Educating Marshall - Discovering Ancients

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Marshall, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    I have chosen to make my own thread following my experience as I expand into the world of Ancient Coins. My numerous questions and observations would quickly disrupt the nature of and flow of threads not devoted to this endeavor.

    I bought several bulk lots just to test the waters. I will post the individual coins by number here to keep them straight.

    Coin #1

    This is approximately 29 mm in diameter and has been clipped on two or three sides. It appears to be copper or bronze, weighs 199.8 grains and I've been told is likely a Byzantine Follis.

    Additional identification is a work in progress. I'm zeroing in on the last two letter on the right which appear to be A and C (or maybe r). So far, I haven't found a match with most lettering having the letters A V C (A V r).
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
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  3. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    Here are close ups of the lettering on #1 181018142034468.jpg 181018142133737.jpg :
  4. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    You'll have better luck starting at the beginning of the legend, which is on the left behind the emperor's head. The letters in general don't look much like what we are accustomed to seeing, both because of the style and skill (or lack of) in which they were engraved and because of wear/corrosion.

    Know though that those first two letters are going to be D N (Dominus Noster, "Our Lord") and the emperor's name will follow. Bear in mind that the letter J did not exist in that alphabet. I'll shut up now and let you search :D.
  5. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    Identifying ancient coins even with good devices is tough. Good luck!
    Marshall and TIF like this.
  6. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    TIF is right but failed to say why. Many Roman and Byzantine coin legends end with PF AVG or Pius Felix Augustus. You have AG. Byzantines cut corners. Titles do less to help with the ID than names so TIF correctly sent you to the side with four clear letters following DN that will help a lot. Your coin also has a pretty clear mintmark 'in exergue' or under the ground line on the reverse. Many issues used a year date but some earlier ones like yours has crosses rather than ANNO XXII or some such. This is a clue. Compare coins that have crosses. Your coin has a bust facing right but many used forward facing portraits. This will allow you to narrow it down but your emperor made some coins both ways so this is not as cut and dried as you might like. Below is a coin NOT of your emperor and not from your mint city but that shows the general layout. Your coin is not Anastasius and not Constantinople so I can show you this one without ruining your work. Under the large M is a smaller letter E. Your coin had one, too, but it might have been anything from A to E showing the workshop that made the coin.
    Marsyas Mike, chrsmat71, Bing and 6 others like this.
  7. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    While I can find no exact match, am I on the right track with SB 87 and Justin I with a NIK (Nicomedia) Mint?
  8. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I think so-- that's the one I pegged as a possible match although it could be Justinian I. Please bear in mind that I am extremely weak on Byzantines. There are many others here who can better help you with this one :). I don't think the Sear numbers take into account all the little variations like officina numbers.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
  9. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    Coin #2

    This is about 15mm in diameter and weighs 51.4 grains. It appears to be copper.

    I believe it indicates Licenius. Perhaps Roman or Greek.
  10. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Nice work, and a close spelling... a Google search of "Licenius" would probably reveal it is Licinius I, a Roman emperor (sometimes referred to contemporarily as "imperator"... a hint?) of the early 4th century AD. And notice it has a LIC before the second LICINIVS, along with what @dougsmit mentioned on your Byz coin, the common PF AVG (Pius Felix Augustus). And this coin's obverse legend starts differently than your Byz (not the DN)... but what do you think it is?

    Now what do you see on the reverse that might be "searchable"?
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Every little detail counts. The emperor is Licinius. See how many questions you can generate regarding the coin or the man and see what you can find for answers. If the coin were Greek, the reverse probably would not use the Roman name for the god (IOVI CONSERVATORI AVGG NN).
    A challenge: See if you can find why the last letters on the reverse are doubled. AVGusti Nostri would mean of our Augustus. What does AVGG NN mean?

    The mintmark is TSA of which the A is a workshop (officina) letter. TS is an abbreviation for the city but not as simple as just the first letter. There is a New Testament book or two named for that mint city.

    Coins were made for Licinius I and his son Licinius II. How can you tell which one this is? Wikipedia is your friend for simple questions. There are many online resources specific to coins. One is mine:
    ...but I don't think I ever said anything about Licinius.

    Education is a neverending process.
  12. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    With the legend break where it is, this probably isn't right. The other option TIF mentioned is the one @dougsmit was also hinting at.

    But this gives me an excuse to post my Justin I follis, which I love because of the star medallion on the shoulder. :)
    Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 7.08.24 PM.jpg
  13. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    I was looking at the wrong scale. This is about 24mm in diameter.
  14. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    The first three letters leave an impression of IMP which I suspect is for Emperor. TS impresses me as Thesolonica with the clue of the New Testament books.

    The IOVI connection to Jupitor also makes me wonder if it is also linked to the word Jovial since they didn't have the J and used I. If so, this would make this a really fun coin.

    Nothing yet on the doubling of the last letters.
    dougsmit likes this.
  15. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    BTW, I think more people are familiar with grams than with grains. 51.4 grains = 3.33 grams.

    I am starting to try and attribute some of my coins and I have been looking at one like yours...
    licinius 4.jpg licinius 3.jpg
  16. Marshall

    Marshall Junior Member

    This does look like the same coin, though perhaps from a different Mint.

    I will move from Grains to Grams since the EAC tends to use grains and ancients tend to use grams. My scale gives multiple measurement options. The Scale actually shows 3.34 grams, but the 100 gram weight also shows 100.06 so there is some error.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
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  17. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I would really like to have a scale that could be calibrated using a weight other than 100g. I can not help thinking that those of us with coins in the 0.1 to 20g range would be better served with a 5g or 10g calibration.
    Kentucky and Marshall like this.
  18. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    Mine uses a 200 g calibration weight!
  19. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Fun fact: a current, mint-state US nickel (5 cent coin) weighs 5.00 grams. I have used this fact more than once when I needed to calibrate a scale in the lab and didn't have a reference weight handy.
    Kentucky and Roman Collector like this.
  20. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    And a dollar bill weighs 1 gram.
  21. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    While the mint claims 5.00g, weighing a bunch of nickels will show that last 0 is not consistent. Obviously minor wear will explain some 4.96g coins but I found a few over 5.00g when I tried this. The big problem is that no cheap scales I have seen allows you to adjust the scale to make a 5.00g master show 5.00 on the display.
    Kentucky likes this.
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