Quadrans (Roman Imperial), Quadrantes, Semis, Semisses

Sale catalogs offering significant selections:

CNG 49  (3/99)  mbs.  2076 ancients among 2349.  888 G (including 12 AE Kings of the Bosporus), 250 RP, 59 Roman Egypt, 98 RR, 576 RI (including 59 AE fractions and quadrans), 6 DA, 103 Byz, Viking 4, 28 Celtic England, 17 English DA, 25 English
    Roman imperial AE fractions (59, including 6 of the mines), Augustus (41)

CNG 53  (3/00)  mbs.  2175 ancients among 2416, a few with enlargements throughout. 796 G, 191 Baktrian and Indo-Greek, 27 Aksumite, 177 RP, 59 Roman Egypt, 114 RR, 40 RI quandrans, 401 RI, 11 DA, 15 Lombards, 127 Byz, 156 Crusader, 6 Merovingian, 12 Celtic England, 6 English DA, 34 pennies
    RI Quadrans (40, including 13 of Augustus), Lombards (15), Crusader (156), Aksumite (27), Baktrian and Indo-Greek (191)

The New York Sale 5  (1/03)  412 HV ancients among 477, with 3 color E among 4. 176 G, 11 RP, 25 RR, 49 R fractional AE (quadrans, semis), 154 RI, 6 Byz.
    Roman quadrans, semis (49)

Munzen und Medaillen AG fixed-price list 502 of August 1987 has 28 quadrantes and a few other small Roman pieces among its 83 ancient coins

Berk 77, 1993 June 16. Lots 363-410. (48 lots with some duplicates, but a good selection.)

(For the quadrans-sized coins of the mines see the page on coins of the mines.)


King, C.  Quadrantes from the river Tiber. NC* 1975, 56-90.  (not illustrated)
  quadrans; mines, coins of
James Lamb, "Roman Semisses and Quadrantes, an Introduction", The Picus, 1996,  pages 38-59 including photos of 57 types. [A very good article.]
Weigel, R. "The anonymous quadrantes reconsidered," Annotazioni Numismatiche, supplemento XI, Milano 1998, 24 pp. including enlarged photos of 22 types.

Reference Books:
For anonymous quadrantes:
RIC Volume II, pages 216-219
Vagi, pages 330-333 including coins of the mines
Sear 1, pages 519-520
van Meter, page 117
BMC III (Nerva - Hadrian) pages 533-535 and plate 98 for anonymous coins of the mines.

Other articles:
Carter, G.  "Zinc content of Neronian semisses and quadrantes," ANSMN 33, 1988, 91-106.
  Nero, alloy*, semis, zinc
Simic*, V. & Vasic, V.  "La monnaie des mines Romaines de l'Illyrie," RN 1977, 48-61 and plate I (with 11 types of coins of the mines photographed)
  mines (coins of), quadrans (anonymous)

For beginners:
"A Quadrans for your Thoughts: Small Roman Imperial AEs", by Steve Benner, The Celator, April 2007, pages 22, 24, 26, 28. 

Web page:

"The Quadrans and Semis Denominations of Roman Imperial Coins"



Marvin Taemeanko wrote me, and I quote him here:

"Cathy King's article, 'Quandrantes from the River Tiber' in NC, 1975, is the best study on the topic so far (270 + 1128 coins) but it was preceded by the 55 quadrantes found in the Liri River in 'Roman Coins from the River Liri' by B. W. Frier and A. Parker, in NC 1970, and in part II of the article by W. Metcalf in NC 1974.   
"The largest find of quadrantes (including semises) from an archaeological site was the 1237 coins found in Pompeii in 1939. They were found in the cash box of a restaurant owned by Vestutius Placidus. (See 'Circolazione Monetale--etc. --- a Pompei' in 'Pompeiana' by Laura Breglia, page 59.) These are in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples and have never been cataloged. I asked two touring colleagues at two different dates to visit this museum and ask the curator of coins about a listing of the types but all they got was an Italian 'shrug'.  I think they are lost. The second largest hoard of 586 quadrantes was also found in Pompeii in 1822, see 'Pompeianorum Antiquatum Historia' by G. Fiorelli,  Vol. III, page 32,.  It was found in the entrance to the macellum in a box with gold rings. This find was also never catalogued so types and emperors are unknown.  Damn those archaeologists, they couldn't even tell a semis from a quadrans.
"I [Marvin] wrote an overview article about semis and quadrans, as a "Numismatic Mystery", with speculations as to their possible function in Roman life, published in the SAN Journal, April 1993. pages 86-93.  My theories are not proven but also not contested.
"The finds in Pompeii are mentioned briefly in my article, 'The Coins of Pompeii' in The Celator, Jan. 2003.


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