The Ancient World Collection
Roman Republic, 83-82 BC





Coin Details

Origin/Country: ANCIENT - ROMAN REPUBLIC (4th CENT BC - 1st CENT BC) ROMAN REPUBLIC Q.Ant. Balbus, c.83/2 BC
Design Description: Roman Republic Denarius of Q. Ant. Balbus
Item Description: AR Denarius Serratus rv Victory in quadriga obv Jupiter
Full Grade: NGC MS Strike: 4/5 Surface: 5/5
Owner: Kohaku

Set Details

Custom Sets: The Ancient World Collection
Competitive Sets: This coin is not competing in any sets.
Research: NGC Coin Price Guide

Owner Comments:

This coin is an example of a Roman Republic denarius “serratus.” The latter tern refers to the series of deep cuts along the edge that radiate into the coin. Typically, the serrations were produced by chiseling the blank metal prior to striking. This device first appeared in Roman Republican coinage around early 2nd century BC, and its purpose is unknown. Perhaps the cuts were employed to provide information about the coins mint, or define an area for the coin’s circulation. Another view is that the serrations allowed the coin’s interior core to be viewed more readily, as proof against counterfeiting. It could even simply be that the design was decorative. Whatever the purpose of the serrati, they were most in vogue between about 82 to 59 BC.

This particular denarius serratus was minted at the beginning of this period, probably 82 to 83 BC by a moneyer named Quintus Antonius Balbus. On the obverse is the laureate head of the popular god Jupiter, and to his left are the letter S C, which stand for “Senatus consulto" or “by decree of the Senate.” In this instance, the Senate ordered these coins struck in order to raise funds to oppose the powerful Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Sulla, previously Roman consul, had been away for several years, campaigning against various enemies. He was now returning with his mighty Legions, intent on regaining political control as dictator.

On the verso is Victora, the Roman personified goddess of victory riding a quadriga (four-horse chariot), holding palm-branch and wreath. The design here is clearly meant to foreshadow victory against Sulla and his Legions. In exergue are the letters Q ANTO BALB (identifying Balbus) and the letters PR, or “populi romani,” another attempt at propaganda to convince the common Roman that the coin’s purpose was aligned generally with their interests.

The propaganda (and funds raised) were not enough for Balbus and the Senate to thwart Sulla. The latter marched on Rome and around 82 BC installed himself as dictator, while Balbus was killed by Sulla’s legate, Quintus Marcius Philippus.

Coin Details: ROMAN REPUBLIC, Quintus Antonius Balbus, AR Denarius Serratus (8.83 g), Struck 83-82 BC, Obverse: Laureate head of Jupiter right, S C behind, Reverse: Victory in quadriga right, I control letter beside hooves, Q ANTO BALB in monogram below, PR in exergue, References: SRCV I 279, Sydenham 742, Crawford 364/1.

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