Wednesday, June 28, 2017

An exceptional example of a common RR coin, L.SAVF, Lucius Saufeius, 152 BC

Lucius Saufeius, 152 BC

I fell in love with this coin when I saw it several weeks ago. I was not looking to upgrade a coin I bought in 2011. I had to wait extra time while the MOU between the US and Italy went into effect, but eventually received the coin. In 2011, I did not have a coin dated around 150 BC, so this one was a nice addition to my collection. The new one looks almost perfect from the dealer’s photos. I assume it will that good when it arrives.
I noted recently that I am buying more cast bronze and less silver coins. This one not a change in direction as much as really liking the coin.
My "new" coin.

My "old" coin.

Roman Republican Silver Denarius, 152 BC, Rome
L.SAVF – Lucius Saufeius
Obverse – Head of Roma R wearing a winged helmet decorated with a gryphon’s head; wearing ear rings with 3 drops, middle one is long and others are pellets; wearing necklace; hair in 3 locks; X behind head
Reverse – Victory, naked to hips, driving biga, horses galloping (or prancing), whip in R hand and reins in L hand, L.SAVF below (archaic style L), (VF in monogram), ROMA in partial linear frame at bottom of coin. 
The border for ROMA has been described several ways:
·         On tablet (although I do not think this coin series has a tablet like the early coins)
·         In exergue
·         In linear frame
·         In linear frame in exergue
·         On raised tablet, in exergue
I think there are two main styles here. Most coins have a partial linear frame (a box with two or three sides). I have seen none with a 4th side or a line below ROMA. Small flans or off center strikes cut off some or all of the two side lines. A few coins have just a long exergue line.

The Saufeia gens appears to be from Praeneste and is not mentioned before 100 BC. This moneyer issued silver (denarius) and bronze coins (As, Semis, Triens, Quadrans & Sextans).

Cr – 204/1, Crawford estimates 117 obverse and 146 reverse dies => a common RR denarius.
BMCRR – 835 Gruber notes the two examples in his book have different ear rings: #835 (and mine) has ear rings with a longer center droplet, #834 has similar sized droplets.
Sear – 83
RSC/Bab – Saufeia 1
Syd – 384
RBW – 874
Albert – 874
NMW – 235 – 237
NMCr – 44 – 45

I compared the size and weight of other coins in my books on the internet. The results:
Weight = 3.7 grams, my coin #1
Weight = 3.8 grams, my coin #2
Weight - max 4.32
Weight - min 3.15
Weight - avg 3.83
Weight - st dev 0.22
Number 108 Note - found 106 in books and two sites & stopped looking
Diameter - 18.27 mm, my coin #1
Diameter - 17.1 mm, my coin #2
Diameter - max 20.0
Diameter - min 16.0
Diameter - avg 17.6
Diameter - st dev 0.75

Grade, vendor - SPL+
Grade, mine - EF, plus comments below
Centering - Well centered on flan that is only slightly larger than the die.
Strike - well struck from new dies
Flan flaws - none
Style - good style, plenty of fine details
Patination - light toning
Damage - none  

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.