Featured My Vetranio experience

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by dougsmit, Aug 3, 2020.

  1. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    About 30 years ago I wanted a 'real' Vetranio. I find it upsetting now as I did then how many dealers peddle coins of Constantius II 'issued by Vetranio' as if they were 'real' Vetranios because they share the types and branch mint. In my book, coins of a person need to have the name or at least the portrait of the person. There are coins inscribed with the name of Vetranio.

    I found a very worn but clear Vetranio AE2 with clear legends and the best of his reverses HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS Which was the then current way of saying By this sign, you will conquer. I wish I could show you a photo of that coin but I made a mistake and overwrote that file when I got the higher grade coin below. I was thrilled with the upgrade and quickly sold the lower grade coin seeing no reason to keep both.

    My thrill with the above coin disappeared when I discovered it was a fake. There are quite a few of these on the fake reporting pages although there does seem to be some question on exactly how they were made. I believe most often seen is 'lost wax' casting. They are dangerous fakes. My seller immediately refunded the coin when I returned it so I was back to having no Vetranio.

    A year or so later I found another one in my price bracket but it was the 'other' (read: "lesser") reverse: CONCORDIA MILITVM. I do find it interesting that this type has two Chi-Rhos regularly more clear than the single one on the HOC SIGNO coin but I did still consider it a lesser coin than the one I wanted.

    Today the post office came through with rapid and safe delivery of the coin I wanted to replace the one I had foolishly sold and replaced with the fake. It was the lesser of two offered in last week's CNG Electronic sale (473, lot 366)

    The better was lot 367. I was the only bidder on the one I won but there were 7 bids on the other coin.

    This illustrates several points I consider interesting. My coin has considerable flatness on the reverse which explains its lack of popularity. The 'better' coin selling for well over double mine had better reverse figures but not as clear legend. I wanted the coin for that legend. If you want a bargain coin, consider bidding on the lesser of the offerings in a big sale like CNG. Many of their bidders would not think of taking the lesser coin so they bid only on the better one. Had they both been available for what I paid, I still would have selected the one I got. Your opinions may differ.


    In fact, there was one other thing here that affected my choice. The other coin was a .ESIS* just like the fake. Mine was a gamma (.GSIS.). The better coin is not one of the known fakes die matched to the one I returned BUT 'once bitten, twice shy'. I am not in the market for further Vetranio coins now (I hope) unless these turn out to be fakes, too. The fakes were very good, IMHO, and I would never have suspected the coin were it not for the multiple identical copies in the fake databases. I do not know these coins so I have to trust the seller.

    Post your Vetranios.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
    galba68, Spaniard, StevePM and 45 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Hi Doug, you've got my sympathy where adventures with fakes are involved. ...No, frankly too embarrassing to get into.
    ...One reason I'm shy of ancients, at least online. With medievals, you don't get the same tradition of faking, and the ones there are (thank you, notably from eastern Europe, via ebay) are generally much easier to spot. Ironically or not, the engraving styles end up being uniform enough (thank you, mostly punches) to be effectively unmistakable.
    Meantime, Congratulations on the Vetranio! Your emphasis on the integrity of the legends is especially resonant.
  4. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Congrats on the real Vetranio, nice coin and interesting as you point out that the nicer legend is on your coin. I don't have a coin with VETRANIO in the legend, but I do have one of Constantius II that Sear describes as: "This type was issued under the stop-gap emperor, Vetranio who opposed Magnentius' eastern advances before abdicating in favor of Constantius II on 25 December AD 350. The remarkable reverse legend "In this sign you will be the victor", with its clear allusion to Constantine's vision before his victory over Maxentius in AD 312, provides firm evidence of Vetranio's loyalty to Constantius" (RC&TV p.187).

    This one appealed to me for the link to this time period, the obverse portrait and the ragged flan (that others might see as detracting).
    Constantius II Vetranio.jpg
    Constantius II Æ Centenionalis, Siscia, AD 350
    Struck under Vetranio
    DN CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, A behind, * in front
    Size: 5.64g, 22.5mm
    Rev: HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, Constantius standing left, in military attire, holding labarum and spear, being crowned by Victory; A in left field, •ASIS• in exergue
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
    galba68, Spaniard, Edessa and 20 others like this.
  5. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Vetranio. 350 AD. Æ Centenionalis (22mm). Siscia mint, 2nd officina. Obv: D N VETRA NIO P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; A to left. Rev: CONCORDIA MILITVM, Vetranio, in military attire, standing left, holding a labarum, ornamented with a Christogram, in each hand; star above; A in left field; •BSIS✴ in exergue. RIC VIII 281; LRBC 1168; Hunter –.
    Spaniard, Edessa, finny and 19 others like this.
  6. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    One of the only emperor of these times who died of natural cause. Constantius II spared his life and gave him a peaceful retirement. He enjoyed it for 6 years.

    Vetranio AE2 Thessalonica
    24mm 5.03g RIC 126a
    Spaniard, Edessa, finny and 18 others like this.
  7. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I'd never heard of Vetranio until now. I just finished reading the short wiki page on him. Pretty interesting.
    Great coins all, especially @dougsmit and @Sulla80 with the depictions of Victory!
  8. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    No shame there from my point of view! I am happy discovering the many things I don't know :)
    finny, +VGO.DVCKS, Broucheion and 5 others like this.
  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    An entertaining and cautionary tale, @dougsmit !

    I have only one of this emperor. The portrait makes him look criminal:

    Vetranio AD 350
    Roman AE maiorina; 4.77 g, 24mm
    Siscia, AD 350
    Obv: D N VETRA-NIO P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; A to left
    Rev: CONCORDIA MILITVM, Vetranio standing left, holding labarum in each hand; star above; A to left; in exergue: •ΓSIS✷
    Refs: RIC 281; LRBC 1168; Cohen 1; RCV 18903.
    Spaniard, Edessa, finny and 20 others like this.
  10. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I like that new one, Doug. Congrats. I don't have a HOC SIGNO, but here's mine with Vetranio's name misspelled VERTANIO, something that seemed to have happened occasionally at Thessalonica. (Embarrassing fact: You won yours just 6 days and already have it photographed and written up. Mine was also from CNG, but 6 years ago, and I still haven't gotten around to photographing it. :shame:)

    AE2. 4.93g, 24mm. Thessalonica mint, AD 350 AD. RIC VIII Thessalonica 126 var. (obv. legend); Hirsch 258, lot 2707; CNG inv. no. 161220. O: D N VERTAN-IO (sic!) P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right. R: VIRTVS EXERCITVM, Emperor standing left, wearing military attire, holding labarum and shield; TSA in exergue.
    Spaniard, Edessa, finny and 18 others like this.
  11. Alegandron

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


    AE3 17mm 1.78g
    Obv: DN VETRA - NIO PF AVG; laureate, draped cuirassed bust r.
    REV: GLORIA RO - MANORVM; Emperor standing facing holding standard and spear.
    EXE: gamma SIS Siscia mint.
    REF: RIC VIII Siscia 294, scarce, 350AD.
    Ex: @seth77
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
    galba68, Spaniard, Edessa and 14 others like this.
  12. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    here's a Vetranio without a beard...he looks more like Constantius II

    A.D. 350
    22x24mm 3.5gm
    D N VETRANIO P F AVG; laureate, draped & cuirassed bust right.
    CONCORDIA MILITVM; Vetranio standing facing, holding labarum inscribed with Chi-Rho in each hand, star above, A in left field, B in right.
    In ex. •TS∆•
    RIC VIII Thessalonica 132

    Spaniard, Edessa, finny and 16 others like this.
  13. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  14. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  15. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I think your bidding strategy was very wise, and congrats on snagging the HOC SIGNO type. I got mine many years ago when I visited the CNG shop, with stars in my eyes:

    Screen Shot 2020-08-03 at 11.10.52 PM.jpg

    It's a dreaded •ESIS*! :nailbiting::smuggrin:
    galba68, Spaniard, Factor and 15 others like this.
  16. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Congratulations @dougsmit! And if even a veteran like yourself gets tricked by a fake, what hope is there for us? :)
    And auctions don't make sense. I think we conclude that. It indeed gives us the opportunity to go for a bargain, or coin that otherwise would be out of reach. Example, my Petillius Capitolinus coin, posted yesterday, is weakly struck. It must have scared of others, because that's the reason I could grab it :)
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  17. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Vetranio is one I've never had.
  18. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    I’m glad someone finally dared to speak about their Vetranio experience.
    I had almost surpressed mine, although it wasn’t very traumatic at all: I just went into Numisma coin shop in Oslo, looked at the coins and thought «there’s one I don’t have», and bought it for 80$.
    This was early in my coin collecting career, so I had no awareness of what I was buying at all. Just knew it was Vetranio.
    IMG_0385 2.JPG

    Just like the bidders on Dougs auction, I went for a good portrait, while letters and reverse are pretty shabby. I have identified it as RCV 18903, Siscia mint. It looks a lot like the one @Severus Alexander posted, but I’m not able to make out the mintmark well enough to see if it’s ESIS or GSIS or whatever.
    So, while Dougs Vetranio experience is one of planning, awareness and learning, mine is probably the exact opposite... But good to get a reminder that it might be an idea to try to get some of the crud off the reverse legend, and get some brighter pics.

    Congrats to Doug with the new coin!
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
    Spaniard, Edessa, Andres2 and 10 others like this.
  19. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    My modest Vetranio:
    (Bronze) AE3
    Thessalonica mint, A.D. 350
    Rev: VIRTVS EXERCITVM - Emperor, standing, facing left, holding labarum (standard with Chi-Rho) and resting hand on shield
    TESA in exergue
    RIC 138
    18x20mm, 1.4g

    A similar situation exists for Aureolus. I have seen many coins with the image and name of Postumus on the obverse listed as "minted by Aureolus." Wildwinds even has a page of them:

    The big difference is that genuine coins of Vetranio actually exist and, with a little patience, are relatively easy to acquire. As far as I know, there are no uncontested coins in the name of Aureolus. Perhaps that's why so many collectors (myself included) are more willing to call a coin in the name of Postumus an "Aureolus."
    Spaniard, Edessa, Andres2 and 10 others like this.
  20. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    The fakes of LRBs can be scary, but I'm glad you were able to get a genuine one!

    Here is my Vetranio, genuine as far as I am able to tell.

    Vetranio hoc signo victor eris.jpg
    galba68, Spaniard, Edessa and 9 others like this.
  21. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Nice portrait! :D Not a die match, but surely the same engraver. It's a good bet it's the same officina, then.
    +VGO.DVCKS, svessien and Jovian363 like this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page