Carinus & Numerian join their father, and: how should I break out my first slabbed coin?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Dec 28, 2020.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I hardly ever buy coins of post-Valerian/Gallienus Roman emperors anymore (except for a few silver siliquae), because I don't find them -- the emperors or the coins -- that fascinating in general. (Except for Julian II, for whom I already have several coins including a siliqua and a nice example of the double maiorina with the bull on the reverse, purchased from Frank Robinson a few months ago.) Also, I lost interest some time ago (after finishing most of Constantine I's family) in trying to buy at least one coin for each reasonably obtainable emperor and empress. Some of the coins I'd have to buy are just too boring in my eyes. Simply put, there are other ancient coins I'd rather spend my limited budget on. (Probably more limited for 2021 than 2020; I kind of got carried away this year!)

    However, I've had this coin of Carus for a while (a tip of the cap to @Valentinian's website for explaining the significance for dating purposes of coins of Carus with AVGGG, minted in Antioch):

    Carus, silvered AE Antoninianus, late Autumn 282 [second son, Numerian, elevated to Caesar] to Autumn 283 AD [death of Carus], Antioch Mint (1st Officina). Obv. Radiate bust right, IMP C M AVR CARVS PF AVG/ Rev. VIRTUS AVGGG, Carus, standing right, receives Victory from Jupiter standing left, holding long scepter, star in upper field, A in lower middle field (= 1st Officina, Antioch Mint), XXI in exergue [20/1 copper/silver ratio of alloy]. RIC V-2 125(A), Sear RCV III 12190, ERIC II 141, Cohen 117. 20.25 mm., 3.59 g. [For the dating of Carus’s coins with AVGGG reverse (issued at Antioch mint only), see]

    Carus denarius jpg version.jpg
    And when I recently saw antoniniani of Carinus and Numerian on sale at the same time (from different dealers), both of them in what I thought was excellent condition for that time-period, I couldn't resist buying them in order to reunite them with their father. They've both arrived, so I'm posting them together:

    Carinus, AE Antoninianus, Feb/Mar 283 [promotion to Augustus] to Spring 285 [death of Carinus], Ticinum Mint [now Pavia, Italy] (3rd Officina). Obv. Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, IMP CARINVS P F AVG / Rev. Felicitas standing facing, head left, left elbow resting on column, holding caduceus with raised right hand, FELICIT PVBLICA; in exergue, TXXI [3rd Officina, 20/1 copper/silver ratio of alloy]. RIC V-2 295, Sear RCV III 12343 (ill.), Cohen 24, Pink [Karl Pink 1949] p. 29, Series 4. 23.6 mm., 3.83 g. [For dating, see]

    Carinus Antoninianus - jpg version.jpg

    Numerian, AE Antoninianus, Feb/Mar 283 [promotion to Augustus] to Nov. 284 [death of Numerian], Ticinum Mint [now Pavia, Italy] (6th Officina). Obv. Radiate and cuirassed bust right, IMP NVMERIANVS P F AVG / Rev. Providentia standing facing, head left, holding corn ears with right hand over modius at feet left, and holding cornucopiae in right arm; in exergue, VIXXI [6th Officina, 20/1 copper/silver ratio of alloy]. RIC V-2 447, Sear RCV III 12253, Cohen 83, Pink [Karl Pink 1949] p. 29, Series 4. 22.6 mm., 4.15 g. Ex. Pegasi Numismatics, Auction 41, Dec. 11, 2019, Lot 627. [Soon to be formerly] in NGC slab, Cert. No. 5768552-009, Graded AU, Strike: 5/5, Surface 4/5.) [For dating, see]

    Numerian Ticinum Providentia jpg image from 2019 Pegasi auction.jpg
    First question: please take a close look at the profiles of Felicitas on the first coin and Providentia on the second. They look incredibly similar to me. Keeping in mind that they're both the product of the same mint (Ticinum) at approximately the same time, how does one explain the resemblance? Same engraver? Same template used for the portraits of multiple personifications at that mint at that time? (I have no idea if that was technologically possible.) But the profiles seem too close to me to be a product of coincidence.

    Second question: As you can see from the description, the second coin, of Numerian, came in a recent NGC slab. (It wasn't slabbed when it was sold in a Pegasi auction last year.) It's the first slabbed coin I've ever bought, and, in fact, the first slabbed coin I've ever seen close up. Here are the dealer's photos:

    Numerian NGC photo jpg version.jpg

    Numerian slab jpg version.jpg

    My reaction to holding a slabbed coin in my hand for the first time: the slab itself is a nice little object, and rather attractive looking. BUT: I'm perfectly serious when I say that I CAN'T SEE THE COIN!! Not really any better than you can see it in that photo of the slab. Maaaaybe, at a certain angle, I can sort of catch a glimpse of what it looks like.

    But it's not good enough for me. If I had any doubts before the coin arrived today as to what I wanted to do with it, they're gone.

    So, can someone please advise me on what the easiest way to open the slab (without ruining the coin or the ticket) might be for someone who doesn't want to end up plunging a screwdriver through her hand? It's not as if I have a basement, let alone a basement workshop, but I do have a few basic tools, including hammers and screwdrivers and pliers and a vise I've had since I was about 8 years old, for some reason.

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  3. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    I agree that it might be the work of the same engraver, a work-a-day fellow living in Ticinum. Nice coins. I've never bought a slabbed coin, so I don't know the best way to remove them. Maybe crack the case open with pliers and gently free it with a piece of uncooked spaghetti. ( That would not harm the coin, presumably. And please don't plunge a screwdriver through your hand.)
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  4. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Beautiful addition.

    As for breaking out the coin...
  5. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..those are dandies Donna!..:)....i'm not a big fan of breaking out coins..but ifn i was would be with a vise...don't worry, there's plenty of peeps here experienced in that detail! :)
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  6. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    @lordmarcovan has experience cracking slabs if I'm not mistaken.
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  7. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks, @ominus1. Unfortunately, my childhood vise doesn't open wide enough to hold the slab, even the short way. So I'm afraid that's out.
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  8. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    If you don't have a vise like me. You can try wrapping the slab in a piece of cloth and striking it on the edges with a hammer.

    A few strikes should weaken the seal enough that you can pry the slab apart. The cloth will prevent any broken plastic from flying away.
  9. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Hold the slab on the wide edge, on a firm surface. With a hammer, tap the edge where you seen the join points (triangular) with the hammer until the edge splits. Then, carefully open the slab and remove the coin from the inner plastic holder.

    Nice coins, by the way.
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  10. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks. I have a hammer, so I may try that method tomorrow. I don't want to hammer in the evening hard enough to bring any complaints from my downstairs neighbor. So I'll hammer in the morning instead
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  11. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    A little bit, yes.

    But my primitive, "no-tools" technique is not the most elegant process to watch.

    (But hey, it has a surprise Teddy the Dog cameo in it, so it should be entertaining, anyway.)


  12. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    He was doing quality control :)
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  13. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Very impressive! I have no openings in my floorboards wide enough to fit the slab, though. So I just tried opening the bottom drawer of my desk wide enough to fit one end of the slab, and then put all my weight on the other end by standing on it.. Apparently, 115 pounds of pressure is not enough. So tomorrow I'll try the hammer method suggested above. If that doesn't work, I may have to order a vise online! This is embarrassing.
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  14. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    I've done it between a sturdy door and the doorframe, too.
  15. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

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  16. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    This song reminds me of my doorman, Albert, when I lived in London back in 2002-2004. He would sing this song while he was polishing his Jaguar in the courtyard on the weekends.
    He was also Cockney and had quite the vocabulary. Taught this sailor a few choice words and phrases :p
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  17. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    You need a firm floor like concrete. Wood is too soft. A sidewalk outside works. The basement of the old PCI grading service was practically covered with other TPGS plastic from the "hammer method." Not one coin was ever ruined cracking it out. I didn't put a cloth over the slab and wacked the long edge very hard. The plastic composition was different at all services in the 1990's. It was not until I got to NGC that I learned about a vice.
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  18. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..ah, the scientific way...:D
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  19. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Lovely baldy! I really enjoy basking in Carus bald confidence:cool:. He doesn't need that JC combover:D
    And your Carinus:jawdrop:!
    Best I can do:

    In regards to your current Numes-locked-up situation. I know not the best best practice for getting them out. But I can hear that Numerian calling from here...
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  20. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

  21. Aleph

    Aleph Active Member

    I am phobic of hammers and other unpredictable means. Personally, I use my wife’s garden loppers which allow a very directed effort. Usually, once a couple of corners have been removed, the slab will come apart easily. As an aside, the ngc slabs are very sturdy- a major inconvenience when you are trying to disassemble them. BDED05C1-012B-4950-B6FB-12627F8616F4.jpeg
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