Anonymous. Rome, c. 225-212 BC

Anonymous. Rome, c. 225-212 BC


AR Quadrigatus, 6.77g (20mm, 5h). Laureate janiform head of Dioscuri; below, dot / Jupiter, hurling thunderbolt and holding sceptre, in quadriga r. driven by Victory; in exergue, ROMA semi-incuse on raised tablet.

Pedigree: From the E.E. Clain Stefanelli Collection

References: Sydenham 64. RBW 81 (these dies). Crawford 31/1 and pl. IV, 10. HN Italy 334.

Grade: Smaller flan but nicely centered. A small die break below the left side of the janiform head. Some overall minor wear, otherwise pleasant strike and iridescent toning. VF+  (rr1066)

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The quadrigatus was the very first silver coin type struck by the Romans. Previous to this the Romans used exclusively bronze coins as their currency. The large cast coins were not as easy for trade. The predecessor to the denarius, the quadrigatus was substantially larger than the denarius and stylistically more similar to the beautiful Greek coins that were being struck. It is suggested that the quadrigatus was used very seldom locally; it was used more outside of Rome for trade.

The Janus head on the obverse is a pure Roman symbol and does not exist in Greek culture. The god Janus was meant to symbolize the beginning and end of a conflict, or war and peace. The quadriga found on the reverse of the coin was carried over when the denarius was finally introduced around 211 BC.