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Unique Ancient Coin Die Tiberius, 14-37 A.D.

Ancient Coin DieWhile browsing the upcoming Stacks  Saint Ludovico and Firth of Clyde Collections  auction catalog set to commence on April 22-23rd at the Doubletree Hotel Chicago in Rosemont , Ill., we cam across a most unusual and unique item we wanted to highlight on CoinLink.

Occasionally numismatic items appear that few have ever seen, and actual production dies are one of these, however a die used to strike ancient coins is an even rarer item.

Below is some background on  unique example of an ancient coin die used to strike  a Tribute Penny – Denarius of the mint of Lugdunum, and perhaps the first known evidence of early coin brockage.

We hope you find this as interesting as we have.

The Stacks Catelog states the following:

Side view of ancient coin die“A Unique Die for a Tribute Penny – Denarius of the mint of Lugdunum. An official die with the obverse of a denarius stuck on the top. Laureate head r.; TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS. 161.16 grams. Height: 36.8mm, circumference: 31.4mm at its widest.

In Catalogue des Monnaies de l’Empire Romain, Tiberius- Nero (Paris, 1988), Jean-Baptiste Giard listed 12 known dies, 11 of which having been found in the Lugdunum (Lyon) area (an area of 200km).

Four were found in 1863 at Paray-le-Monial (Saone-et-Loire) and are now in museums. Six were unearthed in Auxerre (Yonne) in 1799, four of which are now at he Cabinet des Médailles de la BnF; the other two reside at the Musee monétaire de la Monnaie de Paris. And one was found at Vertault (Côte d’or).

This die come from an old collection in Poule-les-Echarmaux (Rhône), which is in the same area.

An analysis done on the back of the die here shows an identical composition to the other 12, hence showing that it is an official die. The likeliest hypothesis as to why there is a Tribute Penny Obverse showing on the top is that in the course of striking with the die, a completed Denarius was stuck inside the die and brockages were erroneously turned out for a short period.

When the mint worker caught on and attempted to pull the Denarius out so that the die could be used correctly, he couldn’t. The few scratches before the face of Tiberius stands as proof of this deducement. Failing in his attempt, the mint worker placed the die on the side to be destroyed.

A historic and unique remnant of the ancient Roman minting process, and perhaps the first known evidence of early coin brockage.

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