BrianRxm Coin Stories 9/15
Roman Antoninus Pius Dacia sestertius
Identifying this coin turned into an adventure
Prev Back Next
The Coin:
Rome Antoninus sestertius Dacia
1. Antoninus Pius sestertius
Bronze, 31mm, 23.58gm
Obverse: Laureate head right, ANTONINVS AVG PIUS
Reverse: Dacia standing, holding sickle, D in lower left, S C in field
The Story:
I bought the coin on Ebay in April 2007.
The seller only described it as a "Antoninus Pius sestertius".
Antoninus Pius was the Emperor of Rome from AD 138 to AD 161.
There is a large letter 'D' to the left and below the 'S' of 'SC', and I could
not figure out what that meant.
I could not identify the coin using internet data bases like Wildwinds, and put it away.
Recently, I was able to borrow a copy of the 1930 edition of RIC Volume 3 and
found a similar coin in one of the plates, a "DACIA" sestertius, RIC 581.
("RIC" is "The Roman Imperial Coinage", written and edited by
Mattingly, Harold, Sydenham, and others,
a 10-volume catalog of Roman coins originally published in the 1920's and revised since then)
As far as I could tell, my coin was RIC 581, I posted it on a coin identification board,
and asked for verification.
A poster at another board replied that it looked like a Dacia variant with a different reverse,
Dacia holding a sickle, and that the variant was not in RIC or Cohen but was in "Strack",
possibly struck from the same dies.
("Cohen" is "Description Historique des Monnaies Frappees sous L'Empire Romain",
by Henry Cohen, an 8-volume catalog of Roman coins published in the 1880's and still used)
I did not know who "Strack" was, but I do now.
I was able to locate a copy of Paul Strack's book in the University of California (Berkeley)
library annex in Richmond, California.
Strack, Paul L.
Untersuchungen zur römischen Reichsprägung des zweiten Jahrhunderts
III Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit Antoninus Pius
Stuttgart, W. Kohlhammer, 1937
Plate IX, Number 786
The title in English is:
"Analysis of Roman Empire Coinage of the Second Century"
"Volume III Coinage of the time of Antoninus Pius"
Strack number 786 did look like my sestertius.
The big "D" to the lower left and the sickle are prominent on both coins.
Rome Antoninus sestertius Dacia Strack
2. Strack Plate IX Number 786
Strack stated that examples were in the Vatican and Leningrad Hermitage collections in the 1930's.
From RIC, Volume 3:
This coin was part of a set issued in AD 139 depicting Roman provinces offering
presents to the new Emperor.
The provinces are represented offering crowns of various shapes.
Antoninus gave half of the presents back to the provinces.
Prev Back Next