The Romanticism of Ancient Coins

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, May 23, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Throughout the better part of my life I have always been attracted to ideas of what constitutes the ideas of beauty, that which appeals to the heart, as well as the mind.

    What is the attraction of ancient coins? Is it their historical significance, as objects not only of commerce, but also statements of aspiration and values? Is it the subjects depicted on everyday coins used for daily transactions, as well as those designed to circulate throughout the ancient world?

    Clearly, as collectors, numerous attractions exist, and they are the driving factors why we do what we do. Personally I enjoy the beauty and individuality of ancient coins. Each coin is its own individual, with its own story.

    Here's a large early Roman Republic cast bronze semis, an Aes Grave, that has been in the collection for decades. This coin was purchased from Harlan Berk back in the 1990s. This special coin has been an important part of the Roman section of the collection.

    Aes Grave, Cast bronze semis
    Rome, 241-235 BC.
    Helmeted head of Minerva or Roma left, S horizontally below/ Female
    head left, sickle behind, S horizontally below.
    Thurlow/Vecchi 37. Crawford 25/5. Haeberlin pl. 31.
    141.6 grams

    D-Camera Roman Republic, 241-235 BC   Anonymous. Aes Grave, HJB 5-23-20.jpg
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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    That is beautiful @robinjojo
    You said the weight is 141.6 grams?? What is the thickness/diameter? It sounds like a monster!
  4. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry. I forgot to include that information.

    This coin is approximately 62 mm at the widest point, about 57 mm average diameter, and approximately 4 mm thick.
    Ryro, Alegandron and furryfrog02 like this.
  5. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Dang. That's huge. I can't imagine having to carry around a coin purse full of them to go shopping lol.
  6. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Small change....
  7. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Actually the thickness is closer to 5 mm.
    furryfrog02 likes this.
  8. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Then you end up with the super tiny coins that I would lose. Basically, I'd be screwed in ancient times haha.
  9. Alegandron

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

    Beautiful Semis, @robinjojo ! Thanks for putting that out there.

    The Aes Grave Semis is the next on my target list. I have the lower denominations.

    I will post a Dog Quadrans:

    RR Aes Grave AE Quadrans (1/4th of an As), 269-242 BCE Dog 3 pellets Six spoked wheel 59.8g Craw 24-6a Th-Vecchi 34 ex Sellwood

    @furryfrog02 ... you need to get some of these. Aes Grave are just cool cast coinage. Early republic, it was only 100 Asses (200 coins of Robinjojo's above) to buy an Ox. Interesting to carry around that amount (100 Libra Pounds) in a cart. The bummer is: if you were buying an Ox (castrated mature bull), then how were you gonna get the cart pulled to pay for it???
    zumbly, octavius, cmezner and 7 others like this.
  10. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    That is a great looking coin as well!
    I think these are a bit out of my price range though so I will admire them from afar :)

    I just did some quick math, and 200 of @robinjojo's coin would weigh 28,320oz or 62.43lbs. Interestingly, that is just about the current weight of FFIVN :p
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  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coin.

    It is curious why the early Republican Romans cast such large bronze coins.
    Alegandron likes this.
  12. Alegandron

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

    I am absolutely NO expert. I understand that Central Italia is precious mineral poor. They had plenty of bronze, and their coinage / currency system was based on that. The Roman Libral pound was broken into 12 Unciae (I understand other Italians used 10 Unciae.)

    The Aes Grave were cast coins, not hammered.

    Aes Grave Sextans

    RR AE Aes Grave Sextans 270 BCE 37mm 55.28g Dioscuri R and L
  13. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I still am having a hard time fathoming the size of these things.
  14. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    These coins were certainly the big thunkers of their time.

    I remember, back in 1969, when I was with my parents at the Flea Market in Rome, I saw lots of these cast coins spread on the ground - all fakes. There were also fake (okay, reproduction) vases of pretty good quality. Even at 16 I could see the fake patina on the coins. My dad bought a couple, asking the seller, in fake Italian "Originale?".

    A 16-year-old is pretty sensitive about things in general, and this scene specifically was embarrassing, so I tried to social distance myself from that situation as best I could. At least he didn't blow a lot of lira on them and the two vases. I don't know what happened to coins. My brother took the vases after mom died.
    DonnaML, Alegandron and furryfrog02 like this.
  15. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    The only fake thing I bought in Italy was a "Rolox" in Naples.
    The guy said "Hey Jack, wanna buy a Rolex? 15 Euro!"
    Knowing they were obviously fake, I decided eh why not? At least it will be a watch.
    I bought it and went on my way. A day or two later, the crown popped off on the watch face and kept getting pushed around by the second hand. The watch itself worked for about 6 months so I figured I got my 15 Euro worth haha.
  16. Ryro

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

    She's a beauty:woot:
    There's something hard to explain about how cool it is to hold one of these hunks of metal:


    ROMAN REPUBLIC. Anonymous. AE Aes Grave Triens (92.37 gms), Rome Mint, ca. 225-217 B.C. VERY FINE.
    Cr-35/3a; TV-53. Obverse: Helmeted head of Minerva left; four pellets (mark of value) below; all set upon raised disk; Reverse: Prow right; four pellets (mark of value) below; all set upon raised disk. A pleasing specimen despite its crudeness, with charming green surfaces. A test cut across Minerva's face
    Ex Stacks & Bowers
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  17. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ....Grade A Jumbo..:D
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  18. Alegandron

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

    They be awesome to hold:


    Here is the casting gate where the runner was broken off:
    Aes Grave Sextans Craw 18-5 thickness on edge

    RR Aes Grave Anon 280-276 BCE Triens 46mm 90.3g 9.3mm thick Tbolt-Dolphin Rome Crawford 14-3 T Vecchi 3

    This is when the Italians / Romans were actually using cast Bronze for coinage. I understand that they would bring the Bronze to a molten state, then pour it into vats of water. That would had been fun to watch!

    In my view, the spheroid finish on this Aes Rude looks like the result of that process.
    Italia Aes Rude - bronze ca 5th-4th Century BCE 29.7mm 32.4g roughly an uncia
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  19. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing!
  20. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ...and ya know, we are as coin/history buffs, hopeless romantics...:phantom::singing::joyful::kiss:
  21. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter
    The largest I have seen in person is the dupondius shown above but there is a three as and, I believe a ten as which is in the British Museum. I always wanted a liberal as aes grave with the Janus type but I was too cheap to pay $1000 when you could get a nice one for that. Those days are past.
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