Questions About an Anonymous Byzantine Bronze Coin

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Al Kowsky, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    AE Nummus AD 967-1065.jpg
    I recently acquired the Byzantine Anonymous AE follis pictured above, 10.48 gm, 29 mm, 6h. The coin was attributed to Class A2, A.D. 976-1065, Sear 1813, and this has raised some questions. The best reference source I have on Byzantine coins is the 1987 edition of David Sear's book BYZANTINE COINS AND THEIR VALUES, which is 32 years old. He does list a Class A3 as identified by D. M. Metcalf, and my coin seems to fit neatly into that classification. He also states that the well known expert and author Philip Grieson doesn't recognize the A3 class. What is the current thinking on this issue? Is my coin A2 or A3? I noticed that David Vagi does recognize the A3 class on coins that are slabbed at NGC, see example pictured below. Also his date range is c. 1020-1028. Does this remarkably short date range seem realistic?

    NGC 4627218-007, Class A3 Follis.jpg

    I have another question in regards to the short abbreviated inscription on either side of Christ. All the coins I've seen identify this inscription as IC XC, however, my coin reads IC XI, as many others do, see CNG example pictured below.

    A2 Follis, 11.70 gm..jpg
    On some examples the XC on the right side of Christ is easy to recognize, see example below from CoinTalk member stevex6. Can anyone explain the differences in the inscriptions for me?

    Anonymous Folles, CT, stevex6, Class A3.jpg
    Andres2, BenSi, Pavlos and 3 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    BenSi likes this.
  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    TIF, thanks for the above link :D. I vaguely remember reading this thread & browsed thru it again. I'll download it for future reference. What I gather, not reading the link letter by letter, is there is still no consensus whether Class A3 is acceptable or not. My other question regarding the IC XC versus IC XI difference in inscriptions doesn't seem to be dealt with. I'd still appreciate any ideas from CT members on that. I was happy to learn the 3rd coin in my thread was illustrated by Valentinian in another thread.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I believe your coin has some double striking that is confusing you. The circlular border seems a bit discontinuous and I believe the C of XC on the die fell further right at the border of the rough edge. It is a lovely coin. The majority of these have striking oddities much worse than this. The X6 coin is weak all around the edges losing all but a trace of that legend. While it is a match for minor type details it is not the same die. Every die has a bit different spacing and angle so you need a die match to know what is happening here.
  6. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    First of all, amazing example!

    Class A2 gradually declined weight over time to something we now call "Class A3". From Class A2/A3 I see a lot of variety in weight, some are 8-9 grams, others around 11-12 grams, others again 13-14 grams etc. Where can we cross the line between A2 and A3? I don't find it realistic to make A2 and A3 separate and some reference sources actually do not even separate A3 from A2.

    I think it is better to describe a very heavy A2 as "early issue", for example this A2 weights an astonishing 20.19g.


    If we would consider A2 and A3 separate, then your coin is A3, but I would not worry about that too much.
  7. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    This site addresses and answers your question:

    See the starred discussion right below the table of classes.

    This linked page also discusses it:

    I think there is no valid reason to distinguish Class A3 from Class A2. Collectors have reason to care about the size of A2 coins, so stating the diameter and weight of a "Class A2" type is the useful information.
  8. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    dougsmit, Pavlos, & Valentinian Thanks for your input :D. I believe there may be a trace of doubling visible on my coin near the edge at the 9:00 o'clock position, but the rest of the obverse when enlarged looks pretty normal. Valentinian, the two studies you put together on the above links are beautifully done with great illustrations. The 3rd coin in my post, illustrated in your 1st link, is the best example I've seen in an Anonymous follis, & I believe my coin is a close 2nd :happy:. Your coin also has the inscription IC XI like mine. This isn't accidental & there must be a logical reason for it. Someone well versed in Medieval Latin could probably explain the the difference between the IC XC & IC XC inscriptions. They probably have the same meaning...
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page