Tetricus I - Barbarous or Not?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by TTerrier, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. TTerrier

    TTerrier Well-Known Member

    Tetricus I Pax obv.jpg Tetricus I Pax rev.jpg

    Here is a fun little coin that may (or may not) be an imitation of a Tetricus I radiate with Pax reverse. Have a look - 16mm X 18mm, 2.53gm

    To me, the style of the portrait is very good and looks official. The lettering on the obverse raises two issues (i) the size and style of the lettering is not uniform and (ii) "PF" seems very clearly rendered as "DE". The legend seems complete, but the DE could be an indicator of imitation, or perhaps just an illiterate engraver copying a coin where those parts of the letters were missing?

    The reverse to me looks really close to official style, notwithstanding the weird looking arms.

    This was sold as an imitation but I lean towards official with a screw-up at the mint. Let me know what you think and pile on the barbs!

    Our friend @Valentinian has a nice discussion on these on his website.

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  3. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    It's a little crude. Id say it's a nice barbarous type. The reverse does look pretty close to official though. Overall it's a nice little coin.
  4. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    Yes, a contemporary imitation.
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  5. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..quite possibly barbarous, but still a nice coin :)
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
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  6. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    That has got to be one of the finest imitations I’ve ever seen. The Pax reverse honestly looks significant better than many official versions!!

    grest pickup. I love it
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  7. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Numismatic jack of all trades & specialist in none Moderator

    Funky and cool.
  8. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    Tetricus I imitations are fun, there are so many variants, and they are quite affordable.

    2606 Tetr N eigen scan ontachterd ct.jpg

    2614 RB ct.jpg
    2620 RB ct.jpg

    2620 RB Tetr ct.jpg

    2621 RB Tetr ct.jpg

    2621B wo.jpg

    2622 B ct.jpg

    2624 Barb ct.jpg
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  9. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    I am of the opinion that for the Gallic Empire, particularly with Victorinus and the Tretrici, the differentiation between official and barbarous is meaningless. Who can say what made a coin "official" during this time? It appears they all circulated together and were all equally accepted as legitimate coinage for financial transactions. I am guessing that if anyone was able to strike a coin in the name of the emperor, that was fine with them.
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  10. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Good point @gsimonel - I suppose it didn't really matter. Apparently there was a shortfall of central government issued coins so many more antoniniani were needed by the populace. One can't really see how these coins had much purchasing power, but who knows?
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  11. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..i've seen these coins listed as Gallic imitations period..:)
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  12. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    Well, there were certainly official coins and unofficial imitations. But did anyone, including the government, even care about the difference at the time?

    My point is that, although this was often an important distinction during much of the Roman Empire, and it's certainly important to collectors today, but I'm not convinced that it was an important distinction within the short-lived Gallic Empire.

    Another point is that it might be easy to make this distinction at the extreme ends of the differences, but it's probably not possible to make a confident distinction with many of the coins from this time. There's probably a lot of overlap between sloppily produced official coins and carefully produce unofficial ones.

    If I call either of these coins "official" am I guilty of the numismatic equivalent of "false precision"?
    Tetricus I
    Augustus, A.D. 271-274
    Bronze Antoninianus
    Gallic Empire, unidentified southern mint
    Rev: PAX AVG - Pax standing left, holding olive branch and vertical spear
    RIC 100
    18mm, 2.9g.

    Tetricus II
    Caesar, A.D. 273-274
    Augustus, A.D. 274

    Bronze Antoninianus
    Gallic Empire, unidentified southern mint
    Rev: SPES AVG - Spes, walking left, holding flower and raising robe
    RIC 270
    20x18mm, 2.5g.
  13. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I vote imitation based on style & especially the obverse lettering (too big & sloppy).
  14. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    That is an excellent example. I agree it is an imitation, remarkably well done.

    I think there is a significant distinction between barbarous radiates and official Gallo-Roman coins. Yes, some imitations are nearly as well-produced as official coins, but I think there was an official mint (or mints) that struck coins for the government in the name of the emperor, and there were many tiny unofficial "mints" (some in the archaeological record) making their own coins for profit or to supply more coins for a monetized economy. A look at
    shows some official prototypes that are much different from obvious "barbarous" pieces. Where to draw the line is tricky, but there is a line.

    An official Tetricus II. 20-19 mm. 2.65 grams.
    RIC V.II 270
    Sear III 11292
  15. Alwin

    Alwin Supporter! Supporter



    VICTORINUS, Antoninianus
    Treveri, 270-271
    3.65 g - 19.5 mm
    S 11170 - C 49 - RIC Vb 114
    IMP C VICTORINVS PF AVG, Radiate bust right
    INVICTVS, Sol advancing left
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  16. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Here are two Tetricii from @tenbobbit!

    The first one I believe is an official, albeit ragged Laetitia.

    This second one I think is an imitation. I say that due to the "III" for "M", and the objectively cruder Laetitia reverse.

    However, both of these could very well be official. I just feel like the lettering on the second one is just a bit more crude.
  17. TTerrier

    TTerrier Well-Known Member

    I see Valentinian added an official Tetricus II above - here is a definite imitation I just received in the mail today 15mm 1.54gm. A nice portrait on this one as well but they were struggling with the letters.

    Tetricus II obv.jpg Tetricus II rev.jpg
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  18. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    Here are some more barbs in the Tetricus I line - radiate and bearded.

    2942 B T I.jpg

    2906 Barb T I.jpg

    And two Tetricus IIs, radiate and unbearded. A bit alike, they are.

    2623 barb ct.jpg

    I bought this in a JAZ auction two years ago. The reverse was described as Hilaritas standing left, holding palm branch and cornucopia. Imitating RIC 80. Text IIII.

    2620 Tetricus B ct.jpg

    This one, apparently from the emperor 'STOICVS', shows Spes doing a little dance, waving a branch.
  19. GregH

    GregH Well-Known Member

    Something I'm curious about - are there any reference books about barbarous radiates? As far as i can tell, this is one of the only areas of numismatics that hasn't been catalogued & studied.
  20. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    There are few collector resources but a number of academic papers, archaeological & hoard reports, etc. Perhaps the best place to start is George Boon's 'Counterfeit coins in Roman Britain' in Coins and the Archaeologist (2nd ed), John Casey & Richard Reece eds, London: Seaby, 1988, pp. 102-188. Boon provides excellent bibliographic notes which can serve as a springboard. I will advise caution on anything published before about 1960. Those often include wild speculation regarding dating, long taken for granted but since disproved.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
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  21. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

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