Imitation or New Type.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by BenSi, Dec 2, 2021.

  1. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    19mm 2.85gm
    A was lucky enough to have this coin pointed out to be from one of our most observant fellow collectors @catadc . Thank You Sir.

    I won this coin last Sunday and I have the coin in hand now (Thank You Savocca). The details match a normal issue of Manuel I Comnenus , who had a long rule and whose coinage is abundant. When I say the details, I mean everything but the reverse, this coin has NI KA added to the cross.

    Now imitations are normally crude, you can find errors in the clothing and the details are in a much cruder fashion, this one someone put a lot of time and effort to creating it, the die is worn, and the coin was not well struck, however, it is superior to most of the imitation tetartera that were created.

    Imitation tetartera exists mostly of Alexius tetartera and Manuel tetartera, not the other rulers, both had long reigns, also evidence shows the imitation tetartera were created long after the reigns of these emperors and in the beginning of the 13th century.

    Has anyone on the board seen another example of this coin with the NIKA on the reverse of SBCV-1976?

    Julian bakers book lists many imitation tetartera but none of them are of SBCV-1976.

    So is this an imitation? Or is this in the lower weight, official issue from Thessalonica? Advice and or opinions are appreciated.

    Here is a beautiful large example version of the same issue. Official.


    MANUEL AE TETARTERON S-1976 DOC 19 CLBC 4.4.6OBV Radiate cross on three steps.

    REV. Half-length figure of emperor, bearded, wearing stemma, divitision, collar piece, and jeweled loros of a simplified type; holds in r. hand labarum on laft shaft and in l. Globus cruciger.

    Size 24mm

    Weight 5.78gm

    Very nice example on a large flan.
    DOC lists 24 examples with weights from 18mm to 25mm and weights from 2.55 to 6.54 gm

    Btw, my feeling right now is it is a newly discovered imitation, not official, but again that is why I ask if anyone else has seen something similar.
    Thank You!
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021
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  3. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Comparing the two coins, the styles are very distinct, with the one you acquired much cruder overall. There's also a retrograde N on the reverse (perhaps from too much wine the night before?).

    I am not an expert or even an armature for this later period of Byzantine coinage, but I would lean towards imitation, for what it is worth.
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  4. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    Imitation or genuine, I :shame: have no opinion. Artist :cigar: "signed?" It has been known to occur. :)
  5. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC Active Member

    To me the relatively heavy weight (after some damage?) suggests an official issue.

    Ross G.
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  6. catadc

    catadc Well-Known Member

    @BenSi already knows my opinion, but I will detail, as the subject became public.

    The obverse does show minimal care. The X looks more like a cross. Although I've seen other Xs at an angle, this is the closest to a cross. The N is retrograde. The alignment and size of letters is carelessly executed. Same for the lines on top of IC XC - they usually are comparable left to right in terms of position above letters and in terms of size. Seems not to be the case here. The cross goes through the top step, which is unusual for the type.

    On the reverse, the body of Manuel seems more narrow than on the other coins I see online. For this, I take the width of the body vs the diameter of the die.

    Last, the diameter of the die is irregular, but this is not a critical factor. Second coin of the OP shows an imperfectly round die too.

    I do not believe this is an official issue.
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  7. Black Friar

    Black Friar Well-Known Member

  8. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    Well Ross and @catadc have made their ideas known. I have great respect for both of their opinions for different reasons.

    The reverse of Manuel alone would lead me to think it is official but the obverse has mistakes, the Nika does have an inverted N. The steps below the cross have inaccuracies.
    I believe this to be an imitation but a contemporary one, during the coins original issue and not 13th century. The details of the Manuel portrait with partial legend was very good and deceptive. If the reverse had been neater i would have voted official, the offset xc and the other minor errors led me to believe imitation. Another example might change my mind but as a solo coin it is now an oddity.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2021
  9. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Is this an imitation? Unlisted variety? Note Δ in upper right reverse field:
    Manuel I Comnenus. 1143-1180 AD. Æ Tetarteron (25mm). Thessalonica mint. Struck 1167-1183(?). Obv: Cross with X at center on three steps; IC-XC (Jesus Christ) on either side. Rev: Half-length figure of Manuel I standing facing, wearing crown and loros, holding labarum and globus cruciger. Δ in upper right reverse field.
  10. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    The first sign of an imitation is a low weight. You did not provide that but that aside the coin looks official. The legend is just heavily abrevated in your example. Nice coin.
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