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Sale 72

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Lot 4115

Anonymous moneyer. Silver Didrachm (6.85g) minted at Rome, 270-265 BC. Diademed head right of young Hercules, with long sideburn; club and lion's skin over right shoulder. Reverse: ROMANO. She-wolf standing right, head reverted, suckling the twins Romulus and Remus. Sear 24; RSC 8; Craw 20/1; Syd 6. Attractively toned. Extremely Fine.

Silver was the principal metal of the Roman Republican coinage. The first Roman didrachms were produced about the time of King Pyrrhus' invasion of Italy at the behest of the Tarentines (280 BC) and were based on the currency of the Campanian city of Neapolis. This initial issue (Mars/horse's head) seems to have been produced at the Greek mint of Metapontum, while the earliest series from Rome itself, represented by this specimen, commenced about 270 BC. Appropriately, it depicts on the reverse the she-wolf suckling the twins Romulus and Remus, the first of numerous representations of this iconic image to appear on the Roman coinage throughout its seven centuries of existence. Doubtless, it represents the statue erected in 296 BC by the brothers Quintus and Gnaeus Ogulnius. Crawford suggests that the head of Hercules on the obverse may be that of Hercules Victor, highly appropriate for a coinage struck from the spoils of war. (Papirius Cursor had recently captured the wealthy Greek city of Tarentum).
Estimated Value $3,000 - 4,000.
The Hunter Collection; Ex Superior Stamp & Coin, NYINC Auction, December 8-9, 1995, lot 847.

Realized $8,913

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