Roman Republic Æ Sextans(7.45g, 19mm, 7h). Anonymous, Spearhead series, circa 212-207 B.C., Sardinian mint. Head of Mercury right; above, two pellets / Prow right; above, ROMA; before, spearhead; below, two pellets. Russo, Essays Hersh, 52(same reverse die), Cf. Crawford 88/7. Cf. McCabe "The Roman Struck Bronze Coinage of Apulia in the Second Punic War", INC Taormina 2015, for attribution to Sardinia.
Privately purchased from M. Ringsrud(MA-Shops Denarius), 1/11/2019
This type and the series it is from was only relatively recently identified as a separate series from the Apulian spearhead bronzes(Crawford 88) by Roberto Russo in his 1998 paper on unpublished bronzes in Essays Hersh. Russo actually identified 3 different spearhead bronze series which he called 88A(the Apulian series), 88B(this series) and 88C(a later, likely post Second Punic War series). Since then, Andrew McCabe has shown rather convincingly that this "88B" series is linked, along with the bulk of the spearhead quinarii, by style and flan manufacture to the Crawford 63-65 Sardinian Praetor issues with C, MA and AVR mintmarks of circa 211-209 B.C.. Since those series are securely dated to 211-209 B.C., this series should probably be placed either in 212 B.C. or 208 B.C.. McCabe actually suggests it is perhaps related to the Apulian series by way of a common commander who directed armies in both theaters and reused the spearhead symbol.
While the sextantes of the Sardinian Praetor issues are all very common, these related spearhead sextantes are extremely rare with less than ten examples known to me, and only two die pairs. While the related spearhead quinarii are themselves rare, they are considerably more common than the extremely rare Sardinian Praetor quinarii issues. The reasons for this imbalance are a mystery to me but perhaps point to changing coinage needs as the Second Punic War progressed.
1. Roberto Russo, "Unpublished Roman Republican Bronze Coins," in Essays Hersh, pp. 142-3
2. Andrew McCabe “The Roman Bronze Coinage struck in Apulia and South East Italy in the Second Punic War,” in Proceedings XV International Numismatic Congress Taormina 2015. Paper available here and presentation(with lots of illustrations) here.
3. CNG e-auction 408 lot 379 description, which can be found in the CNG Archives here
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