Request identification help for provincial

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ed Snible, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    I bought this a month ago at the Garden State coin show as unidentified. I was sure I would be able to identify it quickly but it has proved difficult. Does anyone have any ideas?

    Unknown. Eastern? 29mm, 13.85g
    Obv: uncertain inscription; Bust right
    Rev: ...Π ΟΛƐΙΤωΝ; Nude Man (Heralkes?) standing left, club (?) in right hand, left hand raised (holding invisible scepter?)
    Countermark: Є (lunate Epsilon) in circle (mark of value 5?). Howgego 802; cf Howgego 803-806.

    The inscription probably means this comes from a city whose name ends in "...polis". Which means a lot of cities! Moesia Inferior/Dionysopolis issued a similar crude Herakles, but not in this pose.

    Many coins of Pamphylia/Side have the same countermark, and it is over the IA mark of value (11 Assaria). Apollo of Side, etc, etc, etc.

    Coins overstruck with Howgego 802-806 were minted at Ephesus, Ionia/Magnesia, Side, Seleucia ad Calycadnum, Mastaura, Perga, Isinda, Carallia, Colybrassus, and Petra. None of these candidates ends in "...polis"! Every example of this countermark is on the obverse but on my coin it is on the reverse. All but two examples have the Є facing correctly. Only one shows it "reversed" as mine does.
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  3. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing

    I look at the bust and I wanna say Caracalla, but don't quote me on that... I'll deny it :) I do love a mystery! And you have a nice one there, Ed!
  4. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    You might want to see if Ed Snible can help you. He's a whiz at IDs. Oh, wait... :D

    You've already explored more deeply than just about anyone can! Wish I could pull it out of the hat but I'm stumped.
  5. Alegandron

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

    OMG, LOL, I was gonna hit you with a DUUuuuuhhh!!!
  6. Ken Dorney

    Ken Dorney Yea, I'm Cool That Way...

    Needle in a haystack....but as countermarks are often pretty specific try searching (if you haven't already done so) in that manner to get the region. Who knows, you might hit it.
  7. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Just a guess.. Philip II.
  8. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    The reverse figure's left arm is in a rather Apollo-ish pose. Thinking it might be a variation of Apollo Sauroktonos I searched on ACsearch, "*opolis Apollo AE" but didn't find a match. Tried "*opolis Herakles AE" too but found nothing quite like it.
    Alegandron likes this.
  9. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    I have found it very education to attempt to describe coins myself rather than cutting and pasting from a catalog. Unfortunately little of what I see on this coin can be summarized with seachable keywords.

    The emperor has an unusually large chest with his neck near the middle of the coin. The cheast reminded me of Trajan's. Nude or draped? Caracalla sometimes chose to show off his muscular back. The head reminded me more of Caracalla or Severus Alexander but the nose is unusually high for any of these guys.

    The obversion inscription is broken above the emperor's head, an unusual feature but one I don't know how to search for.

    The most distinctive thing about the reverse is the awkward position of the left arm. When I saw it at the show I thought perhaps it was Zeus lobbing a bolt but when I looked for arms like this in catalogs it was nearly always shown holding a pole described as a scepter. Occassionaly it was the thrysus (Dionysos' magic staff). If a pole was present on this coin it is not visible at this time. I did find a coin of an athlete crowning himself with an arm in this pose and no scepter (see below).

    Most mythical figures are clothed on coins. Only a few go nude: Dionysos, Zeus, Apollo, Poseidon, “Athlete”, and Perseus. If the figure is holding a club it is Herakles but I am only 90% sure I see a club. I found depictions of Apollo with his arm in the pose but never nude -- he is always in a short cloak ('chalmys').

    The fabric suggests it was struck by two dies both small for the flan.
    TIF likes this.
  10. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    The posture of the reverse figure (bent slightly at the waist, hips, and knees) with large cranium and knobby knees reminds me of Marsyas but he doesn't appear without his wineskin, does he? The left hand looks like it is supporting an invisible wineskin :).
    zumbly likes this.
  11. ancientone

    ancientone Well-Known Member

    Bust reminds me of Elagabalus.
  12. Charles1997

    Charles1997 Well-Known Member

    That looks like Domitian on the reverse to me!
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