Byzantine Anonymous Follis Help Please

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Hispanicus, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. Hispanicus

    Hispanicus Stand Fast!

    First of all I would like to introduce myself as relatively new to ancients and as someone who has learned a lot of valuable information from lurking around this forum in the last year. Most of my purchases are easily identifiable but this one has me stumped.

    Wildwinds identifies this AE piece as belonging to SB 1813 which includes at least 8 different variations. The Wildwinds description as follows:
    Basil II and Constantine VIII, AE Class 2 anonymous follis. 976-1028 AD. IC-XC to left and right of bust of Christ, facing, with nimbate cross behind head, holding book of gospels, sometimes with dots in centre of book's border, cross in each limb of the cross / IhSUS XRISTUS bASILEU bASILE in four lines, ornament below. SB 1813.
    This coin weighs in at 10.08 grams and is 29 X 30.5 mm in diameter.

    As you can see from the attached pictures, there is enough wear to obscure all of the letters on the obverse except what appears to be an epsilon oriented point up at 9:00 o'clock. The single pellet in the exergue on the reverse leads me to think it could be n SB 1813 (2), however, the obverse for an SB 1813 (2) in Wildwinds appears to have a slightly different nimbate cross than my example. Any help in pointing me to other resources or a website with more information will be greatly appreciated. As an aside, this is my first Byzantine purchase and what got my attention is the nimbate cross with an almost ghostlike bust of Christ. Plus, I'm a sucker for larger irregular shaped coins.

    Thanks in advance.

    Attached Files:

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  3. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Ref: Follis

    I do not understand the need to subdivide the class A folles beyond this being A2 which has ornamentation above and below the legend (missing on A1) and larger than A3 coins. There are many dies and each have differences. There are those who separate them by scrolls; others by nimbus details etc. Why Wildwinds uses the terms A1 and A3 but calls A2's "Class 2" is beyond me.

    15.7g note letter style of the A's on reverse


    Your is rather light to be an A2 but heavy for an A3 so I suspect the loss has to do with the missing material on the upper right reverse.
  4. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    The biggest difference between the various numbered subclasses of "Class A" anonymous folles is that A1 is distinctly smaller and lighter (It has two dots in each part of the nimbus and nothing above and below the lettering on the reverse). Hispanica, Class A2 has 60 varieties of nimbus ornament and reverse ornament in Dumbarton Oaks. For example, Doug's first has on dot in each part and his second has five (with distinct, but indescribable, wiggles above and below the reverse lettering). Many more varieties have been discovered since DO was published. Class A2 was the result of a reform to increase the weight. Class A1 is scarce compared to the extremely common A2. I have not seen the need to distinguish A3 from A2. It is pretty typical for coin weights to decline over time, as from A2 to A3--that does not make a new type. It is much rarer that they increase, as from A1 to A2. That does make a new type.
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  5. Ancientnoob

    Ancientnoob Money Changer

    Bronze Anonymous Follis,
    Class A1, 24 mm x 21 mm x 7.36 grams
    John I Tzimisces
    Constantinople mint, 969 - 976 A.D.
    Obv. EMMANOVHL, facing head of Christ, two pellets in each cross limb, Pallium and colobium, holding ornamented Gospels with both hands, to left IC, to right XC;
    Rev. + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Jesus Christ Kingof Kings)
    Ref: SBCV1793

    ClassA1ChristFollis969-976AD_opt (2).jpg
  6. Hispanicus

    Hispanicus Stand Fast!

    You hit the nail squrely on the head. The link in your message has another link to a graphic diagram of the many known varieties and is exactly what I was looking for.
    Thanks, that was quite helpful.
  7. Hispanicus

    Hispanicus Stand Fast!

    You explanation dovetails in with Dougsmits response. I visited the Dumbarton Oaks many years ago not knowing what types of collections they had and was pleasantly surprised to see a large collection of Byzantine gold coins. That museum is one that tends to fly under the radar for most visitors to DC.
    Thanks for your response.
    dougsmit and Ancientnoob like this.
  8. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Great OP-example, Hispanicus (congrats)

    sadly, all I have is this light-weight A3 example ...

    Anonymous Folles, Basil II & Constantine VIII (Class A3)
    Constantinople mint
    circa 1020-1028
    Diameter: 26 mm
    Weight: 7.04 grams
    Obverse: Facing bust of Christ Pantokrator
    Reverse: Legend in four lines; ornament above and below
    Reference: DOC A2.40; SB 1818

    Anonymous Folles basil II & Constantine VIII Krist.jpg
    Quant.Geek, TIF, chrsmat71 and 2 others like this.
  9. Herberto

    Herberto Well-Known Member

    How does one distinguish A1 from A2(or A3), if the latter’s ornaments are worn?

    My anonymous here has a weight of 9 gram, diameter of 26mm-28mm, and there are no ornaments even when I try to check it in different angle:

    Jeezyz Byz.jpg

    Could that be the scarce A1(as I hope). – Or is it an A2 where the ornaments are worn?

    Can a A1 have a weight 9 gram?
    Hispanicus, stevex6 and Bing like this.
  10. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    My class A1 is 22-24 mm and 5.74 grams.

    anonClassA1.jpg anonClassA1r.jpg
    Many A2's are much heavier than 9 grams and 30 mm or more in diameter (some up to about 35 mm). Many A1's are much lighter than 9 grams and typical diameters are not more than 24 mm. Herberto's is in between, but possibly too large to be Class A1.
    Hispanicus, stevex6 and Herberto like this.
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