Roman Republic AR Victoriatus(2.70g, 18.1mm), Anonymous("Pentagram" series). 209-208 B.C., Etrurian mint. Laureate head of Jupiter right. Border of dots / Victory standing right, crowning trophy with wreath; Pentagram between. ROMA in exergue. Line border. Crawford 105/1; Sydenham 233a.
Ex RBW Collection, purchased from Tom Cederlind, 8/16/1995
This victoriatus comes from the "pentagram" series, thought to have been struck in Etruria circa 209-208 B.C., right in the middle of the Second Punic War. Based on similarities of style, Republican numismatists have argued that the "pentagram" and "staff" series were closely related for well over a century, and Crawford confirmed this relation by illustrating an obverse die link between the victoriati of the two series. Unfortunately, as might be expected from the rarity of these types, the hoard evidence for the victoriati of both series is extremely scant with only a single example of the "pentagram" victoriatus listed in Roman Republic Coin Hoards and none of the "staff", however the presence of multiple examples of the "staff" bronzes in the Citta Ducala hoard and few others strongly suggests Etruria as the mint location.
Crawford suggests that this "pentagram" series was financed by M. Marcellus, the "Sword" of Rome, with part of the 500 pounds of gold(Livy, book XXVII, chapter 10) that he was given to fund his campaigns as consul in 209 B.C., right before he was sent out to Etruria to put down a revolt. He further suggests that at least a portion of this bullion(and presumably the remaining dies) were passed on to C. Calpurnius Piso, promagistrate in Etruria, under whom the "staff" issue was minted.