M. Plaetorius M.f. Cestianus. denarius - new entry

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Cucumbor, Jun 25, 2016.

  1. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Hi folks,

    The last Naville Numismatics auction has given me the opportunity of acquiring two new RR denarii that I'm very happy with.

    Following Doug's wise advice of "style over condition" I pulled the trigger for a Plaetorius denarius of fantastic style to my eyes, but with a nasty graffiti on the obverse. Fortunately, coin in hand, it's much less visible and it doesn't distract from the beauty of the portrait

    M. Plaetorius M.f. Cestianus. Denarius Rome mint, c. 69 BC
    Male head right (Mercury ?) with flowing hair. Behind symbol
    M·PLAETORI – CEST·EX·S·C Winged caduceus
    18 mm, 3,86 gr
    Ref : RCV #344, RSC Plaetoria # 5, Sydenham # 807, RBW # 1453, Crawford # 405/5
    From the E.E. Clain-Stefanelli collection

    Now I have a question regarding the control mark : seller's description mentions a scroll as control mark, but I have hard time seeing a scroll (whatever a scroll might be). Browsing through the web all the Plaetorius denarii I could didn't help me finding a similar control mark.
    Does any of you have an idea about what that mark might be ?

    Thanks in advance

    And please post anything relevant : Gens Plaetoria denarii, coins you still find attractive despite a graffiti, and so on...

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  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

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  4. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    That's a gorgeous coin, regardless of any imperfections. Congrats!
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  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Yes, it is the sort of coin I would buy. My 'advice' will only be of value to people who do not value their money. Coins like this won't resell well but only provide enjoyment to people like me. I note that it was listed as ex. E.E. Clain-Stefanelli. I met her a few times during the last years she was at the Smithsonian. I suspect she saw things in a way that would allow loving this coin, too.
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  6. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Hmm, it doesn't look very scroll-y to me. Here's Crawford's list of the obverse control marks found on 405/5. I'm unfamiliar with some of the words/devices, but the "hanging fruit" might be a possibility.

    Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 7.43.54 AM.jpg
    Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 7.44.10 AM.jpg
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  7. Alegandron

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

    @Cucumbor the device looks like HOPS to me. But perhaps corn-grain (not the American maize corn, but a grain like barley corn.)

    My Plaetorius...

    RR  Plaetorius Cest 67 BC AR Den Helmtd Diety quiv cornuc S-C Eagle tbolt S 349 Cr 409-1 VF O-R.jpg
    Roman Republic
    M Plaetorius M. f. Cestianus 67 BCE
    AR Denarius
    Obv: Helmeted and draped bust of composite Diety r., wearing laurel wreat of laurel, corn, poppy, and lotus, bow and quiver over shoulder, cornucopiae under chin, CESTIANVS behind, S C before, bead and reel border.
    Rev: M PLAETORIVS M F AED CVR, Eagle standing on thunderbolt, head l, bead and reel border.
    Ref: Sear 349; Crawford 409/1
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  8. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Even looking at the list of symbols, I can't say which one yours could be, Q. I notice that auction house catalogers often can't tell either (or can't be bothered) and just go with "control symbol". In that regard, I'm glad mine, incidentally the first RR coin I ever bought, just has an "A" as a control :D.


    I agree with you about your coin though... lovely style!

    This C Norbanus is such a common RR type that I see the grafitti on mine as a bonus adding to my appreciation of it.

    randygeki, dlhill132, stevex6 and 8 others like this.
  9. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    There are a few ACsearch examples of Cr 405/5 which are described as having a scroll, and the coins shown have something that definitely looks like a scroll.


    Here's Crawford's line drawing of hanging fruit (#71) and it only somewhat resembles your mark:

    Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 7.57.29 AM.jpg

    I think @Alegandron may be correct-- "corn-ear", where "corn" can mean any number of vegetables or grains.
  10. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    @TIF, it doesn't look scrolly to me either, reason why I asked. Thanks very much for the Crawford page, it helps a lot. Hanging fruit seems more consistent with what we see.

    A dervish would do too, but I don't see any listed :)


    @dougsmit, I haven't had time to check, hence wasn't aware of E.E. Clain-Stefanelli being a woman, but I'm not surprised : this coin and the other I will show later (from her's too) are typical of this "style over condition" I mentionned above, that most men will overlook but women will see at first glance (you just have to look at @TIF and @Pishpash collections to understand what I mean)


    Edit : I was typing while other posted and yes, @Alegandron, corn grain might be an option too
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  11. Alegandron

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

    @Cucumbor , your PROVENANCE is IMPECCABLE! I purchased my Etrurian 2-1/2 Asses and had the same provenance... I looked it up...

    Etruria, Populonia
    2 ½ asses 3rd century BC, AR 0.85 g. Radiate female head r.; behind, CII. Rev. Blank. EC 104 (misdescribed, Female head with an Attic helmet). Historia Numorum Italy 179.
    Of the highest rarity, apparently only the second specimen known.
    Dark patina and about very fine
    From the collection of E.E. Clain-Stefanelli.


    ANS Executive Director Ute Wartenburg reported that
    Elvira Eliza Clain-Stefanelli died Oct. 1, 2001 of cardiac
    arrest. Mrs. Stefanelli retired in 2000 as the Senior
    Curator of the National Numismatic Collection in the
    Numismatics Division of the National Museum of
    American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington,

    She was at the Smithsonian for forty years, and was
    responsible with her husband Vladimir for organizing and
    building up the National Numismatic Collection. She
    survived a Nazi concentration camp in WWII Europe,
    moved to Rome, and learned numismatics there. In New
    York she and her husband worked for Stack's and started
    the Coin Galleries division there.

    Her most recent publication was "Life In Republican Rome
    On its Coinage", a lavishly illustrated discussion of the
    themes which appear on the coinage of the Roman Republic,
    published in 1999. Her major contribution to the science of
    numismatic literature was her classic "Numismatic Bibliography",
    published in 1985.
    Elvira E. Clain-Stefanelli (1914-2001) and her husband Dr. Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli (1914-1982) were academic numismatic historians and later numismatic authors and curators. They pursued their interest in ancient coinage of the Black Sea region and U.S. medals as a team, serving together as members of the American Numismatic Society and numerous other national and international numismatic organizations. Vladimir became an ANS Associate in 1951 and a Fellow in 1957; Elvira became a Fellow in 1963. The two were frequent visitors to the Society when they worked for Hesperia Art Galleries and then Stack’s in the 1950s. In 1956 Vladimir became curator of the Smithsonian's Division of Numismatics; a year later, Elvira joined him as Assistant Curator. Together, they built the National Numismatic Collection from approximately 60,000 specimens in 1956 to almost one million objects. Two years after Vladimir's death in 1982, Elvira became the department's first executive director, holding that position until her retirement in 2000.
    Dr. Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli (born Waldemar Günther Klein, but later changing the spelling of his surname to Clain and adding Stefanelli, his mother's maiden name) was born in Czernowitz, Bukovina, Austria (now part of the Ukraine and Romania). Vladimir was initially a well-known specialist of Eastern European coinage, in particular of his native Romania. He also specialized in historical documentation of United States coinages as well as coinages of Greek colonies and southeast European issues of the 15th and 16th centuries. Vladimir received a B.A. and M.A. in 1936, and Ph.D. in 1938 from the University of King Carol II in Austria. His 1938 doctoral dissertation, concerning the ancient coinage of Callatis, is included in the collection. Vladimir married the former Elvira Eliza Olinescu on January 3, 1939. After WW II, the couple moved to Italy where they worked for the P&P Santamaria firm. They moved to the United States in 1951, where they would live out the remainder of their lives.
    Elvira E. Clain-Stefanelli was born in Bucharest, Romania. She received a degree in history from Franz Josef University in 1936 and later an M.A. in history from the University of Cernauti in Romania. Working with her husband after his appointment as manager of Stack's Coin Galleries subsidiary in 1954, Elvira wrote their first sales catalog. She joined the Smithsonian staff in 1957. In 1973 Elvira, along with her husband, received the Smithsonian Gold Medal for Exceptional Service. In 1996, she received the ANA's Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for Distinguished Service. During her numismatic career, Elvira was advisor to the U.S. Mint, the Department of Treasury, and many boards, committees, and associations.
    Together or separately, Elvira and Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli wrote and published many important works including: Monetary history and medallic art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C (Numisma, año) (1965); History of the National Numismatic Collections (1968); La monnaie: trésor d’art (1971); Medals Commemorating Battles of the American Revolution (1973); The Beauty and Lore of Coins Currency and Medals (1974); Chartered for Progress, Two Centuries of American Banking: A Pictorial Essay(1975); Muenzen der Neuzeit (1978); Numismatic Bibliography (1984); Life in Republican Rome (1999).
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  12. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago

    Wonderful posts all!! And great catch @Cucumbor !! I can easily 'see' many reasons to fall in love with that denarius!!

    Alas, none of that particular moneyer have found their way into my collection...YET:hungry:
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  13. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Thanks @Alegandron for the biographical notes : what an extraordinary life those two had !!!

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  14. Volodya

    Volodya Junior Member

    I have a couple of examples of the OP coin but no pics. Here are a few other coins from the same issue:

    Phil (78).JPG
    This is one of my five or six favorite coins in my collection. The toning is especially nice; the pic is accurate but doesn't really do the coin justice.

    Phil (80).JPG
    Ex Leu 17.

    Ex RBW; ex Haeberlin (not noted in RBW catalogue). Quite rare without control mark.

    Phil (81).JPG
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  15. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    Spectacular coins all! Interestingly, every one of those reverse types were recycled by the Rome mint under Vespasian. Someone must've been a fan of RR denarii!
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  16. Alegandron

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

    It was actually @ancientcoinguru , with her research background, who had me chase the information down. I was VERY surprised! I am honored to have one of two known specimens of a fairly scarce denomination for Central Italia (2-1/2 Asses or Sestertius for the times). When I saw yours with that Provenance, I thought you were in good company. Yours has the look and style of being in that collection. Hanging Fruit or Corn-Grain device, that is a fantastic coin and capture for your collection. Congrats!
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  17. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    that's a great coin Q, scratches don't really bug me much at all. i have no idea what your control mark is!

    here a scratched up denarius, with my crappy short range (and long rang) eye sight, i didn't even see teh scratches on the reverse until i looked at my picture of the coin.

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  18. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Sweet => Q, that's a super OP-example (congrats)

    scroll, corn, hops and yes, even a dervish => it's a total winner

    I love the toning (it has great style and I even appreciate the cool graffiti)

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  19. Carthago

    Carthago Does this look infected to you? Supporter

    This is a very good question! Here is an example of the hanging fruit from Crawford's line drawing, I think.


    I researched Banti and he didn't have an example of your particular control mark. I then researched CRRO and found one in the British Museum that I believe is the same as yours. The BM has it listed on their website as "Fly?" so they aren't sure.



    Your control mark is much better than the BM and I don't think it looks like a fly. My first impression, without even reading TIF's comments was that it was a piece of fruit.

    So the mystery continues...great provenance and interesting coin, btw. Perhaps Mrs. Clain-Stefanelli knew it was a very unusual control mark and had it in there collection for that very reason!
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  20. Carthago

    Carthago Does this look infected to you? Supporter

    Indeed, I know Leu 17 Nicolas is one of your favorites. Here is my Plaetoria from Nicolas, with that incredible Nicolas toning!

    M Plaetorius Mf Caestianus 409-2 NAC 2015.jpg
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  21. Volodya

    Volodya Junior Member

    Apparently my captioning wasn't clear. I worried about that! Just for the record, the first coin is the "favorite;" the second from the top is the Leu 17 provenance.
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