Crawford in RRC says of this coin: “The obverse type recalls the standard obverse type of the coinage of Lipara, captured by C. Aurelius Cotta, Cos. 252; the reverse type alludes to the triumph celebrated in consequence.” He echoes Broughton in the MRR: “On coins of L. Cotta, perhaps celebrating the taking of Lipara, see Gueber CRRBM 1.200f.; Cesano, Stud. Num. 1 (1942) 158.” Looking at the coins of Lipara doesn’t instill confidence in this claim:
I have a hard time believing I’m the first to see this, but the parallel with Malaka in Spain is nearly perfect, right down to the wreath and the placement of the tongs behind the head:
The mint of Malaka is well studied, but I’ll need to read up a bit on the dating of the obverse proto-type. I think we can be sure the Spanish coin is the prototype, and not visa versa, as the Malakan bronze has Punic lettering.
So if the Lipara connection is a red herring, why this type? So far I’m hard pressed to find a Cotta with a Spanish connection. The poor L. Aurelius Cotta, cos. 144, was denied the opportunity to go to Spain (Val. Max. 6.4.2).
Perhaps the Malaca connection is also a red herring. Maybe there is no attempt to recall a spanish Familial connection, only that it provided an attractive model for representing Hephaistos, the smith god, for some other reason… One to think about.
[The ANS does list specimens in its collections for all these types, but they are just not imaged yet, hence the reliance on non-academic sources. There are also academic images here but they do not allow direct links and the image quality is pour.]