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Research Coins: Printed Auction

Sale: CNG 70, Lot: 664. Estimate $500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 21 September 2005. 
Sold For $865. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

[Early Italian and Roman Issues] ROME. 217-215 BC. Æ Aes Grave Triens (48.01 g, 12h). Head of Bellona(?) right, wearing partial helmet consisting of visor and horsehair crest, hair tied in three braids; spear or sword behind head, four pellets to left / Hercules fighting centaur, grasping its head and preparing to strike with club; four pellets to right. Crawford 39/1; Sydenham 93; BMCRR Romano-Campanian 113; Kestner 183. Near VF, dark green and brown patina, surfaces slightly rough. Rare. ($500)

From the Tony Hardy Collection.

The female head on the obverse has never been satisfactorily explained. Grueber in BMC described the head as that of Juno, an attribution followed by most later scholars, while Crawford simply leaves it as "female head wearing diadem". Neither attribution seems to fit the evidence. Her headgear is not a diadem, nor a typical stephane associated with Juno, but rather a peculiar form of helmet, consisting of visor and horsehair crest. The object that runs behind her head is only mentioned by Sydenham, who calls it a sceptre, but it may be a spear or a sword. The sword is an attribute not seen with Athena or Minerva at this time, but is unique to Bellona.