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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 73, Lot: 685. Estimate $1500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 13 September 2006. 
Sold For $4000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SPAIN, Carthago Nova. Roman Occupation. Æ Unit (23mm, 11.02 g, 12h). Struck after 209 BC. Bare-head left (Scipio Africanus?) / Horse standing right; palm tree behind. CNH Class XI, 282; SNG BM Spain 127-128. VF, black patina with gray green overtones. Rare.

Villaronga’s Class XI, dated 218-206 BC covers that period of the Second Punic War when the Romans, under the leadership of Scipio Africanus, took the war to Carthage’s possessions in Spain in order to cause Hannibal to withdraw from Italy. Though still a young man, Scipio displayed extraordinary skills in leadership and by 209 BC brought the provincial Carthaginian city of Qart Hadasht in Spain under his control. Differing substantially from the earlier regional issues which may depict the Barcid generals, this youthful Roman-like head is most likely that of Scipio himself. The rarity of this issue, both in silver and bronze, attests to its short period of striking, and may reflect the Romans’ republican views regarding the depiction of a living individual on their coins, even those that would circulate outside of Rome itself.