Roman Republican Coins in the British Museum

E Ghey, I Leins (eds) - descriptions and chronology after MH Crawford

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currency-bar

Alloy currency-bar.

AN351511001001

© The Trustees of the British Museum

  • ObverseObverse
  • ReverseReverse

Department: Coins & Medals

Registration number: 1867,0212.3

Coins and Medals catalogue number: GC1p26.1

Additional IDs
HSBC.1783 (Money Gallery Exhibited)

Bibliographic reference
Haeb 1, p.75 (type)
BMC Greek (Italy) 1, pp.26-27
HN Italy 259, p.46
Ghey, Leins & Crawford 2010 7.1.1
RRC 7/1

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Object types
currency-bar (all objects)

Denomination
aes signatum
Materials
copper alloy (scope note | all objects)
Techniques
cast (scope note | all objects)
Production place
Minted in Rome (all objects)
(Europe,Italy,Lazio,Rome (province),Rome)
Date
280BC-250BC (circa)
Period/Culture
Roman Republican (scope note | all objects)
Authority
Issuer Anonymous (all objects)
State
Roman Republic


Description
Cast copper alloy currency-bar (aes signatum).
(obverse) Shield (outside).
(reverse) Shield (inside).

Dimensions
Weight: 1623 grammes


Curator's comments
Copper alloys were used as currency in northern and central Italy in the form of scrap and cast into bars. The earliest bars contained copper and iron, and apparently circulated from the 6th to 3rd centuries BC, mainly in Etruria. They were very brittle, and it seems likely that the iron was introduced to increase their weight. The weight was not fixed at this stage, but when the Romans started to make their own currency bars, they adopted a standard of about 5 Roman pounds. Rome copied the central Italian idea of making currency bars in the late 4th century BC, and continued to make them until about 250 BC. As well as being made to a fixed weight standard, they have a varied range of designs.


Subject
arms/armour (scope note | all objects)


Acquisition date
1867

Acquisition name
Purchased from Giulio Sambon (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Formerly in the Guadagni collection, Florence.


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