Team Off Flan strikes again!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Limes, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    When it comes to desirable and/or rare types, the equation is quite easy. You need a lot of cash to be able to catch a VF+ example. And with the current peak in interest in ancient coinage, this rule of thumb trickles down to the lower grade specimens, and the more common and more available types. This also applies to one coin I was after: the republican denarius of M. Volteius M.f., with the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus on the reverse. Good specimens can get quite expensive!

    Luckily, the ancient Romans made it possible to walk the middle way (is this a correct saying in English?), as if they knew back then, that somewhere in the future, a lover of Roman coins needed some help to further his collection wishes but within the financial boundries he would have to deal with. Yes, I'm talking about the guys who struck the coins 'off flan' (or 'weakly', or use an old, rusty die, with a break here and there!). These guys are the true heroes for me, as a collector. Without them, my life as a collector would have been much more difficult.

    To be fair, it's also a bit due to my personal preferences: ceteris paribus, I would rather have a VF+ coin struck off flan, then a VF- coin, with a good strike on-flan. (Yes, yes, I know, its a more relative thing of course, and a lot of other factors come into play. I mean, it does not apply to all coins for me. I won't be able to chose between a VF+ or VF- Caligula denarius just like that!)

    So, below is the coin in question, and below another one I was able to grab due to it being struck off flan (really, really off flan!) and with a bit of weakness:


    Now, I'm interested in your opinions. If you must choose, what do you prefer: off flan over quality? Or the other way around?

    And please share your most favorite, off-flan coins!
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  3. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    That's an attractive Volteius!

    The reverse of your denarius is centered enough to not impact the general design. The obverse of the coin below, on the other hand, is more or less completely off. Seems as though drinking on the job was a serious problem at the Seleucid Antioch mint:

    Seleukiden – Demetrios I Soter, AE, Artemis u. Apollo, SC 1647.png
    Demetrios I Soter, Seleucid Empire, AE denomination D (serrated), 162–150 BC, Antioch mint. Obv: head of Artemis r., quiver over shoulder (off center). Rev: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΔEMHTPIOY; Apollo standing l., holding arrow and bow. 14mm, 2.43g. Ref: Seleucid Coins I, 1647.
  4. Edessa

    Edessa Supporter! Supporter

    Have to be this one, although the presentation is still nice. Helios is peaking over the edge of the coin.

    Caria. Pseudo-Rhodes. Circa 88-85 AD. AR Hemidrachm (13mm, 0.88g, 11h). Plinthophoric type. Obv: Radiate head of Helios facing slightly right. Rev: MAHΣ / P - O; Rose with one bud, Isis headdress to right; within incuse square. Ref: SNG Cop 846; Jenkins, Group E, 246; Hoover HGC 6, 1464. Ex Sammlung Karl, Lanz 131, 27 November 2006, Lot 627.

  5. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

  6. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Both nice coins in my view and yes, I certainly purchase off-center coins. Overall I am glad that the ancient Romans recognized the future need for multiple pricepoints, with mis-strikes, weak-strikes, bankers marks, graffiti, and varied results of aging patina, leaving many options that I can choose from.

    Your Petilius is particularly nice in my view, and even this $4000 coin is a bit off-center. When it comes to off-flan, overall appeal can be affected by more factors, than what is and isn't off-flan.

    I am very pleased with this coin with its unhappy, pointy-toothed, long nosed dolphin.
    Lucretius Trio denarius.jpg
    L. Lucretius Trio, AR Denarius, Rome, 76 BC
    Obv: Laureate bust of Neptune right; trident over shoulder; numeral (L == 50) above
    Rev: Infant Genius riding dolphin right; L•LVCRETI TRIO in two lines in exergue
    Size: 4.00g, 18mm
    Ref: Crawford 390/2; Sydenham 784.
    Note: The Lucretia gens was one of the most ancient in Rome. The second wife of Numa Pompilius, second King of Rome, was named Lucretia. Another Lucretia of the same name and family was raped at the hands of Sextus Tarquinius which led to her suicide, and caused the monarchy to be overthrown and the Republic established. Her father, Spurius Lucretius Triciptinus, as one of the first consuls in 509 BC. The other consul was Lucius Junius Brutus, ancestor of the EID MAR Brutus. This coin may refer to an ancestor of the moneyer, C. Lucretius Gallus, who in 181 BC was duumvir navalis, one of two men responsible for managing the Roman fleet, and commanded the fleet against Perseus of Macedon.

    For me, this is just the way it is with ancient coins: always a trade-off of factors: what is available, patina, condition, weight, strike, metal, centering, color, price...would I purchase this one for $1500 or this one for $3000 (probably not). I am pleased to own this imperfect coin (27.7g, 24mm) at the right price. Although it has a blotchy mahogany patina, exposing some bare metal, the surface is quite nice in hand, well preserved portrait, the aegis - a rarer feature - more visible than in the photo:
    Trajan Sestertius 5.jpg
    Trajan, 98-117 AD, Æ Sestertius,,struck circa 106-111 AD.
    Obv: Laureate head right, drapery on left shoulder with aegis
    Rev: Ceres, holding wheat ears and torch, standing over modius
    Ref: RIC II 480 var. (no aegis), no examplar in OCRE
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  7. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Off-center ancients don't bother me at all, thought I don't know why this is. Porous flans bother me much more. But off-center coins just look good to me, and they are often steeply discounted. Here are three favorites:

    Off Center RR Illyria Mar 18 (0).jpg
    Carl Wilmont, Sulla80, Limes and 3 others like this.
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