Maison Palombo   |   Auction 17   |   20 October 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 24





Estimate: 9'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 7'000 CHF Price realized: 11'000 CHF
Anonyme
60 asses - Rome (211-207)
D’une qualité exceptionnelle et d’un style remarquable.
Très rare avec cette combinaison de coins, seulement 5 exemplaires signalés par A. Campana
3.39g - Crawford 44/2 - Bahrfeldt 4
Superbe à FDC - CHOICE AU

This coin shows Mars, the God of War – the mythical father of Romulus, founder of Rome, and an eagle, standing on a thunderbolt – the bird of prey that represents immortality. This iconography is significant, as the strike of this coin occurred in the middle of the Second Punic War which lasted from 218 until 201 BC, and was possibly the deadliest and most traumatizing conflict of ancient times. This ‘War against Hannibal’ was between Carthage and the Roman Republic (with their Italic socii allies). Until that time, the monetary system of Rome was based on silver didrachms and bronze coins. Italy has no natural copper resources, and the demand for bronze for weaponry during the war, with Hannibal inflicting economic damage to the Italian peninsula, saw the weight of bronze coins decrease. Silver coins were similarly debased, which led to a loss of confidence, but rather than reform their silver coins, the Roman authorities decided, in 211 BC, to introduce an entirely new concept based on the denarius, which they backed with a temporary gold coinage. A large quantity of gold ore was required to strike Rome’s first signif- icant emission of gold coins, which was possibly provided by the plunder of Syracuse (after the siege of 213-212 BC) and Spain (after the battle of Cartagena in 209 BC), or by help provided by Egypt in 216: the reverse type evokes Ptolemaic coinage, but an iconographic prototype is also found on bronze coins struck by the Mamertines in the 280s-270s BC copied in Sicily during the First Punic War. Three types of gold coins were issued, with values of 60, 40 and 20 copper asses (in parallel to silver denarii, quinarii, quadrigati and sestertii). Whilst the silver coins continued to be struck, the gold denominations had only been required to pay mercenaries, and therefore were in existence for 2-3 years only.

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