In Search of ... The Lost Mint

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Jun 13, 2021.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Somewhere in the deepest regions of the late First Century Roman Empire, a mysterious coin was struck for the emperor Vespasian. But by whom and when? The people and the city which struck the coin remain a mystery to this day. This post presents information based in part on theory and conjecture. The purpose is to suggest some possible explanations, but not necessarily the only ones to the mysteries we will examine.

    Æ22, 9.42g
    Uncertain mint, Undated
    Obv: ΑΥΤΟΚΡΑΤΩΡ ΟΥƐϹ[ ] ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ϹƐΒΑϹΤΟϹ; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
    Rev: ΤΙΤΟϹ ΚΑΙ ΔΟΜΙΤΙΑΝΟϹ; Bare heads of Titus and Domitian facing one another
    RPC 2812 (0 spec.).
    Acquired from eBay, June 2021.

    A true mystery coin. Struck at some point during Vespasian's reign, this rare dynastic issue's origins remains elusive. RPC's footnote concerning the type: 'The editors of the SNG Schweiz II tentatively attributed these coins to Crete, which seems unlikely. A Cicilian mint is a possibility.' There are not enough surviving specimens for findspots to help determine a region of circulation. As is, we are left only with style to go by. With that being said, somewhere in Asia Minor is a good bet. The reverse design was fairly popular throughout the region and the style is similar to several cities which were producing coins during Vespasian's reign. The bevelled edge flan may also be a clue, perhaps pointing to a mint closer to Syria or Commagene. The dynastic type itself hints that this issue was struck earlier rather than later in the reign.

    Perhaps in the future, archaeology will provide the clues needed to solve this intriguing mystery.


    Please post your mystery coins.
    eparch, kountryken, PeteB and 23 others like this.
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  3. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    No real mystery here, but it took me over three weeks to attribute this Alexdrian tet. Every day I would look at it and hope something would click. Eventually, it did.

    Maximianus Milne 4813
    Maximianus PT Tet Milne 4814.JPG
  4. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Cool thread @David Atherton . I like mysteries. One of my mystery coin is this old Aurelian VIRT MILITVM. The gamma mintmark is the problem. It is attributed to an unknown mint, maybe an uncertain Balkan mint. RIC comments: the mint appeared to have work in the reign of Aurelian only and then but for a short time.


  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Intriguing coin, @David Atherton. There are many such coins whose mint is uncertain. Such is the case with the "branch mint" of Trebonianus Gallus.

    While RIC (IV-3, p. 151) unambiguously attributes this one to the Milan (Mediolanum) mint* on the basis of its obverse inscription IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG instead of the IMP CAE C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG found at Rome, Sear (vol 3, p. 227) is more cautious about attributing it to a specific mint, noting that Milan, Viminacium, or Rome are all possibilities.**

    Trebonianus Gallus, AD 251-253.
    Roman AR antoninianus, 3.60 g, 21.3 mm, 7 h.
    Uncertain mint (formerly attributed to Mediolanum), AD 251-253.
    Obv: IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: FELICITAS PVBL, Felicitas standing facing, head left, holding long caduceus and cornucopiae.
    Refs: RIC 75; Cohen --; RCV --; ERIC II --; Wiczay 2509; Banduri p. 59.


  6. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    I have shown this mystery coin before. The dominant opinion is that is it barbarous, although it has also been suggested that it was struck as a donative to rally troops before a battle by a traveling, military mint.

    If it's barbarous, what were they copying? Since the Latin inscriptions are correct--"??? - ROMA" on the obverse, "PIETAS REIP" reverse--we can assume that whoever made it had some knowledge of Roman society and coinage. Why make a fantasy copy? It's very tiny: 11 mm, 0.8 g. Is it a later, Vandalic-era issue? I will probably never know this coin's complete story.
  7. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    Calling Leonard Nimoy.
    Both the obverse and reverse style are strange on this little quarter unit MSC Poliorketes.
    I'd never seen a Macedonian helmet that flies through the night skies abducting and probing drunk hunters and woodsman... until now!
    Demetrios I Poliorketes (306-283 BC). Ae.
    Obv: Macedonian shield with monogram of Demetrios on boss.
    Rev: Macedonian helmet.
    SNG Alpha Bank - (cf. 962-969).
    Condition: Very fine.
    Weight: 2.07 g.
    Diameter: 12 mm.
    One example in ACsearch from matching dies.
    nearly very fine
    Purchased from Savoca May 2021
  8. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Theodosius and Ryro like this.
  9. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    A very nice piece. I really like these dynastic issues. There seems to be quite a lot of competition for them lately.
  10. Aleph

    Aleph Well-Known Member

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