Ancient Fourees?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Clavdivs, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    I recently purchased a couple of very reasonably priced coins on the Augustus Coins site - which was a great experience.. (I believe Mr. Warren Westy posts here? I have seen a few links..). But while browsing that site today I was really fascinated with a few ancient fourees he has on display. This led me down the rabbit hole of many online articles ... a few hours later my wife asked me why I hadn't started painting the kids room as promised.. I am easily distracted when I find a new topic to investigate. Plus I do not like painting!
    Do any of you have examples or information to share on this topic? All new to me and seems like a very interesting aspect of ancient coinage.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    i think every(ancient) collection should have an(ancient) fouree or two in it. i early on got 2 of Augustus :) ..and today i prepared a inside window facing to paint..with frequent breaks to cointalk and such..tomorrow:p..(it's much more fun to coin, i agree, but it doesn't do the painting any progress^^) Augustus fourees 001.JPG Augustus fourees 002.JPG
    Okidoki, dlhill132, David@PCC and 9 others like this.
  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter
    Above is the first of my four pages on the matter. Below are a few.

    Gold over silver:
    rz0455bb1174.jpg r11990bb0315.jpg r14420bb2345.jpg ra8020bb0390.jpg ra8290bb0394.jpg
    Athens New Style tetradrachm

    Taras Stater

    Persian Empire siglos
    I got carried away in my earlier days. They were cheaper then.
  5. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Some members here have beautiful, almost pristine fourrées (yoohoo, @TIF), some of us not so much.

    As if the gorgon's face on this fourrée stater of Neapolis this wasn't hideous enough, part of it got lopped off and then the rest started to zombify...

    Campania Neapolis - Fourree Stater Cut 2126.jpg
    MACEDON, Neapolis
    Fourrée Stater. Cut in antiquity. 6.92g, 18.7mm. MACEDON, Neapolis (irregular mint), circa 5th century BC. cf. SNG ANS 406-19. O: Facing gorgoneion with protruding tongue. R: Quadripartite incuse square.
  6. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    I recall that an ancient source mentions that fourrees were collected in Roman times but I can't seem to find it now...

    Here is a Greek and a Roman:
    Macedon, Neapolis, 480-348 BC (411-348?) 1.5g 10mm; fouree, holed
    O: Open mouthed gorgoneion, upper middle teeth visible.
    R: Ν-Ε-Ο-Π; Female head facing right.

    Rome, moneyer Sabula, 74 BC, fourrée denarius, 2.96g 18mm
    O: Winged head of Medusa left, snakes in hair, snakes tied around neck, SABVLA upwards, all within circle of beads.
    R: Bellerophon (or Perseus?) on Pegasus right, aiming spear with right head; below L·COSSVTI·C·F; behind, number XXIIII, all within border of dots.
  7. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    I am reading your page now - it is a fantastic resource... thank you!
    Okidoki likes this.
  8. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Doug's page on fourrees is great and I particularly like his angled images of the Athens fourree.

    :D This one even has the story of how it came to be (fictional, but hey, it could have happened that way :D)
    Roman Republic fourée mule denarius
    L. Antestius Gragulus, 136 BCE, and C. Renius, 138 BCE

    ancient forgery, 3.18 gm
    Obv: Roma helmeted head right, * below chin, GRAG behind
    Rev: Juno Caprotina in a biga of goats, C・RENI below, ROMA in exergue
    Ref: Obverse S.115, Cr.238/1, Syd.451, RSC Antestia 9; Reverse S.108, Cr.231/1, Syd.432, RSc Renia 1
    The story.

    I have one more, also a Roman Republican. They are plentiful in that era.
    It has serrated edges. If, as some have speculated, serrates were made that way to deter forgers, it failed! In recent times someone filed between serrations, presumably to take a look at the core (even though the core was likely already exposed in other places. Pretty cool, actually! I'm glad someone else did it because while I have no problem owning the coin with that modern damage and enjoyed the peek inside, I'd have trouble taking a file to it myself!

    Roman Republic, Lucius Aurelius Cotta
    105 BCE
    Fourree AR serrate denarius, 20 mm, 3.8 gm
    Obv: draped bust of Vulcan right, wearing laureate pileus; tongs and star behind; all within wreath and dotted border
    Rev: eagle standing on thunderbolt, head left; L·COT below, V to right; all within laurel wreath and dotted border
    Ref: c.f. Crawford 314/1c; Sydenham 577a; Aurelia 21b
    formerly slabbed, NGC ChVF, 5/5 strike, 3/5 surface


    I hope you can find it again! I'd love to see that documentation.
  9. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter


    I agree with @ominus1 , I do not collect them, but everyone should have a couple in their collection.

    Persia Achaemenid Empire 4th C BCE FOUREE 15mm Siglos Persian hero-king in running incuse.JPG
    Persia Achaemenid Empire 4th C BCE FOUREE 15mm Siglos Persian hero-king in running incuse
    Official Version:

    RR Anon AE Victoriatus after 218 BCE Rome mint Ex RBW Anon Jupiter Victory crowning trophy Craw 44-1 Syd 83 Sear 49 Fouree
    Official Version:
    RR Victoriatus 211-208 BCE Jupiter Victory Traphy VF Craw 53-1 Syd 83.jpg

    RR fourée mule anon Q Fabius Labeo denarius 18mm 2.9g after 124 BC Roma X Jupiter Quadriga tbolt scepter Cr 159 obv Cr 273-1 rev
    Official Version:
    RR Fabius Labeo 124 BCE AR Den Quadriga last X or XVI S 148 Cr 273-1.jpg

    RI Fouree Denarius Severus Alexander with Annona Avg reverse.jpg
    RI Fouree Denarius Severus Alexander with Annona Avg reverse
    Official Version:
    RI Severus Alexander 222-235 CE AR Denarius laureate Victory stndg.jpg

    RI Julia Domna 194-217 Fouree AR Plated Den Isis Horus.jpg
    RI Julia Domna 194-217 Fouree AR Plated Den Isis Horus
    Official Version:
    RI AR Den Julia Domna 200 CE Felicitas Isis Horus RIC 577 O-R.jpg
    Deacon Ray, Okidoki, Ajax and 9 others like this.
  10. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Fourees , or plated coins, were invented the day after coinage was. Why that was so, varied from forgeries from some back alley, to mint workers putting in some overtime, to government trying to find enough bullion to cover the deficit or hide the fact that the war was going badly. If one wants to understand the nature of ancient coinage, having some fourees in one's collection is almost a requirement. Especially if not too damaged, and of rarer issues, they often represent a good buy. I have never balked at buying holed or damaged coins or plated ones as I want coins in my collection that circulated, were handled by the people, and knowing that they were spent in shops, gifted to the gods, paid to the legions, or to their barbarian enemies across the limes as tribute, brings me great enjoyment as I too finger the same coin that some centurion or priest or peasant derived sustenance or enjoyment from. For me these coins are the tangible link in a chain from them to me and fourees are very much some of those links in the chain.
  11. PipersSpring

    PipersSpring Celeste Jones Mining

    and....KINGS of MACEDON. Philip III Arrhidaios. 323-317 BC. Fourrée Stater (18mm, 4.61 g, 9h).

    Attached Files:

  12. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Heres a fourree core

    Deacon Ray, Okidoki, Ajax and 6 others like this.
  13. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Pliny the Elder, Natural History book 33 chapter 46

    "... in spurious coin there is an alloy of copper employed. ... It was in consequence of these frauds that a method was devised of assaying the denarius: the law ordaining, which was so much to the taste of the plebeians, that in every quarter of the City there was a full-length statue erected in honour of Marius Gratidianus. It is truly marvellous, that in this art, and in this only, the various methods of falsification should be made a study: for the sample of the false denarius is now an object of careful examination, and people absolutely buy the counterfeit coin at the price of many genuine ones!" Nat. 33.46
    Ryro, zumbly, Clavdivs and 1 other person like this.
  14. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Interesting! It took a few readings and I'm still not sure I understand.

    Is Pliny saying that people bought them in order to understand how they were made so they could in turn make their own counterfeits? I'll have to read it again in the morning when my neurons make better connections :D
    Alegandron likes this.
  15. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I am not an economist but I can see how it might benefit a very rich man to buy up the few coins that could wreck public confidence in the monetary system and make his huge stock of good coins less valuable. Also, at the time esteem was heaped on those who did good works for the public like providing free/cheap grain. Being known as one who would protect poor citizens from being stuck with bad coin would not hurt when it came time to elect Consuls. Today, some truly wealthy realize that money is not the end goal and the second billion does not improve life quite as well as did the first. We see Bill Gates and Warren Buffet giving away huge sums. The 'rich' causing problems are those who really believe their merit can be measured by their bank account (aka Scrooge McDuck) but don't have all they 'need' quite yet. I, too, would love to have a better understanding of the Roman mind when it comes to class, esteem and economics but I believe we must first take care not to bring 21st century concepts to the study.
    Valentinian, TIF and Clavdivs like this.
  16. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    i love that one!..
  17. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    There is widespread disagreement about Pliny's statement. Michael Crawford calls this passage "hopelessly confused". (Scroll back about two pages to the start of the discussion).

    It could mean that the Romans stopped debasing their currency, or that there was a reward for turning in false coins, or that Marius Gratidianus got people looking for fakes and they became amused and interested by them.
    TIF likes this.
  18. EWC3

    EWC3 Active Member

    Many thanks for the link - most helpful. As I read it Crawford is politely suggesting that Pliny was probably dissembling here - and the statues to Graditianus were nothing at all to do with plated coins. He suggests fairly openly instead that Graditianus tried to bring in laws to stop people rigging the price of copper coin, which one would assume would be either to push down wages or push up commodity prices, or both, disadvantaging the poor.

    If he is correct the matter rather resembles the acts of the short lived Ciompi government of medieval Florence. (The Ciomi, Tiberius Gracchus and Graditianus all shared a similarly sad fate)

    I spent quite a while looking at this general matter of copper coin provision, and several episodes of lack of copper coin. As I understand it new copper coin more or less stopped coming from the mint in Rome soon after Tiberius Gracchus went down, around 130 BC? Lack of new issue would allow speculators a fairly easy opportunity to buy up copper coin, hoard it and fix its price.

    Possible somewhat parallel episodes include: the failure of Moghul copper issue after Akbar, the failure of copper issue in Yuan and later in Ming China, the failure of copper issue in later 18th century England, and (perhaps) a failure of copper in mid 20th century India?

    I studied the 18th century English matter in some depth, and think there are serious errors in the recent work by both Sargent and Selgin - there is a rather detailed investigation of that matter here:

    Useful parallels concerning what might have been going on in Ancient Rome might also be sought in 18th century China - see Zelin "The Magistrates Tael"

  19. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    This is mostly true. There were some small revivals, for instance during the Social War, where Rome minted bronzes in quite large numbers but most issues after circa 130 BC are relatively scarce. This lines up nicely with the rise in local Italian and Spanish imitations of Roman Republic bronzes as small change rather than proper Rome mint bronzes. There's still some debate as to which coins are imitative and which aren't when you get to this period.
  20. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Here is my educational page on ancient imitations:

    That page is linked to an annotated list of reference works on imitations:

    Here is a coin on that site:

    An excellent fourrée with very clear breaks in the foil over the ear and the middle of the crocodile.
    CAESAR COS VI, bare head of Augustus left, lituus behind
    /AEGYPTO CAPTA above and below crocodile (represeting Egypt) right
    Prototype: SM.1564 under Octavian, stuck 28 BC before he became Augustus.
  21. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Wonderful site and information.. thank you!
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page