Imitations of Roman Republic, Eravisci, AR Denarius(18.6mm, 3.31g, 6h), circa 50-20 B.C., mint in modern-day Hungary. Imitating types of C. Postumius. Bust of diana right, bow and quiver on shoulder / Hound running right, spear below. POSTVMI TA(in ligature) in exergue. Freeman 24(this coin), dies 17/P; Davis Class B, Group II Pannonian, Eraviscan E15(these dies); cf. Crawford 394/1a for prototype
Ex RBW Collection(Agora 69, 9/26/2017, lot 1). From a hoard partially published in 1998 in "A group of Eraviscan denarii" by Robert Freeman in "Coins of Macedonia and Rome: Essays in Honour of Charles Hersh".
The Eravisci were an iron-age Celtic tribe who lived in Transdanubia, what would, under the Romans, become Pannonia, and which today is the eastern portion of modern-day Hungary. Their main settlements were within the region of Budapest, and the modern city contains multiple archaeological sites related to Eraviscan and Roman activity in the area. Not a lot is known about where the Eravisci came from before settling in Transdanubia, but archaeological evidence suggests they were settled by the third or fourth century B.C. and were the dominant power in this region until the Roman conquest near the end of the first century B.C.. It is in this final period of Eraviscan independence, during the latter half of the first Century B.C., that the coin I'm sharing today fits into the story.
As Roman interest and interaction with the area of Transdanubia grew in the first century B.C., Roman denarii began arriving and circulating in Eraviscan territory. When the need for Eraviscan coinage grew, the tribe began engraving their own dies and minting silver coins of size and devices similar to Roman coins. Much like the imitations made by other groups, some coins bore meaningless legends which were corrupted forms of the of their prototypes(such as this coin), but other Eraviscan imitations bear the name of the tribe, generally inscribed RAVIS or IRAVISCI, or even names thought to be those of Chieftains such as DOMISA, DVTETI and ANSALI. Some of these dies were relatively well engraved, suggesting somewhat skilled engravers but all are in peculiar style completely unlike that of the Roman issues they imitate, suggesting that they were in no way meant for any sort of deception but instead, were meant to circulate in this area, and the hoard evidence does suggest a relatively small area of circulation within the modern borders of Hungary. As mentioned above, the story ends with the Roman conquest of what was to become the province of Pannonia. So far as I know, the latest coins found in hoards with Eravisci denarii are denarii of Augustus, suggesting the Romans did not allow these coins to remain circulating for long after assuming control of the region.
Like many other Eastern European coin types, these Eraviscan types have seen both a resurgence of interest and increased representation in the market following the fall of the Iron Curtain. Some time ago, a hoard was found Northwest of modern-day Budapest and subsequently entered the market within the US. The first parcel of this hoard, consisting of 7 Roman Republic denarii and 44 Eraviscan imitations was purchased by the American collector RBW and subsequently published in 1998 by Robert Freeman in "A group of Eraviscan denarii" in "Coins of Macedonia and Rome: Essays in Honour of Charles Hersh". Freeman provided a die study of the coins of the hoard and some general information on the types.
This particular coin comes from the aforementioned hoard and is number 24 in the catalog with obverse die 17 and reverse die P. Though other examples from these same dies are known(see the mysterious E15 on this page), this coin was the only one from these dies within the studied portion of the hoard.