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Research Coins: Printed Auction


Mystery IVDEX

Triton XXII, Lot: 856. Estimate $2000.
Sold for $1800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

T. Vettius Sabinus. 66 BC. AR Serrate Denarius (18.5mm, 3.78 g, 6h). Rome mint. Bareheaded and bearded head of King Tatius right; SABINVS downward to left, S • C downward to right, TA monogram (for Tatius) below chin / Togate figure, holding reins and magistrates's scepter, driving biga left; IVDEX above, stalk of grain to right, T • VETTIVS in exergue. Crawford 404/1; Sydenham 905; Vettia 2; BMCRR Rome 3370-2; RBW 1446. Choice EF, lustrous.

From the Alan J. Harlan Collection, purchased from Numismatica Ars Classica, London. Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 9 (16 April 1996), lot 679.

The togate figure in the chariot on the reverse is identified as a IVDEX; this is usually translated as “judge,” but a more correct definition might be “arbiter.” Efforts to identify the figure have run into the problem that there was no formal independent office of Iudex and any important magistrate could be called by that title. Michael Harlan proposes that the figure could represent the moneyer himself, who may be the same Titus Vettius who served as Quaestor in Sicily circa 73 BC; the grain ear to the right of the chariot in this case would refer to Sicily, the main supplier of wheat to Rome.