Featured An Aqueduct, a Statue and an Elegant Portrait of Roma

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Curtisimo, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    This coin is one of my favorite denarii. Even though I bought it at the end of last year I have only recently gotten around to taking my own photos of it. As such, I hope the board will not begrudge me the opportunity to give it its own thread and post some general information about it.

    Roman Republic
    Mn. Aemelius Lepidus
    AR Denarius, Rome mint, struck ca. 114-113 BC
    Dia.: 18 mm
    Wt.: 3.83 g
    Obv.: ROMA, ligate MA; Laureate, diademed and draped bust of Roma, right. * behind.
    Rev.: MN AEMILIO; Equestrian statue right on three arches, L E P between arches.
    Ref.: Crawford 291/1

    Ex zumbly Collection (AMCC Auction 1, lot 112; December 1, 2018), Ex Demetrios Armounta Collection (CNG E-Auction 325, lot 490; April 23, 2014), Purchased from Colosseum Coin Exchange (with tag)

    Obverse: A Beautiful Portrait of Roma
    When I think of Roma on Republican era coins I tend to think of the wing-helmeted warrior goddess ready to to battle with the enemies of the republic. However, this example shows Roma outfitted in a fashion better suited to a convivium than to a battlefield. I think it’s interesting to note how the iconography of Roma adapted over the century or so from the beginning of the denarius denomination down to this issue in order to accommodate designs showing Roma in a much less martial light. One might assume that this less war-like Roma could reflect the emergence of a relatively more peaceful period in Roman history. However, with the Cimbrian War just heating up this seems not to be the case with this particular design.

    The ligate ROMA is also visually interesting and elegant in my opinion.

    Reverse: Equestrian Statue and Aquaduct
    Mn. (Manlius?) Aemilius Lepidus issued this coin as Moneyer between 114-113 BC. Not much is known about him other than he was a member of the gens Aemilii, which was one of the most ancient and prestigious families in Rome. He may have been either an uncle or the grandfather of the famous Triumvir Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.

    The reverse shows the Aqua Marcia, whose construction was begun while a member of the gens Aemilii was Censor in 179 BC. The equestrian statue shown atop the arches of the aqueduct on the coin may have been of this Censor or possibly some other distinguished ancestor of the family. Crawford makes mention of a theory that the three arches are those that carried the Aqua Marcia over the Via Praenestina. As such, it might be reasonable to guess this intersection as one of the possible locations for the statue.

    I took this photo at the Capitoline Museum in Rome. It shows a Greek bronze horse that had a Roman rider added to it during the republican era. This was done around the same time as the minting of my above coin and shows the popularity of both Greek art and equestrian statues at the time.

    The Aqua Marcia was one of the oldest and longest aqueducts in ancient Rome and was renowned for its cold and good tasting water.

    Photo from Wikipedia.

    It is always fascinating when the remains of the structures depicted on ancient coins and art are still extant so that we can visit them and compare. I was fortunate to get to see many of the aqueducts in Rome on my trip last year but unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of this one so the above was taken from Wikipedia.

    From April 2014 to December 2018 this coin resided in the illustrious @zumbly Collection (what, no tags bro?). I purchased it in the first ever AMCC auction run by another great coin friend, @Severus Alexander . These recent provenance connections help make this coin an especial favorite of mine.

    Before April 2014 this coin resided in the Demetrios Armounta Collection (according to CNG listing). I do not know anything about this collection other than it was quite large and seems to have been sold in its entirety by CNG in 2013 and 2014. When I emailed CNG asking for information about the collection they said that they had no information to give :meh:o_O. The best I can tell from some of the other coins is that this collector was active at least into the 2000s. No collector tag was included.

    The coin came with a tag from Colosseum Coin Exchange. I assume that this is the venue from which Demetrios Armounta purchased the coin. The tag doesn’t provide any dates, sale or auction listings. The dealer was active from the late 1960s until at least the 2000s. I am not sure if they are still in business as the only website I found for them was in Chinese (So they are either no longer at that domain or have permanently moved to Macao;)).


    Does anyone know if Colosseum Coin Exchange kept an inventory or online catalog of their coins that might allow me to further research the provenance for this coin? Based on when some of the other coins from the Demetrios Armounta Collection were acquired I am guessing this coin might have been purchased privately or at a show at some point between 2000 to 2010. I would be willing to compensate anyone for their time who would be willing to help look into archives I might not have access to (send PM).

    Please show:
    Your coins with an elegant Roma
    Your republican era architecture coins
    Your coins from the Demetrios Armounta Collection
    Your coins from the zumbly Collection (this one is a gimme for you Z ;))
    Any other coins you want to show or think are relevant.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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  3. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Oh, my. Lovely.
    Curtisimo likes this.
  4. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    This was what a "convertible" looked like, back in the day. ;)

    Ryro, galba68, Pellinore and 9 others like this.
  5. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Haha the rider apparently didn’t enjoy his ride on this convertible.

    ... which reminds me
    Please also post your equestrian statue coins. convertible or no. :)
    Alegandron likes this.
  6. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    Fantastic coin and excellent write-up @Curtisimo!
    Curtisimo likes this.
  7. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Fantastic coin Curtis, one on my ever growing want list, but for the moment this other Aqua Marcia republican will do. Ancus.jpg
    Ancus Marcus. Crawford 425/1. L.Marcus Philipus, AR Denarius, 56 BC, Rome. 3.7gm.
    The head on the obverse is the fourth king of Rome,
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  8. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    That is a very nice coin and an excellent writeup. I love it when people post information with their photos.

    Here are two of that design, one official and one fourree in pretty good style:


    19-18 mm. 3.81 grams.
    Crawford 291/1. Sear 168.

    18 mm. 2.93 grams (light weight!).
    Minor breaks in the silver foil at the high points (around the ear of Roma) and at the edge (12:30 and 5:00 and 9:00 on the obverse. 11:30 1:00 and 5:00 on the reverse).
    I think the style of this one was good enough to pass back in the day.
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  9. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Great post and coin, @Curtisimo. I love that portrait of Roma. Here’s mine with a cool banker’s mark.


    Man. Aemilius Lepidus, AR Denarius, Rome, (18 mm, 3.88g), 114-113 B.C
    Laureate and diademed head of Roma right; behind star/ REV. MN•AEMILIO, Equestrian statue right on pedestal with three arches, L-E-P between the arches
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  10. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Thanks David :)

    Thanks Shea. I like the toning on your example.
  11. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Great example. That flan shape makes it look like Ancus is trying to escape head first out of the top of the coin :eek::happy:

    Thank you sir! :)

    Great examples. I agree that the fourree is a solid attempt, especially the horse. One of these days I want to own a fourree with an ancient test cut in it that proves the coin was “almost” good enough.
    Ancient Aussie likes this.
  12. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Phenomenal photo of a great coin, @Curtisimo! That one was hard for me to relinquish to an envelope after the auction. :D

    Not as elegant as yours, but a pretty nice Roma on this coin:
    Screen Shot 2019-10-08 at 10.26.54 PM.jpg
    T. Manlius Mancinus, Ap. Claudius Pulcher, Q. Urbinius, c. 111-110 BCE
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  13. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    Good write up! and what an interesting coin. If I were to collect republicans, this would be one of the first coins I bought.
    Curtisimo likes this.
  14. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I love that coin, and am really glad to see it again. Your pics of it are fantastic and make me feel like a proud foster parent. :happy: As usual, great writeup!

    That's really kind of you to say, Curtis. I'm sorry I didn't include my personal tag in the sale, but I felt that the coin was the star of the show rather than the fact that it was in my collection. :shy: If you'd like, though, here's a pic of my tag, which you can print out and keep with the coin. Be warned, however, that it's nothing fancy, and for the most part just contains attribution verbiage and prior provenance info. :shame:

    zumbly tag.jpg
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  15. Marsman

    Marsman Well-Known Member

    Nice coin. Beautifully photographed !
    Another one on my wish list :)
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  16. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    This is why I could never own an auction house! Speaking of which I saw in another thread that AMCC 2 is coming this weekend. I am stoked!

    Nice portrait my friend. The republican Romas have really grown on me.

    Since I brought it up I might as well show my Punic War Roma that you’ve all seen a million times already :oops:

    The Story of the Coin Struck to Fight Hannibal: The First Denarius and its Influence
    Roman Republic
    Second Punic War (218 – 201 BC)
    Anonymous AR Denarius, Rome Mint, struck ca. 211 BC
    Wt.: 4.2 g
    Dia.: 20 mm
    Obv.: Helmeted head of Roma right. X in left field
    Rev.: Dioscuri galloping right. ROMA in exergue and partially incuse on raised tablet
    Ref.: Crawford 44/5. Sydenham 167. RBW 169.

    Ex Numismatic Ars Classica Auction 100 Part II, Lot 1368 (May 30, 2017)
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  17. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Thank you Z. I will absolutely take you up on your offer to print out and include your tag with the coin. You have great taste in coins and a fantastic collection. I feel fortunate you decided to give this one up and was happy to snag it!
  18. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I really like that coin, @Curtisimo ! There had been several times I looked and considered getting it. I usually thought "yeah, I already have that"... dumb that I did not actually checked my data base.

    Actually, I have at least 130 horse coins, but none are a statue horse! Soooooo.....

    How 'bout I break the mold a bit, and toss out a TOKEN HORSE:

    China Song Dynasty
    10th-12th C CE
    AE Gaming Token 29mm 6.42g
    Zhui Feng Zhi Ma-horse following wind-
    - Horse galloping left
    - Classic Chinese Charms Vol I 2149
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  19. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    L Marcus Philippus.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: Diademed head of Ancus Marcius right, lituus hehind, ANCVS below
    REVERSE: Equestrian statue right on an arcade of five arches; flower below horse, AQVA MAR between arches, PHILLIVS behind
    Rome 56 BC
    Cr425/1, Marcia 28, Syd 919
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  20. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    The Aqua Traiana was dedicated in AD 109 and supplied water to the expanding trans-Tiber (west bank) suburbs of Rome. The coin depicts the castellum, or waterworks, associated with the terminal of the aqueduct, and its statue of the river Tiber.
    Trajan Aqua1.jpg
    Trajan. AD 98-117. Æ As (25.5mm, 11.67 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 111. Laureate bust right, slight drapery / AQVA/ TRAIANA in two lines in exergue, Genius of the Aqua Traiana reclining left under arched and ornamented grotto supported by two columns, holding reed and leaning on urn from which water flows. RIC II 463; Woytek 361b. VF, dark brown patina, traces of earthen deposits.
  21. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Nice addition AA! This is an architecture coin that’s high on my list. The type is one of a handful that were on display in the museum attached to Trajan’s market.

    Nice coin @Bing !
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