Availability online of article on Probus coins from Serdica Mint?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Feb 25, 2021.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I recently bought a Probus antoninianus from the Serdica (now Sofia, Bulgaria) Mint, 4th emission (according to Karl Pink, I believe). It's my second Probus coin from that mint and emission. When I looked both coins up at Probuscoins.fr (a great resource), I noticed that they are both dated at 280-281 AD, instead of the 277 AD date assigned to the 4th emission in Sear. Apparently, the re-dating comes from an article by Philippe Gysen, with the following citation: Gysen, P., New data concerning the Serdica workshop during the reign of Probus, in Revue belge de numismatique , CXLVI, Brussels, 2000. Does anyone have this article, or know if it's available online? I'd be curious to read it, including for the explanation of the new dating of the 4th emission.

    Here are the two coins; my apologies for the repetition in my descriptions. Both coins have quite a bit of silvering remaining.

    The new coin:

    Probus, silvered billion Antoninianus, Serdica [Sofia, Bulgaria] Mint, 1st Officina, 4th emission, 280-281 AD (Gysen), 277 AD (Sear). Obv. Cuirassed bust left wearing radiate helmet, seen from ¾ in front, holding spear over right shoulder with right hand, and shield covering left shoulder with left hand, IMP CM AVR PROBVS AVG / Rev. Probus on horseback pacing left, with right hand raised and holding long scepter with left hand, captive is seated left under raised right hoof of horse, leaning forward to left with his arms bound behind his back, VIRTVS PROBI AVG; in exergue, KA•A• (Serdica Mint, Officina 1). RIC V.2 Probus 887 (p. 114); Cohen 925/926; Probuscoins.fr 2201 (https://probuscoins.fr/coin?id=2201); P. Gysen Type: VIR-adv [Philippe. Gysen, New data concerning the Serdica workshop during the reign of Probus, in Revue belge de numismatique, CXLVI, Brussels, 2000] (redating Serdica Emission 4 at 280-281 AD); Pink, Emission 4 [Karl Pink, Numismatische Zeitschrift, Der Aufbau der Romischen Munzpragung in der Kaiserzeit, VI / 1 Probus (Wien, 1949)]; cf. Sear RCV III 12075 (ill.) (same except obv. legend has “PF” before AVG; see RIC V-2 886). 23 mm., 4.26 g. Purchased from Kirk Davis, Feb. 2021; ex. York Coins, UK, 2010.

    Probus Ant. - Armored Probus on horseback antoninianus (Kirk Davis).jpg

    If you're able to zoom in at all, is that some kind of plume sticking up vertically from the captive's head? It's rather odd-looking. I also feel quite bad for the captive, since he's not only in danger of being trampled by Probus's horse, but looks like he's about to fall forward off the baseline, into oblivion!

    The previous coin:

    Probus, silvered billon Antoninianus, Serdica [Sofia, Bulgaria] Mint, 3rd Officina, 4th emission, 280-281 AD [Gysen]. 277 AD (Sear). Obv. Cuirassed bust left wearing radiate helmet, holding spear and shield, transverse leather strap across chest, IMP C M AVR PROBVS PF AVG / Rev. Probus on horseback, shield in left hand, galloping right, about to slay an enemy with a lance held in right hand; the enemy is on his knees under the horse's front hooves with his hands thrust upwards, his shield on the ground under the horse, VIRTVS PROBI AVG; in exergue, KA•Γ• (Serdica Mint, Officina 3). RIC V-2 Probus 877G( Γ) (p. 113); Cohen 917; Probscoins.fr 2667 (https://probuscoins.fr/coin?id=2667); Pink [Karl Pink 1949], 277, 4th emission; P. Gysen type: VIR-1 [Philippe Gysen, New data concerning the Serdica workshop during the reign of Probus, in Revue belge de numismatique , CXLVI, Brussels, 2000] (redating Serdica Emission 4 at 280-281 AD), 24.31 mm., 3.26 g.

    Probus Ant. Serdica.jpg

    Speaking of Philippe Gysen, anyone interested in Probus might enjoy browsing through the lots from the Paul-Francis Jacquier Numismatique Antique Auction 45, from Sept. 14, 2018. Part of it was devoted to the sale of Gysen's own collection of more than 400 Probus coins, many of them not listed in RIC. See https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?search=probus&p=sale&sid=2695&s=b. The auction catalog can be downloaded at http://www.coinsjacquier.com/images/content/Jacquier45.pdf.

    Please post your own Probus coins from the Serdica Mint.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  3. Claudius_Gothicus

    Claudius_Gothicus Well-Known Member

    Great coins! Here's my only Probus from Serdica, so far:
    Probus (276-282), Antoninianus, Serdica mint, 1st officina.
    Obverse: IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front;
    Reverse: SOLI INVICTO, Sol in spread quadriga, holding globe in left hand and raising right hand. KA(dot)A(dot) in exergue;
    RIC 861

    Unfortunately I can't help you find the article you seek, though I'd really like to read it as well; hopefully someone knows where to find it.
    Also, while I don't want to hijack your thread, if you don't mind it, I'd like to use this post to ask the other users if anybody can help me find two other articles from the same time period: the first is "A propos des ateliers de Smyrne et de Cyzique sous Claude II le Gothique", published in BCEN 2 (1999) and also by Gysen, while the other is "Deux émissions exceptionnelles frappées à Milan en l'honneur de Claude II le Gothique", published in Mélanges de numismatique, d'archéologie et d'Histoire offerts à Jean Lafaurie (1980) by Huvelin. I've been looking really hard for them, and I'd really appreciate reading them at last, especially since they talk about some coins I'd like to purchase.
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  4. Curtis

    Curtis Supporter! Supporter

    Found the article online! http://www.numisbel.be/2000_3.pdf

    I don't know if you read French at all... Unfortunately it doesn't seem auto-translatable, just an old school photocopy of the journal pages, but I was able to highlight the text, cut and paste and translate on Google that way.

    Personally, though, I think it can actually be easier reading technical materials than ordinary literature in another language (assuming you speak it to some degree from school or whatever; otherwise it's a real challenge!), since the terminology often follows closely. I studied French but stopped 20 years ago, so by now I definitely cannot speak at all fluently; but I can still do pretty well at reading an occasional numismatic source, it's just very slow-going.

    I found it by checking RBN in the Numiswiki on Forum Ancient Coins website, which sent me to the Revue Belge Numis. page, where I found they've got most of their issues online.

    Numiswiki page: https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=RBN
    RBN page: http://www.numisbel.be/inhoudstafel.htm
    They say their stuff is on Archive.org or Google Books, but I couldn't get it through their links to that stuff. I just went to the bottom of their page and selected CXLVI, 2000. Unfortunately I'm not well enough versed on Probus to do more than share the link!

    Thank you for mentioning Probuscoins.fr, by the way! I do love the coinage of Probus and have a small collection of his Ants. I'm adding that site to my bibliography of online resources. Previously I always used probvs.net and it was fantastic, but I started getting the certificate expired message from their website recently, so I can't get in anymore.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  5. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Many members on this forum own this Probus Serdica follis,and for good reason.
    its an awsome design imho:

    P1130616 (2).JPG
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  6. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you so much! And yes, I do still read French pretty well. Although slowly; it's been more than 45 years since I studied it in high school. Back then, I read it quite well; I did finish third my senior year (I forget whether it was in New York State or the whole USA) in the National Association of Teachers of French exam. That was a long time ago. I still occasionally use what I remember for this kind of thing, and for reading articles in French genealogical journals. (I had ancestors who lived in Alsace from at least the 16th century up to the early 19th century, when they moved across the Rhine.)
  7. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

  8. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Spectacular, DonnaML!!!
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  9. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Could your hat plume be instead a poorly executed Phrygian cap?
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  10. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Serdica has long been among my favorite styles for Probus. Both of the examples below came from Frank Robinson in 1997. That was a time when there were a lot of nice Probus coins flooding the market. I should have bought more. Note the shield decor. Correction: The second is Siscia. Sorry for the error.
    rs2800fd1414.jpg rs2810bb1500.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  11. Alegandron

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

    Great Probi, @DonnaML ! Very nice examples.

    No Serdica mint here, but when you posted that Probus / Horseback, you got me to look up mine...

    Ok, I will lie, and call it a Serdica just to qualify...

    But, I really like my coin with a SPLIT-HORSE and a THUNDERBOLT in ex! cool to me

    Marcus Aurelius Probus, AD 276-282
    Billon Antoninianus, 21mm, 2.3g, 6h;
    Rome mint, 6th emission, AD 281.
    Obv.: PROBVS AVG; Radiate, cuirassed bust right.
    Rev.: ADVENTVS AVG; Probus riding horse left, raising hand and holding scepter; to left, bound captive seated left under foreleg, head right // R thunderbolt Z (7th officina).
    Reference: RIC Vb Probus 158, p. 35
    Comments: Marcus Aurelius Probus believed that soldiers should never be idle in times of peace, putting them to work planting vineyards, etc. This may have led to his demise. One source records his assassination at the hands of disgruntled troops forced to drain marshes (Historia Augusta, Vita Probi, 20:2-3). One lesson quite a few Roman emperors never seemed to learn: don’t tick off your military.
    Ex: @John Anthony
  12. Broucheion

    Broucheion Supporter! Supporter

    Hi @DonnaML,


    - Broucheion
  13. barnaba6

    barnaba6 Active Member

    Both coins are great Doug, but the second one below is not from Serdica but from Siscia (2nd issue). I assume your misattribution of this coin to the mint of Siscia is based on the appearance of the KA mintmark (typical for the Serdica mint). However this mintmark was used at Siscia ocasionally as well.

    Here are three other examples of this coins from the same pair of dies (including an example from my collection - the first one from the link):


    Here again my coin illustrated in my colleconline gallery:


    Here is another coin from my collection with the same obverse die but different reverse die (Soli Invicto), ex famous Philippe Gysen collection:


    The above two examples of the use of the same obverse die prove that the Aventvs Probi Avg specimen with KA in exergue was struck by the 3rd officina (gamma) as dies were not distributed among different officinae but were only used within the same officina at a particular mint during that time.

    Last but not least, below I show a few additionl examples of coins from Siscia with KA mark in exergue from my collection:

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  14. barnaba6

    barnaba6 Active Member

    Hi Donna,

    Here are my Probus coins from the Serdica mint:


    I have quite a few of them so it's easier to post a link rather than post almost 200 pictures.

    As for Philippe Gysen, he was my Friend and Numismatic teacher / master. I have all his articles and was lucky enough to acquire circa 200 of his Probus coins in total. His Probus coins are an important part of my Probus collection.

    Philippe Gysen had almost 1300 Probus coins in collection. The 400 coins sold by Jacquier during auction 45, to which you refer, was only a part of his Probus coins. The second part was offered by Jacquier during auction 46 in the year 2019:


    The remaining Probus coins were sold privately.
    DonnaML likes this.
  15. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Wow; thank you!
  16. barnaba6

    barnaba6 Active Member

    By the way, if anybody ever needs any literature on Probus coins I may help. I have most works ever published on that subject.
  17. barnaba6

    barnaba6 Active Member

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  18. barnaba6

    barnaba6 Active Member

    I think you are right.
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  19. barnaba6

    barnaba6 Active Member

    Our website probvs.net (created by Grzegorz Kryszczuk and co-edited by me since 2017) is still available. You just need to press the button "advanced options" and then click the button "enter" despite the certificate warning that the site is allegedly dangerous and entereing is not recommended:)

    Unfortunately for various reasons the site will not be updated in the foreseeable future. It's also hard to tell when Grzegorz manages to find a new host site (less expensive than the previous one). But the site is still a great resourse for any Probus lover.
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  20. barnaba6

    barnaba6 Active Member

    For your information roughly half of all existing Probus antoninians are not listed in RIC.

    RIC V.2 volume which covers - among others - the coinage of Probus was published in 1933 and is now very outdated. It is now arguably the weakest and least reliable volume among all the remaining RIC volumes.

    So finding a Probus antoninian not listed in RIC is really not that big of a deal contrary to coins from other emperors for which an updated and more thorough RIC volume has been published in recent years (e.g. RIC volume II).
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  21. barnaba6

    barnaba6 Active Member

    Since this thread started with a question regarding Philippe Gysen's article on the Serdica mint under Probus I thought it appropriate to post below a link to a short article (in French) in Philippe's memory (regrettably, Philippe passed away in May 2019), which summarizes the numismatic works published by Philippe:

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