New addition: countermarked Trajan brass as -- let's see your Trajan Æs

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    A new purchase. RIC ii (p. 290) comments on the "brass as" denomination: "The revival of the orichalcum as, which had been introduced by Nero and discontinued by his successors, is not easy to explain. Possibly these coins were designed for circulation in the East. Their issue is confined to the latter part of Trajan's reign."

    Two questions:

    1) Anyone have additional references for the bucranium countermark?
    2) Some sources state this was struck in Rome for use in Syria, some that it was struck in Antioch. What is the latest opinion about this by experts?


    And, of course, post anything you feel is relevant!

    Trajan. A.D. 98-117.
    Roman orichalcum as, 8.49 g, 23.5 mm, 6 h.
    Struck in Rome for circulation in Syria (?); Struck in Antioch (?), AD 115/16.
    Obv: IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GERM, radiate and draped bust right; c/m: bucranium within incuse punch.
    Rev: DAC PARTHICO P M TR POT XX COS VI P P around laurel wreath enclosing large SC.
    Refs: RIC 647; BMCRE 1094; Cohen 123; RCV 3243; Woytek 937v; McAlee 509; Strack 479; BN 953-5. For c/m: Pangerl 63; Howgego 294.

    Notes: Howgego (p. 160) notes six specimens found in the west* and states these finds "are an indication of the movement of coin by troops returning from the east after the Parthian war and do not imply that the countermark was western."
    For a similar example with this countermark, see BMCRE 3, 1095 (pl.45, 4).

    *Mayenne, Bath (Walker, Coins from the Sacred Spring at Bath, plate XXX, no. 13), Richborough (BM 1937 0212 119), Northants (PAS NARC-B683C2), and Coventina's well.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  3. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    here is the entry from Howgego's Greek Imperial Countermarks

  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks so much!
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Interesting info at the Norton Antiquities Database:

    "This coin is an example of a rare sub-group of Trajan's aes coinage. They are probably from an eastern mint (often thought to be Antioch, but this is perhaps unnecessarily precise). The reverse, an S C in a laurel wreath, is associated with that mint, as is the bucranium (bulls-head) countermark. The coins are dated to circa 116 when Trajan was resident in Antioch. The denomination is not really known; although radiate and of oricalcum (brass) they are smaller than dupondii. RIC / BMC label them as asses, but they are labelled as semises by Metcalf (W E Metcalf, 'A note of Trajan's aes from Antioch', American Numismatic Society Museum Notes (1977) 22, 67). They may have circulated as semises (half asses) or as half-dupondii / oricalcum asses (the as was normally struck in copper). Many examples of this type have a 'bucranium' (bulls-head) countermark like this one. There are 20 coins of this denomination at Bath, and one of them has the bucranium countermark. Outside of Syria these coins are only common in the N W provinces suggesting that they may have formed part of an official government consignment of coinage from the East (D R Walker, 'The Roman Coins' in B Cunliffe (ed.) The Temple of Sulis Minerva at Bath, Volume 2, The Finds from the Sacred Springs, Oxford 1988). The degree of wear (often worn flat, as here) suggests that they may have circulated for more than a century after their importation."
  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Interesting. The British Museum thinks this coin may have been minted on Cyprus. Here's their example of my coin without the countermark:

    Trajan brass as BMC example.jpg

    And their example of a similar one with the bucranium countermark:

    Trajan brass as countermarked BMC example.jpg
  7. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Wonderful coins and a very interesting post. I'm becoming very enthusiastic about countermarked ancients, but have a lot to learn. This was a very informative post. Many thanks.
    Roman Collector likes this.
  8. Alegandron

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

    I have bankers marks and countermarks, just not as many as I would love to have. None on Trajan coins...


    RI Trajan Egypt AE Dichalkon Laureate hd L Rhinoceros walking L LI-Z yr 17 CE 113-114 12.9mm 1.25g Emmet 719 var. rhino right
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    These come in two sizes. My larger one (top) is 7.0g while the smaller is 4.3g. They are usually called asses and semises but I agree that the names are not known for certain. Both are orichalcum.
    rc1760bb0216.jpg rc1770bb1055.jpg
    Gary R. Wilson, TIF, galba68 and 5 others like this.
  10. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    The first of these 2 bronze coins was struck in Antioch. The second has the sacred stone, temple or statue of Zeus on reverse ? Trajan is on both obverses. Trajan O          Antioch.jpg Trajanus R      SC.jpg StonTraj O.JPG StonStraja R.JPG
    Gary R. Wilson, TIF, galba68 and 6 others like this.
  11. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    I just picked myself up one of these, based on the conversation introduced in this thread and my interest in Antioch coinage. This one is the smaller type, at 19mm and 3.81g. Mine has no countermark and is very green.

  12. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That's a lovely example!
    Justin Lee likes this.
  13. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

  14. Gary R. Wilson

    Gary R. Wilson Well-Known Member

    Here's my example I obtained just last April. I wasn't aware of the countermarks. Thanks for the information Roman Collector and all.


    Ruler: Trajan (Augustus)
    Coin: VF Brass AS
    IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GERM - Radiate bust right, aegis on left shoulder
    DAC PARTHICO PM TRP XX COS VI PP around oak wreath around SC - S C within wreath
    Mint: Rome (115-116 AD)
    Wt./Size/Axis: 8.39g / 25mm / 180
    • RIC II 648
    Acquisition/Sale: adamfrisco eBay $0.00 04/18
    Notes: Oct 10, 18 - The Gary R. Wilson Collection
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