T-Bone Tuesday -- Unusual officina marks edition

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Claudius_Gothicus, Nov 23, 2021.

  1. Claudius_Gothicus

    Claudius_Gothicus Well-Known Member

    After a pretty long hiatus "T-Bone Tuesday" is finally back with a new installment, to everyone's delight, I'm sure :p! Unfortunately the time between new entries is always going to be quite long from now on, due to the fact that there are very few types that haven't already been covered by @Roman Collector, though, every now and then, one does come up for sale, and this coin is one of them. I had actually bought it all the way back in May of this year, but due to some customs shenanigans that I didn't fully understand I have received it only now:

    Roman Empire, Trebonianus Gallus (251-253), Antoninianus, Antioch mint.
    Obverse: IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind, IIV below;
    Reverse: VICT-ORI-A AVG, Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm, IIV between Victory's legs;
    RIC IV 93;

    At first glance, this coin might seem nothing special: it has a pretty high silver content, which is nice to see, since Antioch issues were getting more and more debased with every following issue, but besides that, it suffers from a weak strike on the obverse and it has some annoying encrustations. There isn't much to say about the type, either: VICTORIA AVG was struck quite abundantly at Antioch for Gallus, in all three emissions, and it was also used for his predecessor Decius, so it most likely doesn't refer to any particular victory, especially since it doesn't appear this emperor engaged in any campaigns himself. It is worth mentioning, though, that two far rarer variants exist, one with Victory advancing right, and one with her standing on a globe; @Roman Collector owns both, though I don't.

    What's special about this coin, then? Well, the officina mark has two unusual characteristics: first of all, this variant is the only one in all of the "original" issues of antoniniani struck at Antioch (I consider "original" the antoniniani struck at Antioch before the brief interruption caused by the Sassanid seizure of the city in 253, as when the production resumed under Valerian & Gallienus the portraits, the reverses and the officina marks were quite different) where the officina mark on the reverse is not located in the exergue, but rather in the field, between Victory's legs. It appears to have been a quirk of a single engraver, as the only other example I know of this variant, struck only during the second emission, which was in the Beale collection, is a double die match:


    The other unusual fact is that the Roman numeral VII is written backwards as IIV, an error that seems to have been quite common at Antioch in that period; while I do not own any other coins with this officina mark (the seventh officina seems to have been one of the most prolific at issuing antoniniani for this ruler), I'd be curious to see yours (@Roman Collector definitely has a few :)). In the late Empire, however, there were also occasions where other unusual mintmarks were used, and some of the most extravagant ones include captives, animals like lions or dolphins, and even wreaths combined with letters to form secret wordplays! If you recognize the types I'm mentioning, and happen to own them, feel free to show them!

    That's all for now; post your Antiochene coins of T-Bone, your VICTORIA coins, any kind of unusual officina or mintmark you own, or anything else you feel like might be relevant :)!

    - "The Antioch hoard of Gallienus", Alex G. Malloy, 1992;
    - "A hoard of third-century antoniniani from southern Spain", H.D. Gallwey, The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Royal Numismatic Society, Volume 2 (1962);
    - "The Antioch hoard of antoniniani and the eastern coinage of Trebonianus Gallus and Volusian", William E. Metcalf, Museum Notes (American Numismatic Society), Volume 22 (1977);
    - "Four Bad Years" by Richard Beale;
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  3. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    When I think of an unusual officina mark, my mind goes to Siscia under Constans when the Greek letter officina was repeated with the same letter in the local Siscian alphabet. This is gamma (3).

    A few were made with the Greek letter (here A) in exergue and the Siscian letter larger and in the field. Who has the rest of this set?
  4. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    ..kool....here's a few Victories on Nero's, MA's Sept. Sev & Otho..:) IMG_0775.JPG IMG_0776.JPG
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Good grief!! SIX MONTHS of customs hassles?!!! :wideyed::wideyed::wideyed: I'm glad it finally arrived!

    What a fun variety to research! A great addition to your numophylacium, @Claudius_Gothicus!

    Here's my Victoria advancing left from Antioch. It's an eyesore, as they almost all are.

    Trebonianus Gallus, AD 251-253.
    Roman debased AR antoninianus, 3.88 g, 21.4 mm, 12 h.
    Antioch, second officina, second issue, late AD 251 - mid AD 252.
    Obv: IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust (viewed from back) of Trebonianus Gallus, right; •• below.
    Rev: VICTORIA AVG, Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm frond; •• in exergue.
    Refs: RIC 93; Cohen 126; RCV 9653; Hunter 55.
    Notes: Examples are known from all officinae. The same reverse type is commonly encountered on coins of Gallus' third issue.
  6. GUNNER63736

    GUNNER63736 Well-Known Member

    Wow. I am really awed at the knowledge you guys have about these coins. Way above my pay grade.
    Claudius_Gothicus and ominus1 like this.
  7. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    ..they are aint they my Mo. Bro....me, i'm a master of inexactness :D:rolleyes:..
    Claudius_Gothicus likes this.
  8. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    Nice coin @Claudius_Gothicus ! That IS pretty neat to think that the anomaly was due to one engraver. Things like that really highlight the fact that these coins were all hand made by someone. Nice write up as well (as always). I appreciate how much thought you put into your collection and research and enjoy reading your threads.

    Congrats on a great coin. I’m glad it made its way to you finally.

    Antiochene Coin of T-Bone
    Syria, Seleucis and Pieria, Antioch
    Trebonianus Gallus
    AR tetradrachm, struck ca. 251-253, 1st officina
    Obv.: Laureate draped and cuirassed bust right
    Rev.: Eagle standing facing, head and tail right, with wings spread, holding wreath in beak; A between legs. SC in exergue
    Ref.: McAlee 1173a; Prieur 657
    Ex Tenbobbit Collection; Purchased privately from the collection of an English gentleman in 2005; Ex AMCC 2, Lot 434 (Nov. 9, 2019)

    Roman Empire
    Julian II, AD 360-363
    AR Siliqua, Lugdunum mint, struck ca. AD 360-361
    Wt.: 2.23 g
    Dia.: 18 mm
    Obv.: FL CL IVLIA NVS P P AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right
    Rev.: VICTORIA DD NN AVG, Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm frond
    Ref.: LVG. RIC VIII 212; Lyon 259; RSC 58†c, IRBCH 1424
    Ex Harptree Hoard (1887)

    Unusual Mintmark - Not sure if this one really qualifies as unusual but it is certainly uncommon. There was a some experimentation going on in terms of the mintmark in the early issues of the Lugdunum mint during the tetrarchy.

    Roman Empire
    Diocletian, AD 284-305
    AE Follis, Lugdunum Mint, 1st officina, struck ca. AD 295
    Dia.: 28 mm
    Wt.: 8.5 g
    Obv.: IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG; Laureate bust right
    Rev.: GENIO POP-VLI ROMANI: Genius standing left holding patera and cornucopia /LA in exergue
    Ref.: RIC VI 2a, Lugdunum Group I, Class II
    Ex Jamesicus Collection
  9. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander find me at NumisForums

    I really like the reverse on that one, independent of the cool mintmark!

    You've cast a wide net with your invitations to post coins. Happy to oblige. :D

    T-bone Antioch:
    t-bone antioch.jpg
    (1st issue)

    He also issued coins for Hostilian at the mint:
    hostilian antioch.jpg

    One of my favourite Victories:
    gordian victory.jpg

    Two odd mintmarks, first the "secret name" of Rome:
    constantine ii eros.jpg

    And the same Siscian alphabet gamma as Doug posted, this is a new coin for me:
  10. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Claudius G., Congrats on finally securing your coin, & a rare one too :happy:. I had a miserable experience with the last coin I purchased overseas :mad: & vowed no more overseas coin purchases ;). The Byzantine coin series is ripe with unusual officina marks, & the coin pictured below is a good example. When I acquired the coin long ago, the officina mark IX was attributed to the Jerusalem Mint from research conducted by Simon Bendall, but later recanted by him o_O. Today coins with this officina mark are thought to indicate a traveling military mint of Heraclius.
    NGC 4094371-002 Al Kowsky Collection (2).jpg
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