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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
640805
Sale: CNG 64, Lot: 805. Estimate $750. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 24 September 2003. 
Sold For $895. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

L. Roscius Fabatus. 59 BC. AR Serrate Denarius (3.92 gm). Head of Juno Sospita right, wearing goat's skin; lottery machine behind / Female standing right feeding serpent; lottery ball behind. Crawford 412/1 (symbols 103); Sydenham 915; Roscia 3. Choice EF. ($750)

The symbols on this particular issue of L. Roscius Fabatus depict components of an ancient lottery system. While Crawford misdescribed these symbols as a well and an unknown symbol, their actual identification is possible by comparison with contorniates made hundreds of years later which depict the identical equipment (see, e.g., Alföldi 203). Furthermore, it may be deduced through the comparisons with the contorniates that the lottery system they were parts of related to the determination of the starting positions in a chariot race.