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Why did this Crispina go so high?


kirispupis
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It seems every day I learn something new in this hobby. Today, while waiting for some of my targets to come up for auction, I decided to look for what @Ryrocalls "snacks" under the Roman Imperials. I noticed this Crispina with a then current bid of 50 CHF. Since I don't have a Crispina, I made a note to check it out later. (I apologize if someone here purchased this coin)

NOTE: NOT MY COIN

crispina.jpg.1506ccc89f94122d31b6f292e81984f3.jpg

 

In a bit of good luck, I wound up not only winning my #1 target, but I also picked up five more coins relating to Philip II or Alexander the Great. That pretty much killed my budget, so I didn't bother to bid on any Roman coins, nor did I pay attention when they came up for auction. Later in the day, I checked out this coin only to see it went for 1100 CHF!

The only thing I can tell is the obverse legend says "AVG" instead of "AVGSTA", which according to the auction site is very rare. Still, it's the same basic coin. I have several Greek coins where there's some mint mark or variation with no other well-known examples. Did this Crispina go so high simply because of the legend, or is there some dramatic historic aspect that makes this super collectible?

Just trying to understand for future reference what brought this coin so high. Many of the other Crispina examples I've seen in this condition go for under 100. The other weird thing is I noticed another coin with a seemingly identical legend coming up in another auction, so maybe it's not so rare...

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It is indeed the obverse inscription that makes it rare. It is not in RIC, Cohen, Sear, or Temeryazev and Makarenko with the CRISPINA AVG legend. It is not to be found in the British Museum collection. It is described in Mouschmov's catalog of the Reka Devnia hoard (p. 92) as a hybrid. It is listed in Szaivert (MIR) as 19-4, but the citation in the concordance is wrong and doesn't cite the proper example, but wrongly cites BMCRE 45.

Here's my example, with the usual AVGVSTA legend. I purchased it in 2016 for about $120.

1579331523_CrispinaVENVSdenarius.jpg.7bf26a57910fb356915dcdcc832ed901.jpg

Edited by Roman Collector
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20 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

It is indeed the obverse inscription that makes it rare. It is not in RIC, Cohen, Sear, or Temeryazev and Makarenko with the CRISPINA AVG legend. It is not to be found in the British Museum collection. It is described in Mouschmov's catalog of the Reka Devnia hoard (p. 92) as a hybrid. It is listed in Szaivert (MIR) as 19-4, but the citation in the concordance is wrong and doesn't cite the proper example, but wrongly cites BMCRE 45.

 

This is interesting to know. I still find it odd how the legend can make such a difference. Interestingly I found another Crispina denarius on vcoins with a similar obverse, decent price, but different reverse - so presumably that one is common.

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Posted · Benefactor

I always thought Crispina would have been a bit of a hottie? ... ummm, or maybe it's just me

 

Crispina. Augusta, Æ Dupondius or As (below)

178-182 AD

Rome mint. Struck under Commodus, AD 178-182

Diameter: 26 mm

Weight: 11.93 grams

Obverse: Draped bust right

Reverese: Juno standing left, holding patera and scepter

Reference: RIC III 680 (Commodus); MIR 18, 13-7a

Other: 10h … brown and green patina, bare metal revealed on the high points

Ex-stevex6

Crispina Dupondius.jpg

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15 minutes ago, kirispupis said:

This is interesting to know. I still find it odd how the legend can make such a difference. Interestingly I found another Crispina denarius on vcoins with a similar obverse, decent price, but different reverse - so presumably that one is common.

The CRISPINA AVG inscription was used on her early issues and the CRISPINA AVGVSTA inscription on the later issues. As expected, earlier emissions are supposed to have that legend. For example, there's this one in my collection, which is not uncommonly found with both obverse legends.

1144504489_CrispinaDISGENITALIBVSDenarius.jpg.d9a39c842fe9731ea3b3721ca09bcc6a.jpg

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I know it seems crazy, but this is a hybrid (mint error?) of an older obverse die with a later reverse die and it's very rare. There are two citations to it in the literature (Mouschmov RD and Szaivert MIR), and these actually might be referencing the same specimen. Of the 121 examples of the VENVS standing denarius at acsearchinfo, none have the earlier, shorter legend.

I'm not saying it's worth a couple grand to me -- it isn't -- but I am saying it is truly rare. There may have been two Commodus specialists with deep pockets who were vying to obtain the coin for their collection.

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image.png.c918e484cb6057d4b2e5a2e20aec91fa.png

CRISPINA AVGVSTA - Draped bust of Crispina right, her hair elaborately waved in curls across head and fastened in a chignon behind  

SALVS S C - Salus seated left, feeding from patera held in right hand a snake arising from altar at her feet, her left resting on arm of throne

Sestertius, Rome, ca. AD 178-180

22,21 gr / 30,48 mm

RIC (Commodus) 672a; Cohen 33; BMCRE (Commodus) 420; Sear 6010, Banti 14 (21 specimens)

ex J. Alan Seeger Collection; CNG 76, 12.09.2007, lot 3330; ex Tom Cederlind 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Silver coin (AR Denarius) minted at Rome for CRISPINA, Wife of COMMODUS in 177 A.D. Obv. CRISPINA.AVGVSTA.: dr. bust r. Rev. VENVS.FELIX.: Venus seated l., holding Victory and sceptre. RCS #1686. RICIII #288 pg.399 RSCII #39a. DVM #9. RCSVII #6003.

CGW-269 OBV.jpg

CGW-269 REV.jpg

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