Max shows off his pecs! (Or is he cross-dressing?)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Severus Alexander, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    A while ago I spotted a group lot of what appeared to be ordinary late 3rd century antoniniani... but a couple of them were far from ordinary! Here's one:

    Maximianus (286-305), antoninianus, issued c. 290. Siscia, second officina, 3.69g, 23mm.
    Obv: IMP C M A VAL MAXIMIANVS P AVG; Radiate bust right, heroically nude, with slight drapery on both shoulders.
    Rev: CONSERVATOR AVGG / B / XXIKOY; Maximianus, holding sceptre, and Hercules, holding club, standing facing one another and sacrificing over tripod between.
    RIC 581var. (bust type)
    cf. Naumann 44 lot 1118, 07.08.2016 (RIC 580var., with the more common obverse legend)

    Check out those pecs! :D When the coin was minted c. 290, representing Diocletian as the "Jovian" emperor and Maximian as the "Herculean" was well established. Hercules is on the reverse, and I suspect the heroically nude portrait of Maximian was meant to allude to Hercules. He was, by all accounts, a big, brawny guy, so the shoe fits pretty well.


    I messaged @TIF about this coin when I got it, showing her a photo of this lovely Naumann example (which sold for 725 EUR!) since I didn't yet have a photo of my coin:

    Her impression was not of a heroic Hercules. She thought it looked like Max was wearing an evening gown and showing off an ample bosom. o_O:D

    The bare bust that RIC actually catalogues is like this:
    Not nearly as impressive. The heroic (or evening gown?) bust doesn't seem to be in RIC at all. Apart from the Naumann example I can find only one other similar portrait, sold by CNG in 2010 (sold for 170 USD on an estimate of 200):

    It looks a bit different again. Is there any drapery on the near (Max's right) shoulder? And is that an aegis, or perhaps a horse on his left shoulder? The pecs are sadly not as prominent.

    However, this CNG coin does allow me to talk about another neat feature. Did you notice the unusual "KOY" in the exergue of my coin? It goes with the "ΛI" in the exergue of the CNG coin just above: they belong to a coded series in which parts of Hercules' name are included, corresponding to the officina: HPKOYΛI, where HP=A, KOY=B, and ΛI = Γ. Neato, right @dougsmit? :smuggrin: (Harder to find than Probus's similar (A)EQVITI series.)

    My coin also has the scarce obverse legend variant, "P AVG" instead of "P F AVG." OK, yeah, that's kinda boring, but we all love to flyspeck when it's our coin, right? :D

    So that was, I think, the coolest coin in the lot, but the other unusual coin was this antoninianus of Carus:

    Ticinum RIC 81(S).jpg
    Carus antoninianus, Ticininum, RIC 81(S)

    A Greek mint worker must have been working at Ticinum because Carus's name is spelled with a K! :D I had been looking for one of these & so was pleased to spot it in the lot and get it cheap.

    Please share your unusual bust types, cross-dressing coins, Maximians, coded series, and spelling errors! (Spelling errors on coins that is... :p)
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  3. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Super finds @Severus Alexander .....I didn't know of the HPKOYΛI officina breakdown series...Great to learn something new thanks...I have one misspelt coin of Licinius I....It was actually my very first ancient coin and didn't notice it until a month later... 1-normal_lictogether-removebg-preview.png
    Licinius I (RIC VII#155 Arles)-Unlisted-
    Licinius I AE Follis 20mm/3.43gr (Emperors name Misspelled)
    Obverse-IMP LICINVS PF AVG- laureate, cuirassed bust right
    Reverse-REV SOLI INVICTO COMITI- Sol standing right, looking left, chlamys across chest and over his left arm, holding globe and raising right hand. C-S across fields
    Exergue-PARL- minted 313-318AD Arles
  4. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    At a quick glance, I always think that it looks like Mars is wearing a short skirt and high heels on this reverse.

    Caracalla, AR Denarius, (18mm., 3.11g), circa 210-213 A.D., Laureate head of Caracalla right/ Rev. MARTI PROPVGNATORI, Mars hurrying left, holding trophy and spear. RIC 223.
    Orielensis, ominus1, Bing and 6 others like this.
  5. Alegandron

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

    MAXIMIAN (Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Herculius Augustus )

    RI MAXIMIANUS HERCULIUS 286-305 CE antoninianus Antioch 292-295 CE Pre-Reform CONCORDIA MILITVM Jupiter RIC V 621 H-officina 8
  6. TIF

    TIF Well that didn't last long :D Supporter

    It's Miraclebra Max! :D


    Hmm, that reminds me. I need to check my AMCC2 bids.
    Orielensis, ominus1, Bing and 5 others like this.
  7. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    That’s a great catch!
    I don’t see why both ideas can’t be right and still fit the Herculean symbology. Remember how Herakles became the slave of Queen Omphale of Lydia and she made him wear women’s dresses? Personally, I’d call the bust type “heroic evening gown”.
    Severus Alexander, ominus1 and TIF like this.
  8. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I checked mine. :banghead:
    My favorite is the Maximianus coded ΛI but the cutter placed a crossbar on the lambda so it reads AI. In addition to multiple bust types, these also come with the officina number in three different positions (before XXI, after XXI and in field)
    ru3550bb1519.jpg ru3555fd3454.jpg
    I assume all three busts and all three officina positions exist randomly assorted among the three officinae and two rulers so a full set would be 54 coins not counting the AI error. It will take a while to find them. I am not trying to get them all but felt the urge to have the three officinae for each ruler.
  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

  10. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Why is Mars wearing a cocktail dress?

    Rom – Septimius Severus, denar, Mars, eastern mint.png
    Septimius Severus, Roman Empire, denarius, 198–202 AD, Antiochia mint (previously attributed to Laodicea ad mare). Obv: L SEPT SEV AVG IMP XI PART MAX, head of Septimius Severus, laureate, r. Rev: MARTI [VICTO]RI; , Mars, helmeted, in military attire, standing r., resting r. hand on shield and holding reversed spear in l. hand. 19mm, 3.01g. Ref: RIC IV.1 Septimius Severus 508.
    Johndakerftw, TIF, Curtisimo and 2 others like this.
  11. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Congrat, great find and looks very rare.
    Catalog: RIC 118; Coh. 64
    Material: Bronze
    Weight: 7.11 g
    Maximianus I. Herculius, 2nd Government 307-310 AD
    Aquileia, 1st Officina, 307 AD
    Vs .: IMP C MAXIMIANVS PF AVG, head with laurel wreath on the
    reverse: CONSERV VRB SVAE / AQP, six columnar Temple with cult image of the Roma

    ex Münzzentrum Müller, auction 72, 1992, lot 533
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  12. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    Maximian has been hitting the gym! Here's mine... with not quite as cool of a bust. This coin has fun detail.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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  13. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    This one has a Genius with some great abs.
    Johndakerftw, Bing, TIF and 2 others like this.
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