References. The quadrans and semis denominations of Roman imperial coins.

(Each category is not organized alphabetically, rather more or less in order of usefulness.)

Web sites:  "Aleph" has his collection of quadrantes on-line at Forum:


Sear, David.  Roman Coins and Their Values, volumes 1 (2000) and 2 (2002). Volume 1,  pages 519-520, gives a selection of anonymous quadrantes.

RIC 1 "revised edition" is essential for the Julio-Claudian period. 

RIC 2.1 is essential for Flavian pieces.

RIC 2 (first edition) pages 216-219 list 38 types of anonymous quadrantes with "S C" on the reverse.  

BMC I-III. BMC III (Nerva - Hadrian) page cix has comments on coins of the mines. Pages 533-5 and plate 98 have coins of the mines. 

Vagi, Coinage and the History of the Roman Empire, hardcover. 1999. Pages 330-331 have 31 type of anonymous quadrantes listed with 2 photographed and pages 332-3 have 14 types of coins of the mines, none photographed. 

Stevenson, Dictionary of Roman Coins. Hardcover. 

Mac Dowall, David. The Western Coinages of Nero. ANS MNM # 161. 1979. Cardcover. 256 pages plus XXIII page plates of coins and 2 images of a bust of Nero. [page 85 says "the denomination is rarely found outside Italy." He notes and discusses the quadrantes of Nero that do not have the "SC" seen on almost all AE coins.] 

van Meter, page 117

McAlee, Richard. The Coins of Roman Antioch. 2007. HC.  [Some quadrantes of Trajan are from Antioch.]

Woytek (book on Trajan, which I have not seen) 


Scholarly Articles:

van Heesch, Johan. Ph.D. thesis on quadrantes, available at at this link (in Dutch):
306 pages including 18 page plates illustrating 571 examples. There are often 3 or more per type to give a feeling for what they are like. Sometimes they differ in size.  44 anonymous types (pages 255-276). Mines types: Trajan (pages 211-215) 12 types, Hadrian (pages 215-217 in the pdf, 192-194 in the thesis) 5 types, Antoninus Pius 8 types (pages 194-197).   [This is a primary source for the quadrans denomination.]

van Heesch, Johan. "Providing markets with small change in the early Roman empire," RBN 2009, available here:

King, C. "Quadrantes from the river Tiber," NC* 1975, 56-90. (not illustrated, 270+1128 coins) [The best study other than van Heesch.] 

Frier, B. W. and A. Parker, "Roman Coins from the River Liri" in NC 1970 (55 quadrantes found in the Liri River) [Written before the King article.] [no photos]
Metcalf, William. "Roman Coins from the River Liri. II" in NC 1970, pages 42-52.  [no photos]
Houghtalin, Liane. "Roman Coins from the River Liri. III" in NC 1985, pages 67-81. [no photos]

Weigel, R. "The anonymous quadrantes reconsidered," Annotazioni Numismatiche, supplemento XI, Milano 1998, 24 pp. including enlarged photos of 22 types.
Buttrey, T. V. Review in JRA (date uncertain) of Weigel's article [Buttrey is quite critical.]  [no photos]

Stamenković, Sonja. "A mine coin and an anonymous quadrans from Singdunum,"  НУМИЗМАТИЧАР – 28(2005)/2010. p. 243 – 257.
     [an article which covers much more than the title suggests as it surveys the mine coins in museums in Serbia too.]     
    Available here:

Metcalf, William, "A note on Trajan's Latin aes from Antioch," ANSMN 22 (1977), pages 67-70 and plates 8-9.

Carter, Giles. Zinc Content of Neronan Semisses and Quadrasntes and the Relative Value of Zinc and Copper in the Coins of Nero," ANS MN 33 (1988), pages 91-106. [no photos]
  [He notes some quadrantes of Nero were made of brass (copper and zinc) and some of copper, and similarly for the semis denomination.  By analysis of numerous examples, he show that brass coins of the same denominaton were much lighter than copper coins (on average, 2.70 grams vs. 4.40 grams for semisses and 1.48 vs. 1.95 grams for quandrantes. He notes the percentage of zinc in those denominations is less than in sestertii (11% and 9%, vs. more like 24-28% for sestertii. With some significant and uncertain assumptions, he infers zinc was worth six times its weight in copper.]

Buttrey, T. V. "Domitian, the Rhinoceros, and the Date of Martial's 'Liber De Spectaculis'", The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 97 (2007), pp. 101-112.



James Lamb, "Roman Semisses and Quadrantes, an Introduction", The Picus, 1996, pages 38-59 including photos of 57 types. [Excellent, especially for the collector.]

"Coins of the Roman mines" by Harvey Shore in The Celator, Dec. 1998, pages 22, 24-25, with 6 photos. Lists and discusses the five general groups. "metal of the mines around Aureliana in the Timol valley."  

"Coins of the Roman mines" by Gregory G. Brunk in SAN, the Journal of the Society for Ancient Numismatics, volume III.1, 1971-72, pages 5-6, 4 one-sided images.

"Coins of the Roman Mines" by Gregory G. Bruck in SAN VII.2, Winter 1975-6, has only one paragraph on these coins, with more on countermarks, city issues, lead coins from Roman Egypt, and barbarous imitations. In spite of the title, it is not about the coins usually called "coins of the mines".

Taemeanko, Marvin. "Numismatic Mystery"  SAN April 1993. He wrote me (personal communication) that it is "an overview article about semis and quadrans, with speculations as to their possible function in Roman life.  My theories are not proven but also not contested."
   I quote him here: "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.
"The finds in Pompeii are mentioned briefly in my article, 'The Coins of Pompeii' in The Celator, Jan. 2003."

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)

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


Sale catalogs offering significant selections of quadrans coins:

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

Mines, coins of the:

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)

Lanz 82 (1997, Nov. 24) 7 pieces
Lanz 92 (1999, June 4-5) 4 pieces
Berk 98 (1997, Oct.) 5 pieces

Numerous catalogs have one or two pieces.


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