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.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Another Weight on a Roman Republican Coin, C.PISO.L.F.FRVGI Cr 408/1, 67 BC


Cr 408/1, 67 BC

I bought this coin on line: Asta Numismatica 37E by Artemide Aste. I was interested in some cast bronze pieces, and won one of them that I will post later. I like Roman Republican coins and was only partially watching the auction when this coin appeared on the screen. I am a sucker for cast bronze pieces. I especially like plumb bobs, see my post on March 1, 2015. The symbol looked a lot like a Roman level, see pic below thanks to Plumb Bob Wolf ( I did not have much time to bid on the coin, so I passed on discretion  and made a couple of bids. The other guy (I suppose it could have been a gal) stopped bidding and I won!!! I was not sure of the symbol, but it is a bit like the level. Charles Hersh wrote an excellent article on this coin series: Coinage of C. Calburnius Piso L. F. Frugi, in Numismatic Chronicles 1976. In that article he identifies the symbol as a pendulum. 

I modified the seller's description and the one by Hersh - 

Roman Republican Denarius, 67 BC, C. Calpurnius L.f. Frugi. AR. 
Obv. Head of Apollo right, hair bound with fillet (see info below on fillet); behind, anchor (per vendor) or pendelum (Hersh) or level (Gene). 
Rev. Horseman galloping right, holding palm branch; below, C PISO L F FRV/ uncertain symbol silphium seed.
Cr. 408/1B.
BMCRR – Rome 3654 to 3815
RSC – Calpurnia 24 - 29
Syd. 851/H.
Cf. Banti 268/4. 
C A Hersh, Coinage of C. Calburnius Piso L. F. Frugi, Numismatic Chronicles 1976 - #214; O-228, Apollo head wearing a taenia headband, right, behind die mark - pendelum; R-2044, rider wearing no hat, carries palm branch, below, legend – C.PISO.L.F.FRV, in ex – control mark – silphium seed.

My example of a bronze weight that could have been used on a Roman level.

Silphium seed on Cyrene coin thanks to Wikilinks.

I do not know how many folks know what a fillet is, but I had to google the term and found two definitions. The one the fits the coin is:

Best Selling Baby Taenia Bowknot Head Wear, from

The one that is probably not right, but looks right is:
The vet web site thinks a Taenia is a tape worm.