Justinian I Follis, Over-size Flan and Under-size Die

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    I guess that I am on something of a role. The light is right, the camera is behaving itself, and I am finding more interesting coins as I paw through the boxes of my ever-so-slowly organized collection.

    Here's a reform follis of Justinian I, Constantinople Mint, Officina A, Year 12.

    This coin is clearly a combination of under-sized die used on an over-sized flan (40 mm). I think the mint workers were making an extra effort to produce a coin with full legends and a clear strike (for a Byzantine coin).

    The coin has the added feature of nice surfaces and an appealing patina, nice and even.

    Byzantine Empire, 539 AD
    AE Follis
    Justinian I (527-565 AD)
    Obverse: D N IVSTINI-ANVS P P AVC, helmeted, cuirassed bust of Justinian facing, globus cruciger in right hand, shield with horseman motif in left; cross in right field.
    Reverse: large M between A-N-N-O (stacked on left) and XII (on right), cross above and A below; CON in exergue.
    Sear 163.
    23.0 grams
    40 mm, 6 h.
    D-Camera Justinian I Follis, Reform, Year 12, 23 grams,  8-11-20.jpg

    Are there other odd die/flan pairings out there Byzantine and others? Please post if you wish. Thank you
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  3. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Here's one more follis, from the Heracilan Revolt (608-610 AD), Alexandretta Mint (located on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey).

    10.6 grams

    Ex Harlan Berk

    D-Camera Heraclian Revolt Follis, Alexandretta Mint, 608-610 AD, Berk  8-11-20.jpg
  4. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Justinian's of year 12 and 13 were the highpoint of flan size. Nearly all show lots of extra room around the die because the flans were so huge. My year 13 is about 43 MM. The next year, when the plague showed up, they started getting smaller.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    It looks a lot better when the flan is large and the die is small. Justinian offers both. This Antioch mint, year 25 half follis was struck with an appropriate reverse die and an obverse die intended for a full follis. My example is rather well centered which means it has no obverse legend. Most people would prefer one centered to the top enough to get some legend. Standards were changing quickly at this time and the mints had to produce many coins in short order.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Thanks for this! ...Sadly, all it does from here is to confirm my regret over parting with the one Justinian follis I ever owned. Well, except that your example is
    exceptional, both for the flan and strike. ...Right, and the mint. Notably while the Hagia Sofia was first going up.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
    robinjojo likes this.
  7. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Great coin @robinjojo - well struck and patinated.
    robinjojo likes this.
  8. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you.
  9. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Here is one with a flan significantly larger than the die.

    Justinian, Antioch (as Theoupolis) mint, year 33 (559/560)
    The flan is 39-34 mm. 39 mm would not be unusual for coins of years 12-14, but by this date the usual flan size was more like 33 mm.
    Sear 222
  10. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...It's interesting (well, if you have all day) to compare this kind of dynamic, between dies and flans, and what does or doesn't end up being struck, to what you see in trachys, especially from the 12th century and later. Including various succeeding polities, whether Grecophone, 'Latin' or (vaguely) Slavic. (About which, Quant.Geek's post, 'The trouble with tribbles / trachys [Damn, where's the strikethrough when you need it],' is as good as it looks.) With what was already a completly different set of technological parameters. ...But in both contexts, what you get, starting with the legends, is effectively reducible to the luck of the draw.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
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