Is this a Follaro of John VIII Palaeologus 2567 or Manuel II 2559?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DiomedesofArgos, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. DiomedesofArgos

    DiomedesofArgos Well-Known Member

    The coin in question:
    was listed as:

    John VIII Palaeologus, 1425-1448. Follaro (Bronze, 14.5 mm, 0.48 g, 5 h), Constantinople. IωΑ - ΔΕC Bust of emperor facing, bearded, wearing stemma and maniakon. Rev. Cross with a star in each angle. DOC 1394-5. LPC p. 174, 4. PCPC 351. SB 2567. Rare. Dark brown patina. Very fine.

    However, I can't see the left, bottom letter as anything but an M. The matter is further complicated, because finding a picture of a half decent John Follaro is nigh impossible. DOC has two (as John VII), but the resolution is too low for me to make anything of it. The website does not seem to have newer, high quality pictures yet. My copy of Sear also has a pic with too low a resolution to be useful. No luck with the British Museum. Zeno has two examples, one listed as John VIII and one as VII:


    Labarum has this example:

    and in ACSearch, this example:
    Finally, the drawing from Bendall's LPC, where he lists the legend as, "ΙωΑ-Δες". I will also include his image of John VIII's Sixteeth Hyperpyron where he lists the legend as "ΝΑωΙ-Δεςπ" since DOC lists this legend as being on the Follaro in disagreement with Bendall and Sear. So, basically, if this were a John coin, where I see an M, it could also be "ς" or "π" if it's John.



    Finally, of course, let's look at some Manuel coins, which are more plentiful:

    From Zeno:

    To be continued as I've reached my picture limit for this post...
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
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  3. DiomedesofArgos

    DiomedesofArgos Well-Known Member

    One more from Labarum:
    And a few from ACSearch:
    1466287.jpg 5597709.jpg 7706061.jpg 2130290.jpg 3296174.jpg 3053125.jpg

    Plus Bendall's drawing:

    So, what do you all think? John or Manuel? And if you have a readable John Follaro, by all means, share it :D
  4. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    I think it's Manuel.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    That's what it's looking more like to me, too. As the three of us know, crude legends are their own kind of challenge. Comparing two competing inscriptions can be as much about a process of elimination as anything. From here, it looks more like Manuel than John.
  6. DiomedesofArgos

    DiomedesofArgos Well-Known Member

    Yes, exactly. Here's the other piece of evidence that makes it Manuel in my mind. Bendall drew both of his John coins with similar looking legends to the right. The Α and Ν are combined. There's only 3 distinct characters, whereas Manuel always has 4 characters. I believe the original pic almost certainly is four characters and the Ο matches very well with an example that is for sure Manuel. They both have the weird 2 stroke () for Ο. I feel that the Η matches pretty well on both as well.


    Of course, Bendall's drawing could be incorrect, but without a better John example, I just have to assume Bendall had access to more clear legends for John than I do.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    If it was me, I'd call that good enough. I'm not familiar with Bendall, but from here, he comes across as being reliable, at least....
    Very cool coin, by the way. Does anyone know more about the late Byzantine denomination? It's looking as if, following the end of the Byzantine follis, it was only revived as an imitation of the broadly Italian ...imitation. Do I have that right?
    DiomedesofArgos likes this.
  8. DiomedesofArgos

    DiomedesofArgos Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure. My learning about Byzantine coins hasn't been very linear and I tend to skip around as different things catch my interest :D. Hopefully someone else can fill us in here.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  9. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I recently acquired the following specimen, attributed by CNG to John VII, following DOC (1395):
    Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 12.47.16 PM.jpg
    It at least has three fairly clear letters on the left, which look like (top to bottom) ΔεC to me. There's also a blob on the right which is likely part of the legend - it matches the first John Zeno example posted by @DiomedesofArgos in the OP. (It's attributed as John VIII on Zeno, but DOC gives it to John VII.)

    It seems pretty clear to me that the OP coin is a Manuel. In principle my coin could be Manuel also, though no follari are recorded (as far as I'm aware) with the "MAN" on the right - thus CNG's attribution of this one to John VII, I gather.

    This Zeno example from the OP, listed for Manuel, looks more like John to me. I see ΔεC on the left and some variation of IωΑΝ on the right (?).
    I'm hoping my coin is indeed a John VII. Maybe @Quant.Geek or @Voulgaroktonou have some comments on this difficult set of coins!
  10. DiomedesofArgos

    DiomedesofArgos Well-Known Member

    Good call on the Zeno example. What kinda looks like an Μ could well be the ς and π bleeding into each other. The other letters do indeed look more like ε and Δ than Α and Ν.
  11. Voulgaroktonou

    Voulgaroktonou Well-Known Member

    Yes, I think so, in general terms. Grierson in DOC V:1, pp. 26-27 discusses the origin and derivation of the term follaro. But I just had my 2nd. covid shot earlier today and am feeling a little out of it! But this is a great discussion and I love all the comments. Hope to meet all you folks in person some day!
  12. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

  13. Voulgaroktonou

    Voulgaroktonou Well-Known Member

    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
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