Roman Republic AR Victoriatus(3.07g, 18mm, 4h). Anonymous("Staff and club" series). 209-208 B.C., Etrurian mint. Laureate head of Jupiter right. Border of dots / Victory standing right, crowning trophy with wreath; Staff between. ROMA in exergue. Line border. Crawford 106/1; Sydenham 209; RSC 24n.
Extremely rare and one of the finest examples known. This is probably my favorite coin in my collection to date due to its rarity, beautiful style, historical interest and my special collecting interests in the victoriatus denomination, the staff series and the Second Punic War.
The story of how I came across this coin highlights the importance of knowing your coins and paying close attention to the market. I purchased this coin only attributed as an anonymous victoriatus with no mention of the "staff". It had a heavy, hard patina with only a few spots of toned-over surface metal showing. This obscured the staff to the point that an untrained eye might have overlooked it. Had it been properly cleaned and recognized by its previous owner(s) I never would have been able to afford it, but because it wasn't I was able to add this beautiful example to my collection. I then sent the coin off to be professionally cleaned and while it took a few months for the expert to remove the heavy encrustations, the results speak for themselves.