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    Description

    Abacus or Coin Scoop?

    Severus Alexander (AD 222-235). AV aureus (20mm, 6.18 gm, 12h). Rome, ca. 228-231. IMP SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate head right with slight drapery on far shoulder / LIBERALITAS AVG IIII, Liberalitas standing left, holding abacus (or coin scoop?) and cornucopiae. RIC 204 var. (no drapery). BMC 557 var. (same). Cohen 132 var. (same) Calico 3069 (same dies). Rare. Lustrous. Well-centered with high relief and essentially no wear. Superb Extremely Fine.

    Liberalitas, the Roman personification of Imperial generosity, is shown here holding her identifying attributes -- an object usually described as an abacus (for cointing coins?) and a cornucopia, symbol of plenty. An alternative view is that the shovel-shaped object is a scoop for distributing coins during a congiarium, a ceremony in which the Emperor hands out largesse to the civilian populace. The equivalent military ceremony is called a donativum. The exact amount distributed on these occasions has been documented for a number of rulers: Trajan is said to have handed out 75 silver denarii per citizen at his first congiarium.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2012
    6th-11th Thursday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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