Obscure Ancient coins...

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by CoinBlazer, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. CoinBlazer

    CoinBlazer Numismatic Enthusiast

    What are some not well known Ancient coins, designs , mints, or other characteristic (or whole coin) or so on that perhaps even the most seasoned of classical numismatist may not be too familiar with?
    I hope to make this educational so feel free to explain a bit its obscurity and story behind it.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    Here's one... the mint of Amiens or Ambianum in modern northern France.

    Here's a quick blurb from FORVM:
    "The short-lived mint at Amiens was opened during the revolt of Magnentius in 350 A.D. Some ancient sources state that Magnentius' father was a Briton and his mother a Frank and Ambianum is believe to have been Magnentius' birthplace. The mint at Ambianum struck for Magnentius and his brother Decentius. It remained open briefly after Magnentius was defeated, striking for Constantius II and Constantius Gallus. Dates of operation: 350 - 353 A.D. Mintmarks: AMB, AMBI."

    Coins from this mint are fairly rare. Here's one from Constantius II minted after putting down the revolt of Magnentius:

    Constantius II
    Obv: DN CONSTAN-TIVS PF AVG, pearl-diademed, draped & cuirassed bust right;
    A behind bust
    Rev: FEL TEMP RE-PARATIO, soldier standing left, spearing bare-headed horseman
    who is reaching backwards.
    Mintmark: AMB.
    RIC VIII Amiens 48
  4. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    Since the first response was about mints, I'll continue in that vein. The mint at Ostia was opened by Maxentius in 308 and closed by Constantine I in 313:
    Constantine I ("the Great"), A.D. 307-337
    Bronze nummus
    Ostia mint, A.D. 312-313
    RIC 94
    Rev: S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI - Legionary eagle between two vexilla; hand atop left, wreath atop right
    MOSTT in exergue
    21 x 16 mm, 4.6 g.
  5. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Mostly my whole collection OP, along with a couple of other "weirdos" around here. Sogdian coins struck when they controlled the Northern Silk Road, Axum coins, (ancient coins from Africa from the first Christian country on earth), Nabatean coins from the great traders who controlled the myrr and incense trade that got these items for the Three Wise men, Persian coins like my avatar, the great enemy of Greece and Rome, Funan coins from SE Asia, the foundational empire of the area that determined what kind of coinage tradition the region would follow, Hunnic coinage of Central Asia of the great white and red huns, (Attila was a black hun, a much lesser tribe, Rome would have been leveled to its bones if the White huns "Hepthalites" had attacked instead of the Black huns), etc.
  6. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Amen-Ra-Hotep

    Hephtalites conquered the Punjab and part of India...
  7. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Central and south Asia are home to some mighty obscure areas of numismatics.

    I've dabbled in...

    Pre-Mauryan coins of the Karshapanas (India, 600-300 BC)

    Post-Mauryan splinter states

    Kunindas, Amoghabhuti

    Yajna satakarni drachm.jpg

    Post-Kushan Hunnic
    Kidarite dinar vinayaditya.jpg

    Sindh Sindh AR Ha Si dots.jpg

    Of course Indo Sassanian
    ZomboDroid 26082019125620.jpg
    Sri Bho drachm.jpg

    Hindu shahi
    Spalapati Deva Jital.jpg

    Each and every one of these represents the opening to a rabbit hole that will go as deep as you will let it take you. Really, except for China's impressively uniform Wu Zhu, every major civilization (and plenty of the ones on the wayside) has a rich numismatic record to uncover.
  8. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    As for central Asia

    Greek influenced kingdoms (Bukhara)
    Bukhara Hirkod hyrcodes hemidrachm soldier.jpg

    A more local flavor (Soghd)
    Samarkand soghd archer obol 3.jpg

    The Kushans stabilized things from about 100-300 AD when the Huns arrived
    Proper Hepthalites
    Hephthalite Peroz drachm early.jpg


    Nezak-Alchon alliance
    Nezak alchon crossover.jpg

    Turk Khagans
    Nezak turks 1.jpg
    Vakhu deva drachm.jpg

    Native Khwarezem
    Khwarezm Sawashfan AR.jpg

    From the 5th-8th centuries there were also a lot of native coppers made for small change
    Chach ae tudun double portrait.jpg
    Chach tarnvach lion.jpg
    eparch, octavius, randygeki and 8 others like this.
  9. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I find that some coins are obscure for the simple reason that they closely resemble a totally different coin. Take a look at the two large bronzes below. At first glance they may both appear to be typical Ptolemaic bronzes, with Zeus on the obverse and eagle on the reverse. The one on the right, however is not a Ptolemaic piece but a Seleucid bronze. Notice the name Antiochus, not Ptolemy. The middle silver drachma is even more deceptive. Almost everyone looking at it would say, "Parthian". They are pretty common and we all think we can recognize one at first glance. But is not an issue of Parthia but one of Persis, a semi independent state with its own ruler (in this case, Darius) and using not Greek as did Parthia but Aramaic and IMG_1216[2820]Obscure coins obv..jpg IMG_1217[2816]Obscure ancients rev..jpg in a different script. The fire altar is of somewhat different design as well. Some coins are actually obscure not because of their rarity but because they are hiding in plain sight. By the way, the reason for the Persis piece being on the piece of wood is that the two bronzes are so thick that to keep the drachma in the same focal plane as the bronzes required that the drachma be raised.
    eparch, octavius, randygeki and 9 others like this.
  10. Alegandron

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

    Great thread idea, @CoinBlazer .

    There are so many cool "obscure" collecting areas. I will not post some of the above coins, (yeah I dabble in most of the above for the collecting diversity). However, I notice this Forum predominately posts Roman Empire (Augustus, onward) coins. I will have a little fun posting coins of different peoples of Italia (NON-Magna Graecia), BEFORE the Roman Empire.

    Etruria: Obscure people, not originally from Italia, that founded and influenced Rome. They even had an Empire before the Romans were even a Republic.
    Etruria Populonia AR 5 Asses 3rd C BCE 2.0g Young Hd L V behind HN 173 Vecchi Rasna III 52 ex NAC 29 No 9 RARE

    Capua: When Hannibal came through Italia, he promised the Capuan Magistrates that Capua would become the capital should he destroy Rome. Obviously, the Roman Republic prevailed in the Second Punic War. Since Capua sided with Hannibal, all coins, and anything that Capua created to popularize Hannibal were destroyed, melted down, etc. Makes Capuan coins scarcer from this Era.

    Campania CAPUA AE 14-5mm 216-211 Hera Oscan Grain ear Hannibal capital Italia SNG Fr 517 SNG ANS 219 HN Italy 500 EE Clain Stefanelli

    Frentani: Samnite cousins who lived on the Adriatic Coast of Italia.
    Larinum Frentani 210-175 BCE AE Quincunx 22mm 9.8g Mars or Athena corinthian helmet- Galloping Horseman spear sheild tbolt 5 pellets NH Italy 625 BMC 2 SCARCE

    Etruria or Umbria Aes Grave 3rd C BCE Sextans 23mm 25.15g Club-2 Dots HN 54 Vecchi-Th 172.JPG
    Etruria or Umbria Aes Grave 3rd C BCE Sextans 23mm 25.15g Club-2 Dots HN 54 Vecchi-Th 172

    Samnium: Coarse mountain folks, living along the backbone of Italia. Rome and the Samnites fought 3 bloody and nasty wars.
    Samnium Aesernia 263-240 BC AE 20 Vulcan Pilos Tongs Jupiter Biga Left.jpg
    Samnium Aesernia 263-240 BC AE 20 Vulcan Pilos Tongs Jupiter Biga Left

    Bruttium: The Bretti were not originally Greeks of Magna Graecia. During the Second Punic War Hannibal "holed-up" in the Toe of Italia.
    Bruttium Carthage occup 2nd Punic War AR Half-Shekel 216-211 Tanit Horse SOLAR-O HN Italy 2016 SNG Cop 361-3

    Marsic Confederation: Some of these guys above got so fed up with the Romans NOT making them Citizens, they decided to get together and revolted Roman rule. This resulted in the Social War from 90-88 BCE, and eventually led to the virtual extinction of the Samnites...
    Marsic Confederation denarius 90-88 BCE Italia-Corfinium Oath Ceremony over pig Sear 227 SCARCE.jpg
    Marsic Confederation denarius 90-88 BCE Italia-Corfinium Oath Ceremony over pig Sear 227 SCARCE
    eparch, octavius, randygeki and 5 others like this.
  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Coming lite to this party makes it hard to find something obscure enough and not already shown.

    Yaudheyas AE24

    Ikshvakus lead elephant

    Alchon huns

    Collecting coins like these is hard due to sparse information on some of the peopl who produced them.
    eparch, randygeki, Finn235 and 2 others like this.
  12. Alegandron

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

    Here is one I really like that is purdy obscure:

    Sri Lanka 1st C BCE PB Lead 1-8th unit Lakshmi excavated in Anuradhapura RARE.jpg
    Sri Lanka, excavated in Anuradhapura
    Anonymous, 1st C. BCE
    PB 1/8 Lakshmi
    1.1g, 14.1mm x 7.8mm
    OBV: Hindu Goddess Lakshmi facing. She is the goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity. She was a beauty and the wife of Vishnu
    REV: (blank)
    Comment: "Lakshmi (Sanskrit: लक्ष्मी, lakṣmī,ˈləkʂmiː) is the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. She is the wife and shakti (energy) of Vishnu, a major god in Hinduism.[2] Lakshmi is also an important deity in Jainism and found in Jain temples.[3] Lakshmi was also a goddess of abundance and fortune for Buddhists, and was represented on the oldest surviving stupas and cave temples of Buddhism.[4][5] In Buddhist sects of Tibet, Nepal and southeast Asia, goddess Vasudhara mirrors the characteristics and attributes of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi with minor iconographic differences." -Wikipedia.org
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
  13. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I just noticed something on my Seleucid reverse image. Depending on how you look at it, the eagle is either raised or incuse
  14. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    A couple of obscure Italian aes :
    : Aes formatum.

    Cocoon-shaped AE cast Aes Formatum, Central Italy, 6th-4th centuries BC.
    Unlisted in the standard references and apparently unpublished; Vecchi ICC- (cf."Bronze objects found with Aes Rude and early currency bars in Central Italy", p. 76 and pl. 90)
    AE. g. 47.74 mm. 64.00

    RRRR. Untouched earthen emerald-green patina.


    Aes Premonetale.

    AE Cast Ingot, decorated with rosette in incuse square.
    Central Italy, 4th-3rd century BC.
    AE. g. 52.72 mm. 0.55 RR. mm. 28x18x17.

    For bronze objects found with aes rude and early bars, see ICC p.83 ff. and A. M. Murgan, “Heavy metal in hallowed contexts. Continuity and change in aes deposits in Central Italy and Sicily” in “Embodying Value? The Transformation of Objects in and from the Ancient World”, BAR International Series 2592, 2014.
    Sulla80, Johndakerftw and Alegandron like this.
  15. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    I've not seen that many coins from the Western Indian Satraps so far.
    Denomination: AR drachm, minted: uncertain mint; 278-295 AD
    Obv: Head of Bhartdaman, legend around is missing
    Rev: Rajno mahakshatrapasa rudrasenaputrasa rajnah kshatrapasa bhartrdamnah. ("[coin of] the sun of king and mahasatrap Rudrasena, king and satrap Bhatrdaman")
    Weight: 2.25g; Ø:1.4mm
    Catalogue: not found
    Provenance: Ex private collection; acq.: 07-2017
    Bhartrdāman was the second of two sons of Rudrasena II who came to the throne. He started to issue coins as kshatrapa in the year S. 200, which was the last year that his father was still in power. At the time, his brother Visvasena had been issuing coins as kshatrapa for a few years, and he continued to do so for two more years before claiming the title of mahakshatrapa in 201 or 202. Bhartrdāman issued coins as kshatrapa until 204, at which point he started issuing coins as mahakshatrapa. The mahakshatrapa series continued uninterrupted until S. 217 (= 295 CE).

    I got another one, but have not yet ID'd it (any input of course appreciated!):

    Or from the Hymarite kingdom - fun little coins which are concave:
    Amdān Bayān Yahaqbiḍ.jpg
    HIMYARITE KINGDOM, Amdān Bayān Yahaqbiḍ
    Denomination: AR drachm, minted: Raydan (?); 100-120 AD
    Obv: Head right within dotted circle interrupted by monogram
    Rev: Small head right; 'scepter' to right
    Catalogue: (unsure): CAF 3.4ii, fig. 168.
    Provenance: Ex v. Eldijk collection; acq.: 10-2019
  16. THCoins

    THCoins Well-Known Member

    That's Rudrasena II
  17. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    Wow, that was fast :) Thanks! Is it possible to pinpoint the date, or the mint?
  18. THCoins

    THCoins Well-Known Member

    Well, we're in the same time zone, most Americans are still sleeping.
    There is no date on your coin, but he ruled 255-276AD
    Alegandron likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page