Featured Faustina Friday – Brockage edition

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, May 14, 2021.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter



    I have a little something out of the ordinary for today's installment of Faustina Friday. Today's installment deals not only with Faustina's hairdo or whether or not she's wearing a strand of pearls or a stephane in her hair, but also about ancient errors -- brockages!

    Most of us know how brockages happen, but not everyone does. So, I'm going to briefly explain, helped along by images courtesy of Peter Lewis, who has an excellent paper online about ancient brockages.[1]

    Normally, the die for the obverse of a coin was fixed in a metal anvil, and the die for the reverse die was fixed in a metal punch which was hit with a hammer so that the designs on the dies were pressed into the planchet. (Figure 1)

    Capture 1.JPG

    A brockage occurs when the coin remains between the two dies and is thereby involved in striking a second coin. Because the second coin usually has the obverse die incused on the reverse (i.e. it is impressed into it like an engraving) it means that the coin typically became stuck to the reverse die. (Figure 2)

    Capture 2.JPG

    This coin, now stuck to the reverse die like Lionel Richie ...

    ... acts like a die and impresses its obverse into the reverse side of a new planchet, creating an incuse and reverse image of the obverse. (Figure 3)

    Capture 3.JPG

    I have only two brockages in my entire collection. They are, of course, of Faustina II!

    The first one was hard to photograph. @Barry Murphy would give it "0/5 surfaces," to be sure, but it's nonetheless cool. It's a provincial -- likely from Moesia Inferior or Thrace on the basis of style -- and bears the inscription ΦΑVCΤΕΙΝΑ CΕΒΑCΤΗ. The empress wears Szaivert's type b hairstyle[2] with a strand of pearls. Assuming a correlation between imperial issues and provincial ones in terms of hairstyle and obverse inscription, the coin can be dated to c. AD 161-165.

    Faustina Jr provincial brockage.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman provincial Æ 23.9 mm, 7.93 g, 12 h.
    Uncertain Balkan mint, c. AD 161-165.
    Obv: ΦΑVCΤΕΙΝΑ CΕΒΑCΤΗ, draped bust, right, wearing circlet of pearls.
    Rev: Brockage of obverse.

    The second coin is an imperial dupondius. It has nicer surfaces, but it's not exactly AU 55, if you know what I mean. But its wear means that it circulated a lot! Nobody cared it was an error coin. Nobody took it out of circulation thinking it was an oddity or that selling it on eBay was going to make them rich. They just spent it like every other dupondius they came across.

    On this one, the empress wears the same coiffure as on the provincial above, Szaivert type b, but with a stephane. The hair detail is worn on the obverse, but you can see her wavy hair in the incuse image on the reverse, which was better protected from circulation wear. This can also be dated to c. AD 161-165.

    Faustina Jr MB brockage.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman Æ dupondius, 13.10 g, 24.8 mm, 12 h.
    Rome, c. AD 161-165.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust, right, wearing stephane.
    Rev: Brockage of obverse.

    Let's see your brockages, other ancient errors, cool coins of Faustina II, or anything you feel is relevant!


    1. Lewis, Peter E. Ancient Brockage, Centre for Coins, Culture and Religious History, 2020, https://cccrh.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/ancient-brockage.pdf.

    2. Szaivert, Wolfgang, Die Münzprägung der Kaiser Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus und Commodus (161/192), Moneta Imperii Romani 18. Vienna, 1989, pp. 40 & 230.
    Last edited: May 14, 2021
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  3. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    Very interesting. I only have one brockage and I wondered what the people using it at the time thought of it. Clearly, they spent it many times over as it too is not in uncirculated condition...

    Licinia 7 Denarius, 113-112BC
    Rome. Silver, 3.25g. Roma, holding spear and shield, * before, crescent above, ROMA behind. Moneyer Publius Licinius Nerva (Babelon Licinia 7). Found Peterborough, UK.

    I may have the attribution incorrect as this time period is not my specialist subject! I believe the reverse should have been a voting scene.

    I think it was used for a very long time before it was lost. It was found in the UK, and the Romans didn't invade until 43AD, 155 years after it was struck. Julius Caesar didn't even get there until 55BC.
    Orfew, 7Calbrey, tibor and 10 others like this.
  4. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Nice coins and writeup, @Roman Collector ! :)

    Brockage coins are cool-looking, especially when portraits are shown on both sides. My other collecting area is modern error coins. Therefore, I have a special love of brockage errors. Sadly, my "earliest" brockage is only an 1819 George III... too "new" for the CT ancient section.

    Instead, here is a provincial Faustina II I picked up earlier this year. Similar to your example, mine is also from Thrace. I like the early hairstyle on the coin. :)

    Faustina II Ӕ 25mm. AD 147-175 (probably of earlier date, according to hairstyle).
    Anchialus, Thrace. 10.46g, 25mm, 6h.
    Obv: ΦΑVϹΤΕΙΝΑ ΝΕΑ ϹΕΒΑϹΤΗ, draped bust to right
    Rev: ΑΓΧΙΑΛΕΩΝ, veiled Demeter seated to left, holding two ears of grain and long torch.
    RPC IV.1 Online 4522 (temporary); AMNG 431; Varbanov 82.
  5. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    Brockages can be rather alluring - I could not resist this one

    C. Vibius C.f. Pansa. Denarius 90, AR 18mm., 4.07g. PANSA Laureate head of Apollo r.; below chin, control mark. Rev. The same in incuse
    Crawford 342/5b.
  6. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    My only brockage, a reverse one ! Victorinus Salus.

  7. Restitutor

    Restitutor Well-Known Member

    How did the coin maker not realize the coin was still on the dies? Feel like it shoulda been pretty obvious when the coin didn’t come out!
  8. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    He was working very fast and there was a big guy with a hammer half way through a swing that would not wait for error correction. In the time it took me to type that line, the team made several coins. They may have never known and really did not have time to care. When I was in college, I worked summers in an auto parts factory. We got into a rhythm. If something broke that rhythm we might hold up the line and the foreman would not be happy.
  9. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    This one is a favorite - a brockage that someone either decided to try to "fix" with a restrike - or perhaps just picked up off the floor thinking it was a blank.....Two different obverse dies, one reverse die and an indent on the reverse from the first strike....
    180 Double Strike Considia.jpg
    46 BC 180 Obverse Double Strike
    C Considius Paetus AR Denarius. 46 BC. Ref: Syd 991, Crawford 465/1b.
    Last edited: May 14, 2021
  10. Ignoramus Maximus

    Ignoramus Maximus Nomen non est omen.

    Nice brockages.:)
    Unfortunately, I have still to get my first, Roman or Greek.

    Could it be that Romans were more forgiving than Greeks in their attitude toward brockages? The other day I was browsing brockages in past auctions. I couldn't help but notice that 99% percent of them were Roman, with Greeks few and far between ( the only exception being Dyrrhachion, which, at least during one minting run, had a copious output of brockage drachms). Even if you allow for a (much) higher output by Romans, the difference is still, well, striking.
  11. Gam3rBlake

    Gam3rBlake Supporter! Supporter

    Faustina the Younger - Wifey of Marcus Aurelius.

  12. Gam3rBlake

    Gam3rBlake Supporter! Supporter

    My guess is that the average Roman citizen didn't care what the coin looked like.

    To them all that mattered was silver weight & purity.

    In fact in Ancient times coins were often melted down by goldsmiths & silversmiths and used as bullion because coins were available and their precious metal content was known.
    Roman Collector and 7Calbrey like this.
  13. Cheech9712

    Cheech9712 Every thing is a guess

    Good stuff
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