Thursday, December 15, 2016

Re-purposed Roman Republican bronze coins

Two interesting RR bronze coins arrived today. They show two ways the Romans arrived at similar denominations, maybe. One is a cut As and the other a Semis.

The right coin -
Caps of the Dioscuri Æ  Cut As
Photo from Roma Numismatics Ltd. 

Caps of the Dioscuri Æ As. Rome, 169-158 BC.
Obv - Laureate head of Janus; above l.
Rev - Prow right; above caps of the Dioscuri; before l; [ROMA] below.
Crawford 181/1.
10.19g, 31mm.
Good Fine.

The left coin above is shown below with the best example I could find on line.
Q. Caecilius Metellus Æ Semis 
Photo from Roma Numismatics Ltd
Photo from ACR

Q. Caecilius Metellus Æ Semis. Rome, AD 130.
Obv - Laureate head of Saturn right; S behind
Rev - Prow of galley right; [Q•METE] above, S before, ROMA in exergue.
Crawford 256/2a.
4.55 g, 2h. I measure 22.3 to 23.5 mm to outside edges.
Good Fine.
I think the seller was conservative when they graded this coin gF. Most of the details that were on the coin when struck are still there. The flan was thin and low weight. I found 21 examples on line and in books and their average weight was 7.7 grams. There was not enough to fill some of the higher points of the die. It looks like a re-purposed coin that was hammered into a thinner round shape and then struck. Another possibility is the Semis was struck on Triens or Quadrans flan.
The following is information I normally store on a spreadsheet on some of my RR coins. It compares my coin to others.

Weight, grams 4.54    
Weight - max   10.4    
Weight - min    4.54, the next lightest coin was 6.1 gr
Weight - avg    7.7      
Weight - st dev 1.3      
Number           21       
Diameter - max            23.5    
Diameter - min 22.3    
Diameter - max            24.0    
Diameter - min 19.0    
Diameter - avg 21.9    
Dia  st dev       1.3      
Cr                    256 / 2a          
BMCRR           Rome 1056  - 1059
Sear:                877     
Bab                  Caecilia 22      
CRR                 510     
NMWar            362 – 363
Grade, me        VF, not much wear                             
Grade, seller    gF, probably right, not much to look at           
Centering         Well centered  
Strike   good strike, but thin flan so high points missing         
Flan flaws        thin, low weight flan   
Style    average, meaning not too exciting
Patination         brown                                     
Damage           none, but uneven tone giving less desirable eye appeal                       

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Ramo Secco bar

I have been interested in cast bronze from Rome and central Italy for a while. I have several cast coins, bars and odd shaped items. This week I picked up a second RS bar. The following pics are from the seller.  My bar is in the last two pictures. It will be interesting to compare this bar to one I bought earlier this year (pics at bottom).
 2238 grams

 1084 grams

 893 grams

 my bar
Compare the British Museum description to the ones I bought.

Dec 2016 purchase - see pictures directly above
AE Ramo Secco. Central Italy, Aemilia (?), late 6th to 4th century BC. Vecchi ICC, 3.2. TV AS 1. Haeberlin pl. 7, 6. AE. g. 893.00 RR. C. mm. 88 x 67 x 32. Very rare. Heavy dark-green patina with minor earthen-brown highlights. The Ramo Secco cast ingots are found predominantly in Emilia, hence the attribution to his region. Always found in fragments, they generally weigh from 500 grams to 2000 grams.

British Museum
'Ramo secco' bar, c. 6th-4th century BC. The name derives from the design of a 'dry branch'. Such bars are found principally in northern central Italy. An early date is suggested by the discovery of one piece in a stratum of an excavation near Gela in Sicily which has been dated by the pottery finds to the 6th century BC.

May 2016 - see pictures below
Roman Republican Ramo Secco Currency Bar (Aes Signatum)
CENTRAL ITALY, Emilia(?): 6th to 4th century BC
Fragment of a bronze ingot, on both sides branch with no leaves.
AE. 826 grams; Length = 62 mm, Width = 77 mm, Height = 36 mm
Thurlow-Vecchi AS1.
Vecchi – 3.1
HNI – pg 45 – highly ferruginous bars made apparently from 6th century in southern Etruria, Emilia and occasionally Sicily.
Grueber – lists 2 bars, but not RS
Cr – lists bars, but not RS
Syd AG – not in Sydenham
Haberline – pg 10 – 19; plates 4 – 6
Garrucci – Table VII, IX & X

Bar Number
Weight, grams
Length, mm
Width, mm
Thick, mm