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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 109, Lot: 557. Estimate $400.
Sold for $850. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

L. Roscius Fabatus. 59 BC. AR Serrate Denarius (17.7mm, 3.88 g, 5h). Rome mint. Head of Juno Sospita right, wearing goat skin headdress; uncertain symbol(s) (column and ?) to left / Female standing right, feeding serpent to right; uncertain symbol (bench?) to left. Crawford 412/1 (symbols 16, not described); Sydenham 915; Roscia 3; RBW 1492 var. (symbols). EF, light iridescent toning.

From the Gasvoda Collection. Ex Tkalec AG (17 May 2010), lot 128.

From the consignor: I purchased this coin to support an article I was writing for The Celator discussing if the Julius Caesar elephant coinage was indeed trampling a serpent. The image here being virtually identical to the Caesar coinage. I had the chance to review an email from the late Rick Witschonke, which he sent as I was completing that article. In his email, Rick commented: “This type is thought to represent an annual ceremony at Lanuvium, where a virgin is selected and sent into the grotto sacred to Juno Sospita to feed her sacred snake. If the woman selected is chaste, she survives; otherwise not.”