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Auction 108  16 May 2018
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Lot 399

Estimate: 500 USD
Price realized: 425 USD
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EASTERN EUROPE, Imitations of Roman Republican. Uncertain Tribe. After 29 BC. AR Denarius (17mm, 3.01 g, 6h). Hybrid issue, imitating an obverse of Octavian and a reverse of Q. Sicinius. VIII above, CΛI(retrograde EC) VIT below, shield / Palm frond and winged caduceus, in saltire; wreath above; I(VΛ) OII across field; VIVVIΛT below. Davis –; cf. Sydenham 938 (for rev. type); cf. Sicinia 5 (for rev. type). VF, toned, slight double strike on obverse.


From Phil Davis:

I think you can rule out a Civil War issue or anything else even quasi-official with complete confidence. The mis-matched types and garbled legends aren't consistent with any Civil War issue I'm aware of anyway. This is surely an ancient imitation.

I'm more hesitant about firmly describing it as Geto-Dacian though. It doesn't "look" particularly Dacian to my eye, but I'm still being surprised by coins which, based on find-spot and context, unquestionably are Dacian, so that by itself isn't a particularly persuasive argument either way. There are other considerations though. The primary "peak" period of Dacian minting was in the 80s-70s BC; too early for this coin. There was a secondary peak in the 40s BC, which fits nicely with the Cr-440/1 reverse of 49 BC, but is too early for the Octavian shield "obverse" of 30-29 BC. That late date isn't impossible for a Dacian coin-I believe the Dacians continued to strike some silver straight through to Trajan's conquest-but it is later than most. That date is more consistent with the Eraviscan imitations, but I mention that only in passing, for completeness. I've no reason at all to suspect this is Eraviscan; it surely isn't.

It's sort of ironic: I spent a fair amount of effort getting people to stop calling every RR imitation "Celtic" and to consider the possibility that many or most were in fact Dacian, but I've learned to be cautious about categorically using that description as well. The complicating truth is that there were other peoples imitating RR denarii around the same time; in Central Europe, in Thrace, in Serbia and Bulgaria, who knows where else. Some of these may in fact have been struck by Dacians, whether traders or imperialists; others seem to have been struck within a sort of Dacian economic sphere but by non-Dacian peoples. I'm also starting to consider whether some originate in Spain as well, clearly not by Geto-Dacians (but ironically hinting that there just might be something in the Civil War notion after all!)


CNG thanks Phil Davis for his assistance in attributing this coin, as well as his note.
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