Fleet Bronzes Mark Antony by Atratinus, Capito and Bibulus, 38-35BC
I recently had the opportunity to photograph a set of so-called Mark Antony Fleet Bronzes issued by L. Sempronius Atratinus as augur and consul designate, M. Oppius Capito pro-praetor and praefectus classis, both likely minting in Achaea, and by C. Calpurnius Bibulus as praetor designate in Syria between 38BC and 35BC. This is a fascinating coinage, often spoken of but rarely seen because individual examples are very rare indeed apart from the light As of Capito and the Semis of Bibulus. Roman Provincial Coinage deals with the series on pages 284-286 and 600-601, underpinned by studies of Fleet Coinage published by Michel Amandry in Revue Suisse de Numismatique 1986, 1987 and 1990. For those who do not have RPC it is worth quoting a few points:

"These coins introduced innovations to the Roman monetary system: for the first time a Sestertius was struck in bronze; the Tressis, a 3 As piece, had not been minted since the 3rd century BC; and there was a remarkable effort to clarify the denominations: (1) Marks of value, the Greek numerals Α Β Γ Δ. (2) Value symbols, on the As the head of Medusa, on the Dupondius the two caps of the Dioscuri, on the Tressis the triskeles, on the Sestertius a square object - astralagus, tessera or altar (3) Reverse type related to the value, Four hippocamps on the Sestertius, the Tressis has three ships with sails [AM: and incidentally three portrait busts, two jugate facing a third], the Dupondius two ships with sail, the As one, the Semis a ship without sail, the Quadrans a Prow. The system of Greek letters proves the coins were intended to circulate in the Greek speaking areas. But the coins were Roman in essence and the purpose of the Fleet Coinage was possibly to provide in the east a complete coinage of copper based bronze to circulate with Roman gold and silver money. This was a step in the Romanisation in the east. At the same time as Octavian was striking bronze coinages in the west, Antony could have wished to present his imago in the east. Of course this policy was not successful. The amount of coinage struck was quite small and the weight of the coins dropped so quickly that it became unacceptable". RPC pp 284-285.

I illustrate the full set of Fleet Coinage types missing only three pieces, but as compensation add two exceptionally rare coins, one being Crawford 530 As in the name of Antony and Atratinus and the other an apparently unpublished Janus-Prow As for Antony alone with augural staff. Surely these are related to the Fleet Coinage. I noted in passing one curious cataloguing error in RPC. It cites the Quadrantes RPC 1458 for Atratinus and RPC 1467 for Capito as both having a prowstem for type. That of Atratinus is of course an augural lituus, very appropriate for his proud role of augur and consul designate.
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