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Research Coins: Feature Auction


From the McCabe, JD, Banti, and Haeberlin Collections

CNG 112, Lot: 475. Estimate $500.
Sold for $3500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Anonymous. Circa 225-217 BC. Æ Aes Grave Triens (42.5mm, 79.93 g, 12h). Rome mint. Helmeted head of Minerva right on a raised disk / Prow of galley right; •••• (mark of value) below; all on a raised disk. Crawford 35/3b; Sydenham 74 var. (head of Minerva left); ICC 79; Thurlow & Vecchi 53a; HN Italy 339; Haeberlin pl. 22, 14; RBW 87 var. (same). Dark green patina with some light earthen highlights/deposits. Near VF. Extremely rare variety with Minerva’s head facing right and no mark of value on the obverse.

From the Andrew McCabe Collection. Ex JD Collection (Part I, Numismatica Ars Classica 64, 17 May 2012), lot 907; I. Vecchi 17 (15 December 1999), lot 618; Alberto Banti Collection (Peus 322, 1 November 1988), lot 36; Münzen und Medaillen AG 47 (30 November 1972), lot 18.

Exceedingly rare, this Minerva head right RRC 35/3b triens is the only known example to be sold at auction. Haeberlin knew of only three examples of this type, see text volume, p. 57, and he illustrated just one. One is in Vienna (Plate 22, no. 14), one in Berlin, and a third was in Haeberlin's own collection, which he weighed at 79.57 grams. Given the weight match with this coin, this is very likely to be Haeberlin's own example. Haeberlin lists 392 examples of the head left RRC 35/3a and probably a thousand could be listed today, but for this RRC 35/3b type the count still remains at 3: Vienna, Berlin, and this coin. In addition to the obverse head facing right rather than left, all examples of RRC 35/3b also differ from RRC 35/3a in lacking a value mark on the obverse. This second design difference proves the head right type is not a casual or accidental variety but a different issue. I believe Haeberlin was right to associate this rarity with RRC 36 rather than RRC 35. A head right/prow right quadrans was also known in a single example (also on page 57) in the Kiev museum. That coin was apparently destroyed in the battle of Kiev in September 1941, leaving zero known examples (this latter information was written in old handwriting in my copy of Haeberlin). [Andrew McCabe]