNG 102 (18 May 2016), Lot 777]; ex August Voirol Collection [Munzen und Medaillen 38 (6-7 Dec 1968), Lot 105].

The IIS mark of value denotes that the coin is worth 2 asses + a semis, or 2.5 asses. This quarter-denarius denomination was part of the introduction of the denarius coinage following the Roman sack of Syracuse. The subsequent reduction in the weight standard and size of the bronze coinage eliminated the need for this tiny silver denomination, and it was soon discontinued. However, the denomination would be resurrected for short times during the Social War and Imperatorial eras.
4 commentsCarausiusAug 02, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Ass Series, AE As - Crawford 195/113 viewsAss Series, 169-158 BCE.
AE As (27.59g; 30mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Janus; I (mark of value), above.

Reverse: Galley prow facing right; ass, above; I (mark of value) to right; ROMA below.

References: Crawford 195/1; Sydenham 298; BMCRR I 520-4; RBW 837.

Provenance: Ex RBW Collection duplicates [Triskeles vAuctions 320 (16 Sep 2016), Lot 414]; purchased privately from Kurt Spanier, 17 Jan 2003.

Towards the middle of the second century BCE, the Rome mint produced several series consisting only of bronze coins. The Ass Series is one of them. The demand for bronze coins may have increased as Rome phased-out production of small-change silver coins - victoriati and sestertii. The production of bronze peaked at the middle of this century and then dropped considerably until the Social War in 90 BCE. This drop in bronze production is partly related to the re-tariffing of the denarius in 145 BCE from 10 to 16 asses. As a result these mid-second century asses and the large bronzes that preceded them would circulate for many years.
CarausiusJul 17, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Wolf and Twins Series, AE As - Crawford 183/113 viewsRome. The Republic
Wolf and Twins Series, 169-158 BCE.
AE As (26.42g; 35mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Janus; I (mark of value), above.

Reverse: Galley prow facing right; she-wolf suckling the twins, Romulus and Remus, above; I (mark of value) to right; ROMA below.

References: Crawford 183/1; Sydenham 297; BMCRR 514-6; RBW 775.

Provenance: Ex SteveX6 Collection; ex CNG eSale 307, Lot 269; ex RBW duplicates (not in prior sales); purchased from Bank Leu (Jan 1985).

Apparently RBW purchased more than one Wolf and Twins As from Bank Leu in January 1985, as the specimen in the NAC auction shares the same Bank Leu origin and date. I have the original RBW ticket for this coin and so I’m confident that the provenance information is correct.
CarausiusJul 17, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Anchor (Third) Series, AE As - Crawford 194/111 viewsRome. The Republic
Anchor (Third) Series, 169-158 BCE.
AE As (35.22g; 35mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Janus; I (mark of value), above.

Reverse: Galley prow facing right; I (mark of value), above; anchor, before; ROMA, below.

References: Crawford 194/1; Sydenham 238; BMCRR 519; RBW 831.

Provenance: Ex Dr. Walter Neussel Jr. Collection [Peus Auction 420/421 (1 Nov 2017), Lot 72]; ex M&M Deutschland 9 (2001), Lot 338.

The two series of Anchor bronzes are easily distinguishable by style and fabric. The first bronze anchor series (Cr 50) is of finer style and struck on good quality flans; the second bronze anchor series (actually the third anchor series overall) (Cr 194), exhibited here, is less refined, with upward gazing Janus and often poorly cast flans. In BMCRR, Grueber suggests a possible connection between coins with anchor symbol and the Quinctia gens, because anchor symbols also occur with the letter Q (see Crawford 86B).
CarausiusJul 17, 2018
Antes_Gragulus.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Antestius Gragulus, AE Quadrans - Crawford 238/3e10 viewsRome. The Republic.
L. Antestius Gragulus, 136 BCE
AE Quadrans (3.87g; 18mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of young Hercules wearing lionskin headdress, facing right; ●●● (mark of value), behind.

Reverse: Prow right; ●●● (mark of value), before; LANTES (NTE ligate) above; ROMA below.

References: Crawford 238/3e; RBW 983 (this coin illustrated); Sydenham 452d; BMCRR 981var (see note 1); SRCV-I 1142.

Provenance: Ex FORVM Ancient Coins; Andrew McCabe Collection; RBW Collection [NAC 61 (Oct 2011) Lot 979]; Goodman Collection [CNG 45 (1998) Lot 1536].

The moneyer is not known except for his coins. He may have been the son of C. Antestius who was moneyer in 146 BCE. Some of his quadrantes depict a jackdaw on the prow which was likely a pun on his name Gragulus. These quadrantes are quite rare, with Crawford reporting only 9 total examples in Paris of 5 different varieties.
CarausiusJul 08, 2018
AntonySolDen.jpg
ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Marc Antony, AR Denarius25 viewsRome. The Imperators.
Marc Antony, 44-31 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.95g; 18mm).
Military mint travelling with Antony, 42BCE.

Obverse: Antony's bearded head right; M ANTONI - IMP (ligate).

Reverse: Facing bust of Sol within distyle temple; III - VIR - R·P·C, around.

References: Crawford 496/1; HCRI 128; Sydenham 1168; BMCRR (Gaul) 62; Antonia 34.

Provenance: Italian export permit No. 13168 of 2018; ex Nomisma 32 (2006), Lot 129.

This coin was likely struck shortly after Brutus’s and Cassius’s defeat at Philippi in 42 BCE. Antony is still shown with his beard of mourning (he and Octavian would not shave until Caesar’s assassination was avenged), and it’s likely that the die engravers had not yet been instructed to remove the beard following Philippi. This is the last bearded image of Antony to appear on his coinage. There were two versions of this coin type: one with IMP spelled the standard way; the other with IMP ligate, as on this example. The ligate version is the scarcer version of the two. The reverse type emphasizing Sol was a common theme on Antony’s eastern coinage, perhaps reflecting his growing enchantment with eastern Hellenistic culture.
2 commentsCarausiusJul 07, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Didrachm - Quadrigatus (Crawford 42/1) - VERY RARE13 viewsRome. The Republic.
Corn-Ear Series, 214-212 BCE.
AR Didrachm-Quadrigatus (6.82g; 21mm).
Unknown Sicilian Mint.

Obverse: Laureate Janiform head of the Dioscuri.

Reverse: Jupiter and Victory in fast quadriga galloping right; corn ear below; ROMA in linear frame in exergue.

References: Crawford 42/1; Sydenham 66 (R8); BMCRR 108.

Provenance: Ex Naville Numismatics 41 (24 Jun 2018) Lot 389; ex NAC 50 (4 Apr 2011), Lot 1729; purchased from Freeman & Sear, before 2011.

The last few series of Roman silver didrachm coinage, produced from 225-212 BCE, are nicknamed "quadrigati" because of the common reverse type of Jupiter and Victory in a fast quadriga. Crawford's arrangement of quadrigati into distinct series requires a great amount of study to understand. Collectors and dealers alike often misattribute quadrigati among Crawford's series.

The Crawford 42 series of quadrigati, to which this example belongs, is the rarest of all the quadrigati series. In his study of the 42 series quadrigati, Charles Hersh could only locate 33 examples of the type. Based on the corn-ear control symbol, the series was likely struck somewhere in Sicily, perhaps during Rome’s Second Punic War offensive against Syracuse, from 214-212 BCE. While Crawford puts this series last in order of his various quadrigati series, it is likely they were produced near the same time as the debased, lightweight quadrigati that ended the Crawford 28 series. The coins are generally of debased style and metal, thought their weight is good, and in this regard they are similar to Crawford 31 quadrigati. Stylistically, the series 42 quadrigati typically display well-defined, separated “J”-shaped sideburns, with horizontal hairs, on the Janiform head. Neck truncations range from open C curve (as on this example) to straight and V truncations. On the reverse, Jupiter's thunderbolt is entirely within the line border, angle of the horses is on tbe low-side, and ROMA is always in relief in a linear frame. The type usually has a corn-ear on the reverse beneath the quadriga; however, “anonymous” versions of this series, without corn-ears but stylistically identical to the corn-eared coins, are known.
CarausiusJul 07, 2018
1995381.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, C. Piso Frugi, AR Denarius8 viewsRome. The Republic.
Caius Calpurnius Piso Frugi, 61-59 BCE
AR Denarius (3.98g; 18mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Apollo facing right, hair tied with fillet or taenia; eagle head (control mark), behind.

Reverse: Horse and rider galloping right; C PISO L F FRV, below; grain ear in exergue.

References: Crawford 408/1b; Sydenham 841d; Hersh O-252/R-2060; Banti 196 (this coin illustrated); Calpurnia 24.

Provenance: Ex JD Collection [NAC 78 (26 May 2014) Lot 447]; ex A. Galerie des Monnaies Geneva (Nov 1976), No. 33.

Caius Piso Frugi, was the son of Lucius Piso Frugi who produced a huge coinage during the Social War in 90 BCE. Caius was son-in-law to Cicero, marrying Cicero’s daughter Tullia in 63 BCE. He was quaestor in 58 BCE, during which time he fought hard for repeal of Cicero’s exile. He died in 57 BCE, just before Cicero returned to Rome. Cicero thought very highly of him.

Crawford dated Caius’ coinage to 67 BCE, the year of his engagement to Tullia. The near mint state condition of Caius’ coins in the Mesagne Hoard caused Hersh and Walker to bring down the date of Caius’ mint magistracy toward the close of the hoard material, circa 61 BCE. In “Roman Republican Moneyers and Their Coins” (2nd ed.), Michael Harlan suggests a slightly later date of 59 BCE, which would be the latest possible date for the series given the hard dates of Caius’ quaestorship in 58 and death in 57.

With his coinage, Caius reissued the coin types of his father which allude to the celebration of the Ludi Apollinares instituted by Frugi's ancestor during the Second Punic War. These games were held at the Circus Maximus in July of each year and lasted 8 or 9 days, consisting of horse racing and performances.

While his father’s 90 BCE coinage was hurriedly and sloppily produced due to wartime exigency (dies were often used to the brink of destruction), Caius’ coinage was considerably well made – struck in high relief and good style. Reverse dies were convex – resulting in characteristic “cupped” reverses – to fully-strike the high relief obverses. Obverses are in two varieties: the first, with Apollo’s hair bound with a fillet or taenia; the second with his hair laureate. Hersh (1976) knew of 204 obverse dies. Laureate dies are considerably fewer than fillet/taenia dies. The reverses are quite varied, depicting the horsemen wearing various caps or capless and carrying whip, torch, palm or nothing. Hersh knew of 232 reverse dies. Obverse and reverse dies bear a series of control marks consisting of symbols, letters, Greek and Roman numbers and fractional signs. The obverse/reverse die links in the series are very random within the estimated three workshops, and are considered evidence for the “die box” method of die management by the mint officials.
CarausiusJul 06, 2018
1525025004332976248117.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, C. Piso Frugi, AR Denarius18 viewsRome. The Republic.
Caius Calpurnius Piso Frugi, 61-59 BCE
AR Denarius (3.96g; 18mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo facing right; wheel with four spokes (control mark), behind.

Reverse: Horse with rider carrying palm, galloping right; II or П above; C PISO L F FRVG, below.

References: Crawford 408/1a (O17/R31); Sydenham 850f; Hersh O-17/R-1023; Banti 245/2 (this coin illustrated); Calpurnia 24.

Provenance: Ex Naville Numismatics 39 (29 Apr 2018), Lot 472; Munzen und Medaillen XVII (2-4 Dec 1957), Lot 185.

Caius Piso Frugi, was the son of Lucius Piso Frugi who produced a huge coinage during the Social War in 90 BCE. Caius was son-in-law to Cicero, marrying Cicero’s daughter Tullia in 63 BCE. He was quaestor in 58 BCE, during which time he fought hard for repeal of Cicero’s exile. He died in 57 BCE, just before Cicero returned to Rome. Cicero thought very highly of him.

Crawford dated Caius’ coinage to 67 BCE, the year of his engagement to Tullia. The near mint state condition of Caius’ coins in the Mesagne Hoard caused Hersh and Walker to bring down the date of Caius’ mint magistracy toward the close of the hoard material, circa 61 BCE. In “Roman Republican Moneyers and Their Coins” (2nd ed.), Michael Harlan suggests a slightly later date of 59 BCE, which would be the latest possible date for the series given the hard dates of Caius’ quaestorship in 58 and death in 57.

With his coinage, Caius reissued the coin types of his father which allude to the celebration of the Ludi Apollinares instituted by Frugi's ancestor during the Second Punic War. These games were held at the Circus Maximus in July of each year and lasted 8 or 9 days, consisting of horse racing and performances.

While his father’s 90 BCE coinage was hurriedly and sloppily produced due to wartime exigency (dies were often used to the brink of destruction), Caius’ coinage was considerably well made – struck in high relief and good style. Reverse dies were convex – resulting in characteristic “cupped” reverses – to fully-strike the high relief obverses. Obverses are in two varieties: the first, with Apollo’s hair bound with a fillet or taenia; the second with his hair laureate. Hersh (1976) knew of 204 obverse dies. Laureate dies are considerably fewer than fillet/taenia dies. The reverses are quite varied, depicting the horsemen wearing various caps or capless and carrying whip, torch, palm or nothing. Hersh knew of 232 reverse dies. Obverse and reverse dies bear a series of control marks consisting of symbols, letters, Greek and Roman numbers and fractional signs. The obverse/reverse die links in the series are very random within the estimated three workshops, and are considered evidence for the “die box” method of die management by the mint officials.
1 commentsCarausiusJul 06, 2018
PlautiusDenarius.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Plautius Plancus, AR Denarius49 viewsRome. 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 Lucius’ 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 “History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators” 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 Lucius’ 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 moneyer’s natural or adopted family.
3 commentsCarausiusJul 02, 2018
CM_Victoriatus_combined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, C/M Series Victoriatus - Crawford 71/1a20 viewsRome. The Republic.
C/M Series, 211-208 BCE
AR Victoriatus (3.26g; 18mm).
Sicilian mint (?)

Obverse: Laureate head of Jupiter facing right; C behind.

Reverse: Victory crowns trophy; M between; ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 71/1a; RBW 300; Sydenham 112; BMCRR (Italy) 252.

Provenance: Ex Andrew McCabe Collection; Vecchi 7 (6 Oct 1997) Lot 571; NAC 1 (29 Mar 1989) Lot 561.

About 212 BCE, when the Romans introduced the denarius system, they also introduced a collateral denomination of silver coin, the victoriatus. As evidenced by its different weight standard, debased metal, iconography and missing denominational mark, the victoriatus was not integral to the denarius system but was produced for a special purpose. While the denarius and its fractions, the quinarius and sestertius, all depicted Roma and the Dioscuri, victoriati depicted Jupiter and Victory crowning a trophy. Further, while denarii were produced from nearly pure silver, victoriati were made from debased silver of about 70% purity. Based on the weight standard of Magna Graecia drachms, victoriati were likely designed specifically for payments to Greek cities of southern Italy and hoard evidence supports circulation largely in southern Italy.

Crawford’s attribution of the C/M Series victoriati to a Sicilian mint is uncertain and partly based on style.

Rome ceased issuing victoriati circa 170 BCE. Perhaps because of their debased metal (which discouraged hoarding), victoriati continued to circulate in Gaul for many years until they functioned as de facto quinarii due to metal loss from wear. Their continued popularity caused Rome to later issue quinarii bearing the same devices (Jupiter/Victory and trophy).
1 commentsCarausiusJun 22, 2018
L_Victoriatus_Combined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC - L Series Victoriatus - Crawford 97/1b39 viewsRome. The Republic.
L Series, 211-208 BCE
AR Victoriatus (3.13g; 18mm).
Luceria mint

Obverse: Laureate head of Jupiter facing right; bead-and-reel border.

Reverse: Victory crowns trophy; L between; ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 97/1b; RBW 395; Sydenham 121; BMCRR (Italy) 157-8.

Provenance: Ex Andrew McCabe Collection; ex RBW Collection (not in prior sales); private purchase from H.J. Berk 15 May 1994.

About 212 BCE, when the Romans introduced the denarius system, they also introduced a collateral denomination of silver coin, the victoriatus. As evidenced by its different weight standard, debased metal, iconography and missing denominational mark, the victoriatus was not integral to the denarius system but was produced for a special purpose. While the denarius and its fractions, the quinarius and sestertius, all depicted Roma and the Dioscuri, victoriati depicted Jupiter and Victory crowning a trophy. Further, while denarii were produced from nearly pure silver, victoriati were made from debased silver of about 70% purity. Based on the weight standard of Magna Graecia drachms, victoriati were likely designed specifically for payments to Greek cities of southern Italy and hoard evidence supports circulation largely in southern Italy.

Like the LT Series victoriati that were also struck in Luceria, Crawford notes that the L Series Victoriati went through three obverse phases: the first, with bead-and-reel border and Jupiter with scraggly hair; the second, with bead-and-reel border and Jupiter with neat ringlets; and the last, with dot border. This coin clearly belongs to the second phase.

Rome ceased issuing victoriati circa 170 BCE. Perhaps because of their debased metal (which discouraged hoarding), victoriati continued to circulate in Gaul for many years until they functioned as de facto quinarii due to metal loss from wear. Their continued popularity caused Rome to later issue quinarii bearing the same devices (Jupiter/Victory and trophy).
3 commentsCarausiusJun 22, 2018
Combined_LT_Victoriatus.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, LT Series Victoriatus - Crawford 98A/1b18 viewsRome. The Republic.
LT Series, 211-210 BCE
AR Victoriatus (3.06g; 18mm).
Luceria mint

Obverse: Laureate head of Jupiter facing right.

Reverse: Victory crowns trophy; LT ligate between; ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 98A/1b; RBW 429; Sydenham 137; BMCRR (Italy) 178-80.

Provenance: Ex Andrew McCabe Collection; private purchase in 2012 from CNG #910522; ex CNG 88 (14 Sep 2011) Lot 1130.

About 212 BCE, when the Romans introduced the denarius system, they also introduced a collateral denomination of silver coin, the victoriatus. As evidenced by its different weight standard, debased metal, iconography and missing denominational mark, the victoriatus was not integral to the denarius system but was produced for a special purpose. While the denarius and its fractions, the quinarius and sestertius, all depicted Roma and the Dioscuri, victoriati depicted Jupiter and Victory crowning a trophy. Further, while denarii were produced from nearly pure silver, victoriati were made from debased silver of about 70% purity. Based on the weight standard of Magna Graecia drachms, victoriati were likely designed specifically for payments to Greek cities of southern Italy and hoard evidence supports circulation largely in southern Italy.

Like the L Series victoriati which were also struck in Luceria, Crawford notes three phases of the LT Series victoriati: the first, with a small head and mint/control letters split between obverse and reverse; the second, with larger head and monogram LT on reverse; the last, with careless, spread devices and mint/control marks again split between obverse and reverse. This coin belongs to the second phase of the series’ development. While the L almost certainly represent Luceria, the meaning of the additional letter T is uncertain. Crawford suggests it may be a magistrates initial or indicate the purpose of the expenditure.

Rome ceased issuing victoriati circa 170 BCE. Perhaps because of their debased metal (which discouraged hoarding), victoriati continued to circulate in Gaul for many years until they functioned as de facto quinarii due to metal loss from wear. Their continued popularity caused Rome to later issue quinarii bearing the same devices (Jupiter/Victory and trophy).
1 commentsCarausiusJun 22, 2018
AnonSpearheadVic.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, Anonymous Spear Head Victoriatus - Crawford 83/1b - RARE8 viewsRome. The Republic.
Anonymous Spear Head (First) Series, 211-210 BCE
AR Victoriatus (2.67g; 17mm).
S.E. Italian mint

Obverse: Laureate head of Jupiter facing right.

Reverse: Victory crowns trophy; ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 83/1b; RBW 337; Sydenham 223var (no spear head); BMCRR 320var (no spear head).

About 212 BCE, when the Romans introduced the denarius system, they also introduced a collateral denomination of silver coin, the victoriatus. As evidenced by its different weight standard, debased metal, iconography and missing denominational mark, the victoriatus was not integral to the denarius system but was produced for a special purpose. While the denarius and its fractions, the quinarius and sestertius, all depicted Roma and the Dioscuri, victoriati depicted Jupiter and Victory crowning a trophy. Further, while denarii were produced from nearly pure silver, victoriati were made from debased silver of about 70% purity. Based on the weight standard of Magna Graecia drachms, victoriati were likely designed specifically for payments to Greek cities of southern Italy and hoard evidence supports circulation largely in southern Italy.

Like early denarii, victoriati were produced in both anonymous series and in series marked with letters or symbols. Some anonymous series are clearly related to letter/symbol series of identical style and fabric, and it's interesting to ponder whether the anonymous or letter/symbol series came first and why. This rare coin is an anonymous version of Spear Head Series victoriatus, being identical in style to its marked cousin. Note, on the obverse, the three loose ringlets at Jupiter’s neck and, on the reverse, the large knot and drape in the front of Victory’s garment and the bulbous, round base to the trophy stem – all these stylistic cues are identical in those marked Victoriati of the first Spear Head Series.

Rome ceased issuing victoriati circa 170 BCE. Perhaps because of their debased metal (which discouraged hoarding), victoriati continued to circulate in Gaul for many years until they functioned as de facto quinarii due to metal loss from wear. Their continued popularity caused Rome to later issue quinarii bearing the same devices (Jupiter/Victory and trophy).

For further information on anonymous victoriati, I recommend Ken Friedman’s and Richard Schaefer’s guide hosted on Steve Brinkman’s website: http://stevebrinkman.ancients.info/anonymous/AnonymousVictoriatii.html.

CarausiusJun 22, 2018
1681149l.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, VB Series Victoriatus - Crawford 95/1b15 viewsRome. The Republic.
VB Series, 211-208 BCE
AR Victoriatus (3.35g; 18mm).
Uncertain mint.

Obverse: Laureate “small” head of Jupiter facing right.

Reverse: Victory crowns trophy; VB ligate in field; ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 95/1b; RBW 390; Sydenham 113; BMCRR (Italy) 235; RSC 36m.

Provenance: Ex NAC 84 (20 May 2015), Lot 773; privately purchased from Or Gestion Numismatique (Paris) in 2009.

About 212 BCE, when the Romans introduced the denarius system, they also introduced a collateral denomination of silver coin, the victoriatus. As evidenced by its different weight standard, debased metal, iconography and missing denominational mark, the victoriatus was not integral to the denarius system but was produced for a special purpose. While the denarius and its fractions, the quinarius and sestertius, all depicted Roma and the Dioscuri, victoriati depicted Jupiter and Victory crowning a trophy. Further, while denarii were produced from nearly pure silver, victoriati were made from debased silver of about 70% purity. Based on the weight standard of Magna Graecia drachms, victoriati were likely designed specifically for payments to Greek cities of southern Italy and hoard evidence supports circulation largely in southern Italy.

The VB Victoriati were issued in two, distinct obverse styles: one with a large head of Jupiter in high relief and nearly filling the obverse field; the second with a smaller head. This coin is the small-head variety.

Rome ceased issuing victoriati circa 170 BCE. Perhaps because of their debased metal (which discouraged hoarding), victoriati continued to circulate in Gaul for many years until they functioned as de facto quinarii due to metal loss from wear. Their continued popularity caused Rome to later issue quinarii bearing the same devices (Jupiter/Victory and trophy).
CarausiusJun 22, 2018
quadrigatus30combined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, Didrachm - Quadrigatus (Crawford 30/1)51 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, 225-214 BCE.
AR Didrachm/Quadrigatus (6.29 g; 21mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Janiform head with irregular neck truncaction.

Reverse: Jupiter and Victory in fast quadriga, galloping right; ROMA incuse on trapezoidal tablet below.

Reference: Crawford 30/1; Sydenham 64b; BMCRR 95; Gentilehomme I.E.3-4.

Provenance: From an American collection; privately purchased from Tom McKenna in 1980's.

The last few series of Roman silver didrachm coinage, produced from 225-214 BCE, are nicknamed "quadrigati" because of the common reverse type of Jupiter and Victory in a fast quadriga. Crawford's arrangement of quadrigati into distinct series requires a great amount of study to understand. Collectors and dealers alike often misattribute quadrigati among Crawford's series.

The Crawford 30 series of quadrigati, to which this example belongs, have a distinct obverse style, notably a thick, single sideburn between the janiform heads with various neck truncation styles ranging from straight – wavy – convex. On the reverse, Victory stands further back, on the backboard of the chariot with more of her garment visible. ROMA legend is always incuse on this series, though tablets range from square to trapezoidal.
5 commentsCarausiusJun 20, 2018
Craw198Den.jpg
Roman Republic - Anonymous Denarius - Crawford 19834 viewsRome. The Republic.
Anonymous, 157-156 BCE.
AR Denarius (4.18 g; 18 mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma facing right with peaked visor and earring of long, single drop; X (mark-of-value = 10 asses), behind.

Reverse: The Dioscuri galloping right holding spears; two stars above; ROMA below in linear frame.

References: Crawford 198/1; BMCRR (Italy) 390; Brinkman 43.

Provenance: Acquired with an Italian export permit.

This is the last variety of fully anonymous denarii struck by the Roman Republic, and it is often mistaken for the earlier and more common Crawford 53/2. Both types depict Roma in a peaked-visor helmet. The most obvious differences are that the rider's cape on Cr. 198 is longer at the top than the bottom - looking almost wing-like - and the horse's tail extends straight-out on Cr. 198. The variety is rarely so well centered as this specimen which clearly shows that the ROMA legend is within a three-sided frame (most examples showing only two sides of the frame).
2 commentsCarausiusJun 19, 2018
1680698l.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC - L. Piso Frugi - AR Denarius13 viewsRome, The Republic
L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi, 90 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.90 g; 19mm)
Rome mint.

Obv: Laureate head of Apollo facing right; Q (control mark) behind head and D (control mark) under chin.

Rev: Rider with palm on horse galloping right; L PISO FRVG below; E (control mark) in exergue.

References: Crawford 340/1; Sydenham 665a; Banti 89/6; Calpurnia 11.

Provenance: Ex Student and Mentor Collection [NAC 83 (20 May 2015) Lot 322; ex Nicolas Collection [Leu 17 (May 1977) Lot 337].

L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi was moneyer in 90 BCE, during the time of the Social War. He later attained the office of Praetor in 74 BCE, but did not appear to distinguish himself further.

The Social War was a civil war between Rome and her Italian allies who had broken-away in a demand for citizenship rights. It was a time of massive coinage output by the Rome mints, likely to pay the costs associated with the conflict. As a result, Frugi's coins are among the most common in the entire Roman Republican series. Crawford estimates 864 obverse and 1080 reverse dies were used to produce Frugi's denarii. Both obverse and reverse dies bear control marks of varying complexity, and no control mark has more than one die.

This type alludes to the annual celebration of the Ludi Apollinares instituted by Frugi's ancestor during the Second Punic War. These games were held at the Circus Maximus in July of each year and lasted 8 or 9 days, consisting of horse racing and performances.
CarausiusMay 20, 2018
image00236.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC - L. Piso Frugi - AR Denarius22 viewsRome, The Republic
L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi, 90 BCE.
AR Denarius (4.01g; 18mm)
Rome mint.

Obv: Laureate head of Apollo facing right; VII (control mark) behind.

Rev: Rider with palm on horse galloping right; VII (control mark) above; L PISO FRVG below; Roma monogram in exergue.

References: Crawford 340/1; Sydenham 661; Banti 44/1 (this coin illustrated); BMCRR 1900; Calpurnia 11.

Provenance: Ex Stoeklin Collection [Nomos 14 (17 May 2017) Lot 236; ex Haeberlin Collection [Cahn-Hess (17 Jul 1933) Lot 1184].

L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi was moneyer in 90 BCE, during the time of the Social War. He later attained the office of Praetor in 74 BCE, but did not appear to distinguish himself further.

The Social War was a civil war between Rome and her Italian allies who had broken-away in a demand for citizenship rights. It was a time of massive coinage output by the Rome mints, likely to pay the costs associated with the conflict. As a result, Frugi’s coins are among the most common in the entire Roman Republican series. Crawford estimates 864 obverse and 1080 reverse dies were used to produce Frugi’s denarii. Both obverse and reverse dies bear control marks of varying complexity, and no control mark has more than one die.

This type alludes to the annual celebration of the Ludi Apollinares instituted by Frugi’s ancestor during the Second Punic War. These games were held at the Circus Maximus in July of each year and lasted 8 or 9 days, consisting of horse racing and performances.
1 commentsCarausiusMay 20, 2018
3108816_m.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC - Musa - AR Denarius32 viewsRome, The Republic.
Q. Pomponius Musa, 56-52 BCE
AR Denarius (3.76g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obv: Q•POMPONI – MVSA; Head of Apollo facing right, hair tied with band.

Rev: HERCVLES – MVSARVM; Hercules facing right, wearing lion skin and playing lyre.

References: Crawford 410/1; Sydenham 810; Pomponia 8.

Provenance: Ex Collection of an English Amateur Scholar [NAC 92 (May 2016) Lot 1669]; Munzen und Medaillen XIX (Jun 1959) Lot 98; L. Hamburger 95 (1932} Lot 238; Manuel Vidal Quadras y Ramon (d. 1894) Collection [E. Bourgey (Nov 1913) Lot 526].

Q. Pomponius Musa punned his name by depicting the Muses on a series of coins. Musa’s coins have long been favorites of Roman Republican collectors both for their high-style and because they form a mini-series within the larger series of Republican moneyer coins. Basically, they're fun-to-collect tray candy.

Musa is unknown except for his coins, which, combined with scant hoard evidence, makes precise dating of the series difficult. For many years, scholars (including Crawford) dated the series to 66 BCE. However, the absence of any examples of the series in the large Mesagne hoard caused Hersh and Walker to bring down the date of the series to 56 BCE. In "Roman Moneyers and Their Coins" (2nd ed), Michael Harlan suggested a later date of 52 BCE due to the large number of moneyers attributed from 57-54.

This example of Musa's series does not depict a Muse at all, but Hercules Musarum – Hercules as patron of the Muses. In 187 BCE, Marcus Fulvius Nobilior, celebrating victories in Greece, dedicated a Temple of Hercules Musarum in Rome, near the Circus Flaminius. This round temple contained statues of Hercules and the nine Muses. It is possible that the reverses of Musa’s coins depict the actual statues contained within this temple, which were likely brought back to Rome as spoils from Greece. Over 100 years after this temple was consecrated, Cicero praised Nobilior for honoring poetry and the arts in his victory over the Greeks.

Apollo is often depicted androgynously on ancient coins. The standard references consistently attribute the obverse heads on all varieties of Musa’s coins as Apollo; but the depictions are notably different between the Hercules Musarum variety and the nine Muse varieties. On the above coin, the deity’s hair is down and tied, and generally consistent with many depictions of Apollo on other Roman Republican coins (see, e.g., denarii of L. Calpurnius Piso and C. Calpurnius Piso). Comparatively, the head on the Muse varieties of this series are considerably more feminine in appearance and laureate, though lacking earrings, necklaces or other feminine accents. Admittedly, this more feminine type head has also been attributed by scholars as Apollo on other coin types (see, e.g., denarii of P. Clodius and C. Considius). However, within the same series the different styled heads appear to depict different deities. Given the Muse emblems behind each head on the nine Muse types, it’s possible that the feminine heads are not Apollo, but the Muses themselves. Michael Harlan agrees with this interpretation in both editions of "Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins." More research on this issue is needed.
3 commentsCarausiusMay 20, 2018
1521986941692724409721.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC - Didrachm - Crawford 20/139 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, 269-266 BCE.
AR Didrachm (7.28g; 21mm).
Uncertain mint.

Obv: Diademed head of youthful Hercules facing right, with lion skin and club over shoulder.

Rev: She-Wolf suckling the twins, Romulus & Remus; ROMANO in exergue.

References: Crawford 20/1; Sydenham 6; BMCRR (Romano-Campanian) 28-33.

Provenance: Ex Dr. Walter F. Stoeklin Collection [Nomos AG eSale 9 (25 Mar 2018) Lot 2]; Adolph Hess Auction (19 Dec 1933), Lot 3.

The earliest Roman Didrachm coinage commenced in the late fourth century BCE. While earliest didrachms bore the inscription ROMANO, they were not struck in Rome and didn’t really circulate in Rome! The earliest didrachms were likely produced in Naples or some other nearby mint. Kenneth Harl, in "Coinage in the Roman Economy" theorizes that Roman didrachms were likely valued at 10 asses and were possibly called “denarii” in their day.

This coin is from the large, third issue of didrachms produced around the time of the Pyrrhic War, circa 269 BCE. In "Natural History", Pliny wrote that the Romans first struck silver coins “in the 485th year of the city, when Q. Ogulnius and C. Fabius were consuls, five years before the First Punic War [=269 BC].” (NH 33.42-44) Some surmise that Pliny’s now infamous text refers to the above coin type. Pliny’s text confounded for generations the determination by Roman numismatists of the introduction date for the denarius, with many scholars interpreting his statement as evidence for an early introduction; that “literal” theory having been disproven by Thomsen’s analysis in “Early Roman Coinage” and the indisputable evidence of the destruction level finds at Morgantina.

In "Roman Republican Coinage", Michael Crawford assigned this type to the Rome mint, but Crawford turned non-committal regarding the mint in his later book, Coinage and Money Under the Roman Republic. Previous scholars (Babelon, Grueber, Sydenham) had attributed this series to Campania. The reverse bears the first depiction of the she-wolf and suckling twins on a Roman coin, representing the mythical founding of Rome. The emblematic nature of this scene likely influenced the mint assignment by some researchers. Indeed, subsequent coins bearing this scene have similarly been assigned to Rome by some authors, perhaps without justification, based on the “Roman” character of the scene – notably the Eagle/Wolf and Twins AE Sextans (Crawford 39/3) of the semi-libral reduction in 217-215 BCE, which I believe is likely a Campanian product. There would be countless more such depictions of the wolf and twins on Roman coins during the ensuing centuries [Crawford 183; Crawford 235/1; Antoninus Pius; Maxentius; Constantine “commemoratives”, etc.]. According to Pliny, Q. Ogulnius was a consul when this coin was likely first produced, and the reverse may allude to the wolf and twins statue erected in Rome by Ogulnius’ grandfather and great uncle, the brothers Quintus and Gnaeus Ogulnius, in 296 BCE.
2 commentsCarausiusMay 19, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, C. Antestius, 146 BCE - Crawford 219/1e23 viewsRome, The Republic.
C. Antestius, 146 BCE.
AR Denarius (4.07g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obv: Helmeted head of Roma facing right; C ANTESTI behind; X (mark-of-value) below chin.

Rev: Dioscuri galloping right with couched spears; puppy below, with front feet raised; ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 219/1e; Sydenham 411; BMCRR 860; Antestia 1.

Provenance: Ex Artemide Auction 2 (1996), Lot 411.

The moneyer is unknown. Grueber suggests he may have been the son of C. Antestius Labeo, who was a Senator and ambassador to Macedonia circa 167 BCE. Crawford disputes this assertion.
1 commentsCarausiusApr 21, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Cn. Baebius Tampilus, 194-190 BCE - Crawford 133/2b32 viewsRome, The Republic.
Cn. Baebius Tampilus, 194-190 BCE.
AR Denarius (4.02g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obv: Helmeted head of Roma, facing right; X value mark behind.

Rev: Dioscuri riding right with couched spears; TAMP monogram above; ROMA in linear frame below.

References: Crawford 133/2b; Sydenham 334; Banti 1/2 (this coin illustrated); BMCRR 557-8; Baebia 1.

Provenance: Ex Stoeklin Collection [Nomos 14 (17 May 2017) Lot 220]; ex E.J. Haeberlin Collection [Cahn-Hess (17 Jul 1933) Lot 345].

The identity of the moneyer is not entirely clear, as there are several family member possibilities, based on prosopographical evidence. There are two sub-varieties of this denarius, one with the monogram above the Dioscuri as this coin, and the other with the monogram below the horses. Both types are scarce.
1 commentsCarausiusApr 21, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Marc Antony, 32 BCE50 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Marcus Antonius, 32 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.72g; 18mm).
Athens Mint.

Obv: ANTON AVG IMP III COS DES III III V R P C. Bare head of Antony facing right.

Rev: ANTONIVS AVG IMP III, in two lines.

References: Crawford 542/2; HCRI 347; Sydenham 1209.

Provenance: Ex Andrew McCabe Collection [CNG eSale 385 (26 Oct 2016) Lot 470]; CNG 49 (17 Mar 1999), Lot 1316; Reinhold Faelten Collection [Stack's (20 Jan 1938) Lot 1495].

On the obverse, behind Antony’s ear, a small letter P, likely an engraver’s signature, is hidden within the hair line. This coin was struck in Athens in 32 BCE, while Antony and Cleopatra lived extravagantly among the Greeks. The coin’s inscription refers to a designated third consulship that Antony was supposed to share with Octavian in 31 BCE. Around the time this coin was minted, Antony notified his wife, Octavia (Octavian’s sister), in Rome that he was divorcing her. Octavian was outraged. Cleopatra’s growing influence over Antony was soon used by Octavian as progaganda to unite Italy and the West against Antony. Thus, the designated third consulship referenced on this coin never occurred, as the designated consuls went to war instead, ending with Antony’s naval defeat at Actium in September 31 BCE.
5 commentsCarausiusApr 18, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, AR Quinarius, c. 212-211 BCE - Crawford 44/639 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, c. 212-211 BCE.
AR Quinarius (2.55g; 16mm).
Rome Mint.

Obv: Helmeted head of Roma, facing right, with early, curved visor; V (mark-of-value=5 asses) behind.

Rev: Dioscuri galloping right with couched spears and stars above heads; ROMA below in linear frame.

References: Crawford 44/6; Sydenham 141; BMCRR 9-12.

Provenance: Ex RBW Collection [Agora 68 (15 Aug 2017), Lot 150]; ex CNG XXVII (29 Sep 1993).
2 commentsCarausiusApr 02, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Anonymous AR Quinarius - Crawford 45/239 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, c. 211 BCE.
AR Quinarius (2.22g; 15mm).
Rome Mint.

Obv: Helmeted head of Roma facing right; V (mark-of-value=5 asses) behind.

Rev: Dioscuri galloping right with couched spears; ROMA in frame below; ** above.

References: Crawford 45/2; SRCV 42

Provenance: Ex NAC 73 (18 Nov 2013), Lot 19; ex NAC sale 8 (1995), Lot 464.
1 commentsCarausiusApr 02, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Brutus, 43-42 BCE27 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Brutus, 43-2 BC
AR Denarius (3.76 g; 21 mm)
Mint traveling with Brutus

Obv: LEIBERTAS. Liberty head facing right.

Rev: CAEPIO BRVTVS PRO COS. Lyre with quiver and filleted olive branch.

References: Crawford 501/1; HCRI 199; Smyth (1856) IX/11(this coin described).

Provenance: Ex NAC 84 (2015), Lot 859; NAC 9 (16 Apr 1996), Lot 758; NAC 4 (27 Feb 1991), Lot 289; NAC 2 (21 Feb 1990), Lot 481; Duke of Northumberland Collection [Sotheby's, 4 Nov 1982, Lot 475], acquired before 1856.

Liberty is a common theme on coins of the tyranicides who claimed to have liberated The Republic from the regal aspirations of Julius Caesar; so it's no surprise to find Libertas prominent on this coin of Brutus. Sear points out that the reverese is likely derived from the frequent depiction of lyres, quivers and fillteted branches on Lycian Leage coins. This issue was iikely struck in Lycia.

This coin holds the oldest, verifiable provenance in my collection. It is from the Duke of Northumberland Collection, catalogued by Admiral William Smyth in his 1856 book, "Descriptive Catalogue of A Cabinet of Roman Family Coins Belonging to His Grace the Duke of Northumberland," and subsequently sold by Sotheby’s in 1982. The Smyth book has no plates (line drawn or otherwise), but it does contain detailed descriptions of the collection coins with weights in grains. This coin is among those described in Smyth’s book, therefore it must have been acquired by the Duke’s family before 1856. Smyth described the collection as being in the Duke’s family for many years, so the ownership history conceivably dates to the 18th century.
1 commentsCarausiusApr 02, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Sextus Pompey, 42 BCE40 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Sextus Pompey, 42 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.87g; 21mm).
Sicilian mint.

Obv: [M]AG PIVS IMP [ITER]. Bust of Neptune facing right; trident over shoulder.

Rev: [PR]AEF CLAS ET OR[AE MAR IT EX S C]. Naval trophy.

References: Crawford 511/2; HCRI 333; Sydenham 1347 (R5).

Provenance: Ex Stack's Bowers August 2016 ANA (10 Aug 2016), Lot 20139; ex Nomos Obolos 4 (21 Feb 2016), Lot 522; ex RBW Collection [NAC 63 (17 May 2012), Lot 538]; privately purchased from SKA Zurich, July 1985.

Sextus Pompey was a son of Pompey the Great. After Caesar's assassination, in 43 BCE, he was honored by the Senate with the title "Commander of the Fleet and Sea Coasts". Shortly following this honor, the Second Triumvirate was formed and placed Sextus' name on their proscription list. Sextus soon occupied Sicily where he provided haven to other Romans proscribed by the Triumvirs. He retained control of Sicily from 42 to 36 BCE.
4 commentsCarausiusApr 02, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Brutus and Lentulus Spinther, 42 BCE42 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Brutus and Lentulus Spinther, 42 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.91g; 20mm).
Military Mint (Smyrna?).

Obv: BRVTVS; axe, simpulum and knife.

Rev: LENTVLVS SPINT; jug and lituus.

References: Crawford 500/7; HCRI 198; Sydenham 1310; BMCRR East 80-1; Junia 41.

Provenance: Ex Stoeklin Collection [Nomos14 (17 May 2017) Lot 301]; ex Munzhandlung Basel 6 (18 Mar 1936), Lot 1483; ex Trau Collection [Gilhoffer & Ranschburg & Hess (22 May 1935), Lot 37].

The sacrificial implements on the obverse refer to Brutus' membership in the college of Pontifs. The implements on the reverse refer to Spinther's membership in the augurate since 57 BCE.

Spinther was the son of P. Cornelius Lentulus, whose nickname was Spinther (reportedly because he resembled an actor by that name). It was a nickname that his father clearly liked as both he and his son later used it on coins. His father was an aristocrat of the Cornelia gens, who was liked by Julius Caesar and worked with Cicero in suppressing the Cataline conspiracy. He was later governor of part of Spain. With Caesar’s help, his father was elected consul in 57BC, when he recalled Cicero from exile. Thereafter he governed Cilicia, at which time Cicero wrote him a still-surviving letter. As relations deteriorated between Caesar and Pompey, both Spinthers sided with Pompey. Despite initial offers of amnesty by Caesar, Spinther senior would not remain neutral and was eventually killed or committed suicide during the civil wars. His son later allied with Caesar’s assassins and struck coins for both Brutus and Cassius.
3 commentsCarausiusApr 02, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, M. Antony, 44 BCE33 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Marcus Antonius, Apr-May 44 BCE
AR Denarius (4.09g; 19mm)
Rome Mint.

Obv: Antony's bearded, veiled head facing right; jug behind; lituus before.

Rev: P.SEPVLLIVS//MACER. Desultor on horseback, holding whip, galloping right with second horse; wreath and palm behind.

References: Crawford 480/22; HCRI 142; Antonia 2.

Provenance: Ex Kuenker 262 (13 Mar 2015), Lot 7819; ex Gorny & Mosch 141 (10 Oct 2005), Lot 238; Gorny & Mosch 133 (11 Oct 2004), Lot 378.

Minted in 44 BCE, shortly after the assassination of Julius Caesar, this denarius depicts Antony in mourning - veiled and unshaven - likely as he appeared in the Forum when he gave his famous funeral oration. It is probably the first depiction of Antony on a coin. The reverse shows a desultor with two horses, and likely refers to games held in 44 BCE which were largely dedicated to Caesar's memory. The type can be found in better condition, but rarely this complete.

Desultors appear on several Republican coin types, including Crawford 297/1, 346/1 and 480/21. Desultors rode multiple horses and likely changed horses through some sort of fancy leap or dismount maneuver. The practice, with four horses rather than two, is referenced in the Illiad (II.15.680), so likely dates to Homeric times or earlier. As depicted on Republican coins, a Roman desultor rode two horses, bare-back which he managed by reins and whip, and he wore a pileus (felt cap) typically associated with the Dioscuri. The pileus raises the possibility thst the practice had religious connotations rather than a mere circus trick.
2 commentsCarausiusMar 31, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, AE 28 - Crawford 23/1 - RARE18 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous (circa 240 BCE).
AE 28 (17.05g; 28mm).
Sicilian Mint.

Obv: ROMANO; Head of Roma facing left in crested Corinthian helmet decorated with griffin; cornucopia symbol behind nape of neck.

Rev: ROMA-NO; Eagle standing left on thunderbold, head turned right, sword before.

References: Crawford 23/1; Sydenham 30 (R8); Burnett & McCabe O5/R5:2 (this coin illustrated); Manganaro (1981-82) pl. 16 (this coin illustrated).

Provenance: Ex Tony Hardy Collection [CNG 63 (21 May 2003) Lot 1112].

Burnett and McCabe recently published a paper regarding this issue in which they conclude that it was likely small (only 6 obv and 8 rev dies identified) and minted in Sicily circa 240 BCE. This would have been about the time that the inscription on Roman coins was changing from ROMANO to ROMA. The reverse was based on a Ptolemaic bronze octobol and the obverse likely depicts an early rendering of the goddess Roma (in Corinthian, rather than Attic, helmet). Three obverse symbols have been identified (helmet, plough and cornucopia) and a fourth is uncertain.
CarausiusMar 30, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, AE Litra, 235 BCE - Crawford 26/321 viewsRome, The Republic
Anonymous, c. 235 BCE.
AE Litra (2.36g; 14mm).
Rome Mint.

Obv: Laureate head of Apollo facing right.

Rev: Horse rearing left; ROMA below.

References: Crawford 26/3; Sydenham 29; BMCRR (Romano-Campanian) 70-74.

Provenance: Ex CNG Classical Numismatic Review XLII.3 (2017), Lot 460942; ex RBW Collection (not in prior sales); Aes Rude (19 Sep 1987), Lot 86.

By about 240 BCE, the inscription on struck Roman Republican coins had changed from ROMANO to ROMA. This coin is part of the second series to include the ROMA legend.
1 commentsCarausiusMar 22, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Aes Grave Quadrans, c. 265 BCE - Crawford 21/446 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, c. 265 BCE.
AE Aes Grave Quadrans (68.58g; 43mm).
Rome Mint.

Obv: Right hand; ●●● (mark-of-value = 3 unciae) on left.

Rev: Left hand; ●●● (mark-of-value) on right.

References: Vecchi, ICC 44; Haeberlin pp. 66-67, plts 27-28; Crawford 21/4.

Provenance: Ex Lord Colin Renfrew Collection [Baldwin's Auction 99 (4 May 2016), Lot 599]; purchased from A.H. Baldwin & Sons, Ltd., Dec 1959.
4 commentsCarausiusMar 22, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, D. Silanus, 91 BCE23 viewsRome, The Republic.
D. Silanus, 91 BCE.
AR Denarius (4.06g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obv: Roma head, wearing winged helmet ornamented with gryphon head, facing right; N behind.

Rev: Victory in biga galloping right; VII above; D SILANVS L F//ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 337/3; Syd 646; BMCRR 1772; Junia 15.

Provenance: Ex NAC 100 (30 May 2017), Lot 1447.

This moneyer is unkown except from his coins. The control marks on these coins may have several dies. The issue must have been huge, as Crawford estimates near 600 obverse and 663 reverse dies.
1 commentsCarausiusMar 22, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Lucius Cornelius Cinna, AE As - Crawford 178/115 viewsRome, The Republic.
Lucius Cornelius Cinna, 169-158 BCE.
AE As (32.53g).
Rome Mint.

Obv: Laureate, bearded head of Janus.

Rev: Prow facing right; CINA above; [ROMA] below; I (mark-of-value) before.

References: Crawford 178/1; BMCRR 804-6; Sydenham 368; RBW 752 (this coin illustrated); Cornelia 11.

Provenance: Ex Kuenker eLive Auction 46 (25 Jul 2017) Lot 53; ex RBW Collection [NAC 61 (2011), Lot 748]; ex Aes Rude 56 (1994), Lot 150.

Crawford surmises that the moneyer is L. Cornelius Cinna who become consul in 127 BCE. The significant passage of time from his moneyership when this coin was struck and consulship 27 years later is attributed to him being the first in his family to reach the office, and thus he failed to get elected to the intervening, required office at the earliest possible time. These prescribed political offices, their order and timing, are referred to as the "Cursus Honorum." When considered with available prosopographical evidence, the Cursus Honorum is a critical clue for dating and attributing Roman Republican coins.
CarausiusMar 22, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Scipio Asiagenus, 106 BCE - Crawford 311/1a27 viewsRome, The Republic.
L. Scipio Asiagenus, 106 BCE.
AR Serrate Denarius (3.95g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obv: Laureate head of Jupiter facing left; R● (control mark) behind.

Rev: Jupiter in quadriga galloping right, hurling thunderbolt and holding scepter; L●SCIP●ASIAG in exergue.

References: Crawford 311/1a; Sydenham 576; BMCRR 1372; Cornelia 24

Provenance: Ex Gemini XII (11 Jan 2015), Lot 287; HJB 163 (25 March 2009), lot 224; ex A.K. Collection [Triton XII (6 Jan 2009), lot 462 (part)]; Münzhandlung E. Button Auction 101 (28-29 October 1959), Lot 149.

Each control mark in this series is a single die. The reverse recalls the moneyer's ancestor, L. Cornelius Scipio (son of Africanus), who had a victory against the Syrians in 190 BCE and took the name Asiagenus. The moneyer was likely the L. Cornelius Asiaticus that became consul in 83 BCE. He served in the Social War and was allied with Marius at the time of his consulship. He was imprisoned by Sulla and released. However he was later proscribed by Sulla and fled Rome.
3 commentsCarausiusMar 22, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL - Julius Caesar - AR Denarius52 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Julius Caesar, 48 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.71g; 20mm).

Obverse: Head of Venus facing right; LII behind.

Reverse: Trophy with Gallic shield, carnyx and axe; CAESAR below.

References: Crawford 452/2; Sydenham 1009; HCRI 11; RSC 18.

Provenance: Ex Student/Mentor Collection [NAC 83 (15 May 2015) Lot 407]; ex Glendining's October 1965, Lot 22.

The Roman numeral LII behind the goddess' head on the obverse of this coin is accepted as a reference to Caesar's age at the time of the issue. There is some disagreement on the identity of the obverse goddess. Crawford identifies her as Venus, who is often depicted on Caesar's coins. Sear, in History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators, suggests Clementia (clemency) as the goddess, and a reference to Caesar's fairness to his countrymen following the defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus.
4 commentsCarausiusMar 14, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC - M. Junius Brutus - AR Denarius41 viewsRome, The Republic.
Rome Mint.
M. Junius Brutus, 54 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.84g; 19mm).

Obverse: BRVTVS; head of L. Junius Brutus facing right.

Reverse: AHALA; head of C. Servillius Ahala facing right.

References: Crawford 433/2; Sydenham 907; BMCRR 3864; Junia 30.

Provenance: Ex Barry Feirstein Collection [NAC 45 (2008) Lot 14]; ex NAC 11 (1998), Lot 279.

Struck by chief assassin of Caesar during his early political career. The coin depicts Brutus' illustrious ancestors on both sides of his family. The Brutus side is Lucius Junius Brutus, who expelled the Tarquin kings from Rome and became consul in 509 BCE. The Ahala side is C. Servilius Ahala who was celebrated by Cicero for having slain a traitor. At this point in his political career, Brutus was in opposition to Pompey, and it's likely that this coin type is intended to remind the general public of Brutus' pedigree against tyranny.
3 commentsCarausiusMar 14, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC - Luceria - AE Semuncia - Crawford 97/820 viewsRome, The Republic.
L Series, circa 211-208 BCE.
AE Semuncia (3.52g; 18mm).

Obverse: Mercury head facing right, wearing winged petasus.

Reverse: Prow r; above ε; be ROMA; before L; above, ε (mark-of-value).

References: Crawford 97/8; Sydenham 178g (R5); Kestner-Hannover 1090; BMCRR (Italy) ----.

Provenance: Ex Bertolami Fine Arts 24 (22 Jun 2016), Lot 371.

There are only four examples of this rare semuncia of Luceria in the Paris collection. There were no examples in the British Museum collection at the 1910 publication of BMCRR.
1 commentsCarausiusMar 14, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC - AE Aes Grave Sextans - Crawford 14/512 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, circa 280 BCE.
AE Aes Grave Sextans (50.76g; 36mm).

Obverse: Shell seen from outside; two pellets (mark-of-value=2 unciae) below.

Reverse: Caduceus; two pellets (mark-of-value) in field.

References: Crawford 14/5; Vecchi ICC 30.

Provenance: Ex SteveX6 Collection; Collection of a Director [CNG eSale 392 (1 Mar 2017), Lot 434]; Auctiones 5 (2-3 Dec 1975), Lot 285.

Aes Grave were a significant departure from the previous Roman bronze money in that they were denominated with marks of value, and thus did not require weighing. At least three separate series of Roman Aes Grave use shells as types on sextantes (see Crawford 21/5 in this gallery). This is likely a traditional nod to the shell shaped Aes Formatum that were used for monetary exchange prior to the adoption of Aes Grave by Rome. The old Aes Formatum astragaloi (knuckle bones) are similarly re-used on Aes Grave Unciae which depict both sides of a knuckle bone (See Crawford 14/6, 21/6 and 25/9).
CarausiusMar 14, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC - AE Aes Grave Sextans - Crawford 21/516 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, circa 265 BCE.
AE Aes Grave Sextans (43.28g; 35mm).

Obverse: Scallop shell seen from outside; two pellets (mark-of-value=two unciae) below.

Reverse: Scallop shell seen from inside.

References: Crawford 21/5; Vecchi, ICC 45.

Provenanc: Numismatica Ars Classica 40 (2007), Lot 365.

Aes Grave were a significant departure from the previous Roman bronze money in that they were denominated with marks of value, and thus did not require weighing. At least three separate series of Roman Aes Grave use shells as types on sextantes (see Crawford 14/5 sextans in this gallery). This is likely a traditional nod to the shell shaped Aes Formatum that were used for monetary exchange prior to the adoption of Aes Grave by Rome. The old Aes Formatum astragaloi (knuckle bones) are similarly re-used on Aes Grave Unciae which depict both sides of a knuckle bone (See Crawford 14/6, 21/6 and 25/9).
1 commentsCarausiusMar 14, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC - AR Didrachm - Crawford 26/157 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, 234-231 BCE.
AR Didrachm (6.74g; 20mm).

Obv: Laureate head of Apollo facing right.

Rev: Horse rearing left; ROMA above.

Reference: Crawford 26/1; Sydenham 27.

Provenance: Ex Kuenker (25 Sep 2017) Lot 508; ex Bernhard Terletzkli Collection; ex Dr. Hagen Tronnier Collection; ex Kunker Auction 94 (2004), Lot 1650; ex Auctiones 10 (1979), Lot 303.
4 commentsCarausiusMar 07, 2018
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AE Aes Signatum or Aes Formatum10 viewsCentral Italy (Rome?).
Anonymous, 4th-3rd Century BCE.
AE Aes Signatum or Aes Formatum - Fragment (209g; circa 70mm).

A peice of an Aes Signatum or Aes Formatum ingot. Both sides show indecipherable remnants of design.

Provenance: Ex Dr. Neussel Collection [Peus Auction 420/421 (1 Nov 2017), Lot 18]; purchased on eBay from D.F. Grotjohann (17 Oct 2009).
CarausiusMar 07, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC - AE Aes Grave As - Crawford 35/150 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous (Janus Prow Series), circa 225-217 BCE.
AE Aes Grave As (256.29g; 64mm).

Obv: Head of Janus; - (value mark) below neck.

Rev: Prow right; I (value mark) above.

Reference: Crawford 35/1; Vecchi, ICC 74; Sydenham 71.

Provenance: Ex Kuenker Auction 280 (26 Sep 2016), Lot 315; ex Hannelore Scheiner Collection; acquired 1966 from Martin Nading of Fort Wayne, IN.

Aes Grave were a significant departure from the previous Roman bronze money in that Aes Grave were denominated with marks of value, and thus did not require weighing. The prow series of Libral Aes Grave was a very large issue. E.J. Haeberlin included nearly 1,200 examples of the As in the weight analysis within his monumental "Aes Grave". The Prow series Aes Grave was initially based on an As of about 270 grams. The iconography likely refers to the role of Rome's new and powerful navy in the victory over Carthage in the First Punic War and to the closing of the doors of the Temple of Janus in recognition of the peace. This same iconography subsequently became emblamatic of the As for several centuries of Roman struck bronze coinage.
5 commentsCarausiusMar 07, 2018
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Roman Republic - Aes Grave Sextans - Crawford 24/717 viewsRome, The Republic
Anonymous (Roma/Wheel Series), Circa 230 BCE.
Rome Mint.
AE Aes Grave Sextans (39.25 g).

Obv: Tortoise with segmented shell.

Rev: Wheel with six spokes.

Reference: Crawford 24/7; Vecchi ICC 71.

Provenance: Ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli (d. 2001) Collection [NAC 92 (23 May 2016), Lot 248.
1 commentsCarausiusMar 07, 2018
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Roman Republic - Aes Rude - Before 300 BCE21 viewsCENTRAL ITALY (Rome?)
8th-3rd Century BCE
Aes Rude (221.1g; circa 60mm long)
Rough cast bronze; as made.

Reference: Vecchi, ICC 1; BMCRR (Aes Rude) 1-11; Thurlow-Vecchi p. 15. pl. 2.

Provenance: Ex Jencek Historical Enterprises, acquired privately 14 Feb 2011 from Frank Kovacs; ex David Hendin (acquired mid-1980's from Italo Vecchi).

The relative abundance of copper in Italy made bronze a natural means of exchange among the people of central Italy. The initial medium was rough lumps of unmarked bronze which, lacking any governmental imprimatur or denomination, were weighed for each transaction.
1 commentsCarausiusMar 07, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Semi-incuse Early AR Denarius - Second Punic War - Crawford 44/536 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, ca. 212 BCE
Rome Mint
AR Denarius (4.48g)

Obv: Head of Roma in splayed-visor helmet, facing right; X (mark of value = 10 asses) behind.

Rev: Dioscuri galloping right with couched spears; two stars above; ROMA, semi-incused, below.

Reference: Crawford 44/5; Sydenham 167; RSC Anonymous 1a.

Provenance: ex NAC 84 Part II (21 May 2015), Lot 1622.

This example is among the earliest of the very first denarii issue by the Roman Republic, circa 212 BCE. From 218-212 BCE, the excessive cost of the war with Hannibal and Carthage had necessitated debasement of Rome's silver quadrigatus coinage and several weight standard reductions in the bronze coinage. It was possibly the sack of Syracuse in 212 BCE that provided the silver infusion that Rome needed to reform their debased currency and introduce the denarius system. The earliest denarii had a semi-incuse ROMA inscription on the reverse, as seen here, reminiscent of the fully-incuse and semi-incuse inscriptions on the earlier quadrigati coinage. This early-style inscription was soon replaced by a relief inscription within a linear frame.
2 commentsCarausiusFeb 18, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Overstruck "Anonymous" Corn Ear AE Quadrans - Crawford 42/2var19 viewsRome, The Republic.
Corn Ear Series (No Corn Ear), 214-212 BCE.
AE Quadrans (16.76g; 29mm).

Obv: Head of Hercules right in boarskin; three pellets (mark of value = 3 unciae) behind.

Rev: Bull leaping over snake; three pellets (mark of value) above; ROMA below.

Reference: Crawford 42/2var (no corn ear): See Russo, Essays Hersh (1998) p. 141.

Provenance: ex Agora Auction 70 (21 Nov 2017) Lot 194; ex RBW Collection duplicate (not in prior sales); ex P. Vecchi Auction 6 (14 Sep 1981) Lot 245.

In "Roman Republican Coinage", Michael Crawford recognized many silver “symbol” Republican series for which there were parallel “anonymous” types omitting the symbols. This coin is an anonymous version (missing symbol) of the Corn Ear Quadrans of the Crawford 42 series, produced in Sicily. It is identical in style to the Sicilian Corn Ear coins and only misses the symbol. Roberto Russo wrote about these anonymous coins in his article “Unpublished Roman Republican Bronze Coins” (Essays Hersh, 1998), where he notes that the parallel issue of anonymous silver coins to series with symbols applies equally to the bronze coins. Andrew McCabe takes this approach much further in his article “The Anonymous Struck Bronze Coinage of the Roman Republic” (Essays Russo, 2013) in which he links many of the anonymous Republican bronzes to symbol series based on precise style considerations. The takeaway from all this is that for many of the Roman Republican symbol series of the late Second Punic War and early 2nd Century BCE, there are parallel anonymous series identifiable by style. The rationale for these parallel issues is unclear, though possibly related to (a) governmental approvals for the issue or (b) mint control of the precious metal source from which the issue was struck or (c) workshop identification.

This particular example is overstruck, showing particular evidence of the under-type on the reverse. Based on that evidence and weight of the coin, I’ve concluded the under-type a Hieron II AE Obol imitative of Ptolemy II. The edge of the reverse shows the hairline of Zeus as depicted on this Hieron II issue.
1 commentsCarausiusFeb 18, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Antony Legion III Denarius21 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Mark Antony, 31 BCE.
Mint travelling with Antony.
AR Denarius (3.69g; 18mm).

Obv: ANT AVG III VIR R P C; Galley right.

Rev: LEG III; Aquilia between two standards.

Reference: Crawford 544/15; HCRI 350; Syd 1217; Viereck, Die Römische Flotte (1975), p. 292 (this coin illustrated).

Provenance: ex CNG Classical Numismatic Review (Jul 2017); ex Triton IV (5 Dec 2000), Lot 432; ex Sternberg XII (18 Nov 1982), Lot 512; ex H.D.L. Viereck Collection (bef. 1975).

Produced by Antony in the lead-up to his final defeat at Actium by Octavian’s navy (commanded by Agrippa), the legionary series was a huge issue that recognized 23 legions under Antony’s command. These coins would continue to circulate throughout the Empire for several centuries after Antony’s loss, partly because their notoriously debased silver discouraged hoarding.
2 commentsCarausiusFeb 18, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, C. Vibius Pansa Denarius35 viewsRome, The Republic.
C. Vibius Pansa, 90 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.87g).

Obv: PANSA; mask of Pan, facing right.

Rev: C. VIBIV[S C F]; mask of Silenus, facing right.

Reference: Crawford 342/2; Sydenham 688 (R6); BMCRR Rome 2309

Provenance: ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli (d. 2001) Collection [NAC 92 (23 May 2016), Lot 308]; ex Munzen und Medaillen 61 (7-8 Oct 1982), Lot 266; ex Auctiones 7 (1977), Lot 554.

Naming puns on ancient coins became popular early with the Greeks (i.e. celery plant on coins of Selinos) and continued with the Romans. C. Vibius Pansa liked to joke about his name by depicting Pan on his coins. This denarius is a rare variety with the names beneath the portraits, rather than behind. Silenus’ portrait has a characteristic die break in the eye socket that nearly all coins struck from this die share - see Crawford's plate coin and RBW's coin for other examples of this die break. Either the die failed early, or most extant specimens were struck late.
3 commentsCarausiusFeb 18, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Didrachm - Quadrigatus (Crawford 28/3)19 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, 225-214 BCE.
AR Didrachm/Quadrigatus (7.25 g; 21mm).
Apulian Mint.

Obv: Janiform head with straight neck truncaction.

Rev: Jupiter and Victory on fast quadriga, right; ROMA in relief within linear frame below.

Reference: Crawford 28/3; Sydenham 65; BMCRR 101; Gentilehomme II.B.1.

Provenance: Ex NAC 92 (24 May 2016), Lot 1517.

The last few series of Roman silver didrachm coinage, produced from 225-214 BCE, are nicknamed "quadrigati" because of the common reverse type of Jupiter and Victory in a fast quadriga. Crawford's arrangement of quadrigati into distinct series requires a great amount of study to understand. Collectors and dealers alike often misattribute quadrigati among Crawford's series.

The Crawford 28 series of quadrigati, to which this example belongs, really should be split into two separate series. The first (early) series of 28s are almost certainly the earliest of the quadrigatus coinage - struck in good silver and of fine style in high relief with ROMA incuse in a rectangular tablet. The second (later) series of 28s, shown here, is of lower quality style and fabric; the neck truncation is wide and straight; ROMA is in relief in a linear frame. Like other Apulian coins, they typically show tabs or other signs of cast flan production, visible here at 2h reverse.
1 commentsCarausiusFeb 16, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Didrachm - Quadrigatus (Crawford 29/3)45 viewsRome, The Republic.
Anonymous, 225-214 BCE
AR Didrachm/Quadrigatus (6.91g; 22mm).

Obv: Janiform head.

Rev: Jupiter and Victory in quadriga galloping right; beneath, ROMA in relief on raised tablet.

Reference: Crawford 29/3; Sydenham 64d

Provenance: ex Numismatik Lanz 163 (7 Dec 2016), Lot 154; Gorny & Mosch 69 (1994), Lot 493.

The last few series of Roman silver didrachm coinage, produced from 225-214 BCE, are nicknamed "quadrigati" because of the common reverse type of Jupiter and Victory in a fast quadriga. Crawford's arrangement of quadrigati into distinct series requires a great amount of study to understand. Collectors and dealers alike often misattribute quadrigati among Crawford's series.

This example is from the Crawford 29 series, recognizable by the "V" neck truncation on the Janiform head, and the ROMA inscription in relief on a trapezoidal tablet. Crawford also recognized an incuse variety of this series, again with a fully-trapezoidal tablet. Crawford 29 series flans are generally well made.
5 commentsCarausiusFeb 16, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Spinther AR Denarius60 viewsRome, The Republic.
Pub. Lentulus P.f.L.n. Spinther, 71 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.85g; 18mm).
Rome Mint

Obv: Q●S●C; Hercules head right.

Rev: P●LENT●P●F / [L]●N; Genius Romani seated facing on chair, holding coruncopia and scepter, being crowned by Victory.

Provenance: ex Collection of a Director [Triton XX (10 Jan 2017) Lot 525; ex Eton College Collection [Sotheby's (1 Dec 1976) Lot 219).

In my humble opinion, this is one of the more artistic reverse types of the Roman Republic denarius series – almost Greek in execution. It depicts Genius of the Roman People exerting dominance over the world with one foot on the globe while being crowned victorious. The message may be related to the ongoing wars with Sertorius in Spain, Mithridates in the East and possibly the servile revolt led by Spartacus in Italy (if the 71BC date proposed by Hersh and Walker is accepted, see below). Other members of the Cornelia gens also depicted Genius of the Roman People on their coinages, so the cult of Genius may have been important to the family, or it may be coincidental that the Corneliae happened to strike these coins during strife when the message of the Genius of the Roman People would have been appropriate. Crawford agrees with the latter explanation. SC [Senatus consulto] in the obverse legend suggests it was struck by special decree of the Roman Senate.

The coin is scarce and missing from many major hoards, making it difficult to precisely date. In fact, it’s listed in only four hoards on Table XIII in Crawford’s Roman Republican Coin Hoards. Of those four hoards: in two hoards (Cosa and Palestrina), it’s deemed the final issue (terminus ante quem), lacking the context of later coins; in the third hoard (Tolfa), it’s the next to last issue with the last being a serrate denarius of Q. Creperei Rocus, which Crawford dates to 72BC; and in the fourth hoard (San Gregorio), it appears in the middle context in which Rocus is again the next latest coin. Crawford’s Roman Republican Coinage dates the coin 74BC, concurring with Grueber’s dating in the British Museum Catalogue. David Sear stuck with Crawford’s dating of 74BC in the Millennium Edition of Roman Coins and Their Values. However, in their 1984 analysis of the Mesagne Hoard (which contained no examples of this coin), Hersh and Walker revised the dating to 71BC, which lumps the Spinther issue with several other, non-serrate, “SC” issues of the late 70s. Hersh and Walker re-date the serrate Rocus issue to 69BC, where it is lumped with other serrate issues. In my collection catalogue, I’ve chosen to use the 71BC date proposed by Hersh and Walker, because it fits neatly with the fabric and special circumstances of the coinage and is consistent with the cursus honorum dates discussed in the following paragraph.

The moneyer was the Quaestor, P. Cornelius Lentulus, whose nickname was Spinther (reportedly because he resembled an actor by that name). It was a nickname that he clearly liked as both he and his son later used it on coins. Spinther, an aristocrat of the Cornelia gens, was liked by Julius Caesar and rose through the cursus honorum, beginning with his Quaestorship when this coin was struck. He was elected Aedile in 63BC and worked with Cicero in suppressing the Cataline conspiracy. The date of his Aedileship is important in that 6-8 years was the required waiting period between Quaestor and Aedile in the cursus honorum, the career path for a Roman politician, which is consistent with Hersh and Walker’s proposed dating of this coin issue to 71BC; Crawford’s dating of 74BC implied that Spinther failed to reach the Aedileship for several years after he qualified for the position (being elected in the first qualification year was an important distinction to the Romans, though certainly an accomplishment that many Roman aristocrats failed to attain). He was later governor of part of Spain. With Caesar’s help, he was elected consul in 57BC, when he recalled Cicero from exile. Thereafter he governed Cilicia, at which time Cicero wrote him a still-surviving letter. As relations deteriorated between Caesar and Pompey, Spinther sided with Pompey. Despite initial offers of amnesty by Caesar, Spinther would not remain neutral and was eventually killed or committed suicide during the civil wars. His son later allied with Caesar’s assassins and struck the well-known LENTVLVS SPINT coins for both Brutus and Cassius.

This example comes from the Eton College Collection, which was auctioned by Sotheby’s in 1976. Eton College initiated its ancient coin collection by acquiring a large group of British Museum duplicates in the 1870s, and Eton added to this collection in the ensuing years. By the mid-1970s, the ancient coin market was white-hot, and Eton decided to cash-out the lion’s share of its collection, keeping a representative core for study purposes. I’ve contacted the British Museum’s Department of Coins and Medals to link this coin to the original tranche of BM duplicates purchased by Eton. Unfortunately, before adoption of modern curatorial standards, the BM did not accession duplicates into the BM collection; rather, they simply put duplicates into the “duplicates cabinet” without cataloging them. These uncatalogued duplicates would be sold or traded from time to time to acquire needed specimens for the BM collection. There might be record of the transaction somewhere at the BM, but there would be no description of the duplicates sold. By 1980 or so, the BM began cataloguing all coins, even duplicates. There is an 1880s book published about Eton's Roman coin collection, but it describes only a representative sample of the collection and this coin is not included.

6 commentsCarausiusFeb 16, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, "Mule" Titia/Pansa AE As31 viewsRome, The Republic
Q. Titius, 90 BCE
AE As (10.78g; 27mm)

Obv: Head of Janus w/rounded beard (Pansa obv die).

Rev: Prow r; palm-branch behind prow; Q●TITI above (Titius rev die)

Reference: Crawford 341/4d; Hannover 2942 (dies); c.f. Hannover 2974 (Pansa)(obv die)

Provenance: Savoca 12 (22 Jan 2017) Lot 457

Hybrid mule of rare Q. Titius reverse with a "rounded-beard" Janus obverse of Pansa. See Hannover 2974 (Pansa) for only other known example bearing this reverse control mark.

Circa 90 B.C., during the time of the Social War, Q. Titius and C. Vibius C.F. Pansa were co-moneyers at Rome. The Social War was a civil war between Rome and her Italian allies who had broken-away in a demand for citizenship rights. It was a time of massive coinage output by the Rome mints, likely to pay the costs associated with the conflict. Not much is known of TItius or Pansa. TItius is the only member of the TItia gens for whom coins are known. Pansa was possibly the father of the later Pansa who struck coins in 49 BC and became consul in 43BC.

Some of TItius’ silver coin types feature a male head with long, pointed beard. There is speculation that the head represents Mutinus Titinus, another name of the minor god Priapus, and a naming pun for Titius. His AE asses overwhelmingly depict a Janiform head with atypical, long. pointy beard, resembling the head shown on his silver coins.

On the other hand, obverses of Pansa’s AE asses overwhelmingly depict Janus with a more traditional, curled beard. The fact that the obverse styles of Pansa’s and TItius’ contemporaneous asses are so different supports the argument that the pointy-bearded character on TItius’ coins represents someone other than Janus.

The fact that Titius and Pansa served as moneyers at the same time is evidenced by occasional mules of Titius’ pointy-bearded obverses with Pansa reverses and vice versa.

An online search of acsearch, Coin Archives and Coins of the Roman Republic Online yielded only four auction sales and one ANS example of this rare reverse, and all of them were paired with a pointy-bearded obverse. However, the Kestner Museum Hannover has a similar mule that may be a double die match to my coin (see Berger, Hannover 2942). Further, the Kestner Museum has a Pansa AE As in their collection with an apparent obverse die match to my mule (see Berger, Hannover 2974).

Are these Titius/Pansa mules indicative of particular administrative practices at the mint?

One possibility is that obverse dies, which contained no legends, were mixed freely among the two moneyers; however, the overwhelming conformity of pointy-bearded TItius asses and curled-beard Pansa asses refutes this suggestion. The mules are too scarce to suggest any freewheeling intent.

Second possibility is that all dies, TItius’ and Pansa’s, were controlled by a central mint repository which assigned the dies to teams at the commencement of work shifts and likely collected them for security at the end of work shifts. Care was certainly taken to pair pointy-bearded Janus obverses with TItius reverses, as evidenced by the super-majority of extant coins. Mistakes were inevitably made. How long it took the mint to correct such mistakes is unclear. The fact that my collection and the Kestner Museum share a mule from the same dies suggests that a good number of coins were made by those dies. The fact that Kestner Museum also has the same Pansa obverse die paired with a correct Pansa reverse proves that die combination was a likely mistake; whether the correct pairing was made at a previous work shift, at a subsequent work shift when dies were reassigned, or in the middle of the same work shift cannot be determined – the coins are not in such great condition that die states can be easily compared.

Third, the mules suggest that TItius’ and Pansa’s coins were struck at the same mint and perhaps in the same workshop by different striking teams. I don’t think it’s possible to extrapolate whether the dies were controlled on a workshop basis vs. a full mint basis.
CarausiusFeb 16, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Restio AR Denarius28 viewsRome, The Republic
C. Antius Restiio, 47 BC
Rome Mint

Obv: RESTIO; Head of Restio right.

Rev: C ANTIVS C F; Hercules advancing right with club and trophy.

Reference: Crawford 455/1b; HCRI 34; Sydenham 970 var (no cloak over arm); Banti Antia 1/2 (this coin illustrated)

Provenance: ex Student & Mentor Collection [NAC 83 (20 May 2015) Lot 411]; ex F. Sternberg VII (1977), Lot 448; ex Carlo Crippa List 3 (1967), Lot 394.

This is a rare variety of Restio denarius, on which Hercules bears no cloak over his left arm. Banti's corpus contains only three examples of this variety, one of which is this coin.
2 commentsCarausiusFeb 16, 2018
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ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Antony Legion VI Denarius30 viewsRome, The Imperators
Mint traveling with Antony, ca. 31 BC
AR Denarius

Obv: ANT AVG III VIR R P C; Galley right.

Rev: LEG VI; Aquilia between two standards.

Reference: Crawford 544/19; HCRI 356

Provenance: ex CNG 103 (Sep 2016) Lot 664; ex Kirk Davis FPL 37 (Jan 2002), No. 45.

Produced by Antony in the lead-up to his final defeat at Actium by Octavian’s navy (commanded by Agrippa), the legionary series was a huge issue that recognized 23 legions under Antony’s command. These coins would continue to circulate throughout the Empire for several centuries after Antony’s loss, partly because their notoriously debased silver discouraged hoarding.

2 commentsCarausiusFeb 16, 2018
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Semilibral Struck AE Quadrans (Crawford 39)9 viewsRome, The Republic.
Semilibral Reduction, 217-215 BC
AE Struck Quadrans (37.12g; 33mm)

Obv: Youthful hd of Hercules in boarskin r; three pellets (mark of value=3 unciae) behind

Rev: Bull leaping right, snake below; three pellets (mark of value = 3 unciae) above; ROMA below

Reference: Crawford 39/2; Sydenham 94

Provenance: Dr. W. Neussel Sen. (d. Dec. 1975) Collection [Peus Auction 420/421 (1 Nov 2017), Lot 65]

This coin is part of a short-lived series struck collateral to the standard prow types (Crawford 38) in 217-215 BC. The economic hardship on Rome imposed by Hannibal’s 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 ½ Roman pound) and eventual elimination of cast coins. The Series 39 types and their relationship to contemporaneous Second Punic War events are interesting to ponder. Hercules is an important figure, appearing on two of the 10 available sides of the series. Likely this is a paradigm of Roman stregnth and heroism during the War. While Crawford attributes the 39 series to the Rome mint, I believe the types and fabric of the coins are inconsistent with the contemporaneous, Crawford 38 prow types which are also attributed to Rome.
CarausiusFeb 16, 2018
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