Cerco the quaestor’s uncia?

This little coin (RRC 305/2) is so irritating I managed to wipe it from my memory and thus from the first draft of the uncia paper. That cannot be left that way (I know, I know: it is also full of typos– I’ll get to those too… at some point).

Bahrfeldt also seems to have found it a wee bit irritating.

I have not been able to determine the whereabouts of the uncia that was once in Capranesi’s possession, weighing 4.15 g, and published by him in Diamilla’s Memorie numismatiche I 56, part IV 5. It did not find its way into the Vatican Coin Cabinet, as might have been suspected. I discussed the second known specimen, Supplements II 17. It is in Copenhagen, weighs 4.38gs and is only moderately preserved. Nevertheless, in order to show the correspondence between the head and the denarius, I give a picture here on plate V 126. The inscription did not come out well, but Q LVATI till legible, as well as the denomination mark • but of the ROMA there is nothing to be seen.

Bahrfeldt vol. 3 p. 69
Crawford cites this as D.D. Müller, did he miss read his handwritten notes perhaps for Diamilla?

All descriptions and images of this uncia go back to the 4.15g specimen published by Diamilla in Memorie numismatiche I, p. 56, plate V, no. 5, whose whereabouts cannot be traced. I found a second specimen in Copenhagen, it weighs 4.38 grams and is moderately preserved. I could not determine anything about the origin, but judging from the illustration it is not identical to that published by Diamilla.

I was so excited by the mention of a plate. I shouldn’t have been. I mean its a terrible scan but I don’t think the drawing is going to inspire confidence even if I get a better image of the place

Update from the next morning: McCabe kindly supplied a better drawing from Babelon deriving from this Capranesi plate he also supplied a photo from Bahrfeldt’s plate of the Copenhagen specimen. Both are very helpful.

In style and character this uncia–which I regard as unique–has on the obverse a perfect resemblance to that of the money belonging to Lutatius himself, but the title of quaestor and the inscription ROMA are missing. The beautiful preservation, with which it is provided, excludes at all that anyone thinks this coin is defective or missing the legend. The quadrans published by Riccio (1) was also coined without the title of Quaestor; we regret that in publishing it the weight of this quadrans was not given, which is so useful for the monetary system, but I hope that it fits perfectly with this uncia, and then it would be very desirable to have completed all the fractions of the rarest of consular bronzes. Quintus Lutatius also had the uncia struck in memory of the famous victory obtained by the Romans over the Carthaginians in 512, through the heroism of his ancestor C. Lutatius Catulus; which victory, among other honors, procured him the Civic Crown, which is seen impressed on the silver coin, and on this uncia, in favor of so many citizens saved and returned to their homeland.

Capranesi, p. 56

So Capranesi has convinced me. If his specimen has an obverse that looked JUST like the denarius obverse and the Copenhagen also looks to me to be modeled on the denarius obverse, I say that Capranesi’s coin probably existed and probably looked very much like the Copenhagen. I also am relieved that it doesn’t say Q or Roma as I can’t see either on the Copenhagen.

Update from the next morning: After seeing the images supplied by McCabe (see above) I’m further convinced that there are two specimens. I think they are best accepted as official products of the the Roman mint. I wonder a little if there might be a Q at the top where in the drawing Capranesi’s specimen has denomination mark.

Update for the evening of the next day: Schaefer still urges me to caution on Copenhagen specimen as possibly altered without condemning it. I agree that confirmation bias is always a danger; we see what we WANT to see.

I still wonder if it was made by a pseudo mint from dies hubbed from a denarius and then the reverse re-carved a bit. My one sticking point for this pet theory is that after looking at all the 305/1 reverse dies that all only have ONE leaf about the TI of the name where as the uncia has two.

The drawing of the second specimen is so terrible even this cannot be compared. Boo.

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