A couple of Hadrian semisses

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Mar 25, 2021.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    These are a couple of semisses that have been part of the CT community for a while. These coins once belonged to @jb_depew and to @Theodosius. I recently acquired them in @John Anthony's latest auction and I'm happy to add them to my collection.

    The semis, which literally means "half" in the Latin language, was valued at half an as.

    Beavis and Butt-Head.jpg
    In the Roman imperial period, the semis was the smallest orichalcum denomination, having twice the value of a copper quadrans and half the value of the copper as. It was the same diameter as the quadrans, so its value resulted from orichalcum having double the value of copper. Patinated specimens can be misidentified as quadrantes.

    For this reason, most early references list these two coins as quadrantes, but examples without patina demonstrate them to be made of orichalcum, and hence they have been reclassified in more recent references (i.e. RIC 2.3) as semisses.

    The denomination was issued infrequently and it ceased to be after the reign of Hadrian 117-138 AD. As such, these two coins are some of the last semisses minted.

    Hadrian P M TR P COS III eagle-thunderbolt semis.jpg
    Hadrian, AD 117-138.
    Roman orichalcum semis, 4.06 g, 18.1 mm, 7 h.
    Rome, AD 121-23.
    Obv: IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG, eagle standing half right, head turned left, wings open but not spread.
    Rev: P M TR P COS III S C, thunderbolt.
    Refs: RIC 625; RIC 2.3, 624; BMC 1279; Cohen 1167; Strack 579; RCV 3704.

    Hadrian COS III lyre semis.jpg
    Hadrian, AD 117-138.
    Roman orichalcum semis, 4.12 g, 18.3 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, AD 124-25, possibly for use in Syria.
    Obv: HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS: Bust of Hadrian, laureate, draped and cuirassed, right.
    Rev: COS III S C, lyre.
    Refs: RIC 688; RIC 2.3, 758; BMC 1359-61; Cohen 443; Strack 625; RCV 3701; McAlee 547a.

    Let's see your semisses!
    dlhill132, PeteB, IMP Shogun and 20 others like this.
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  3. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    A truly overlooked denomination. Well done!
    Roman Collector likes this.
  4. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting info as well. :)
    Roman Collector likes this.
  5. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    Two nice examples. I've long considered building a side collection of quadrantes and semisses, tracing the denominations from Roman Republican times through to the Antonines. It would be an interesting group.
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  6. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    I have similar coins in my collection (on the first one the eagle is facing in a different direction)

    On the auction it was listed as Quadrans but I also agree this is a semis.

    Hadrian AD 117-138. 18 mm., 2,52 g.
    Date Range: AD 121 - AD 123
    Æ SEMIS . Rome mint. Struck AD 121-122. Eagle standing facing, head right / Winged thunderbolt. RIC II 623
    Eagle standing right
    Reverse Legend: P M TR P COS III // S C (in field)
    Type: Thunderbolt


    Hadrian AD 117-138. Rome
    Semis Æ 19 mm., 3,84 g.
    Old RIC 688
    Date Range: AD 124 - AD 125
    Obverse Legend: HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS
    Type: Bust of Hadrian, laureate, draped and cuirassed, right, viewed from rear or side
    Reverse Legend: COS III // S C (in field)
    Type: Lyre

    Attached Files:

  7. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    ..kool RC...(hehheh...he said half As:D:rolleyes:)
    Roman Collector likes this.
  8. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    Nothing like Beavis and Butthead to add a touch of erudition to your numismatic explication, lol.
    NewStyleKing and Roman Collector like this.
  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Beavis and Butthead? Who are they? Those guys in my post are Mattingly and Sydenham!! :hilarious::hilarious:;)
  10. Aleph

    Aleph Active Member

  11. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Found this one in a lot:

    Hadrianus Aequitas semis 1.jpg
  12. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

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