Roman Republic Coin with Banker’s Mark

Object: C034.08.06
JIAAW, Harkness Collection

RRC 448/3, ROME, 48 BCE,  3.99g
On the front, or obverse, of the coin you will notice a small “T” which has been pressed into the face of the woman. This symbol was not a part of the design, but an ancient mark made by a banker to demonstrate that the coin had been tested for purity (or silver content). These “banker’s marks” served simultaneously to test the coin for silver purity and to identify the banker who had tested the silver, providing future users of the coin with some measure of confidence in its value.

– Jacob Weber ‘15, student in ARCH 1575 Lost and Found: Coinage and Culture in the Roman Empire

Learn more about coin C034.08.06 and see other examples of coins with banker’s marks:

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology

On one side of the coin, an unkempt female head is shown in profile, with a Gallic wind instrument known as a carnyx in the background. The carnyx and unkempt hair of the woman would have made clear to the Roman audience that she was not only meant to represent a foreigner, but also a Gallic prisoner of war.

Coin – Denarius, Mark Anthony, Legion VI, Ancient Roman Republic, 32 BC

Denarius, issued by Mark Anthony, 32 BCImperatorial PeriodMinted by Moving with Mark Anthony, perhaps at Antony’s winter headquarters in Patrae (Greece) A ship being rowed to the right; above (off flan) [ANT AVG] (abbreviating: Antonius augurus); below, III VIR R P C (abbreviating: Triumvir rei publicae constituendae; translation: One of Three Men for the Restoration of the Republic) A Roman military eagle (aquila) between two standards; below, LEG VI Plain This coin was part of a very large issue by Mark Anthony before his final confrontation with Octavian at the Battle of Actium in 32 BC.

coin | British Museum

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