Julia Domna-Geta Two-Headed Bronze. Identification help, please.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Marsyas Mike, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I've been watching this for about a month at a local dealer's shop and finally decided to get it this week. My dealer had it described as a AR Denarius of Septimius Severus, which can't be right. It is copper (bronze?) and very thick. It shows Geta on one side and Julia (Domna, I presume) on the other.

    I know nothing about Roman Provincials (which I'm guessing this is), but figured it would be fairly easy to track down. I have ransacked Wildwinds, Google Image searches, etc. but cannot find anything.

    Julia Domna Geta AE (2).JPG

    Julia Domna Geta AE (5).JPG

    Draped bust of Julia (Domna?) right JVLIA PIA FELIX AVG / Draped childhood bust of Geta right P SEPT GETA CAES PONT
    About 8 grams, 19 mm. diameter, 3 mm thick

    I am puzzled by the titles - Julia Domna was deified by Severus Alexander, but this was after Geta's death, so her "deified" portrait and legends should not be on a coin of Geta's, particularly one with a childhood portrait. Caracalla had damnatio memoriae'd Geta and I am not sure he was ever officially rehabilitated, although according to Wikipedia, Geta's bones too were recovered and reinterred:

    (Julia Domna Wikipedia article): "During this trip, Caracalla was assassinated and succeeded (briefly) by Macrinus. Julia chose to commit suicide after hearing about the rebellion, perhaps a decision hastened by the fact that she was suffering from breast cancer. Her body was brought to Rome and placed in the Sepulcrum C. et L. Caesaris (perhaps a separate chamber in the Mausoleum of Augustus). Later, however, both her bones and those of Geta were transferred by her sister Julia Maesa to the Mausoleum of Hadrian. She was later deified."

    So this could be some sort of "restitution" issue under Severus Alexander, I suppose. Caracalla surely wouldn't have issued a Geta coin. But as far as I can tell, nothing like this was ever issued. Or am I looking in the wrong places? Or is it a fake? I know Severan dual-portrait issues are common, but this one has me stumped. Your help is greatly appreciated.
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  3. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    This looks like a base metal imitation, possibly ancient. It is not a provincial as these are both imperial issue portraits.
    That is not the deified portrait of Domna but a regular older style portrait from around A.D. 216 like my example below. These were issued under Caracalla.


    This would not be combined with a young Geta portrait and mixing of dies is not uncommon on these base metal imitations. It could even be modern(ish) and created to fool.

    The type of Domna with Geta does occur with the earlier IVLIA AVGVSTA as on my poor example.


  4. Pishpash

    Pishpash Supporter! Supporter

    I don't suppose there is any sign of a seam?

    There are plenty of coins for Geta with P SEPT GETA CAES PONT which is the obverse legend.
    gregarious likes this.
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    The only thing close would be this coin recorded in Cohen, a denarius with a different (reign of Severus) inscription for Julia.


    The inscription for Julia, IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, is one used under Caracalla. This coin is not official and may have been the core of an ancient fouree.

    It's supposed to be a denarius--19 mm in size and without SC--despite the thick flan.
    gregarious and Marsyas Mike like this.
  6. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for the information. The imperial portrait types info was enlightening. I could not see any sign of a seam - I've run into a few counterfeits (ancient or otherwise) over the years - this coin doesn't seem to have that kind of "feel" (hardly a scientific evaluation, I know). So as a counterfeit, at least some skill went into its manufacture (so I console myself!)

    As maridvnvm suggests, I suspect a modern(ish) concoction of some sort.
    gregarious likes this.
  7. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I hadn't thought fouree - interesting thought. There is no trace of plating on this one, and it is very, very chunky for a denarius.
    gregarious likes this.
  8. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    The soft nature of the portrait and devices would certainly point towards a cast of some form.
    gregarious likes this.
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