Hoards, and coins that shouldn't be in them

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Finn235, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    I've alluded to these two coins several times, but just got around to imaging them.

    About a year ago I bought a large job lot of "minim" sized late Roman / Vandal / Early Byzantine AE4 nummi from CNG. By my reckoning, they were all from the same hoard - same green patina, logical grouping, all from the time period of Arcadius through Justinian's conquest of Vandal Africa - about 200 years.

    There were, however, two significant outliers

    Barbarous Divo Claudius II / Altar, usually attributed to early or mid 270s

    If it was legitimately part of the hoard, it would have been about 350 years old
    Divo Claudio II ant barbarous.jpg

    Size was about right though

    And even more strange:
    Pamphylia. Aspendos AE11
    2nd/3rd century BC
    ΠO monogram on shield
    Would have been about 600-800 years old
    Pamphylia Aspendos AE9 vandals.jpg

    That got me curious - just like if I buried a sealed box of nickels, there would be odd outliers like Buffalo and maybe V nickels, I am sure that most periods of antiquity saw much older coins circulate alongside new ones.

    Anyone have examples to share, or links to hoard studies?
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
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  3. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    In the future Princeton's FLAME (see https://coinage.princeton.edu/ ) will be able to allow queries for the kinds of things you are interested in. I have seen demos of the internal version of that tool. The public version does not work for me.

    All of the Greek hoards published in IGCH have been digitized. Unfortunately the current user interface offers pretty maps but no easy way to search for "strange" hoards. http://coinhoards.org/browse
  4. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Well-Known Member

    I remember that one of the Numismatic Notes and Monographs series featured a hoard of Roman fifth century minimi. In this hoard was one gold stater of Philip II of Macedon.
  5. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    Very interesting, does this mean that the coins circulated for centuries after minting?

    I know, no answer to that
  6. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator


    People tend to apply our modern understanding of coins and circulation to the ancient world. It was a very different place.

    Some coins would have circulated for centuries at least after minting.

    Even some coins in the 16th and 17th centuries circulated for 100+ years.
  7. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately I cannot cite the source but I recall that in the period around 100 AD, about the time of Trajan, there were still some of the Legionary denarii in circulation. That would mean that some of those coins were well over a century old and still about, probably because they were somewhat debased when first issued circa 31 BC and their silver content by the end of the First Century AD matched those of the currently being issued coins of Trajan. When I started collecting coins (1957) we had plenty of buffalo nickels still around and the occasional Barber silver coins and Indian head cents, and of course a never ending supply of Morgan dollars at the local banks for the asking.

    From the wear I have seen on some of the provincial Roman bronzes and some of the big Roman brass pieces they look like they had circulated somewhere by someone for well over a hundred years.
  8. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    The long circulation of Antony's legionary is well attested - they were the lowest-purity denarius until Nero's time, and then again until Commodus. Gresham's law - if you have to spend a denariua, you'll keep your 95% fine Domitian and spend the 75% fine Antony. The Reka Devnia hoard (last coin was an antoninianus of Decius) had several, and Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus chose to issue restitution copies of the coin, famously modifying AVG on the original to AVGVR to avoid confusion and reinforce that Antony was NOT emperor.

    I remember a few months back there was a thread about a money pot found in a tavern in Pompeii, which unsurprisingly contained a large number of 1st century Roman Imperial coins, but also a stray Republican AE. I can't remember the source, but I have also read that there were a large number of pre-Roman bronze coins in circulation at Pompeii.
  9. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Eye of Horus

    I guess good money drives out the bad. And presumably people decided to hoard coins of good quality as a hedge against inflation and other monetary issues. To continue to use old bronze coins (and I have some provincials and early Imperials that are so worn that nothing is visible on them, just a hint of a portrait) would have required an unknown system of weights and measures that we are clueless about.
    Alegandron likes this.
  10. philologus_1

    philologus_1 Well-Known Member

    The verified 100+ year circulation of Roman denarii is not limited to the legionary issues of Antony. See below from BMRCE Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum Vol. II, Vespasian to Domitian, Harold Mattingly, pg. xvii. (re: Hoards, be sure to read footnote #4 circled in red.)


    Below is an example of this from my collection.
    Vespasian AD 69-79 countermark on:
    Roman Republic denarius of P. Clodius M.f. Turrinus, 42 B.C., Rome
    Obv.: Laureate head of Apollo, r.; lyre behind; c/m IMP VES (partly ligate)
    Rev.: P•CLODIVS-M•F; Diana Lucifera standing, r., bow/quiver at shoulder,
    holding two lighted torches.
    Weight: 3.64 gr. Diam.: 20 x 18 mm.
    Attrib.: Crawford 494/23 (coin). Howgego 839 (c/m).
    Coin struck 42 BC and c/m applied not before 69 AD (@110 years later) for continued circulation.
  11. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

  12. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    I know that it is different circumstances than a true hoard like this, but the history of coinage in Southeast Asia saw coins hundreds of years old being used.

    Prior to around the 14th Century there was no real coinage that saw any form of widespread use in the Indonesian islands. During the late Srivijaya era / the Majapahit Empire era there was an influx of Chinese cash coins that were moved into Indonesia for trade and the economy slowly moved from barter into coinage. The coins that were traded were nearly entirely from the Northern Song Dynasty and date to the 10th - 11th Century. Once in Indonesia, the coins saw ridiculously extensive use and were used in circulation for hundreds of years; so much so that early European explorers noted that the Indonesians used the cash coins of previous reigns, different from the mainland Chinese who mostly used current coins. This is also why the local Indonesian imitation cash coins (usually of poor tin alloy) often features titles from the Northern Song Dynasty rather than the current Ming/Qing Dynasty coins. The imitations weren't meant to be used in foreign trade and so they used what the locals were used to. There were coins issued in Indonesia into the 18th Century that read the same as ones from the 10th Century.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
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  13. Multatuli

    Multatuli Homo numismaticus Supporter

    I have information coming from a Portuguese friend of mine who is numismatist and amateur detectorist. There have been some recent findings in Portugal, especially in the north-central region of the country, of some canisters filled with V century copper coins, mostly the typical FEL TEMP REPARATIO and GLORIA EXERCITVM. Some finds contained over 2000 coins. However, in the midst of them they found several barbaric imitations, and some semis and asses. As it is well known that there was a shortage of coins during this period in the Iberian Peninsula, especially coinciding with the influx of barbarian tribes from the North (Suevi and Visigoths), it is believed that the supply of coins minted in the Galia and Germania workshops has declined, or did not reach the place. Thus, the use of coins that should have long been demonized, and the acceptance of barbaric imitations, is often used. I own some coins myself from some of these hoards. Interestingly, an Isis Festival coin was even found next to the common coins of the Valens reign. This finding in question makes us wonder whether these currencies were just votive tokens, as already considered, or if they had a real monetary role in the period. But that is already a subject for another topic.
    Paul M. and Alegandron like this.
  14. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    “Coin hoards from Roman Britain” is a series of 13 volumes. I have volumes that mainly pertain to my interests in LRB's, and I thought it would be worthwhile to list the volumes that LRB people might find interesting. I did not list anything about volumes 4 and 6 because I have heard that there are not any LRB hoards in them. I did not list every hoard in each volume as some have numerous hoards, for example vol 12 has 55 hoards.

    CHRB 1. Chorleywood hoard 4,358 coins mid-4th 330-348 Hamble hoard 2,494 A.D. 330- 335

    CHRB 2. Bicester hoard 440 coins A.D. 317- 348

    CHRB 3. Blackmoor Hoard 29, 773 coins circa A.D. 293

    CHRB 4. ---

    CHRB 5. Has some LRB hoards, but I don’t know which ones.

    CHRB 6. ---

    CHRB 7. several LRB hoards, mostly Constantinian. 18 hoards in total, the largest is the Cae Bardd of 4716 plus 271 coins ending A.D. 328

    CHRB 8. 18 hoards, the main one and focus of the book is “The Normanby Hoard of Roman 3rd Century Antoninianii” 47,898 third century radiates A.D. 253- 284

    CHRB 9. Chalfont Hoard 6,628 coins, mostly debased ants from the later 3rd century.

    CHRB 10. 60 hoards, at least 20 of interest to LRB enthusiasts. Chapmanslade had 5,200 to A.D. 337

    CHRB 11. early Imperial period through AD 235

    CHRB 12. 55 hoards, maybe half would be of interest to LRB collectors…most famous are Langtoft II of 923 coins ending in the 320’s and the Grassmoor Hoard of 1422 coins ending in A.D. 340

    CHRB 13. Gloucester Hoard over 15,000 coins A.D. 270- 293. Includes two smaller hoards of Carausius and Allectus.

    Wikipedia has a page on some of these coin hoards- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_hoards_in_Great_Britain

    this book is not part of the CHRB series, but it is a fantastic addition to your library if you have any interest in British hoards

    "This long-awaited inventory collates material from more than 1,900 coin hoards, comprising c.640,000 coins, found in Britain and dating from the 1st to early 5th century AD. Robertson describes it as `a corpus amenable to unlimited exploitation'. Entries are listed chronologically by Emperor and include descriptions of the coins, details on the find spots, the containers of the hoards and objects found in association. This large volume forms an important source of reference for Roman Britain and numismatic studies in general, and highlights the continued practice of hoarding throughout the Roman occupation of Britain."

    lots of interesting information and fun trivia like how the writer of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that in the year 418 the Romans collected all the hoards of coins that were in Britain and hid some in the earth and carried some with them to Gaul.

    or the story of how in 1858 farmworkers found the Cowlam hoard while plowing..."The twelve lads who were ploughing all wanted some (coins) in their pockets...you should have seen the lads reaching over the pankin, and scrimpin the money in...They said "We'll nivver work na mair."

    how about this-- did people in antiquity collect coins? Well, "In 1794, was also found at Rowley Regis, an earthen globe, containing about 1200 similar coins in silver, which, when all together, formed a complete series of Roman emperors." Gent. Mag. 1796

    520 pages, stuffed with numismatic tidbits. It's not often that coin books are fun, but this one is for me.

    Valentinian, Paul M., Sulla80 and 3 others like this.
  15. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody who doesn’t know anything...

    I have heard in some instances where Roman coins were still being used in circulation until the 19th century. I think in France.

    I’ve dealt with Chinese coin hoards on several occasions. One was buried ca 400-500 AD, and I found one coin dating between 160 and 130 BC and another dating between 14 and 23 AD. Another hoard was lost in a shipwreck ca 1279, and there were coins dating between 618 and 907 AD. Another hoard I bought was buried in at least 1400, but there were coins from 618-750 AD.
    Multatuli, Finn235 and Paul M. like this.
  16. Factor

    Factor Active Member

    For hoards containing 5th century nummi it is typical to include some barbaric radiates and even BC coins. They mostly looked at size at that period, at least basing on few middle eastern hoards I have seen.
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