Byzantine follis (?) with crooked text

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by The Eidolon, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. The Eidolon

    The Eidolon Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty new to ancients, as I mostly collect early modern coins. I bought this coin
    unidentified, which I'm guessing is a Byzantine follis, similar to this one.
    Ob.jpg Rev.jpg
    I'm puzzled by the text lines on the back. It seems like the bottom line is at markedly
    different angle from the text above. Could this have been struck over an existing coin?
    Or were they just very casual about the text alignment? Any explanations would be
    most appreciated!
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  3. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    It could be overstruck or double struck. I personally think the coin was double struck. Like if the first strike wasn't really a good one, he might have hit it again, and called it good and moved on to the next one. Or he hit it with such power that it hopped and rotated again.

    Your reverse appears to be the type with "IS XS BASILE BASIL". The coin you linked to has Jesus' name spelled out in full (IhSUS XRISTUS) rather abbreviated like yours (IS XS).

    Here's mine that's similar:
    Constantine IX, AE Class D Anonymous Follis, Constantinople Mint, 1042-1055 AD
    Obverse: Nimbate figure of Christ Pantokrator seated facing on throne, holding Gospels; barred IC-XC across field.
    Reverse: – + -/IS XS/ЬASIL[Є]/ЬASIL/- (crescent) – in five lines.
    References: DOC pp. 685-7, Sear 1836
    Size: 30mm, 7.4g
    Notes: Appears to be overstruck or double struck based on arch from 1 to 3 o’clock on reverse and other areas around edges. They are often overstruck on class C folles attributed to the period of Michel IV (1034-1041). Sear expresses the idea that they were struck during a decade between Constantine IX and Constantine X, eventually replaced by the class E folles.
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  4. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    It almost looks like a Heraclius coin, which were absolutely overstruck on many previous coins.

    But then I noticed the Pantocrator behind, so it can't be.

    That said, ERE coins were overstruck all the time.
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  5. VD76

    VD76 Well-Known Member

    SBCV 1855 . Anonymous follis class E.
    Constantine X Ducas (1059-1067) Constantinople mint.
    AV: IC-XC to left and right of bust of Christ, nimbate, facing, holding book of Gospels in both hands.
    RV: ISXS bASILE bASIL in three lines, -+- above, -crescent- below.
  6. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    I think that Class E bust fits better with the OP coin than my Class D. Nice!
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  7. The Eidolon

    The Eidolon Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the ID information and explanation of the off-angled text!
    I don't have any good references for Byzantine coins. Is the class E
    less common than some of the other anonymous types?
    I bought it loose for $5, so I can't have gone too far astray.
    If there any good online references to start with I would be very happy to hear.
  8. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    This "crooked text" topic is something I've been wondering about. I've seen several Byzantine anonymous folles that have crooked text, but do NOT appear to be overstruck. How is this possible? Or am I misreading what really is an overstrike?

    Here is one - not especially dramatic, but the reverse text definitely veers off in relation to itself and I don't really see how this could be an overstrike:

    Byz - Anonymous Class 2 Jan 2014 (0).jpg

    Byzantine Empire Æ Follis
    Anonymous Class A2
    Basil II & Constantine VIII
    (976-1028 A.D.)

    [EMMANOVHL], Christ facing w. nimbus, holding Gospels [IC]-XC / +IhSuS / XRISTUS / bASILEu / bASILE / ornaments above & below.
    Sear 1813; (type 43 or 47?).
    (9.55 grams / 26 x 28 mm)
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  9. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    They are all over strikes, or probably more properly double strikes. Anonymous files seem very susceptible to them, especially the reverses.
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  10. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    My site on Byzantine anonymous folles has some discussion of overstrikes here:

    Very many Byzantine coins are overstruck on earlier coins. It is amazing that so many are overstruck on coins issued not long before, sometimes even from the same reign. In the anonymous series, it is harder to find one not overstruck than overstruck. The exception is the reformed new larger type called anonymous Class A2, which is often doublestruck, but not overstruck because the flans had to be new flans; there were no coins that large in circulation at the time to serve as flans.

    Class A2. Sear 1813
    32-30 mm. 12.745 grams.
    Crosses in the nimbus, on the gospels, and above and below the reverse legend.
    Slightly double-struck, but not overstruck.

    We have discussed some overstrikes before:
  11. Black Friar

    Black Friar Well-Known Member

    Nice piece, I collect those with crosses on them as my main anonymous series. Here is my best. The rest are a range of grades with decent eye appeal. Amazing series.

    Attached Files:

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