Roman Republic AR Victoriatus(17mm, 3.08g, 12h). Anonymous. ca. 211-210 B.C. Southeast Italian mint. Laureate head of Jupiter right. Border of dots / Victory standing right, crowning trophy; upright spearhead between. ROMA in exergue. Line border. Crawford 83/1a; Sydenham 223; Ruso RBW 336; RSC 24m.
Ex RBW Collection, purchased from Spink, September 1986.
The Romans began minting victoriati during the Second Punic War contemporary with the minting of the first denarii, but unlike the denarius which was minted of high-purity silver, the victoriatus was minted of debased silver of about 80% purity and at a weight standard of about 3/4 of a denarius. The victoriatus was not meant to be part of the Roman currency system, but as a replacement for the drachm of the Greek cities in Southern Italy(and later Gaul). Because it was minted with debased silver, many surviving examples have the kind of surface issues you see on this one.