Byzantine follis with large flan

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Pellinore, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    This follis of the emperor Phokas yesterday entered my collection. It has an excessively large flan and also (despite various encrustations) a nice portrait.

    3530 Phokas ct.jpg

    Byzantium, Phokas (602-610). AE follis (40 nummi), Constantinopel (3rd officina), 606. Obv.: D N FOCAE. Facing bust of Phokas, wearing consular robes, holding mappa & cross. Rev.: large XXXX, ANNO above, V to right, exergue CONΓ. 35 mm, 12.02 gr.

    Do you know Byzantine coins of this period with large flans like this?
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  3. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    Nice coin. I have a slightly older (around 60 years) follis of Justinian that is even larger than yours, but the design fits the flan size which is not the case with yours.

  4. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    My only Byzantine manages to get another showing ;)

    It's also a Justinian I from Nicomedia, but this one is on a flan that seems too large for the design. (It's only a half follis, so a mere 29mm):

    Justinian, half follis, 541-2, Nicomedia (NI), D N IVSTINIANVS P P AVI. ANNO, K, XЧ with Christogram.

    Did the Byzantines have a habit of using oversized flans? They certainly liked large coins.

    Attached Files:

  5. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    These are all bronzes that were handled by the general population. Maybe having them 'big' was for making the people feel that their money 'carried more weight'?

    Actually, having a closer look at @Pellinore 's coin, I can see traces of a larger diameter circle in the flan. Could it be a much older coin that was re-struck with a new design? It could explain the shape and condition of the flan.
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  6. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    Yes it seems the coppers were often over-struck, which would explain quite a lot:

    Beast Coins says: "The culture is rife with overstrikes, double-strikes, gross mis-strikes and other errors".

    Hmm, I might collect more...
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  7. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Wow :jawdrop:! I think Hercules must have pounded out that coin, nice score :D. That's an unusually large diameter for that period only because of the striking pressure used. A 40 mm diameter or larger for a coin of Justinian I wouldn't be unusual.

    Sear 201, obv..jpg
  8. Caesar_Augustus

    Caesar_Augustus Well-Known Member

    Here's my Phocas follis on a wide flan. I really dislike Phocas for murdering one of the great emperors during that time period. This coin appears to be overstruck on a large follis, I believe of Justinian.

    AE Follis
    604 - 605 A.D., Constantinople Mint, 1st Officina
    12.26g, 33.0mm, 12H

    Obverse: DN FOCAS PЄRP AUC,
    Crowned bust facing, wearing consular robes, holding mappa and cruciform scepter

    Reverse: -,
    Large XXXX, ANNO on top, and dated II/I (R.Y. 3)

    Exergue: CONB

    Provenance: Ex. Saint Paul Antiques Auction 17, Lot 647

    Reference: SBCV 640
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  9. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I always considered the Byzantines to be the true point where "token value" of copper coins really came into being. They simply seemed to have fully embraced the metal was not the value on these coins, only the stamp, so they stamped whatever kid of metal pieces they found.
  10. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    More often we see these overstrikes clipped down to the new weight standard like my 11.4g coin. Perhaps yours was on a smaller coin to start with and spread thin in the attempt to erase the undertype. It is always nice to be able to ID the undertype (mine is a Maurice Tiberius year XIIII also with Constantinople mintmark). Yours is very interesting because it is so different. Byzantine bronzes may not be beautiful in the traditional sense of that word but the sure are interesting.
  11. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Dude, if you like errors, you will have a field day in Byzantine coins. Probably the most numerous and dramatic errors ever to occur to coins happened under them. They are so prevalent, most of us spend years trying to find one WITHOUT errors.

    Makes is a puzzle at times to try to figure out what even happened. I have one double struck originally, then quartered, struck, and flip over struck again. Poor piece of metal was TORTURED.
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  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    On this page we have seen three Phocas coins 12.26, 12.02 and trimmed to 11.4. While I agree that standards were not enforced as you expect in gold or silver, I believe it is going too far to say they only considered the coins at "token value". Also, I consider it incorrect tho call these coins errors. They were not accidents from sloppy workmanship but intentional recycling and weight standard correcting policies of the mint. We modern people have fewer events where the government calls in all the old coins and gives you the new standard coins. Even in 1964, the US did not demonetize the 90% silver and order us to trade them in for CN sandwiches. Did any of our UK members live through the 1971 decimalization and care to comment on how it was handled both by the government and public. As I understand it the matter was drawn out over nearly a decade and eventually took care of itself. If you find a pre-decimal piggy bank today, can you still convert them at a bank or are coin dealers the only option? Ancient people faced these situations regularly.
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  13. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    Quite, my coin could well be an overstrike, see the rim on the reverse 1 o’clock. But I don’t recognize an undertype. A Justinian follis would be heavier than 12 g.
  14. Alegandron

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

    Thank you, you tied a few loose ends in my mind.

    Token or Fiat monies make a lot more sense. The Chinese figured that out Centuries before, but now I can put Romanoi coinage into better perspective now. The use of low-cost Bronze enables them to create a lot of currency for the everyday populace. "Just pound the coins out, they just represent the value we put on them."

    Also, the Chinese pour casted the coins, and never had to take the ADDED step of hammering them. The Western World probably still pour casted the flans, then heated them again, before hammering a design. Low cost / high seigniorage to the Chinese!

    Unfortunately, I am still so disappointed with their crude designs, compared to the legacy they had of Classical Greek and earlier Roman designs... just so wrong to me.

    RO Justinian I 527-565 CE AE30 Folles 12.2g 40 Nummi M monogram.jpg
    RO Justinian I 527-565 CE AE30 Folles 12.2g 40 Nummi M monogram
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  15. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I think Wayne Sayles intro book on Byzantines is a good book for one reason. It explains the different intentions of the Byzantines versus the Romans or Greeks concerning coins.

    The Byzantines became a very devout Christian group. As such, they believed everything in life should reflect their devotion. They didn't WANT the coin to reflect the physical reality of the person, but their spiritual reality. This is why the artwork lost any lifelike quality, and become iconography. Eyes were vacant to show they were communing with God, etc.
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  16. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    I discuss Focas and his reign here but here is a coin of Focas.

    Attribution: Sear Byzantine 665 KYZB (Cyzicus) mint

    Date: 608 AD

    Obverse: DN FOCAS PERP AVG, crowned, mantled bust facing, holding mappa and cross, cross in left field

    Reverse: Large XXXX, ANNO to left, regnal year to right, mintmark KYZB

    Size: 30.16 mm

    Weight: 11.4 grams


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  17. philologus_1

    philologus_1 Well-Known Member

    I love it when a flan is large enough to receive the full reverse and obverse dies, and still have some blank space all around! :)

    Here's an Anastasius I, SB_19, Constantinople, 40 Nummi, 36 mm.
  18. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    All of them have good eye appeal thanks for the peek everyone
  19. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Justinian I. 527-565 AD. Follis (40 mm); Kyzikos (Cyzicus) mint; year thirteen. Obv: Helmeted and cuir. bust facing, holding gl. cr. and shield; to r., cross. Rev: Large "M" between ANNO (downward) and regnal year XII-I. Above, cross; beneath officina "B"; in ex., KYZ. SB 207.
  20. Voulgaroktonou

    Voulgaroktonou Well-Known Member

    It's nice to turn our focus to this jumped up centurion! Here are a few of my folles.

    Constantinople, 604/5. 13.53 gr. 33 mm. Hr. 1. S. 640; H. 61a; DO 27b.

    Thessalonica, 605/6. 10.55 gr. 32 mm. Hr. 6. S. 653; H. 91; BNP 2-3.
    Cyzicus, 607/8. 8.64 gr. 30 mm. Hr. 6. S. 665; H. 76; DO 73a; BNP 6.
    Antioch, 608/9. 10.56 gr. 30 mm. Hr. 5. S. 672A; H. 84b.
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  21. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    This is somewhat of a larger flan on Constans II. However, it is quite small and very light and thin; economy must not have been as good under this guy
    Constans II Sear 1105.JPG
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