Featured Numbered Officinae on the Rome Mint Issues of Gallienus

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Apr 24, 2020.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Well-Known Member

    During the reign of Gallienus, the Rome mint introduced a system of putting officina marks on coins. This may have been for purposes of quality control, helping to trace irregularities in coin weights and alloys.

    Here are examples from each officina. Let's see your coins of Gallienus or Salonina with officina marks!

    At first, the Rome mint used a letter abbreviation for the Latin number of the officina, such as P, S, T, or Q (prima, secunda, tertia, quarta) for the first four officinae, and the Roman numerals V and VI for the fifth and sixth. They could not use the letter abbreviation for "fifth," quinta, because it would have been indistinguishable from Q for quarta, or for "sixth," sexta, because it would have been indistinguishable from S for secunda.

    P (=Prima, meaning "first"):
    Gallienus VIRTVS AVG Mars globe and spear antoninianus.jpg

    S (=Secunda, meaning "second"):
    Salonina AVG IN PACE Antoninianus 2.jpg

    T (=Tertia, meaning "third"):
    Gallienus FELICIT AVG antoninianus.jpg

    Q (=Quarta, meaning "fourth"):
    Salonina Pudicitia standing Antoninianus.jpg

    V (="fifth"):
    Gallienus PAX AVG Rome radiate head.jpg

    VI (="sixth):
    Gallienus AEQVITAS AVG.jpg

    But by late in the reign, the number of officinae was expanded to 12, necessitating a change in the numbering system. As Jim Phelps* explains, "officinae numbers 1-8 used Greek numerals, while 9 used Nu (N), which normally meant 50. The normal Greek letter for 9 was Theta (Θ), but this was also the first letter of the Greek word for death, Thanatos, and seems to have been considered unlucky. Officinae 10-12 went back to typical Roman numerals, providing a mixed and sometimes confusing pattern." I personally think Phelps errs in his explanation for the ninth officina; the most likely explanation for using N for nine is not that it is the Greek letter nu, but that it is an abbreviation for the Latin nona, meaning "ninth."

    Phelps, discussing coins of the so-called "zoo series," explains that "each officina produced a different coin within the series, with some producing a second, less common type also." He provides this table, which makes this readily apparent:

    Gallienus zoo officinae chart.JPG

    A (Alpha, officina 1):
    Gallienus SOLI CONS AVG winged horse antoninianus.jpg

    B (Beta, officina 2):
    Gallienus ABVNTANTIA AVG Antoninianus.jpg

    Γ (Gamma, officina 3):
    Gallienus AETERNITAS AVG Antoninianus.jpg


    * Jim Phelps, “NumisWiki - The Collaborative Numismatics Project - Thousands Of Online Numismatic Books, Articles And Pages. Gallienus+Zoo.” Forum Ancient Coins, www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Gallienus%2BZoo.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Well-Known Member

    Δ (Delta, officina 4):
    Salonina IVNONI CONS AVG doe Antoninianus.jpg

    Є (Epsilon, officina 5):
    Gallienus VBERITAS AVG antoninianus.jpg

    Ϛ (Stigma, officina 6; note the different shape from the S in the earlier secunda):
    Gallienus IOVI CONS AVG goat antoninianus.jpg

    Z (Zeta, officina 7):
    Gallienus ORIENS AVG antoninianus.jpg

    H (Eta, officina 8):
    Gallienus SECVRIT PERPET antoninianus.jpg

    N (Nona, meaning "ninth"):
    Salonina IVNO CONSERVAT.jpg

    X (Officina 10):
    Gallienus DIANAE CONS AVG stag walking left antoninianus.jpg

    XI (Officina 11):
    Gallienus LIBERTAS AVG.jpg

    XII (Officina 12):
    Gallienus DIANAE CONS AVG gazelle antoninianus.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
  4. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

  5. JulesUK

    JulesUK Well-Known Member

    So much love for Gallienus.
    24. Gall leopard.JPG

    ZETA (Assumed)

    29. rev.JPG

    QUARTA (Salonina)

    Delta (Salonina)
    35-Salanina Fecunditas combo.jpg

    STIGMA (Gallienus)
    42. Gall Goat.JPG

    Attached Files:

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  6. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    So does no officina mark mean it's an early strike from the Rome mint o_O?

    RIC V 672.jpg
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  7. Alegandron

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

    GALLIENUS Officina / Et Al

    Not my area, so I will need some help...

    RI Gallienus 253-268 CE Ant Milan mint Laetitia
    S -secunda

    RI Gallienus 253-268 CE Ant Abundantia
    S-secunda (or is that '8' for a Magic Eight-Ball?)

    RI Gallienus Silvered Æ Ant CE 263-264 AVG rad cuiras R Hercules R lion skin club star RIC 673
    STAR - Extraterrestrial - probly Alpha Centauri ?

    RI Gallienus AE silvered Ant 21mm 2.7g Radiate CuirassedR - Jupiter L tbolt X RIC 214
    Blobbus Minorus...?

    RI Salonina wife of Gallienus 254-268 CE AE Ant 3.61g 20mm Rome mint 267-268 CE crescent Deer Walking delta RIC V 16
    Delta / Quarta - Phelps Secondary Series - Doe/Elk/Capreolus - JUNO

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  8. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    When designing a coin to be officina numbered, should we try not to overlap the space used by the other legend? VI falls between V and G of AVG.
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  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Well-Known Member

    Same thing on this one!
    Gallienus LAETITIA AVG V antoninianus.jpg
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  10. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    image A.jpg B
    image B.jpg Epsilon
    image E.jpg T
    image T.jpg Z
    image Z.jpg
    image XI.jpg
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  11. Ryro

    Ryro Trying to remove supporter status

    Wow! Some wonderful coins and I’ve learned something new about a guy I’ve plenty of coins of. Thanks for this thread @Roman Collector!

    So according to RC we’ve got Alpha (I’ve seen this type described as both panther and tiger. Anyone know which is correct?)
    D563F168-66FD-4C5C-B376-1BBDAB120C99.jpeg Prob Nona or maybe Zeta?
    could be Nona looking at her in hand
    Hmmm not seeing anything on this one
    C3CE2C5C-6938-4F56-A5D8-08888342FD85.jpeg VI maybe?
    An obverse officina of 1866;)
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  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting this, along with the link to the list of Gallienus zoo coins and mintmarks. I had never seen such a list before, as opposed to the individual catalog entries in RCV.

    The only one I have, which I've posted before, is the tigress coin; you can see what's left of the stripes that make it a tigress rather than a panther.* I'm finally persuaded that the mintmark is, in fact, a 2nd Officina "B" -- even though it looks like a "D," without any hint of the indentation that would make it a "B" -- now that I know that the series used a Greek Delta rather than a Latin "D" to signify the 4th officina.

    Gallienus - Panther or Tigress - jpg version.jpg

    Detail Gallienus - Panther or Tigress - jpg version (2).jpg

    I've often thought about buying other coins in the Gallienus zoo series. The problem is that most of the inexpensive examples don't look very good, whereas the few truly nice examples tend to sell for rather more than I really want to spend.

    *Regarding @Ryro's "which is correct" question about panther vs. tigress, the answer is "both," even though the catalogs acknowledge only the panther and use the same catalog number for both types. See my post at https://www.cointalk.com/threads/ojs-big-cat-sanctuary.357879/#post-4313620, and @Roman Collector's post at https://www.cointalk.com/threads/ojs-big-cat-sanctuary.357879/#post-4313252, in the "OJ's Big Cat Sanctuary" thread from earlier this month, with @Roman Collector's link to Jim Phelps's NumisWiki article at http://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Liber Pater. The article demonstrates conclusively (in my opinion) the existence of the two different types.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
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  13. Sulla80

    Sulla80 Well-Known Member

    Nice post @Roman Collector, here's another LIBERTAS AVG from officina 11:
    Gallienus LIbertas Aug.jpg
    Gallienus, AD 253-268, Rome, Æ Antoninianus
    Obv: GALLIENVS AVG, radiate, and cuirassed bust right
    Rev: LIBERTAS AVG, Libertas standing left, holding pileus and sceptre, XI to right
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
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  14. Ryro

    Ryro Trying to remove supporter status

    Thanks Donna! Now the question becomes, is mine a panther or a tigress?
    Though, as mine is in the aforementioned "inexpensive examples don't look very good" category, we may never know.
    The more I look at it the more I'm changing my mind. It's not an alpha it's a beta!
    Anyway, indulge yourself and get some cheapies. Can't have that AMAZING tigress all by herself
  15. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    I think this issue is from the "Asian mint" (apparently Antioch). The "Eastern" issues of Gallienus don't follow the same system of numbered officinae indicated on the coins.

    Rom – Gallienus, Antoninian, Virtus Augusti (Herkules).png
    Gallienus, Roman Empire, BI antoninian, 260–268 AD, Asian mint (Antioch?). Obv: GALLIENVS P F AVG; bust of Gallienus, cuirassed, radiate, r. Rev: VIRTVS AVGVSTI; Hercules, standing r., holding club in right hand and lion-skin in left hand (type of the Farnese Hercules). 21.5mm, 4.01g. Ref: RIC V Gallienus 672.

    Unsurprisingly, Valerian's antoniniani from the Rome mint appear to follow the earlier numbering system, too. Here is a humble example with a "T" for the third ("tertia") officina.

    Rom – Valerian, Antoninian, Pax.png
    Valerian I, Roman Empire, AE/BI antoninian, 256–257 AD, Rome mint. Obv: IMP C P LIC VAL[ERIANVS P F] AVG; bust of Valerian, radiate, draped, cuirassed, r. Rev: [P]AX AVG[G]; Pax standing l., holding olive-branch and sceptre; in l. field, T. 20mm, 2.09g. Ref: RIC V Valerian 109.
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  16. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    Confession: I just ordered a couple of them about an hour ago!
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  17. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Orielensis, Many thanks for that info :D! I added it to the slab insert so I don't forget.
    Galienus, RIC 672.jpg
    RIC V 672.jpg
  18. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    The two coins I ordered arrived today, and here they are:

    Gallienus, Billon Antoninianus, 267-268 AD, Rome Mint (5th Officina). Obv. Radiate head right, GALLIENVS AVG /Rev. Doe walking right, head turned back looking left, DIANAE CONS AVG; Ɛ in exergue. RIC V 177, RSC IV 154; cf. Sear RCV III 10199 (same reverse; different obverse legend). 21 mm., 2.72 g., 6 h.

    Gallienus doe jpg version.jpg

    Gallienus, Billon Antoninianus, 267-268 AD, Rome Mint (11th Officina). Obv. Radiate head right, GALLIENVS AVG /Rev. Gazelle* walking right, DIANAE CONS AVG; XI in exergue. RIC V 181, RSC IV 157, Wolkow 14a11**, Cunetio 1401, Sear RCV III 10201. 21 mm., 3.24 g., 6 h.

    * See http://www.fredericweber.com/GALLIEN/emission_du_bestiaire/page2.htm; Jim Phelps, The Coins of Gallienus ' "Zoo" Collection
    (http://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Gallienus Zoo).

    ** Cédric Wolkow, Catalogue des monnaies romaines - Gallien - L'émission dite "Du Bestiaire" - atelier de Rome (édition 2019)

    Gallienus gazelle jpg version.jpg

    My description of the animal on this coin as a gazelle -- rather than a "stag," which is what the seller called it, and what the animals on the Gallienus zoo coins issued by the 11th Officina are called in RIC V, RSC IV, and Sear RCV III -- requires some elaboration.

    First and most obviously, the animal doesn't look anything at all like a stag. Stags have antlers, not unbranched horns like the ones on this animal -- let alone small ones, probably indicating that this animal is a female. Stags are male by definition (for anyone who might have been living under a rock somewhere), and they look like how they're depicted on this Philip I Saecvlares Avgg coin of mine, issued 20 years earlier:

    Philip I stag reverse Antoninien 248  Rome (23,5mm, 4,32g, 1h) AU_AU _ MA-Shops. jpg image.jpg

    In addition, all the more recent authorities state that the animal on the 11th Officina zoo coins of Gallienus (whether it faces right or left) is a gazelle. See http://www.fredericweber.com/GALLIEN/emission_du_bestiaire/page2.htm:

    Gazelle right

    The Jim Phelps article cited earlier in this thread agrees; see http://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Gallienus Zoo:

    Officina/Primary Type:

    XI 11 / Gazelle (Diana)

    I believe that the Cedric Wolkow book reaches the same conclusion; I don't have it yet but have ordered a copy from cgb in Paris. (Hopefully I'll receive it one of these months!)

    Finally, the animal on the 11th Officina Gallienus zoo coins has consistently been described as a gazelle rather than a stag in auctions in the last few years.

    See this example of an Officina XI coin sold in a Numismatik Naumann auction in 2014, described in the sale as a gazelle (acsearch image no. 2008819)

    Gallienus - Gazelle - Officina XI -Numismatik Naumann 2014 - acsearch.info-image.html-id-2008819.jpg
    The same is true of this coin sold in a Munzen & Medaillen auction in 2018 (acsearch image no. 4748396)

    Gallienus - Gazelle -  XI - Munzen & Medaillen 2018 - acsearch 4748396.jpg
    As well as of this coin sold as part of a lot of Gallienus zoo coins in a CNG e-auction in April 2019; see https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=379446:

    Gallienus - Gazelle - XI - cngarchives - CoinID - 379446.jpg

    All were described as gazelles, not stags. I think it's safe to say that mine shows a gazelle too.

    In any event, the doe and the gazelle have joined the tigress in my Gallienus zoo. Not in the same enclosure, though.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
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  19. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    The small book on the Gallienus zoo coins that I ordered from France about a week ago -- Cédric Wolkow, Catalogue des monnaies romaines - Gallien - L'émission dite "Du Bestiaire" - atelier de Rome (BNumis, édition 2019) -- arrived today, and it definitely looks like it was worth the €14.90 plus postage it cost, for anyone interested in this series. It's 4 1/2" x 7" and has 134 pp. plus 55 plates of black-and-white photos. Even if you don't read French, the tables and charts are simple enough to decipher, and there's also an English-language "Consultation Guide" near the beginning. See https://www.cgb.fr/catalogue-des-mo...-rome-edition-2019-wolkow-cedric,lc179,a.html for a description.

    Here are images of the cover page, the title page, the table of contents, the first page of an 8-page section of drawings of obverse bust types, and the initial pages of the sections for the right-facing doe (with its head turned) and the right-facing gazelle, making clear that the two new coins I bought (described above) bear the Wolkow numbers 10a5 and 14a11, respectively. The book also provides the catalogue numbers for each zoo coin type from Göbl MIR [Moneta Imperii Romani] Band 36.

    Wolkow cover.jpg

    Wolkow title page.jpg

    Wolkow Table of Contents.jpg

    Wolkow table of bust types, first page.jpg

    Wolkow doe right, first page.jpg

    Wolkow gazelle right, first 2 pages.jpg

    If anyone wants me to look up their particular example of a Gallienus zoo coin to see what its Wolkow number is, please let me know and I'll find the time to do it, in the reasonably near future!
  20. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Well-Known Member

    That book looks great!
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  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    It's certainly comprehensive! The one odd thing is that for all the detail it has, it doesn't acknowledge that some of the panther coins are actually tigresses. The author must not have seen the relevant article by Jim Phelps on the forumancientcoins website.
    JulesUK and Roman Collector like this.
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