Ancient Idiots: Ask the Experts Anything....

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Clavdivs, May 25, 2020.

  1. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    I thought I would start this thread for new or intermediate collectors. Sometimes it can be intimating to ask a question in the middle of a thread when very knowledgeable collectors are collaborating. This is a "no judgement thread"..

    This thread is for pointed questions others may have.
    Justin Lee and hotwheelsearl like this.
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  3. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    First Question: Why can I easily find large follis (28-30mm) of the tetrarchy .. but not Constantine?
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  4. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Why have I only rarely seen a silver denarius of Claudius?
  5. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    I think it's a little intimidating to reply. The thread title implies you should be an expert to post?

    Butcher and Ponting have suggested that production of Claudian denarii was low because of the gold silver ratio of the time. It was unprofitable to strike denarii. And there were lots from Tiberius, Augustus, Republican times still circulating. So, no real need to strike lots of denarii.
  6. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I have a question. How do people tell denominations of LRBs? They range in size from like 8mm to 27+, and every thing in between.

    I see terms like nummus and Follis, but how is that determined?

    In that vein, how was commerce conducted? Did they weight the coins, or just accept certain size ranges as a certain value?
  7. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That is actually a VERY difficult question for academic numismatists to answer. That is why many people use AE-2, AE-3, and AE-4 to describe these coins. Perhaps the best discussion of the various denominations is in Vagi's Coinage and History of the Roman Empire.
  8. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Here’s another one that’s bugged me for a while.

    How long did coins circulate for? Were there regular demonetizations, like they have in Europe in the 20th century? If so, were there edicts that said “so and so emperors are no longer legal tender?”
    chuck123 and NicholasMaximus like this.
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Constantine came to power at the very end of the period that produced the large folles so more of his coins were from the times when most coins were AE3 size. Inflation caused great fluctuation in coin sizes in the first half of the 4th century until it was necessary (after Constantine died) to have a monetary reform and reintroduce larger coins. AE1 folles do exist for him but they are not as common. Keep looking and you will find some.
  10. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    To answer that question you have to give a date. Inflation in the 4th century was bad enough that old coins were driven out of circulation quickly. Denarii of Mark Antony were made out of poor silver so many circulated for over a century.
  11. Hookman

    Hookman Well-Known Member

    I have a question : Why is this thread called " Ancient Idiots " yet there's no discussion of any Ancient Idiots? Did none exist? Were they all Sages and Wisemen and Magi ? (Oh My)

    A wiseacre wants to know.
    kazuma78, Obone, David@PCC and 5 others like this.
  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Both word really mean little more than 'standard coin'. The standard coin of 300 AD was several times the size of the standard coin of 340 AD but collectors call the folles. In many cases we do not know what they were called at the time. There are some references to coin names here and there but students do not always agree on which coin was meant by which name so it is safer to use AE1 to AE4.
  13. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I’m basically an ancient idiot. Despite not knowing a whole lot, I spent $1,000 over the past couple months getting lots of cleaned and uncleaned junk...
    Obone, DCCR, Hookman and 3 others like this.
  14. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..that was an investment into your education in this great and rewarding hobby :)...i'd hate to think of what i've spent...but on the other hand i like what i got and gettin'..and none of us ever stop learning...continue on sir :)
  15. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    The idea of this thread is great. Maybe the title is a bit confusing, when I first read it I didn't know what to expect.

    I have asked a few questions in several threads for which i never got an answer:(. I will take this great opportunity to ask at least one of those.

    I quote my question that refers to an Augustus bronze coin 15 x 16 mm, 7.370 g:

    ".... I started looking for definitions of trichalkon and found "The trichalkon was an ancient Greek bronze denomination worth 3 chalkoi. Since the number of chalkons to an obol varied across regions a general weight is impossible to define, except that it weighed three chalkoi from the region where it was struck."

    Is the AE of Augustus, weight = 7.370 g a Trichalkon, something else or should I just call it AE 16?"

    If I am asking something that is silly, please feel free to tell me so :cool:
    Hookman likes this.
  16. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Late Roman Bronzes (LRBs) constantly surprise and/or baffle me. Which is fine - I like figuring them out. But the various denominations, sizes, etc. still require a lot of looking up stuff and as far as general knowledge of these goes, I am very much still an idiot (but hoping to improve).

    For instance, in a recent lot off eBay, I got one of those "falling horseman" types in a Littleton Coins flip. What surprised me is how big this one was - the "fallen horsemen" types that have come my way are very small. This one is described as a "centenionalis" which is, apparently, one of the bigger types. I think centenionalis is one of those made-up ancient coin names, like "antoninianus."

    Here's a brief Wikipedia article. People on CT can provide a lot more information:

    It is big, but not very pretty. My attribution isn't very pretty either:

    Constantius II Æ Centenionalis - lot May 2020 (0).jpg
    Constantius II Æ Centenionalis
    (348-351 A.D.)
    Constantinople Mint (?)

    DN CONSTANTIVS PF AVG,pearl diademed, draped, cuirassed bust r. / FEL TEMPREPARATIO soldier spearing fallen horseman wearing Phrygian cap clutching
    horse's neck, Γ left, CONSZ(?)
    RIC VIII Constantinople 81 Z?
    (5.86 grams / 22 mm)

    Attribution Notes:

    Mintmark is very hard to read because of wear/corrosion. "ON" is fairly visible, thus the Constantinople guess. This is based on a lot of staring under different light conditions.
  17. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    Doug has given the answer above but I have this coin to share that arrived this week....

    At over 28mm this is much larger than the majority of the GENIO POP ROM coins that I have owned and site in an issue with MARS and PRINCIPI types which are all roughly comparable in size. So these larger coins of Constantine do exist but they are not as prolific as his later, smaller issues.

    Constantine the Great - AE Follis
    Obv:– IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, Laureate, cuirassed bust right
    Rev:–.GENIO POP ROM, Genius standing left, wearing Tower and chlamys, holding patera
    Mint – Trier (S | A / PTR). Autumn A.D. 307 – end of A.D. 308
    Reference(s) – RIC VI Trier 770 (S, citing Oxford)

    4.34 gms. 180 degrees. 28.37 mm


  18. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    This one actually isn't made up. Both "centenionalis" and "maiorina" were terms that were used in the 4th century, but the problem, as Doug pointed out above, is that there has been no agreement on which coins they referred to, or if they were the same or different denominations. I'd go with AE1 - AE4 too.
    chuck123, rrdenarius, ominus1 and 2 others like this.
  19. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Why are posters on the Ancients portion of Coin Talk the nicest people on any discussion board anywhere?
  20. Alegandron

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

    I concur. I feel it is so easy to be nice, and it is so easy NOT to type bad. I always mentored my folks that try to write as if someone was going to read your message in 5 years. Stop, think, and consider the potential emotions you are portraying.

    I also try to write as if I were face to face with an individual. Would I truly say what I wrote if the person was facing me? Too many hide behind the anonymous keyboard. Sometimes that is cowardice, not having the fortitude to truly face an individual as they are expressing themselves.

    i do agree, I find many posters outside Ancients can be condescending and rude.
    Egry, DEA, Broucheion and 8 others like this.
  21. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Sorry about the thread title - not my best work...
    However onward an upward...

    Next question:
    Are all sand patinas applied?
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