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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 7, Lot: 164. Estimate CHF400. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 14 May 2013. 
Sold For CHF600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Anonymous issues. Time of Domitian to Antoninus Pius, AD 81-161. Quadrans (Bronze, 14mm, 2.32 g 6), Rome. Galley, with oars out and with a full sail, traveling to left. Rev. Dolphin swimming to right. Cohen VIII, p. 272, 58 var (galley sailing to right with two crewmen). A. Mlasowsky, Die antiken Tesseren im Kestner-Museum Hannover (Hannover, 1991), p. 44, 38. RIC -. Very rare. With a nice green patina. Good very fine.

From a Swiss collection, ex Numismatica Ars Classica L, 18 May 2001, 1902.

Aside from all the normal coins produced in Rome, the mint also struck quite a few strange and unusual items, usually without inscription and basically anonymous. They were surely thought of as money, though they may well have served as tokens for exchange or donative purposes (they could be tossed to crowds on festive occasions and then be exchanged for food or gifts, or be retained as souvenirs). This small piece, which must have been valued as a quadrans, is nautically related: a speeding galley and the dolphin that leapt in the waves before it.