Featured The DATTARI's mystery.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    I like Alexandrian's coins. They are easily recognizable, often dated, some type of reverses are exclusive to this mint, and someone described them as " beautiful, with evident oriental flavour although with an aftertaste quite different from that of the Asian mints." The workshop of Alexandria produced coins for a longer period than any other provincial mint. Any other foreign currency was prohibited in Egypt for centuries. If you were a roman citizen who wants to do business there, you had to exchange your money before crossing the borders (at their advantage of course). Why did the Roman power tolerate this closed currency system? Probably because Egypt was the most important provider of wheat for the empire. I'm pretty sure all collectors want to have at least one example of Alexandria in their collection, don't you ? Who says Alexandria says Dattari. Let's talk a bit about him.

    [​IMG] Ancient Roman odeon in Alexandria

    Giovanni Dattari (1853 - 1923 ) was an Italian coin and antique dealer and numismatist. After the death of his father, who was an hotel administrator, Dattari’s family moved to Egypt in 1875, where he started his business. Dattari was married with a Greek woman, Eudosia Zifadà and had two children, Marco Aurelio and Maria. Between 1891 and 1903, he gathered a coin collection of over 25,000 ancient coins. His home was a meeting place for famous archeologists and numismatists from all around the world. Even if he didn't have any academic backgrounds in numismatic, he wrote several articles on this subject who made many scholars envious!

    In 1901, Dattari published a catalogue of his Alexandrian coins, a total of 6,580 pieces. Two years later, he wrote that his complete collection of coins included 6,835 Alexandrians, 91 Archaic Greeks, 230 coins of Alexander the Great and 19,320 Romans. He had to sold a part of his collection in 1909 in Washington and again in Paris in 1912 ( 622 Egyptian, Greek and Roman pieces). Later, Dattari also donated almost 2000 coins to the National Museum of Roma. Not very long before he died in 1923, he claimed that was still owning over 13,000 Alexandrian's specimen. After his death, the collection was bequeathed to his widow and his children. It was not a secret for anyone that his wife was in possession of an unpublished manuscript of the catalogue for the 2nd part of the Dattari collection (1902-1923)

    The Collection of Dattari (1901) Also available online :

    But the coins remained untouched in the family for almost 30 years. After the revolution of 1952 in Egypt, all antiquities couldn't be legally exported out of the country, so his daughter Maria had to smuggle them to Europe. Her goal was to consign them to the National Archeological Museum in Athens. She entrusted this mission to her family physician, who "forgot" and instead put the coins in a safe for the next 20 years...
    So we are now in 1972 when Giorgos, the physician's son who is facing financial problems, decided to sell 8,000 coins from the Dattari's collection without their permission. So he was prosecuted, lost his trial and was sentenced to 10 months in prison; at least the remaining 5000 pieces were given back to the family...but the sold coins were forever lost in the nature. Sadly, the next ten years, the rest of the collection was disseminate on the market until Maria's death in 1981. End of the story ? Not at all. Let's go back in 1998, when a box containing old original Dattari's documents was found in a forgotten librairy ! One of these documents was the famous " lost" manuscript of the second part of Dattari's collection. But that's not all. Later, in a stationery shop in Cairo, an appendix of the catalogue was discovered; it contains over 300 pages and more than 700 pencil rubbings from Dattari's hand. With this new information, Adriano Savio published in 1999 (and also in 2007) a reviewed edition of the catalogue of the Dattari collection.


    What a story my friends. If you have the privilege to own a Dattari's coin, I hope this thread will make you to appreciate more pieces that have such a rich history. So please show me your Alexandrian's coins !

    CLAUDIUS II. Alexandria
    ANTONINUS PIUS. Alexandria
    PHILIP II. Alexandria
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
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  3. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Great Dattari write up, thanks.

    Some coins from the Alexandria mint:

    P1200812.JPG P1210873 best (2).JPG ptolemy II.JPG Ptolemy VI-VIII diobol.jpg
  4. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Thanks for the great writeup!

    Here are some Dattari plate coins from my collection.

    Dattri Domitian NN lot 305.jpg

    Egypt, Alexandria. Dattari. Domitian, 81-96
    Diobol circa 89-90 (year 9),
    Æ 24.7mm., 15.53g.
    Laureate head r.
    Rev. ETOYΣ ENATOTOY Eagle standing r. on thunderbolt.
    RPC 2566 (This coin cited). Dattari-Savio Pl. 22, 6809 (this coin).
    Rare, only two other specimens listed in RPC.
    Brown tone, Good Fine.
    From the Dattari collection.
    Ex: Naville Numismatics Live auction 51 Lot 305

    Tiberius Dattari 103.jpg
    Egypt, Alexandria. Dattari. Tiberius, 14-37 Obol circa 19-20 (year 6), Æ 20.1mm., 5.67g. Laureate head r. Rev. TIBEPIOY Hippopotamus standing r.; in exergue, L Geissen -. RPC 5087 (this coin cited). Dattari-Savio Pl. 4, 103 (this coin).
    Brown tone, About Very Fine.
    From the Dattari collection.
    Naville Numismatics Aution 43, Lot 250 September 23, 2018

    Vespasian tet.jpg

    Egypt, Alexandria. Dattari. Vespasian, 69-79 Tetradrachm 1 July-28 August 69 (year 1), billon 24.5mm., 11.95g.
    Laureate head r.; in front, LA.
    Rev. ΕΙΡΗΝΗ Eireine standing, l., with corn-ears and caduceus.
    RPC 2401. Geissen 266. Dattari-Savio Pl. 13, 6688 (this coin).
    Purchased from Naville Numismatics Auction 55 Lot 293

    Vespasian Dattari.jpg
    Egypt, Alexandria. Dattari. Vespasian, 69-79 Diobol circa 70-71 (year 3), Æ
    ( 26.5mm., 9.15g.)
    Obv: Laureate head r.
    Rev. Bust of Isis r.; in front, LΓ. RPC 2430 (this coin cited). Dattari-Savio Pl. 14, 382 (this coin).
    Brown tone. Very Fine.
    From the Dattari collection.
    Naville Numismatics Auction #30, Lot 283, April 02, 2017.
    Coin depicted in the Wildwinds.com database.
  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Excellent post. My prime Dattari question is who/when took the D/S catalog coin and made the cast fake I bought decades ago. Was this a one time thing or were many of his coins replicated by him, his family or those who held sizable sections (like the doctor).
  6. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix - I enjoyed your write-up. Here's one that I own - with it's pencil rubbing in the 2007 version of the catalog. The history of Dattari certainly adds to the interest of this coin - in case a coin from a few years before Diocletian's take down of usurper, Domitianus, in 297, the subsequent siege of Alexandria that ended in March 298 and a coin from the last Roman emperor to visit Egypt is not enough history.
    Dattari 10638 Plate.jpg
    Egypt, Alexandria, Diocletian, AD 284-305, BI Tetradrachm c. AD 289-290 (year 6)
    Obv: A K Γ OΥAΛ ΔIOKΛHTIANOC CEB Laureate head right
    Rev: Eirene standing left, holding olive-branch and scepter; in field, S-L
    Size: 17.8mm, 6.77g
    Ref: Dattari-Savio Pl. 282, 10638 (this coin).

    This nicely illustrated article from ANS on Datttari also worth a read on academia.edu.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  7. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    I only have the one Hadrian Ae Drachm Rv. Nilus seated left RPC 5791.68 This coin Datarri 1794 This coin 25.83 grms 32mm Photo by W. Hansen alexhadd4.jpg
  8. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Thank you for the excellent writup, @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix ! Cool story!

    My Dattari

    Livia, wife Augustus
    Diobol CE 1-2
    Æ 23.5mm 7.46g.
    Rev. Athena holding Nike Sheild
    ex Dattari-Savio Pl. 3 60-this coin, RPC pag. 692-5-this coin
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
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  9. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Great post...excellent write-up! Here’s my only coin from the Dattari Collection.


    Commodus, Alexandria, BI Tetradrachm,(24.2mm., 10.19g), circa 183-185 (RY 24 of Marcus Aurelius), Laureate head of Commodus right/ Rev. Commodus, in priestly attire, standing left before bust of Serapis set on low cippus, sacrificing and dropping incense over lighted altar, L-K-Δ. RPC Online 16005, Dattari-Savio Pl. 207, 9553 (this coin)
    From the Dattari Collection.
  10. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Thanks for the excellent writeup! There's also a great article published by the ANS available on academia.edu that covers some of the same ground and illustrates the story with some coins of Dattari's as well as a few pictures of his correspondences with E.T. Newell.

    I count 16 Roman Provincials of Alexandria in my collection that are ex Dattari. I won't show them all. :shame:

    Hadrian - Drachm ex Grover Dattari Serapis 1961.jpg
    AE Drachm. 25.1g, 33.7mm. EGYPT, Alexandria, RY 21 (AD 136/7). Emmett -; Dattari 1831; Dattari-Savio pl. 12, 126 (this coin illustrated); RPC 6193 (this coin cited). O: Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right. R: K-A L, Sarapis seated left on throne, holding sceptre and placing hand over head of Kerberos standing before him at his feet.
    Ex Robert L. Grover Collection, previously held by the Art Institute of Chicago (1980.980); ex Giovanni Dattari Collection

    Antoninus Pius - Drachm Nilometer 2092.jpg

    AE Drachm. 21.28g, 32.3mm. EGYPT, Alexandria, RY 17 (AD 153-154). RPC 14929 (this coin cited); Dattari-Savio Pl. 141, 2763 (this coin). O: Laureate head right. R: Nilus, with crocodile beside him, reclining left, holding reed and cornucopia from which issues Genius holding wreath; to left, a dome (Nilometer?) inscribed Iς (for 16 cubits), in front of which stands a Genius; L-IZ (date) in field.
    Ex Giovanni Dattari Collection

    Marcus Aurelius - Tetradrachm Zeus Staffieri Dattari 2500.jpg

    Billon Tetradrachm. 12.86g, 24.5mm. EGYPT, Alexandria, RY 13 of Antoninus Pius (AD 149/150). Dattari (Savio) 3185 (this coin); Emmett 1868.13 (R4); Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 169 (this coin); RPC Online temp #14367/7 (this coin). O: M AVPHΛIC • KAICAP, bareheaded and draped bust right. R: Zeus (‘Jupiter Capitolinus’) enthroned left, holding phiale in his extended right hand and scepter with his left; at his feet, eagle standing left, head right, wings closed; L IΓ (date) across upper field.
    Ex Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection (purchased from Dr. Piero Beretta, Milan, April 1972); ex Dr. Piero Beretta Collection; ex Giovanni Dattari Collection

    As mentioned in the OP, Dattari apparently also amassed a huge number of Roman imperials. A few years ago, Jesús Vico sold a fairly large number of them in a series of auctions. I picked up a few, including these two...

    Constantine I - Follis Dattari Gloria Exercitus 2344.jpg CONSTANTINE I
    AE3. 3.4g, 21.3mm. Constantinople, AD 327-328. RIC VII Constantinople 22 (R3). O: CONSTANTI-NVS MAX AVG, rosette-diademed head right. R: GLORIA EXERCITVS, soldier standing left, looking right, holding spear and resting hand on shield; Γ in left field, CONS in exergue.
    Ex Giovanni Dattari Collection

    Maximinus II - Sole Invicto ANT ex Dattari 2341.jpg MAXIMINUS II DAIA
    AE Follis. 6.24g, 23mm. Antioch mint, circa AD 310-11. RIC VI Antioch 154c. O: IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right. R: SOLE IN-VICTO, Sol standing left, extending arm and holding bust of Serapis; crescent over A in left field, ANT in exergue.
    Ex Giovanni Dattari Collection

    Apart from @Severus Alexander, I don't think I've seen anyone on CT with a Greek ex Dattari. Maybe he'll show his envy-inducing monster here. :D
  11. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    OK, twist my rubber arm. (Your last three ex-Dattaris are pretty envy-inducing too, Z!)

    Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 12.00.25 AM.jpg
    Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-222 BC) AE octobol, 46mm, 93.27g. Ex Dattari.

    One of my favourite Ex Dattari Romans:
    Screen Shot 2020-03-26 at 11.59.47 PM.jpg

    And one I hardly show (yes he had ants too):
    Screen Shot 2020-03-26 at 11.59.27 PM.jpg
    Carinus antoninianus, Cyzicus mint

    Thrilling writeup, Ocat!! :) And lots of beautiful coins in this thread.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  12. JulesUK

    JulesUK Well-Known Member

    I`ve learnt so much reading this thread and @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix write up. Thank you.
    I own only one "Alexandria" mint example which is below. I shall keep an even keener eye open from now on.

    7-Constantine Soldiers combo.jpg

    Constantine I (333-335 AD) AE 17mm 3.05g RIC VII Alexandria 58.
    Obv: CONSTANTINUS MAX AVG. Rosette diademed, draped and cuir head rt
    Rev: GLORIA EXERCITUS. Two soldiers holding spears and shield facing in, standards between, SMALA in ex.
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  13. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Yes great writeup, and enough to build a movie script I guess !

    I do have a few alexandrian myself

    Nero & Poppaea, tet :

    Hadrian, drachm :

    Commodus, tet :

    Julia Mamaea, tet :

    Tranquillina, tet :

    Gallienus, tet :

    Salonina, tet :

    Valerian II, tet :

  14. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Claudius II, tet :

    Tacitus, tet :

    Probus, tet :

    Diocletian, tet :

    DD, octadrachm (Emmett plate coin) :

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  15. Edit: I think you should start shopping the film treatment/script around Hollywood or Cannes @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix !

    I now own a bunch of Alexandrians....here are a couple of interesting ones. The first is ex JAZ Numismatics' auction 158 (yesterday). The second is an interesting Nerva.

    Hadrian. 117-138 AD.
    Æ Drachm, 36mm, 22.1g, 11h; Alexandria, Year 15 = 130/1 AD.
    Obv.: AVT KAI - TRAI AΔPIA CEB; Bust laureate, draped, cuirassed right.
    Rev.: Alexandria kisses the hand of the arriving emperor; he is laureate and togate, stands left, extends right hand to Alexandria and holds scepter in left; she stands right wearing elephant skin headdress, guides the emperor's hand to her mouth with her right hand, and holds two wheat ears downwards with her left hand; in lower field L - IE. The type commemorates Hadrian's visit to Egypt in 130-1 AD.
    Reference: Cologne 1034; Emmett 964/15.


    Type: Billon Tetradrachm, 25mm, 12.7 grams, mint of Alexandria year 96-97 A.D.

    Obverse: Bust of Nerva facing right, KAIS SEB AVT NEPOVAS

    Reverse: Agathodaemon serpent coiled with head right, holding caduceus and grain ear within coils, wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. In exergue, LA.

    Reference: Milne 542, Dattari 638 (rare)

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  16. SeptimusT

    SeptimusT Well-Known Member

    I own a lot of Alexandrians (more than anything else, actually!), but I still don't have anything ex-Dattari, at least to my knowledge. Who knows, though, considering how many likely passed through his hands. Here's an interesting article on him, and here's a new acquisition I haven't posted yet:

    Osiris Hadrian.png
    Billon Tetradrachm of Hadrian, Alexandria, AD 127/8. 25mm, 12.75g, RPC 5712.
    : ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙ ΤΡΙΑ ΑΔΡΙΑ СƐΒ, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
    : L ΔⲰΔƐΚATOY, Ptah-Hephaestus standing facing, head right, holding scepter and tongs
  17. Nice Ptah-Haephestus coin.

    I bid on one last week (real Dattari plate coin) I was ahead for four days but someone sniped it with 8 seconds left in the online auction...boo-hoo!
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  18. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks to everyone for posting wonderful coins in this thread. I couldn't believe how many "original Dattari" members of CT have in their collections. @Sulla80 it's the first time I see side by side a specimen with the drawing of it.Pretty cool. There was a super rare Antoninus Pius Dattari for sale yesterday by Roma. Estimated at 1250 GBP, the hammer price was only 750 GBP...maybe a bargain but anyway out of my budget...


    And to all of you who owns one, I would be curious to know how far you were able to go with its provenance ?
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  19. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    From last years Secret Santa.

    Antoninus Pius (138 - 161 A.D.)
    AE diobol
    EGYPT, Alexandria
    O:Laureate bust r., drapery on l. shoulder.
    R: Agathodaemon erect, crowned with skhent; in field, L-IE. issued 151-2 (year 15)
    RPC Online 15718 (this coin), Dattari-Savio Pl. 162, 3066 (this coin).

    From the Dattari collection.

    From the Orfew collection, ex Naville 34 lot 281, 17.09.2017.
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  20. Broucheion

    Broucheion Well-Known Member

    Hi All,

    I have 9 ex-Dattari's right now. The most interesting to me is this Faustina / Pharos issue. There's nothing particulary special other than provenance. I just like those Alex. lighthouses.


    Faustina The Younger (Under Antoninus Pius)
    Alexandria, Egypt Year 18 (154/155 CE)

    Æ Drachm
    26x27 mm
    Weight: 11.1 grams
    Axis: 00:00
    OBV: Faustina draped bust facing right. Legend: [CEBAC]TH - [ΦAVCTINA]. Dotted border not visible.
    REV: Pharos lighthouse. In left field: LI; In right field: H. Dotted border not visible.

    Refs: Eemmett-2018.18 (R5); Geissen-UNLISTED (G-1973 var: year 17); Dattari-3309, pl 174 (THIS); BMC-UNLISTED.

    ex-Dattari Collection [NAVILLE NUMISMATICS, LONDON, UK: Auction 40 (27 May 2018), Lot #410]

    - Broucheion
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
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  21. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Stirring and inspiring write up and story. And some beautiful coins. Wish I had one to show here...
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