Roman Coin Real or Fake? And What?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Charitycoincollector, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. Morning all,
    I have another roman coin conundrum today. Come across this heavy coin weighing 25g and measure approx 3.5cm one side is flat and the other more of a curve. Not sure if it is genuine or an elaborate fake. Pictures below. As always any insight is greatly appreciated. Thanks IMG_6198.JPG IMG_6199.JPG IMG_6200.JPG
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  3. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    Is it a bronze drachm from Alexandria?
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  4. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    With the usual disclaimers*, this coin looks like a drachm of Antoninus Pius, struck in Egypt. The flan shape is typical drachms struck in Roman Egypt-- flans were cast with that shape.

    The reverse needs to be rotated ~80 degrees clockwise.

    Here's the attribution:

    EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius
    AE drachm, 35 mm, 25 gm.
    Regnal year 16 (152/3 CE)
    Obverse: laureate bust right
    Reverse: Nilus reclining left, holding cornucopia; genius emerging from cornucopia; crocodile below. LI S above.
    Reference: Emmett 1621, 1622, or 1623, depending on other features which may not be visible on your coin due to condition (although I think it may be 1621)

    EDITED: it is Emmett 1621; the other two entries are not known for year 16.


    *I am not an expert (although I do have a Roman Egypt-heavy collection) and it is generally not possible to definitively authenticate a coin from photos although it is sometimes possible to definitely condemn a coin based solely on images.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  5. Thank you so much that's an incredible amount of information! Much appreciated. :)
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  6. LaCointessa

    LaCointessa Supporter! Supporter

  7. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Agree with your excellent write up. My only nagging thought is the shape of the planchet. Yes, from Ptolemaic times onward they cast bronze planchets so that one side is smaller diameter than the other. However, all I have seen/handled/owned were fairly linear slopes like a "/". From the bottom pic, this one looks very curved. Have you seen this much? I would defer to you since you have a more extensive collection of these.
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  8. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    The shape or radius of the edge profile varies quite a bit. Upon casual recollection I thought the smaller bronze denominations tended to have more of a bevel than radius edge profile but looking through my coins and other online examples there really isn't any true pattern or meaning to the variety of edge shapes/curvatures.

    I don't have any side shots handy but you can get a sense of the flan profile variations from the assortment of Roman Egyptian bronzes below.

    A drachm with a very large edge profile radius:
    Hadrian drachm / Nilus seated left, holding reed, crocodile below right. Emmett 1016, RY16.

    Drachm with more beveled/less round edge profile:
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Hadrian
    year 18, CE 133/4

    Æ drachm, 32 mm, 23.3 gm
    Obv: AYT KAIC TPAIAN A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate and draped bust right
    Rev: Isis Pharia right holding a billowing sail with both hands and left foot, sailing toward the Lighthouse of Pharos, which is surmounted by a statue and two Tritons, each blowing a buccinum (sea shell trumpet); L IH (year 18) above center
    Ref: Emmett 1002(18), R1

    Drachm with a somewhat rounded bevel:
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius

    AE drachm, RY 8
    Obv: laureate bust right
    Rev: Isis seated right on throne, nursing the infant Harpokrates, all within arched temple with solar disc and uraeus on pediment; L-H
    Ref: Dattari 3044; Emmett 1587.8, R4
    Ex Robert L. Grover Collection of Roman-Egyptian Coinage, previously held by the Art Institute of Chicago

    Diobol with a edge profile more beveled than curved:
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Domitian. Regnal year 10, CE 90/91. Æ diobol (25mm, 10.86 g, 12h). AVT KAICAP ΔΟ ΜΙΤ CEB ΓΕΡΜ, laureate head right / Agathodaemon serpent, wearing the skhent crown (emblematic of upper and lower Egypt), on horseback galloping left; L I (date) below. Köln –; Dattari (Savio) –; K&G 24.109; RPC II 2585; SNG Copenhagen 214; Emmett 277.10 (R5).

    Diobol with a somewhat rounded/curved edge profile:
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Vespasian
    year 4, CE 71/2
    diobol?, 25.4 mm, 5.45 gm
    Obv: AVTOKKAIΣΣEBAOVEΣΠAΣIANOV; laureate head right
    Rev: bust of Isis left; LΔ in right field
    Ref: Emmett 217.4 (diobol)

    Diobol with a roundish bevel edge profile:
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Nero
    Regnal year 14 (CE 67/8)
    AE diobol; 27 mm, 10.9 gm
    Obv: NEPΩKΛAVK[AIΣΣEBΓEPA]; laureate head right
    Rev: L - IΔ; "vase" (Emmett), or "oinochoe" per others (others are probably correct)
    Ref: Dattari-Savio Pl. 1, 2 (this coin); Dattari cf 286; RPC 5322; Emmett 153.14; Poole (BM, 1892) cf 188?

    A rather rounded edge profile obol:
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius
    year 20, CE 156/7
    AE obol, 18 mm, 4.36 gm
    Obv: laureate head right
    Rev: sphinx crouched/reclining left; L K above
    Ref: Emmett 1782.20 (unlisted reverse for year 20); unlisted in Geissen and Dattari
  9. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Excellent post as always @TIF. For clarity, I was used to the rounded edges of drachms, like (____). I think I was thinking the incuse curve I saw on the OP coin, )_____( was what was looking unusual to me. I wasn't used to seeing those. Maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me.
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  10. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Oh :). I understand-- you were seeing a little "flange" from either overfilling of the flan mold, a messed-up impression in the flan mold, and/or sprue remnant. It gives the edge an ogee shape where it sticks out.
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  11. lehmansterms

    lehmansterms Many view intelligence as a hideous deformity

    After about 265 B.C. the flans for almost all large (and quite a few of the small) coins made in Egypt - both Ptolemaic and the later Roman Provincial issues - underwent significant "manufacturing" processes. These skimmed-off the surface of the flan's faces removing any foreign matter picked up from the molds and setting-up a "fresh", non-hardened surface for striking. At the same time, although possibly with different machinery, any "flashing" around the edges where molds may not have met with 100% precision were also machined off.
    The processes by which this was done left the small "centration dimples" which you see in these pieces (here and at other Provincial mints.)
    There has been a large amount of speculation as to how this all was accomplished. The best theoretical reconstruction I have ever seen, plus an in-depth discussion can be seen on this website.
    This all makes perfect mechanical sense, however (so far) no one has ever discovered a "mint of Pompeii". (This is a euphemism. Of course there was no mint in Pompeii or Herculaneum.) If there were a mint found somewhere which had been preserved whole with all its equipment, we might have artifact-based archeological evidence for the various operations. So we must rely upon theory and conjecture to reconstruct the procedures and machines in the absence of written records or preserved artifacts. The Romans were very good at dismantling their mints, evidently, since to the best of my knowledge, sites presumed to have been minting officinae are marked out by nothing more than the probable foundations of furnaces - everything else is long gone.
  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My webpage on fabric dates back to when we needed small photos for the many people using dial up modems. I never fixed the page.
    A bronze drachm of Antoninus Pius was issued from the mint of Alexandria, Egypt, in 153-154 AD. It shows the typical fabric of Alexandrian bronze coins. Flans were cast by pouring puddles of metal into shallow cups in an open top mold (probably carved in stone). The extreme slope to the sides of the cups allowed easy removal of the cooled blanks from the reusable mold. The resulting coin is considerable more broad on the reverse than on the obverse. The lack of metal around the obverse edge of these flans rarely allowed proper transfer of the entire obverse legend. Few Alexandrian bronze designs had reverse legends beyond the date (here LI-Z=year 17).
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