Well, I've finally caught up to where i can start posting my Baltimore show wins from last month. How about we start with a nice double-struck Parthian?
Parthian Kingdom, Seleukia-on-the-Tigris mint. AR tetradrachm. Gotarzes II (c.40-51 AD). Dated 361 Seleukid Era (=49/50 AD), month off flan. Obverse: Diademed bust of king left. Reverse: King seated right, receiving diadem from Tyche who holds cornucopia, Greek inscription around. Multiply struck on both sides. Sellwood 65.25-27, Shore 362. This coin: Purchased from Marcos Xagoraris (Aristos Ancients) at Baltimore Whitman Coin Expo, November 2019.
Vardanes I and Gotarzes II were brothers from different mothers, though both were legitimate offspring of their father Artabanos II (or IV, as we discussed earlier). Artabanos died in 38 AD. Details of the succession are unclear, but it appears Gotarzes may have taken the throne briefly, only to be overthrown. Gotarzes tried to reclaim the...
As all of us know the Roman Empire coinage underwent a great, some may say catastrophic, debasement in the mid to later part of the Third Century. For a while the Roman mints did a pretty good job of disguising the debasement by some kind of enrichment process that left the surfaces of their silver coinage looking like the earlier silver. The silver of the double denarius of Gordian III, circa 242 AD, was under the 50% fineness grade but it still looked like a silver coin. By the beginning of the reign of Valerian in circa 253 AD it appeared that the Romans were still using an amalgam of silver and copper, that is a heated alloy of the two metals with copper so predominating, that coins of this period often have a copper tinge to them when first minted and then turn a kind of dark, dirty gray in color. But at some point, I am guessing here, but around 260 AD, the Roman mints seemed to have abandoned their coins of a base amalgam and gone to making the coins of essentially copper...
Coming up for sale next month is a coin that represents something of a dilemma in the British series of Wreath Crowns. As many readers know, the wreath crowns were struck from 1927 through 1936 (excepting the one year 1935 "Rocking Horse" crown).
The 1927s were all issued in proof, though Brits often refer to the crowns of this year as "specimen". After that in numbers ranging from the 1934 low of 932 pcs. to 1928 of some 7k pcs. these were struck and largely released through banks at Christmas time for service as presents, or at least so goes the literary records.
In addition, some specially prepared coins were struck each year, and these have been referred to in various sources as specimen, proof, VIP proof, VIP Record proof, etc.
There are several problems with discriminating ordinary currency from these special issues in that the ordinary currency runs were very low with many proof-like pieces known from all dates. Some of these even have edges with finning and appearing...
While researching the Byzantine bronzes that come my way, I kept coming across online references to the Byzantine shops at Sardis. Finally I bought the book, The Byzantine Shops at Sardis by J. Stephens Crawford.which is a handsome cloth-bound quarto from Harvard University Press (1990). Mine is ex-Carnegie Mellon Library in Pittsburgh and it was only about $3 on eBay.
Here's the story - one day around 617 A.D., the shops at Sardis burnt down. There were a bunch of them, along a kind of portico against a large bath complex and a big Synagogue. From the findings, archaeologists think that the shops were a mixture of manufacturing (textiles, dyes mostly) and restaurant/taverns. Kind of like a cross between a US strip mall and small industrial park.
Nobody knows why they burnt down - the Persians are a likely culprit. But here's the interesting part - the ruins were never investigated, and only partially built over. Which makes the shops at Sardis a kind of...
Full reverse indent (two of them actually). How'd it happen? A second cent planchet was directly on top of this one in the collar when the dies struck. Notice how smooth the surface pattern is. As is common, look how designs from both sides have indirectly transferred into it.
Now look at the full reverse indent on this nickel. Notice the surface pattern appears textured - not smooth like the cents - but it is not a split planchet; it weighs 5.0 grams, the standard weight for a nickel.
I believe this was caused by the textured, striated side of a split planchet being hammered into the reverse side of this nickel. The label implies it is simply the result of "two coins struck together." Clearly there is enough room to state it's a "Full Reverse Indent from a Split Planchet." It makes a big difference...
We all have our rituals once the coins have arrived in the mail and are ready to be 'unboxed' and attributed. Here is mine.
1. Make a cuppa Yorkshire tea (sometimes a glass of white wine will do too).
2. Have my coin supplies and the coin mailer ready to go on the desk.
3. 'Unbox' the coin.
4. Weigh it.
5. Pull the needed references from the bookshelf and attribute.
6. Write the attribution on a coin envelope.
7. Place it in the coin box for recent arrivals.
8. Insert a print-off of the coin in the appropriate 3 ringed binder with date of purchase, provenance, and the amount paid. The binders and coin boxes are organised by RIC or RPC catalogue numbers.
I think most CT participants are aware of my special interest in Romano-Britannic coins because of my roots. Here are some Roman Imperial and latter day coins that depict Britannia on the reverse. Please post any other examples.
RIC Vol. II, HADRIAN, Sestertius, No. 845 (Replica coin)
Obverse: Hadrian, laureate head right
Inscription: HADRIANVS AVG COS III PP
Reverse: Britannia seated half left with feet on rocks holding sceptre with shield to right
Inscription: BRITANNIA - SC (in exergue)
I included this modern reproduction because I have been unable to find a presentable genuine coin of this iconic issue in my price range - despite years of searching. Purportedly this replica was cast from a specimen coin in the British Museum collection.
Milan (Mediolanum) is today the second most populous city in Italy. But it is an important place for over 2600 years. The name of the town “Mediolanum” means “in the middle of a plain” referring to its geographical location. It could also means “Minerva’s land” and indeed she had her temple there. In 2014, the
remains of a pagan temple believed to have been devoted to the goddess Minerva have been found under the Milan Cathedral.(https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2014/01/remains-of-roman-temple-found-under.html)
Especially during the Roman Imperial times, many major events took place there. The emperor Trajan had supposedly built a Royal Palace in Milan. Septimius Severus used the city as his headquarters during the war against Didius Julianus whose Milanese origin has been confirmed in the “Lives of the later Caesars”. Julia Domna gave birth to her second son Geta in Milan. After killing his brother and...
Dear Friends of ancient mythology!
Some notes on the mysterious Veiovis:
Roman Republic, Mn. Fonteius, gens Fonteia
AR - Denarius, Rome, 85 B.C.
Obv.: Head of Apollo Veiovis r., wearing laurel wreath with berries
behind MN FONTEI
[below thunderbolt,] CF under chin
Rev.: Winged young genius on a goat riding r., before and behind the hats of the
Dioscuri, decorated with stars,
in ex. thyrsos, all in laurel wreath.
Ref.: Crawford 353/1d; Sydenham 724b; Fonteia 11
VF, pretty details of the goat
The reverse imitates a statue in the temple of Veiovis in Rome which shows the young genius riding the goat Amalthea. According to the myth, Amalthea had suckled Jupiter on Mount Ida on Crete. The cornucopiae is said to have originated from her horns.
The figure of Veiovis is very mysterious. I found the most detailed explanation at the famous Wissowa (RE), in his article 'Religion und Kultus der Römer, München 1912:
Exactly in the middle...
Feeling induced by @ValiantKnight in this thread to find a coin with a church official, I turned to this very recent addition to my small collection of 11th and 12th century pennies of Western Europe (where I live).
AR Pfennig, Cologne, Archbishop Philip von Heinsberg (1167-1191). Obv. The Archbishop frontal, seated, with crozier and Bible. …HILIPVS? Rev. A building with towers, a cupola and something like a parasol. COLONIA PAI… 17.5 mm, 1.45 gr. Hävernick 509 e?
I wondered a lot about the building. The reverse type is based on an earlier pfennig type, here's one of the first examples:
This pfennig was minted in Goslar about 1100. The type is called a Burgpfennig, literally Castle Penny. One sees a temple with a cross and flanking towers...
Page 4 of 66