Saturday, August 10, 2019

Voting in Republican Rome

I picked up two coins this week to make a small set of RR coins with voting on them. I suspect that there are some control marks that involve voting. If I find some, I will post them.

Crawford #

C. Cassius Longinus
Roma, voting urn behind
Libertas in quadriga, pileus
P. Licinius Nerva
Roma holding shield & spear, crescent
Voting scene, three citizens in the comitium
Top R
L CASSI LONGIN Lucius Cassius Longinus
Veiled head of Vesta
letters on obv spell   L CASSI
Voter dropping tablet marked V (TI ROGAS) into cista, on R
C. Cassius Longinus
Veiled head of Vesta
Temple of Vesta, inside curule chair, voting-urn left, ballot with A C on right

The coins above have been used as book covers.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Commercial Byzantine scale weights and an acorn shaped steelyard weight

A package of scale weights arrived today. It was a long wait for the weights due to export papers. In hand, 3 of the 5 weights match ones in my reference books. One of the weights has a size & letter combination I do not find in my reference books (AR). Another weight was listed as a plumb bob, but I think the acorn was part of a Steelyard scale.

Byzantine Trade Weight Group; 7th-10th century AD

A group of four bronze weights each with an incised cross and two capital letters to one face. Fine condition. I do not have a reference for the symbols on the largest weight. They could be flower decorations or a symbol to identify the person who issued the weights.
From inscriptions, the four weights are:
1.       Quadrans, 3 ounces, Γ· Γ; (81.9 grams std per Bendall1) 
2.       Sextans, 2 ounces, Γ Β; (54.6 grams std per Bendall)
3.       Uncia, 1 ounce, Γ A; (27.2 grams std per Bendall)

4.       Uncia, 1 ounce, A R; (letters not in Bendall, Hendin2 or Kisch3)

3 ounce
Γ· Γ
2 ounce
1 ounce
24.5 – dia
7.5 tall
1 ounce
22 wide
8.2 tall

Roman Acorn Weight - Scale or Mason's Plumb Bob?
Roman Acorn Weight, 1st-3rd century AD – It could be a scale weight or a Mason's Plumb Bob. A similar weight was found with a steelyard scale by archaeologists operating in the ancient city of Nea Paphos on Cyprus.4

A mason's plumb bob weight in the form of an acorn, bronze shell made in two parts (the acorn cap & nut), details added to the cap, rectangular suspension loop above; lead core, small tip below. Part of the bronze shell and lead filling are missing. Someone attempted to remove the cap.
136 grams
52mm tall with 27mm diameter cap and 23mm diameter nut
Fair condition, part of casing absent.
Provenance - Property of a Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK, collector; found Hampshire, UK.

1.  Byzantine Weights, an Introdudtion by Simon Bendall - the table on pg. 8 lists weights as either commercial or coin. He also breaks weights by time period: Roman to Byzantine. These weights have Γ· which puts them in the commercial Byzantine category.
2. Ancient Scale Weights by David Hendin
3. Scales and Weights by Bruno Kisch
4. A bronze steelyard with an acorn-shaped counterweight from the Paphos Agora, by Maciej Wacławik; Studies in Ancient Art and Civilization 20

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Roma Wheel As Crawford 24.3

Roma Wheel As 
Crawford 24.3, 265 to 242 BC

the seller's pic, mine are not better, but here they are

My wife's scarf as a background.

Roman Republican AE Cast As, Roma/Wheel series, Rome, c. 265-242 BC.
Obv - Head of Roma right, wearing Phrygian helmet with pinnate crest; behind, mark of value I, set horizontally.
Rev - Six-spoked wheel; between two spokes, I.
References, I have several for cast bronze.
Cr, RRC          24/3     265 to 242 BC; wt std = 270 grams
Gr,  BMCRR  -
RSC / Bab      - I could not find the coin in Babelon. 
BMC, Italy      pg 53, #2
T&V                31        269 to 240 BC
Vecchi ICC     66        230 BC; Rome; wt std 270 grams
Syd, CRR       59        8 – extremely rare
Syd, AG          86        pl 11, #4
Syd collection 112
Sear, RCV       525
HN Italy          326.
Haeb.               pl. 24,4-10; average weight of 44 examples = 271.31
Garrucci          T. XXXIX, #3
Kircheriano     T. VIII, #2

204.48 grams
66.0 mm
12 H 
A light example. Very rare. Lovely earthen emerald green patina. Good VF/About EF.

Below are size and weight data from internet searches (eem) and from Haeberline. 

eem data Hab data
Weight 204.48 271
Weight - max 282.20 307.7
Weight - min 204.40 228.2
Weight - avg 239.7 271
Weight - st dev 23.3
Number 14 44
Diameter - max 66
Diameter - min
Diameter - max  66.0
Diameter - min 60.0
Diameter - avg 61.8
Diameter - st dev 2.2

Grade, eem gVF  
Grade, seller gVF / EF
Centering well centered
Strike nice casting with good features
Flan flaws none
Style typical
Patination I see brown, seller said emerald green

Saturday, April 6, 2019

A Roman Republican oddity - Quadrans with Mercury

Mercury / Prow RR Quadrans
Crawford 97/13d, 211-208 BC

Roman Republic, anonymous AE Quadrans, Luceria,  ca. 211-208 BC.
Obv - Head of Mercury on the right, above three dots °°°, below L. (I am not sure about the L below Mercury. I will look closer when I have the coin in hand.) The L seems out of place according to BMCRR. Grueber notes that the form of L changes from archaic to our current one in his 3rd period, 196 – 173 BC. The examples I have found on line have archaic Ls. Mine does not look to be archaic. I there are two different busts of Mercury and dot locations. The coins with two dots to the left of Mercury’s hat wing have a longer, Jimmy Durantee style, nose. My coin has two dots to the right and a shorter, but still Roman, nose.
Rev – Prow of Roman warship facing right, above ROMA with archaic A, In Ex – three dots °°°
Weight = 10.51 grams
Diameter = 23.3 mm

Cr. 97 / 5c or 13d, have similar descriptions with lower weight for 13. I think mine is a 13.
BMCRR – Italy _ _ , Grueber assignes no number to the Hercules / prow coin shown between Italy #6 & Italy #7. There is no description in the main text for a Quadrans with Mercury, but one is mentioned in the notes. Grueber II pg 147 in footnote 3: “D’Ailly (Mon rom, pl. civ., nos. 4, 5) figures two quadrantes with the obverse type of the sextans, i.e. bust of Mercury…. which must be due to a blunder on the part of the die engraver. “
Syd - 127
RBW – 401
Garrucci – pg. 69, Table LXXXI #3, see note 1 below.

Note 1: 
In Italian:
Nel Kirch.
Bronzo coi tipi del sestante romano dato per quadrante: sotto al collo del Mercurio v'e un L, sopra vi sono i tre blobetti; e nel riverso ROMA e vi si pipetone i tre globetti. Il suo peso e di gr. 10. L'ha dato anche il bar. d'Ailly (Recherches, pl. CIV, 4, 5), e l'ebbe nella sua collezione il Lovatti. Lucera si e servita del sestante romano elevandolo al balore di tre calchi deboli (cf. Muler, Anc. Aft. vol I. Pag. 123),

Translated to English on line:
In the Kirch.
Bronze with the types of the Roman sextans given for quadrans: under the neck of Mercury there is an L, above are the three dots; and on the reverse is a prow right, above ROMA and in ex – three dots. Its weight is gr. 10. The bar also gave it. d'Ailly (Recherches, pl. CIV, 4, 5), and had it in his collection Lovatti. Lucera used the Roman sextant raising it to the height of three weak casts (cf. Muler, Anc. Aft. Vol. Pag. 123),

Pictured above is a drawing from Le Monete Dell'Italia Antica, G Garrucci.

Shown above are examples of the Cr.97/5c, from acsearch, Roma. The top one I call the Durante version.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Some more cut coins

I recently bought a few more cut coins. The first two pics were sold as cut Roman coins. It looks like most are Roman Imperial, but there is little to see on most of them. Based on the coin flans, I think a few are RR cut Asses. The only partial attributed is a coin of Severus Alexander with someone standing on the back in the lower left hand corner. I may try soaking a few to remove some of the dirt. You can see just shaking the coins dislodged some dirt / rust that shows as spots on the 2nd pic.
Note that there are neat 1/2 coins, a few 1/4 coins and several that look like they were cut into 1/3rds. At least one looks like a seal, but I will not know until I do a SpGr test.

I thought my less than full coin binge was done until I received an email from a dealer closing shop. The closest to my collecting area are the two below.

Half As Nimes crocodile and Augustus
As de Nimes; fractured half for change in antiquity for use as change.
Nicely transacted to preserve the crocodile and the portrait of Augustus.
6.32 g.13.9 x 25.3 cm.
Roman Lode on V-Coins, 3/30/19

Worn half As de Nimes
Worn half As de Nimes
6.26g, 13.1 x 26.3mm.
Roman Lode on V-Coins, 3/30/19

My next coin will be uncut, or exceptional.

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