I didn't know where to start.....

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by maridvnvm, Feb 18, 2020.

  1. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    In amongst the mixed batch of coins that I bought at the start of the year was a Roman Provincial. I am not very proficient with them and I can find them quite daunting. This one at least had a portrait that seemed familiar in that it was Septimius Severus and I could confirm this by reading the obverse legend AV K Λ CЄΠ CЄVHPOC ΠЄ. The reverse legend is only partially there and I couldn't see where to start with it. I am not familiar with these coins to be able to start on narrowing down the mint based on style. I could deduce that the reverse type was Zeus standing left, holding patera and sceptre with chlamys draped over left arm.

    In the dim and distant past I would have stopped there and moved on not knowing how to progress. Nowadays there are a variety of tools that are available to us.

    I went to acsearch and typed in "Septimius Zeus patera" and lo and behold there are coins that seem to match the portrait of my coin. I would never have guessed that this coin was from Marcianopolis based on style.


    From this I can make a stab at a fuller attribution for what would for me have been an impossible coin.

    Septimius Severus - Marcianopolis - AE26
    Obv:- AV K Λ CЄΠ CЄVHPOC ΠЄ, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
    Rev:- V K ΓЄNTIANOV MAPKIANOΠOΛITΩN., Zeus standing left, holding patera and sceptre.
    Minted in Marcianopolis, Moesa Inferior; Consul Cosconius Gentianus
    Reference:- Varbanov 762.

    11.80g. 25.85 mm. 180 degrees

    Share some of your difficult attribution stories.

    randygeki, Andres2, Finn235 and 14 others like this.
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  3. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    I have found ACSearch to be an effective tool for guessing. Here's an ugly coin that I spent some time on today.
    Hadrian Antioch Obol.jpg I landed (very tentatively) on Egypt, Alexandria, Hadrian, 117-138, Obol, 126/7
    Obv: Head with laurel wreath on the right
    Rev: Ares in armor standing to the right, spear in the right, lion on the outstretched left
    Size: 2.5g, 14mm
  4. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Good job with the research. I buy a lot of worn, beat-up unattributed stuff and I really like the challenge of figuring them out.

    I too use acsearch a lot, but at first I just do a Google image search - this one came up "Antoninus Pius and wreath AE" or something like that (the reverse inscription is easier to see in hand).

    Antoninus PIus Cyrrhestica lot Feb 2020 (0).jpg

    Antoninus Pius Æ 21
    (c. 138-161 A.D.)
    Cyrrhestica, Hieropolis, Syria

    [ΑΥΤο ΚΑΙ ΤΙ ΑΙΛ ΑΔΡΙ ΑΝΤWΝƐΙΝΟϹ ϹƐΒ ƐΥϹƐΒ] laureate bust wearing cuirass and paludamentum right / ΘƐΑϹ ϹΥΡΙΑϹ ΙƐΡΟΠΟ, Ɛ below, within laurel wreath.
    RPC 6977; cf. Butcher 15.
    (10.05 grams / 21 x 18 mm)

    Countermarks can be quite difficult. This one was exceptionally hard - I managed to find a partial source online for the countermark, but the host coin still eludes me.

    CM - Artemis w 2 torches & grapes Nov 2019 (0).jpg
    CM - Artemis w 2 torches & grapes Nov 2019 (0 det3).jpg
    Cabyle, Thrace Æ 15
    (250-200 B.C.)

    Laureate head right (Apollo?) / Lyre (?), Greek inscription.
    Countermarks: Both obverse:
    Artemis Phosphoros holding 2 torches (?) in 8 mm circle.
    Cluster of grapes in 6 mm circle.
    Tapolov Countermarking p. 240, 4
    Houghton & Lorber 2002 173, 184
    (2.78 grams / 15 mm)

    Attribution Note:

    "The Countermarks of Cabyle" by Dimitae Dkagabov describes countermark: "...depicts Artemis Phosophoros holding two longtorches...between 6 and 8 mm"
    He notes 135 specimens from 16 countermark punches.

    Host: I can't find it (Dec. 2019)
  5. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    @Marsyas Mike is there not a rectangular countermark on the reverse of that coin, at the bottom? It could be part of the design, but from the picture it looks to be indented into the coin surface.
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  6. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Hmmm. Could be. I read it as part of the inscription below the lyre... The problem was, I couldn't find a lyre-type with the inscription arrayed straight this way. A countermark might explain my difficulty.

    Some of the problem is the Dkagabov article I site above is behind an academic paywall and I was only able to see the first page of the article. The rest of it would have more information on hosts, I'd think.

    Of course another countermark creates another set of difficulties! But I'm not complaining - there's no crying in baseball or ancient coin collecting.

    Thanks for the suggestion - another pair of eyes can be most helpful.
    thejewk likes this.
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