RPC I, 5416


Image of specimen #19


Coin type
Volume I
Number 5416
Province Uncertain
Region Uncertain
City Uncertain
Reign Augustus
Person (obv.) Augustus (—)
Obverse inscription
Obverse design bare head of Augustus, r.
Reverse inscription
Reverse design prow with superstructure, r.
Metal Bronze
Average diameter 29 mm
Axis 12
Reference FITA 82–4
Specimens 19 (7 in the core collections)
Note This series of rare bronze coins raises problems of interpretation. It was assigned to Gaul by Sydenham (NG I9I7, p. 58) and to a date of c. 40-38 BC. But Grant, FITA, pp. 82-3, easily disproved this early date: Augustus's portrait indicates that these bronzes are post-Actian. It remains to determine the mint. The discovery of one specimen (5416/5) in the neighbourhood of Istanbul, and supposed stylistic similarities with Macedonian issues, led Grant to propose a Macedonian series ordered by M. Antonius Primus, proconsul of the province in 23 BC (FITA, pp. 83-4). This solution, however, seems highly implausible, and it is better to return to a Gallic mint for the following reasons: (I) the form of the prow with superstructure is paralleled at Copia (5I4-I5), Vienna (5I7) andArausio? (533); (2) a second provenance is now recorded: specimen 54I6/7 was bought in Lyon before I91O. Even if Grant did not see any of these coins among the 847 Augustan Gallic aes he examined in the south of France, the mere fact that three coins are in the P collection favours a Gallic origin; (3) the double-bevelled edge of the present series and the careful die-setting at twelve o'clock recall the C. I. V. issue (517). Therefore a Gallic mint is suggested here, and a date of c. 30-25 BC.Three unpublished analyses reveal that these coins are made of bronze (91% of copper+ 6% of tin and 3% of lead). The denomination struck was probably an as, but the series of Arausio (?) (533), which has exactly the same weight, is considered by Amandry as a dupondius (GENE, April-June 1986, pp. 21-34). A Gallic mint is favoured by RPC, but Richard Ashton points out some provenances that suggest Asia is also a possibility. Although 5416/7 was bought in Lyon, 5416/5 was found near Istanbul; two new specimens come from Turkey (12-13) and one other has a Balkan provenance (14).
Correction Corrected coin-type (post publication)

Specimens of this coin type

Number Museum Bibliography
1     P: 4643 FITA, pl. III, 14, rev.
2     P: D'Ailly 11284
3     P: 1979/223
4     B: 537/1911 FITA, pl. III, 13, obv.
5     C: 117/1949 (Grant coll.)
6     PC
7     Thiollier coll., Toulon
8     RBW coll. = Waddell II, 12 Oct. 1987, lot 315 = Sternberg XI, 1981, lot 568
9     NY: 2015.20.489 RBW coll. = Glendining, 13 Oct. 1992, lot 186
10     NY: 2015.20.490 RBW coll. = Kovacs MBS IX, 21 Nov. 1988, lot 281
11     Lyon Argenor 4, 27 Apr. 2001, lot 100
12     Cyzicus excavations, H. Köker, NC 2007, p. 307, no. 16
13     Dascylaeum, now in Banderma Museum = Köker, NC 2007, p. 307 (ment.)
14     RBW
15     RBW
16     Warsaw: 151030
17     Rauch Summer 2009, 17 Sept. 2009, lot 589
18     CNG EA 376, 15 June 2016, lot 335
19     ✸ Savoca EA 24 Silver, 29 July 2018, lot 166 (ex Savoca Live Online Auction 12, 22 Jan. 2017, lot 339)