It is unusual for a book on coins to focus only on a single denomination. It is even more extraordinary to concentrate on a small coin like the quinarius (worth half a denarius) throughout the whole of its period of issue. But that is exactly what this volume does. The catalogue is the core of the work. In it quinarii are listed from the date when they were first minted during the Roman Republic to their final appearance in the late third century AD before Diocletian's reform of the coinage. The author has included all specimens that could be verified that are listed in the major catalogues (e.g. RIC. BMC, etc.) as well as those from many public collections (both published and unpublished) and some that require reconfirmation that they actually exist. The illustration is lavish: there are 37 plates where the coins are illustrated at their actual size and 17 where selected items have been enlarged to 1 times life-size. Where it has not been possible to illustrate a coin, every attempt has been made to supply references to photographs elsewhere.
The text has been divided into three chronological sections: the Republic to Domitian; the second century ending with Commodus; and, the third century from AD 192 to Diocletian's reform. Within each, the focus is on explaining when and where quinarii were minted, the way in which they operated within the coinage, and how their function evolved over time. Detailed analysis of the sequence of issues, mint attribution, dating, and circulation also form a critical part of the discussion supported by tables, graphs, and drawings. Two bibliographies are also included - one general and one of find spots. For those who wish to learn more about this small but interesting denomination, this book is essential reading.