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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 5, Lot: 242. Estimate CHF18000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 24 October 2011. 
Sold For CHF20000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Saitta. Crispina, wife of Commodus. 178-c. 191. 8 Assaria (Bronze, 41mm, 50.58 g 6), under the magistracy of Octavius Artemidorus, c. 175-180. ΚΡΙCΠΙΝΑ CΕΒΑCΤΗ Diademed and draped bust of Crispina to right, her hair bound into a bun at the back. Rev. ΕΠΙ ΟΚΤ ΑΡΤΕΜΙΔΟΡΟΥ ΑΡΧ Α / CΑΙΤΤΗΝΩΝ On the left, Mên standing right, wearing a Phrygian cap and hunting dress, with a crescent moon on his shoulders, holding a long spear in his left hand and offering poppies with his right to the turreted figure of Kybele, seated facing him on the right, extending her right hand and resting her left on a cymbal. Cf. Winterthur 3888 for the same magistrate on a coin of Commodus, otherwise unpublished save for its previous appearance at auction. Extremely rare, apparently unique. An extremely impressive coin with a fine, dark green and red patina. Extremely fine.

Ex Numismatica Genevensis V, 2 December 2008, 256.

This rather enormous coin is much bigger than any Roman sestertius, and is much heavier as well. Coins of this size are often termed medallions, but this is not quite correct since they definitely had a monetary function. Produced for special occasions they were surely tariffed at a much higher value than 4 assaria, the basic equivalent of the sestertius. A value of 8 assaria seems much more likely, the equivalent of the Roman quinarius, also primarily issued for donative purposes. Aside from a few mints that were permitted to produce regionally important tetradrachms and cistophori and their occasional fractions, which were often intended for military use, the Greek cities were effectively not allowed to issue silver coins for general circulation. Thus, the proud cities of the Balkans and Asia Minor, who wanted to issue prestigious money for special occasions, made immense bronze coins that were valued at the same level as the silver they were forbidden to strike.