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Sextus Pompeius Pietas

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Sextus Pompeus Pietas denarii are rare coins, and there are many varieties. Two weeks ago, two coins were offered for sale on the same day by different vendors in different continents. I bought both. The two coins are from the same obverse die but they have different legends. Here is the story:

First look at the pictures below to see what I'm talking about. There are three denarii, each with Pietas standing and the legend PIETAS on the reverse. On the obverse is the head of Pompey the Great. The obverses of the first two coins are apparent die matches. They are actually struck from the same die. At top is Crawford RRC 477/1b with obverse legend SEX MAGN IMP SAL (SAL is likely a mint-mark standing for a town in Spain). Under is RRC 477/3a with obverse legend SEX MAGN PIVS IMP SAL. The place where the word PIVS is, is blank on the upper coin. The third coin has a different obverse with legend SEX MAGN IMP B. The third coin is a reverse-die-match with the second coin.
Evidently the second coin was struck from the same die as the first coin. But the die was engraved again. The story of these coins is complicated because several dies were engraved a second time. Because of this, we can see what order the coins were struck in. The re-engraved dies show the retreat of Sextus Pompeius, in Spain (Hispania Baetica), at the end of 45 BC and the start of 44 BC, after his defeat by Julius Caesar at the battle of Munda. The dies and the mint moved with Sextus.
Sextus was running from place to place. He had a very few coin dies. He struck money when he had a chance, whenever he found some silver. There are mint marks on the series, B and SAL. These are possibly Baelo and Salpensa (Seville, Italica). I have also a coin of Baelo in my collection (third one below). You can see that it shares a reverse die with the second coin. During the winter, 45-44BC, Sextus adopted the name PIVS, meaning faithful to his father's name. He ordered the new name to be added to existing dies. Some new dies were made when he was travelling. These are in very crude style. On the reverse of my first coin, RRC 477/1, the engraver put the head of Pietas outside the circle of dots. This coin is a die-match with a denarius RRC 477/2 with head turned left. You can see that the style is very poor. These coins are a story about defeat and emergency.
A summary of this story can be found on my website. It is adapted from Ted Buttrey's 1960 article in the Numismatic Chronicle:
Ted's essay starts with words from Max Bahrfeldt, written in 1897. "Hier ist mancherlei Confusion gemacht". Even if you don't understand German, you can recognise the word "Confusion".





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L. Licinio Lucullo

Really interesting!

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Caio Ottavio

Yes, good job! :good:

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Thanks for your very useful summary; it is a topic, I knew nothing about! In your knowledge, do exist other coins, which have been reengraved in such way?

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