Ancients-Roman Serrati

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by CoinBlazer, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. CoinBlazer

    CoinBlazer Numismatic Enthusiast

    Serrati- A Roman denarius with a serrated edge. Example below
    Experts are inconclusive on reasons why some denarius type coins are serrated.
    Possible reasons

    • Anti-Counterfeiting
    • Special functions or designation
    • Planchet maintenance
    • Decorative
    Read more here-
    Roman Republican Silver Serrati Coins

    Here is an example from my collection

    M. Aurelius Scarus 118 BC AR Denarius
    3.95g 19mm Narbo Mint
    M AVRELI ROMA XVI monogram behind helmeted head of Roma right
    Gallic warrior driving biga right, SCAVRI below/ L LIC CN DOM

    APC_0199.jpg APC_0200.jpg

    Post your serrati or post why you think these coins were minted this way!
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  3. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    An interesting suggestion by Michael Harlan is that the purpose of these serrations was to prevent mint workers from swallowing coins for later retrieval.

    The earliest Roman Republican serrated issue was the wheel symbol denarius, Crawford 79/1, c. 208-209 BC. Minted in Sicily(?).

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
  4. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    Nice coin and interesting post @CoinBlazer .

    I have some Greek bronze bottle caps but no Roman ones.

  5. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    AR Serrate Denarius
    OBVERSE:Laureate head of Jupiter left; before, control-mark(R). Border of dots
    REVERSE: Jupiter in quadriga right, holding sceptre and reins in left hand and hurling thunderbold with right hand; in exergue, L SCIP ASIAG. Border of dots.
    Struck at Rome, 106 BC
    3.5g, 20mm
    Crawford 311/1b; BMCRR Rome 1374; Babelon Cornelia 24; RSC Cornelia 24c
    C. Sulpicius C.f. Galba.jpg
    AR Serrate Denarius
    OBVERSE: Conjoined laureate heads of the Dei Penates left
    REVERSE: Two soldiers swearing oath over a sow; F above; C SVLPICI C F in ex
    Struck at Rome, 106 BC
    3.8g, 19mm
    Cr312/1; Syd 572; Sulpicia 1
    AR Serrate Denarius
    OBVERSE: Head of Juno Sospita in goat skin, L ROSCI below, Jug to left
    REVERSE: Girl standing right feeding serpent before, Unknown control mark (?) to left, FABATI in ex.
    Rome 59 BC
    3.7g, 18mm
    Cr 412/1; Syd 915
  6. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    L Memmius Galeria Ar Denarius Serratus 106 B.C. Obv Head of Saturn left. Rv, Venus standing right driving biga pulled by prancing horses Crawford 313/1b 3.97 grms 18mm 313-c.JPG
  7. Carthago

    Carthago Does this look infected to you?

    My opinion is that the serrations on particular Roman coins were part of the coin design; either decorative or perhaps with some implied meaning that has since been lost to history. I don't think they were functional and the evidence that might suggest support for this is that serrations followed a particular coin type even within the same issue by the same moneyer. I would think that some functional design choice wouldn't change based on coin design.

    For example, take the issue of C. Hosidius C.f. Geta, Crawford 407. The issue started serrated and changed to non serrated at some point during the minting. Both types have a unique look to them with the serrated versions being of higher style.

    I have a hybrid example of what is likely the transition from serrated to non serrated. There are only a few of these known and it is the 407/2 design minted on a 407/1 serrated flan. The dies on this coin are of unusually high style for the issue the strike very carefully executed that it's my theory that they were perhaps model dies and this coin may have been a test strike for official review, done on a serrated flan (mine) and probably non serrated as well (which the issue was eventually struck as).


    C. Hosidius C.f. Geta. Denarius serratus 68, AR 3.81 g. GETA – III·VIR Draped bust of Diana r., with bow and quiver over shoulder. Rev. Boar r. wounded by spear and attacked by hound; in exergue, C·HOSIDI C F. Babelon Hosidia 2. Sydenham 904. RBW 1455. Crawford 407/1.

    C Hosidius Geta 407-1 CNG 2008.jpg

    Hybrid - Transitional Example

    C. Hosidius C.f. Geta. Denarius serratus 68, AR (3.76g, 19.4mm, 4h). GETA – III·VIR Draped bust of Diana r., with bow and quiver over shoulder. Rev. Boar r. wounded by spear and attacked by hound; in exergue, C·HOSIDI C F. Babelon Hosidia 1 var. Sydenham 903 var. RBW 1458. Crawford 407/2 note.

    C Hosidius Geta 407-2 Hybrid NAC 2018.jpg

    Non serrated

    C. Hosidius C.f. Geta - 64 BC. AR denarius (3.95 gm, 19mm, 5h). Rome. III · VIR GETA, diademed and draped bust of Diana right; bow and quiver over shoulder / Calydonian Boar standing right, pierced by spear and harried by hound below; C · HOSIDI C F in exergue. Babelon Hosidia 1, Crawford 407/2. Sydenham 903.

    C Hosidius Geta 407-2 Heritage 2015 PS.jpg
  8. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    Here is my RR serratus denarius of Aquilius.
    My guess would be that serrati were an attempt at counterfeit prevention. Most likely this endeavor proved rather unreliable since serrati were distinctly in the minority and disappear during imperial times. Perhaps the Romans found a more effective solution to counterfeiting - such as crucifixion.

  9. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Ancient forgers could counterfeit serrati.

    REPUBLIC. L. Memmius Galeria, 106 BC, fourree / plated, 2.60g, 19mm
    Cr. 313/1b, Sy. 574
    ex-Frank S Robinson, November 2016 Bargain List, lot 122

    @Terence Cheesman posted a genuine example a few hours ago ^^^
  10. Alegandron

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



    RR L Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus Asiagenus AR Serrate Denarius 4.0g 19mm Rome 106 BCE Hd Jupiter Left - Jupiter quad r scepter tbolt L•SCIP•ASIAG B Cr 311-1e Syd 576

    RR L Papius serratus 79 BCE Juno Sospita goat skin JUG Griffon Sear 311 Craw 384-1.jpg
    RR L Papius serratus 79 BCE Juno Sospita goat skin JUG Griffon Sear 311 Craw 384-1

    RR C Mamilius 82 BCE AR Den Serrate Mercury caduceus Ulysses Dog Argos Sear 282 Craw 362-1.jpg
    RR C Mamilius 82 BCE AR Den Serrate Mercury caduceus Ulysses Dog Argos Sear 282 Craw 362-1

    RR L Licinius Crassus orator Cn Domitius Ahenobarbus 118 BCE NARBO Serrated Attic Helmet Gallic Biga Sear 158 Craw 282-3

    RR C POBLICIUS Q f 80 BCE AR Denarius serratus 3.94g Rome Flan wgt control gouge Hercules strnglng Nemean lion club quiver Cr 380-1 Syd 768
  11. Alegandron

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

    How about a couple NON-ROMAN Republic Serrateds?


    This was the last series that Carthage minted just before they were exterminated by the Romans in 146 BCE. The City was razed, with it not being resettled until Caesar's veterans almost 100 years later. No coins until even later.

    This is an odd issue from Carthage, as they did not produce serrated coins until their demise. This one is kinda hard to obtain.

    Carthage Third Punic War Serrate Double Shekel 149-146 BCE 12.8g 26mm Wreathd Tanit-Horse pellet raised leg SNG COP 404


    And, hey, those Seleukids loved their BOTTLECAPS!!!

    This is a NON-Silver, AE Serrated.

    Seleukid Demetrios I Soter 162-150 BCE AE 17 serrate 16.8mm 3.9g Antioch on Orontes mint Horse Hd L - Elephant Hd R- SC 1646 SNG Spaer 1299-1304
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
  12. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    The real mystery to me is not the purpose, but the process. I know of no rational argument to the frequent suggestion that the serrations were done manually with a chisel. This would have added at least 20x to the labor to prepare the flans. There must have been some sort of "machine" that could apply these serrations either very quickly to one or more flans.
    Carthago and Alegandron like this.
  13. Alegandron

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

    I dunno. I used to brew and bottle beer. I believe the Romans were developing designs for bottle caps for this new Roman-German beverage. They were always horning-in on everyone's action, so they were brewing beer along with their wine production. They just needed to work out designs for the bottle tops...



    AAaaaaaahhhhhhh !!!
    Marsyas Mike, Fugio1 and Johndakerftw like this.
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