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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

432, Lot: 210. Estimate $200.
Sold for $220. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Anonymous. 211-208 BC. Lot of three (3) coins: Triens, Quadrans, and Sextans. Corn-ear and KA series. Mint in Sicily. Æ Triens (22.5mm, 11.34g, 10h). Helmeted head of Minerva right; •••• (mark of value) above / Prow of galley right; grain ear above, [KA] (ligate) to right. Crawford 69/4a; Sydenham 310c; Type as RBW 289 // Æ Quadrans (18.5mm, 5.05g, 8h). Head of Hercules right, wearing lion's skin; [•••] (mark of value) to left / Bull leaping right; ••• (mark of value) and grain ear above, serpent below. Crawford 69/5 and p. 14; Sydenham, p. 10, * note; Type as RBW 292 // Æ Sextans (21.5mm, 5.15g, 9h). Head of Mercury right, wearing winged petasus; • • (mark of value) above / Prow of galley right; grain ear above, KA (ligate) to right. Crawford 69/6a; Sydenham 310d; Type as RBW 293. Fine to VF, with patinas. LOT SOLD AS IS, NO RETURNS.

From the Andrew McCabe Collection. Ex RBW Collection Duplicate, part of a group purchased from RBW in 2013.

This and the following lot include a denomination trio (triens, quadrans, and sextans) of Second Punic War overstrikes; these with corn-ear and KA and the next lot without. The corn-ear and KA series coins are related – the sextans evidently has the same style prow as the triens. Yet size didn't matter. The triens is 11.34g and 22.5mm, the quadrans is 5.05g and 18.5mm, and the sextans is 5.15g and 21.5mm. The largest module coin is the smallest denomination – sextans. The quadrans is both smaller in module and lighter than the sextans. The triens is heaviest but mid-sized. It's topsy turvy and this is typical. The denominations were probably needed in certain volumes for market place change, and coins were made to order with little regard to size. Over many coins and several denominations, these overstrikes tend to average an as weight of 20 grams or so, but with very large variability (see McCabe in Essays Russo for discussion). All are overstrikes. Most likely the undertypes were accumulated as booty by the bucket load. Perhaps buckets of visually larger looking flans were struck as trientes and those with visually smaller flans would be struck as quadrantes or sextantes, but of course, the booty coins would be all mixed up and with no attempt to decide on a coin by coin basis, larger denominations could end up on smaller flans and vica versa. It didn't matter because Romans didn't regard weight as of much importance for bronze coins after they stopped making the much heavier aes grave types: essentially all struck bronze was fiduciary. They looked only to the types (Minerva, Hercules, and Mercury obverses being very clear) and that new coins be approximately the same modules as those already in circulation. As for the undertypes: above the bull's hindquarters on the quadrans, the letters EPO match this with the Hieron II Poseidon/Tripod issue, RRC table 18/64; some of the straight lines and ornaments of the trident are visible on the obverse. The triens by weight probably has the undertype Syracuse Democracy Apollo/Dioscuri, RRC table 18/61; Minerva's crest shows remains of the exergue legend ΣYPAKOΣIΩN. The sextans shares the same undertype as the quadrans with elements of the dolphins and trident lines visible on the obverse. With KA mintmark on the triens and sextans – and assumed same mint for the quadrans of similar manufacture style – these are likely from a mint at or near Catania. A highly interesting trio. [Andrew McCabe]