Italy. Bruttium, the Brettii.
Gold Hemidrachm, c. 215 - 214 BC. (Gold, 2.11g, 12.4mm). Head of bearded Herakles to left, wearing lion-skin headdress; to left, below chin, tiny Γ; to right, cornucopiae / ΒΡΕΤΤΙΩΝ Nike driving biga galloping to right; below, thunderbolt and tiny Γ. HN III, 1955. Scheu G 10.
The coinage of the Brettii was produced during the short period between Hannibal’s great victory over the Romans at Cannae in 216, when the Brettians allied with him against Rome, until 203, when Hannibal returned to Africa and the Brettians surrendered to the Romans. During this period the Brettii produced two initial issues of silver and bronze coins, followed by a major series of gold and silver and, then, by a long series of bronzes dating to c. 214-203 (these last seem not to be closely connected with the earlier issues and are of more fiduciary character). The earlier coins were produced solely for army pay and must have been very rapidly struck, yet they are usually very well made from very well engraved dies. This piece is a particularly fine example. The Herakles hemidrachms were probably struck as a single issue, albeit one that fell into two series; the first bore the club control mark on the obverse (linked with either a coiled snake or a caduceus on the reverse) or, as this, a cornucopiae (linked with a thunderbolt, a thunderbolt with a crescent, or a pentagram).
Grading/Status: Very rare. Toned, well-struck and most attractive. Extremely fine.
Star collection, LHS 102, 29 April 2008, 47.
Numismatica Ars Classica 10, 9 April 1997, 64.
Monnaies et Médailles 64, 30 January 1984, 20.