An unassuming rarity of Tacitus

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Claudius_Gothicus, Jul 22, 2021 at 11:01 AM.

  1. Claudius_Gothicus

    Claudius_Gothicus Well-Known Member

    I always enjoy taking a look through budget auctions, because you can often find coins that, while not in excellent condition, are still rare and interesting types worthy of being added to a collection. In my opinion, that is the case with the following coin:

    Tacitus (275-276), Antoninianus, Siscia mint.
    Obverse: IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front;
    Reverse: VICT-ORIA AVG, Victory running right, holding wreath in right hand and palm against left shoulder, P in exergue;
    RIC V - , RIC V Online 3780

    While this reverse may at first seem quite mundane, it turns out that "Victory 8" is quite rare, having been used only at Siscia and only by the first officina, for the first, the second and the fifth and final emission, to which my coin belongs to; it's also a little bit special as it's the only antoninianus of Tacitus from Siscia with Victory on the reverse - those from the other mints are usually far more common, but I'll write about them later on in the writeup. The coins of the three emissions can be easily distinguished by both the obverse legend, and the bust type: those of the first emission have IMP C M CLA TACITVS AVG, and the D1 bust type (radiate, draped and cuirassed right, seen from the front) - this is also the only one of the three to be listed in RIC V (RIC V 169), though it's misidentified as being from the Ticinum mint, like all the antoniniani with this obverse legend; those of the second are the same, but have IMP C M CL TACITVS P AVG; finally, those of the fifth emission, like mine, have the simple IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG and the B1 bust type (radiate and cuirassed right, seen from the front). They're all quite rare, though those of the first issue less so, so I'll have to show you some examples taken from RIC V Online:

    coinsrc (1).jpg
    The Gysen collection example of a first issue version (Image courtesy of RIC V Online)

    coinsrc (3).jpg
    The Sucic collection example of a second issue version (Image courtesy of RIC V Online)

    Since the size of the issue is so small, I also went and did a small die study, because I find them to be very interesting, though they're usually very challenging to do on more common coins, like most others in my collection; in this particular case I'm greatly helped by the fact that apparently all the known examples (excluding my new one) are listed on RIC V Online, and there are none in the sales records except for the ex-Gysen ones.

    The first emission was struck from only two reverse dies (out of eight known examples in total, five were struck with the first die and three with the second):

    coinsrc (5).jpg

    Surpisingly, however, they were struck with 5 different obverse dies, some very different in style between them, suggesting that there were multiple celators working at the officina; however, I could only focus on the reverses, because considering the output of Siscia's first officina during the first issue, searching for other obverse die matches would have been a grueling task.

    As for the second emission (three known examples at least, but only two illustrated), they were both struck with the same couple of dies; the reverse die, however, is new - they didn't simply recycle the one from the previous emission:

    coinsrc (7).jpg

    Finally, there are those from the fifth emission; all the four known examples are double die matches, and, interestingly, I've also found one coin, from the same issue and the same officina, that is an obverse-only die match:


    Here's that coin (from the La Venera hoard):

    coinsrc (8).jpg

    Overlaying the obverse clearly shows that it's a die match:


    Now that the technical portion is over, let's analyze the meaning of the reverse: the coins of Tacitus with the generic VICTORIA AVG reverse were also struck at Rome and Ticinum, for both issues (which means that they were produced through the entirety of his reign), in antoninianus, quinarius, denarius and aureus format, and use either "Victory 1" (standing left) at Rome, or "Victory 6a" (flying left between two shields with diadem in hands) at Ticinum. Here's an image of each:

    Rome (Image courtesy of Leu Numismatik)

    Ticinum (Image courtesy of Roma Numismatics)

    Since they were struck for the entire duration of his reign, it seems like that they were not meant to celebrate any specific victory, but, overall, all of the ones achieved by Tacitus against Germans and Goths both before and after he had become emperor; it is however a little bit odd that this issue with the "generic" legend was struck at the same time as those with titles unique to Tacitus, like VICTORIA GOTTHI and VICTORIA PERPETVA AVG. It also does not explain why this type is missing from some of Siscia's emissions - was it only struck for some specific occasion, despite the generic legend?

    I think that's all for now; post your coins of Tacitus, your coins with Victory, your unassuming rarities or anything else you feel like might be relevant :)!
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  3. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Great write up, thanks Claudius

    Only have one Tacitus:

  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    A great find and writeup, congrats.

    Tacitus (275 - 276 A.D.)
    Æ(S) Antoninianus
    O: IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
    R: SECVRIT PERP, Securitas standing left, leaning on column.
    Ticinum mint
    RCV #11812, Cohen #131, RIC V (1) 163

    Tacitus (275 - 276 A.D.)
    Egypt, Alexandria
    Potin Tetradrachm
    O: A K KL TAKITOS SEB, Laureate, draped bust right.
    R: ETOVC A, Dikaiosyne (Aequitas) standing left with scales & cornucopiae. Regnal year 1 (A.D. 275/6)
    Emmett #3971, RCV #11831
  5. Harry G

    Harry G Well-Known Member

    Very interesting thread, as always!

    I have a couple of Tacitus coins, but here's my most unusual one (in pretty poor condition). The reverse is very common, but the obverse reads "IMP C TACITVS INVICTVS AVG"
    tacitus invictvs.jpg
  6. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter μεγάλος βασιλιάς

    Tacitus 275 - 276

    Ӕ silvered Antoninianus, Rome, 275

    21 x 23 mm - 4.07 g


    Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right.


    Laetitia standing left, holding wreath and anchor.
    XXIB in exergue.

    RIC Vi Rome 89b

    large, grey silvering patina, XF

  7. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    .. my silvered, still with dirt,Tacitus coin, (i love it!).. its got Victory handing a wreath to the emperor reverse..:) IMG_0507.JPG IMG_0508.JPG Tacitus antoninianus 22mm, 3.30gms
    finny, Bing, Shea19 and 4 others like this.
  8. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Tacitus. 275-276 AD. Æ Antoninianus (22 mm; 3.95 gm; 6h). Siscia mint, struck early June, 176 AD; 4th officina. Obv: Radiate and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: CONCORDIA MILITVM; emperor on left, clasping hand of Concordia to the right. “Q" in exergue. Some silvering. RIC 183 var. or RIC 131-132 var. BNC P.376; RIC (Temp) 3807. This may be the BNC example, since it was obtained from the cited submitter in BNC. Thus, possibly unique.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021 at 4:11 PM
    finny, Bing, Shea19 and 5 others like this.
  9. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Great coin and write-up @Claudius_Gothicus !

    Tacitus, AE Antoninianus. 275-276 AD. Rome mint. IMP CM CL TACITVS AVG, radiate, draped, cuirassed bust right / SALVS AVG. Salus standing left, holding sceptre, feeding serpent rising from altar. Mintmark ; XXIΔ. RIC 93.
  10. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    More obverse dies forces me to ask if this means the obverse die was on the top position and reverse on the bottom at this period. Are there brockages from Tacitus?

    I have no Victory walking coins of Tacitus. We regularly mention the double silver XI coins here and I suspect all of mine have appeared on CT more than once.
    XI from Antioch rs2459bb3000.jpg

    Invictus obverse with VICTORIA PERPETVA AVG from Serdica

    rs2430bb0753.jpg rs2440bb1399.jpg rs2450bb1821.jpg rs2453fd3456.jpg rs2457bb3144.jpg
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