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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

 
4520658
452, Lot: 658. Estimate $150.
Sold for $140. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Anonymous. Circa 217-215 BC. Æ Semuncia (20mm, 5.74 g, 2h). Rome mint. Draped bust of Mercury right, wearing winged petasus / Prow of galley right. Crawford 38/7; Sydenham 87; Type as RBW 100-2. Dark green and brown patina. Good VF.


From the Andrew McCabe Collection. Ex English Amateur Scholar Collection (Numismatica Ars Classica 92, Part II, 24 May 2016), lot 1524 (with collector’s ticket dated 2002).

The English Amateur Scholar collection in NAC 92 included a range of RRC 38/7 semunciae of different styles and technical characteristics: flans, strikes etc. It was that scholar's belief that the amazing diversity of RRC 38 styles and technical characteristics must mean they were struck at a wide variety of mints over their supposedly short production life. I have an alternate explanation, that the production of these coins started earlier than assumed and that they form the lower denominations of the RRC 35 or RRC 36 series of cast coins, with their weights being of a lower standard (reflecting a six ounce rather than ten ounce As weight) due to their higher production costs. The termination date of the RRC 38 coinage is anchored at 215 BC. The start date is not, however, as strongly anchored at 217 BC. This latter date is merely an assumption, i.e. that struck bronzes did not commence until the cast coinage was reduced from a ten ounce to a six or five ounce standard in 217 BC (the cast coin reduction is anchored by hoard evidence). But we have no reliable start information (hoard data preceding the war) about the struck bronzes. They might have started earlier, in the mid 220s along with the RRC 35 cast coins, which would help explain their amazing diversity. [Andrew McCabe]