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A Crude but Charming Republican Denarius with an Excellent Provenance


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Rufus_Den.jpeg.e60c2d7525536ca50a3d81fd6f4d6635.jpeg

ROMAN REPUBLIC
Q. Minucius Rufus, moneyer
AR Denarius, Rome mint. 122 BC
Wt.: 3.73g
Dia.: 19.9mm
Obv.: Helmeted head of Roma right; X (mark of value) below chin, RVF behind.
Rev.: Dioscuri on horseback riding right; Q MINV / ROMA below.
Ref.: Crawford 277/1; Sydenham 421
Ex Archer M. Huntington Collection (1870-1955); American Numismatic Society (1001.1.25440) as part of a loan from the Hispanic Society of America in 1947; (CNG E-auction 328, June 11, 2014), lot 429; Ex Minotaur Coins, purchased May 2022.

The Moneyer
Q Minucius Rufus

The moneyer who struck this coin was Q Minucius Rufus.  He was a member of the gens Minucia, which was one of the oldest families in Republican Rome.  The original branch of the family was patrician, but the branch that Q Minucius Rufus belonged to was plebian.  This was not uncommon among great Roman families and presumably one of Q. M. Rufus’s ancestors had been adopted into a plebian family in order to be eligible for the Tribunate.  Rufus means “red” in Latin, which may be a reference to hair color.  Several members of the Rufus branch of the family held consulships and at least one important member was killed in the Battle at Cannae against Hannibal.

Crawford notes that Q Minucius Rufus may have been a supporter of Gaius Gracchus as were many of the Moneyers from 123-121 BC.  Interestingly, a man named Minucius Rufus was Tribune in 121 BC and acted against Gracchus to repeal a law authorizing a colony at the site of ruined Carthage.  This Minucius Rufus may have been the Moneyer’s (Q Minucius Rufs) younger brother.  If one, or both, of the brothers were Gracchus supporters, they seem to have escaped the retribution of the Senate in the aftermath of Gracchus’s downfall and suicide in 121 BC.  In 110 BC Q Minucius Rufus served as Legatus and his younger brother was made Consol in that same year.

The Provenance
The Archer M. Huntington III Collection

Archer Huntington (1870-1955) was the stepson (and rumored biological son) of the railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington.  The Huntington fortune was built on railroads.  Collis was a primary investor in the first transcontinental railroad and played a key role in building lines that now make up the most important parts of the Union Pacific and CSX Railway networks.  When Collis died in 1900, Archer inherited a vast fortune that allowed him to turn his efforts toward philanthropy and supporting the arts.

He was particularly passionate about Spanish culture. He established the Hispanic Society of America in 1904.  His personal art collection was centered on the cultures of the Iberian Peninsula and any culture that interacted with them (however indirectly).  He amassed one of the finest private coin collections in the world at that time.  He joined the American Numismatic Society in 1899 and served as its president from 1905 to 1910.  He provided both the encouragement and funding to build the ANS building at Audubon Terrace in 1907 which served as the association’s headquarters until 2007.

ANS_HSA.jpeg.8d90d1e7fad3cd192922861e3923e8c6.jpeg
The ANS building (far right) shown next to the HSA building (center) shortly after their construction (Photo taken in 1908). Courtesy of Archives, American Numismatic Society

In 1947 Archer Huntington loaned a group of about 38,000 coins from his collection to the ANS in a transfer documented as the “1947 Loan.” Before 1947 the coins were held in storage by the HSA. My new coin was numbered 25440 of this group by the HSA.  Mr. Huntington officially transferred the ownership of these coins to the HSA in 1949. The coins continued to be on loan to the ANS.

In 2007, the HSA cancelled the Huntington Collection loan to the ANS and requested the coins be returned to them.  There was a subsequent legal battle that ended with the HSA recovering the collection.  In March of 2012 the entire collection was sold by Sotheby’s to a group of dealers.

Please Post your;

  • ROMA / Dioscuri denarii
  • Crude but charming coins
  • Ex ANS or Huntington provenances
  • Coins of the gens Minucia
Edited by Curtisimo
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Posted · Benefactor

Charming indeed!  Even if Roma doesn't look as fetching as she usually does. Perhaps someone just punched her in the mouth, or she had lip injections.

I have nothing from the gens Minucia, but I do have a couple of Roman Republican denarii depicting the Dioscuri with Roma on the obverse:

 Roman Republic, C. Antestius, AR Denarius 146 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right wearing winged helmet with peaked visor (ornamented with griffin’s head?), pearl necklace, and earring of pellets in form of bunch of grapes, C • ANTESTI upwards behind [partially off flan, ANTE ligate], X [mark of value, 10 asses]* beneath chin / Rev. Dioscuri holding spears, on horseback galloping right; puppy running right below horses’ hooves, with both forefeet raised; in exergue, ROMA; minor flan flaws on reverse. Crawford 219/1e, RSC I Antestia 1, BMCRR I 859, Sear RCV I 95/1 (ill.), Sydenham 411. 19 mm.. 3.76 g., 3 h.  Ex. CNG Auction 378, July 13, 2016, Lot 408; ex. RBW [Richard B. Witschonke] Collection; ex. BCD Collection [see old coin ticket], purchased by RBW from BCD March 1985; ex. ASW [Alan S. Walker, currently Dir. of Nomos AG]. ** [Footnotes omitted.]

image.jpeg.f067bf6eb3af77af0cd5b41b86f8f028.jpeg

Roman Republic, C. Servilius M.f., AR Denarius 136 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right wearing winged helmet, wreath behind neck, ROMA beneath with * [X with bar through it = XVI monogram] to left / Rev. Dioscuri on horseback galloping in opposite directions, heads turned back to face each other, both twins holding their spears downwards behind horses, C. SERVEILI M F in exergue. RSC I Servilia 1, Crawford 239/1, Sydenham 525, Sear RCV I 116 (ill.), BMCRR Italy 540. 19.35 mm., 3.89 g. [Sear says that this is the first Republican denarius with “ROMA” legend on obverse, and the second to use the monogram for XVI .] image.jpeg.cfd832c134b574b592dd2e7f2fa87e17.jpeg

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Lovely toning and fascinating provenance! Coin-gratulations!

[IMG]
L. Cupiennius, 147 BC.
Roman Republican AR denarius, 3.89 g, 17.7 mm, 3 h.
Rome, 147 BC.
Obv: Helmeted head of Roma, right; cornucopiae behind; denominational mark X before.
Rev: Dioscuri galloping right; L·CVP (VP ligatured) below; ROMA in exergue.
Refs: Crawford (RRC) 218/1; RSC Cupiennia 1; Sydenham (CRR) 404; RCV 94.

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Posted · Supporter

172044510_normal_Republik_14_0(1).jpg.4568dd99897aeabf4bb2b9a1d461928c.jpg

Cn. Lucretius Trio.
AR Denarius, 136 BC, Rome
Obv: TRIO, Helmeted head of Roma right; X (mark of value) below chin.
Rev: CN LVCR / ROMA, The Dioscuri galloping right.
Ag, 17.4x19.6mm, 3.87g
Ref.: Crawford 237/1a.

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Even though I of course knew is name, it's the first time I read about Archer Huntington's life, thank you for that @Curtisimo and for an interesting coin & story

 

5 hours ago, DonnaML said:

or she had lip injections.

Haha, yes, now I will see that everytime I'm given the opportunity to seeing this coin

Dioscuri :

53e627d0c7c44acab09749f94e13ab7a.jpg

M. Atilius Saranus, Denarius - Rome mint, 148 BC
Helmeted head of Rome right, SARAN downwards behind, X below chin
Dioscurs riding right, M.ATILI in field, ROMA at exergue
3.66 gr
Ref : RCV # 92, RSC, Atilia # 8v.

 

And the following, minted the same year, that I parted with many years ago

27b2817f352e45d292d3d20418475eef.jpg

Q. Marcius Libo, Denarius - Rome mint, 148 BC
Helmeted head of Rome right, LIBO behind, X below chin
Dioscurs riding right, Q MARC in field, ROMA at exergue
3.57 gr
Ref : RCV # 90, RSC, Marcia # 1

Q

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Posted · Supporter

A charming coin – the colorful toning makes it very attractive in my eyes.

This denarius might be considered crude, particularly because of the significant flan flaw and die break on the obverse. But just as your coin, @Curtisimo, it came with a solid provenance (part of the Hommel collection, acquired in 1973 from Peus) and has lovely toning. I'm happy to have it in my collection.

1345466004_RomischeRepublikRRC2561MetellusJupiterinQuadriga.png.ddc20884cd0f1abbc8ff0527afd2e0d2.png

Roman Republic, moneyer: Q. Caecilius Metellus Balearicus, AR denarius, 130 BC, Rome mint. Obv: Q·METE (ligated); head of Roma, helmeted, r.; before, crossed X. Rev: ROMA; Jupiter in quadriga, r., holding reins and thunderbolt in l. hand and branch in r. hand. 20mm, 3.87g. RRC 256/1. Ex Peus, Lagerliste 26, lot 99 (1973); ex Hommel collection

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Here's my only ex Huntington coin:

1278022792_OctAnt.jpg.a589df0ff1fe7c241f7afb4c89815803.jpg

 

I wrote a bit about this coin somewhere else; site name escapes me:

The portrait of Antony is first rate, but I especially like the revealing portrait of Octavian. Some of his portraits on this type are merely insipid (and some, interestingly, resemble Antony, showing who was boss in their relationship then...), but this one brilliantly depicts him as the smirking bloodthirsty twerp he truly was

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Awesome Denarius and Provenance, Brother Curtiss!  I like that!  Smack dab in the Gracchi reforms and controversies that ultimately destroyed the Republic 80 years later...

Early ROMA / DIOSCURI Denarii

image.png.80bed92671847b66eb3bb7ff88e01a7b.png

RR Anon AR denarius Roma 211-206 BCE ROMA incus Dioscuri single horn-helmet Sear-- Craw 68-1b SICILY ISSUE R 

 

AGAIN...

image.png.b22f80cdd4e867c1122e7becc3849d3a.png

RR AR Denarius 214-208 BCE Roma R X behind - Dioscuri R ROMA linear frame stars Sicily R Cr 68-1b

 

And a Quinarius Version

image.png.ee6226ef7c113b0819cb4fb4687ed767.png

RR Anon after 211 BCE AR Quinarius 2.12g Helmeted hd Roma - Dioscuri riding Cr 68-2b was 44-6 RSC 3

ex: Clain-Stefanelli

 

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Posted · Supporter

Great new coin Curtis! Love the toning and that provenance is outstanding!

"Crude but charming" describes much of my collection... and me. 

Here's a gens Minucia from a dozen years earlier and the time of the Gracchi Brothers!

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Ti. Minucius Augurinus

AR Denarius (18 mm, 3.88 g). Rome, 134 BCE.

Obv. Helmeted head of Roma right, star (mark of value) behind.

Rev: ROMA / TI MINVCI C F / AVGVRINI, Ionic column surmounted by statue; at base, two stalks of grain; to the left, L. Minucius Augurinus standing right, holding patera, foot on modius; to the right, M. Minucius Faesus standing left, holding lituus.

Crawford 243/1.

And a Rufus (talk about an ancient name that conjures images of a modern junk yard owner) from 76 years later, don't know if there's a relationship with your Rufus:

IMG_0754(1).PNG.52047099ad6f7fb40f61115b8a015044.PNG

Mn. Cordius Rufus

Denarius 46, AR 18.9 MM 4.07g. RVFVS·III.VIR Jugate heads of Dioscuri r., wearing laureate pileii . Rev. MN. CORDIVS Venus standing l., holding scales in r. hand and sceptre in l., with Cupid perched on shoulder. Babelon Cordia 2. Sydenham 976. Sear Imperators 63

 

 

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Octavius said:

 RR  anonymous c. 211 BCE, denarius , Roma / dioscuri...

Wonderful coin @Octaviusas always! That portrait of Roma is RR coin engraving at its finest!

16 hours ago, CPK said:

Interesting coin and write-up! Thanks for sharing.

Thanks @CPK. Nice Roma / Dioscuri denarius addition.

12 hours ago, DonnaML said:

...or she had lip injections.

😆🤣 Now I’m going to have a hard time not thinking of this coin as “duck face” Roma!

12 hours ago, DonnaML said:

I do have a couple of Roman Republican denarii depicting the Dioscuri

Wonderful coins. I especially like the C. Servilius with the Dioscuri galloping in opposite directions. Much less common depiction of them.

12 hours ago, Roman Collector said:

Lovely toning and fascinating provenance! Coin-gratulations!

Thanks RC! Nice denarius!

7 hours ago, shanxi said:

Cn. Lucretius Trio.
AR Denarius, 136 BC, Rome

Beautiful coin @shanxi!

6 hours ago, Qcumbor said:

Even though I of course knew is name, it's the first time I read about Archer Huntington's life, thank you for that @Curtisimo and for an interesting coin & story

Thanks Q! It was an enjoyable research experience. I also owe a big thanks to @Altamura over at Forvm who helped me with information on the whole HSA / ANS saga.

Great coins as well Q!

6 hours ago, Ursus said:

A charming coin – the colorful toning makes it very attractive in my eyes.

This denarius might be considered crude, particularly because of the significant flan flaw and die break on the obverse. But just as your coin, @Curtisimo, it came with a solid provenance (part of the Hommel collection

Thanks Bjorn! 😀

I like your denarius very much! The reverse is beautiful and even with the die break you can tell the style is quite nice.  Of course the provenance is wonderful! I have an ex Hommel coin as well.

D65824FD-A8BF-486E-9440-7C0DD3AD675F.jpeg.cf0b33e1a1e12837fd3c8968c7709bae.jpeg

Roman Republican
Q. Cassius Longinus, moneyer
AR Denarius, Rome mint, struck 55 BC
Dia.: 20.2 mm
Wt.: 3.95g
Obv.: Head of Libertas right, wearing hair collected into a knot, decorated with jewels, and falling down neck, and wearing single-drop earring and necklace of pendants; LIBERT upward to left, Q • CASSIVS downward to right.
Rev.: Temple of Vesta, circular, surmounted by figure holding scepter and patera, flanked by antefixes; curule chair within; urn to left, tabella (voting tablet) [inscribed AC (Absolvo Condemno)] to right.
Ref.: Crawford 428/2; Sydenham 918
Ex Prof Dr Hildebrecht Hommel Collection, acquired from Hirsch, Auction 63 (July 1969), lot 2454; Ex Dr. Busso Peus Nachf., Auction 422 (April 26, 2018), lot 424 (part of); Ex Kölner Münzkabinet Auction 109, Lot 360 (November 16, 2018)
 

2 hours ago, Phil Davis said:

Here's my only ex Huntington coin:

There are no words for the beauty of this coin except wow! 😯 

Edited by Curtisimo
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Alegandron said:

Awesome Denarius and Provenance, Brother Curtiss!  I like that!  Smack dab in the Gracchi reforms and controversies that ultimately destroyed the Republic 80 years later...

Thanks Brian! I knew you would like the Gracchi historical tie in. Your early Roma / Dioscuri coins are all fantastic. I would show my early Roma here if I hadn’t already showed 100 times on this site already. 🙈 

Great coins and thanks for commenting my friend!

5 hours ago, antwerpen2306 said:

I have 3 coins from the Minucia gens

Wonderful additions. Thanks for showing them@antwerpen2306!

5 hours ago, Ryro said:

Great new coin Curtis! Love the toning and that provenance is outstanding!

"Crude but charming" describes much of my collection... and me. 

Lol thanks man. Be it with friends or coins, I’ll associate with crude and charming any time. 😃 Great coins Ryan!

5 hours ago, Ryro said:

And a Rufus (talk about an ancient name that conjures images of a modern junk yard owner) from 76 years later, don't know if there's a relationship with your Rufus:

The Rufus who struck your coin was from a different family than the one who struck mine. Q. Minucius Rufus was from the gens Minucia and Mn. Cordius Rufus was from the gens Cordia.

Somewhere along the line they must both have had an ancestor with red hair which is probably where the Rufus (=red) cognomen came from.

An interesting fact about your moneyer is that his family was from the Alban town of Tusculum. That is where the main cult-center to the Dioscuri was located which explains the jugate busts of the Dioscuri on your coin.

Crawford also notes there was an inscription found at Tusculum that names him as a Praetor. He was a supporter of Caesar.

A photo of the site of Tusculum today:

1C1C0366-536A-4C15-90B6-CB6C0F4AA53B.jpeg.87cc826d366b8d5ee665bed4db9cd8c3.jpeg

Edited by Curtisimo
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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Curtisimo said:

 

Please Post your;

  • ROMA / Dioscuri denarii
  • Crude but charming coins
  • Ex ANS or Huntington provenances
  • Coins of the gens Minucia

A nice post, @Curtisimo, and a good looking coin with great provenance.  Looks like some nice irridescent toning too.   Here's one of my Minuciae - with notes on the Gracchi context.

image.png.3d81839f50bf6eb6a5918eb0ce00387b.png

This hairstyle and big lips must have been popular at this time - here's a similar look for Roma on a coin of C. Cato 123 (grandson of Cato the Elder and consul in 114).  This coin issued the year that Gaius Gracchus served as Tribune of the Plebs for the first time.

image.png.42a85a466daebeac564942ae1520f789.png

Edited by Sulla80
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I guess I have a coin from the gens Minucia after all, even though it didn't come immediately to mind because the family isn't named on the coin:

Roman Republic, Q. Thermus M.f., AR Denarius 103 BCE. Obv. Head of Mars left with crested, plumed helmet/ Rev. Roman soldier advancing right, fighting with uplifted sword a barbarian soldier before him, while protecting with shield a fallen comrade at his feet, Q THERM.MF. in exergue (THE and MF in monograms). RSC I Minucia [Q. Minucius Rufus] 19 (ill.), Crawford 319/1, Sear RCV I 198 (ill.), BMCRR Italy 653. 19.4 mm., 3.97 g.

image.jpeg.32994e5a4104b1ba1198b4032e873cbf.jpeg

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7 hours ago, Sulla80 said:

A nice post, @Curtisimo, and a good looking coin with great provenance.  Looks like some nice irridescent toning too.   Here's one of my Minuciae - with notes on the Gracchi context.

Thanks @Sulla80! Great coins too!

I enjoyed reading your blog post and left a comment as such. I am curious... do you post content both to your blog and to NF or is there some of your coins and write ups that you only post on your blog?

2 hours ago, DonnaML said:

I guess I have a coin from the gens Minucia after all

And an excellent one at that! This reverse type is on my list. Active battle scenes are really not as common on ancient coins as one might think. This reverse is pretty unique as far as I am aware with the defense of a comrade aspect. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Curtisimo said:

I am curious... do you post content both to your blog and to NF or is there some of your coins and write ups that you only post on your blog?

Thanks, @Curtisimo, for the comment and the question.  I use the blog as my notes on coins, so it is always the most up-to-date set of information that I've compiled. NF (and other forum) posts are sometimes the starting point and sometimes extracts from notes.  On the Notes pages I add new coins, combine posts, add references, correct and update the material as I revisit a coin or learn more about a period of history.  Some posts originate as forum posts, although lately I have been posting shorter versions of my notes with a link to longer notes pages for those interested.  sullacoins.com is always a work in progress - I experiment with different routes to make the materials useful (for myself and others): e.g. I am currently adding better linking between RR photo gallery  organized by Crawford number, and notes page (e.g. this coin) ....constructive suggestions are always appreciated - visitors have been a valued source of ideas and information.

Edited by Sulla80
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Posted (edited)

Hi Curtisimo => congrats on adding that cool new Dioscuri denarius (a total keeper ... especially with that slick provenance!)

... oh, and nuthin' but winners from the rest of the energetic coin-troop!! (yup, the coin-gang are really on their A-game in this thread!)

 

* rats * ... I don't think I owned a Dioscuri denarius? (FAIL)

I've probably posted this baby already, but I can't resist posting this sweet ol' drachm, with the Dioscuri strutting their stuff on the ancient cat-walk (a classic) ... how 'bout I merely post the cool reverse (ummm, is that acceptable, Curtisimo?)

 

 

ANTONINUS PIUS, Alexandria, Bronze Drachm

138-161 AD

Egypt, Alexandria, year 8, (144-145AD)

Diameter: 33mm

Weight: 23.15 grams

Obverse: Laureate bust of Antoninus Pius facing right

Reverse: Serapis wearing the modius between the Dioscuri, LH in exergue

Reference: Reference: Dattari 1109

Other: Rare

Ex-stevex6 (now a TIF coin … aka, The Coin Princess)

Antoninus Pius Alexandrian Three Peeps b.jpg

 

... thanks for letting me tag-along on this great thread

Edited by Steve
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Sulla80 said:

  I use the blog as my notes on coins, so it is always the most up-to-date set of information

Great to know.  I'll try and keep a closer eye on your blog.

5 hours ago, Steve said:

I can't resist posting this sweet ol' drachm, with the Dioscuri strutting their stuff on the ancient cat-walk (a classic)

A classic indeed! Your old post on this coin had me cracking up big time. It truly does look like three fashionistas doing their catwalk thing. 😆🤣 Glad that it stayed in the family and lives in @TIF's collection now.

Edited by Curtisimo
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14 hours ago, Curtisimo said:

Active battle scenes are really not as common on ancient coins as one might think. This reverse is pretty unique as far as I am aware with the defense of a comrade aspect. 

Here's a coin that's sometimes interpreted as a Roman soldier rescuing a captive Gallic warrior (perhaps belonging to an allied tribe) from his captor, another warrior about to slay him:

Roman Republic, Publius Fonteius P.f. Capito, AR Denarius 55 BCE [Harlan: 54 BCE], Rome mint. Obv. Helmeted and draped bust of Mars with slight beard, right, with trophy over far shoulder, P•FONTEIVS•P•F•CAPITO•III•VIR counter-clockwise around / Rev. Helmeted and caped Roman soldier on horseback galloping right, thrusting his spear down at helmeted Gallic warrior crouching beneath horse, holding his shield up with left hand to try to fend off horse, and thrusting sword with his right hand at unarmed captive to left; the captive’s Gallic helmet [and shield, off flan] sailing off to lower right; MN•FONT•TR•MIL clockwise above. Crawford 429/1, RSC I Fonteia 17, Sear RCV I 392 (ill.), Sydenham 900, Harlan RRM II Ch, 22 at pp. 174-175 [Harlan, Michael, Roman Republican Moneyers and Their Coins 63 BCE-49 BCE (2nd Revised Edition 2015)]. 17.8 mm., 3.97 g.  (Purchased from Zuzim Inc., Brooklyn, NY, Aug. 2020. Ex: Roma Numismatics, E-Sale 54, Feb. 28, 2019, Lot 558 [see https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=5704785]; Ex: Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 100, May 29, 2017, Lot 329 [see https://www.biddr.com/auctions/nac/browse?a=131&l=114088]; Ex: Gerhard Hirsch Auction 168, Nov. 22-24, 1990, Munich, Lot 434. Formerly in NGC slab, Cert. No. 4629554-001, Graded Ch. AU, Strike: 4/5, Surface 4/5.)*

 image.jpeg.339f9397fa649a84a0785fedeecbdb23.jpeg

*The moneyer is usually identified as either (1) the Publius Fonteius who became the adoptive father of the famous Publius Clodius Pulcher when the latter changed his patrician status to plebeian; or (2) a friend of Cicero named Fonteius, mentioned in a letter to his brother Atticus.  However, both Crawford (Vol. I at p. 453) and, at greater length, Harlan (Ch. 22 at pp. 171-173) point out the lack of evidence for either theory.  The scene on the reverse of this coin is believed to record the exploits of the moneyer’s ancestor, the military tribune Manius Fonteius (identified as such in the reverse legend), who may have been on the staff of Marcus Fonteius, governor of Narbonese (Transalpine) Gaul from 76-73 BCE. See RSC I at p. 49, Crawford Vol. I at p. 453, Harlan RRM II at pp. 174-175.

 

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