Help! Probus expert needed!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I was the successful bidder on this Lugdunum mint antoninianus of Probus and attempted to research it using a mixture of print and online sources. I have been able to narrow it down to RIC 17 or RIC 60 and Bastien 195 or 196. Either way, it's Cohen 1, Sear 11949.

    Here's the coin in question:

    Probus ABVNDANTIA AVG antoninianus.jpg
    Probus, AD 276-282.
    Roman billon antoninianus, 4.96 g, 23.2 mm, 7 h.
    Lugdunum, AD 277(?)
    Obv: IMP C PROBVS·P·F·AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: ABVNDANTIA AVG, Abundantia standing right, emptying cornucopiae held in both hands; IIII (officina 4) in exergue.

    RIC 17 is from so-called "Period I":


    Whereas RIC 60 is from "Period II":



    • What's the difference between the coins of Period I and Period II? If it's a matter of bust style, it looks more like this one attributed to RIC 60, Bastien 195 by the ANS.
    • What's the difference between Bastien 195 and 196?
    • Sear dates the coin to AD 279-89; Bastien (?) to AD 277. When was this coin struck?

    And, of course post your coins of Probus, Abundantia, or anything you feel is relevant!
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I notice that both RIC 17 and RIC 60 cite Cohen 1 as their authority, and the descriptions seem to be identical. I know there are other cases in which RIC inadvertently lists the same coin twice. Does OCRE have photos of both coins so you can see the difference, if any? Also, what RIC number does Sear 11949 cite?
  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Without it being stated explicitly, I believe RIC divided the three Periods based on style with some reverses being used in more than one period along with other reverses that only come in one style. This is touched upon lightly in the introduction to this section (page 4) but not clearly enough to make me understand it. I have not seen Bastien so I don't know if he is more sharing with information. Several places in RIC we see coins that appear twice indicating they were issued over a period of time. Not always are we given data that makes it clear how to place one coin. Differences like this would be more clear if you had a thousand coins from a hoard spread out before you which is a situation experienced by BM employees an not by me. Remember that RIC was not written to be used by people like us but by members of the museum class.

    Perhaps if you compared your coin to as many coins of this mint as you can find, you will see which other reverses is matches in portrait style and be able to guess which period it belongs in. Perhaps our Probus specialists can clear this up. I do not have an Abundentia.
    I or II
    I or II
    II only
    I only

    The above few coins mean nothing but looking at a hundred coins could be educational.

    Please, Probus experts, show me where I went astray. Does Bastien make this clear?
  5. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    As I read the introduction in RIC, the three periods are based on portrait style and mint marks, "supported" by reverse types. The early series (I) has "broad, heavy" heads and numeral mint marks. The middle series (II) maintains the numeral mint marks but the portraits are "less heavy" with "longer necks". The late series coins have "narrower" heads, "longer" profiles and a "down-pointed chin" in combination with letter mint marks. The reverse types of periods I and II tend to be more "warlike" than those of period III. The only truly objective point seems to be the change in mint marks between periods II and III.

    The difference between 17 and 60 is one of style, so both are correctly Cohen 1. I'm not a Probus expert but I would say that the op coin exhibits a rather long neck.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  6. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Try the database at It has photos of 8 examples of RIC 17, and 2 of RIC 60, with Bastien numbers for each example.
    Sulla80, tibor, 7Calbrey and 3 others like this.
  7. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    Let me start by answering a couple of your questions.
    • What's the difference between the coins of Period I and Period II? If it's a matter of bust style, it looks more like this one attributed to RIC 60, Bastien 195 by the ANS.
    The ANS coin has bee misattributed and is in fact RIC 17.
    There is a very distinct change in the bust style between the two. Bastien placed RIC 17 in Emission 4

    Here are a couple of my emissions 4 coins for comparison (including an Abundantia)


    Hopefully you are able to see that the busts are very similar in style. The basic "tell" with these is the size of the cuirass on the chest. It is very thin during this emission.

    Here are some emission 6 coins (to which Bastien places RIC 60) for comparison. I don't have a RIC 60 but do have a RIC 59 to include.


    I have deliberately chosen two other reverse types which span emission 4 and 6 for wider comparison. The busts are slightly narrower on the later emission but there is a clear cuirass on the chest, which is much larger than on the earlier issue.

    Does this help?
    • What's the difference between Bastien 195 and 196?
    With many obverse legends at Lugdunum we find dots placed within the legend. Bastien gives examples with dots a different catalog entry to those without. Note - we do not know if there is any significance to the dots. It should also be noted that the presence or lack of dots is not always clear on poorer examples.

    Bastien 195 has obverse legend "IMP C PROBVS . P . F . AVG" - Bastien cites 54 examples with dots
    Bastien 196 has obverse legend "IMP C PROBVS P F AVG"- Bastien cites 1 example without dots

    I don't have any that are definately 196. I have one that I have as questionable but is it that I simply cannot make out the dots?
    • Sear dates the coin to AD 279-89; Bastien (?) to AD 277. When was this coin struck?
    Bastien dating (which is based on a detailed die analysis and in the currently accepted chronology) places Emission 4 to Mid to Late A.D.277 and Emission 6 to A.D. 278 to A.D. 279

    Cohen didn't differentiate by issue ans thus a match of legends on both sides will result in the same Cohen number. Similarly Cohen didn't differentiate by Officina mark.

    Now I will place a coin in from of you and ask you to attribute it to Period I (Emission 4) or Period 2 (Emission 6). I know that the coin isn't perfect but I am hoping that you can use the information above to place it in the correct emission.

    I will state that based on what I have said above that it is Cohen 1. I will provide the RIC and Bastien numbers when you have had a go.

  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you to @DonnaML , @dougsmit , @dltsrq , and especially Martin (@maridvnvm ) for your help.

    We at CT are blessed to have so many experts in various fields of ancient numismatics who clearly answer our questions, providing numerous examples to illustrate!

    As Martin demonstrates, my coin is clearly of the 4th issue of Lugdunum, mid-to late AD 277, RIC 17; Bastien 195.

    I believe I can answer the question Martin poses during a bit of teaching by the Socratic method:
    That is RIC 17, Bastien 195 from the fourth emission of Lugdunum in AD 277. The only thing weird about it is that it doesn't have IIII in the exergue. Was this struck by officina I?
  9. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    I deliberatley posed a coin that allows you to answer partly correctly but knowing you could not know the whole answer. You did spot the difference however, which was the officina mark.

    Here is a full attribution for the final coin.

    Obv:– IMP C PROBVS • P • F • AVG, Radiate, cuirassed bust right
    Rev:– ABVNDANTIA AVG, Abundatia, standing right, empting cornucopiae
    Minted in Lugdunum (I in exe) Emission 4 Officina 1. Middle to End A.D. 277
    Reference:– Cohen 1. Bastien 183 (2 examples cited). RIC 17 Bust type F var (not listed for this officina in RIC)

    Reverse die match to both examples is Bastien.

    Weight 3.02g. 23.56mm. 180 degrees

    Additionally the reverse type was produced during emission 5, which is made from more elaborate busts to celebrate the return of Probus after a successful campaign in Gaul.

    Obv:– IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, Radiate, helmeted, cuirassed bust left, holding spear and shield, horseman on shield
    Rev:– ABVNDANTIA AVG, Abundantia standing right, emptying cornucopiae
    Minted in Lugdunum (IIII) Emission 5 Officina 4. End A.D. 277 to Early A.D. 278
    Reference:– RIC 59 Bust type G. Cohen 5. Bastien 248

    3.93 gms


    Here are some other RIC 17s. All of which have dots in the obverse but are not always clear.

  10. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

  11. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    Additionally. This website is normally superb but in this case it has mis-attributed one of the examples. Coin Id 3643 is RIC 17. Coin Id 4749 however is a clear example of RIC 60.

    I have informed them.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  12. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    With regards to the dots we have to be very careful to see if they are really there or not.

    Look at the following:-

    Clear DOTS....
    Officina 2
    Officina 3
    An unlisted officina 4
    Reference:– Cohen 334. Bastien –. Bastien Suppl. II 294B (this example). RIC 84 Bust Type F var (officina)

    Paul Francis Jacquier - Auction 45 (2018) - Lot 1374
    ex-Philippe Gysen Collection
    Paul Francis Jacquier Auction 21 (1998), Lot 557

    The only known example from this officina

    I have this one as a NO DOT example
    Officina 2
  13. Alegandron

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


    RI Probus Æ Ant 22mm 3.75g 280CE CLEMENTIA TEMP XXI Emperor receiving Victory from Jupiter UNKNOWN EASTERN MINT
  14. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    I don't have a Probus of Abundantia, I do however have a Decius of the type:

    Trajan Decius A.D. 249-251
    AR Antoninianus, 4.1 grams, 23 mm
    Rome mint

    Obverse: IMP C M Q TRAJANVS DECIVS AVG, Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right

    Reverse: ABVND ANTIA AVG; Abundantia standing right, emptying cornucopiae held in both hands.

    Reference: RIC IVc 10b, p. 121


  15. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  16. Aurelianus

    Aurelianus Member

  17. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Not 100% certain, but I think this coin is a double die match to yours.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
    tibor, DonnaML and Roman Collector like this.
  18. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

  19. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    On the reverse, I agree. But mine has dots in the obverse inscription, so it's Bastien 195, not 196.
  20. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    But if you look at both busts and look at the congruent points in the legend you might be able to see something correcponding to the dots on your coin and thus the other might well be a coin where the dots have been lost during strike, during die wear etc. I think that they are there but you need to know where to look based on your example to see them.
    Sulla80 and Roman Collector like this.
  21. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    Spikes again cool. Great long posts thanks.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page