Apprentice die-engraver? Reverse inscription is a hot mess!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Over the past quarter century, I've been accumulating a variety of Julia Domna coins by mint and reverse type. This one is a new acquisition. I found its reverse inscription amusing and I think the inscription -- not necessarily the figure of Vesta -- may have been engraved by a novice die-cutter. Notice the long crossbar of the T in VESTAE. I think the die cutter started too close to the S and then changed the angle a bit and started over, moving the downstroke of the T further away. Moreover, he seems to have started to engrave an S just to the right of Vesta's head, but realized he didn't have enough room because of the tip of the goddess's scepter. Lastly, he engraved an H instead of an N in SANCTAE.

    Post your coins with sloppy or erroneous inscriptions, Julia Domna, Vesta coins, or whatever you feel is relevant.

    Domna VESTAE SANCTAE standing denarius Laodicea.jpg
    Julia Domna, AD 193-217.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.20 g, 19.1 mm, 12 h.
    Uncertain eastern mint. (British museum currently attributes to Antiochia ad Orontem; formerly to Laodicea ad Mare), AD 196-202.
    Obv: IVLIA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: VESTAE SAHCTAE (sic), Vesta, veiled and draped, standing left, holding patera in extended right hand and vertical scepter in left hand.
    Refs: RIC 648; BMCRE 622-24; Cohen/RSC 246; CRE 6614; CRE 419.

    It's a double die match to this one from a Freeman & Sear sale in 2010:

    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  3. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I have two of these from different dies. One has the H but I believe we make too much about things like this and doubt it shows confusion as much as handwriting. There will always be little variations from the fact that each die was a separate work rather than a mechanical copy. I believe we say 'Fridays Happen' but I have no reason to believe these cutters got weekends off.

    rk5480bb0277.jpg rk5490bb2151.jpg
  4. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    I have a Licinius I .....
    Engraver completely missed out the I in the emperors name..
  5. Numisnewbiest

    Numisnewbiest Well-Known Member

    This coin (which I no longer own) qualifies under the "sloppy inscriptions" category. I fell in love with the Julia Domna portrait at first sight, but the sloppiness of the obverse inscription always bothered me.


    Julia Domna
    Silver denarius, Rome mint, 213 AD, RIC IV C390
    Obv: Ivlia Pia Felix Avg
    Rev: Vesta
  6. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    This one isn't particularly pretty, but here is my favourite example of sloppy provincial engraving. The type exists for both Geta and Caracalla.

    On this coin, the legend starts with a Π (for Publius Septimius Geta) and thus indicates Geta, whose legends comparable coins reads Π CEPTI GETAC KAI or similar.

    Yet, the legend ends with a final ANTONEI for Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus, better known as Caracalla. His legend on coins of Pautalia tends to be something along the lines AVT K M A ANTΩNEI or similar.

    I suspect that the engraver started to engrave a Geta legend, recognized his mistake after the first letter, and decided to simply continue with the correct Caracalla legend...

    Römische Provinzen – Pautalia, Geta Caracalla hybrid.png
    Caracalla, Roman Empire, provincial AE issue of Pautalia in Thrace, ca. 211–217 (?). Obv: Π AV[T K M A or similar] ANTONEI, laureate head of Caracalla r. Rev: OYΛΠIAC [ΠAYTAΛIAC], snake coiled on short column/altar. 17.5–21mm, 5.69g. Ref: Varbanov II, 4975 var. (legend); see also Ruzicka (1933), no. 758, 842, and 844.
  7. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    The flow lines above this T appear to be different from those above all the other letters in the reverse inscription. I wonder if what you have is evidence of a damaged die.

    Nice coin either way.
    Roman Collector likes this.
  8. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    sloppy, VES dropped off the planchet:

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