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Drachm of Caligula

Andy Hooper said he thought I might be interested in featuring the coin pictured here on my website. I was told it was unearthed by Andy’s son, Patrick, during a Christmas dig with Metal Detectives. It’s an interesting and quite rare Roman coin and the first of its type I’ve seen as a detecting find.

It’s a silver coin but instead of being the usual denarius, it is a drachm. The coin belongs to the wide ranging series of Roman provincial coins, which were struck to circulate in provinces that were under Roman control but not part of the Empire. In reference works coins like this one are listed under Crete. The mint is uncertain but is probably Gortyna.

On the obverse is the bare head of Caligula (emperor from AD 37 to 41) facing right with a sceptre over his shoulder. The legend, in Greek rather than Latin, is visible but very difficult to read. On the reverse is the radiate head of Divus Augustus, with stars in front and behind.    


Coins of this type are listed in Roman Provincial Coins as umber 965. The obverse of this specimen would grade better than Fine but the legend isn’t clear. The reverse is in similar condition but has been struck off centre. Pricing is difficult but if I was cataloguing this coin for sale at auction I’d set the pre-sale estimate at £220 – £250. The eventual hammer price would of course depend on the amount of competition between prospective buyers.

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