Monday, June 5, 2017

Cr 18/4, A Cast Bronze Pig X 2 Coin, some help needed

First the question / help request -

An interesting, and a bit troubling, piece of information on the first coin below is the die axis. I looked at other examples of this coin series (Cr 18/1 - 6) on line. All but two of the examples I found have a die axis of 12. That is rotate the coin when holding it at 6 and 12 and the obverse and reverse are the same. My coin is one of the two with a die axis of 6. You can tell on most cast coins because they are not round, or are missing a piece. 
Should I worry about the coin being a fake?
Or, should I call it an almost unique example? (The other coin of this series with a 6 die axis was a pig / pig coin also.)


An interesting cast bronze quadrans arrived last week. It is from the second series of cast coins issued by Rome in about 270 BC. The weight basis for the series was the as equaled a Roman pound = 334 grams. The coins listed by Haeberline, 163 of them, averaged 84 grams => or an as of 336 grams. 
The vendor's description:
République romaine - Quadran (280-269 av. J.-C.)
A/ Cochon à droite trois globules en dessous. (ie - pig R, 3 dots below)
R/ Cochon à gauche trois globules en dessous. (ie - pig L, 3 dots below)
TTB (I agree it is VF)
Crawford - 18.4
Sear - 545 
TV - 11
Ae ; 69.36 gr ; 40 mm
I add the following references:
Sydenham AG - 46
Sydenham - 18, Note that the sale catalog of his collection listed 3 examples.
HNI - 282
RBW - 21
Haberline - pg 87 - 88; Table 36
Garrucci - Table XXXIV #4
SNG Cop 432 (this was listed on an old tag sent with the coin)

The Sextans & Uncia from the same series - 

Thanks to Red Spork for answering the following question - 
The old tag mentions C. BURGAN, 03-07-92, 530. This sounds like an auction from 1992. Can anyone scan the coin's description and pic from the '92 catalog?

With respect to C. Burgan, my library notes indicate that he was an auctioneer/dealer out of Paris whose published lists span the years 1978-2009 and include both fixed price lists and auctions and he likely had a retail operation as well. 3-7-92 likely refers to auction 30, held on July 3, 1992. 

"When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It" - Yogi Berra

I was a big Yankees fan growing up. I collected baseball cards (now mostly gone), watched baseball on Saturday's and rooted for the Yankees. I did not remember rooting for Yogi then, but a bit later I remember him being quoted for interesting sayings. "When you come to a Fork in the Road, Take It," applies to my Roman Republican coin collection. I have many silver coins, thus my blog name. But it became harder to find modestly prices coins when I go outside of the 211 BC to 46 BC period. I could go for cast bronze or Imepritorial coins. I decided on the older pieces. I say pieces because that means much of my collection is cast bronze. Some pieces are cast bronze coins, some are cast bars and some are of varied shapes. 

A good portion of my collection.

Some Aes Rude pieces.

A Shell / Caedus Sextans and a piece of one. The piece is relatively heavier => from an earlier series.

Clockwise from top left: an unmarked bar, a piece of a plate and two ramo secco bar pieces.

Several pieces of cast bronze and lead. 

I have enjoyed the fork I took. I still look for silver coins, but they are on the top of my bid list less often.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Six Cast Coins from Luceria, TV-274 - 279

The sixth coin in the series of cast coins from Luceria arrived today, the four dot thunderbolt / club.

Per Vecchi, between 280 & 220 BC, Luceria issued seven denominations with marks of value and the letter L. It is interesting to note that the letter L is an older form that was not used on Roman Republican coins after about 150 BC. The older L has less than 90 degree angle between the base line and vertical line. The weight of the coins dropped by more than a factor of 2 with time. My coins are from the second, smaller series. Five of the coins are shown in a group. The missing one is shown with its own photo (I will need to recheck my deposit box for the missing coin). There are three different versions of the As and one of the Semis. I do not have these coins. Obverse & reverse types are as follows:
Denomination / Mark of value / Obverse / Reverse
As, I - Hercules, Apollo or Janus / Horse head, horse or prow
Semis, S - Saturn / Prow
Quincunx, five dots - 4 spoke wheel / 4 spoke wheel
Quatrunx, four dots - Thunderbolt / Club
Teruncius, three dots - 6 point star / dolphin
Biunex, two dots, Shell / knucklebone
Uncia, one dot, Toad / grain ear
Semuncia, no dots, Crescent / garlanded thyrus










Monday, May 22, 2017

three new cast bronze pieces

Three new cast bronze pieces arrived today. Two were from a Spanish company and the other from a London company. Two were advertised as Roman and one (the triangular bar) as Iberian.
It was described as:
Lingote Triangular. Siglos I a.C.-I d.C. PREMONEDAS EN HISPANIA. 26,40 grs. AE. Ø 33x12 mm. AB.P-35. MBC.
My poor Spanish converts this to - 
Triangular Ingot from 1st century BC to 1st century AD. I have others that claim to quite a bit older, and look the same. It could be premoney that was traded by weight, bronze stored for use or a votive item. It weighs 1/12th of Roman pound, or the weight of a Uncia.

The middle item is a Roman commercial weight made of cast bronze. It was dated from 1st century BC to 1st century AD. At 56.9 grams it is about 1/6th of a Roman pound or the weight of a Sextans. It is the first piece I have that was described as a Roman Scale Weight. I have seen many late Roman / Byzantine weights. I have seen few that were advertised as BC. If it was intended to weigh a Sextans it's date would have to be earlier... 280 BC or older.

The bottom item is a hollow bronze piece that I have seen described as a seed. This one was advertised as an oval piece, 8.4 grams & 25 X 16 mm. It was from Central Italy and dated more like other cast bronze I have at VI to IV th centuries BC.

The 3 new items fit well into my collection of other cast bronze and lead. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

My cast bronze collection

I took pictures of most of my cast bronze collection today. I am missing a few items, but this is most of it. First are irregular pieces of Aes Rude. These look like they were formed by dropping hot metal in a water bath.

A few other Aes Rude from previous pictures.

The top left tray is mostly cast bronze shells or coins with shells. 
The top right tray is astralagas made from bone, lead, bronze or silver. This tray also has some Roman weights.
The lower group is on a cloth. The top row is Aes Grave coins from left to right. The far right of the top row is: a broken bronze ax and knife; an ax head and some cast bronze shapes. The lower portion of the display is a progression of bronze bar pieces: un marked on left, Ramo Secco in middle and pieces with decorations on right.

RS bar pieces. 

Unmarked bar pieces. The top left is a full cross section. The top right is an irregular shape from a flat plate.

The top two have punch marks, X. One has lines and the others have irregular doodle markings.

The bronze shapes are interesting. I am not sure they are proto-money. They are cast bronze that could have been proto-money, votive offerings (Ref 1), art / decorations or implements. I think the lower right piece is a connecting pin.

A cotter pin from

Bone astragalus are the left column and top two of the second column. The bottom of the second column is a lead astragalus. The third column has a steel yard weight, small bronze astragalus and l larger silver (or silvered) astragalus. The left column has three bronze plumb bob weights. 

Mostly shell pieces here. The top right is a bronze shell and the one below it is lead.

1. Heavy metal in hallowed context, Andreas Murgan in BAR Series 2592

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Old Scale Weights

I had a great time at the 2017 NYINC. I am slow posting items from the show, but this is by far my favorite. Goldberg auctions had a set of Jewish scale weights, lot #1. I was able to look at them close up and all I can say is wow.
From the auction catalog.

My pictures of the same lot.

Includes the following:
1. Libra: 116.53g, no inscription.
2. 3/10 Libra: 83.4g, with inscription.
3. 8 Shekel: 91.35g. with inscription.
4. 4 Shekel: 43.3 9.4g. with inscription.
5. 2 Shekel: 22.7g, with inscription.
6. 1 Shekel: 11.0g. with inscription.
7 & 8. 1 Nezef (5/6 Shekel): 9.4g 2 pieces, each with inscription.
9. 1 Pim (2/3 Shekel): 8.4g with inscription.
10 & 11. 1 Beka (½ Shekel): 5.4g. with inscription and one without.
12. 8 Gerah: 4.3g. with inscription.
13. 7 Gerah: 4.1g. with inscription.
14. 6 Gerah: 3.0g. with inscription.
15. 5 Gerah. 2.9g. with inscription. 16. 3 Gerah: 2.0g. with inscription.

You can find more here:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

An interesting day watching an auction half a world away.

I had a fun morning watching ASTA DECENNALIA, Numismatica Tintinna's electronic auction #61 (Asta Elettronica 61). I picked up a few coins, passed on a few and made a couple of observations. 
Purchase #1 is a coin I have, twice, but this one is a fraction of the coin.
It is about 25% of a cast bronze Triens, TV-3 (not TV-3a). I guess that makes it a Uncia! The seller's description in Italian and my translation to English:
Repubblica Romana.
Frazione di Triente (fraction of a triens, I will call it an Uncia)
fulmine (thunderbolt) \ delfino (dolphin).
TV 3a  
Peso 30,71 gr.
TV lists two weight classes of this coin. The first 105 to 140 grams and the second is 80 to 107 grams. I think the piece looks like a quarter of the coin. That would put it mid-way in the heavier group. I will see how the coin looks on the two I have of this series.

Anonymous Æ Aes Grave Triens (or 1/3 of am As); the coin was cast in Rome (according to Crawford, Thurlow & Vecchi and Rutter) or Campania (according to Sydenham), the period of minting ranges from circa 289 BC for heavier coins to about 245 BC for lighter coins. The obverse has a thunderbolt and four pellets. The reverse has a Dolphin swimming right and below are four pellets. T&V comment that the thunderbolt is an attribute of Jupiter, the chief god of the Romans and the dolphin is an attribute of Neptune. The coin weighs 94.91 grams and has a diameter of 49 mm. A small piece of the coin is missing. The reverse is at 10:00 relative to the obverse. The coin was graded VF with a light brownish ‘Tiber’ patina and came from a private German collection. Attributions for the coin:
·         Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage - 14/3 – Crawford gives the 14 series As a weight standard of 322 grams for this series. Three times 95 = 285, which is a bit below the weight standard, but well above the 267 gram average for the 85 examples of Cr 35/1 I found.  
·         Thurlow & Vecchi, Italian Cast Coinage – 3a - The weight of the coin places it in the later period by T&V and thus the “a”.
·         The coin is not in Grueber, Coins of the Roman Republic in the British Museum. It is listed in BMC Italy and is on the British Museum web site.
·         Sydenham, Aes Grave – 38; Coinage of the Roman Republic – 10
·         Sear – 538
·         Rutter, HN Italy 270
·         ICC 27
·         Haeberlin pp. 95-97, 1-160 pl. 39, 6-14
Similar to above but 96 grams vs 95 grams. This one has more of the original casting and much lower features.

I picked up a couple of struck Asses. Both are relatively light weight, at 24 & 29 grams, or less than the part of the cast piece above.

This anonymous struck bronze is 29 grams and 31 mm. I assume it is anonymous instead of having the symbols worn off. The seller called it a Cr-56/2 and I will say the same until I have it in hand. I probably would not buy this one by itself, but I had one coming already, so why not. It will be a good show and tell coin.

The dealer called this one SAX (Cr 180), but I think I see C.SAX (Cr 173). I can tell better with the coin in hand, but it may be so worn that 100% ID is not possible. This was another low priced coin that I bought because I already had one in the auction to share postage.
Roman Republican struck As
C·SAX, Rome 169 to 158 BC
Obv - Janus head, above, I
Rev. Prow r.; above, C·SAX ligate and before, I. Below ROMA. 
Æ 33mm., 24g. Weight standard based on as of 31.5 grams.
Cr 173/1
BMCRR Rome 642
Babelon Clovia 6. 
Sydenham 360

This is the coin I wanted most in the auction, and I won it! It is a Sextans struck over a Syracuse Poseidon / Trident bronze coin. I have examples of the over and under types, but a pic on file of the over-type only. The under-type pic below is from ACR. This coin's weight is heavier than most of the Sextans I found on line. There are several examples of over-struck coins in this series, including one I have that is shown at the bottom. It has a different combination of sides. 
The obverse of the top coin has two dots, bot no dots on the reverse. This coin looks like the celator took extra effort to show the coin was a two dotter, see expanded pic.
Lot 1032
Repubblica Romana - Serie 'spiga di grano e KA'. ca 207-206 a.C. Sestante. Ribattuto. AE.
D/ Poseidone - Mercurio e ulteriore ribattitura da identificare.
R/ Tridente - Prua a destra sopra spiga di grano, davanti KA. Sotto ROMA.
Syd. 310d.
Cr. 69/6a. 6b …
Crawford assigns letters by what is before the prow:
·         KA = a
·         IC = b
·         C = c
Peso gr 8,63. 
Diametro mm. 22,5. BB-BB+.
Interessanti ribattiture. Buon esemplare per la tipologia. Patina verde.

The under-type is shown above thanks to a pic from Art Coins Roma.
Poseidone / Tridente
Sicily, Hieron II (275-215), Bronze, Syracuse, c. 275-215 BC; AE (g 6,52; mm 20; h 11); Diademed head of Poseidon l., dotted border, Rv. IEP-ΩNOΣ, ornamented trident; at sides dolphins, below, AΠ. Linear border. CNS II 194 R1 2; SNG Copenhagen 844; SNG ANS 964. 

Roman Republican struck Sextans
Corn-ear and KA series Sextans circa Sicily circa 207-206
Obv - Head of Mercury right; above, two pellets.
Rev - Prow right; above, corn- ear and before, KA ligate. Below, ROMA.
Crawford 69/6a.
Sydenham 310d.
Black patina, flan crack otherwise very fine; Æ 20mm., 4.38g; Ex I. Vecchi sale 3, 1996, #180

This one is called a quadrans over-strike. I am not sure who is on the obverse.