Macrinus denarius: Dated by Curtis Clay

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by larssten, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. larssten

    larssten Active Member


    I recently acquired this Macrinus denarius. After finding its provenance from the 2017-auction at KÜNKER 295 LOT 972, I read in the catalog description "Datierung nach Curtis Clay".

    Here is the full description:
    Macrinus, 217-218. AR-Denar, Juli/September 217, Rom; 4,10 g. Gepanzerte Büste r. mit Lorbeerkranz//Salus sitzt l. mit Zepter, füttert eine um einen Altar gewundene Schlange und streichelt deren Kopf. BMC 24 Anm.; Coh. 114; RIC 84. Variante von großer Seltenheit. Feine Tönung, Prägeschwäche auf dem Revers, vorzüglich, Datierung nach Curtis Clay.

    Curtis Clay is a well know numismatist and expert in Roman coins. He has since 1994 worked for Harlan J. Berk (HJB) as an Ancient numismatist and has published articles on Macrinus' coins accordring to HJB website.!/bio/43-curtis-clay

    My question is; how often do you see a catalog description; "Dated by..."? And especially with Curtis Clay? Does it mean that this particular coin was dated by Clay, or just the type? The catalog description is fairly detailed on the time of the dating - namely July-September 217 AD. Macrinus entered the throne as emperor in April same year.

    Would love any feedback on this. I also love the coin by the way - especially the wonderful image of Salus holding and feeding the snake and how intense her eyes are.


    Attached Files:

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  3. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I wonder why they broke up... it's a very attractive coin! Perhaps it doesn't have the personality to match.


    [Edit: sorry for the terrible joke, it was late!! Here's a coin to make up for it:
    Screen Shot 2020-08-06 at 10.00.29 AM.jpg ]
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
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  4. larssten

    larssten Active Member

    I now see that a lot of other Macrinus coins offered by Künker are dated by Curtis Clay, so my question again is if the specific type has been dated by month by Clay himself or has the auction house used his articles/work to identify the coin. I.e. if Clay has personally seen the coin in question when dating it?
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  5. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    I don't know anything about the Curtis Clay angle, but wow, that Macrinus is an absolute stunner!

    The pix deserve to be posted in full-sized format.

  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

  7. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    That is a great example, one of the better Salus reverses I have seen.

    I like the weight of it too, pretty heavy for him.

    Macrinus (217 - 218 A.D.)
    AR Denarius
    O: IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from front, younger features with medium beard.
    R: PONTIF MAX TR P COS P P, Jupiter standing half left, nude, no cloak, thunderbolt in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand.
    Rome Mint, Sep 217 A.D
    RIC IV 15 (S), RSC III 55b, BMCRE V 31, SRCV II 7342, Hunter III

    Ex. Maxwell Hunt Collection
  8. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Gorgeous coin, @larssten .


    I captured this one because of the facing quadriga.
    RI Macrinus 217-218 AE25 CE Facing Quadriga
    Ex: @Blake Davis (Mortown)
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  9. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    I would understand the phrase "Datierung nach" in the sense of "dated following/according to." Probably they were simply using a reference work or article by Curtis Clay.
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  10. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    larssten, Congrats on scoring a stunning denarius of Macrinus. Great portrait & reverse :D! Pictured below is a Macrinus Tet from Emesa I scored this year.

    Roma E-Sale, Lot 614.jpg Emesa - Syria, AD 217/8, Billon Tetradrachm: 11.67 gm, 25 mm, 1 h. Reverse: Shamash under eagle. Prieur 972
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  11. TJC

    TJC Well-Known Member

    Very nice Macrinus! Portrait, strike and toning all look amazing!
    Here is a provincial I will add to the mix:)
    MacrinusTych339xO_edited-1.jpg MacrinusTyche339R1.jpg
    Macrinus Macedonia-Amphipolis; Ae 22.
    217-218 A.D. Sear 2910 M AV OPE VEC MACRINOC, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right. AMFIPOLEITWN, Tyche seated left, holding patera. BMC 130; Moushmov 6114; Varbanov 3286 (this coin).
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  12. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Does anyone know of an online source for Numismatische Zeitschrift articles (free or for fee?) : in this case looking for: Clay, C. L. 1979. “The Roman Coinage of Macrinus and Diadumenian.” Numismatische Zeitschrift 93: 21-40.

    I am generally interested to know if there is somewhere to get Numismatische Zeitschrift other than those pre-1923 available in and linked here. Note links are Vollzugang über
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
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  13. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..yup...we've got him amongst us...:)
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  14. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    That Macrinus with Salus on the reverse is amazing! Here are my two Macrinus coins, one showing him together with his son:

    Macrinus AR Denarius 217 AD, Obv. Laureate head right, IMP C M OPEL MACRINVS AVG / Rev. Securitas standing, facing, leaning on a column, head left, holding a scepter, PONTIF MAX TR P COS PP. RIC IV-2 24, RSC III 62, Sear RCV II 7347. 19 mm., 1.58 g.

    Macrinus jpg version.jpg

    Macrinus and Diadumenian Caesar, AE Pentassarion [5 Assaria], 217-218 AD, Marcianopolis Mint, Moesia Inferior (Pontianus, consular legate). Obv. Confronted heads of Macrinus, laureate, right, and Diadumenian, bareheaded, left, [AVT K OΠE]Λ CEV MAKPEINOC K M OΠEΛ ANTΩNEINOC [bracketed portion off flan][ = Imperator, Caesar, Opellius Augustus Macrinus, Caesar Marcus Opellius Antoninus ] / Rev. Hermes standing facing, head left, holding purse in extended right hand and caduceus in left hand; chlamys hanging over left arm; E [mark of value for “5”] in right field, VΠ ΠONTIANOV MAP-KIANOΠOΛEITΩN (ΩN ligate) [ = Consular Legate Pontianus, (coin) of the people of Markianopolis]. AMNG I/I 740 [Pick, Behrendt, Die antiken Münzen von Dacien und Moesien, Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands Vol. I/I (Berlin, 1898) at pp. 240-241]; BMC 3 Thrace 35 [R.S. Poole, ed. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Vol. 3, The Tauric Chersonese, Sarmatia, Dacia, Moesia, Thrace, etc. (London, 1877) at p. 32]; Hristova & Jekov [Nina Hristova & Gospodin Jekov, The Local Coinage of the Roman Empire - Moesia Inferior, I - III c. A.D., MARCIANOPOLIS (Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria 2006)]; Varbanov (Eng.) Vol. I, 1192 var. (E to left) [Ivan Varbanov, Greek Imperial Coins And Their Values, Volume I: Dacia, Moesia Superior & Moesia Inferior (English Edition) (Bourgas, Bulgaria, 2005)]; /marcianopolis5.html, No. Mar5.33d. 25 mm, 12.89 g. Ex: Dr. Paul Rynearson (ca. 2003); Ex: Kirk Davis, Cat # 75, Fall 2020, Lot 62. (Coin is double die match to Lot 696, CNG Triton XII Auction, Jan. 5, 2009.)

    Macrinus & Diadumenian - Hermes photo jpg.jpg
  15. larssten

    larssten Active Member

    Thank you and congratulations yourself on a wonderful coin!
    It’s the same type depicted on the Wikipedia article of Homs, or at that time Emesa in Syria:


    Attached Files:

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  16. larssten

    larssten Active Member

    Thank you! I also love your two examples, especially the last one with Macrinus and his son. Does it say when it was minted?

    Read that most Diadumenian coins were struck while he was “caesar”, and not so many after he was raised to “Augustus”.

    Poor boy was also executed shortly after - only 9 years old...
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  17. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Macrinus. 217-218 AD. AR Denarius (19mm; 3.44 gm; 12h). Rome mint, 1st officina. 3rd emission, March-June 218 AD. Obv: IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, with long beard. Rev: AEQVITAS AVG, Aequitas standing facing, head left, holding scales in right hand, cradling cornucopia in left arm. RIC IV 53; RSC 2; BMCRE 58. Small ancient dent by Macrinus' forehead and some minor porosity.
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  18. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    larssten, Many thanks for discovering that photo & passing on that great article on Homs :D. I copied both for my files. No doubt the dies for both coins were made by the same artist ;). I'm also wondering if the obverse dies could be a match o_O? CT members please give your opinions on an obverse die match; the reverse looks like no match. :)

    Prieur 972.jpg
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  19. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    I've posted the coin pictured below a number of times but will post again since it seems to fit well with larssten's thread :happy:.

    Prieur 890, obv..JPG Prieur 890, rev..JPG
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  20. curtislclay

    curtislclay Well-Known Member

    My article attempted to divide the coinage of Macrinus and Diadumenian into issues, separated from each other by changes of reverse type. Previous attempts to do that had been confounded by an understandable error: the assumption that Macrinus' coins of 218 dated


    must have been struck before those dated


    Surely coins dated just COS must have preceded those dated COS II?

    But no: Dio Cassius praises Macrinus for refusing to call himself "consul for the second time" upon taking up his first consulship in 218, though he had earlier been awarded consular ornaments as praetorian prefect under Caracalla. Dio tells us further that Plautianus, praetorian prefect under Septimius Severus, had been the first to act less modestly: upon taking up his first consulship he had called himself COS II because he had earlier been awarded consular ornaments.

    Now Macrinus had been called COS on his coins late in 217, clearly on the basis on the consular ornaments that he had received as praetorian prefect under Caracalla. So the mint of Rome was justified in assuming that the emperor would call himself COS II after taking up his first real consulship in 218. Accordingly on 1 January 218 the mint began striking coins for Macrinus as


    But maybe a month later, when news arrived from the emperor in Syria that he did not want the title COS II, the mint of course omitted it from his numismatic titulature, and henceforth called him merely

    TR P II COS.

    So in this special case COS II actually preceded COS!

    After establishing the correct order of Macrinus' titles in 218, it became obvious that his Rome-mint coinage was produced in three successive issues, each containing five or six main reverse types, and that Diadumenian's coinage too was produced in the same three issues, each containing just a single type.

    Approximate dates for these three issues could be deduced from the numbers of denarii of each of them that were present in the Reka Devnia hoard, assuming a fairly steady and continuous production of denarii throughout the reign. The growth of Macrinus' beard on the coins, changes in his bust types, and the introduction of an obverse legend break late in his reign provided further chronological clues. These dates, established as described, were the ones taken over from my article by Künker and others; there was no need to consult me in person!
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    All I can say is that it was supposedly minted in 217-218 AD, and certainly was struck when Diadumenian was only Caesar. (I've read the same information as you about coins struck after he was raised to Augustus being much rarer.)
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