Richard Schaefer's Roman Republican Die Project - Now Online!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by red_spork, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    Today the ANS has put Richard Schaefer's massive Roman Republican Die Project(RRDP) scans online. You can read more about it on Liv Yarrow's blog here, where you can also find links to view the scans. The creation of RRDP, a die study for the entirety of Roman Republic coinage, is a Herculean effort that Schaefer has spent decades on, and its digitization likewise something that many people at the ANS have put a great deal of time and money towards for the past few years. This archive will, without a doubt, be of the utmost importance for future studies of Roman Republic coins, and even before it was digitized I know that many papers over the past couple of decades in Roman Republic numismatics benefited from it, as many researchers would write Richard requesting scans as the first step of any new research.

    I highly recommend taking a look, even if you're not into Roman Republic coins, because there's a lot you can learn about how one might undertake a die study. RRDP is a great example, for instance, of how even an ugly, worn coin is just as important as a beautiful FDC example when it comes to a die study. The way that the coins are divided up for die classification(e.g. based on slight differences in position of one element or slight stylistic differences) is a great model for how to break down an issue that might have hundreds of dies into smaller, more manageable chunks that can be studied.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
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  3. Alegandron

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

  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    Yes, thank you. I can see myself spending many hours researching my Republican coins at this site!
    Roman Collector likes this.
  5. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    @red_spork Thanks for calling our attention to this. I've used fragments of Richard's work for my own studies and only heard that the corpus was being published when I met Liv at the NYINC this January.
    DonnaML likes this.
  6. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC Active Member

    So what have we actually learnt from all this?

    Ross G.
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  7. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths

    Here is my today's SIMPLE die study!

    I investigated a coin in Stack's August 2020 auction since I have an example. The coin I know is a contemporary imitation and is in Thompson NSSCA. Yes same obverse T1419 but a new reverse. Not the same as the CNG example of new reverse but a completely new one.
    Interestingly this contemporary imitation is paired with 3 different Athens New Style issue types, Ares (3 reverses),Stag (1 example) and Headdress of Isis(1 example)! Ares & Stag are reasonably possible die transfers but Headdress of Isis not. Also there are carelessness in some of the details plus the general appearance of the die art that smack of Imitation.
    NGC who have seemed to have encapsulated the example seems to be unaware that it's an imitation!
    The coins; vertical from Thompson, top horizontal, Nisbet, both now T1419ba, below horizontal CNG now T1419bb, large horizontal, Stacks now T1419bc.

    Same obverse 3 different reverse issue types in Thompson NSSCA.
  8. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    One of the (many) great things about this newly available resource is that Richard encoded the provenance on each of the images. He visited libraries to capture the examples and images from printed catalogs before and after 2000 before which the current online resources CoinArchives, ACSearch, and Coryssa drop off. This morning I found two early provenances for coins in my collection that I was previously unaware of.
    DonnaML, Alegandron and akeady like this.
  9. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC Active Member

    If I go to CRRO and access the denarius 44/5 and follow the trail I am referred to Schaefer Binder 3 Section 14, 16 and so on.

    Clicking on Section 14 takes me to Binder 3 Page 14 with images of Cr 44/5 all right, but the page is labelled C# 44/6.

    Am I missing something here?
  10. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    Where does one find the key to the code on a given image of a coin?
  11. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC Active Member

    So where do I find this encoded provenance?

    All I see on the coin images is some cryptic scribbling.

    Is there something I am missing here?

    (Sorry Donna - we posted together, but at least I am not alone here).
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
    DonnaML likes this.
  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    Exactly! Sometimes the name of a former seller (like "Pegasi") is written out, but even that doesn't tell you much.
  13. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC Active Member

    According to Carbone and Yarrow in the ANS Journal 2019 Issue.3:

    “Schaefer’s meticulous notations on each clipping record the image source, as well as any and all information in the source such as weight, axis, diameter, and his assigned die identifier (a number or a letter) (figs. 8–9).”

    However just where we can find this information remains unclear (to me at any rate).

    But anyway, the aim of the Die Project was not primarily to record provenances but to detail as many known republican coins as possible with the aim of estimating die numbers for the different types, and hence estimating coinage volumes for the various issues.

    The Schaefer binders now available are only the raw material for this enterprise, and so far it seems only a few coin types have been analysed in detail, so we must await further studies.

    As it happens I’ve done a few studies of my own on certain republican denarii where all the dies are individually numbered, as with the well-known Crepusius types, with the aim of testing various formulae for estimating die numbers. If you’re interested you can find the results here:

    or here:

    Ross G.
    NewStyleKing, DonnaML and Broucheion like this.
  14. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    I met Richard Schaefer and was able to coax him to a meeting of the Bronx Coin Club -- although he did not return after the one meeting, saying we didn't discuss Republican coins enough.

    He knew I had a large run of printed Elsen catalogs and asked me if he could cut them up for this project. I declined. At that time I was still using them. I no longer use my printed catalogs and wish I had surrendered them to his knife.
    DonnaML likes this.
  15. Liv Mariah Yarrow

    Liv Mariah Yarrow New Member

    Hello all! I'm really so excited to see your enthusiasm and important feedback. We're doing our best to get more and better documentation up on the ANS site asap. I've made a very rough draft of a finding aid.

    My blog is always just my sand box never the final word. It's really important that the ANS see the community's interest in RRDP and our growing it. So whenever possible share links to ANS page on the project. They'll always be more polished than my blog and in our digital age clicks matter!

    I may not see your replies to this post. I just registered, but I am happy to have detailed feedback via comments on my blog, my professional email yarrow [at] brooklyn [dot] cuny [dot] edu, or via twitter. The more we know about how you're using RRDP and what is causing frustration, the more we can work to improve it.

    [If you're not an ANS member and can join or have few dollars to donate above your normal membership, be sure to tell them its open access projects like RRDP that make you want to support them! They've been great partner to Schaefer and I and this is a hard time for all non-profits.]
    Aleph, zumbly, Carausius and 4 others like this.
  16. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    Admittedly I don't believe there is a guide or cross reference, and some coins have no provenance. I usually can decipher the code to a known auction house and auction number, but then I need to research the date of that auction. Sometimes I don't recognize the acronym or the reference and this requires further research.
    DonnaML likes this.
  17. Barry Murphy

    Barry Murphy Well-Known Member

    There is a lot of information in these binders, it just takes a lot of work to find it. I remember sitting in his house in 1997 looking through these binders wondering what would ever become of them. I was there, along with John Lavender, picking up his coins (The Goodman Collection) that he had consigned to us at CNG. I was hoping at the time to get the binders for the CNG library, but Dick wasn't done adding information to the binders and he wanted to keep them. I'm glad to see the information is being preserved as he spent countless hours cutting pasting all these photos.

    If you read this Dick, thanks for sharing them with everyone and preserving them for posterity.

    Barry Murphy
    zumbly, Alegandron, Carausius and 3 others like this.
  18. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    I know you may not see this, but in case you do: thank you! The finding aid with the list of abbreviations for different dealers/auction houses will be very helpful.
  19. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    Yes really good that the file didn't stop on 1997. I've visited Dick Schaefer quite a few times over the last 15 years and every time the binders grow. I understand he will continue to add coins but indicating in some manner which pages have been updated. There may need to be a version 2 in a decade.

    A point I made on twitter, is that this resource is primarily intended to enable die studies and gives details of differences between dies. It is arranged as a 1 sided die study, ie each issue is arranged by either obverse or reverse die and then with links between relevant reverse or obverses noted where practical. Thus it is a tool rather than an end result to facilitate full die studies by later students
    Carausius, DonnaML and Barry Murphy like this.
  20. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    What am I doing wrong? I tried to find some Papius (RRC 384/1) which is a favourite of mine and am turning up a blank....
  21. Barry Murphy

    Barry Murphy Well-Known Member

    If I recall there were some issues he didn’t keep track of, I think because there were just too many or studies were already done.

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