Benefactor Phil Davis Posted June 16, 2022 · Benefactor Benefactor Share Posted June 16, 2022 (edited) Perhaps the most "obscure" silver denomination in all of Roman numismatics is the half-victoriatus, Crawford 95/2. This rare coin was struck only once, a tiny subset of the enormous VB victoriatus series Crawford 95/1a-c, issued in 211-208 on Crawford's dating. (Occasional attempts to identify other examples of the denomination are neither convincing nor generally accepted.) It's genuinely rare; I know of maybe 8 examples appearing in relatively recent auctions; another 12 or 13 can be found at the Coinage of the Roman Republic Online museum aggregator site: http://numismatics.org/crro/id/rrc-95.2. (Anyone who follows the link will see why I can't be sure of the exact count!) No doubt there are others, lurking in private collections or the unpublished collections of Italian regional museums. I'm confident there aren't a lot more though; a very cautious guess of <50 surviving examples must be right; not very many for an entire denomination. The type mostly repeats the general victoriatus description, as follows: Obverse: Laureate head of Jupiter right Reverse: Victory crowning trophy, VB (ligate) between them; S (=semis=half) in right field; ROMA in exergue I've wanted one for a long time, but truthfully I only ever saw one example that appealed to me. That was this coin, lot 258 in NAC 83, May 2015, previously lot 50 in Leu 17, May 1977, the wonderful Nicholas Collection. I was at the sale and I would've made a serious effort to win it, but I deferred to an HJB client and won it for him instead. This is that NAC 83/Leu 17 coin: (Image courtesy NAC) That remained my personal gold standard for the type... until now. I spotted the next coin in Artemide Aste LVII, April 2022, lot 279. 279.mp4 The video gives the best idea of what it looked like. Specs are 1.36g, 13.50mm. I knew a couple things right away: This was potentially among the very best surviving examples of the type, but it absolutely required additional cleaning. That meant I was rolling the dice a bit if I bid, gambling both that it could be cleaned and that I wouldn't hate the surfaces underneath the crud. The second part worried me the most, but what the heck. I bid and won it, for "real" money certainly, but well shy of a record for the type. I had envisioned probably cleaning it myself, but when I had it in hand, I knew that wouldn't do. I'm not a novice at cleaning coins, but I'm hardly an expert either, and this needed to be done right. I've examined several of these over the years, so intellectually I "knew" just what the size is, but emotionally I was still somehow shocked. This is really a very small coin! Well beyond my modest cleaning skills. I sent it to a friend, a serious collector and part-time dealer who I knew had sometimes cleaned other people's coins (as well as his own) with exceptional results. The finished "product" follows, a secular miracle miracle really. (You'll have to imagine the virtual cartwheels I'm turning.) I'm hesitant in general to use terms like "finest known," because how can we ever know that really, but I'll need to be shown a better one before I'm convinced that such exists. The following are quick snaps and video from the guy who cleaned it. I'll add higher-res images after I'm back in the office and can get it shot. BB After Video.mp4 The cleaned video does give a fair idea of what it looks like now. Apologies for any lingering typos or formatting weirdness; I'll just blame covid fog, because the coin does seem to have a bit of a curse attached to it. The guy who cleaned it tested positive just before working on it; I in turn tested positive the day he shipped it back. Oh well; I'm boosted and all and only moderately ill. A small enough price to pay really. Edited June 16, 2022 by Phil Davis 18 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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