First coin of 2018? A Roman Republic sextans from the Second Punic War

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Sallent, Dec 23, 2017.

  1. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    Until today I had managed to amass 20 Roman Republic coins, yet not a single one of them was bronze. Republic era denarii might be nice, but if you don't have any bronze from the era, you are missing out on a lot. So here is my first bronze Roman Republic coin, and technically my first coin of 2018 since it won't get to me until January.

    These little beauties were minted in Sardinia from bronze coins captured by the Romans during the Second Punic War. I don't know much about them, nor any other Roman bronze coins from that era, but I'm hoping to remedy that soon. Show me any relevant coins you may have.

    Roman Republic, Second Punic War, 215 - 212 BC
    AE Sextans, Sardinia (?) Mint, 17mm, 2.37 grams
    Obverse: Head of Mercury right wearing winged petasus.
    Reverse: Prow of galley left, ROMA above, two pellets below.
    From the Second Punic War, these issues previously thought to be unofficial issues due to their size and weight, but now are accepted as being overstruck on captured coinage. ex Thersites Collection.
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  3. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis

    You'll find a bit more information about these interesting overstruck bronzes in Andrew McCabe's paper on anonymous Republican bronzes here(specifically look at McCabe group H1). These may have been camp money for use by the soldiers or they may have been intended to actually circulate as coinage in place of the coins they were overstruck on but at any rate they almost uniformly show little actual circulation wear, suggesting they weren't used for long. They're certainly an interesting phenomenon.

    This is my triens from the same group of overstrikes:
    Roman Republic Æ Triens(20.5mm, 5.75g), anonymous, after 211 BC, Sardinian, Sicilian or Southern Italian mint. Helmeted head of Minerva right; above, four pellets / Prow right with flat-topped deck structure; above, ROMA; below, four pellets. cf. Crawford 56/4; McCabe group H1(halfweight overstrikes); Russo RBW 207-208.

    Ex Vecchi 3, 1996, lot 124, Fallani collection
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  4. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago

    Very nice guys!!!

    I have to agree since I have been casually acquiring various denominations of the 'type':)

    Lately, I'm becoming more and more interested in snagging the 'original' sestertius struck in silver:D
    Sallent and Alegandron like this.
  5. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    Already reelin' them in for coin year 2018 hu?! Awesome!

    I have a semiuncia Mercury/prow combo..pretty rough.

  6. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Congrats Sallent,
    here's my sextans from Sicily:

  7. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Haeberlin AE Litra sicle Kunker 12.5.17.jpg
    Nice start! There are plenty of interesting pieces (over strikes, size changes, irregular shapes, half pieces, etc..... but not much in the way of design change) in the RR bronze series. There are also tons of coins that look the same except for little changes with time (mostly reducing weight). I agree with RS, read McCabe's paper on RR bronze to help classify them.
    This one is not here yet, so it might be 2018 purchased in 2017 also. It is an ex-Haeberlin collection.
    Smojo, Ajax, TJC and 11 others like this.
  8. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    RR bronzes strike me as the opposite of the denarii. The silver includes many interesting types for the most part in one size (I know there are a few halves and quarters but most are denarii) while the bronzes usually have that same prow reverse and denominations identified by the head on the obverse. The bronzes seem to have changed standards on a reqular basis so it is quite possible to find a one-third (triens) smaller than a one-quarter (quadrans) etc. As a result you really need to watch the sizes and weights when buying copper if you are to know what you will be getting. This, added to the overstrikes, various mints and ever changing workmanship makes the appeal of the bronzes completely different from that of the denarii.

    My favorite RR bronze came to me from our own JA auction on Coin Talk which means none of you wanted it enough to outbid me. I am not famous as a high bidder. It is a quadrans (three dot) with moneyer name C NVMITORI above the ubiquitous prow. The obverse is a head right wearing a lion skin headdress as appropriate for the Hercules of the standard quadrans but (what makes the coin interesting to me) the facial features of Hercules on this issue are quite unlike most and are most probably taken from the appearance of the moneyer or some specific person. Are all these coin dies in this style? Some are equipped with better noses than others. I found this one appealing. We expect Romans to have 'Roman' noses. Most would have preferred a higher grade and a generic Hercules face. That is why I won the lot.

    My question is why the moneyer used this face on quadrantes but his other denominations seem to have little resemblance to this one. Was his semis face an uncle and his triens a brother? How common was it to show personalized features on RR bronzes? Is this a portrait or did the diecutter just think Hercules needed a lean and angular face? When the man on the Roman street saw this coin, would he have thought anything about that face other than just 'Hercules'? Did Romans take note of the fact that not every coin was exactly like every other one or is that just something I see because I have spent so many repetitious modern coins?
  9. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    I love that horse reverse on your coin. Very nice!
  10. SeptimusT

    SeptimusT Well-Known Member

    I love to see these. Such cool historical artifacts, and some very nice ones here. I have a couple myself. Neither were identified as possible counterstrikes or Punic War issues by the sellers, but I identified them myself based on the weight.

    The first is a Triens, weighing in at 5.8g (normal might be ~13g) which I've already shown here once. It's rough, but I love it:


    The second is a quadrans, which is especially diminutive, weighing in at only 2.34g (a normal weight might be 10g or so), but still has a very nice style and a distinctive sprue:

  11. Youngcoin

    Youngcoin Everything Collector

    Amazing coin!

    Sallent likes this.
  12. Backtoithaka

    Backtoithaka Member

    Hello, I'm new on cointalk. Let me introduce myself by means of this charming cow of mine. The wise will note that it corresponds to the unusual exemplars 1-3 in haeberlin. Merry x-mas to all obsessive collectors. semis bull ICC 67 obv.jpg
  13. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    Charming is the correct word. Is that a semis, a tail or both? These usually have an S under the animal. Welcome.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  14. Theodosius

    Theodosius Fine Style Seeker

    Welcome to cointalk!

    What are your collecting interests?

  15. Alegandron

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

    Congrats @Sallent , very cool RR Sextans.

    I have a few Punic War RR Sextans:
    RR Anon AE Sextans 211-206 BCE Prob Sicily-Katana mintage Cr 69-6a Sear 1211.JPG
    RR Anon AE Sextans 211-206 BCE Prob Sicily-Katana mintage Cr 69-6a Sear 1211

    RR Manlius Vulso AE Sextans 210 BCE Mercury Prow Cr 64-6b.jpg
    RR Manlius Vulso AE Sextans 210 BCE Mercury Prow Cr 64-6b

    RR Anon AE Sextans-Hieron II Error Overstrike 214-212 BCE S1211 Cr69-6.jpg
    RR Anon AE Sextans-Hieron II Error Overstrike 214-212 BCE S1211 Cr69-6

    RR Anon AE Sextans 217-215 BCE She-Wolf Twins Eagle Syd 95 Cr 39-3 S 609.JPG
    RR Anon AE Sextans 217-215 BCE She-Wolf Twins Eagle Syd 95 Cr 39-3 S 609
  16. Backtoithaka

    Backtoithaka Member

    It's a tail. The S under the bull's belly is missing, an unusual variant (reported by haeberlin, but no instance on acsearch).
  17. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Nice patina on your newp, @Sallent.

    (My autocorrect just oh-so-helpfully "corrected" your username first to "silent", then to "wallet". And tagged a user called "Wallet". Geez.)

    Anyway, I like it. I've never owned any RR bronze.
    Mikey Zee and Sallent like this.
  18. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Well, they are not expensive Rob, whats holding you back ?

    Though the one from Backtoithaca is an expensive one, first serie (Aes Grave) of Roman Republic
    bronze coins, 290-240 BC , I'll guess that one weighs a hefty 150 grams.

    Here are a couple of later ones, as rrdenarius mentions, the RR bronzes became smaller and lighter over time.

    P1170334 overzicht2heavy.jpg

    Because the RR silver denarius held his weight at approx 3 gram , the exchange between the As and the denarius went from 10 : 1 to 16 : 1 and 20 : 1 ( copper to silver ratio 100 : 1 )

    P1170334 overzicht3light.jpg
    Sallent, Johndakerftw, Bing and 3 others like this.
  19. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Good question. I've just been too bedazzled by silver and gold, I suppose. Or distracted by too much other stuff. (2017 saw me slide a bit further into Græcomania.)

    So many cool coins ... so little disposable income ...

    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  20. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Did I detect a subtle Steely Dan reference * in that first sentence? ;)

    I have a table with a finish that looks just like that.
  21. Backtoithaka

    Backtoithaka Member

    icc 344 luceria nummus.jpg
    I always found that this cast coin (nummus, luceria) has actually the style and features of a struck coin. Which is not the case of its fractions. This exemplar is cute. Often noted as extremely rare, but I think it is not.
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