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L. Cosconius Brockage Error

This coin is a brockage of the Roman Republican denarius shown above. A brockage happens when a newly minted coin sticks to the top die, and then a second blank is put on the lower die and the two coins are struck together. I purchased the coin ~15 years ago - probably even earlier - my record keeping was non-existent before then. At the time it was one of the best preserved denarii in my collection. It is an interesting Roman Republic denarius - struck in Narbo, Gaul.

Here's a properly struck coin of the same type:

L. Cosconius M.f., 118 BC, AR serrate denarius, Narbo mint

Obv: Helmeted head of Roma right; X to left

Rev: Gallic warrior (Bituitus?), naked, driving a galloping biga right, hurling spear and holding a shield and carnyx

Size: 3.94g, 19mm

Ref: Crawford 282/2; Sydenham 521; Cosconia 1


The reverse references victories over the Gauls, and there are aguments that it could be a reference to Gallic King Bituitus, captured by the father of Cn Domitius Ahenobarbus - another subject of scholarly debate.


Crawford (RRC) describes the style as "markedly different" and "unparalleled" for both the erratic legends and the unusual administrative structure represented on the coin. It is signed by 2 senior moneyers (IIviri col. deduc.: the two highest officials responsible for leadership of the colony)

- L. Licinius Crassus (L LIC on reverse)

- Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus (CN DOM on reverse)

and a junior moneyer

- L Cosconius (L COSCO M F on obverse)

4 other junior moneyers issued coins in this series with the the 2 senior officials.


Narbo Martius, modern day Narbonne, France, was established as a colony ~118BC as a strategic location on the road to Spain. The date, not without some past controversy, is based on this passage from Paterculus:


"A colony was established at Narbo Martius in Gaul about one hundred and forty-six years ago in the consulship of Porcius and Marcius." - Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, 1.15.5


Establishing a colony in Narbo was controversial in Rome as the senate worried about conflict with local populations and the scope of responsibility. The pro-colony argument was led by L. Licinius Crassus, who is described by Cicero a few decades later.


As he [Crassus] was then desirous to have the honour of settling the colony of Narbo (as he afterwards did) he thought it advisable to recommend himself, by undertaking the management of some popular cause. His oration, in support of the act which was proposed for that purpose, is still extant; and reveals a greater maturity of genius than might have been expected at that time of life. - Cicero, Brutus, a History of Famous Orators, 160


It seems that a colony was a "popular cause" because it would have the potential to grant access to both trade and farm land/land grants.

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