Offer: Attributing of Nikopolis coins

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Jochen1, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Just got this one from eBay. It was issued for Caracalla, I think, with a crescent and one star on the reverse. 17mm / 3.19 grams.

    Nikopolis - Caracalla Star & Moon Dec 2020 (0).jpg

    I am a bit stuck on the identification because I cannot find an exact match to the legends. As I make them out on mine:

    M AVΡ KAI ANTΩNIN, youthful, bare head right /
    NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠΡOC ICTΡ(O?), Star in crescent moon.

    The closest I came were these two:

    Example #1: Similar, but the obverse legend ends with O, which mine does not (from FORVM) - although the photo doesn't really show an O? This one looks so much like mine I suspect an obverse die match:

    Obverse: M AYP KAI•ANTΩNINO Bare head right.
    Reverse: NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC ICTPO • Star in crescent moon.
    Moushmov 1118; Varbanov I (English) —; Hristova/Jekov (2011)

    Nicopolis ad Istrum - Caracalla Star & Crescent Moush 1118 - FORVM pic.jpg

    Example #2: From Wildwinds, this is similar as well, but the reverse legend ends with N, which I don't think it does on mine (both mine and this one have damage in that area, so I am not sure)

    M AVΡ KA ANTΩNIN, youthful, bare head right /
    NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠΡOC ICTΡON, Crescent and one star.
    Varbanov 2999 var (rev. legend); AMNG 1513 var (both legends); Moushmov
    1116 var.; Nikopolis Mueller 179

    This Wildwinds example also looks a lot like mine:

    Nicopolis ad Istrum - Caracalla Star & Crescent Var 2999 - Wildwinds1 pic.jpg

    Any help much appreciated!
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  3. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    I think your coin is Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020); AMNG I/1, 1513; not in Varbanov.

    Pick (AMNG) had 2 Ex. in hand: (1) from St. Petersburg with ANTWNINO, and (2) from trade with ANTWNIN. Both subsumed under No. 1513. He has no pictures, but I think he had the same problem as we today: Is there an O at the end or not.

    So the obv. legend is M AVR KAI - ANTWNIN with a last O or without. This questionable last O is smeared and fused with the rear tip of the bust. Therefore, the rev. legend can be written ANTWNIN[O], if one wants to be very precise. I had already made a note in my book, but this somewhat unclear O will certainly not lead to a new type number.

    The rev. legend is consistent NIKOPOLITWN PROC ICTRO. The fact that Wildwinds lists ICTRON with N at the end can be forgotten, because at this point the flan is damaged.

    A last word to the used reference books for Nikopolis ad Istrum:

    Pick's AMNG from 1898 is undoubtedly the most correct work on Nicopolis of all. The biggest problem is that Pick himself was unaware of all the new coins that became known after the fall of the Iron Curtain. For us at Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov, it is an unrivalled example. But we try, even with subsequent corrections.

    Varbanov is more of a catalogue than a scholarly work and full of errors, which you notice when you work with it every day, as we do.

    Moushmov should not really be quoted any more. His work basically consists of the reverse representations, with no regard for the obverse and often not even for the legends of the reverse. It is obsolete.

    Wildwinds is a nice collection of coin types for the beginner , especially of Roman provincial coins (= Greek imperial coins). The problem that Dane Kurth has, is that she is dependent on the descriptions and references of the consignors. And these often do not meet scientific standards. This also applies to dealers from whom she has posted coins. She herself cannot check all of the thousands and thousands of coins posted.

    Best regards
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  4. tenbobbit

    tenbobbit Supporter! Supporter

    This coin is a basket of fruit with some hanging either side.
    Same type as Varbanov 2432a & 2401, info from wildwinds.

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  5. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Oh, very difficult to recognize. But by playing with contrast and brightness, I see, that you are right.
    Septimius Severus, AD 193-211
    Obv.: AV K[AI CE] - CEVHROC, Bust draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
    Rev.: [NIKOPOLITW]N PROC IC, Basket with fruits, at the sides wine grapes are hanging down
    Ref.: a) not in AMNG
    b) not in Varbanov
    c) Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020)

    Varbanov 2402 is depicted. A totally different basket and NIKOPOLIT PROC ICTR. "Laureate head r."
    Varbanov 2432 is not depicted but has NIKOPOLIT PROC ICTRO and "Laureate head r."
    On your coin you see the N before PROC and the bust is draped and cuirassed.

    Best regards
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2020
    tenbobbit likes this.
  6. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Jochen, thank you so much for that thorough and informative reply. I will, as always, incorporate this information into my attribution.

    Best Regards,
  7. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Hello Mr @Jochen1 , I have a Nikopolis temple coin that I think I have identified as Moushmov 2801.
    IMG_E8016.JPG Septimius Severus on obverse --CEYHOC--
    I believe the reverse is a tetrastyle temple of Asklepios. --NIKOPOLITON--
    Am I right (or even close?)
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  8. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Taking this opportunity to drop in my favourite Nikopolis coin. I'm not sure if its HrHJ or .3 (or what the difference is). Clearing up that detail would be appreciated!

    Screen Shot 2020-12-22 at 10.57.56 PM.jpg
    Elagabalus (218-222) Moesia Inferior, Nicopolis ad Istrum. Triptolemos driving biga of winged serpents, scattering grain. (Tiny depiction of serpents also visible on the front of the biga.)

    Also, @Jochen1: are you in communication with Ken Harl? I know he's doing a die study that includes the later productions of Moesia Inferior, and you guys should definitely talk if you haven't already. (PM me for contact details.)
  9. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    @Severus Alexander
    A wonderful coin you have and it is one of the most beautiful coins from Nikopolis at all. It is Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020) (R5 = scarce); AMNG I/1, 1906; Varbanov 3911
    Altogether there are 3 different types with Triptolemos on rev. The rev is always the same: VP NOBIOV - ROVFOV NIKOPOLIT / P - ROC / ICT. The P of P - ROC is found left behind the last wheel of the biga (outside the flan of your coin) and ICT stands below ROC (outside the flan of your coin).
    The other 2 coins have obv. with radiate head, HRHJ (2020) has AVT K M AVR ANTWNEINOC, HrHJ (2020) has AVT M AVR ANTWNINOC.

    I will send you a PM

    Best regards
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  10. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    You are right. Here is the complete attribution:

    Your coin is Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020); not in AMNG; not in Varbanov

    Moesia inferior, Septimius Severus, AD 193-211
    struck under governor Aurelius Gallus
    obv. [AV] K L CE[P] - CEVHROC [P]
    Bust, draped and cuirassed, seen from behind, laureate, r.
    Tetrastyle temple with small trigonal pediment, covering only the two middle columns,
    with base and architrav, within cult statue (Asklepios resting on snake staff)

    The attibution was not so difficult. Above the roof of the temple you see LOVNIK. That is Nikopolis and as governor either Gallus or Tertullus. But the name of Tertullus is much longer and therefore couldn't have OV on top of the roof. It has to be Gallus.
    And the decisive factor was that the rev. has no exergue. It is the only known temple type without exergue!

    Best regards
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2020
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  11. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    @Jochen1 This one has given me much trouble!

    It's an AE25 from, presumably, Nikopolis.

    My initial impression on ruler was Severus Alexander or Caracalla, and even Geta, but I couldn't find a hit on any of the rulers.

    Tenbobbit says it's Macrinus, but I couldn't find a match on Wildwinds with Macrinus either.
    I think its Nikopolis due to the extreme similarities with this Diadumenian 4 Assarion, Moushmov 1367:
    Diadumenian 4 Assaria Moushmov 1367.JPG
  12. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member


    All your assumptions are correct. Especially the reference to the coin of Diadumenian. In Nikopolis there are many reverse types that were struck in parallel for other members of the imperial family, especially for Macrinus and Diadumenian, as here. Your coin is

    Moesia inferior, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Macrinus, AD 217/18
    AE 25
    struck under governor Statius Longinus
    Laureate head r.
    in lower field l. and r. of the rock T - PΩ
    Hermes, nude, wearing boots, stg. l., with r. foot on rock, holding in r. hand set on r. knee kerykeion
    downwards, r. arm with chlamys behind back
    ef.: a) AMNG I/1, 1753 var.(different obv.)
    b) Varbanov 3545 var. (= AMNG 1753)
    c) Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020)

    This rev. type is known too for Gordian III (AMNG I/1, 2056). On this coin Pick believes he recognises in the rock the head of Battos, the unfaithful herdsman. I once wrote an article about this. Please take a look at

    Best regards
  13. Nathan F

    Nathan F Well-Known Member

    I have a few I need help with I picked up in a cheap lot (if all you can get is the emperor that's fine cause they are pretty worn):
    Screenshot 2021-02-01 at 7.43.43 PM.png Screenshot 2021-02-01 at 7.43.52 PM.png 16mm, 2.7g Looks like Septimus Severus
    Screenshot 2021-02-01 at 7.43.54 PM.png Screenshot 2021-02-01 at 7.43.57 PM.png
    2.4 g, 17mm Obviously Julia Domna - pretty distinctive portrait

    Screenshot 2021-02-01 at 7.44.00 PM.png Screenshot 2021-02-01 at 7.44.02 PM.png
    3.2 g, 18mm Looks like Antoninus Pius
    Screenshot 2021-02-01 at 7.44.11 PM.png Screenshot 2021-02-01 at 7.44.09 PM.png
    2.7 g, 15mm No ideas on this one

    Thanks in advance for taking a look, any ideas or help is much appreciated!
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  14. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    @Nathan F That was a tough one. But at least I got something out of it.

    Coin #1:
    Nikopolis ad Istrum, Septimius Severus, AD 193-211
    AE 16, 2.7g
    obv. AV KAI CE - CEVHROC
    Laureate head r.
    Dionysos, nude, chlamys over l. shoulder, wearing boots, stg. l., resting with raised l. hand on thyrsos and holding in extended r. hand kantharos
    ref. a) AMNG I/1, 1377
    b) not in Varbanov
    c) Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020)

    Coin #2:
    I think I can see on obv. IOVLIA DOM - CEBACTH
    but it is not from Nikopolis nor Markianopolis

    Coin #3:
    not from Nikopolis
    it is not Antoninus Pius, may be Marcus Aurelius or rather Commodus
    obv. AV M AVR - [.......]

    Coin #4:
    Nikopolis ad Istrum, Septimius Severus, AD 193-211
    AE 15, 2.7g
    obv. AV KAI CE - CEVHROC
    Laureate head r. (matching well the portrait!)
    Dionysos, nude, without chlamys, resting with raised l. hand on ribboned thyrsos and holding in extended r. hand bunch of grapes
    ref. a) AMNG I/1, 1378
    b) not in Varbanov
    c) Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020)

    Best regards
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  15. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    This terrific thread seems to be the place to go for my new Septimius Severus AE from Nikopolis ad Istrum. It is 2.65 grams / 17 mm and features a kantharos on the reverse.

    I could only find two of this type online, one in Wildwinds, the other an Nomos / Obolos Auction (Obolos 16, Lot 443, Oct. 11, 2020). Although the basic laureate head / kantharos are the same, neither one of these match mine in regards to legends (mine is similar, but shorter than the other two, if I am reading things correctly).

    Here is mine:

    Nicopolis - Sept. Sev. Kantharos Apr 2021 (0).jpg
    My Example's Legends: AYA CEYHΡOC / NIKOΠOΛIT ΠΡOC IC



    Wildwinds Attribution: Varbanov 2495; Tachella 58 in RN 1903; Obv. legend var of Brunsmid 52 in AMNG Additions (NZ 35).

    Nomos / Obolos Attribution: Cf. H&J (rev. legend). Varbanov -

    Here's a link to the Nomos / Obolos auction:

    Wildwinds Photo:
    Nikopolis, Moesia - Septimius Severus AE Kantharos Varb 2495 - WildWinds pic.jpg

    Nomos / Obolos Photo:
    Nikopolis, Moesia - Septimius Severus AE Kantharos H & JB - auct same Nomos pic.jpg

    Many thanks!
  16. DanielRusev1

    DanielRusev1 Member

    Rest in peace, prof. Hristova!
  17. Mikenwuf

    Mikenwuf Member

    Excuse my ignorance but why do so many of these coins have holes or partial holes in the middle?
  18. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Prior to striking, the flans were smoothed by turning them on a lathe. The spindle of the lathe made dimples in the flans, which persist after striking.
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  19. Mikenwuf

    Mikenwuf Member

    Thanks for that explanation Roman Collector, I'm learning so much form everyone, I can't wait to read this everyday.
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