My favorite coin of 2019: a newly-published variety of the "Q" victoriatus

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by red_spork, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis

    Today I saw that Royal Numismatic Society members had begun receiving their copies of the Numismatic Chronicle 2019, volume 179. This excited me not only because this is an excellent journal that I'm looking forward to reading, but also because I could finally make good on the promise made in my "Top 10 of 2019" post and share my #1 coin of 2019. For those who feel like skipping the wall of text below: I held off sharing this coin because I knew that friends were planning to publish it for the first time in NC 2019 and I didn't want to interfere with that.

    This coin is a new variety of the Crawford 102/1 "Q" victoriatus, but in addition to the Q between Victory and the trophy there is a Q on the shield. The variety was just published for the first time in "A Large Hoard of Roman Republican Victoriati" by Pierluigi Debernardi and Steve Brinkman(our own @Fugio1) in the latest Numismatic Chronicle, herein referred to as the "V-Hoard". In the paper, the authors call this variety "102Q". It is certainly related and even die-linked by a single shared die to the normal "Q" victoriati, but the significant differences in style, in the form of the Q on the reverse and the addition of the Q on the shield of some examples suggest that it is perhaps separated chronologically, maybe by a few months, from the larger portion of this issue. While the name "102Q" might lead one to believe all examples have the Q on the shield, this is actually not the case: most known examples like this one do not have the Q on the shield, a feature that is apparently unique to this single reverse die, but even without it they can be identified by comparing the more elongated Q form you see on my example with the form shown on the linked "normal" "Q" victoriatus above.

    I first learned of this variety after reviewing a draft of this paper, which mentioned a few examples in the V-Hoard as well as an example in this style from linked dies but without the Q on shield in the Gravina Hoard discovered in 1828. I didn't expect to find an example anytime soon and then a few months later I spotted this coin in an eBay auction by a relatively unknown seller. I suspect someone else knew what it was as there was stronger competition than I expected, but in the end I was able to win it with a stupidly high bid I would almost certainly have regretted had the coin hammered anywhere near my max, but thankfully, I was the only bidder being stupid that day.

    I find this coin really special for a few reasons: first, as many here know, I am always excited when I can find new, unpublished or recently published types. This coin allowed me to check off one of my 2019 goals of finding something I didn't know existed at the end of 2018, and as someone who really prides himself on his knowledge of all things victoriati, I was shocked that I was able to cross that one off the list with a victoriatus. Second, the fact that this victoriatus has a mintmark on the shield makes it, in my opinion, one of the more interesting varieties because prior to the publication of the aforementioned paper, only a single victoriatus was known with a letter on the shield: the Bastianelli specimen of the C/M victoriatus, now in the British Museum via Charles Hersh. Strangely, while it might seem like there should be some relationship between these two varieties given this strange variation they share, they come from different mints and are of very different styles suggesting different engravers, so it's unclear what, if any, relationship they have or if this is just a coincidence.

    Cr102Q.1-2-1200.JPG Roman Republic AR Victoriatus(2.87g, 16mm, 2h), "Q" series. 209-208 B.C., Apulian(Luceria?) mint. Laureate head of Jupiter right. Border of dots / Victory standing right, crowning trophy with wreath; on trophy shield, Q; Q between. ROMA in exergue. Line border. Crawford 102/1 var(style & Q on shield). Cf. "A Large Hoard of Roman Republican Victoriati", Pierluigi Debernardi, NC 2019(173) for discussion of "102Q" variety.
    Purchased via eBay auction, 26 August 2019, ex Diana Numismatica, Rome, Italy and reportedly ex private Italian collection circa 2012

    As always, feel free to share anything relevant: victoriati, newly published varieties,favorite coins of 2019, whatever you want.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
    eparch, galba68, seth77 and 26 others like this.
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  3. dadams

    dadams Supporter! Supporter

    That’s exciting and well worth the wait for the reveal. Congratulations on a splendid coin.
    red_spork likes this.
  4. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Tremendous coin and very worthy of 2019 favourite status. Congrats!
    red_spork likes this.
  5. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    Great coin and write up! Alas, I have not a single example of the victoriatus denomination, but it’s on my list... somewhere. :)
    red_spork likes this.
  6. Alegandron

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

    Gorgeous, and well done, @red_spork ! First thing I noted was that Q on the shield... nice!

    I just have a pedestrian Victoriatus with a pig to show today.


    RR Victoriatus 206-195 BCE AR 16-5mm 2-61g Jupiter r Victory crowning trophy sow r in ex ROMA Syd 253 Russo RBW 554 Cr 121-1
    galba68, Spaniard, TheRed and 7 others like this.
  7. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis

    I'll never get tired of seeing this great coin. I have a lot of great victoriati but only one from the post-war period and I really need to add a few more.
    Alegandron likes this.
  8. Alegandron

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

    Thank you for the kind comment.

    I know that I need to reshoot it. It, unfortunately, is locked up.

    But, I have always enjoyed how it portrays "ordinary life" with the Sow device. Just cool to me, and why I pounced on it when I found it. A contrast of the War Trophy vs. everyday farm life.
    red_spork likes this.
  9. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    My victoriatus is also a pedestrian one. But here it is. It's a really neat little type, and the OP coin is really great. Congratulations!

    Sear 49 Republican Victoriatus 211 BC.jpg
  10. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    @red_spork, This is a very special coin with an amazing acquisition story. This die variation with the Q device on the shield (or any ornamentation on the shield) is truly unique. It should also be noted that both of the examples in the VHoard are in pretty dreadful condition. One is struck from very mushy dies, and the other is significantly off center. Of the three known examples, yours is the best representative of the variety.

    Your diligence and observation skills have netted you some fabulous coins within the sea of otherwise uninteresting stuff on Ebay. I'm not knocking ebay, it's a great resource for collectors, but I had pretty much given up on it until you started showing me some of the amazing finds you have netted by careful observation.
    svessien and red_spork like this.
  11. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    I had the pleasure of seeing this coin in person in New York City in January. Really a terrific find by @red_spork
    red_spork likes this.
  12. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis

    Thanks for the kind words! I feel the same way about eBay sometimes myself, but every once in a while something special pops up and makes all the time spent watching it worth it.
  13. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    Just for reference, here are images of the two examples from the VHoard with Q on shield:
    C102_T19_10_9h-102Q.jpg C102_T19_30_0h-102Q.jpg
  14. TheRed

    TheRed Supporter! Supporter

    That is a gorgeous coin @red_spork congratulations on such a wonderful acquisition. It always amazes me what can be find on eBay with some patience and a good eye.
    red_spork likes this.
  15. Dafydd

    Dafydd Well-Known Member

    An extraordinary coin and an extraordinary story of acquisition. Congratulations on your skill and diligence, I had given up on eBay lacking the skill to buy safely.
    red_spork likes this.
  16. Dafydd

    Dafydd Well-Known Member

    I should have said knowledge but knowledge would have been an equally suitable adjective
  17. Dafydd

    Dafydd Well-Known Member

    “As knowledge” I’ll retire as I’m digging a hole...
  18. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis

    I'm still pretty amazed what I can find as well. Outside of eBay I find plenty of things that regular dealers miss too. One of the nice things about specializing in an area. When it comes to the Second Punic War there were so many mints going and so much coinage issued that there are a lot of opportunities like this for someone with some patience.
  19. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Very interesting but it needs more Q.

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