Roman Republic AR denarius(3.77g, 19mm). Ti. Minucius C.f. Augurinus, moneyer, 134 BC. Rome mint. Helmeted head of Roma right; behind, [XVI]. Border of dots / Spiral column; standing on column, statue holding staff in right hand; at base of column, two corn-ears; on left, togate figure holding loaves(?) in both hands and placing left foot on modius; on right, togate figure holding lituus in right hand; above, ROMA; on left, TI MINVCI C F upwards; on right, AVGVRINI downwards. Border of dots. Crawford 243/1; Sydenham 494; Minucia 9; Russo RBW 1002.
Like many Republican denarii, this coin bears devices meant to celebrate the achievements of the moneyer's family. This denarius, minted under the moneyer Ti. Minucius C.f. Augurinus, features the Columna Minucia, a monument allegedly raised for the moneyer's ancestor Lucius Minucius Augurinus who, as praefectus annonae in 440 BC, is said to have distributed grain at a reduced price during a shortage. Various historians have theorized on the origins and veracity of the story and a recent paper proposes that the whole thing was made up to lend legitimacy to an otherwise unremarkable family, which, given what we know of Republican Rome and the various individuals and families all constantly trying to one-up each other, seems quite plausible.
Ex Warren Esty, ex WCNCOnline via eBay, February 7, 2004. Published on WildWinds here