Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Deacon Ray, Apr 3, 2020.
Post your bottle cap coins and your theories on their origin and purpose.
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Here’s a couple:
Alexander II Zabinas
Antiochos IV EpiphanesKINGS of SYRIA. 175-164 BCE Serrate Æ Ake-Ptolemaïs mint. Struck circa 173/2-168 BC. Diademed and radiate head right; monogram behind / Veiled goddess standing facing, holding scepter. SC 1479; HGC 9, 726. VF, earthen brown patina.
So much unknown as to how they were made, and why they were made. Lotta numismatic speculation, however nothing has been found as to how and why.
Demetrios I Soter 162-150 BCE
AE 17 serrate 16.8mm 3.9g
Antioch on Orontes mint
Horse Hd L -
Elephant Hd R-
SC 1646 SNG Spaer 1299-1304
Third Punic War
Serrate Double Shekel
Horse pellet raised leg
SNG COP 404
ROMAN EMPIRE under the REPUBLIC
C POBLICIUS Q f 80 BCE
AR Denarius serratus 3.94g Rome mint
Flan wgt control gouge reverse (Stannard Scoop)
Nemean lion club quiver
Craw 380-1 Syd 768
R L Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus Asiagenus
AR Serrate Denarius 4.0g 19mm
Rome mint 106 BCE
Hd Jupiter Left -
Jupiter quad r scepter tbolt L•SCIP•ASIAG B
Craw 311-1e Syd 576
L Papius serratus
Juno Sospita goat skin
Sear 311 Craw 384-1
AR Den Serrate
Sear 282 Craw 362-1
L Licinius Crassus orator Cn Domitius Ahenobarbus
NARBO Serrated Roma Attic Helmet
Sear 158 Craw 282-3
Better yet, when I was researching it, I found some very interesting articles about this coin causing a bit of a stir when found in Jerusalem at Tower of David. Here's the Jerusalem Times article - there are others online. I like how they call it a "bronze penny":
Here's mine - it is worse than the one they found in the Tower of David, which is saying a lot! I'm sure CTers have nicer examples - and Ryro has already posted one above:
Seleucid Kingdom Æ 13
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
(c. 175-164 B.C.)
Radiate head of Antiochus right / AΣΙΛΕ[ΩΣ] ANTIOXOY, veiled goddess (Hera?) standing left, holding sceptre (or torch?)
Spaer 1130; SGCV II 6994;SC 1479; Hoover 726; BMC 41.
(3.17 grams / 13 mm)
@Deacon Ray - I still think these serrates were intended to cap ancient beer bottles, perhaps Lucky Lager?
Thanks for the link to the resource. I actually didn't take a pic of the back.
You can see the extension from the casting mold on this flan that was to become a Seleucid coin, but never got there.
Interesting article- thanks for posting the link and your example of the coin!
Roman Republic. C. Poblicius Q.f. AR Serrate Denarius, 80 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right, wearing helmet decorated with grain ears; ROMA behind, V above / Rev. C•POBLICI•Q•F; Hercules standing left, strangling the Nemean Lion; bow and quiver to left, club below, V above lion. Crawford 380/1; RSC I Poblicia 9; Sydenham 768. 20.13 mm., 3.84 g.
Roman Republic, L. Papius, AR Serrate Denarius, 79 BCE. Obv. Head of Juno Sospita right, wearing goat skin; control-symbol of lyre behind/ Rev. Gryphon prancing right, control-symbol of lyre-key below, L. PAPI in exergue. Crawford 384/1 (see also Crawford Vol. II Plate LXVII, control-symbol 127 & p. 788), RSC I Papia 1, Sear RCV I 311 (ill.). 19 mm., 3.79 g., 9 h.
Roman Republic, L. Roscius Fabatus, AR Serrate Denarius, 64 BCE, Rome Mint. Obv. Head of Juno Sospita right, wearing goat's skin, control-symbol [lamp with flame?] to left, L. ROSCI in exergue/ Rev. Maiden standing right with basket over shoulder, feeding serpent erect before her, control-symbol [lamp with flame?] to left, FABATI in exergue. RSC I Roscia 3, Crawford 412/1 (see also Crawford Vol. II Plate LXVIII, control-symbol 106 & pp. 790-792), Sear RCV I 363 (ill.). 16mm, 3.93g., 3h. (Depicts annual ceremony at Juno Sospita festival in Lanuvium, in grotto under temple; see RSC I at p. 85.)
In terms of theories on the significance of serrated coins, I have none. I'm attaching the discussions on the subject in Crawford (Vol. II p. 581) and in John Melville Jones's Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (pp. 286-287). As you will see, each author shoots down various theories that have been proposed, but neither is able to come up with a theory of his own, beyond Crawford's conclusion that serration was likely "no more than a casual decorative fashion."
@Deacon Ray. I really like your AE of Antiochos VI. An elephant on a Seleucid bronze is almost irresistible. I hope it is acceptable to add a non-serrated Seleucid bronze to the thread.
Great coins, @DonnaML ! Thank you for posting the textbook information.
You're very welcome. It's a bit frustrating that neither of those authors is able to provide an explanation that fits the evidence. As Freud is supposed to have said, however, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." So perhaps in this case as well, serration really was just a "casual decorative fashion" during a period of a few decades.
@Deacon Ray about possible theories re: purpose and/or rationale for serration. A notable exception was this paragraph followed by the text pages to which the paragraph alludes:
Melville says, "Unfortunately the purpose remains obscure". Crawford says it was likely "casual decorative fashion." And as @Alegandron correctly summarized, "Lotta numismatic speculation, however nothing has been found as to how and why."
Is anybody else disappointed? LOL! Something within me wants there to have been a known, pragmatic rationale. But alas, perhaps not. Oh well!
I have 3 examples, all of which are Seleucid. It *seems* that serration began with them in the 2nd quarter of the 2nd century B.C., then afterward serration was seen on some coinage of the Carthage Empire, then after that serration was seen on coinage of the Roman Republic, and then the practice seems to have died out by the last quarter of the 1st century B.C. IOW: It all happened within an approximate 150 year period.
Any ancient examples prior to 175 B.C? Any ancient examples after 25 B.C.?
Were the Seleucids the first? Did Carthage & Rome merely copycat the Seleucids?
Perhaps I read too many Curious George books as a kid. ;-)
LOL, my observations also. @DonnaML posited what I had read, and hence my summary you quoted. As we have all observed, sometimes Humans just... “do things”.
Thanks for your post, @philologus_1 ! It occurred to me that the practice may have been purely cosmetic and simply an attempt to minimize or mask irregularities and cracks in the edge of the coin.
Anyway, that’s what they said when I was growing up back in Brooklyn....
That's a sensible theory, I think. But if that were the reason, then why was the practice abandoned so quickly and then never resumed?
Laodike IV, wife and sister of both Seleucus IV and Antiochus IV.
Selucia in Pieria, 175-164 BC.
AE 3.33 gm; 15 mm.
Obv: Veiled bust of Laodike IV, r.
Rev: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ (of King Antiochus), elephant head l.; prow.
Refs: Houghton, CSE 113 (plate coin); Forrer 183.
Separate names with a comma.