Byzantine coin for identification please.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by PaddyB, Aug 9, 2021.

  1. PaddyB

    PaddyB Eccentric enthusiast

    A customer from the market has emailed me these pics of a coin he has for help in identification. Measures about 36mm across and weighs 20g. Metal is uncertain - he is not sure and I have not handled it, so I do not know how accurate the colours are in his pictures.
    I thought Theophilus but I can find no match there, and I have seen no Byzantine coins with the knight on the reverse:
    Byzantine for ID 1-side.JPG
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  3. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    I'm no expert of late Byzantine coins, but this piece looks highly dubious to me. A CONOB sigle (for gold coins), combined with the large measurements and the (to me) unknown reverse design, points to a (modern) fantasy coin.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
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  4. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

  5. romismatist

    romismatist Well-Known Member

    Byzantine is not my collecting specialty either, but just looking at the coin fabric, it definitely looks cast, not struck to me. Details and coin edges are too smooth and there is a general lack of fine detail which you would expect on struck coinage.

    In terms of mint, if the coin were genuine the ethnic "CONOB" on the reverse would likely indicate Constantinople.

    Maybe some of CT's Byzantine experts can indicate whether this piece imitates an actual Byzantine coin type or is simply a fantasy piece.
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  6. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    It's fake.
  7. catadc

    catadc Well-Known Member

    At 20gr, that is no coin. None of the period were that heavy.
    There is no reverse like that for coins of the period and the obverse is mirrored of the below follis (approx).
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  8. Voulgaroktonou

    Voulgaroktonou Well-Known Member

    Pure fantasy. The reverse is likely derived from the famous gold medallion of Justinian, alas, no longer extant....
  9. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Anachronistic combinations of design and artistic topic as well as the large, cast flan immediately give this away as a fake.
  10. PaddyB

    PaddyB Eccentric enthusiast

    Thanks all for your assistance. I will have to think of a pleasant way of breaking the news to the owner.
    As he maintains he has had it for more than 40 years, I think "tourist piece" is probably the kindest way to go. Has anyone seen similar designs before in the "grand tour" pieces from the 19th century?
  11. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    If it is authentic, (and I doubt), it would have to be a local imitation as I have never seen anything like that reverse on a Byzantine coin.

    I would suspect tourist fake as well. Knights are popular with tourists.
  12. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    You are correct! This reverse is actually highly interesting yet not quite a fantasy design! It appears to be loosely based on quite the coin...A whopping 82mm, 36 (!!!!!!!!) solidus, unique gold Justinian medallion (the largest ancient coin ever) was found in the 1700s. This amazing piece had :eek::meh: quite the historical significance before it was stolen and melted down in 1831.

    "The Dictionary of Roman Coins of 1889 describes this medallion as follows: Distinguished not only by its unique character but also by its unusual volume and weight (for, according to Eckhel), it equals five ounces and nearly three drachms, and Mionnet gives its diameter as 38 lines (French measure), this splendid coin was found in the year 1751, near Caesarea ad Argaeum (Mazaca), formerly the capital of Cappadocia, amongst some rubbish in the foundations of an old building, cast out from the depth of twenty feet underground. The inscription on the obverse reads: "D. N. Justinianus P. P. Aug." or, to expand, "Dominus Noster Justinianus Perpetuus Augustus" ~ Our Lord Justinian, Eternal Augustus. The figure on the obverse is Justinian himself, carrying a lance and wearing the toupha, or feathered crown which can also be seen in drawings of the colossal Justinian statue that once sat atop a column in Constantinople.

    The inscription on the reverse reads, "Salus et Gloria Romanorum" ~ Salvation and Glory of the Romans. The word "CONOB" at the bottom indicates that the original medallion was minted in Constantinople. Some have speculated that the warlike rider featured on the reverse being led by a winged victory is a representation of Belisarius, however the presence of the toupha on the rider's head, and the lack of beard, seems to indicate that it is another representation of Justinian.

    Historians and numismatists have speculated that the medallion was meant to commemorate the great victory of Belisarius over the Vandal Kingdom in AD 534.”

    Here is the plate coin for the type with an Alexander the great tetradrachm for scale!!

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