Cr. 419/1b M LEPIDVS AR Denarius, 61 BC, Rome
Roman Republic AR Denarius(19mm, 3.91g). Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, 61 B.C., Rome mint. Laureate and diademed female head right. Border of dots/Horseman right, carrying trophy over shoulder. In exergue M LEPIDVS. Crawford 419/1b; Banti Aemilia 71-3 (this coin); Babelon Aemilia 22; Sydenham 830; RBW 1507.
Numismatica Ars Classica Spring Auction 2020, 25 May 2020, lot 633, ex JD Collection, Numismatica Ars Classica 72, 16 May 2013, lot 1213, ex Finearte 208, 1975, lot 28
Image Copyright Numismatica Ars Classica
The moneyer of this denarius is Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, the same man who would later go on to become a triumvir alongside Octavian and Marc Antony. Like many moneyers of this period, he chose to celebrate the deeds of an ancestor on his coinage. In this case, the ancestor was the moneyer's great-grandfather, also a Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. During the war with Hannibal this ancestor killed an enemy warrior and saved one of his countrymen in the process. The senate voted to have a statue erected in his honor and it is this statue that is believed to be represented on the reverse of this denarius.
Interestingly there are two major reverse varieties of this type: the first like this example and the second including the addition of the legend "AN XV PR H O C S" around. This is believed to represent "ANorum XV PRogressus Hostem Occidit Civem Servavit", which translates to something like "At the age of 15 he went into battle and saved a citizen" and was probably the inscription at the base of the statue. This was probably added to draw more attention to the story and significance of the statue.