Roman Republic. C. Calpurnius L.F Frugi. Rome, 64 BC

Roman Republic. C. Calpurnius L.F Frugi. Rome, 64 BC


AR Denarius, 3.99g (17mm, 6h). Laureate head of Apollo r.; behind symbol / Horseman r.; palm, C.PISOLFFRV with flail above.

Pedigree: Ex Leu Numismatics 12 May 2000, lot 461

References: Crawford 408, 128. FFC 425

Grade: Lovely strike with beautiful iridescent toning. Mint State (rr1147)

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The issue of C. Calpurnius L.f. Frugi is a departure from the standard issue during the Republic. Compared with other moneyers there is a sizeable output of coins. Crawford notes 53 obverse dies and 59 reverse dies. The random pairing of dies translated into numerous die-combinations. According to Hirsch the Roman mint was attempting to regulate the output based on the different control marks (NC 1976, p. 7). The plan failed as the method of pairing the dies was rather haphazard. The obverse dies and reverse dies were believed to be kept in two separate boxes and handed out to the mint workers. There was no procedure followed so the test never succeeded. The pairings do make an interesting study for the collector of Republican coins however in that collecting the entire series is near impossible for the average person.

The moneyer Caius came from a plebeian family and was the son in law of the famous statesman and orator Cicero. Caius was betrothed to Tullia around the time that these coins were struck. They subsequently married in 63 BC when Cicero was consul. The coins show Apollo on the obverse and a horseman galloping on the reverse which likely is a reference to the Ludi Apollineres which his ancestor C. Calpurnius Piso proposed in the 3rd century BC. These solemn games were dedicated to the god Apollo, the god of healing. In addition, the issue is notable for its extremely high relief obverse dies. The high relief makes the issue the thickest coins in the Republican series.