Coins You Bought Unattributed

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by +VGO.DVCKS, Sep 16, 2020.


    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Here's one relatively recent example, from Delcampe. A coissue of Hugh Capet (987-996) and Herve, bishop of Beauvais, the mint town. Sorry for the pictures; from the original listing. The pics themselves are oriented with the top being at around 10-11 o'clock (obverse) and 1 or 2 o'clock (reverse).
    Obv. (From 11 o'clock: ) HERVEVS HVGO REX
    Rev. Degenerate 'KAROLVS' monogram; (from 1-2 o'clock: ) BELVAC[V]S CIVITAS (City of Beauvais). (Duplessy, Monnaies Francaises Royales. Tome I, deuxieme edition, 1999.)
    ...Without really knowing how to do this, people out there in videoland are cordially invited to post anything you bought unattributed. ...Especially when you knew more than the dealer did, but exceptions could apply. And, thank you, it would be otherwise implicit that this could be anything ancient or medieval.
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Just about anything purchased in a group lot would be considered unattributed. This is one of my favorites, purchased some years ago in a group lot of a couple dozen third century coins. It was issued to commemorate Tacitus' victory over the Goths:
    [​IMG] Tacitus, AD 275-276.
    Roman billon antoninianus, 3.57 gm, 21.1 mm.
    Ticinum, AD 276.
    Obv: IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: VICTORIA GOTTHI, Victoria standing left, holding wreath and palm; P in exergue.
    Refs: RIC 172; Cohen 158; Sear 11821; Hunter 59; CBN 1676.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @Roman Collector, Thanks for that. I never collected ancients in group lots, but, Yes, I'd be saying, '....yyyYesss.' The legends, the solid amount of silvering, and the portrait, evoking ones of Aurelian --replete with the 3rd-c. mail-- would make me think, 'Y'know what? I'm done with Tacitus for a minute.'
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  5. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    I bought this one in an unattributed $10 junk lot just when I started collecting. As crusader collectors will know, pretty much anything from the short-lived county of Edessa is rare and precious. I guess you can call that beginner's luck...

    MA – Kreuzfahrer, Edessa, Baldwin II old pic.jpeg
    County of Edessa, Baldwin of Bourcq, AE Follis, 1110–1118 AD. Obv: Baldwin in conical helmet and chainmail, standing l., sheathed sword at hip, holding globus cruciger, BA[Λ] - ΔOI[N] around. Rev: Ornamented cross in Byzantine style. 20mm, 4.01g. Ref: Schlumberger I,9; Metcalf 109–112; CCS 10.
  6. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

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  7. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Yeesh, probably 80% of my collection was pieced together from unattributed lots! For the most part, I suspect that the sellers probably knew what they were selling, and oftentimes I paid a fair price for them - but sometimes I got a screaming good deal because the seller missed something.

    Some of my favorite individual purchases, bought either as a generic "ancient coin" or else generally attributed but missing an important detail.

    This was sold by Zeus as an Augustus provincial, but it is actually a solo coin of Lucius Caesar, the second known specimen of the type, and one of only a handful of coin types (and probably fewer than 1,000 coins total) issued in his name only, without big brother Gaius. Lucius Caesar antioch ad meandrum.jpeg

    This Divus Hadrian by Antoninus Pius was sold by Zeus earlier this year as a generic "Hadrian Denarius" although I wasn't the only one to spot it, so it didn't go cheap.
    Divus Hadrian denarius by Pius.jpg

    I got this Julia Domna on ebay for $35, attributed but neglecting that it is the scarce and historically desirable MAT AVGG MAT SEN M PATR reverse - minted between Severus' death and Geta's murder, in addition to a really cool assertion that she is Mrs. Large & In Charge
    Julia domna mat avgg mat sen m patr.jpg

    Outside of Stephen Album auctions, ancient Indian coins that are fully and accurately described are pretty rare, although there are a handful of ebay sellers in India that know their stuff.

    This was sold as a Mauryan karshapana - it is much larger, much older, and much, much more rare - a Series III Magadha karshapana struck on the back of an older Series II
    Maghada AR karshapana 22mm 3-25g.jpg

    Western Kshatrapa drachms are common, and Visvasena is among the most common, but this is a rare legend variant that gives his father Bhartradaman's title as Mahachhatrapa instead of Mahakshatrapa. The chha character can clearly be seen at about 11:00 and is the one that looks... er... a bit phallic. Western kshatrapas visvasena unusual style.jpg

    This one, from what is now Burma, was sold as "unknown silver coin" - it is from the kingdom of Arakan, king Dhritichandra (597-600 AD) and is one of only a handful of specimens known (and it only cost like $5!)
    (Admittedly, I thought it was the more common Harikela when I bought it)
    India burma dhritichandra AR 25 4.18.jpg

    Of course, since Indo-Sassanian is my specialty, I've found scores of good finds - these are some of my favorite

    This one was sold by Lanz as a "Chaulukyas Gadhaya Paisa" on ebay in about 2017 but I recognized that the lips were replaced by a circle. A year later I found enough additional specimens to declare this to be the discovery specimen of Finn 1.10 - a variety otherwise unpublished
    Indo Sassanian 1.11.1-1 15 3.95.jpg

    I spotted this one early this year and won it for the starting bid - it is a relatively normal proto-Gadhaiya, except that the korymbos has been replaced with Shiva's trishula - for now, it is the only known example of this.
    Indo Sassanian trishul korymbos.jpg

    This one I bought under a generic "Gadhaiya" type description, it is also an unpublished type outside of my own 1.6.1 categorization - it is the missing gap between the normal Gadhaiya Paisa and the Malwa types, and is one of about 5 known (of which I own 4!)
    ZomboDroid 17102019215519.jpg

    I posted this one a couple weeks back - it was sold as a Paramaras Gadhaiya Paisa, which is correct, but neglects that it is an exceptionally rare (one of about 20-30 known) inscribed issue under king Jaita Vama (I or II)
    Distinctive Nose Sri Jaita Vama Deva.jpg

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @Orielensis, That's the Stuff! I've considered ones of Edessa that were attributed before, but only on really good days. Pretty incredible.
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    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @Finn235, Just, Yes! Yes! Your facility with the operant Asian languages is enviable.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
  10. Edessa

    Edessa Supporter! Supporter

    Probably this is the best, an old eBay find for $4 listed as a Byzantine AE Trachy. I struggled with it, but finally settled on an attribution I believe correct. As always, I could be wrong (again).

    Crusader States, Principality of Antioch. Anonymous. Circa 1120-1140 AD. Æ Follis (18mm, 0.93g). Obv: [OA ΠETPOC], to left and right in monogram form; Nimbate Half-length figure of St. Peter, holding long cross on left shoulder. Rev: Cross moline with three pellets in each quarter. Ref: CCS 12a; Metcalf page 25, 10; Schl. Plate 19, 1; Porteous 24; Slocum 105. Good/About Fine, nice patina, double-struck and edge roughness. Very rare.

  11. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Wow. Not bad, @Edessa. Looks like the one in CCS from here. To state the obvious (never stopped me before), the cross is distinctive enough to be a serious 'tell.'
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  12. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Anonymous early coinage of Provins and Sens, under Eudes I de Blois and Renard I de Sens, sold as unknown feudal:


    Charles I d'Anjou denier tournois provencal, 1249-1266, sold as "Templar":


    Etienne de Blois (Sancerre) very rare late issue, likely minted as he was crusading at Acre, ca. 1190, sold as unknown feudal:


    Louis VI of France from Orleans, as unknown feudal:

    louis vi1.jpg

    Louis IX or X denier parisis, as Louis VII:


    Janos Hunyadi as Steward of Hungary, 1446 unknown from lot:


    City of Jaffa, local lead currency tessera mercantile under Crusader rule, ca. 1200, with incredible "Negev patina," as "Merovingian silver unattributed":

  13. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @seth77, I've been circling an attributed parisis of Louis IX on Delcampe for years! That's particularly great. Why they suddenly vanish from the market after Louis VII is beyond me. In a very similar vein, the 10th-c. one of Provins /Sens was a real coup.
    ...Wow, then John Hunyadi. More to the point if you were collecting for Vlad Dracul than even one of his grandfather. Likewise the lead token of, Yikes, Jaffa. What do those even run to, attributed?
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  14. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    The Provins et Sens was a staggering 12GBP shipped.

    The interesting thing about the deniers parisii is that they do appear again after 1329 and are to be expected as regular fixture in the first part of the 15th century. But the 13th century is a black hole. My impression is that Louis IX favored the tournois and used it extensively to finance his two Crusades, and he did so because Southern France was tournois territory. Louis X is even more interesting as an option: notice the ᵞ or marteau privy mark in [LV]DOVICVS ᵞ RЄX (legend starting at 9 o'clock); FRA / NCO (en boustrophédon). Can we link it to the marteau privy mark of the tournois of Eudes IV of Bourgogne?
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  15. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Hunyadi is not particularly rare during this time of debasement, it is rare in this condition and stranded in a lot of unremarkable Hungarian petty currency.

    The tessera of Jaffa is (partially) recorded by Robert Kool (Lead Token Money in the Kingdom of Jerusalem (The Numismatic Chronicle 173) p.320 #18) for the exact floral design on the "reverse." The cross inside Magen David is inedit and likely "borrowed" from the deniers of Deols from late 12th century.
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  16. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @seth77, once you get into the 14th century, you're past my purview for this stuff. Interesting thesis on its face.
    In what sense was Tours 'southern territory'? I checked the Spufford (Money and its Use in Medieval Europe) that you turned me on to, but couldn't find anything on circulation patterns for that interval. Granted, the tournois was better positioned to circulate over greater Aquitaine.
    Incidentally, thank you for the recommendation of Spufford. I'm going to have to cite it in a paper I uploaded to Which is good, even on its face, because the version there is already in dire need of a complete overhaul, only starting with the formatting. But hopefully this will succeed in nudging me toward getting that done.
    Hmm. The consonance of the tessera with Deols issues seems a bit of a stretch, merely because, in the issues of Raoul VI and Philippe II, the motif has an annulet instead of a cross in the center of the Magen David. But the replacement of that with a lis in the issues of Guillaume I (1207-1234) provides a measure of precedent.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
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  17. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately I cannot add a reference for Southern France being tournois rather than parisis territory. I don't think there was a de jure separation as such. But if you look at the tentative of currency standardization started by Philippe II Augustus in the 1190s with the parisis being adopted by vassals and allies of Ile de France to the North and the parity with the deniers of Champagne and Sancerre (among others, the denier of Thibaut le Chansonnier of Champagne was the nominal equivalent of the royal parisis, I think that's something Spufford reiterates somewhere in his book) and continued after 1204/6 with the denier tournois, you can see actual patterns of preponderance. By the 1220s the denier tournois was not just a product of Saint Martin de Tours but a denomination per se. By 1250-1270 it was a mainly Occitan denomination, adopted by Louis IX brothers from Riom to Toulouse and Saint Remy via Montreuil-Bonnin and actually Avignon. Perhaps this polarization between North and South is what caused the 13th century denier parisis to be so scarce.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
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  18. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Thanks, @seth77, for the clarification. Now I get it; you're following the geographical patterns of imitation, rather than of circulation per se, as I was assuming. On that level, your point is resonantly intuitive. By way of Alphonse de Poitiers (who got the county by marriage, but in effect as an appanage --too much to get into right here), they extend all the way south to Toulouse (Duplessy pp. 317-8). Granted, Duplessy also notes a still later issue of Toulouse, one of the last issues by a Capetian royal to imitate deniers of Maine /Le Mans (ibid., nos. 1238, 1239). This suggests a pattern of imitation between recent appanages, since Charles d'Anjou, another brother of Louis IX, fell into Maine (along with, Right, Anjou) as another appenage.
    ...Circling back to Provins and Sens, do you have any idea what happened to the website of Adam Christophe, formerly ? I was just trying to find it, from an old bookmark, and couldn't.
    The other bad news is that his much-anticipated book, Corpus des Monnaies Feodales Champenoises (2018) is out of stock on the .cgb website, which is where I got mine as soon as he alerted me to the listing. (Here's an abstract, froméodales_Champenoises )
    That's too bad, since Duplessy has yet to publish a volume for French feudal even as far east as this. Hope you got a copy, if not there, then somewhere. ...Likewise, for the Duchy of Burgundy, the best I have are the listings, with citations of Dumas, in an auction catalogue from Alde /OGN, 16-17 June 2011.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
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  19. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Basically yes, I'm looking at minting places and the role the denominations played. Circulation could not have been impeded by anything else but Royal ordinances, and they only applied to feudal imitations not Royal coinage (for instance the interdict of 1263 against tournois of the Marquisat et Comtat du Provence by Louis IX).

    My experience with Delcampe has been bad: my only purchase was a Mehun-sur-Yevre tournois that never arrived.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
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  20. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    Oh man, unattributed lots and single coins are my favorite. All of these were either unattributed or misattributed, and often for around a dollar a piece.

    1285-1314 AD Double Tournois, Philip IV 0.75g 19mm S1 Combined.jpg
    Kingdom of France
    King Philip IV | 1285-1314 CE
    BI Double Tournois | 0.75 grams | 19mm

    1012 CE (403 AH) AE Broad Fals Mahmud Bust Mint Album#1614 5.61g 30mm S1 Combined.png
    Ghaznavid Empire
    Sultan Mahmud | 1012 CE / 403 AH
    AE Broad Fals | 5.61 grams | 30mm
    Ref: A#1614
    Note: This one is exceptionally rare with most surviving examples being of similar condition, bar the holes. An unholed version in otherwise similar condition would typically sell for ~$80-100

    1383-1384 CE (785 AH) AR Dang Toqtamish Qrim Mint Z#246428 1.41g 17mm S1 Combined.jpg
    Golden Horde
    Toqtamish Khan | 1383/4 CE / 785 AH
    AR Dang | 1.41 grams | 17mm
    See it on Zeno, #246427

    400-300 BCE (Circa) Ephesos, Ionia AE13.png
    Greek city-state of Ephesos, Ionia
    Anonymous | c. 400-300 BCE
    AE13 | 1.83 grams
    Obv: Bust left
    Rev: Bee
    Note: ID may be incorrect

    200-340 CE (Circa) AE 'Bull left' 'Brahmi script' 0.89g 8mm S1 Combined.jpg
    Nagas of Narwar of India
    Anonymous | 200-340 CE
    AE Unit | 0.89 grams | 8mm
    Obv: Brahmi script
    Rev: Abstract bull left

    1694-1727 CE BI 10 Soldi Francesco I KM#28 3.80g 23mm S1 Combined.png
    Kingdom of Piacenza
    Francesco I | 1694-1727 CE
    BI 10 Soldi | 3.80 grams | 23mm

    1200s(Late)-1300s(Early) AR Grosso clipped to weight of denaro 1.07g S2 Combined.png
    Republic of Venice
    Late 1200s - early 1300s
    AR Grosso clipped to weight of denaro | 1.07 grams

    1550 CE (Circa) Brass Jeton from Nuremburg 3.40g 30mm.png
    Nuremburg Jeton
    c. 1550 CE
    Brass Jeton | 3.40 grams | 30mm
    Obv: Rose Orb
    Rev: Shield with three Fleur de lis

    -123 BC Denarius C. Porcius Cato RRC 274 1 S2 Combined.png
    Roman Republic
    C. Porcius Cato | 123 BCE
    AR Denarius
    Ref: RRC 274 1​
  21. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Oh, Dang, @TuckHard, you're just Too Good.
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