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                       

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