AE Triens (Rome, 189-180 BC)
O/ Helmeted head of Minerva right; four pellets above.
R/ Prow right; S FV above; four pellets before; ROMA below.
Crawford 151/1 (2 obverse dies/1 reverse dies)
Our moneyer belonged to the famous patrician gens Furia, but is only known through his coins. He might have been a member of the Furii Purpureones or Phili, as individuals from both families were recorded with the praenomen Spurius at this time. However, coins minted by known members of these families bear differences with our Spurius Furius. Indeed, our moneyer could possibly be a son of Spurius Furius Purpureo, Consul in 196 BC, but two other Purpureones are known as moneyers (RRC 155 in 179-170, and RRC 187 in 169-158), and they chose to only display their cognomen. Likewise, Lucius Furius Philus, moneyer in 189-180 (RRC 144) only put his three initials on his coins. Our moneyer could have therefore belonged to another stirps of the Furii, like the Bibaculi or the Crassipedes, although none of them bore the forename Spurius.
Crawford only recorded the triens, but there were an as, a semi, and a quadrans in the collection of Richard Witschonke (cf. NAC 61, lots 667, 669, 670). One specimen of the as was recently found with a complete legend S. FVRI, thus securely attributing this issue to the gens Furia (cf. picture on Adrew McCabe's website).
This coin is very rare and possibly the finest known.