Featured A Bastien Intermediate follis (plus a discussion of early London mint coinage)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by jamesicus, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    • Click on thumbnail to view coin full size 1C99693B-CE8B-4990-8325-6E2F10ED5603.jpeg X when done.
    • This is a Bastien Intermediate coin for discussion - not in RIC.
    • The discussion expands to include the folles produced at the London mint cataloged in RIC, Vol. VI, Londinium, as Group I, c. 297 - 1 May 305, No’s. 1a - 39.
    The Bastien intermediate follis discussed here has a bare, truncated bust with small, compact, London style lettering and long ribbon tie laying on neck.

    The coin obverses and reverses in this series replicate those of the Constantius Invasion coinage except in some instances the obverse busts are cuirassed (including some with elaborate consular features) and have London mint style small and compact inscriptional lettering.

    Here are examples of an “Invasion” follis, this Bastien intermediate follis, and a Constantius London mint first issue follis for comparison:

    “Invasion follis”, RIC Volume VI, Lugdunum, No. 17b, Galerius Maximian, Caesar of the East. Although produced at an unknown continental mint (possibly Lyon or Boulogne) it is cataloged as Lugdunum mint in RIC. Truncated, bare neck bust. The inscriptional lettering is relatively large with delicate letterforms.

    “Bastien Intermediate follis” (Galerius Maximian), Mint uncertain, not in RIC. Truncated, more compact, bare neck bust. The inscriptional lettering is London style: small, thick and compact.

    First issue follis (Diocletian). Minted at London, RIC, volume VI, No. 1a. Truncated, bare neck bust, strong, full portrait. The inscriptional lettering is London style small, thick, compact and somewhat poorly formed. LON in reverse exergue.

    Further notes:
    • What happened to RIC, Vol. VI, LONDINIUM Group I, (ii) Class I? It was transferred to RIC, Vol. VI, LUGDUNUM, as Group I, (iv), Class I (14a-21) -- the Invasion coinage of Bastien (prior to publication). Sutherland explains all this in his Introductory text to the LONDINIUM section of RIC VI, pages 113-115 (1967 Edition). The bottom line is the quote of Sutherland that ".......... Bastien is to be followed in regarding the unmarked coins of Class I as an issue prepared in advance for Constantius' invasion of Britain in 296.
    • LON marked coins: (struck in the names of Diocletian, Maximian Herculius, Constantius & Galerius Maximian) were the first folles produced by the re-opened London Mint (RIC volume VI, Group I, Class II) and featured Lugdunese style right facing busts with bare neck truncation and laureate heads with the long laurel wreath ribbon laying on the neck. The Genius of the Roman People reverse depictions and inscriptions are standard but with with LON (mint mark) in the exergue. The inscriptional lettering is more compact with smaller and thicker letterforms that are often poorly formed.
    • Genius Reverse depiction: Almost always a representation of the Genius of the Roman People standing, facing left, head surmounted by a modius, naked except for a chlamys over the left shoulder, holding a patera in the right hand and cradling a cornucopia in the left arm.
    • Intermediate Group coins (Bastien): The Intermediate folles were first proposed by Bastien. In his proposal these coins fall into two groups, those with laureate heads (a) and those with laureate, cuirassed busts (b), both of Lugdunese style and with British style inscriptional lettering.
    • Ribbon ties: The Obverse head with the laurel wreath long ribbon end draped on the portrait neck, a recurring feature on the unknown Continental Mint invasion coinage, is also found on Intermediate Group coinage.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
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  3. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    “Long necks”:

    In his introduction to the Londinium section of RIC VI, Sutherland raises the possibility that at least some of the Unmarked Group I, Class II (a & b) folles (that follow the LON marked issues and are now unmarked - without mint Mark in the reverse exergue) and with cuirassed busts, may have been produced in Britain by a re-opened Carausius/Allectus "C" Mint (or traveling Mint), thereby accounting for the somewhat rough style portraiture - particularly the "small head on a tall neck" busts of Group I, Class IIa coins which are reminiscent of many Carausius/Allectus issues. Sutherland does not seem to pursue this theory, however.

    Galerius, No 15 (variant)

    Galerius (No. 15 variant)
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
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  4. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I have a few of these, but not the intermediate.

    Invasion follis:
    Screen Shot 2020-07-14 at 11.14.31 PM.jpg

    Interesting observation. On mine, the M's in the emperor's name are very poorly done, as is the N in LON, which looks just like an M. According to Hugh Cloke, this example is probably very early while the design was still in flux - note the unusual clad loins.
    max lon follis.jpg

    Long-necked style (ex @jamesicus!):
    Screen Shot 2020-07-14 at 11.21.54 PM.jpg

    Thanks again, James, for educating me about these!
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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  5. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    This relating to the quality of lettering on LON marked folles typified by this Diocletian follis of mine:

    In my opinion the lettering on the reverse is really awful. The “P’s” and “R’s” are almost cartoon like and the “O” in ROMANI is almost square - a far cry from the letter form quality of the early Empire coinage.

    However, @Severus Alexander, thank you for your comments and for posting those excellent coin photos. I spot an old friend among them - one I should never have let go - but I am glad it is in your collection! If I remember rightly, it is Constantius, No. 14a.

    Added: Hugh Cloke is usually right!

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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  6. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    Maximianus Invasion Nummus.jpg
    RIC VI (Lugdunum) 14B
    9.85g, 29mm

    It's not in my hands yet (hopefully today) but I couldn't resist posting this one early. Thanks to Jamesicus and Lee Toone's assistance, I've managed to get my hands on a Maximianus 'Unmarked Continental' 'Invasion' coin. I did not expect to be in a place to get hold of one in such good condition so soon after starting collecting London Mint coins.

    Diocletian Nummus London.jpg LMCC 2.01.003
    9.73g, 28.5mm, 296-303 AD

    Here's my one example of one of the unambiguous 'long neck' nummi. It's unfortunately a little worn, but very attractive nonetheless. The jump from the quality of lettering on the reverse of the Unmarked Continental and the above LON coin to these issues is quite remarkable.

    LMCC 3.01.031
    10.72g, 27mm
    303 – 1 May 305 AD

    This Galerius Caesar shows a lot of the characteristics that start to crop up from the 303-305 AD issues, but uncharacteristically still retains a disproportionately long neck, while also having a larger head.

    Galerius Avg Nummus London.jpg

    LMCC 4.03.004, RIC 42
    9.13g, 28mm
    May 1st 305 – Spring 307 AD

    And finally here's Galerius as Augustus, and the style has settled in to the much more common style (IMO) used by the mint from this point on, until the reductions in the flan size made such attractive portraiture more difficult to execute.

    Something tells me it's going to take considerably more time, patience and budget to get my hands on one of the LON issues. They are an essential link in the chain, but are remarkably scare and attain a rather high cost as a result.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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  7. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    The Maximian invasion coin did indeed arrive today, and it looks superb for the type in hand.
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  8. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    You are building a really great collection @thejewk - I hope to see a photo of your new acquisition soon.

    Via Edit: It seems you already posted it - thank you.
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  9. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    An added note @thejewk: It is great to read about your interest in the early London mint coinage of Constantius. In my opinion there is still much to be learned about it. In this thread, which I intended to be primarily a discussion of my Bastien intermediate Galerius Maximian follis, I included some of my notes from the time Hugh Cloke, Lee Toone and myself were very active participants in a related thread on the old AncientsInfo Forum - this in order to give some background and context to this discussion. These notes are kinda old now and I am sure that in some instances Cloke & Toone provide better updated information in their book than that in my notes. It goes without saying that information should supersede any that conflicts with my notes.

    BTW, I use the nomenclature Diocletian, Maximian Herculius, Constantius and Galerius Maximian for the Tetrarchs because that is the way it is employed by Sutherland in RIC, volume VI.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
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  10. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    @jamesicus I haven't yet found any of the bare bust intermediate folles in my time searching, but they are definitely a target of mine. Of course I would love to have one of each of the first Tetrarchs in each style and each phase, but I think that may be a little ambitious haha.

    I have been searching through the auction records and online websites to see if I can find any die matches for the coins I have, but surprisingly haven't found any. I wonder why the invasion coinage and the early London coins are relatively scarce? I wonder if production was relatively low and the province still relied heavily on coinage from Gaul, but even then it seems that finds of full sized early folles as stray finds in the UK pale in comparison to the vast quantity of Constantine's coinage after Constantius' death.
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  11. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    They are very hard to come by (that is the term I use instead of rare or scarce - terms that I consider nebulous) in my experience more so than LON marked folles (which are, however, also very hard to come by). Of course all coins so described in either fashion equate to high asking prices in the Ancient coin market!!!

    Those are all excellent questions, Stuart. I will try and find some answers.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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  12. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    That is for sure, Stuart. I wish I still owned that Diocletian LON marked follis that I posted a photo of here - I would have sold it to you at a good price. But that is the way life goes isn’t it? Close miss - but close only counts for horseshoes and hand grenades!:)
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  13. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the kind thought, I try and remain philosophical with coins. If they crop up and I snag them, good, if not, as Epictetus would say, I have all that I need with me already.
  14. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Just wait until you try to acquire a London mint Severus II as Augustus follis, Stuart!
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  15. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Constantius as Augustus London mint coins are also pretty hard to come by - and pricey.

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  16. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    F67E97F4-6CF5-41D8-B92B-51D1CB8C6D53.jpeg 2ECCC935-4EA2-468A-9476-1520EB5199AD.jpeg
    Rated RRR (to me that equates to very, very, hard to come by) in Cloke and Toone. Hugh Cloke owns it now - I wish I had It back!
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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  17. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    I changed the topic title. “Thread drift” is almost inevitable. It doesn’t bother me one bit. We started off discussing a Bastien Intermediate follis of mine and here we are discussing London mint coins in general! Who cares as long we are discussing and displaying London mint coins? I hope this sits well with all other participants in this thread.

    As the happy frog said: “Time (is) fun when you’re having flies”
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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  18. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    From my archived notes:
    • Output of the London Mint: Sutherland (Roman Imperial Coinage [RIC], Volume VI) in his Londinium Introductory Notes indicates that the output of the London Mint, restricted to the production of Aes coinage (and with only one officina), does not appear to be continuous.

    • By inference, production was sporadic and nowhere near as copious as other western mints.
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  19. Kiaora

    Kiaora Member

    This thread is perfect timing to show off a recent acquisition of what I think is a Bastien Intermediate Follis of Maximianus, catalogued as Cloke & Toone 1.02.002 (first coin) as well as the 'corresponding' Invasion Follis' of Maximianus, Lugdunum 14 b (second coin)

    F853FCA0-E59A-41DE-AEDB-F9994BFC11C0.jpeg 14637221-0F3D-4BEE-A4A3-B3528477C331.jpeg

    As highlighted by jamesicus, the coins can only be distinguished on stylistic grounds. And given that the Intermediate coins are harder to obtain than the Lugdunum / Invasion coins (the Maximianus is rated as Common in RIC) the temptation of course is to attribute as the rarer coin if possible! Nonetheless I am confident that the recent coin does meet the stylistic considerations regarding the London style lettering and the style of the bust. Also, when looking at the photos in Cloke & Toone of both series, it seemed to me another difference between the 2 is that the Intermediate coins have a larger distance between the exergue line and the outer rim, particularly prominent on the first coin in my post
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
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  20. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    @Kiaora nice new addition! I'm very sceptical of the RIC rarity rating for 14B, some time spent on the auction sites won't bring up many results at all.
  21. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you for joining the discussion @Kiaora! Re: your observation that “Intermediate coins have a larger distance between the exergue line and the outer rim ……………”. I find that very interesting, I have not encountered that being discussed previously.
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