|Issue:||211 - 208 BC|
|Obverse:||Head of Mercury right; above, two pellets.|
|Reverse:||Prow right; above, ROMA; below, L between two pellets.|
Pre-reform fractions of the AES Grave As c. 217-211 BC
The economic crisis in the Roman republic precipitated by the outbreak of the Second Punic war and Hannibal's invasion of Italy led to a halving in 217 BC of the weight of the AES Grave as, which was now produced on the semilibral standard of about 132 grams. Worse was to follow, and as the higher denominations of the bronze coinage became lighter through a rapid series of weight reductions it was no longer practical to produce the lower value coins by the traditional method of casting. Accordingly, pieces struck between engraved dies gradually took their place. The transistion was completed by the currency reform of 211 BC by which the Aes Grave ceased altogether, the as itself being issued for the first time as a struck on the sextantal weight standard of about 44 grams.
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