A very UGLY portrait

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by ambr0zie, Sep 26, 2021.

  1. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    On CT I have seen countless beautiful coins, with beautiful, lifelike portraits. Some of them made me want an example in my collection, I even managed to get some inspired by CT colleagues.

    I don't specialize on LRBs but I think every ancient coins collector needs to have some knowledge about this subarea of numismatics. So today I bought a few LRBs from an auction as there were some types I wanted, in good condition (almost all) and good prices.
    I have a few LRBs that are beautiful, expressive, with nice portraits, interesting reverses ... and I have seen a lot of LRBs that could be called truly BEAUTIFUL.
    But this is NOT the case with the one I got today. It is a hole filler as I always liked Julian II's double Maiorina. And the prices on some examples I have seen were discouraging. Today a coin that's so imperfect that it can be called perfect appeared - a Julian double maiorina that is not worn beyond attribution and at a decent price.
    But oh man, this portrait - almost 1 AM here so I am trying not to look at it too much as I might get some nightmares.


    Julian II AD 360-363. Heraclea
    Double Maiorina Æ
    28 mm, 7,71 g
    RIC VIII Heraclea 104
    Obv: D N FL CL IVLI-ANVS P F AVG, bust of Julian, pearl-diademed, draped, cuirassed, right / SECVRITAS REI PVB, Bull, standing right, head facing; above, two stars. Mintmark •HER(A on •)CL•A

    Except for some Byzantine coins where the portraits are extremely naive in drawing, I have never seen a portrait that ugly. In fact I think this is the second reason I bought it (first being that I like this type and I wanted one). With all due respect for the philosopher emperor, I don't think he would be happy to see this portrait.
    I know how a portrait on the double maiorina should look like (and I think it's great), but this one ...

    I am really not sure if this aspect was because of a die engraver without any kind of talent OR the damage created this effect OR (hopefully not) the coin was tooled.
    Nevertheless, I am not sure if this portrait is funny/horrible/scary/all of the above.

    Please post ugly portraits, faces that only a mother could (barely) love.
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  3. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    Noice! I saw that one up for bid and passed, as I've the type, but barely in better condition.
    Buuut, one coin that did grab my attention was this double Maiorina of Jovian. I picked up a few of his during this auction, but this one sold for waay too much and I missed out on the laugh. Whoever won it must be a real joker
    2178382_1631476955.l-removebg-preview (1).png Joker-Pic.jpg

    Anyways, here are some mother could love coins that I have won for various, rarity, reasons:
    share3540420483436618763.png share6525558269435003044.png IMG_2601(1).PNG IMG_3067(1).PNG share4841467628296757121.png
  4. but for criticising myself I have countless reasons, and first I will begin with my face. For though nature did not make this any too handsome or well-favoured or give it the bloom of youth, I myself out of sheer perversity and ill-temper have added to it this long beard of mine, to punish it, as it would seem, for this very crime of not being handsome by nature.

    Julian II, Misopogon

    Nerva with very deep set eyes and a ginormous nose.

  5. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    This Trajan from Syria isn't mine, but the portrait is so remarkably ugly that I couldn't resist saving the photo when I saw it for sale:

    Bad Trajan portrait -Syria.jpg

    Obviously the engraver was familiar with our various hominid ancestors, and was paying them respect.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @ambr0zie, that's kind of amazing. Along with @Ryro's resonant contributions. ...Of your options, I have to start with "scary."
    This calls for the one denier of Penthievre that I have pics of. This is an immobilization, through the later 12th century, of Count Stephen /Etienne I (1093-1138), minted in Guingamp, on the northern Breton coast. The immobilizatons do lots of, well, interesting stuff with the obverse profile (which wasn't much to write home about in the first place).
    Coming as it does from a separate prototype, this issue follows a separate trajectory from the better known "bleso-chartrain" variants, which are legion in the same, earlier French feudal series. Inviting collecting more than one, to see the --loud coughing ensues-- "progression."

    Obv. STEPHAN COM[ES; Count]. Rev. Profile; +GVINGAMP. Duplessy 364.
    I'm a fan of abstraction per se, whether in Celtic, Byzantine, or southern and central Asian series (thank you, plural). But for the French feudal series, this really registers as one place where it seriously starts to go off the rails.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    No, @DonnaML, that's when you have to wonder whether it was intentional, by way of some kind of subversive, colonial impulse. Just, Yike.
    ...Renewed thanks are due to @ambr0zie for your OP. Yeah, I kind of like ugly coins. If your collecting runs heavily to earlier European medieval, it's kind of already written into the script.
    ambr0zie likes this.
  8. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Well I certainly can’t compete with @DonnaML ‘s amazing Neanderthal Trajan bronze . But I’m always happy to share this portrait of Constantine I where he looks like he put on 50 pounds and then grew out some long skinny sideburns.

    Constantine I, AE Follis Cyzicus circa 313, (22mm., 3.61g.) Laureate head right/ Rev. Jupiter standing l., holding Victory and eagle standing l. with wreath: in r. field, B and in exergue, SMK. RIC 3.
    TIF, zumbly, kountryken and 14 others like this.
  9. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    I think Gallienus is caricatural with this "prominent nasal appendice". I'm wondering if the engraver survived after the Emperor saw his portrait on those coins...

    (Please call me SCROOGE)
    TIF, zumbly, Tejas and 14 others like this.
  10. This one really got me. It is preposterously bad, I think Maximinus II must've requested it.
    This one is like a villain from a medieval painting, like Judas here.

  11. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Yikes! That is indeed a scary one. :D You mentioned bad Byzantine portraits...

    phocas pentanummium.jpg
    Phocas pentanummium (Constantinople?)
    TIF, zumbly, kountryken and 8 others like this.
  12. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Tiny barbarous FTR featuring the rare emperor The Monkey King
    FTR Barb Imitation 1 (2020_11_18 03_38_31 UTC).JPG
  13. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    @Shea19, on your coin I am not sure if the portrait is Constantine

  14. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Here's a cuddly Mummys boy....
    GAD BROW 2.jpg
  15. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    I mentioned Byzantine coins and @Severus Alexander provided a very good portrait.

    Here is the one I had in mind (and my only Byzantine).
    I am sure everybody recognizes the portrait of Theophilus.

  16. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Dear ugly coin lovers, Julian the Bigfoot appeared today.
    It is as ugly as I expected but I was pleasantly surprised about the overall shape.

    It's one of the coin types I wanted in my collection.
    I think that the hammer price - 14 EUR + taxes - is more than decent.
    TIF, Bing, +VGO.DVCKS and 1 other person like this.
  17. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Emperor Fish-inius
    Licinius I AE Radiate RIC Heraclea VII 52B (2020_11_18 03_38_31 UTC).JPG
    TIF, Bing, +VGO.DVCKS and 2 others like this.
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