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BC Roman Republican silver coins only

Roman AD coins on separate page


Kansas Barry has the record for the oldest Roman silver coin found here at 211BC - this is the oldest Roman coin ever found in Britain

As dug, nearly 'cooked' and final pictures - just sent to Mark for his final ID

17.81mm, 3.28g

Equals the oldest coin found in Britain at 211 BC

Early Roman silver coin - straight into 'cooker' to clean off horn silver crust

This dates, as far as I can tell - since no trace of symbol has become visible beneath the horses or between the heads of the Dioscuri - to the earliest issue of actual Denarii, as distinct from the earlier Drachma-denominated silver coinage.  It dates to the period 211-206 BC (according to the most recent scholarship on dating) and would be RSC # 2 (Roman Silver Coinage) - if that catalog number gives you some idea of how close to the beginning of the book it's found. This first coinage was anonymous, lacking even symbols to potentially indicate via association (or pun) the names of the families of moneyers.  This is actually the 3rd type produced (so far as I can tell) "ROMA" in the exergue of this specimen appears to be in relief.  On the very earliest ROMA was incuse, and a transitional type had ROMA partially incuse and partially in relief.

The general types, however, the helmeted head of Roma, inspired by (and, frankly, copied from) the helmeted head of Athena on Corinthian didrachms) with "X" mark of denomination (10 Asses of bronze to the silver Denarius - later it would be re-tariffed at 16) and the Dioscuri, Castor & Pollux, galloping right with levelled lances would be among the very most common devices used on denarii over the next 150 years.  When there was no specific bit of history or family fame being related on a moneyer's denarii, this was one of the 3 main "stock" types, along with Jupiter driving a quadriga and Victory driving a biga.

I believe this is the earliest Roman coin you folks have turned up, to date.  It is, at least, the earliest I recall being forwarded to me for identification.  With the exception of the slightly earlier (and very much more rare) "Romano-Campanian" Quadrigati (Didrachmae), Drachmae and Semes, this is about as early as you can go in the "Roman" coin series.


151BC Roman republican silver coin sent for ID - 2nd oldest coin ever found by the our club - Florida Chuck

This is a denarius of P. Cornelius Sulla (same family as the famous dictator of the next century, but a different Publius Cornelius Sulla) dating to 151 BC -
The family name below the horses of Victory's biga is P SVLA (VL ligate)
RSC/Babelon Cornelia 1; Crawford RRC 205/1; Sydenham CRR 386; SR 84. 


136 BC Roman silver

I'm reasonably certain this is RSC/Babelon "Lucretia 1" - Cn(aeus) Lucretius Trio, 136 BC.  Everything visible on your coin fits with the descriptions, line-drawings and photos I have available.  There are a couple other possibilities - not quite such complete matches, but possible - from approximately the same time-frame.  Unfortunately, the remaining "scales" on this coin cover the two areas I'd need to see to be 100% certain and rule out the possibles.  There should be, in addition to the visible "X" below the chin: "TRIO", vertically & downward, behind Roma's helmet on the obverse.  On the reverse, the whole abbreviation beneath the horses of the Dioscuri should be: "CN LVCR".


Roman Republican silver coin 126 BC

3.50g, 17.12mm

'This one is a Roman Republican denarius of tribune/moneyer N. Fabius Pictor, struck at Rome in 126 B.C (RSC/Babelon - Fabia 11), .
Obv: Helmeted head of Roma right, * shape behind head; (monogram form of XVI - indicating the denarius was now worth 16 Asses - it had only recently been retarriffed from its nearly century-long value of 10 Asses) control-letter below chin. (BTW, this coin exhibits the first example of the use of control-letters in the Roman series.)
Rx: N FABI / PICTOR in vertical lines up to left and down to right of helemted and cuirassed figure of the Flamen Quirinalis Q. Fabius Pictor seated left holding apex (high-priest's ceremonial helmet) and spear; shield
inscribed: QVI / RIN at his side; ROMA in exergue.
Syd/CRR 517, SR 144.

This is another really interesting piece, not unlike the odd Greek coin you occasionally turn up, because despite its worn state - showing it was in circulation for quite some time - it's really "too early" of a piece to be in Britain. Unless, somehow, this piece was carried ashore by one of the soldiers of Julius Caesar's ill-fated British expeditions - at which time it would have been nearly 75 years old - it would have had to be bartered for tin or other trade-goods in the pre-Roman era or been part of some hoard or treasure which had been accumulated on the mainland and later transported to Britannia. It would have been very unlikely to be a circulating coin at the time of Claudius' successful invasion - at which time it would have been nearly 175 years old.

So, you're left with it either travelling to Britannia by means unknown c. 100-60 B.C., or possibly having been held as an old and curious good luck piece or similar item by a much later' Roman


Stunning BC Roman silver coin sent for ID - mega rare ID

Roman Republican/Imperatorial AR denarius
by: Q. Cornuficius, Imperator, 43-42 BCE, killed in battle, 42 BCE
Struck in: Utica(?), spring-summer 42 BCE
Obverse: Head of Ceres left, hair wreathed in grain-ears
Cornuficius, in priestly attire, standing facing, Juno Sospita crowning Cornuficius with wreath
standing left holding spear and shield, crow on shoulder RRC 509/5; CRI 231; BMCRR, Africa 27; Babelon/RSC Cornuficia 3
Sear, David,
SRCV, Millennium Edition, vol. 1 (pub. AD 2000), p 278, #1453

Chris – This is a legitimately RARE piece and historically important, etc.

Rare coins have increased enormously in retail value since 2000, however a higher grade would have increased more than a visibly worn (if still attractive) piece like this.
Frankly, I have no idea what this would sell for now. I’ve never cataloged one of these before.


If I had a $ for every common coin I’ve heard touted as “rare”, “extremely rare” etc, I think I could afford to buy this denarius – it’s really rare and sought-after.

Mark Lehman

Silver Roman coin is a Denarius, earlier than we thought at 119BC and minted in Roman Republic and was struck by M.Fovri L. f. Phili

From a duckling to a swan ! Crusty Roman coin, pick it and heh presto ! Roman Republican denarius of Vibius, 42 BC

obv. Helmeted bust of Minerva r., wearing aegis. Border of dots.
rev. C.VIBIVS VARVS, Herculus standing facing, holding club in r. hand and lion-skin overl. arm. Border of dots

Roman Republican denarius, c.100 BC

Roman Republican denarius, c.100 BC

obv. {RO]MA, head of Roma, r.
rev. [ ] , victory in biga r.


Silver Denarius of Octavian/Augustus,

Cohen/Roman Silver Coins no.
91, Crawford 538/1, assigned to c. 36 BC.

107/8 BC Roman Imperial silver

18.10mm, 3.83g

Exciting find indeed - this is a Republican-era denarius. At first I thought it was Julius Caesar, but it belongs to the gens Herrenia The obverse shows a diademed head of Pietas, right - with the inscription PIETAS behind and a control-mark letter beneath the chin. The reverse reads: M. HERENNI and shows Amphinomus carrying his father. I'm not certain to what exact bit of mythology or early "history" this refers, but is reminiscent of the "Aeneas carrying Anchises" reverse of the Venus denarius of Julius Caesar which would be current 60 or so years later.
This piece dates to about 108/7 B.C., and as such may have been traded to islanders for tin or something similar since it does not show the wear requisite to have been in circulation for the whole amount of time between its minting and the Roman incursions. SR 185, Syd 567, Bab/RSC Herennia 1.


Roman silver coin Before and after pictures - still 'cooking' it

32 BC Mark Antony, Legionary silver Denarius. ANT.AVG.III.VIR.R.P.C Galley, Legionary Eagle between two standards


As dug to 'cooked' 132BC

It's clear enough now for a positive ID - it is definitely a Roman Republican Denarius - moneyer: M Aburius M.f. Geminus, 132 B.C. 
RSC-Bab Aburia 6, SR 127, Syd-CRR 487. 
You should, eventually, find the letters: "GEM",  behind Roma's helmeted head on the obverse, and there should be an asterisk-looking mark under her chin which is actually a monogram of XVI - ie: 16 Asses to the denarius.  On the reverse, you have radiate Sol driving a fast quadriga right and brandishing a whip, below the horses, you have M ABVRI with the AB and VR in ligate form, ROMA in the exergue.
Very interesting, as this piece dates to a century and three-quarters before Claudius' conquest of Britian.  I'm going to guess that it originally came to the island in trade for tin, or was carried as a good-luck piece by a superstitious soldier all those years later.  These certainly weren't normal, circulating pieces anywhere else in the Empire in the late 1st through early 3nd century era we associate with a significant Roman presence in Britain and circulating silver.  These were "overweight" by the standards of the denarii at that time and after Nero's debasement, the silver was too pure also - these would have been pulled out of circulation wherever anyone knew that their silver value was well above their nominal denomination - the sort of information that any savvy merchant would have been aware of.

As dug, nearly cooked and finished - 3.40g, 18.81mm

Example from Mark's collection

AR Denarius Serratus, 82 B.C.
Q. Antonius Balbus
18mm, 3.69gm, axis: 4:00
Obv: Laureate head of Jupiter right, SC behind.
Rx: Victory in quadriga right, holding wreath and palm; beneath: T / Q ANTO BALB (ligate) / PR.
Coinage of the faction opposed to Sulla – along with the Senate who, unusually, approved this issue.
Syd-CRR 742, RSC-Bab Antonia 1, SR 279.

Minimal 'cooking' to bring out detail

I found your denarius - and it is Republican, although fairly late Republican.
L. Rustias, 76 BC.
Obverse: Helmeted head of young Mars right - asterisk-like XVI in monogram below chin, SC behind. 
Reverse: Ram standing right, L RVSTI in exergue - RRC 389/1, CRR 783, RSC-Babelon Rustia 1, SR 320.
It's a little unlikely, but not inconcievable that this coin was still in active circulation when Claudius invaded Britain - it certainly would have been current when Caesar made his ill-fated attempts.  So it could have come either in pre-Roman trade, or during an early Roman incursion.
Neither particularly rare or particularly common - sort of an in-between type for scarcity.


Early Roman silver coin partially 'cooked' send off to Mark Lehman for ID 16.50mm, 2.57g

I found it - it took a while because this is supposed to be a denarius serratus - with a "toothed" edge.  These denticles were applied after striking, evidently - a stack of coins was held in some sort of clamp and a file or saw-blade of some sort was applied lenghthwise to the pile cutting 25 or 30 grooves or notches in the edges of all the coins - or it's supposed to work this way.  If you look very carefully at the obverse, you can see 4 or 5 very shallow indentations on the rim between about 1:00 & 4:00 - so this is an almost serrate denarius.
It dates to 81 BC. - C. Marius C.f. Capito (RSC/Babelon Maria 9) the coin has "SC" in the reverse exergue indicating that the senate had authorized a significant increase in the quantity of coins originally this quaestor was sanctioned to strike.
Obv: CAPIT XXVIIII (control number) behind head of Ceres right, wreathed in corn.
Rx: C MARI C F beneath plowman guiding yoke of oxen left; SC in exergue.
SR 300, Syd.CRR 744b.
So, it's not tremendously early - it dates to the period just before the dictatorship of Sulla.

Still 'cooking' the coin



32 BC Mark Antony, Legionary silver Denarius. ANT.AVG.III.VIR.R.P.C Galley, Legionary Eagle between two standards

Broken Roman silver coin - galley type sent for ID

This is a Mark Antony "legionary" denarius.  These were struck by a mint which traveled with his army and are tentatively attributed to Patrae as their place of issue.  They were struck during the year previous to Antony's naval defeat in the battle of Actium.  The silver in them was not quite as pure as the silver which would have been used in most Imperatorial era denarii, so they tended not to be turned-in for new coin due to being debased and of lower intrinsic value.  They were, however, popular in the North and West, among the Gauls and Celtic tribes where they remained in circulation for up to several centuries.  They often turn up in hoards of mid 3rd century coins, worn nearly unrecoginizeably smooth.
A decent specimen should look like this:
Here's an folder of images of most of the specimens of legionary denarius which have passed through my hands in the last 5 or 10 years

BC Republican Roman silver straight into the 'cooker' to remove crust

32 BC Mark Antony, Legionary silver Denarius. ANT.AVG.III.VIR.R.P.C Galley, Legionary Eagle between two standards

Amazing detail under the crud, I think I recognise this coin as a Mark Antony Galley coin - sent to Mark Lehman for ID - more cooking to do yet


That's right, although I wouldn't call this a "tribute" type, this is a denarius struck by Marc Antony to pay the troops and for supplies during the campaign which ended in the defeat of his forces by those of Octavian (later Augustus) and Agrippa at the great sea-battle of Actium in 31 BC.  These pieces, which enumerate his various legions on the reverse, are presumed to have been struck by a travelling mint accompanying his forces during the winter of 32/31 BC at his headquaters in Patrae.

Some of the legions named on the coins are found only occasionally or rarely if at all.  This one appears (as well as I can make out from the photo) to name legion II (2) - you can look at the area between the "aquila" - the legionary eagle and the standard to the right on the reverse to confirm which legion is named with a Roman numeral.  If it is II, it's one of the more commonly found legions in this series.

The legend on the obverse, along with the galley, is  ANT AVG III VIR R P C, which names Antony as Augur and Triumvir. 

Due to being somewhat debased silver, these remained in circulation in some areas for 250-300 years and are often found in northern European hoards worn so smooth that all you can do is identify them as legionary denarii - this piece is in far nicer condition than these are generally found - it must have been lost relatively soon after it was minted.



BC Roman republican silver - sent for ID 3.23g,20.52mm


This is a very interesting piece - both for the un-encrusted condition in which it was dug, and as a type. Dating to about 115/4 BC., this was an anonymous type produced well after the time when moneyer's names had become standard on the coins. The obverse is Roma wearing the typical winged and crested Corinthian-style helmet; an "X" to indicate denomination (a silver Denarius was worth 10 Æ Asses at the time) behind the head and ROMA beneath. The reverse shows Roma seated right on a pile of shields and holding a transverse spear. Birds, one per side, fly in the field; and to the right, the she-wolf suckles the twins, Romulus and Remus, so there's a lot going on here, symbolically.
David Sear writes in RC&TV, 2000: "An issue lacking the moneyer's name is surprising and noteworthy at such a late date.  The omission must have been his own decision and not the result of a change in government policy. Remarkably, this distinctive reverse type was revived almost 200 years later on an aureus of Titus."
So, it's not the earliest piece your diggers have found, but it's still pretty early. Moneyers' names had become standard on the denarius coinage around 155 BC. and for the previous several decades most coins had born symbols relating to the moneyer's name or family in some way.  This isn't a particularly rare piece, overall, but it is an unusual type.
The references for this piece are: RSC 176, CRR 530, RCC 287/1 & SR 164.

Roman early BC republican silver coin - sent for ID

82BC Republican Roman silver coin

SABIN behind the head is your tip-off here, if you're familiar at all with some of the "popular" later Republican denarii, that is. This is L. Titurius L. f. Sabinus, moneyer, about 89 BC.  His fairly common pieces combine a bearded portrait of King Tatius with a couple of popular pictorial/"historical" reverses with scenes from Rome's earliest days, including "The Rape of the Sabine Women" and "Tarpeia Buried Beneath a Pile of Shields". According to RSC: "The Tituria gens traced its descent from the Sabines and possibly from King Tatius himself." This piece has one of the less exciting reverses in the series - Victory driving a biga right.  Worn off your specimen is the L TITVRI below the horses and a control symbol below the lettering. 
This piece is RSC/Babelon Tituria 6, RRC 344, CRR 700 & SR 253.
See: & for examples of the popular pictorial reverses in the series.


As dug and 'cooked'

This one is L Cassius Longinus, 63 BC.
Obv: Veiled and diademed head of Vesta left, 2-handled cup behind, control letter before.
Rx:Togate citicizen standing left depositing ballot inscribed, V (Uti Rogas) in voting box; LONGIN III V behind. 
CRR 935, RSC/Babelon Cassia 10, SR 364.

Oh yes, I know what this is - and you really should too.  It's not "Republican" per-se, but it is BC and what's called "Imperatorial" - from the period between the downfall of the earlier Roman governmental system and the eventual rise of the Principiate.  This piece was issued by Julius Caesar, himself.  It's about the most common of the Julius Caesar pieces showing an elephant trapling either a serpent or possibly a "Srinx" which was a Gaulish battle horn.  The reverse has a display of the typical Roman priestly impedimentia, ladle, sprinkler, axe and apex (priest's hat), etc.
This type dates to about 49 BC and was issued "in the field" during the time when Caesar invaded northern Italy from over the alps, a successful move in his process of driving Pompey's army out of Rome and into refuge in Greece.


As dug and cooked BC Roman Republican silver sent for ID


This one took a bit of digging, but it appears to be a denarius of L. Sentius C. f., 101 BC. Behind the helmeted head of Roma, it's inscribed ARG PVB - short for EX ARGENTO PVBLICO - or made from public silver.  Since all denarii were in fact coined from metal in the State bullion reserve at the time, no one is too sure why a few coins of ths era state the obvious.  It was around the time of the ascendency of Gaius Marius, though, and a lot of things were "different" at the time.
On the reverse is Jupiter driving a quadriga, holding a scepter and thunderbolt.  Beneath that, if there were more of the coin surviving, you would be able to read L • SENTI • C • F.
The reference is RSC/Babelon Sentia 1a, SR 203.

BC Roman republican silver sent for ID

This is Q. Cassius Longinus, 55 BC.  RSC/Babelon Cassia 7.
SR 391, CRR 916, RRC428/3

Very unusuall BC Republican Roman silver coin - straight into the 'cooker' but there is enough detail sol I have sent it off to Mark Lehman for his views before I clean it up

SILVER Denarius - 49 to 44 BC,
When this denarius was first minted, it was a day's wages for one of Julius Caesar's soldiers.
Obv: Elephant Trampling a Serpent
Rev: Priestly Implements

Obv Elephant

Rev Bird facing left

Mitch Chris posted on the forum a picture and ID of the coin and it appears to match.

that's a Julius Caesar elephant denarius.  The elephant is walking right trampling either a serpent (not too likely, but possible) or a Celtic Carnyx - a war trumpet in the shape of a serpent or dragon - in the generous exergue below, you have CAESAR in large, clear letters no one could mistake.  The reverse is an assortment of priestly implements - the exact order and assortment may vary from issue to issue, but will include various items from this list: simpuulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler - looks like a hand-sized floor-mop) jug, knife, axe, apex (pontifex's special hat) and lituus (curved wand).  Caesar held the post of Pontifex Maximus from an early age, which despite its odd set of restrictions, allowed him entry into the halls of power and was his launching-pad to greatness.

The type dates to 49 BC, or about the time his political career in Rome really hit stride, 5 years or so before his demise.  I believe this was well after his abortive attempts at conquering Britain, although I'm not all that certain about the time-line here.  It was a prolific issue and is really relatively common, so it's not too exceptional for one to have made it to Britain in the course of trade, or even been carried by one of Claudius' soldiers as a talisman - although it wasn't impossible for denarii to stay in circulation for a century at that time, this seems to have enough detail to be fairly bold even under encrustation - ie: it doesn't exhibit anything like the wear one would expect for a coin which had circulated for 100 years.

Here's an example showing all the details clearly


BC Roman silver coin - sent for ID

Surprisingly, there is just enough left visble in just the correct places to allow me to place this as an issue of L. Julius Bursio, 85 BC. Sear says:
"Draped bust of young male deity right, combining attributes of Apollo (laurel-wreath), Mercury (winged head), and Neptune (trident over shoulder); control mark to left.  Reverse, Victory in quadriga right, sometimes with control-mark/s in field; L IVLI BVRSIO in exergue. Crawford RRC 352/1; Sydenham CRR 728; RSC Julia 6; SR 268. 



BC Roman silver coin - serrated type - sent for provisional ID (Mike)

'cooking' it to remove crust

I'll need to see what results you have cleaning this one. It's not immediately obvious which moneyer, and therefore what year, this may be from.  I think it might be L. Roscius Fabatus, c. 64 BC.  That's one of the very last types of serrate denarius and is fairly common, having been part of a very large issue. 
If the theory I am working with is correct, your photograph of the reverse needs to be rotated 90º CCW - then it would show a "maiden standing right, feeding snake standing erect before her".

I don't find too many other seratti with seemingly 2 "parallel" major figures on the reverse.

Details of the obverse, if this is the actual type, should reveal Juno Sospita in goat-skin headdress.  I'm less certain about the obverse type here.

Too many questions at the moment to make any pronouncements - I hope some cooking will make details a little clearer, although I suspect that corrosion will have eliminated many details.



49 BC 'cooked' Roman silver sent for ID

Issued by JC himself, the elephant trampling (what?) a dragon-like serpent, or as some theorize a Carnyx (sp?), the serpent-like Celtic war-trumpet, or perhaps a battle-standard which flapped like a wind-sock from a staff-mounted serpent-like head, is more obvious as symbolism than the identity of the trampled item. The reverse shows a simpulum, sprinkler, axe and apex - the symbols of the Pontificate - as Caesar had been (or was still?) Pontifex Maximus.

These date to 49 BC and were minted in a northern Italian mint in the time prior to Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon.  They are one of the more accessible coins of Julius Caesar, although not a portrait, obviously.



Roman silver coin - cooking to clean up (Jim)

32 BC Mark Antony, Legionary silver Denarius. ANT.AVG.III.VIR.R.P.C Galley, Legionary Eagle between two standards

This is a "Legionary Denarius" of Marc Antony, c. 32-1 BC. issued (it is assumed) from a travelling military mint in the vicinity of Patrae.  Created in enormous quantities to finance the military buildup of the Republican forces. Caesar's assassins were extremists in this group. This buildup led to the famous defeat at the decisive naval battle won by Agrippa's forces at Actium, after which Antony fled to Egypt where he and Cleo both committed suicide.

The so-called Legionary Denarii have as devices a war-galley rowing and/or sailing and an Aquila - a legion's eagle-topped standard flanked by 2 simple legionary standards.  The obverse names Antony as augur and triumvir, the reverse names a legion.  There were some 30 legions at the time and these denarii are known for the first 23 of them, although some are a great deal more commonly found than others.  This one, Legion 12, is one of the most commonly found.

These were struck in a somewhat debased silver and so remained in circulation - particularly in the outlying and Provincial areas - for a very long time due to quirks of Gresham's law. First they were too base to be accepted for conventional re-coining purposes, then when the Imperial denarius had itself been debased, they were hoarded as higher-quality silver.  Legionary denarii worn so smooth as to be barely identifiable can be found associated with coins and hoards as late as the Severan era in the early 3rd century.


As dug


'Cooked' up really well


This one is actually pretty easy.  First, it's a "Denarius Serratus" - the edge is notched or serrated.  Second, and more importantly, the writing on the reverse is quite clear - or clear enough to place it easily as an issue of Ti. Claudius Ti.f. Ap.n. Nero - or T. Claudius Nero for short.  79 BC.
That unclear obverse is a diadamed and draped bust of Diana right, bow and quiver over shoulder and SC to the right.
The reverse of Victory driving a biga right is extremely common, but the combination of the sequence number above and the clear TI CLAVD TI F / AP N below the exergual line is what makes it easy.

RRC 383/1; CRR 770; RSC Claudia 5 and SR 310 are the references.


BC Roman Republican silver coin - cooking to remove crust

BC Roman silver sent for ID- interesting dug condition, cooking to remove crust

This one took a little digging - since there's no legible inscription at all.

Turns out that first off, you had the reverse photographed upside-down as you sent it to me. If you look carefully (it's weakly struck) you can make out a peaked roof with statues at the peak and eves. This is an elevation of the Curia Julia - which still exists in the Forum in Rome - the edifice is represented by 3 stout uprights supporting the architrave and surrounded with a balustrade on 4 short columns at "waist level".

It's illegible, but on a better-preserved example you would see IMP CAESAR across the architrave - the only writing on this piece by Octavian (before he became Augustus). The portrait is of Octavian, of course. This piece dates to about 30-29 BC, or shortly before Octavian became Augsutus, dissolving the Republic and creating the Principiate - the official beginning of the Empire.

This piece carries a fairly high estimated price in Sear where it is # 1557; RSC 122, RIC 266; & BMCRR 4358 / BMCRE 631.


Very unusual to have a piece with such clear types and still have it require almost an hour to find in the literature. Not at all the sort of thing we normally see in British digs - particularly around Colchester which, although it was a really major Romanized center, dates at its earliest to mid-1st century AD - by which time this coin would have been very unlikely to still be in circulation, at least in the condition we find this one.

We have no proof, of course, but this would seem to indicate either an earlier Roman presence - perhaps of some private, non-governmental, perhaps mercantile establishment or center of operation - or of significant trading activity to bring this, among other pre-Claudian, Continental types of coins, to this general location. The tin mines were nowhere near the Eastern part of the Island, right? I'm afraid that my knowledge of the geology/geography of the British Isles is poor to non-existant, but I think of the mining districts being more a feature of lands to the west, Cornwall & Wales, etc. But tin was certainly the most important (in the point of view of importers on the continent) "export product" of the Island(s) before the establishment of an ongoing, official Roman presence. I know there were flint mines not too far north of London, a good friend is originally from Feltwell, but that activity rather significantly predated the Hellenistic age and I don't think there's any geological connection between flint and tin.


63 BC Roman BC republican silver sent for ID

Believe it or not, this is actually a pretty easy one to identify - mostly due to the fortuitous way it broke and what parts of the distinctive reverse device were left visible.

This is a denarius of L. Cassius Longinus, 63 BC.  The obverse is the veiled and diademed head of Vesta left.  The reverse is really an interesting and important voting scene - "Togate citizen standing left depositing ballot inscribed "V" in voting box."  Off flan to the right is the legend LONGIN III V vertically to the right of the standing figure.

There are links to another dozen or so specimens of this type on the page to which the URL above links.


Circa 100 BC Roman republican silver sent for ID - needs a 'cook' to reveal more detail


Plenty adequate detail to ID it, at least.  Cn. Foulvius, M. Calidus & Q. Metellus - 117-116 BC - Helmeted head of Roma right / Victory in biga right, holding wreath; beneath, CNFOVL (CNF & VL ligate), M. CAL • Q. MET (CAL & MET ligate) in exergue. 
RSC-Babelon Fulvia 1; RRC 284/1; CRR 539a; SRCV 160 var.

BC Roman republican silver coin - cooking to remove crust and sent for ID
I found a second to go looking for an ID for this one. I was quite a bit off on my first estimated date - dating to 42 BC, it's right on the cusp of the Republican & Imperial periods. The family is Claudia (Babelon/RSC Claudia 15). The obverse is Apollo, head right (should be a lyre behind the head, but that would have been on the missing bit.) The reverse is Diana Lucifera standing holding two torches, with P•CLODIVS downwardly on the right, and M•F• (illegible) to the left.
Crawford 494/23; Sydenham 1117; SRCV 492.

One of the best condition c100 BC Roman Republican silvers I have seen dug, minimal cleaning to remove crust.

Sent to Mark Lehman for ID - 3.36g, 17.56mm


That's a nice one - and it's actually a rare sub-type of this otherwise fairly common denarius.
AR Denarius Serratus.
L. Memmius Galeria, 106 BC.
Obv: Laureate head of Saturn left, harpa and ROMA behind.
Rx: Venus in biga right, cupid flies to left above; in exergue, L•MEMMI / GAL (ME is ligate)
Babelon/RSC Memmia 2b; BMCRR 1328.

Usually a Memmia 2 will have a control letter either beneath the chin on the obverse or below the horses on the reverse.  Those without a control letter - like this one - are fairly scarce.

Although it's not immediately apparent, this is a "serrate" denarius - it has a toothed edge. Coins of this type vary geatly in the depth and number of indentations around the edges even among a single type and it is theorized that groups of 10 or so flans were clamped together and a file was used to cut serrations in the edges of all of them at once, pre-striking. This technique could - and did - produce great variations in number of teeth and the depth of the indentations around the edges.  It seems that this piece never had particularly deep serration to begin with and wear, etc, has obscured the serration even further on this specimen.

What is less understood is just why they bothered to add this very labor-intensive step to the minting process, and only on a few - less than 10% - of the types.

One leading theory used to be that this was done as a protection against the fourree type of forgery where a copper core was wrapped in thick silver foil which was "soldered" onto the core with an acid flux and heat, then struck. Cutting the edge of a coin was one way to check to see if it had a copper core and so some thought these to have been produced as "pre-cut" to prove that they were silver all the way through.  However, it is easily shown that fourrees are just as common among serrati as in the usual, smooth-edged types, which kills that theory fairly quickly.

this is an example of a fourree serrate denarius from my collection:

Another popular theory is that these were for some reason favored by the Gauls and other "tribal" folk to the north where they were more readily accepted in trade than smooth-edged pieces - why this might have been, however, is never explored.

Finally, there's the old "Istanbul/Constantinople" explanation - they might have done it just because they liked them that way - or to make them purposefully different.  For a young and ambitious senator, being a aedile moneyer was a difficult and thankless task which was a typical first step on the cursus honorum - the "ladder" by which those senators with political aspirations beyond their participation in the Senate advanced in a career quest the evenual goal of which was to become a Censor or Consul with great power and access to riches. In order to make a name for oneself as an aedile moneyer one method was to produce coins which were in some way different or memorable - but without going too far out-of-bounds in terms of the accepted designs - and in that way serration may have been one step as a part of a political "arms race" among aediles to create "more unique" types.
This seems to have been somewhat of a passing fashion, becoming relatively common beginning around 125 BC, peaking around 100 BC, and then very seldom seen after about 65 BC.


Stunning BC Roman silver sent for ID - needs minimal cleaning

Not terribly old, but it is a very nice, clear specimen.  This is a huge type which was produced in great quantities at the time of the wars with the Marsic Confederation and for which dozens of minor varieties and some several hundred separate dies are known.  Additionally, his son revived the type and produced it on a much smaller scale in c. 60-65 BC.

L. Calpurnius Piso L.f. L.n. Frugi, 90 BC. Laureate head of Apollo left (this is a little unusual, it's normally to the right) / Naked horseman galloping right, holding whip. [L] PISO LF FRV[GI] below. RSC-Bab. Calpurnia 6-12d

I'm pretty certain that yours is from the father's (Lucius) run of coinage.  If you clean this at all it may become possible to figure out what the various fieldmarks and symbols might be - they're all pretty vague and obscured at this point, as is the 1st letter in the name on the reverse.  If it happens to be "C" rather than "L", then it's from the son's later run of issues.

This is really one of the most common of all Republican denarii, but this is a really nice specimen, it would appear.


Stunning BC Roman silver coin sent for ID

19.1 mm,3.4g

A quick reply now and I'll hope to get back to it to tell you some of the details later - there are plenty of details.  C. Coelius Caldus - this piece dates to 51 BC. - As you can tell, there's a LOT going on on this piece - most of it has to do with preparations fro the Feast of Jupiter.  This is not one of the absolute top-dollar types, but it is a sought-after and somewhat scarce piece with a "catalog value" 2-3 times higher than other, more common or less desirable types from the same era.

Cool find!


I promised you some more details about this lovely denarius - so here they are.  This is an issue given to the family Coelia by Babelon in his original work on Republican coins, classifying them by the families of the issuing aediles - a lower-rank job generally given to younger senators and considered one of the first rungs for climbing the cursus honorum to eventual political status including Consul or Censor, etc.
This specific piece is an issue of C. Coelius Caldus, originally attributed to ~c. 62 BC, new scholarship dates this issue a decade or so later in 51 BC.  This is a prime example of a young politician trying his best to associate himself with the offices and exploits of his famous ancestors.

The obverse is a portrait of the younger Caius' namesake grandfather who was consul in 94 BC. The "HIS" on the standard behind his head refers to his military victories in Spain.  Not really all that clear on your specimen, there is a standard topped with a boar beneath his chin and COS (for "Consul") beneath the neck truncation.  I'm uncertain exactly what the boar represents, but it also relates to his grandfather's exploits in Spain.  In front of the portrait, the legend reads C COEL CALDVS - the name of both the moneyer and his famous grandfather. The reverse refers to the moneyer's father who held the office of "Epulo Jovis". The scene depicted is a figure "seated on a lofty lectisternum" between two trophies.  The stage is inscribed, CALDVS VII VIR EPVL (VIR & VL in monogram) naming him as a "Septumvir of Epulo" -  one of seven officials holding this office simultaneously.  I'm uncertain what "epulo" means, exactly, but "Jovis" means "of Jupiter" so it is an honorary religious office of sorts.  Vertically on the left it reads C / CALDVS, on the right, I / MP / A / X (MP in monogram) "Imperator, Augur, Deceimvir" and below CALDVS III VIR (LDV in monogram) - "triumvir".

There are several sub-types with essentially all these same elements, but variously arranged with legend parts and/or trophies swapping sides of the stage as well as the 2 standards on the obverse swapping location and the HIS on the obverse standard replaced with other abbreviations or by weapons.  Yours is RSC Babelon Coelia 7 (out of 6 essentially similar types, differently laid-out, referring to the office of Epulo Jovis numbered 7-12).  

An interesting piece, to be sure - and one that is generally valued a good bit higher than the average issue of the era.


Seems like today was the day to ID this one! I opened the book and it fell open to the page with this piece on it!

L. Marcius Phillipus, 56 BC. Obv: Diademed head of the early Roman King Ancus Marcius right, lituus behind. [ANCVS] (off flan) below.

Rx: The Aqua Marcia aqueduct represented as an arcade of 5 arches surmounted by equestrian statue to right. AQVR MAR (MAR ligate) within the arches; PHILLIPVS (letters barely visible around circumference) to left.

RRC 425/1; CRR 919-1919c; Babelon/RSC Marcia 28-29c; RMM 15.1-2; SRCV 382.

2nd C Roman silver coin - cooking to remove crust

BC looking Republican Roman silver coin - needs cooking to show up detail

Sent to Mark Lehman for an initial ID as it has an unusal obverse symbol

Once I found a minute to have a good look at it, it was easy/obvious. This denarius is by “Octavian” – Gaius Octavius  -  in other words, Augustus as a young member of the 2nd Triumvirate before he became “Augustus”, which he did in 27 BC. This piece dates to ~ 28 BC, or just before he consolidated his power-base to an extent to step into the role of “emperor” which had been carved out by his great-uncle Gaius Julius, (also known as Caesar.)
Nice find! – your diggers are finding some really important and desirable Imperatorial-era coins these days which many an experienced collector would love to be able to own, but are prevented by the very high prices they command – at least they command them when their “opticals” are a bit more market-ready.
PS – I suspect the so-far “unidentifiable” denarius from a few days ago will also be from the Imperatorial era – it should be interesting to see who it is, eventually, when the obverse legend is revealed a bit.

BC Republican Roman silver - needs cooking to remove crust

17mm, 3.56g

This one isn’t “Republican”, strictly speaking – it belongs to the vague, in-betweensy period typically called “Imperatorial”, but which is not all that well-defined in time. It ends, definitively, with the accession of Augustus to the Imperial throne in 27 B.C. – when, exactly, it starts depends on who you are asking, but this era contains the rules of Julius Caesar, Pompey, Marcus Antonius, The “Triumvirates”, etc.
In fact, this is an issue of Julius Caesar’s, c. 46/5 BC, struck at a mint in Spain. Diademed head of Venus Genetrix right, erote on shoulder / “Gallia” and a Gaulish captive bound, seated at base of trophy – it’s not legible (yet) but it should have “CAESAR” in the exergue. The Gaulish captive may be supposed to represent Vircingetorix
Crawford 468/1, Sydenham 1014; RSC Julius Caesar 13.
Nice find! – that’s the second Caesar denarius your diggers have found recently in addition to all the Republican stuff – you must be on some late 1st century B.C. – or early 1st century AD (pre-invasion) site.

Cleaned up stunning BC Roman silver coin sent for ID

As it turns out, there are very few trigas (3-horse hitch) on Roman coins of any type – only a few among the Republicans which run heavily to quads- and bi-gas. It’s C. Naevius Balbus, 79 B.C.
This is specifically the only type of serrate denarius with a triga reverse.

Also, the “SC” on the obverse is quite unusual as well, indicating that the silver for the issue was approved – probably as a huge emergency issue to raise and equip an army during the civil war disturbances at the time of Sulla’s dictatorship – by a specific act of the Senate. Not particularly early, and definitely not rare, but in the Republican silver series, it is a unique combination of all of these somewhat lesser-seen elements: serrate, triga, “SC”. The “CCV” on the reverse is a control mark and variable.


BC Republican Roman silver coin sent for ID

T. Carisius. 46 BC. AR Denarius (17mm, 4.05 g, 4h). Rome mint. Head of Sibyl Herophile right, hair elaborately decorated with jewels and enclosed in a sling, tied with bands / Sphinx seated right; T • CARISIVS above, III • VIR in exergue. Crawford 464/1; CRI 69; Sydenham 983a; Carisia 11; BMCRR Rome 4061; RBW 1613
Technically, this would more correctly fall into the “Imperatorial” category, but you’re not wrong if you want to call it Republican


BC Roman silver - cooking to remover crust - sent for provisional ID

I’m afraid you’ll need to reveal a bit more here before I have any real chance to ID it. I have a short list of things the reverse might have been, but not enough specific detail to tell if it’s a leaping dog or horse – or a galley rowing along – or a crocodile – or something else altogether. I’m not sure what you see on the obverse, but that is also too unclear to be accurately oriented.
If you get an “after” picture when it’s been cleaned, at least somewhat, I’ll be glad to have another stab at it.

Roman republican silver coin - needs cooking to remove crust

Crusty 50 BC Roman silver with unusual obverse - sent for ID

This is the closest I’ve been able to come. I truly wish I could discern more detail on the reverse, but this “match” seems plausible at least. The obverse is very close to a match, to the extent it can be seen.
It does appear, as I suspected, to be Republican, but so late a date that you could call it “Imperatorial” and not be far off.
Do you have a date for Caesar’s British expedition? This might have come over in one of his soldiers’ purses if that foiled attempt at conquest was after 49/48 BC. (I suspect it might have been earlier – I’m just being lazy not looking it up, but I’vbe had my nose in a couple books for an hour now.
Here’s a photo:

Gens: Sicinia, ca. 49/48 BC Q. Sicinius & C. Coponius
Obv: diademed head of Apollo right, (star below?) Q SICINIVS to right, III . VIR to left (legend clockwise)
Rx: C. COPONIVS PR S.C. club of Hercules surmounted by lion-skin with scalp to right (bow to right, arrow to left?)
Babelon/RSC Sicinia 1; Syd. CRR 939-40; Craw. RRC 444/1; SRCV 413

Would I bet my next social security check on this? – maybe not - but I think I got it pretty close seeing that we only had the obverse to go on, really, and much of that unclear as well. All the legible letters correspond to the legends on a clear specimen – the reverse is somewhat different, but these were all hand cut dies and so variety is the norm, within limits. I also suspect the reverse is double-struck about 25% to left on 2nd strike. You can see dotted border at 3:00-4:00 reverse, and I’m pretty sure the crescent you see inboard of that border from 5:00-6:00 is also a segment of border from a 2nd strike. The obverse is also just about exactly 25% off center to left




Roman silver coin - sent for ID

Julius Caesar AR Denarius. Uncertain mint, 46 BC. Head of Ceres to right, wearing grain ear wreath; COS•TERT downwards behind, DICT•ITER upwards before / Emblems of the augurate and pontificate: simpulum, aspergillum, capis, and lituus; D to right, AVGVR above, PONT•MAX below. Crawford 467/1a; CRI 57; Sydenham 1023; RBW 1637; RSC 4a

Culullus, aspergillum, jug and lituus, in outer field right, D and below, PONT MAX (Crawford 467/1a / Sydenham 1023 / FFC 3) Splendid & desirable denarius of Julius Caesar by whom it was struck to pay his veterans: the 'D' on the back stands for donativum = extra donation to soldiers often paid from war booty. The legend on the obverse of this denarius honors the functions Julius Caesar held in the year of his victory over the Pompeian forces. His titles on the obverse are functional: consul for the third time and dictator for the second time, while the image on the reverse is strictly religious and refers to his previous status as one of the augurs and as pontifex maximus. The image of Ceres on the obverse may refer to the greater certainty about the Roman supply of grain that must have arisen after the defeat of the Pompeiians at the Battle of Thapsus (April 6, 46 BC) in North Africa.

Nice find!

Republican Roman silver coin

BC Republican roman silver coin - helmeted bust facing left- needs 'cooking to remove crust