Thursday, February 28, 2013

the art of money

I know I don't have too many readers with a burning interest in numismatics, but there are a lot of art lovers out there who may be drawn to that point where high art intersects with coinage.

This dime-sized Roman denarius is the most perfect example of artistic near-perfection I've yet seen on a coin. It depicts the Roman god of bridges, Fontus, as a Janus-headed deity, reflecting the name of the official who ordered it minted in 114 CE, Caius Fonteius. Fontus was undoubtedly the household god of this family.

I don't know the meaning of the "G" on the left, although it might be the slightly altered version of the moneyer's initial (Gaius, rather than Caius). The symbol on the right is the value mark, indicating that this 90% silver mite is worth 10 bronze asses.

The denarius, or 10 asses, was a day's wages for unskilled Roman workers at the time.

You can see this item enlarged for detailed viewing at E-bay.

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