New coin - Trajan AE surprise

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by The Meat man, Apr 2, 2024.

  1. The Meat man

    The Meat man Well-Known Member

    You know how sometimes you see a deal that looks so good, you just buy it without doing your research? Yeah, most times that doesn't end well - but occasionally you get a happy ending.

    I was browsing MA-Shops and spotted a coin labeled as a "Trajan As" but was unlike any type I'd seen before. The coin was worn and rough, but the price was so low - after doing some lightning searches on OCRE and ACSearch without results - I decided that whatever it was it must be rare enough to excuse an impulse buy.

    After the coin was safely secured I started digging in for some serious attribution research. And I got nowhere - couldn't find anything even remotely similar. Then I realized that I'd been looking in the wrong spot - the coin was a provincial issue.

    It still took me a long time searching but then, I found an entry on RPC Online - a perfect match! And no wonder the coin's identity had eluded me for so long. The coin is apparently a just-identified type, with the first specimen sold by Rex Numismatics in September of 2023. The auction house listing suggested it might be the first known example and it was submitted to RPC online, who created a post-publication entry for it: Vol III No. 2906A.

    It would seem that RPC also could not find the type in any other reference; at least none were given in the RPC listing and I assume they would check available references. All RPC did was note that it was missing from "Dalaison & Delrieux, Néapolis-Néoclaudiopolis".

    Aside from the extreme rarity, it's an interesting type design, depicting a bound captive (which RPC identifies, logically enough, as the personification of Dacia.) This motif of a bound, seated captive is found on a few other provincial coins of Trajan but it is not common. (Imperial issues are another matter.) The portrait is also decent. Although the coin has seen better days, I am happy to have acquired such a rare piece for what was essentially the price of a McDonald's meal!

    Thanks for looking! Feel free to post your own "happy ending" impulse buys, lucky rarities, or any other comments you deem appropriate. :)

    Trajan AE Neoclaudiopolis Captive.jpg
    Time of Trajan
    AE (26.02mm, 11.44g, 6h)
    Struck AD 109/10
    Obverse: ΑΥΤ ΝΕΡ ΤΡΑΙΑΝΟϹ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ϹΕΒ ΓΕΡΜ ΔΑΚΙΚΟϹ, laureate and cuirassed bust of Trajan right, seen from rear
    Reverse: ΝΕΟΚΛΑΥΔΙΟΠΟΛΕΙΤωΝ ΕΤΟΥϹ, Dacia, bound, seated on rocks right; ΡΙΕ in exergue
    References: RPC III 2906A.2 (this coin)
    An interesting and extremely rare type, apparently unknown except for this coin and one other specimen, both cited by RPC Online.
    Codera, GinoLR, Factor and 16 others like this.
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  3. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    What an interesting coin @The Meat man - I really like find/research stories like this.

    A while back I found an interesting-looking coin on eBay that I bought without knowing anything about it. A lot of research went into figuring out what I could - but the most recent reference I could find was from the 1890s! So I guess it is safe to say it is rare:

    Roman Provincial Æ from Apollonia, Illyria issued for Caracalla, Hermes on the reverse. The AΠOΛΛωNIATAN legend establishes location. It is a big coin, sestertius size, 21.71 grams, 30 mm. Here it is:


    This is one of the prettiest Provincials in my mostly ugly collection - the portrait of a young Caracalla is very well done, and the flan preparation is so good I suspect it was modified for jewelry - it looks like it was struck in a collar. It is possible it is a modern fake. There is no edge seam, but it is very round for an ancient.

    There are other Severan AEs from Apollonia, including this one with a Hermes reverse for Septimius Severus: Wildwinds has a big Geta, different god, but the portrait is in a similar fine style. But in general, not a lot of coins were issued in Apollonia during the Imperial era. Here it is:

    My problem is that I cannot find another example anywhere, except in a book from 1893. Provincials from Apollonia were apparently issued rather infrequently (see Wildwinds). RPC online does not include Caracalla yet, so that was no help to me. I enjoy it when forum members use very old references (see recent 18th C. reference Faustina posts by @Roman Collector). In this case, an old reference is the only clue I have about this coin. The book is on Google, fully scanned: Julius von Schlosser, Beschreibung der Altgreichischen Münzen I: Thessalien, Illyrien, Dalmatien und die Inseln des Adriatischen Meeres, Epeiros. (Vienna, 1893).ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ+IATAN+caracalla&source=bl&ots=tKQhIWHhqg&sig=ACfU…#v=onepage&q=ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ IATAN caracalla&f=false

    As I don't read German, or understand old coin references, I put together these notes:

    Julius von Schlosser book - title page and the full page on which I think mine is described:


    Close-up of my my coin (Nummer 138 - I left in Nummer 137 for the obverse legend), with a column header on top:


    Description, Apollonia, Caracalla/Hermes (page 38, nummer 138; Englished via Google Translate):

    1st column: Nummer (number): 138

    2nd column: Metall u. Grösse (metal and size): K30

    3rd column: Gewicht (weight) blank

    Description obverse: AKMAYPH ANTωNEINOC Dgl. Legende verwischt ("legend blurred"), Berlobeerte Büste des jugendlichen Caracalla, n. r. ("bust of the youthful Caracalla with berries, n. r.").

    Description reverse: AΠOΛΛωN IATAN, Hermes, nackt, mit Beutel, Korykain u. Chlamys, n. l. stehend. ("Hermes, naked, with pouch, Korykain and Chlamys, l. standing.")

    I am not sure I am interpreting this - for one thing, there is no weight, and I am not entirely sure what size "K30" means - I hope it means 30mm. Tafel III plates do not have this coin shown, unfortunately. The legend does not quite match, but von Schlosser notes Legende verwischt ("legend blurred"), so that doesn't worry me too much:

    von Schlosser's legend: AKMAYPH ANTωNEINOC

    My coin's legend (mostly there, but hard to see in places): AKMAYP(no H) ANTωNE(INOC?)

    I'd love to fine a more recently-described example. But for now, Julius von Schlosser will have to do.
  4. philologus_1

    philologus_1 Supporter! Supporter

    Nice, serendipitous surprises! Congrats @The Meat man and @Marsyas Mike ! :)

    I've had only a few such occasions. The first was when I had wanted a bronze Bar Kochba issue for a long while, but for budget reasons I was waiting for a decent example at a good price. I didn't really care which type or which year. Finally a new listing hit VCoins that fit the bill, so I bought it with zero hesitation for fear someone would snag it first. It was listed as a small module, Year 1, with Eleazar.

    Upon its arrival I discovered it was a Year 3 not Year 1. And Eleazar wasn't the priest that year, Simon was! That meant the coin was a rare type! :-D To quote Isadore Goldstein, Zuzim, Inc., (who BTW was not the dealer who mis-attributed the coin)... "What actually took place here is that the coin was struck from hybrid dies, utilizing an obverse Eleazar die from year one and a reverse die from the third year."

    So, instead of the Hendin 5th ed. #1440 (6th: #6467) as per the listing, it was actually a "rare" Hendin 5th ed. #1438 (6th: #6465). My budget buy turned into a super-bargain buy! :-D
    Struck 134/5 CE, on an oblong 21x18 mm. flan, weighing 5.8 gr.
    (The paste below is from David Hendin's, Guide to Biblical Coins, 6th ed.)
  5. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Very interesting and I like the coin itself.
    The Meat man likes this.
  6. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    Excellent detailed descriptions you all are sharing. Love those!
    The Meat man likes this.
  7. Cheech9712

    Cheech9712 Every thing is a guess

    That’s wonderful
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  8. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    Small correction @Marsyas Mike:

    "Berlobeerte Büste" means laureate bust, it does not translate to "berries"
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  9. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Thank you! My German is pretty much confined to old USA World War II movies(
    Hände hoch!) And Google Translate, which is sometimes rather creative.
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  10. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    that's so funny that it translates it to "berries" - guess it still doesn't have AI :D

    My own"happy ending" is the coin I asked about last week in this thread:

    It seems to be quite rare.
    In the reference Campana ... _a_C_7_d_C_ there are only two examples and there is no mention of the bukranium on the reverse at right:

    Ob.: Head of Artemis wearing stephane, to l. Border of dots.
    Rev.: ΑΛΑΙΣAΣ-APX (clockwise) strung bow and quiver; boukranion at r. Border of dots.
    Campana 24a (no bukranion); CNS I, 14-14/1; SNG ANS 1191; HGC 2, 206.
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