Featured Helena style show

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by lrbguy, May 17, 2018.

  1. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    Your wish is to be fulfilled and then some. My first contribution to this thread for Helena will be a style show of her hairstyles on the reduced folles for the various mints; i.e. 14 of 15 with the exception of London. The design for each of these is a variant on a common style designated by Patrick Bruun as “E10” in RIC VII. Within each mint the coins are here arranged chronologically by series* but only where the bust design showed a noticeable difference in hairstyle. Many of the differences are quite subtle, within a mint as well as between mints, but in some cases the styles are quite distinctive.

    …………*Series dates are differentiated by style of mintmark.



    A Word about Order

    Mints are listed from west to east following the order in RIC VII. In each case I indicate the range of dates coins were produced for Helena at that mint, then note the number of production series known, and give the catalog numbers for any entries missing from this display. Then I show the entries for each series in chronological order and give the catalog reference, mint mark characteristics, and date of issue for each coin shown. I use written comments to call attention to specific features.

    Due to the system limit of 10 images per post more than one post will be needed to complete the initial listing.

    By this listing I hope list members can more easily recognize when they have a design type not yet listed here and add it to our “collection.” My hope is that this will stimulate you to seek out good examples of the missing coins and bring them to our attention. In any case, please add whatever examples of these reduced folles you have, and tell us about them.

    We start with the whole group of western mints that struck folles for Helena.

    Londonium/London (324-325)

    (missing: RIC299 ) One series issued, seldom in market





    Lugdunum/Lyons (324-325)

    One series, as here. Her hair is simply combed back and combed under at the base, then secured with a banded diadem with a ladder-like segmentation. A row of bangs hang across the front below the diadem.

    RIC 234 (PLG) 324-25
    1-Helena01-plg1-sm.jpg



    Treveri/Trier (324-328)
    Missing:RIC458, 465, 515

    Two of five series represented here. In both of these the hair appears to be covered by an open cap with a high well defined crest, and a prominent base which might also serve as a diadem.

    Series 3: Our first example is from the third series, in which the crest resembles a laurel band with an arc of pearls beneath it. The hair has only a shallow loop at ear level. The diadem is banded with two rows of dots (pearls).
    RIC 481 (STRdot/crescent) 326
    2-Helena01-treir2-sm.jpg

    Series 4: Here the crest appears as a cap with laurel decoration and bounded by pearls all around. This “cap” extends down the neck to the ear and forward beyond the diadem. The diadem is a plain band with a row of pearls in it.
    RIC 508 (STRE) 327-28
    3-Helena01-stre-sm.jpg


    Arelate/Arles (324-329)
    Missing: RIC278, 317, 324, 340

    Series 2: Hairstyle, not crested, curves around to the neck, with “ladder”-style band diadem, with or without dots, and bangs grouped below the diadem.
    RIC 299 (TAcresentRL) 325-26
    4-Helena01-arel1-sm.jpg

    Series 3: Same hairstyle as series 2.
    RIC 307 (S F/TARL) 326-27
    5-Helena01-arel2-sm.jpg


    Rome (324-326)
    Missing: RIC270

    Series 2: coarsely braided crest arches over other hair to back of neck and curves back to ear. Diadem band “laddered” with dot in each cell. Rosette centered in front.
    RIC 291 (RwreathQ) 326
    6-Helena01-rome1-sm.jpg


    Ticinum (325-327)
    Missing: RIC209
    Three series with high arching crest and simple diadem.

    Series 1:Moderate double crest of braids arches to diadem, below is a looping queue. Grouped bangs across front. Diadem is a single strand of pearls; no front decoration. Earring.
    RIC 190 (TT) 325
    7-Helena01-ticin2-sm.jpg


    Series 2: High double crest of braids arches to diadem, below is a looping queue. Grouped bangs across front. Diadem is a single strand of pearls; prominent rosette; grouped bangs below diadem. Earring.
    RIC 202 (QcrescentT) 326
    8-Helena01-ticin1-sm.jpg

    (Proceed to pt2 - the first of the Eastern mints)
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    [​IMG]
    Helena (324 - 330 A.D)
    Æ3
    O: FL HELENA AVGVSTA, Draped bust right.
    R: SECVRITAS-REIPVBLICE, Securitas standing left.
    Siscia Mint, 5th offcina
    19mm
    2.8g
    RIC 218
     
  4. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    The Eastern Mints
    Siscia (324-329
    Missing: RIC 187

    Of four series the first two are only represented in RIC by a single coin each. We begin with an unlisted example from the second series.

    Series 2: High arching double crest of braids (waves of curls?) above a third wave, all above single strand of pearls, ends in a short queue below ear. Simple bangs below diadem.
    The mark style was represented in RIC by a single example, only for officina E.
    RIC 196 (ASISwreath) 325 --not listed in RIC
    9-Helena01-siscia2-sm.jpg


    Series 3: Hair combed back without crest, bobbed in a queue at back below ear. grouped bangs below diadem. Short banded diadem with a single row of small, widely spaced dots.
    RIC 204 (.ΓSIS.) 326-27
    10-Helena01-siscia4-sm.jpg

    Series 4: Same as series 3 except for a pronounced loop of hair in front over diadem.
    RIC 218 (ΓSISdbl-crescent) 328-29
    11-Helena01-siscia1-sm.jpg



    Sirmium (324-325)

    Single series with hair combed back without crest, bobbed in a queue at back below ear. grouped bangs below diadem. Short banded diadem with a single row of small, widely spaced dots. (compare Siscia)

    RIC 60 (SIRM) 324-25

    11x-Helena01-sirmium1-sm.jpg

    Thessalonica (318; 326-328)

    The earliest Imperial bronze reduced folles/nummi in honor of Helena begin in Thessalonika in 318 with the distinctive “star in wreath” reverse type. This preceded her elevation to Augusta (324) and marks her elevation to the lesser status of Nobilissima Femina (N F on the obverse). The obverse bust is very distinct from the later series, inasmuch as her hair is combed straight back and secured in a chignon at the back at about the level of her ear. There is neither diadem nor a row of bangs in front.
    RIC50 A6 318-19
    35-Helena01-thessala03-sm.jpg
    Though honored in gold at her elevation to Augusta in 324, there is no more bronze for her until 326 when Thessalonica joins the other mints in issuing the SECVRITAS REPVBLICE reverse type for her. Although this continued in production for two years, only one series was produced.

    Officina 3: the hair is combed up slightly and back, with no crest. The diadem is a "laddered" band with curved crossbars and a dot in each segment.
    RIC 159 (SMTSΓ) 326-28
    13-Helena01-thessala2-sm.jpg


    Officina 5: the hair is combed back in large circular arches, but with no crest. The diadem is “laddered” with a dot in each segment.
    RIC 159 (SMTSε) 326-28
    12-Helena01-thessala1-sm.jpg


    Heraclea (325-330)
    Missing: RIC109, 110

    Here are the first three of five series from Heraclea having an issue for Helena.

    Series 1: Finely combed high arching twisted queue arches over her hair front to back of the neck and takes on a flat bottom at the level of her chin. Tight curls hang below the diadem in front. In this series the diadem is a simple band with large dots.
    RIC 79 (SMHε) 325-26
    14-Helena01-heracl1-sm.jpg
    Series 2: combed hair front to back without crest or queue. Tight curls hang below the diadem in front. The diadem is a simple band with a single row of small dots
    RIC85 (SMHε.) 326
    15-Helena01-heracl2-sm.jpg


    Series 3: Three braids arch front to back over combed hair and are tied up in a rounded queue at the back of the neck. Tight curls hang below the diadem in front. The diadem is a simple band with a single row of small dots.
    RIC89 (.SMHΔ) 326-27
    16-Helena01-heracl3-sm.jpg

    (continue to Eastern mints part 2)
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  5. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    more on the way
     
    Carausius, randygeki and ominus1 like this.
  6. TIF

    TIF I am not an expert Supporter

    Wow! What an impressive review! I had no idea her portraits were so varied.
     
    ominus1 likes this.
  7. jamesicus

    jamesicus Member Supporter

    @lrbguy wrote:
    Londinium/London (324-325)
    (missing: RIC299 ) One series issued, seldom in market

    Yes, RIC No 299, London Mint Helena coins are hard to come by - most references list them as very rare. Here is my somewhat scuzzy example:

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    • Reduced weight follis - 324 to 325
    • O: Helena diademed bust right - FL HELENA AVGVSTVA
    • R: Securitas standing left - SECVRITAS REIPVBLICE - PLON (exergue)


    Here is a nice Helena portrait example that I posted previously in the current Fausta thread:

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    • Killingholme Hoard (Trier Mint) - 324 to 325
    • O: Helena diademed bust right - FL HELENA AVGVSTVA
    • R: Securitas standing left - SECVRITAS REIPVBLICE
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  8. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    Constantinople (326-327)
    Only one series, from the only two officinae that produced them. The slight differences in the appearance of the hairstyle may only be due to wear and not design.


    Three braids arch front to back over combed hair and are tied up in a rounded queue at the back of the neck. Tight curls hang below the diadem in front. The diadem is a simple band with a single row of small dots.
    RIC11 (A/CONS) 326-27
    17-Helena01-const1-sm.jpg

    Two braids arch front to back, otherwise as above.
    RIC11 (B/CONS) 326-27
    18-Helena01-const2-sm.jpg

    Nicomedia (324-329)Missing: RIC 95, 159

    Four series of coins were issued for Helena. Shown here are the second and third series, arranged by date. For these her hairstyle is typically crested with a line of pearls, banded or unbanded, as a diadem. Details of the diadem decoration vary.

    Series 2: crested with simple string of pearls as diadem. Bangs in front.
    RIC129 (MNΓ) 325-26
    19-Helena01-nicomed2-sm.jpg

    Series 3: crested with band of pearls as diadem. Grouped bangs in front.
    RIC148 (NΔ) end326-27
    20-Helena01-nicomed1-sm.jpg

    Cyzicus (324-328)

    Cyzicus issued coins for Helena in four series, shown here.

    Series 1: the top crest is represented by feathery strokes pointing back, as is the hair above the band of pearls, which is represented by a single string. Her hair hangs in bangs below the string of pearls
    RIC28 (SMKΓ) 324-25
    21-Helena01-cyzicus5-sm.jpg

    Series 2: the crest appears as wisps of hair combed back. The hair above the band appears as short vertical strokes, but the band is a double row of mounted pearls. Her hair appears as horizontal waves below the band.
    RIC39 (SMKA.) 325-26
    22-Helena01-cyzicus4-sm.jpg

    Series 3:
    (at officina gamma) the top crest is represented by arched strokes pointing back, as is the hair above the band of pearls, which is represented by a single row of mounted pearls. Her hair hangs in bangs below the band of pearls
    RIC49 (.SMKΓ.) 326-27 (dbl dot; off 3)
    23-Helena01-cyzicus1-sm.jpg

    (at officina delta); the style is very similar to the first series: the crest is represented by strong strokes pointing back, as is the hair above the band of pearls, which is represented by a single string. Her hair hangs in bangs below the string of pearls
    RIC49 (.SMKΔ.) 326-27 (dbl dot; off 4)
    24-Helena01-cyzicus2-sm.jpg

    Series 4: All the hair above the band of pearls is brushed back slightly, with no crest. Below a single row of mounted pearls her hair hangs in bangs.
    RIC54 (SMKΓ/dot) 327-28
    25-Helena01-cyzicus3-sm.jpg

    (continue to the most eastern mints)
     
  9. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..wow!...:)
     
    Ryro likes this.
  10. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    Antioch (325-329)
    Missing: RIC61, 75
    Reduced follis/nummus coinage for Helena started with an anepigraphic type in 324. This was replaced in 325 with the E10 obverse bust and SECVRITAS REIPVBLICE reverse, which continued in production into 329. Hairstyle design sequence types:
    1-single or double row of dots; hair-crest
    2. diademed
    a. band diadem, plain or row of dots (no bars); hair crest
    b. ladder shaped diadem; usually w/o hair crest

    RIC67 (SMANTA or B) type 2b 325-26
    26-Helena01-antioch2-sm.jpg

    RIC82 (.SMANT/Δε) type 2a with dots; 328-29
    27-Helena01-antioch1-sm.jpg

    Alexandria
    Missing: RIC 44, 53, 57

    Bruun in RIC VII describes the hair on the busts from this mint as “Magnia Urbica” fashion for all five series. (See images in index thread for Magnia Urbica)

    Series 1: barest treatment of crest, main hair, and tail; single strand diadem
    RIC38 (SMALB) 325-26
    28-Helena01-alexand1-sm.jpg

    Series 3: hair strands well defined with crest; band diadem with single row of dots
    RIC48 (wreath/SMAL/A) 327-28
    29-Helena01-alexand2-sm.jpg

    Series 3 (variant?): Although the hair is less defined, as in the first series, I think here that may be attributed to manner of execution and preservation.
    RIC48 (wreath/SMAL/A) 327-28
    30-Helena01-alexand3-sm.jpg

    Here it must be admitted that the sample of examples for each of these varieties is not sufficient to be at all conclusive about the original forms and variants. These results must be seen as preliminary. Nonetheless, these ARE examples of each of these types, and may set down general parameters for what to expect.
     
  11. David@PCC

    David@PCC Well-Known Member

    Do you have a series for the Nobilissima Femina? Mine is a bit different with her ear covered and the bun looks different. I didn't realize there were so many different styles. I have mine as RIC 50.
    35-Helena01-thessala03-sm.jpg
    aaa.jpg
    Helena
    318 to 319 AD
    Mint: Thessalonica
    AE Follis
    Obvs: HELENA N F, bare head right, waved hair, mantled.
    Revs: Laurel wreath enclosing eight pointed star.
    17x18mm, 3.05g
    Ref: RIC VII50, Vagi 2898
     
  12. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    I have not yet attempted that, David, but I know what you mean about variation. How much of that is due to differences in engravers, and how much is due to intended modifications of design in order to differentiate series or whatever is anyone's guess at this point. My example should not be labelled as #48 since I now see that 48 has a mint mark. My Helena should be a #50 as well, despite the variation of the ear. I will change it if it is not too late.
     
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  13. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Excellent coins!
     
  14. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    Thanks Randy, just trying to keep up with your falling horsemen. But seriously, like you I put these out there in the hope it will stimulate some discussion. Show-and-tell is nice too, but filling in the knowledge gaps is always so much better.
     
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  15. Alegandron

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

    upload_2018-5-17_17-50-4.png
    RI Helena mother Constantine AE Follis Securitas Nicomedia mint 325-326 CE 19mm 3-3g RIC-95 Sear 16619
     
  16. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    That is quite the array... I expect this post will get bookmarked more than a few times!

    On my Trier 508, the celator cheated on the cap laurels, just engraving a bunch of crisscrossing lines which don't look like laurels at all:
    Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 3.45.26 PM.jpg
     
  17. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Wow!

    I feel odd showing any of mine.
    Antioch with different hair.
    rw5285bb2983.jpg

    mintmark CONS ?
    rw5278bb3003.jpg
     
  18. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    HelenaSMHB.jpg
    Helena
    SMHB Heraclea
    RIC VII 79 "325-326"

    Looking above, this is similar to Eastern mints, Heraclea,"Series 3: Three braids arch front to back over combed hair and are tied up in a rounded queue at the back of the neck."

    ex Knobloch collection, Stack's May 1984.
     
  19. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    @dougsmit Different hair treatment for sure. The "nurses cap" look? It's a class 1 style with a single row of dots & hair-crest, but a strange shape to the crest. It's also from a different series than the ones I show. It is from series 4 with all the series markers in the exergue, dated 326-327.

    With that second coin, Doug, you lead us into new territory. That is one of the later AE4 bronzes in honor of Helena that was first issued in 330 at the dedication of the new capital city, Constantinople. After her death, but before 340, Trier/Treveri also got into the act of producing these. I think the exergue on your coin reads CONSEpsilon with a "terminal dot" to the right. With the first obverse break pattern for Helena this is RIC VIII 33. I would recommend a separate thread for those, and some of them have interesting obverses.
     
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  20. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    “Oooh, Helena, I simply love what you’ve done with your hair! Where did you go?”

    “Oh, just a little place in Antioch called the Thanatos Workshop, just down the street from that wretched Temple of Apollo. Do you really like it? It was a Mother’s Day gift from my son. Next year he says he’s sending me to Jerusalem on vacay. Who knows what I’ll find there!”

    292441EA-F176-42BC-B6DF-E55B346D0DD2.png
     
  21. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    Here is a non fancy haired Trier

    [​IMG]

    A non fancy Constantinople

    [​IMG]
     
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