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Denarius of the Roman Republic

Detectorists find lots of Roman denarii but most belong to the Imperial period, when emperors ruled the roost. Robin Dones sent in the specimen featured here and is earlier; it was struck during the time when Rome was a Republic. Robin asked me to provide a full ID and a valuation. On the obverse is the helmeted head of Roma, with a monogram of XVI in front and ROMA behind. On the reverse is a voting scene showing two citizens casting their ballots in the Comitium with an attendant handing one his voting tablet. In the background is a screen surmounted with the initial P representing the voting tribe.

Across the upper part of the screen is P NERVA. The official responsible for the issue of denarii of this type was P. Licinius Nerva and the time of striking was 113/112 BC. David Sear, in volume I of Roman Coins and Their Values lists the type as number 169. In a footnote Sear states: “One of the most celebrated types of the Republican coinage, this depicts the actual voting process in the political assembly of the Roman People in the Comitium, where citizens voted on business presented to them by magistrates. The area occupied by the Comitium was consecrated ground, like a temple, and was located in front of the Senate House in the Forum.


Robin’s denarius has circulated for some time and it wouldn’t grade any better than Fair to Fine. However, as it’s an interesting type it should still be worth around £30.

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