One of the worrying things about RRC [12/2] is that the amphora doesn’t look much like any ancient amphora and the spearhead (esp. the notches on two of the specimens). So today as I look at images on an old blog post, I realized how damn similar the two sides were in design.
Let me try to show you what I see in a series of photo shopped images of the BM specimen:
There is a weird logic of near visual parallels on these bars:
This design is playing the same visual game. It makes sense within the general design motifs of early Roman coins, e.g. the Apollo l./Apollo r. series.
I also think it probably made carving molds easier. You impress the basic outline and then just carve in the details to make it look a little sharper.