Benefactor DonnaML Posted July 1, 2022 · Benefactor Benefactor Share Posted July 1, 2022 (edited) As anyone interested in the very large "Apollo/galloping horseman" issues of L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi and his son C. Calpurnius Piso L.f. Frugi is probably aware, by far the most common type, especially for the father (see footnote below) shows a horseman galloping right on the reverse, holding a palm-branch. The one coin of Lucius (the father) that I previously owned falls into that category: Roman Republic, L. [Lucius] Calpurnius Piso Frugi, AR Denarius, 90 BCE. Obv. Laureate head of Apollo right (control marks H behind and F below) / Rev. Naked horseman galloping right holding palm frond in upraised left hand (control marks G above and H below), L• PISO FRUGI beneath. Crawford 340/1, RSC I Calpurnia 11, Sear RCV I 235/1, BMCRR 1938-2129 [this combination of two-letter control marks is not recorded in BMCRR; cf. BMCRR 2120 (H, F on obv. paired with C, A on rev.)]. 17 mm., 4.02 g. Purchased from Sphinx Numismatics, May 11, 2018. And here's my one coin issued by Caius, Lucius's son, on which the horseman also gallops right but doesn't hold anything except his horse's reins: Roman Republic, C. [Caius/Gaius] Calpurnius Piso L.f. [son of Lucius] Frugi [son-in-law of Cicero, married to Tullia], AR Denarius, 67-59 BCE, Rome Mint. Obv. Laureate head of Apollo right in high relief, hair long and in ringlets; behind, control symbol ɸ (Greek letter phi) (Crawford obverse die 32; Hersh 1976* obverse die O-33) / Rev. Naked horseman galloping right wearing shaped conical cap, holding reins but carrying no palm branch or other object; above, control symbol sword [Crawford] or knife [Hersh 1976] with curved blade [Crawford reverse die 43, Hersh 1976 reverse die R-1038]; beneath horse, C• PISO• L• F• FRVG [with VG blurred on die]. Crawford 408/1a [Apollo laureate rather than wearing fillet]; BMCRR Rome 3774 [this die combination]; Hersh 1976 at p. 32, Corpus No. 89 [this die combination]; RSC I Calpurnia 24j [Apollo laureate/horseman wearing conical cap & carrying no palm branch or other object]; Harlan, Michael, Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins 63 BCE - 49 BCE (2d ed. 2015) (“Harlan RRM II”), Ch. 7 at pp. 54-59; Sear RCV I 348; Sydenham 846. 18 mm., 3.86 g. 6 h. [Double die-match to Ira & Larry Goldberg Auction 80, Lot 3048, 03.06.2014, previously sold by LHS Numismatik AG, Auction 100, Lot 398, 23/04/2007. ]** [Footnotes omitted; see https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-denarius-no-50-c-calpurnius-piso-l-f-frugi.377452/ for footnotes.] In the recent Naville Numismatics auction, I saw an example of the father's issue with the horseman galloping left rather than right, and holding a torch rather than a palm-branch -- both of which are scarcer than the type I already had -- and decided to bid on it. Fortunately, the bid was successful (for a surprisingly low price); the coin arrived yesterday. Here it is, with my write-up: Roman Republic, L. [Lucius] Calpurnius Piso Frugi, AR Denarius, 90 BCE. Obv. Laureate head of Apollo right; behind, control-symbol (quiver); beneath chin, * [= XVI; mark of value]; bead and reel border / Rev. Naked horseman galloping left holding lit torch in upraised right hand; above, control-symbol (arrow left); below in two lines, L•PISO•L•F | FRVGI. Crawford 340/1; BMCRR I 1861 [same combination of control-symbols quiver & arrow, Nos. 3 & 4 in table of control-symbols at p. 252 fn.]; RSC I [Babelon] Calpurnia 9 (ill. p. 24, same sub-type but diff. control symbols); Sear RCV I 235/2 (ill. p. 117, diff. control symbols and var. rev. legend); Sydenham 651/652. 21 mm., 3.68 g. Purchased from Naville Numismatics Ltd. Auction 74, 19 Jun 2022, Lot 352; ex C. [Carlo] Crippa Sale 1, Monete e Medaglie, Milano 1968, Lot 145.* This is Naville's photo; I think the coin looks sharper in hand but I haven't had a chance to take my own yet: *See https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=L%20PISO%20FRVGI, citing Sear RCV I at p. 117: “David Sear notes in [Sear] RCV I, on page 117, ‘The extraordinarily large and complex issue [of Lucius Calpurnius Piso L.f. L.n Frugi, in 90 B.C.] represents one of the principal war-coinages of the Romans during the conflict with the Marsic Confederation. The control marks are legion and consist of letters, numerals, and symbols in a multitude of combinations on obv. and rev." As H.A. Seaby notes in RSC I at page 25, “This is one of the most prolific issues in the whole republican series, the British Museum collection alone contains over 300 different varieties. The type of the head of Apollo and of the horseman refers to the Ludi Apollinares which were established in B.C. 212, the annual celebration of which was proposed by the praetor L. Calpurnius Piso, an ancestor of the moneyer. There are four chief varieties of the reverse type: -- (a) horseman left with torch; (b) horseman l. with palm; (c) horseman right with palm; (d) horseman r. with whip; these may refer to the different types of horse-racing that took place at the games." See also https://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?radd=1&vpar=18&zpg=112487 for further details regarding the Social War: “Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi's massive issue was struck to support Rome in the Social War against the Marsic Confederation, the Marsi, Peligni, Piceni, Vestini, Samnites, Frentani, Marrucini, and Lucani. Despite making up over half the Roman army, the Italians had been denied Roman citizenship and denied a fair share of the booty and lands taken in Rome's conquests. In 91 B.C., they rebelled with an army of 100,000 battle-hardened soldiers, most Roman army veterans. In 90 B.C., Rome only just managed to stave off total defeat. After some Roman victories and citizenship concessions, the war was nearly over by 88 B.C. The type has numerous variations and control marks, indicating the enormity of the issue. The head of Apollo and the horseman refer to the Ludi Apollinares, games which were first held in 212 B.C. The following year, the praetor C. Calpurnius Piso, an ancestor of this moneyer, made the games a permanent annual event to honor of Apollo to maintain his support of the public health.” Harlan RRM II notes at p. 56 that that the Ludi Apollinares were made permanent in the same year, 211, in which Hannibal broke off his assault on Rome without ever joining battle, an outcome ascribed to Apollo’s divine intervention. According to Crawford Vol. I at p. 340, there are 864 different known obverse dies and 1,080 different reverse dies for the issue – which is more than twice as many as the number of dies known for the similarly-designed issue (also depicting Apollo on the obverse and a galloping horseman on the reverse) by this moneyer’s son, C. Calpurnius Piso L.f. Frugi, in 67-59 BCE (opinions differ on the precise year); see Crawford 408/1. However, by contrast to the extensive die analyses conducted for the son’s issue (see, e.g. Crawford I Table XLII at pp. 420-435; Hersh, Charles A., “A Study of the Coinage of the Moneyer C. Calpurnius Piso L.f. Frugi,” The Numismatic Chronicle, Seventh Series, Vol. 16 at pp. 7-63 (1976) [https://www.jstor.org/stable/42664788?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents]), no detailed die study of the father’s (L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi’s) issue has ever been completed. The one referenced by Crawford -- see Crawford I p. 340 (“A full treatment of this issue, with its complex systems of control-marks, would have to be on a scale out of all proportion with the rest of this book . . . . For full details see R. Grassby and M.H. Crawford, The denarius coinage of L. Piso Frugi (forthcoming)”) -- was never published. However, a limited table showing pairs of control-symbols on coins of this issue in the British Museum’s collection as of 1904 (but not attempting to list the many types using control-letters, numbers, or fractional signs rather than symbols) was published in a footnote at BMCRR I p. 252; this coin, as noted above, has symbol No. 3 on the obverse and No. 4 on the reverse: It is evident from the varieties of this issue seen on the market that although there are approximately as many sub-types listed with the horseman riding left as there are with the horseman riding right, the latter comprise the substantial majority of the coins of this issue offered for sale. (In fact, I’ve never noticed a specimen with the horseman galloping left offered at retail; only at auction.) Although Acsearch can be a rather crude measure given that there is no way of filtering out duplicates, an auction search I did for the words Piso Frugi, [Crawford] 340, 90 [BC], and horseman yielded 1,470 results. Adding “left” and “right” to the search yielded, respectively, 231 and 720 results, i.e., approximately 75% for horsemen riding right. (The approximately 500 “missing” coins in those results probably represent the many descriptions using “l.” and “r.” rather than the full words left and right; I found no way of searching for those.) In addition, regardless of the left vs. right issue, coins on which the horseman is holding a palm-branch also comprise a substantial majority of coins of this issue offered for sale: adding the words “palm,” “torch,” and “whip” to my original search, successively, yielded a total of 1,299 results for palm, 75 for torch, and 40 for whip. Of the 75 coins with a horseman holding a torch, however, those with the horseman riding left were in the majority, constituting 47 of the 75 (including coins using “l.” and “r.” rather than spelling out those words). But only 47 out of 1,470 is still a small minority. An even smaller number (5 out of the 47) were the same variety as mine (RSC I Calpurnia 9, with L•PISO•L•F | FRVGI in two lines as the reverse legend, and “ROMA” absent from the legend). And I found only one of the five with the same control-symbol combination of quiver and arrow as mine – the specimen sold as NAC Auction 78, 26.05.2014, Lot 613; see https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=1995547; image at https://www.acsearch.info/image.html?id=1995547: The NAC specimen is definitely a double-die match to mine, but not the same specimen, as the strike is off-center to a slightly different extent. The only other example I’ve found that’s an exact match to mine in terms of both sub-type and control-symbols is the specimen at the British Museum noted above, catalogued in BMCRR I as No. 1861, acquired in 1843 (Museum number 1843,0116.349). Although I am less certain (because the lettering on the reverse looks a bit different to me), it also may be a double-die match: So far as I know, then, my coin appears to be one of only three specimens of this precise sub-type with the same control-symbols. Given the absence of any published die study for the denarii of L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi, it's probably not surprising that I haven't found any authority stating whether there is only one pair of dies for each sub-type with a given control-symbol combination. Although that is often the case with other large Republican issues. Please post your Piso Frugi coins -- father and/or son. I'd especially like to see any scarce or unusual varieties you may have, and to know whether you agree with me that it's harder to find horsemen galloping left than galloping right. Edited July 2, 2022 by DonnaML 20 2 1 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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