Sunday, March 10, 2019

Ancient cut coins, Half Asses, man headed bull, Julius Caesar, Octavian and winged horses

I recently won a lot of cut coins to add to my growing collection. I have a box of 50 not well defined Roman Imperial coins headed my way. The collection:

Left side of page - 
The upper left hand section is Roman Republican bronze coins, presumably Asses. They are worn and encrusted enough that they are hard to impossible to read. I use these coins when I show non coin collectors a coin from 150 BC.

The three coins below the top 7 are -

  • The left coin is an As. My best date guess is 175 to 100 BC due to the form of the letter A.
  • The middle coin is an As: C. Vibius C.f. Pansa. 90 BC. (25.0 X 17.1 mm, 6.43g, 1h). Rome mint. Laureate head of bearded Janus; I (mark of value) above / 3 Prows right; [ROMA] above; [I] (mark of value) to right; [C•]VIBI•PAN (PAN ligate) below. Crawford 342/7e, BMCRR Rome 2319 - 2320  
  • The right coin is a bronze of Octavian. A better pic is here:

Ottavian, Bronze (denomination not on coin), Italy 38 B.C.
Obv - Portrait of Octavian facing right, behind - DIVI F, the coin should have either a comet or CAESAR to the right.  
Rev – [DI]VOS / [IVL]IV[S] within laurel wreath. Part of the legend in off the flan, and the letter S in IVLIVS is missing. Most coins of this type have the S, but the example shown in Sear (RR & 12C) is missing the last S also.
12.06 grams
31.6 X 19 mm
Coin broken in two in antiquity.
Crawford 535/2.
BMCRR Gaul 108-10.
Sear 1570 – the coin pictured in Sear has a reverse legend DIVOS / IVLIV (no S)
Sear Imperators 309.
Sydenham 1336.
Babelon Julia 101.
The last coin on the left column is a Roma / Prow semiuncia with a jagged flan.

Middle of page - 
The top 8 coins are Julius Caesar and Octavian. There are a few variations in design of the coin, so they may have different RPC numbers. 

Greek Coins Under Roman Rule, Gallia, Vienne

C. Julius Caesar and Octavianus. Sestertius, about 36 BC head of Caesar L, head of Octavian R; Prow of ship. RPC I, 152, 517.  

The bottom 3 are Augustus and Agrippi / Crocodile coins. 

Right side of page - 
top left of this column is a cut Roman Republican; Roma / Dioscuri denarius. The mark of value, X, is behind Roma on the obverse. There are no visible symbols or letters on the reverse,  1.61 grams, 17.2 mm.

The top right coin is plated Manheaded coin. A thin layer of silver covers a bronze core.
Greek Coins, Campania, Neapolis; less than half of a Didrachm circa 320-300, plated coin 2.52 grams, 18.3 X 10.1 mm. Obv - Diademed head of the nymph R, Rev - Man-headed bull walking R., head facing; above, Nike flying r. to crown him. Historia Numorum Italy 57x

The top coin is a Spanish half unit from a lot of Caesar provisional coins shown in the middle section. The next three coins issued by Nero were my most recent lot purchase. Attribution are below. 

The coins top to bottom:
  •  SPAIN, Emporia. 
SPAIN, Emporia. 25 BC. Æ As

Obv - Helmeted head of Athena right, border dots, other features that may have been on the coin are missing
Rev - Pegasus leaping right, border dots, other features that may have been on the coin are missing
3.8 grams if the coin is 40% of the original, the original would have been 9.5 grams.
27.4 X 15.0 mm
- SNG BM Spain 520 – 523 are similar and about the right weight
- Ancient Coinage of the Iberian Peninsula, Villaronga & Benages – the best matches are - 1077, 1079, 1088, 1091; total examples are #1061 – 1100
- RPC 251, 252

  • I have not identified this coin, but seller said Nero.
  • Nero, this coin is close. I found it by searching for bronze, Nero & harp. The letters still on the coin match.

NERO (54-68), AE as, 65, Lyon.
Right: NERO [CLAVD CAESAR AVG] GERMANICVS Head left. Globe at the tip of the neck.
Reverse: PONTIF MAX- TR POT IMP PP / S-C Nero l. and draped in Apollo, walking to the right, playing the lyre.
Ref .: BMC 274, 377; RIC 417.
5.35 grams
29.9 X 14.9 mm the eyeball test says this is 40% of the original, but the diameter and height say it is close to half.

  • Nero, this coin is close. I found this coin be serching for bronze, Nero and shield.The letters matched.
  • Nero. AD 54-68, Æ As, Lugdunum (Lyon) mint, 67 AD.               
    Obv - Bare head right, [with globe at point of bust], [???]CAESARAVGONAX[???]
    Rev - Victory flying left, holding shield inscribed [S P Q] R, [S] & C to left and right of Victory
    4.53 grams
    27.6 X 13.2 mm
    RIC I 543; WCN 593.

    Recent lot purchase.
    1 Ro,am Republican As
    3 Nero bronzes

    lor purchased in 2017
    2 Julius / Octavian
    3 Augustus - Agripi / crocodile
    1 Spanish 

    Wednesday, January 23, 2019

    Pre-Coin Roman Money my display at The 62nd HOUSTON MONEY SHOW

    I have been interested in how Rome paid their soldiers at Veii about a century before they started producing coins. Info from my display on the subject is below.

    Pre-Coin Roman Money 

    Roman "money" from 1000 to 390 BC, or how did Rome pay their soldiers at Veii in 400 BC if they started producing coins in 300 BC?

    GHCC Money Show
    January 17 – 19, 2019

    Rome paid soldiers for the first time at Veii about 400 BC. Before that extended campaign soldiers paid their expenses. Only moneyed men could fight, and collect glory and spoils. 

    Servius Tullius, the 6th king of Rome, reigned from 575 to 535 BC.He divided Roman citizens into Classes by wealth. The top class of citizen was required to have 100,000 asses where one As equaled a Roman pound = 327 grams. This level of wealth put a man in the equites or knights. Something was used for money before coins introduced in 280 BC.

    Bronze was used for money. It seems likely that steelyard scales would have been used. They are better for weighing heavy items than the double pan balance.

    The following quotes are from Livy - 
    [Titus Livius in his History of Rome spoke on this.
    urbe condita 4.59   "... the senate decreed that the soldiery should receive pay from the public treasury. Previously, each man had served at his own expense.“
    urbe condita 4.60   "... The senators were determined to uphold a measure so happily inaugurated, they were themselves the first to contribute, and as coined money was not yet introduced, they carried the copper by weight in wagons to the treasury, thereby drawing public attention to the fact of their contributing. After the senators had contributed most conscientiously the full amount at which they were assessed, the leading plebeians, personal friends of the nobles, began, as had been agreed, to pay in their share. When the crowd saw these men applauded by the senate and looked up to by the men of military age as patriotic citizens, they hastily rejected the proffered protection of the tribunes and vied with one another in their eagerness to contribute." ]

    The first two pictures show one week's pay (about 15 US pounds) in bronze bars, cakes and panes. Two of the bars are Ramo Secco. The largest is 2.2 Kg. The bars are weighed on a Steelyard Scale. 

    Cupid is my favorite Steelyard Scale weight. It was not heavy enough to weigh the bronze bars.

    The two pan scale has four weights: 1 As, VI (six) VNCIA, III (three) VNCIA and one uncia (the last weight is later and has letters to designate one Roman ounce) = 600 grams.  

    The bar in the right pan is one with a mark (X).

    I will post a coin on the next page. That coin is from the first series assigned to Rome and is dated 280 BC, or a century plus before the war with Veii.

    What is Money? According to D. B. Holland in "Money in the Late Roman Republic" it is:

    Something used as:
    Medium of exchange: recognized by many to have value, facilitates trade; examples: land, cattle, sheep, bullion, shells, etc.
    Measure of value: to determine equivalent trade value, ie – how many eggs equal a modius of flour
    Unit of account: to balance books, determine tax rate, set social standing for senate & army (see below)
    Store of wealth, needs to be something that is: “small”, will hold value, will not degrade with time

    Means of payment: pay soldiers and other military expenses, pay taxes, buy (luxury) goods from outside community

    By this definition, the cast bronze is money and thus worthy of a display at the Money Show! Some early bronze shapes were shown in the flat coin case.

    Aes Rude - Molten bronze cooled in water

    Broken plates or panes

    Aes Formatum – Ingots, bars and pieces
    With and without marks, Ramo Seco

    Astralagas, knuckle bones

    Broken tools: knife blade, ax
    Note the pic below has a piece of a knife blade and two axes.

    Decorative Shapes: rings, palmetto, tear drop, bars, acorns, etc.
    The shapes are above. Below are some aes rude with marks.

    I will post a coin on the next page from the first series issued in Rome. 

    Monday, December 24, 2018

    Coin from The Bishop's Wife

    Steve b - I could not post a reply to your question on the Bishop's Wife, so maybe I can answer here.

    A widow's mite is a small bronze coin. We do not know for certain which coin, but the most likely is a Judaean Prutot of Alexander Jannaeus (103 to 76 BC).
    you can see examples of Widow's Mites here and below:

    A friend from did some research on the coin shown in the Bishop's Wife. It is a bronze coin of Trajan who ruled from January 98 (AD) to August 117 (AD).

    The obverse legend is "...TRAIANO AVG...AC PM TRP COS V PP"

    Looking at Wildwinds, four bronzes are shown which have that legend (there may be more which aren't represented in Wildwinds):

    RIC 492
    Trajan Æ Sestertius. IMP CAES NERVAE TRAINO AVG GER DAC PM TRP COS V PP, laureate bust right / S.P.Q.R. OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Annona standing left, holding grain ears and cornucopiae; modius with grain ears and prow at her feet; SC. Cohen 469.

    RIC 500
    Trajan 98-117 AD. AE Sestertius, 27.21 gr. Struck 103-111 AD. IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC PM TRP COS V PP, laureate head right, slight drapery on left shoulder / SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI, S-C Fortuna standing left, holding rudder before prow, and cornucopiae. RIC II 500; BMCRE 797; Cohen 477; Sear (1988) 1008.

    RIC 502
    Trajan AE Dupondius. IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC PM TRP COS V PP, radiate bust right / SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI S-C, Fortuna standing left with rudder on prow and cornucopiae. Cohen 497.

    RIC 571
    Trajan AE Sestertius. IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC PM TRP COS V PP, laureate bust right / SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI S-C, View of the Circus Maximus, showing a colonnaded front (the Duodecim Portae), with arched gateways surmounted by quadrigae; temple of Sol along back wall; within, from left to right: meta, equestrian statue of Trajan, obelisk of Augustus, shrine of Cybele, and a second meta. RIC II 571; Woytek 175b; Cohen 545.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2018

    One Ounce Bronze Commercial Barrel Weight, γA

    Late Roman or early Byzantine bronze commercial weight –This weight is probably from the east and after weights with Roman numbers (I for a one ounce) and before only Greek numbers / letters were used. The seller proposed 500 - 650 AD. The weight has a Greek number and Roman letter to mark its weight. I can not tell from the picture if any of the original silvering is still on the weight. Simon Bendall in Byzantine Weights, pg 8, splits scale weights into commercial and coin weights. He then shows symbols for Roman and Byzantine weights. The  γA on this weight is for one ounce = 27.2 grams in theory = one VNCIA (ounce) = 1/12 of an As (Roman pound). One As = 327.45 grams.

    Uniface barrel- shaped 1 uncia weight. Cylindrical with a slightly bulging center and with a flat top and bottom. The top bears a center punch flanked by the engraved letters γA = 1 uncia.
    nVF, toned with some crust
    Diameter = 15- 17mm
    Weight = 26.18 g
    Bendall numbers 33 & 34

    purchased from numismatiklanz, 10/31/2018

    Monday, October 29, 2018

    Byzantine bronze commercial weight – semuncia

    Byzantine bronze commercial weight (from Artemide eLive 5 - Antiquities) – This one is similar to my Roman weights, but it has Greek letters to mark its weight. Simon Bendall in Byzantine Weights, pg 8, splits scale weights into commercial and coin weights. He then shows symbols for Roman and Byzantine weights. The BI on this weight is for one semuncia = 13.6 grams in theory = half an uncia (ounce) = 1/24 of an As (Roman pound). One As = 327.45 grams.

    This piece is 15 mm in diameter and 14 g.

    I have one other semuncia weight (14.3 grams), but it has no marks. See below.

    The weights clockwise from upper left:
    6 uncia commercial weight = 154.4 grams
    two steelyard weights, left one bronze, right one lead = 24.5 & 27.2 grams
    three coin weights, 1 Solidi, symbol N or four dots - 3.9, 4.0 & 4.3 grams
    three commercial weights
       3 uncia = 67.8 grams
       1 uncia = 27.1 grams
       semuncia = 14.3 grams

    Thursday, October 11, 2018

    L. Roscius Fabatus Girl feeding snake - Crawford 412/1

    I bought this coin because I liked the symbol pair. I have not seen an ancient scale or balance on a coin or from other sources with these features:
    • ·        Two horizontal beams.
    • ·        An arch below the beams.
    • ·        A base with legs to hold the vertical post that holds the beam. Most coins are held from above the beam by hand.
    • ·        The pan on the right is larger than the pan (weight?) on the left.

    It looks a bit like the Nuremberg ducat scale pictured below from Scales and Weights by Bruno Kisch, pg 40. When a gold ducat of low weight was placed in the right pan, the arch showed how many grains the coin was below standard. I have not seen any ancient scale pictures with the arch.  

    If someone knows of a reference with a scale like the one below, let me know.

    L. Roscius Fabatus Girl feeding snake
    Scale and Scale Weight Box Control Symbols

    64 BC, Cr412/1

    AR Denarius (Serratus); L. Roscius Fabatus;  64 BC Chr., Rome,
    Obv - Head of Juno Sospita r. in the goatskin cap that is tied in front, behind balance / scale, below: L.ROSCI; border of dots
    Rev - Girl stands r. feeding snake that is raised in front of her, behind box for weights, In Ex: FABATI; border dots
    3.94 g
    Crawf. 412/1, o/r dies = 240/241
    BMC 3474 – this control symbol pair
    Syd. 915
    RSC / Bab. 1; Note: both books show the scale / box symbol pair.
    gVF, well centered and struck, nicely toned, some scratches
    On the occasion of the annual festival of Juno Sospita in Lanuvium, a virgin had to feed the snake living in the basement of the temple. If the girl was chaste, she left the cave to much celebrating from her family, otherwise she was killed by the snake.
    Crawford notes the die symbols were pairs of related every-day objects. There was no more than one die for each symbol. Bab lists 155 pairs. Grueber lists 108 pairs. Crawford lists 242 pairs.
    3.94 g.

    Nuremberg ducat scale from 
    Scales and Weights by Bruno Kisch, pg 40.

    Staedtler 6in plastic protractor with swing arm

    Some ancient coins with scales. Mine are the first few.

    Egyptian painting from book of dead

    quadrans of Claudius
    Purchased from Numismatica Tintinna

    Follis of Maximinus
    purchased from MA Shop Gert Boersma
    Roman Republic, MN. CORDIUS RUFUS 46BC
    purchased from Ken Dorney

    Roman Republic, C. Annius brockage 
    purchased from NAC

    Roman Republic, C. Piso L.f. Frugi. 61 BC (CNG)

    Roman Republic, C. Annius and L. Fabius, 82-81 BC (NAC)

    Roman Republic, Q. Metellus Scipio and P. Licinius Crassus Iunior, 47-46 BC (New York Sale)

    Similar to mine from CNG

    Similar to mine, but scale / modius (a bucket to measure grain) from CNG