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A Denarius of C. Vibius C.f. Pansa

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My coins from Frank S. Robinson's latest auction just arrived in the mail today, among which is this Republican denarius.

Vibia was a prominent Plebian family during the Republic. Gaius Vibius Pansa was a moneyer in 90 BCE and was proscribed by Sulla in 82-81 BCE (Dio xlv, 17, 1). He was probably the adoptive father of the C. Vibius Pansa Caetronianus who issued coins in 48 BCE, was consul in 43 BCE, and fought with Julius Caesar against Marc Antony. We don't know much about him otherwise.

The coins of this issue have a control mark under the chin of Apollo on the obverse. There are several dozen such control marks known. This coin is a double die match to BMC 1860,0328.196.


C Vibius C.f. Pansa, 90 BCE.
Roman AR denarius, 3.87 g, 18.2 mm, 1 h.
Rome, 90 BCE.
Obv: Laureate head of Apollo right; PANSA behind, control mark (prow) below chin.
Rev: Minerva in quadriga right, holding spear and reins in left hand and trophy in right hand; C·VIBIVS·C·F in exergue.
Refs: Crawford RRC 342/5b; Sydenham CRR 684-684c; BMCRR 2265; Sear RCV 242.

Do you have any coins of Gaius Vibius C.f. Pansa? Let's see them!!

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Nice! The only Vibius Pansa I have is from the son, C. Vibius C. f. C. n. Pansa Caetronianus (Crawford 449/1a), with Pan on the obverse and Jupiter A[n]xurius on the reverse -- I just posted it yesterday for comparison purposes in the Pantikapaion thread. 


There are a number of types issued by your Vibius Pansa that I would love to have, but have never found any examples that are nice enough for me to want, but aren't so expensive I can't afford them. A problem I often encounter!

Among the types I would very much want are one with Silenus on the obverse and Pan on the reverse (Cr. 342/1), and one with Pan on the obverse and Silenus on the reverse (Cr. 342/2) (speaking of the difference between the two, discussed in the Pantikapaion thread). Here are excellent examples of each, found on acsearch:



Also, I'd love to have an example of Cr. 342/3a or 3b, each with Apollo on the obverse and Ceres on the reverse holding a torch in each hand, walking behind a pig:


I wish any of these were mine, but alas no.

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I like your coin, @Roman Collector. What distinguishes it from the classic RR denarius reverse with quadrigas is the trophy held by Minerva. 

I also have a denarius from his son. The ultra low budget of the coin presented by @DonnaML


I was extremely annoyed because originally the coin had massive horn silver so I cleaned it. But it revealed extreme pitting. So my decision was very wrong. 



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Great new addition from Frank #alwaysbetterinhand Robinson!

And good thread idea. We all post our best Pansa coins and have our Pansa off😉


C. Vibius C.f. Pansa.
90 B.C.E. AR denarius (16.5 mm, 3.70 g, 6 h). Rome mint. PANSA, laureate head of Apollo right, liitus below chin / C·VIBIVS·CF, Minerva driving quadriga right, holding reins and spear. Crawford 324/5b

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Nice addition to your collection, @Roman Collector.  I have one of these, and your post inspired me to clean up the attribution.  Mine has a thunderbolt control mark, and as you can plainly see, the hair is a lot different than yours.  Mine has two long locks going down the neck, the same as the one posted by @Ryro above.  As David Crosby said, "let your freak flag fly!" 


This difference is outlined in detail in this terrific Coin Week article I just found today - a Beckmann-esque treatment of Apollo's hair, die-links, etc.  I think mine and Ryro's are the Group C, while yours would be Group A (short hair):

Another Batch of Control-Marked Ancient Roman Denarii in RRDP

By American Numismatic Society June 14, 2023 By Alice Sharpless for American Numismatic Society (ANS)

RRC 342/5 (Fig. 1) is the largest of the three types, but the obverse dies are shared between them.  Currently, five dies are known that are used between 342/3 and 342/4, two between 342/3 and 342/5, 12 between 342/4 and 342/5, and one that is used with all three types. Estimates for the production of all denarii of RRC 342 are provided in Table 1. In order to increase coverage, Schaefer’s work has been supplemented with an additional 548 specimens from Coinage of the Roman Republic Online (CRRO).  The estimate of 1,152–1,319 total obverse dies increases Crawford’s estimate of c. 1,000 dies.

Another notable feature of RRC 342/3, 342/4, and 342/5 is that the obverse heads show a wide variety of styles. Crawford split them into six stylistic groups (adapted from Sydenham), mostly distinguished by the length and style of the hair. Crawford’s groups are as follows, with the links to the dies he used as examples of each type in RRC (Pl. XLIV):

A (Schaefer RRC 342/3 Obverse 14),

A-C (Schaefer RRC 342/3 Obverse 5),

C (Sharpless RRC 342/5 Obverse 1346),

B (Schaefer RRC 342/5 Obverse 1105),

D (Schaefer RRC 342/5 Obverse D1)

E (Schaefer RRC 342/5 Obverse E2).

Group A features short hair with tight curls, C has long hair divided into two locks down the neck, A-C is a “combination” of these two types with slightly longer hair than A but shorter than C. Group B features a smaller head also with short hair but less curly than A. Groups D and E both have long hair which is bound into a bun with two long locks draped over the neck, but are distinguished by different facial features.

Although Crawford’s groups highlight some of the most common stylistic types, there are some additional stylistic variations that occur. Most of these could be associated with Crawford’s group C based on the length and style of the hair, but there are variations in facial features. A few examples of these variations are Schaefer RRC 342/5 Obverse 1044, which features a large nose and large eye; Schaefer RRC 342/5 Obverse

1006, which has a slim profile with long slightly pointed nose; and Schaefer RRC 342/5 Obverse 1054, with a long neck, flat nose, and large eye. Another unusual feature of these RRC types is the existence of five obverse dies with bead and reel borders (fig. 2).


I've been hunting up some die-matches for my thunderbolt, but have not found any yet (this is such a huge issue, there is a lot to look over!).  Interestingly, I have found some thunderbolts with short hair, so the control symbols do not seem to be associated with any particular bust style.  


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There must have been a hoard which hit the market last year.  London Ancient Coins had quite a few nice ones around Christmas-time.  I picked out one with toning, which presumably wasn't part of the hoard.


C. Vibius C.f. Pansa, Rome 90 BC. AR Denarius (20mm, 3.92g, 6h). Laureate head of Apollo r.; symbol below chin. R/ Minerva driving galloping quadriga r. Crawford 342/5b; cf. RBW 1287; RSC Vibia 2.

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19 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

There must have been a hoard which hit the market last year. 

Quite possible, though the type was already common before last year. I bought the example below in 2019:


Roman Republic, moneyer: C. Vibius Pansa, AR denarius, 90 BC, Rome mint. Obv: laureate head of Apollo r.; behind, PANSA downwards; before, control-mark. Rev: Minerva in quadriga r., holding spear and reins in l. hand and trophy in r. hand; in exergue, C VIBIVS C F. 19mm, 3.67g. Ref: RRC 342/5b.

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Another Vibius Pansa type:



C. Vibius C.f. Pansa
AR Denarius, 90 BC, Rome
Obv.: PANSA, Laureate head of Apollo right, symbol below chin
Rev.: C VIBIVS C F, Ceres walking right, holding two torches, pig in front
Ag, 17.5mm, 3.99g
Ref.: Cr. 342/3a, Sear 241

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