Roman Republican denarius No. 32: graffiti or just scratches?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Sep 26, 2020.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I bought this coin (which arrived today), even though its surfaces, especially in the fields, are quite rough and have many small scratches. I usually view surfaces like this as a disqualifier, but in this case I bought the coin because it has one of my favorite reverse designs of any Republican coin -- the fact that it's anepigraphic helps, I think -- and because it retains a lot of detail despite the rough surfaces. Plus, I think the design on both sides is more finely rendered than on some other dies of this type I've seen. I had been looking for one I liked enough to buy for some time, and decided on this one. I thought its positive appeal far outweighed its flaws, and now that I have it I'm very pleased. Especially since one can barely see the scratches in hand, without a magnifying glass.

    The fact that the she-wolf's head (which should be turned back to her body) is indistinguishable doesn't bother me, because that's true of almost every one of the examples I've seen.

    Roman Republic, Anonymous* AR Denarius, 115-114 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right wearing winged Corinthian helmet; below, ROMA; behind, X [despite earlier change from 10 to 16 asses in value] / Rev. Roma, wearing Corinthian helmet, seated right on pile of shields, holding spear in left hand; helmet on ground between pile of shields and her right foot; before her, she-wolf right, suckling twins Romulus and Remus; on either side, birds flying. Crawford 287/1, RSC I 176 (ill.), Sear RCV I 164 (ill.). 20 mm., 3.07 g. Ex. Silbury Coins, UK, Jan. 3, 2019.

    V. 2 Anon. Republican den., 114-113 BCE, Crawford 287-1, Roma.jpg

    * See Sear RCV I at p. 104: "An issue lacking the moneyer's name is surprising and noteworthy at such a late date. The omission must have been his own decision and not the result of a change in government policy. Remarkably, this distinctive reverse type was revived almost 200 years later on an aureus of Titus (see no. 2417). [Italics in original.]

    Obviously, I'm not the only one who's ever liked this design!

    Speaking of magnification, some of the scratches in the lower right field on the obverse, when one zooms in on the photo above, look to me like they could possibly be letters rather than random scratches.

    There's even what looks like it might be a tiny "Ch" or something similar, directly below the far right of Roma's neck.

    So, am I imagining things? Is this a case of pareidolia, like seeing faces in clouds or pieces of toast? Or could some of the scratches be intentional?

    Please feel free to post your own examples of this coin, or any other anonymous Republican coin from this late in time, or anything else you think is appropriate.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member


    Sorry Donna, all I am seeing are a few scratches.
    Take what I say with a grain of salt though...I know next to nothing about everything :)
  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I suspect that you're probably right! But I like the coin anyway, even if it's not graffiti, or the face of Jupiter!
  5. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Don't get me wrong, it is a beautiful coin. It completely blows my one and only republican coin out of the water. :)
  6. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    that's a very nice republican Donna!..scratches ain't no big deal, it shows character...i like it..:)...
    >< cracked me up wf that'un...and i think i heard of that selling for several $ make me one...:D
    +VGO.DVCKS, DonnaML and furryfrog02 like this.
  7. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Lovely example!:artist: Thoroughly enjoy the intrigue that comes with ancient graffiti/scratches:nailbiting:
    One of the loveliest coin types OAT.
    Here's my recent upgrade that still pails to your coins additional detail and beauty... though I do love it's old cabinet toning :shy:
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
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  8. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    From me to totally can buy this and pump out as many as you want:
    I only ask that you give me a kick-back of 20% for ever "Cheesus" sold :)
  9. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ....O'lordy....(no pun intended:rolleyes:)
    +VGO.DVCKS, Ryro and furryfrog02 like this.
  10. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

    is it fragile? It seems like it had some horn silver removed but the coin seems fragile from the photo
  11. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Roma isn't holding a spear. That's a leash attached to the Lupa Romana's collar! :joyful:
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  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    It doesn't appear to be fragile. It feels reasonably solid and I don't think it's any thinner than the average Republican coin. However, I'm not planning to try to snap it in two or to drop it on the floor to test it!
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
  13. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

    Even we are not planning to do so but accidents happen. I remember once I was showing coin to a friend and it just slipped and fall down and broken to 2 pieces.
  14. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Yes, accidents can happen, but I've been collecting coins of various kinds since about 1965 (and a little bit even earlier), and I've never yet done anything like that! Even when I was a child under 10. So I'll manage, I think. You don't have to warn me to be careful.
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  15. Alegandron

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

    Nice coin, @DonnaML . One of my favorites.

    RR Anon AR Denarius 115-114BCE Rome mint 19.52mm 3.82g ROMA X Seated r on shields spear birds she-wolf Romulus Remus Cr 287-1 S 164
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  16. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    @DonnaML, I think the obverse of your coin is particularly nice and a defined wolf head does seem nearly impossible to find. A wonderful issue with iconic Roma, peacefully absorbed with the scene of birds and the she-wolf suckling twins, a founding myth of Rome. The mysterious graffiti ΚΛЄ on my obverse, does not detract:
    Anonymous, 115-114 BC, AR Denarius, Rome mint
    Obv: Helmeted head of Roma right weating a winged Corinthian helmet, with curls on her left shoulder; X (mark of value) behind, border of dots
    Rev: Roma, wearing Corinthian helmet, seated right on pile of shields and a helmet beside, holding spear in left hand, birds in flight to upper left and right; to lower right, she-wolf standing right, head left, suckling the twins Romulus and Remus.
    Size: 3.8g, 18.5 mm
    Ref: Crawford 287/1
    Note: more here
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  17. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I think all the examples posted in this thread are lovely. It's truly a wonderful type.
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  18. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    They really are...But grilled Cheesus is the best.

    I apologize. It has been a long day and I needed an outlet.

    All the coins that have been presented are great. I prefer @DonnaML 's obverse and @Sulla80 's reverse. Perhaps if we could marry those two together we would have the uber example of this coin. Sorry @Ryro, yours was nice too...

    With that, I am going to bed...
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  19. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks! @Alegandron's is also wonderful.
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  20. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Yes - I do not own one (yet).. what I like about the type is the lack of action (which is an odd thing to enjoy)... however most Republican coins are full on action scenes .. horses galloping, fighting, oaths being taken.. well there are so many scenes that I love. But this one is relaxing and calm and unique.
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  21. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Like I said before, nothing is worse than the Roman Republican denarius that is in my collection haha.

    Thank you for sharing yours. And thank you to everyone else!
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