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Home > Auctions > 5th December 2023 > Roman Bronze Stamp for Octavian

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LOT 0145

GBP (£) 300 - 400
EUR (€) 350 - 460
USD ($) 380 - 510

Opening Bid
£150 (EUR 173; USD 190) (+bp*)

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Bids: 0
2 1/2 in. (92 grams, 64 mm).

Formed as a tablet-shaped stamp (signaculum), with raised border above and below containing an inscription in Latin in reverse over two lines, reading: 'Q[UINTI] POM [PONII] CRE [SCONII} ? / OCTAVIAN[I]' possibly translating to: 'Of Quintus Pomponius Cresconius Octavianus', this latter being the owner; with a large loop to verso.

From an old private collection formed before 1985.

Accompanied by a copy of a previous dealer's certificate of authenticity including provenance.

Cf. Di Stefano Manzella, I., ’Signacula ex aere in officina: aggiornamenti e novitá di una ricerca multidisciplinare’ in Sylloge Epigraphica Barcinonensis x, 2012, pp. 229-246, fig.1, for similar.

Used to stamp documents and a broad range of different materials and food, signacula came into use in the Roman res publica during the 2nd century B.C., becoming both popular and widely used in many areas of everyday life during the Imperial period. These signacula were not exclusively used in the sphere of economy and property administration, but also in public and private sphere, determining the identity of their owners. The bronze stamp - also definable as a tessera, like the wooden one - was an instrumentum vicarium (auxiliary tool) of the annulus signatorius (seal ring), but compared to the annulus, it was much stronger and more practical, capable of leaving a better recognisable imprint. By analogy, the press note of a wooden or terracotta stamp also had an important certifying function, but the object that produced it only lasted a limited time, while the signaculum ex aere (bronze stamp) lasted a lifetime.