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ahala

Interesting coins of the Second Punic War

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ahala
Many coins from my personal collection will soon be owned by other collectors. I am reducing the size of my coin collection. I had the idea to make a webpage to commemorate the coins that will leave me, so that I can comment on them, and explain what is important and interesting about them, in memory of some very special coins. The coins are important and of great interest. Why am I reducing my coin collection? I had a very large coin collection. I found it too complicated to manage a collection that kept growing. It was difficult to store. Because I could not rearrange my entire collection every time I got a new coin, the arrangement was a mess. My new coins were added at the end, and I could never arrange things properly. Also I could never find anything. Sometimes I had two or more examples of a coin. Other times, I only have one example, but it was too worn to match the beautiful coins in the Ahala collection, here:


So, I decided that I must reduce the number of coins. I will get rid of duplicates, I will upgrade coins where I can. For less-handsome (i.e. ugly) rare coins, it is better that another collector owns them, because I have too many ugly, rare coins! So I prepared three web-pages, and I will discuss the coins on each page.


First, Roman Republican coins of the third century BC:



The highlights of this webpage include


- Dextans of Luceria, with a P mintmark. Dextantes are very rare, but not extremely rare, but because every Roman Republican coin collector wants a dextans, they are difficult to get. The denomination mark is shown Soooo, meaning 10 unciae. I think there should be more discussion about the purpose of this denomination. In my opinion, when the L Dextans and Quincunx were introduced these were the Nummus and the Half Nummus of the Italian civic "decimal" coin system. They are the same weight as the Dextans and Quincunx of Capua, and they have the same reduction in weight as the Capuan coins.


- Minerva / Eagle Republican bronze from the first Punic war, struck at Messana, RRC 23. This is a classic rarity. On the obverse head, between the Corinthian helmet and the crest, there is always a small symbol. Because these coins are very rare, the symbols are not well documented. This example is, I think, a small Corinthian helmet. The other well-known symbol is a prow. Such symbols occur on the coins of Bruttium, and the eagle type is also seen on coins of Messana. I do not know why there is a sword before the eagle.


- Hercules and Centaurs triens, one of the most attractive large bronzes from the ancient world. On the web-page I explain the story of Hercules, Deianeira and the centaur Nessun.


- Early rostrum tridens denarius RRC 62/1. This is a very great rarity, not to be confused with the common early second century BC type RRC 114. Most collectors do not know what this coin looks like since they've never seen one, but Crawford pl.XIII,12 can be compared with this coin, and contrasted with Crawford pl.XXI,15.


- Lightweight As of P Luceria, RRC 99/10. So far as I know this is the first example that has ever been listed, identified as RRC 99/10, so it is an important coin. In style it unmistakeably matches the P series. There is also another lightweight as that matches the CA series in style, and is unpublished as such. Crawford caused a great deal of confusion with his catalogue listings for 97/28 and 99/10 lightweight asses. There is an apparent letter P before the prow on one coin, and an apparent letter L under the head of the other coin. However the pictures have been switched in RRC. Pl.XVIII,13 is the coin with the apparent P before the prow. Pl.XIX,14 is the coin with the apparent L under the head. Even then, it is not enough to switch-back the photos, because in my opinion there is no P before the prow and there is no L under the head. I have examined perhaps 100 coins of this type, including the two (in Paris) illustrated in RRC, and I've never seen any mintmark. In my opinion there are two types of lightweight asses, those in the style of the P series, RRC 99/10, and those in the style of the CA series, RRC 100. There are none with the style of the L series. I illustrate one example of the P and one of the CA type on the webpage.


- A trio of wonderful condition Sardinian bronzes of the C, MA and AVR series. Crawford notes “it should not escape notice that the Praetors of Sardinia in 211-209BC were a Cornelius, a Manlius and an Aurunculeius”, so these are the most clearly dated coins of the second Punic war. Many are overstruck on Carthaginian bronzes, and these overstrikes help to date anonymous coins of similar style and weight, which are also usually overstrikes. Some of these anonymous coins are shown on the new webpage (a semis, triens and sextans of one style, and a sextans of a different style). These anonymous coins are sometimes by mistake assigned to the first century BC because they are of "semuncial" weight, but in fact they date from the second Punic war. This is explained in an article I am about to publish. A summary of the different types of anonymous bronze coins is on another new web-page here:



- Croton CROT Victoriatus, one of the most complete mint-mark names on a Republican coin. Crawford suggests the mint is unknown, but CROT must mean Croton?


- The real specialist can also enjoy looking at many very rare bronze fractions of the Punic war period, often of type where there are just 1 or 2 examples in the massive Paris collection.


Andrew

my new web-page:


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ahala
To continue the discussion, Roman Republican coins of the second century BC are on this second new web-page



- Curved Knife or Falcata denarius of the second Punic war (actually this is likely a late second Punic war coin). Ted Blume-Poulton has written a web-article on this type and shows it to be a Spanish sword or Falcata and not any type of knife. I include pictures of a Falcata in use in a 21st century chariot, and a discussion of how it was used in warfare.


- Galley, on which stands Victory, a ships pilot with rudder, masts and flags on a very rare and unusual quadrans type of P.CALP, the first non-standard bronze since the prow series was introduced. This is a very important rarity, both because of the details of the galley design (on whose side ROMA is engraved) but also because it signals a change in the coinage for the bronze that was never completed. Attempts were made to change the design of the bronzes, but unlike the silver they eventually reverted to their old types.


- Fighting Gladiators with different weapons and armour, a popular type on a denarius of Didius. The Didia gladiators are perhaps the most detailed picture of a gladiatorial pair on an ancient coin.


- Although a common type, the anonymous Roma / Roma seated on shields with wolf and twins denarius is an important coin: for some reason the issuer didn't want his name known and that's of interest. I think this is related to Sextus Pomponius' denarius with the wolf and twins, the shepherd Fostulus and fig tree. Perhaps it was issued by the same gens.


- anonymous Q series quinarius, RRC 102/2d. Crawford, unusually, illustrates all four variants of RRC 102/2, and it is necessary. The basic type with Q is RRC 102/2a. RRC 102/2b has the same style BUT with a Phrygian helmet. RRC 102/2c has a completely different style both obverse and reverse, so different it might be considered a different series, and is extremely rare with Q. However it is less rare in its anonymous variant, RRC 102/2d (my coin).


Andrew

my second new web-page:


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ahala
Finally, coins of the first century BC including Imperatorial types, on the third page.



- Facing quadriga of Sol rising from the waves on attractive denarius of A. Manlius Q. f. Sergianus. The facing Sol with quadriga on the coin of L.PLAVTIVS PLANCVS is perhaps the most attractive Roman coin ever designed but RRC 309 essentially is the same type. Why is Aurora and the quadriga shown facing on both coins.


- L.Pomponius Molo As, none except the RBW example sold in the last 15 years or so, and for those who collect the asses of the Roman Republican this is a key coin. It's original provenance is the Fallani collection, which Crawford did examine when preparing RRC (see list of collections p.127). The partial centre hole on the reverse is ancient and is undoubtedly related to the coin's use for some mechanical purpose, because I have seen several other Roman Republican coins with just such a partial hole in the centre, but never completely pierced in the centre. So they had some mechanical function. Perhaps you stuck them under the bottom of a pointed bronze furniture leg to protect the floor. Perhaps they were used in some common mechanical fitting such as a door lock. Perhaps they allowed something to rotate on top of them, a lamp or table fixture or an item of kitchen equipment: a pivot as it were. I can't think exactly what, but 'mechanism' certainly springs to mind.


- Lepidus and Mark Antony denarius, RRC 489/2. Of the same type as the relatively common quinarius but very rare indeed in the denarius denomination. Few collectors have handled this coin type.


- Lollia Palikanus denarius with the rostrum on the Forum with captured enemy prows underneath, offstruck but otherwise in wonderful condition and beautifully toned.


- Quinarius of Brutus with standing victory, on a large flan with full legends. It's not a pretty coin but it is unusual to be so complete.


Andrew

my third new web-page:


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Naevius

Dear Andrew, I do not know you directly, but I had the chance to appreciate your studies, comments,notes and numismatic contributions on your website and on the forums in the past. I realize it should not have been an easy decision to take, and a lot of work to do also. At least, some money will return.

Best wishes for your collector's second life!

Filippo

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ahala

Thanks Filippo

This is not the end of my collecting but, as you say, a move to a "collector's second life". I've now fixed the size of my collection at 1200 coins and these are what you see on the "Ahala Collection" web-pages. I continue to collect coins, but from now it will always be upgrades or replacing a common type with a rare type. I show you my other P Dextans and my two Minerva Eagle bronzes, and my little Brutus quinarius. I do not need more than this! So I can lose some coins and still have a nice collection.

Andrew

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acraf

It is a great opportunity to integrate both our Roman Republican catalogue (see above, Network > Cataloghi Online > Catalogo Monete Romane) and in own Republican collection of some forum users.

For some issues it is difficult to have adeguate or new images also for comparisons. The descriptions made by Andrew are very useful for a better knowledge of this coinage.

Best wishes for new discoveries and improvements for the collection!

There is an opportunity to discuss some rare issues.

For example, the Lucera dextans.

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The more correct classification should be 99/2b (with P behind), not 99/2a.

From the online Catalogo Monete Romane I see two other coins:

- Tkalec 2008, n. 238

- NAC 61, n. 408

Is it possible to reconstruct this issue, and to observe possible die linkages?

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ahala

99/1a is, I think (from memory) with P behind head but no P on reverse

99/1b, P behind head, P in reverse field

99/1c, P behind head, P below denomination mark

My list: 99/1a

Ratto FPL (unsure of date)

Artemide 18

NAC 11

RBW NAC61

RBW duplicate

Hannover (2 examples)

My example

My second example

BM Italy 260

Paris A3549

Paris A3550

Paris A3550 bis

Paris A3551

Tkalec Feb 08

CNG61 ex Tony Hardy

Russo

CNG45

99/1b

Hooff 1898 > Martini

Sydenham

Paris A3551 bis

Paris A3554

Paris A3555

Tkalec Feb08

Russo

BM Italy 259

99/1c

Paris A3552

Paris A3553

Milan 345

Most examples are now in museums. For example no 99/1c is known outside a museum. Some of those listed from old sales, e.g. Sydenham or Martini, may now be lost forever or in a museum. I think it would be possible to die-link obverses to the three reverse types but as the obverse type doesn't change it doesn't tell us much.

My real question is what were these coins used for, and why were they so rare (why were they issued at all!)

Andrew

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L. Licinio Lucullo

I have already bought 5 of your former coins... I hope to increase the number!

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Vincenzo

Poche righe sulla serie con "P greca" dichiarate come appartenenti a Luceria.

Non vi sono prove certe circa questa attribuzione, che si basa esclusivamente su due errate convinzioni del "Profeta" M. Crawford.

La prima è la presenza della lettera “L”, accompagnata alla lettera “P greca”, su alcune monete(Emissione RRC 97/22/b).

In realtà da un’esame autoptico non compare nessuna lettera “L”, né sulla serie in questione né in nessun'altra della serie RRC 99.

La seconda convinzione, nient'affatto scientifica, è legata alla somiglianza stilistica fra la Serie 99 e quella 98, di certa emissione lucerina.

Fino a quando, ci si ostinerà a non capire che la sequenza di conii è un principio scientifico, ma la somiglianza stilistica non lo è, si perpetreranno tali errori. Apparire simile è differente dall’essere uguale!

Ritorno nel mio silenzio, ma prima, esprimerò poche impressioni sul Corpus Etruscorum di Vecchi nell'apposita sezione....saluti.

Vincenzo.

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franco obetto

@@Vincenzo, perche' torni nel tuo silenzio?ho sempre letto con interesse i tuoi interventi.....

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ahala

The Hannover example of the P-L as below. I think the L before the prow is perfectly clear. There is Pi above the prow and L before, and P under the obverse head. I've also a photo of the Naples example (not Crawford's but my own photo) which has very clear mintmarks on both sides. I can't upload it here however. The New York Newell example is less clear but still the reverse L is visible.

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Vincenzo

Due osservazioni sulla prima foto, la più chiara:

1)Improbabile presenza di ben due lettere L sul rovescio.

2)La chiara presenza di altra lettera, forse "S", sopra la prua, prima della lettera L.

Sulla seconda foto, la P greca del rovescio ha caratteristiche completamente differenti rispetto alle P greche della serie 99, confrontabile con la P greca del diritto della prima moneta. E, infatti, non è una P greca.

L'esemplare di Napoli è stato visionato da chi scrive personalmente e non presenta chiara compresenza fra le due lettere.

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ahala

Sembrano provenire dalla stessa coppia di conii

Ciao

Another interesting coin series is the third corn-ear group, RRC 72/11 to RRC 72/15. The As is scarce, the other fractions are extremely rare. These have nothing to do with the second Punic war but were minted in the 170s BC probably at the same time as the gryphon or wolf and twins or butterfly and vine series, which share the same engravers. In NAC61, Roberto Russo noted: "In our opinion, the three bronze coins offered here should not be assigned to Crawford’s series 72, but instead to a much later series of coins struck around 190 which also includes a sextans and a semis missing in this collection. We cannot understand how Crawford could have assigned the bronzes of groups 3 and 4 of series 72 to the same series given their completely incompatible weights and stylistic characteristics". The 72/14 quadrans was one of the rarest coins in my collection. Compare its style with that of my gryphon As - same engraver in my view.

So the corn-ear on RRC 72/11 to 72/15 does not indicate Sicilian mintage. These coins were minted at Rome.

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