All posts by The American Numismatic Society

Revising Crawford’s Roman Republican Coinage from RRDP: The case of RRC 367

by Alice Sharpless

This blog post is a preliminary version of an article to be submitted for peer review. Comments and additional relevant specimens are welcomed by the author.

Coinage of the Roman Republic Online (CRRO) is a database that was created by the ANS to be, in effect, an online version of Michael Crawford’s 1974  Roman Republican Coinage (RRC) which remains the primary typology for Roman Republican coinage. Since the publication of RRC there have been significant revisions to our knowledge of Republican coinage provided by new hoards and ongoing scholarship (for an updated summary of these new discoveries see Yarrow 2021). This year, the Roman Republican Die Project (RRDP) began to publish material based on Richard Schaefer’s archive of Roman Republican Dies. Schaefer’s materials provide numerous specimens from auction catalogues and museum collections which add significantly to our knowledge of particular Republican issues. In addition to the die studies carried out by Schaefer, these specimens, which are accessible through the database SITNAM and linked to CRRO, provide, in some cases, revisions to Crawford’s typologies.

One particularly significant issue for which RRDP has allowed revisions to Crawfords typologies is RRC 367, a joint issue of L. Cornelius Sulla and. L. Manlius Torquatus from 83–82 BCE. This was one of the issues produced for Sulla’s army on their return from the East. For more on the significance of this and the other Sullan issues see Lucia Carbone’s two-part blog post on the financing of Sulla’s reconquest of Italy.

Crawford divided RRC 367 into five types—two aurei and three denarii (see below). The primary distinction of all the types is the obverse legend, its spelling and placement of the letters in relationship to the head of Roma. The first, 367/1 (denarius), only has L·M behind the head running downward, and ANLI PROQ (no T) running upward before the head. It is also the only type for which Crawford said the reverse legend may read L·SVLLA·IMPE or L·SVLLA·IMP (not L·SVLLA·IM). For the other four types, Crawford allowed L·SVLLA·IMP or L·SVLLA·IM as possibilities but excluded L·SVLLA·IMPE. The primary distinction of these four types is whether or not the obverse legend has a T (turned on its side) and the denomination. RRC 367/2 (aureus) and 367/3 (denarius) include the T in the obverse legend, while 367/4 (aureus) and 367/5 (denarius) do not. The name always appears behind the head running upward and the title before the head running down words.

Although Crawford did not distinguish the reverses of 367/2-5, Schaefer’s die study reveals that there is, in fact, a difference between the reverse dies of these types. The reverse design of all types shows a triumphator, crowned by flying Victory, in a quadriga moving right. But Schaefer’s materials show that on 367/2 (aureus) and 367/3 (denarius) the horses of the quadriga are arranged so that the lead horse is closest to the viewer (Fig. 1) while on 367/4 (aureus) and 367/5 (denarius) the lead horse is furthest from the viewer (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. RRC 367/3. British Museum 1860,0328.77 (Donated by Count John Francis William de Salis).
Figure 2. RRC 367/5. ANS 1941.131.172.

This arrangement of the horses does not vary within a particular type except in two ways. There are a very limited number of denarii that are hybrids that have the obverse legend of 367/3 but the reverse of 367/5 (lead horse furthest). Schaefer found seven examples of this hybrid, two of which are die linked to 367/5 through reverse die 367/5 EW (Figs. 3–4).

Figure 3. RRC 367/5; F. Panvini Rosati, La moneta di Roma repubblicana. Storia e civiltà di un popolo: catologo (Bologna: Museo Civico Archeologico, 1966), no. 273.
Figure 4. Hybrid of RRC 367/3 and 367/5 with reverse die link to Bologna specimen of RRC 367/5 (Figure3); Ernst Justus Haeberlin Collection = Adolph E. Cahn and Adolph Hess Auction, 17 Jul 1933, lot 1628.

There is also a denarius hybrid of 367/3 and 367/5, with the obverse legend of 367/5 (no T) and the reverse quadriga arrangement of 367/3 (lead horse closest) (Fig. 5).

Figure 5. RRC 367 Control mark type with XXV before. Classical Numismatic Group, eAuction 272, 25 Jan 2012, lot 323.

This variation has a further highly significant difference. The reverse dies bear control numerals either before or behind the quadriga (Fig. 6).

Figure 6. RRC 367 Control mark type with X behind. Phil Davis Collection (image by Andrew McCabe).

Based on the reverse, Schaefer included most of these control-marked coins with RRC 367/3 despite the difference in the obverse legend. While Schaefer did recognize the control marks on these “hybrid” coins in most cases, there are some specimens where the controls are off flan or otherwise not well preserved. Based on Schaefer’s materials, the author has carried out a die study that shows that all of these “hybrid” types have control-marked reverse dies. Schaefer’s materials include 26 examples of this control-marked type, while my die study includes an additional 12 specimens. The control marks on these coins are roughly added and therefore not well preserved so it is not possible to identify the numeral in all cases, but the die study shows that all of the coins with the 367/5 obverse/367/3 reverse typology have reverse control marks. There is only one specimen where there is no trace of the control mark preserved, but the specimen has an obverse die link with a control-marked coin (Figs. 7–9).

Figure 7. RRC 367 Control mark type. No control mark is preserved on this specimen but it is obverse die-linked with a control-marked coin. Gorny & Mosch GmbH, Auction 196, 7–9 Mar 2011, lot 2432.
Figure 8. RRC 367 Control mark type. Only a portion of the control mark is preserved (IX, behind); the control can be seen on other specimens (Figure 9). Heritage Numismatic Auctions, World & Ancient Coins Select Auction 232149, lot 62217.
Figure 9. RRC 367 Control mark type. Control IX, behind; reverse die-linked with Figure7. Noble Numismatics Pty Ltd., Auction 70, 9 Jul 2002, lot 3427.

Crawford identified only four control marks on this issue. He associated two of them with RRC 367/3 (control VI [Phillipe 311=Gorny 228, 375] and IX [Berlin]) and two with RRC 367/5 (control XV and XX [Vatican 2346]) (Figs. 9–10).

Figure 10. Reverse control marks observed by Crawford. Right to left: IV, before, Gorny & Mosch GmbH, Auction 228, 9 Mar 2015, lot 375 (note that this die actually has XXX, before, as well). XV, before, British Museum 2002,0102.3155; XX, before, British Museum 2002,0102.3159; for IX, behind, see Fig. 8.

Because the control numerals are small and not carved into the die in the same way as the legend, Crawford suggested they were not meant to be present on the final coin and were instead intended to be removed when the die went into use. He therefore suggested that the whole issue may have had these control marks and only a few have survived that were not removed before use. The RRDP data shows, however, that the control marks are associated specifically with these 367/5 obverse and 367/3 reverse coins. It is therefore unlikely that they were used throughout the whole issue and instead appear to distinguish a particular type within the issue. Why it would be marked out in this way remains a mystery for now.

The most up-to-date estimates for the issue are shown in Tables 1–2. The approximate issue size estimates differ slightly based on the obverse and reverse dies counts, but we can estimate a range between 165-660,000 (assuming 20,000 coins struck on average per obverse die and 15,000 per reverse die, a much-debated topic!). This is comparable to the approximate size for 367/1 (40–270,000) and 367/3 (730,000–1.5 million), while 367/5 was significantly larger (5.94–9.41 million) (see Carbone’s blog post on Sulla Part I, Table 4). These new numbers provide an approximate issue size for denarii of 6.88–11.84 million.

Obverse DiesCoinsd1Die estimatedPlus 95Minus 95CoverageApprox. issue size
1538523331687%320–660,000
Table 1. Production estimates based on obverse die counts (Esty 2011)
Reverse DiesCoinsd1Die estimatedPlus 95Minus 95CoverageApprox. issue size
1238215201195%165–300,000
Table 2. Production estimates based on reverse die counts (Esty 2011)

The presence of this control-marked subtype within Sulla’s production allows it to draw interesting parallels to the contemporary production of the mint of Rome (see Carbone’s blog post on Sulla Part I).

Currently, there is no process to update CRRO to include revisions to Crawford. We plan, however, to explore ways that will allow us to add updates to Crawford’s typologies, dating, etc., based on findings from RRDP as well as other studies. We envision that CRRO will remain a searchable index of Crawford’s typologies using linked open data to connect specimens in collections worldwide (thanks to Nomisma), but will in the future provide access to subsequent and ongoing research on Roman Republican coinage.

Revised RRC 367 Typologies

Below are revised typologies for RRC 367 differentiating between reverse as well as obverse dies and including the control-marked type.

Figure 11. RRC 367/1. J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu 77. NE.64.5 (Gift of Gordon McLendon).

 obverse: L M downwards, behind, ANLI  PRO Q upwards, before

 reverse: L SVLLA IMPE or IMP; lead horse closest

obverse: L MANLI T upwards before, PRO downwards, behind (T sideways)

reverse: L SVLLA IMP or IM; lead horse closest

obverse: L MANLI T upwards before, PRO downwards, behind (T sideways)

reverse: L SVLLA IMP or IM; lead horse closest

Figure 13. RRC 367/4. ANS 1967.153.195.

obverse: L MANLI upwards before, PRO downwards, behind

reverse: L SVLLA IMP or IM; lead horse furthest

obverse: L MANLI upwards before, PRO downwards, behind

reverse: L SVLLA IMP or IM; lead horse furthest

  • Denarius [new] (Figs. 5–10)

obverse: L MANLI upwards before, PRO downwards, behind (cf. RRC 367/5)

reverse: L SVLLA IMP or IM; lead horse closest, control number before or behind (cf. RRC 367/3)

Third RRDP Data Release

by Liv M. Yarrow and Alice Sharpless

This post announces the third data release from the Roman Republican Die Project (RRDP). For more on the first two releases see the blog posts from Carbone and Yarrow, July 2021 and Sharpless and Carbone, October 2021. The RRC types included in the newest release are:

346/1a

346/1b

346/1c

346/1d

346/1e

346/1f

346/1g

346/1h

346/1i

350A/1a

350A/1b

350A/1c

350A/1d

350A/1e

350A/2

350A/3a

350A/3b

350A/3c

350A/3d

350A/3e

350A/3f

367/1

367/2

367/3

367/4

367/5

385/3

391/1a

391/1b

391/2

391/3

392/1a

392/1b

RRC 346 was issued by the moneyer C. Censorinus in 88 BCE. Michael Crawford published an initial die study for RRC 346 in 1971. This complex issue shares dies across most subtypes. Three subtypes (346/1a, 1c, and 1d) have obverse control marks and share obverse dies. The other six subtypes have no obverse control marks. Schaefer has not made an attempt to count obverse dies without control marks. In addition to shared obverse dies, six of the subtypes fall into “pairs” linked by reverse dies. 346/1a and 1b share reverse dies with control numerals (Fig. 1a–b), 346/1c and 1d share dies with control symbols, and 346/1e and 1f share dies with Greek control letters.

Figure 1a. RRC 346/1a with reverse die link, control numeral XXV. 346/1a also has an obverse control mark: dot in left field. British Museum, 1843,0116.766.
Figure 1b. RRC 346/1b (below) with reverse die link, control numeral XXV. British Museum, 1949,0403.55.

Not all dies are used in both subtypes. Schaefer’s materials include four control-marked obverse dies and at least 32 reverse dies that were not observed by Crawford. Schaefer also identifies an additional die link between 346/1c and 1d. The complexity of the die links in this series calls into question the utility of continuing to use the subtype identifiers in this issue (see a preliminary discussion of this issue here). Even Crawford questioned whether the system of control marks could really be called a “system” at all (p. 143).

RRC 350A, issued in 86 BCE by the moneyers C. Gargonius, Ogul[nius], and M. Ver[gilius], falls into 12 subtypes. 350A/1a–e and 350A/2 are denarii, while 350A/3a–f are bronze asses. The denarii 350A/1a–e are ODEC: One Die for Each Control Mark though Schaefer’s die study reveals there are three control marks that have two dies each (Fig. 2a–b).

Figure 2a. RRC 350A/1b. Although the issue is ODEC, a few control marks have two dies. Here we see an example of control mark A. Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneve, CdN 2001-1407.
Figure 2b. Another example of RRC 350A/1b. Although the issue is ODEC, a few control marks have two dies. Here we see a second example of control mark A. BnF, REP-11844

The control marks on the asses 350A/3a–f are not well preserved, but there are several controls with more than one die. We selected this issue for release as the denarii of RRC 350A had been discussed in part one of Yarrow and Carbone’s 2020 RBN article (see Tables 4 and 6 especially), making the data underlying our analyses publicly available. Schaefer’s data for 350A/1a–e has 97% coverage, but the coverage for 350A/2 is only 12%, meaning much work remains to be done identifying specimens and comparing dies. 

This fall semester RRDP welcomed the participation of five undergraduate researchers from Brooklyn College, four were funded through the Mellon Transfer Undergraduate Research Program. The program connects transfer students to work closely with faculty members in the Humanities and Social Sciences and engage in meaningful, rigorous research. It is endowed by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. These students learned about numismatics, Roman Republican history, and how to navigate a wide range of digital tools. They were also able to visit the ANS and handle coins with all COVID precautions taken–a very welcome point of human contact for us all (Fig. 3)!

Figure 3. Lucia Carbone speaks to undergraduate researchers from Brooklyn College during a visit the ANS.

The following issues benefited from their work and analyses.  These issues were selected because they contain, at least in part, numbered dies just like the famous Crepusius issue studied by Hersh and so influential for the work of Carter and Esty on how to quantify the size of an issue based on the observed number of dies and specimens.

Through the regular full release of RRDP data, we are seeking to follow Esty’s sound advice in the conclusion of his 2011 article (p. 58):

Die-identity researchers should include all die-frequencies, not just n [number of observed specimens] and d [number of observed dies], so readers can judge the fit of the model. Plots […] are as useful as the estimate itself and provide additional information about the fit of the data to the model.

Our hope is that these calculations and plots will one day be displayed in CRRO for RRDP issues, alongside the raw data. Currently, any researcher can download the data as a CSV file that can be opened and explored in any spreadsheet program.

RRC 391/1a–b, 391/2, and 391/3 were issued by C. Egnatius Maximus in 75 BCE. 391/1a and 1b share reverse dies and are distinguished only by the presence of an obverse control mark on 391/1b. Schaefer’s materials confirm Crawford’s observation of only one obverse die for 391/1a, with a second plated specimen. For 391/1b, Crawford identified 8 dies with control numbers I through VIII; Schaefer’s study adds a ninth obverse die with control mark VIIII. Schaefer identifies 10 reverse dies for both subtypes, plus one plated specimen. There is also an additional obverse die which may or may not have originally had a control mark. For 391/2 (Fig. 4), Schaefer identified 16 obverse dies and 21 reverse dies, slightly less than Crawford (20 obv, 22 rev). For 391/3, Schaefer observed 40 reverse dies, an increase from Crawford’s count of 33.

Figure 4. RRC 391/2. ANS 1944.100.1970.

The most interesting anomaly explored by Nick Shaffer, currently pursuing a second BA in History, was the apparent overabundance of specimens of RRC 391/2 with the control mark VII (Fig. 5). 

Figure 5. Chart showing die frequencies for RRC 391/2.

Esty’s seminal 2011 article has emphasized how non-random samples, especially the overabundance of a single die can distort the data. Nick sought out additional specimens expanding Schaefer’s material to see if this helped correct the anomaly, but it only exacerbated the unusual number of VII specimens. Nick investigated when and where all VII specimens were first reported either in museum collection or in trade to see if they could be evidence of a dispersed hoard. No patterns were detected suggesting the sample may indeed be random.  He also investigated the weights of the specimens to see if this might hint at some of the specimens being ancient imitations such as has been noted by Jeremy Haag for RRC 378. Again, no evidence was found. Esty’s geometric model would predict 391/2 was struck by 24 dies, whereas the numbered countermarks suggest it was made with not less than 30. The reason why this particular data does not seem to fit the geometric model proposed by Esty will be investigated in future publications.

RRC 392 was issued by L. Farsuleius Mensor and also dates to 75 BCE. Schaefer identifies 75 obverse dies for 392/1a, plus one imitation, with control marks from I to LXXV (Crawford identified 51 dies and controls only up to LXXIII). For 392/1b Schaefer identifies 106 reverse dies, with two additional dies on plated or imitation specimens, with control marks from I to CXX (Crawford identified 41 reverse dies and controls only to CXVII). Rechielle Morales, Randy Sanz, and Margenis Saldana, seniors in History, and Jonathan Garcia, who is following a self-designed BA curriculum in Medieval Studies, worked together as a team on this issue.  Using again Esty’s geometric model, they observed that the model underestimates the number of reverse dies for RRC 392/1b by some 15 dies, if there were indeed originally 120 as the numbered control marks indicate. For RRC 392/1a the situation is the reverse, Esty’s geometric model seems to overestimate the number of obverse dies, again if we can rely on the highest observed control number as a guide. The coverage is over 97% in both cases and no obvious cases of non-randomness have been identified thus far. Figures 6 and 7 plot the die frequencies. We do not yet have any explanation for this and will be reaching out to colleagues as we continue to investigate this data and other similar numbered issues.

Figure 6. Chart showing die frequencies for RRC 392/1a.
Figure 7. Chart showing die frequencies for RRC 392/1b.

For more on RRC 367 see the separate blog post Revising Crawford’s Roman Republican Coinage  from RRDP: The case of RRC 367.

New Print-on-Demand Program

The American Numismatic Society is proud to announce a new print-on-demand (POD) program.

Every month the ANS will release 4–10 out-of-print and new titles as official POD editions, from recent monographs to the earliest numbers from series such as Numismatic Studies and Numismatic Notes and Monographs.

What are this Month’s Books?

Numismatic Commemorations of the 200th Birthday of George Washington in 1932 (by Sydney F. Martin)
NEW BOOK! 600 full-color pages. Available in hardcover and paperback editions.

Faustina the Younger: Coinage, Portraits, and Public Image (by Martin Beckmann)
NEW BOOK! 182 full-color pages. Available in hardcover.

White Gold: Studies in Early Electrum Coinage(edited by Peter van Alfen and Ute Wartenberg with Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert, Haim Gitler, Koray Konuk, and Catharine C. Lorber)
PREVIOUSLY OUT-OF-PRINT717 full-color pages. Available in hardcover and paperback editions.

Coins of the Ptolemaic Empire, Part 1: Ptolemy I through Ptolemy IV (vol. 1, Precious Metal; vol. 2, Bronze) (by Catharine C. Lorber)
PREVIOUSLY OUT-OF-PRINT. 992 total pages! Available in hardcover and paperback editions.
VOLUMES CAN NOW BE PURCHASED SEPARATELY.

Why Print-on-Demand?

Many popular ANS titles are now out-of-print. POD rescues these and offers affordable, high-quality editions using the original design and images from the first printing.

Our print-on-demand books and journal issues are officially branded by the ANS at prices often significantly lower than the resale market. 

On occasion, new ANS books will be published directly as POD, saving readers time and money in receiving new volumes.

How Does It Work?

Click the links above to place an order, or visit the ANS Store and search/filter for “POD” or “Print on Demand”. Click the “Add to Cart” button and proceed to check-out. The ANS Member discount of 30% applies to POD books just like it does for new titles. Because of supply chain issues affecting the availability of paper, books will ship directly to you from the printer in approximately 2–3 weeks once your order is received.

Royal Numismatic Society Awards Gilljam Prize to George Watson

The Royal Numismatic Society has awarded its Gilljam Prize for Third-Century Numismatics to George Watson’s book, Connections, Communities, and Coinage: The System of Coin Production in Southern Asia Minor, AD 218–276 (Numismatic Studies 39). The prize, awarded every two years, recognizes the book or article that represents the best contribution to the numismatics of the third century before the reform of Diocletian.

“I am honoured to receive this prize,” Watson said, “which has been awarded to many distinguished scholars of third-century numismatics in the past. I am very grateful to the ANS for producing such a beautiful book that is worthy of this honour.”

Connections, Communities, and Coinage addresses the system of coin production in the regions of Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Cilicia during the third century AD, radically reappraising the numismatic evidence of die-sharing between cities in Southern Asia Minor.

The ANS congratulates Watson on this achievement.

Order the book from our distributors Casemate Academic (US only) and Oxbow Books (rest-of-world).

A Numismatic Reunion

Guest post by David D. Gladfelter. David studies, writes, and speaks about the history of bank note engraving and printing, and collects interesting items in this wide field. A retired attorney and ANS fellow, he and his wife, Valerie, live in Medford, NJ.

First came the biography, a 1931 account of the life of the British-born engraver William Rollinson (1762–1842, fig. 1), written by Robert W. Reid and Rollinson’s great-grandson Charles Rollinson.

Figure 1. Portrait of William Rollinson ca. 1826 by Frederick S. Agate. Frontispiece, Reid and Rollinson monograph.

Their monograph tells of the engraver’s coming to New York in 1789, finding work in the shops of various silversmiths, and soon turning to copper-plate engraving which occupied him for the rest of his life. At the end appears a sampling of 18 of Rollinson’s engravings—calligraphic, ornamental, glyphic and scenic—plus a printed circular (fig. 2) which Rollinson had sent to various banks in 1811, soliciting orders for bank notes produced by a ruling machine he had invented. Several of these exhibits came from the personal collection of Charles Rollinson, but the source of the circular was the collection of the New York Public Library.

Figure 2. Circular sent to bankers in March 1811 by William Rollinson describing his anti-counterfeiting ruling machine and soliciting orders for bank note engraving. Collection of New York Public Library; reproduced in Reid and Rollinson monograph.

Notice that the circular mentions an accompanying “specimen of work … entirely novel, and of my own invention, and which cannot be imitated by first rate artists so as to deceive common observers.” Also notice among the exhibits a “Specimen” engraved bank note (fig. 3) on the Middle District Bank of Poughkeepsie, New York, with the imprint “Leney & Rollinson Sc. N.Y.”

Figure 3. $10.00 undated remainder note on the Middle District Bank of Poughkeepsie, N. Y., with imprint of Leney & Rollinson, New York. Collection of the American Bank Note Co.; reproduced in Reid and Rollinson monograph.

Next came Robert A. Vlack’s short-titled Catalogue of Early North American Advertising Notes in 2001. Item 4640 in the catalog is a specimen bank note dated March 1, 1811 with the imprint “Leney and Rollinson Sculpt. N. York.” The description notes a “pink tint”, a quite early use of a tint on a bank note. Item 4645 is the same design with a “light blue tint”. These tints consist of straight parallel ruled lines. The dates on this pair of specimens are the earliest of all of the notes listed in the Vlack catalogue.

An unlisted variety of Vlack 4640 has a waved-line pink tint (fig. 4) similar to the tint appearing on the Middle District Bank note. It didn’t take long for me to identify this specimen variety as the “specimen of work” that Rollinson had sent out with his circular. Notice that the date on the specimen is the same month (although not to the day) as the date on the circular.

Figure 4. “Fifty Fish” advertising note with imprint of Leney & Rollinson, New York, dated March 1811, believed to have accompanied Rollinson’s circular. Author’s collection.

Rollinson evidently sent his circular and specimen far and wide. Among the respondents was the newly chartered Planters’ Bank of the State of Georgia, which ordered notes in seven denominations ranging from $1.00 to $100.00, listed in Haxby as GA-320 G2, G12, G22, G32, G42, G52 and G62, all designated as “surviving example not confirmed,” a term equivalent to “extinct” in the biological world. Later-discovered examples of the two highest denominations are seen to have been produced on the model of Rollinson’s specimen (figs. 5 and 6), both with similar waved-line pink tints and geometrically-ruled end designs. Despite Rollinson’s optimism, the $50.00 note was counterfeited! Notice of this phony note, having plate letter C, appeared in Bicknell’s Reporter of March 5, 1832, and other counterfeit detecters of the 1830s to 1860s.

Figure 5. $50.00 issued note on the Planters’ Bank of the State of Georgia, dated 1817, with imprint of Leney & Rollinson, New York, Haxby GA-320 G52 (SENC). Author’s collection.
Figure 6. $100.00 issued note on the Planters’ Bank of the State of Georgia, dated 1813, with imprint of Leney & Rollinson, New York, Haxby GA-320 G62 (SENC). Author’s collection.

But the best was yet to come.

A copy of Rollinson’s circular appeared in Heritage’s October 20, 2020 auction (lot 83078). The signature on this copy, Willm. Rollinson (fig. 7), differed from that on the NYPL copy (Wm. Rollinson).

Figure 7. William Rollinson’s manually signed personal copy of his March 1811 circular. Author’s collection.

But a handwritten notation on the back identified this as Rollinson’s personal copy which had escaped from the family’s custody prior to 1931 when his biography was published. The notation (fig. 8) reads: “My Circular letter to Banks/ enclosing a Specimen of my/ waved line Work/ WR”.

Figure 8. Notation manually written by William Rollinson on back of his personal copy of the circular. Author’s collection.

This circular is printed on bond paper with a faint powder horn watermark. Rollinson’s signature is manually written, not printed.

As for its provenance, all we know is what Dustin Johnston, Heritage’s cataloguer, can tell us: That it was discovered by a book dealer on the East Coast who consigned it to the auction.

REFERENCES

David D. Gladfelter, “William Rollinson’s Novel Bank Note Sample,” Paper Money 49.1: 58–60 (Jan./Feb. 2010).

James A. Haxby, Standard Catalog of United States Obsolete Bank Notes, 1782–1866, vol. 1 (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 1988), 301–303.

Robert W. Reid and Charles Rollinson, William Rollinson, Engraver (New York: Privately published, 1931).

Robert A. Vlack, An Illustrated Catalogue of Early North American Advertising Notes (Ads That Look Like Paper Money (New York: R. M. Smythe & Company, 2001).

Personal correspondence between the author and Dustin Johnston, November 5, 2020.

Virtual Conference on the Witschonke Collection

The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire. Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851).

Coinage of the Roman Provinces before Provincial Coinage: The Richard B. Witschonke Collection

March 23–25, 2021

Co-sponsored by the American Numismatic Society and the Ph.D. Program in History at the Graduate Center, CUNY

Register by March 22

This three-day conference, co-sponsored by the ANS and the Ph.D. Program in History at the Graduate Center, CUNY, will feature contributions by the foremost scholars in the field. The papers will offer a numismatic and historical overview of each region represented by the coins in the R. B. Witschonke Collection.

It may come as a surprise to learn that as the Romans came to dominate the Mediterranean world, they ruled most of it without imposing their own coinage. Yet this was typical of the Romans’ pragmatic attitude to imperialism, and their tendency to retain any existing forms of effective organization in newly conquered territories. Indeed, it is now generally recognized that we should not talk of “the Roman economy” as a single phenomenon. Instead we should conceive of it as a group of substantially separate regional economies that were yet strongly interconnected through tribute payments and the movements of armies and goods. Although payment in kind played an important role in the Roman world, coinage was still paramount in transactions between the provinces and Rome. To understand those interactions, it is thus important to research the manifold ways in which local coinages converged, at least partly, to create compatible monetary systems across the Roman Empire. 

The Roman Provincial Coinage series offers an incomparable tool for the study of the coinages issued in the Roman provinces and client kingdoms from the age of the Civil Wars onward, but does not include the local production in those regions in the preceding decades. The 4,000 coins included in the R. B. Witschonke Collection at the ANS, mainly dating from the second and the first century BCE, provide the prologue to the study of Roman Provincial coinage. Most of the specimens are of great historical and numismatic value, as they illustrate the gradual transition from distinct to compatible monetary systems in the Mediterranean basin. While exhibiting an extraordinary variety in appearance and weight, the coins of the collection tell the tale of a partial convergence toward the Roman monetary system before the inception of the so-called Roman Provincial coinage in the second half of the first century BCE. The ways in which this convergence took place are manifold, spanning from imitations of Roman Republican denarii from Romania and Gaul to the lead tokens of Spain, from Aesillas’ tetradrachms in Macedonia to the Romano-Sicilian coins in Sicily, local coinages and pseudo-mints in Central and Southern Italy. The collection thus offers a unique overview of the diverse ways in which the monetary systems of the Mediterranean basin responded to the Roman conquest in the second and early first century BCE and to the related necessity of interconnectivity. 

Schedule

March 23

Chair: Andrew Meadows

Coinage in the Roman Provinces before RPC: introductory remarks

8:15–8:45 am EST Welcome and opening remarks

8:45–9:30 am EST Hidden power indeed: the surrogate coinages used by the Romans in Greece and Asia Minor (François de Callataÿ)

Roman influence on late Hellenistic coinages in the East

9:45–10:30 am EST Cistophoric Mysteries (Lucia F. Carbone)

10:30–11:15 am EST Ghosts of the Seleucid Empire in the RBW Collection (Oliver D. Hoover)

11:30 am–12:15 pm EST Some Cilician coins from R.B. Witschonke Collection at the ANS (Annalisa Polosa)

12:45–1:30 pm EST Coins of Samaria and the Decapolis (David Hendin)

March 24

Chair: Pere Pau Ripollès

Roman Magistrates on coinages issued in the Provinces of the Roman Empire

8:15–9:00 amEST Some remarks on the Roman monetary economy in Bithynia in the light of new evidence from R. B Witschonke Collection (Hale Güney)

9:00–9:45 am EST A Proconsular Bronze and the End of Atarneus (Claude Eilers)

10:00–10:45 amEST Macedonia and Thrace from the Roman invasion to the time of Augustus: the contribution of the RBW coin collection (Sophia Kremydi)

10:45–11:30 am EST Romano-Sicilian coins and other coinages of Sicily issued under Roman rule, a mirror of the formation and transformation of Rome’s first province: RBW’s legacy (Suzanne Frey-Kupper)

11:30 am–12:15 pm EST The Coinage of Copia in the RBW Collection (Euan Wall)

12:45–1:30 pm EST Mark Antony’s ‘Fleet coinage’: a survey of research (Michel Amandry)

March 25

Chair: Michel Amandry

Coinages issued under the Romans in the Western Provinces

8:15–9:00 am EST The Roman Struck Bronze Coinage of Luceria and Canusium (Andrew McCabe)

9:00–9:45 am EST Small Change in Roman Republican Coinage (Liv M. Yarrow)

10:00–10:45 am EST The impact of Roman Republican Coinage on Spanish local issues. The unofficial imitations (Pere Pau Ripollès)

10:45–11:30 am EST Two Denarius Imitations in the the RBW Collection (Phil Davis)

11:30 am–12:15 pm EST Magistrates and citizens: the coinage of Paestum in  the RBW Collection (Federico Carbone)

12:45–1:30 pm EST Non-state coinages of Republican Italy (Clive Stannard)

1:30–2:00 pm EST Final Remarks and Comments

Hiring: ANS Deputy Director

Description 

The Deputy Director is a senior member of the management team of the American Numismatic Society. S/he directly reports to the Executive Director and attends all meetings of the Board of Trustees as well as meetings of the Executive Committee. S/he represents the Society in the absence of the Executive Director. S/he is responsible for directly supervising the financial, administrative, technology, library, and publication matters of the American Numismatic Society. 

The Deputy Director is expected to acquire a solid knowledge of all aspects of the Society. 

The Deputy Director shall be prepared to represent the American Numismatic Society at public events, and support the Executive Director in promoting the mission of the Society. 

Qualifications

The position requires a proven and significant track record of dealing with all aspects of finance, accounting, budgeting, and administration acquired in an academic, education, or museum context. Prior experience in managing a team of people is essential. The Deputy Director should have excellent communication skills and be able to speak in public to larger audiences, in-person, and digitally. S/he will have published, researched, and/or taught in the field of numismatics. A graduate degree in a relevant field is a requirement, PhD preferred. 

Location

New York City, New York. Some travel required.

Compensation

This is a full-time exempt position. The ANS offers generous healthcare, vacation, retirement, and fringe benefits.  Salary is in line with similar positions of the Society. 

To Apply

Please send your resume with a letter describing your interest and qualifications for this position, as well as the names and contact information for three references. 

Send applications to position@numismatics.org

Application Deadline: March 10, 2021

The ANS is not able to sponsor visas for this position.

Employment at the American Numismatic Society is dependent on a successful background check.

About the ANS

The American Numismatic Society is dedicated to the study and public appreciation of coins, currencies, medals, and other related objects. Since its founding in 1858, the ANS has assembled a permanent collection with over 800,000 objects dating from 650 BCE to the present and a numismatic library, which houses approximately 100,000 books, documents, and artifacts. These resources are used to support publications of books and periodicals, lectures, academic seminars, and exhibitions.

The American Numismatic Society is an equal-opportunity employer.

The American Numismatic Society, organized in 1858 and incorporated in 1865 in New York State, operates as a research museum under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is recognized as a publicly supported organization under section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) as confirmed on November 1, 1970.

The American Negro Commemorative Society

Today’s post is authored by Jaharia Knowles, ANS intern. Knowles is a high school senior from New York City. A passionate student activist, she became a member of Black Students Demanding Change, a student-led group devoted to creating racially equitable reform in NYC private schools, while researching the American Negro Commemorative Society last summer. In addition, she is a visual artist and musician. Jaharia is excited to explore the intersections of history, identity, politics, and art in her future academic studies, and is dedicated to make her community a more accepting and equitable place.

The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968, sent shockwaves across the country and marked the end of the Civil Rights Movement. Almost immediately, riots erupted in several of the nation’s largest cities, including Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, a public display of the Black community’s grief and anger not only towards King’s assassin, but also towards the nation’s deeply rooted racism. The loss of such a prominent figure of the Movement only exacerbated Black Americans’ discontent with segregation, redlining, and other forms of institutional racism that had existed in the country for decades. Less than a week after King’s assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act, which prohibited housing discrimination based on race, religion, gender, or national origin, in part due to pressure from protestors. While the national riots and the subsequent passing of the Fair Housing Act are well-known effects of King’s death, one other effect that has received very little attention was the creation of the American Negro Commemorative Society (ANCS).

Figure 1: ANCS medal featuring Martin Luther King, Jr. (ANS 1969.25.1)

George A. Beach, a 32-year-old advertising designer based in Pennsylvania founded the Society in collaboration with the Franklin Mint for the purpose of highlighting Black American historical figures. With the ANCS, Beach sought to educate Americans, especially Black Americans, on influential Black figures who were often left out of “traditional,” whitewashed narratives of American history. The subjects featured on the medals lived as early as the Revolutionary era, illustrating how ingrained Black people are in the nation’s history. In fact, many of those featured were pioneers in their field, such as W. C. Handy, self-proclaimed “Father of the Blues,” and George Washington Carver, who made significant contributions to the study of agriculture in the early twentieth century.

Figure 2: ANCS medal featuring Carter G. Woodson. (ANS 1970.64.1)

The commemoration of Black historical figures on medals, at least in the United States, was unprecedented. The ANCS addressed this in one of their advertisements, saying, “Many notable American Negroes were given some recognition in their time, but nearly all have been sadly neglected in numismatics. We hope to fill that void.” The ANCS’s efforts to highlight previously overlooked Black Americans was part of a greater push to include Black history in American history started earlier in the century by Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (also featured on one of the ANCS medals).

Figure 3: ANSC medal featuring Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable. (ANS 1969.25.2)

While some of the Black Americans featured on the ANCS’ medals have become household names, such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, others are not as well-known. For instance, Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable, a tradesman and the first non-indigenous permanent resident of Chicago, had not been recognized for his role in the city’s history until recently. For decades, John Kinzie, a white Canadian who bought Du Sable’s property in 1804, had been wrongly given the title. While that began to change in the early twentieth century due to the determination of African-American led groups in Chicago, many Americans, even Chicagoans, were unfamiliar with Du Sable. The ANCS’s commemoration of the tradesman was part of a long mission to redress a historical wrong. Today, Du Sable is widely recognized as the “Father of Chicago,” but that would have been impossible without the contributions of Black activists, writers, and organizations, including the ANCS.

Figure 4: ANSC medal featuring Henry Ossian Flipper. (ANS 1970.201.2)

The commemoration of Henry Ossian Flipper served a similar purpose. Flipper was born enslaved on March 21st, 1856, in Thomasville, Georgia. However, after the Civil War, he was able to attend West Point Academy, becoming the first black graduate of the school. That same year, he became the second lieutenant of the 10th Cavalry, which made him the first Black officer to lead the all-Black regiment. However, despite his achievements, Flipper’s career was marred by false accusations of misconduct from his racist, white peers, and eventually came to end when Colonel William Rufus Shafter framed the lieutenant for embezzling government funds. Flipper spent the remainder of his life trying to clear his name. Although most people who knew the lieutenant doubted the legitimacy of Shafter’s accusation, he was unable to regain his commission.

Figure 5: ANSC medal featuring Harriet Tubman. (ANS 1969.90.1)

The ANCS’ commemoration of Flipper in 1970 is most likely the first time Flipper had been celebrated for his accomplishments after his death. Six years later, Flipper’s descendants applied for a review of his court-martial and dismissal, resulting in the Department of the Army changing his dismissal to an honorable discharge.  Shortly after, West Point displayed a bust of Flipper on its campus. In 1999, President Bill Clinton pardoned the soldier.

In a forthcoming feature in the ANS Magazine, I will offer an in-depth look at all 64 medals and explore other aspects of the Society, including the marketing of the medals, their reception, and the ANCS’s ultimate demise.

The National Endowment for the Humanities funds the ANS-Oxford University OXUS-INDUS Project

by Peter van Alfen, Ethan Gruber, Andrew Meadows, Simon Glenn, Gunnar Dumke

Silver Drachm of Apollodotus I of Bactria, Uncertain, 174–65 BC. ANS 1944.100.74510.

The American Numismatic Society (ANS) is pleased to announce that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded the Society a $150,000 grant for the two-year joint ANS-Oxford University OXUS-INDUS project. The award comes through the New Directions in Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions program that partners the NEH with the United Kingdom’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) intended to fund trans-Atlantic co-operative projects. At the ANS, Dr. Peter van Alfen and Ethan Gruber will be working with their partners Prof. Andrew Meadows and Dr. Simon Glenn at Oxford University, who are funded by the AHRC, along with Dr. Gunnar Dumke at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg in Germany, to create a new online typology and research tool for ancient Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek coinage.

Ancient coins provide a wealth of information about the societies that produced them. The economic function of coinage requires no more than a simple indication of authority and denomination, yet since antiquity producers have sought to adorn their coins with complex imagery and inscriptions. The images chosen to appear on coins can tell us much about cultural identity and self-representation, the languages and scripts selected for their inscriptions can indicate an intended audience, the places they are found reveal patterns of circulation and movements of peoples. Their varying weights, and estimates of the numbers of coins produced, may inform us of the economic situation, while understanding the control marks that appear on them can tell us about their system of production. Crucially, the coins struck under particular rulers may be the only surviving evidence of their existence. This is the case for many of the rulers of the Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kingdoms, which existed between c. 250 BCE and the beginning of the first century CE and covered areas of modern Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and India. Formed in the wake of Alexander the Great’s incursion into the region, these kingdoms remain some of the least understood and most understudied political and social entities of the ancient world. Indeed, only eight of these kings are known from literary, epigraphic, and archaeological sources, while over 40 can be identified on coins alone, an astonishing disparity in source material that underscores the importance of the numismatic evidence for our understanding of these early rulers and their interactions with those they ruled.

Silver Tetradrachm of Eucratides I of Bactria, Bactria, 170–145 BC. ANS 1997.9.68.

Tens of thousands of these coins exist today, dispersed in collections, both public and private, across the globe, not just in Europe, the UK and US, but, rather importantly, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India as well. With standard reference works out of print and only existing in French and English, it is difficult for scholars and those working in cultural institutions holding these coins to engage with the material at a number of different levels, including not just basic cataloguing but advanced research too. Lacking, in many cases, basic and accurate typological information describing where, when, and who produced the coins, the potential of these collections to serve as historical resources remains currently locked. The OXUS-INDUS project aims to resolve current catalogue and collection accessibility problems by providing a multilingual, freely accessible, and technologically sophisticated Linked Open Data web-based portal that will offer a new, up-to-date typology of the coins, taking into account the many new variations and newly-proposed rulers since the last standard reference work was published 30 years ago by Osmond Bopearachchi. This new tool will also allow access to the images and data of thousands of coins, initially incorporating the major collections of the ANS, Ashmolean Museum, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Leeds University Library, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and, more critically, the State Bank of Pakistan. Many of these collections were assembled and had reached their current composition by the mid-20th century, meaning that new varieties, which have appeared in recent years are not present. Some of these collections already have an online presence and linkable data on individual coins; some, however, do not, notably those collections located outside of Europe and the US. For this reason, as part of the project, the open source Numishare project platform will be adapted to allow the inclusion of coins from a variety of sources regardless of their current digitized state. The digital format and Numishare architecture for the OXUS-INDUS project has already been successfully deployed in existing and widely used numismatic resources including the NEH-funded Online Coins of the Roman Empire and Hellenistic Royal Coinages at the ANS and the AHRC-funded OPAL and ARCH projects in Oxford. It will also be deployed in the new, ERC-funded CHANGE project.

Besides offering a much-needed tool for understanding Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek coinage at a basic level, we anticipate the OXUS-INDUS resource will also be used to advance new research agendas. In recent years, for example, scholarship on the archaeology and history of the Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kingdoms has moved away from a polarized view of ‘Greek’ and ‘non-Greek’ influences to one of cultural hybridity. Numismatic scholarship has generally remained focused on political history, with attempts to link the coins to the very few historical events known from literary sources. The subject is thus long overdue for a decolonizing approach, moving away from the systems created in the 19th century by historians from a European colonial background and returning to the evidence of the coins themselves. The new overview created by the OXUS-INDUS project will allow a reappraisal of the numismatic evidence for the kingdoms in the light of these new approaches and provide a framework for studying and analyzing the coins, which does not rely on knowledge of detailed and technical numismatic arguments. The Linked Open Data approach taken will also be fully extensible in the future to include other coinages from the region, and from different periods.

Official Launch of the ANS eBay Store

The banner for the American Numismatic Society’s eBay store.

As every collection grows, there comes a time when decisions must be made about what to keep, and what to retire. This is true for both private collections, as well as cultural institutions such as the American Numismatic Society. In a perfect world, vault space would be unlimited, and the ability to store, maintain, and make available an endless supply of numismatic material would be not only feasible, but practical. Alas, vaults are built to fixed specifications, and with it come similar constraints on any institution’s ability to care for, research, and exhibit their collection. And as guardians of cultural artifacts, we must do what is right by the collection, and the members and donors who contribute to the American Numismatic Society.

As such, the ANS has decided to accept the important challenge of determining what items in the collection should be permanently re-homed. In reality, this is a win-win situation. Not only will the ANS be able to create more space for future objects, but the revenue generated will help support our mission of promoting and advancing the study, research, and appreciation of numismatics. Additionally, members and collectors alike will now have the opportunity to acquire an incredibly diverse range of material pedigreed to the Society at prices dictated by the open market. Pedigree and provenance are hugely important in numismatics, and we feel that giving others the opportunity to incorporate a small piece (or many pieces) of the ANS into their own collections is a benefit to both collectors and the Society.

The first coin listed by the ANS on eBay, a 1900 $1 Morgan coin.

So, what are the steps necessary to carry out this endeavor in an appropriate manner? First and foremost, members of the Curatorial team are carefully considering what items can and should be removed from the collection based on their purview and area of expertise. It should be stressed that only duplicates are being considered. Even then, duplicates also have their place in the ANS collection, as die varieties and die states can provide a wealth of numismatic knowledge about a particular coin series. Once we have identified a duplicate and determined that it is not a unique variety or die state that should remain in the collection, we can then decide which coin is the best-preserved example and therefore should be the specimen we keep.

A duplicate 1787 Fugio Copper from the ANS eBay store.

Next comes the manner in which the duplicate material should be sold. It is our belief that the fairest and most appropriate method to advertise and sell our collection of duplicates is via open auctions with the widest possible reach. As such, eBay auctions will be our main vehicle for the majority of the material that will be leaving the ANS’ collections, at least initially. Not only does eBay have the widest reach of any online auction platform, but eBay’s unique format also allows the Society to add small batches of material on a weekly basis, as opposed to orchestrating larger timed auctions where many hundreds of items go live and sell on the same day. This helps ensure a steady supply of items for collectors to bid on, and makes the day-to-day logistics of running auctions (photographing, listing, and shipping) a more streamlined and manageable operation. Additionally, eBay allows the ANS to list our material with low starting bids and no reserves to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to bid on and win objects from our collection, and that market demand and market demand alone dictates the final price of any sold piece. As a non-profit, this is of paramount importance and ensures that we are approaching this new project with integrity, honesty, and fairness.

An attractive 1878 2 Centavo essai coin from Argentina from the ANS collection.

On many collector’s minds is what range of material will the ANS be considering? While we are initially focused on coins, paper money, tokens, and medals from the Americas—including the United States, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America—eventually the project will be broadened to other world coins and paper money, world medals and tokens, and ancient coins. Numismatic literature is also on the horizon, as the ANS library also includes many duplicates.

We hope to share updates from this project as time goes on, and hope to learn from members and collectors as to how we are doing. Deaccessiong is never an easy process, and for the ANS (as it is for any institution) it will be a continuous work-in-progress where we learn, grow, and improve with each sale. Ultimately, our efforts are grounded in doing what is right for the ANS, our members and donors, and our collection, but we hope that anyone who wishes to add an item from the ANS will be able to do so in the months and years to come.

See the ANS’s current eBay listings.