Copper Semis issued by the Roman Rebublic, 225-217 BC
Cast in Rome

Obverse Description

Laureate head of Saturn facing left; behind, S

Reverse Description

The prow of a Roman war ship; above, S

Edge Description



The earliest copper coins of the denomination 'as' weighed one Roman pound (about 329 g.) and were produced by casting from about 280 BC. There were 12 Roman uncia in a Roman pound and 12 uncia coins to the as. Originally half a Roman pound, semis, weighed about 164 g. as did the coin denomination semis. However, as with all copper coins of that period, the weight of the coin denomination semis was gradually reduced, in the case of this coin to 129 g. Coins of around that weight were being produced between 225 BC and 217 BC. Cast coins were not produced with exact weights but the average weight of a large sample would have been close to the desired standard.

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