ID Help - Imitation Radiate

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by hotwheelsearl, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I'm having trouble with this coin from @tenbobbit

    It appears to be an imitation radiate, but of whom?

    Obv: Radiate bust right. Neckbeard and mustache. Uncertain letters.
    Rev: Spaghetti-armed deity standing left, holding spear. Letters appear to be II -- II II
    Diam: 18mm

    GUESS: Caracalla, since he's the only guy I can think of with that type of facial hair
    However, it seems that Caracalla imitations are generally of a bit finer style, especially when it comes to the legends.
    Who else could this be?
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  3. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    A Gallic empire ruler, can't read the legend so I would guess imitation of Postumus, Marius, or Allectus. I suppose that there is an outside chance that it could be Carausius as well.
  4. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    I agree with @ancient coin hunter in the Gallic emperor list. To me the bust looks very much like Carausius, and less like Postumus and Victorinus.

    Cool coin!

    Edit: did a quick search on ACSearch and found kind of a similar-ish one:
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
  5. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Thanks! I forgot all about Carausius; was thinking about the long-bearded guys instead.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Yes!!! That was my first guess. Interesting how, as crude as these run to being, they can still manage to get the portraits this right. ...It has no obvious resemblance to any of the usual suspects among Gallic emperors. And how many of these originate in Britain?
    tenbobbit likes this.
  7. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I always wondered by all of these Gallic coins, imitation or not, tend to have a much finer portrait than reverse. For example, it seems almost impossible to get a Victorinus or Tetricus coin with a reverse that looks like anything. Meanwhile, the portraits are super lifelike. Strange

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Hotwheelsearl, were you the one, just within the last couple of days, who was mentioning worn dies as one culprit? --But as you say, even in the official issues (at least after Postumus, when they all go from base silver to bronze), how often do you see one without them? It is very odd.
    hotwheelsearl and Justin Lee like this.
  9. Aurelianus

    Aurelianus Member

    Nice coin!

    Could be an official issue actually, something like Carausius RIC134. I do not think this is a Gallic Empire/Gallic imitation as the bust does not line up with the thinner, long beard bust types typical to this coinage. I own some Gallic imitations and another sign is bungled lettering, and your obverse has fairly clear lettering. Your reverse lettering is a little suspect though and points to an ancient counterfeit.

    Carausius RIC134:
    Carausius, AE antoninianus, London. IMP C CARAVSIVS PF AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right / PAX AVG, Soldier, semi-naked, chlamys hanging from his right shoulder, standing right, holding spear, point downwards and round shield before his chest. S-P across fields. Mintmark ML. RIC V-2, London 134; Webb 158; Cohen 236.

    I think the research points to an unusually large number of counterfeiters during this period. The lines blur between official and unofficial issues... The spear on yours looks similar in style to some of Carausius' coins from Camulodunum:
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  10. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Show me a Pax with a spear. I see Virtus.
    tenbobbit and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  11. Black Friar

    Black Friar Well-Known Member

    Portrait an unmistakable Mausiu Carausius. A true WAG...What a Guy.
    A fun barbarous piece.
  12. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I did mention the worn dies a few days ago, as a potential reason.
    But it doesn’t make too much sense why the reverse would be SO much more worn than the obverse... although I do have a spectacular reverse on a Tetricus... but it’s in a sad, small, ragged flan :(
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  13. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    As a side note, some writers have suggested that Carausius may have recruited moneyers formerly involved in the manufacture of "barbarous radiates" when he set up his mints. There are coins in the name of Carausius which have proved difficult to classify as either official or unofficial.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  14. tenbobbit

    tenbobbit Supporter! Supporter

    I have always considered the coin unofficial and attempting to copy a PAX Reverse.
    @dougsmit raises a good point regarding the Spear on the Reverse as PAX should be holding a Sceptre, the coin does copy the PAX type but i think the engraver simply mistook a Sceptre for a Spear.
    It is unofficial after all so we shouldn't be too surprised ;)
  15. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Thanks for confirming that. And you nailed it, again; especially from Victorinus on, the raggedness of the flans is one more part of the pathology with these.
    Given which, the reverses (...with your Tetricus as, in effect, the exception that proves the rule) are only stranger. Statistically, how can there be so many of these with sharp (and otherwise well executed) obverses, and commensurately substandard reverses?
    ...For instance, did this happen at the level of the technology? You could even speculate that the obverse dies were engraved on some sort of superior iron alloy, relative to the reverse ones.
    Aurelianus likes this.
  16. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Cool interpretive nuance. Never would have thought of that.
    Aurelianus and hotwheelsearl like this.
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