Numismatic and History Discussions > Roman Coins

Gold medallion or multiple from Mark Antony?

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Anton C:
Hi all, in this article in a Dutch news paper from 1888 there is a find from Heerlen (province of Limburg, in the South of The Netherlands) of a gold coin from Mark Antony with XXXIII on it, which seems to be a rare gold medallion or 'multiple' issued by the senate. I can't find anything online about it, any suggestion what this could be?

Steve Moulding:
Hi Anton - I know *nothing* about these, so this likely won't be much help. Others here are infinitely more qualified to discuss. That said, your post got my interest and I saw a silver one - supposedly unique - mentioned in a 2018 CoinWeek piece Hopefully I have the right coin.

The Roma XIII lot they talk about can be seen here:

And apologies if you already know all of this.



Steve Moulding:
A rough google translation:

In Heerlen (L.) the son of the secretary Kauffman, in a garden called "Putgraveu", when digging the pine
ground, an ancient gold Roman coin has been found, of somewhat oval shape. This one coin bears the effigy of Emperor Marcus
Anthony and the numbers XXXIII.
According to Mr Jos. Habets, state archivist in Maastricht, it is a very rare example, a commemorative medal, struck by order
of the Roman Senate in honor of said Emperor. The garden, in which the coin was found is located on a
street, which is indicated by the aforementioned archivist and the captain Orth as a part of the Roman highway, which ran from Tongeren to Gulik.

Anton C:
Wow Steve, many thanks!
Could this than be a gold struck denarius of this rare example. Also very interesting is the text with the auction coin example:

--- Quote ---Roman Imperatorial
Marc Antony Legionary AR Denarius. Military mint moving with Antony, autumn 32 - spring 31 BC. ANT•AVG III•VIR•R•P•C, praetorian galley to right / Aquila between two signa; LEG XXXIII across fields. Unpublished; for type cf. Crawford 544/14-39. 3.66g, 19mm, 7h.

Extremely Fine. Apparently unique.

This coin displays a reverse legend denoting a thirty-third legion, though the numismatic record hitherto securely identifies legions numbered only up to twenty-three. Though the coin is die-shifted on the reverse, the style and fabric appear completely consistent with other legionary issues.

At the close of the Civil War, Octavian found himself with several armies comprising elements of 60 legions, some of which had sworn loyalty to opposing factions. We only know the names and numbers of some of these legions - of those which were not retained after the disbanding and amalgamation of many legions, and the discharging of over 100,000 veterans mostly to old and newly founded colonies, very little information survives. The existence of several Marc Antony fleet denarii with numbers above 23 has long been debated by numismatists, though they have been largely dismissed as either fakes or die engraver’s errors. The following numerations of legions unknown to history have been noted on fleet denarii by Sydenham in Roman Republican Coinage, 1952. p. 196, nos. 1247-1253: XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII, XXIX and XXX; A. Banti and L. Simonetti, in Corpus Nummorum Romanorum II, pp. 38-41, no. 102-8) record denarii for legions: LEG XXIV (= Turin, Fava 1964, pl. 19, 3); LEG XXV (= Hamburger sale 32, 1933, 547); LEG XXVI (= Babelon 104); LEG XXVII (Paris, BnF); LEG XXVIII (= Babelon 143); LEG XXIX (= Paris, BnF); LEG XXX (= BMCRR II, pl. 116, 12; Brunacci collection, Santamaria sale 1958, 797 [struck over a denarius of Julius Caesar with P. Sepullius Macer]; Ratto sale 1924, 1392).

Antony is known to have commanded a Legio XXXV at the Battle of Mutina: in a remarkable passage in Servius Sulpicius Galba’s 43 BC letter to Cicero we are provided with the only surviving evidence for this legion’s existence: “on the 15th of April, the day on which Pansa was to arrive at the camp of Hirtius, with the former of whom I was - for I had gone along the road a hundred miles to hasten his arrival - Antony brought out two legions, the second and the thirty-fifth, and two praetorian cohorts….” (Epistulae ad Familiares 10.30). The existence therefore of legions in the service of Antony with numbers greater than XXIII which have escaped the notice of history is entirely possible; many of his units were never at full strength, and some may have effectively marched only on paper. Certainly, it seems to be the case that the suppressed Republican legions in Antony’s service had their records completely erased after the war. It remains probable then that not all of these fleet denarii for legions over XXIII are false or errors as has been assumed, as is demonstrated by the present clearly genuine example unambiguously inscribed LEG XXXIII.
--- End quote ---

Anton C:
PS: Great translation!


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