RR denarius error

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by tartanhill, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. tartanhill

    tartanhill Active Member

    In 211 BC during the 2nd Punic war, Rome went on a silver monetary standard based on the denarius. It was pegged at 10 bronze asses to the denarius. This value was represented on the obverse of the coin with an X, the Roman numeral for 10.


    Around 141 BC the denarius was devalued to 16 asses to the denarius. This value was represented on the coin with XVI, the Roman numeral for 16. It could be read counterclockwise,


    or it could be read clockwise.


    This Roman numeral valuation didn't last too long, and about 136 BC it was replaced with a monogram representing the numeral 16.


    Then around 110 BC the designation of the value of a denarius in asses was no longer used on the coin. I am not sure why this came about, but it may have been because of the continual debasement of the as.

    The next coin is a fairly rare error on the part of the celator when he made the dies for the denarius.


    You will notice that the V is inverted and the value can not be read correctly either clockwise or counterclockwise.

    One of these coins just sold for $500 and another has a high bid at this time of $600. This quite a rarity that I would like to own, but it is out of my reach right now.
    eparch, dlhill132, Jay GT4 and 13 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Although I've known about the valuation representation on these coins, I didn't know about this error on some examples. Quite interesting. Thanks
  4. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Interesting indeed.
    Was the order of the letters mandatory, or could it be writen sort of "at random" ?
    We can see both XII or IIX (though rarely for the latter) on MA's Legionnary denarii

    Jay GT4 likes this.
  5. tartanhill

    tartanhill Active Member

    Well, if the Roman numeral meant to convey the value in asses, it would have to be written in a consistant order. Reading it clockwise or counterclockwise was probably at the celator's discretion. Therefore I really consider this an error on the celator's part. We've seen a lot of Greek coins that will have writing in retrograde or just a letter or two retrograde. You have to consider that the die was cut in the reverse of what would be struck into the finished coin. Not everyone could think backwards.
  6. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

  7. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    I agree this is probably a die engraver’s error. Sorry if this is a bit of a detour, but here goes…

    The Aufidius XVI coins (even without the error) are among the rarest of the five series listed by Crawford in RRC that used the XVI mark of value listed by Crawford in RRC. They usually bring very high prices at auction, and I’ve yet to own one. Coins of C. Titini and L.Iulia are much more obtainable and often in high grade.

    This has always been interesting series to me because of its explicit turning point in the re-tariffing of the denarius. Four moneyers produced coins with the XVI unit, L. ATILIA NOM, AUFIDIUS RUS, C. TITINI, and L.IULIA. The coins of C. VAL FLAC are found with both the X and the XVI unit.

    A few years ago, an example of RRC 232, CN GELI was discovered with the XVI unit instead of X. Since then, two other examples have been found, from at least two different obverse dies. This makes 6 issues using this re-tariffed XVI denomination unit.
    Geli_NC.jpg C232_Fabre17_238_379g_9h_1048sg.jpg
  8. tartanhill

    tartanhill Active Member

    Thank you, Fugio1, for the additional information. I have owned coins of the first 5 moneyers but never heard of the 6th you mention. I found the C. VAL Flac a hard one to find. I would liked to have added the AUFIDIUS RUS error to my collection, but the price got higher than I wanted to pay.
  9. Alegandron

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

    Great coins @tartanhill ... those are kinda my thing. However, I have NO problem with the IVX... :) I am dyslexic. No prob for me.

    I love the IIS for 2-and-a-semis for the Republican AR Sestertius and the REVERSE CII for the Etrurian version. :) Read the same for me...
    RR AR Sestertius After 211 BCE 12mm 1.0g Rome mint Roma r IIS - Dioscuri riding stars in ex ROMA Sear 46 Craw 44-7 RSC 4

    Etruria, Populonia
    2-½ Asses 3rd century BCE, AR 0.85g
    Obv: Radiate female head r.; behind, CII.
    Rev: Blank.
    Ref: EC 104 (misdescribed, Female head with an Attic helmet). Historia Numorum Italy 179.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    dlhill132 and Johndakerftw like this.
  10. cmezner

    cmezner Well-Known Member

    Now I am confused. Did they still use the value X on later coins?

    On this coin, for example, from 108 or 109 BC there is an X

    Does the X also represent the value 10, even though the denarius was devaluated in 141 BC?
  11. tartanhill

    tartanhill Active Member

    Your question is a valid one for which I have no answer. You can also note that there were denari throughout the 120s BC that also have Xs on them. This has always troubled me. Perhaps someone here at CT can enlighten both of us with an explanation as to why the Roman numeral X was used at those later dates. I do not believe it was a value designation, but what was it?
  12. cmezner

    cmezner Well-Known Member

    Thanks tartanhill; hopefully someone can step in and clarify this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page