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Septimius Severus decennalia -- a puzzle


seth77
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Posted (edited)

From CT, with some notes:

This is not my usual area of interest, I mostly consider myself a student of medieval and late Roman numismatics, but this was a cheap puzzle I just could not pass:

 

sev.thumb.jpg.baf9ccd5d1bd6f16951fa1e5e4c0c834.jpg

AE18mm 2g, copper quadrans(?) or fourree core, pseudo-Rome, ca. 202.
SEVERVS PIVS AVG; laureate head right
PR - IM / DE - CE / S - C flanking Hercules club, all inside wreath.
cf. Cohen 501 (Mionnet) for Caracalla, cf. RIC IV p. 279 note

 

This is a very enigmatic issue, recorded now for both Severus and Caracalla, likely occasioned by the celebration of Severus decennalia (started in 202) at Rome. The SC indicates a copper denomination -- possibly a celebratory 'quadrans' used for the donatives of 202 in Rome.

There are very few recorded specimens: 3 for Severus (including this one, see here and here for the other 2), all in copper and 2 for Caracalla (Ric p. 279 note and here, which looks like a fourree denarius, a "limes falsa"). If the coinage was originally a silver alloy denarius, the presence of the SC is rather anachronistic. But the CNG specimen for Caracalla could well be a silver-washed copper necessity issue "limes falsa" imitating rare and very rare issues of the period, sometimes pairing unlikely combinations of dies etc.

More hints towards it being a 'limes' coinage, and thus later than 202, from B. Murphy, who notes that the portrait with 4 beard curls is not the regular Rome mint representation in 202.

Edited by seth77
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