Featured Newp: Spearhead sextans in Sardinian style

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by red_spork, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    The coin I'm sharing today is from a series I've been watching out for for quite some time and wasn't sure I'd ever be able to add to my collection. I was outbid for another(nicer) example of this type in CNG e-auction 408(by Clio himself if memory serves me right) and didn't expect to see another any time soon, so I was ecstatic when I found this coin on MA-Shops earlier this month. Even though it is worn and with a terribly struck reverse I didn't hesitate to buy it at all one I was certain of what it was.

    This type and the series it is from was only relatively recently identified as a separate series from the Apulian spearhead bronzes(Crawford 88) by Roberto Russo in his 1998 paper on unpublished bronzes in Essays Hersh. Russo actually identified 3 different spearhead bronze series which he called 88A(the Apulian series), 88B(this series) and 88C(a later, likely post Second Punic War series). Since then, Andrew McCabe has shown rather convincingly that this "88B" series is linked, along with the bulk of the spearhead quinarii, by style and flan manufacture to the Crawford 63-65 Sardinian Praetor issues with C, MA and AVR mintmarks of circa 211-209 B.C.. Since those series are securely dated to 211-209 B.C., this series should probably be placed either in 212 B.C. or 208 B.C.. McCabe actually suggests it is perhaps related to the Apulian series by way of a common commander who directed armies in both theaters and reused the spearhead symbol.

    While the sextantes of the Sardinian Praetor issues are all very common, these related spearhead sextantes are extremely rare with less than ten examples known to me, and only two die pairs. While the related spearhead quinarii are themselves rare, they are considerably more common than the extremely rare Sardinian Praetor quinarii issues. The reasons for this imbalance are a mystery to me but perhaps point to changing coinage needs as the Second Punic War progressed.

    Roman Republic Æ Sextans(7.45g, 19mm, 7h). Anonymous, Spearhead series, circa 212-207 B.C., Sardinian mint. Head of Mercury right; above, two pellets / Prow right; above, ROMA; before, spearhead; below, two pellets. Russo, Essays Hersh, 52(same reverse die), Cf. Crawford 88/7. Cf. McCabe "The Roman Struck Bronze Coinage of Apulia in the Second Punic War", INC Taormina 2015, for attribution to Sardinia.
    Privately purchased from M. Ringsrud(MA-Shops Denarius), 1/11/2019

    1. Roberto Russo, "Unpublished Roman Republican Bronze Coins," in Essays Hersh, pp. 142-3
    2. Andrew McCabe “The Roman Bronze Coinage struck in Apulia and South East Italy in the Second Punic War,” in Proceedings XV International Numismatic Congress Taormina 2015. Paper available here and presentation(with lots of illustrations) here.
    3. CNG e-auction 408 lot 379 description, which can be found in the CNG Archives here

    As always, feel free to share anything relevant
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    Great website and republican collection !
    red_spork likes this.
  4. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    Thank you very much
  5. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    I was tired when I posted this last night and neglected to post any good comparison images, referring the reader to links instead. Here are a couple of images from Numismatica Ars Classica auction 61, lots 386 and 381, illustrating the differences between these two related Spearhead sextantes:

    The most easily spotted differences are the relative size of wings on Mercury's petasos, the style of the bust truncation, the size of the prow stem(note the relatively thin prow stem on the top example) and the overall style of the prow where the top example is largely made of raised lines whereas the bottom example has much more of the design raised from the coin rather than just a few lines if that makes any sense.

    The top example is a reverse die match to mine and is the same type(it's actually the same example I was previously outbid on) and the bottom example is an example of Russo's "88a". The prow style in particular of the top example is spot on for the line-y reverse style and thin prow stem commonly seen on the Sardinian Praetor bronzes such as this one(from my collection):
    dadams, Ryro, Alegandron and 3 others like this.
  6. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Great write up red_spork , what is the meaning of the vertical AR , reverse in the right field on the last sextans ?

    And it looks like the coin you lost to Clio is tooled imho, especially the petalos.

    I only own a Sicilian cornear sextans:

    sextans cornear.JPG
    dadams, Ryro, Alegandron and 2 others like this.
  7. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    The scratches on the Petasos are a bit strange but I've seen a more updated higher resolution image of the Russo example, a double die match, and while there is some wear and corrosion on the Petasos making it hard to determine if those were possible die artifacts or not, the coin overall is not tooled in my opinion.

    That said, I am quite happy with my example as the cost was far lower than what the CNG example would have cost had I won it at my max bid and I managed to win another excellent coin in that sale.

    As far as the AVR on my sextans in the later post that stands for Aurunculeius. The "Sardinian Praetor" bronzes are composed of 3 series of similar style and commonly found in Sardinia but with different letters on them: "C", "MA" and "AVR". These almost certainly stand for "Cornelius", "Manlius" and "Aurunculeius" whom are recorded as the Sardinian Praetors for 211, 210 and 209-208 B.C., respectively.
    dadams, rrdenarius and Andres2 like this.
  8. Alegandron

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

    Gosh @red_spork , really cool sextans. You know how much I enjoy the Republic...but it is fun to learn from all the research you do! I appreciate all your input!

    Well, you have seen these before, but I enjoy posting mine from approx this time:

    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
    Andres2, dadams, Ryro and 3 others like this.
  9. dadams

    dadams Supporter! Supporter

    I very much enjoyed reading and learning about your new Sextans - It's interesting how evolving numismatic scholarship gives us a better understanding of the past. My Sextans is of the more common Sardinian Praetor MA issue mentioned:

    Roman Republic Æ Sextans, Anonymous MA series, [probably P. Manlius Vulso]. Sardinia mint. Circa 210 BC.
    Obv: Head of Mercury right wearing winged Petasos, •• above
    Rev: Prow of galley right, ROMA above, ligatured MA monogram before, •• below
    Crawford 64/6a
  10. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    That's a very nice example of that type. Not sure if you're aware but these are all or almost all overstruck on Sardo-Punic bronzes. I can't tell what yours is overstruck on but it definitely has hints of overstriking and might yield the undertype given enough time and squinting.
    dadams likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page