The worst portrait of Trajan Decius

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Valentinian, Sep 1, 2020.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    I have been studying coins of "The Kingdom of the Bosporus."


    The region of the kingdom in encircled. Do not confuse the "Cimmerian" Bosporus of this Kingdom with the more-famous Bosporus at Constantinople/Istanbul. I fixed the map at Forum which erroneously had a map of the wrong Bosporus.

    Many coins of the Kingdom have least two interesting features--busts on both sides and explicit dates. The Roman emperor is on one side and the King of the Bosporus, named in the legend, is on the other. The dates are in Greek and our dates can be deduced from their dates by subtracting 297. This coin has date year ZMΦ (= 7+40+500 = 547) of the Bosporan era which corresponds (547-297 = 250). Trajan Decius (249-251) was the Roman emperor then, so the dated side of this coin has his bust on it.

    Rheskuporis IV, 242-277
    19 mm. 7.44 grams. Base AR.
    His bust right, trident before neck
    Bust right (Trajan Decius)
    ZMΦ below (= year 547 = 250/1)

    MacDonald 609/3 (No photo). Anokhin 698δ.

    He certainly could not be recognized from his portrait alone. The coin itself is not in bad shape; it is the engraving that is poor. Roman provincial coins often have crude portraits. Does this one perhaps have the worst portrait of Trajan Decius?

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  3. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Interesting coin despite a strange portrait

    Bosporan kingdom – El stater, dated 491 (194-195 CE)
    BACIΛΕωC CAVPOMATOV (anticlockwise). Draped and diademed bust of Sauromates II right
    Laureate head of Septimius Severus right. Star in right field. Retrograd VPA at exergue (year 491)
    7,69 gr – 20 mm
    Ref : MacDonald # 502/2, Sear # 5476 var

    And my writeup about it here

  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    For comparison here is a coin with an excellent portrait of Trajan :D. I really regret selling this coin despite the scratches in the field :(.

    McAlee 440, obv. (2).jpg
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  5. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Sorry about my previous post, I didn't see the word Decius after the word of Trajan :confused:. So let me throw in an excellent portrait coin of Trajan Decius :D.

    Prieur 503, obv..JPG
  6. Alegandron

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

    Thank you for putting out a coin and a little history. Also for pointing me to read more up on this. I REALLY regret that I was TOTALLY CLUELESS...

    Thanks for the posting, and teaching me a little more (as you ALWAYS do for me, Warren!)


    And I and totally CLUELESS to whom these BOZOs are either. I just randomly found this on the internet.

    :) :) :)
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2020
  7. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    That “portrait” reminded me of this graphic reproduced in Wayne Sayles’s book about Byzantine coinage. The portrait of Trajan Decius seems to be made up of a dozen or so angular lines. I wonder if it is a technique precursor to the later Byzantine design.
  8. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Not really a great bust of T. Decius:


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  9. ominus1

    ominus1 ...BE SEEING YOU! Supporter

    ...i'm not really sure there is such a critter..he wasnt too purdy to begin's mine:D Trajan Decius antoninianus & family 001.JPG Trajan Decius antoninianus & family 002.JPG
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  10. finny

    finny Supporter! Supporter

    Here's my Trajan Decius. He kind of looks like he's smiling. IMG_20200901_172631.jpg IMG_20200901_172618.jpg
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  11. Alegandron

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


    Roman Empire
    Traianus Decius
    249-251 CE
    AR Antoninianus
    Obv: IMP CM Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate cuirassed bust r.
    Rev: DACIA, Dacia draped and diademed facing, standing, holding standard with wolf's head on top in right hand
    Ref: RIC IV C 12b
    Ex: @seth77
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  12. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Hilarious portrait! Reminds me of Animal. :D


    Here's my most similar coin. It's dated NΦ = BE 550 = 253/54. In principle the portrait on the reverse could be either Valerian or Gallienus. The guy seems to be sporting a beard, so I'm thinking Gallienus... but who really knows? :confused:

    Screen Shot 2020-09-01 at 11.04.26 PM.jpg

    The Bosporan ruler on the obverse is Pharsanzes, who is known only through his coinage, issued during the OP ruler's reign, Rhescuporis IV. Was he usurping rebel? a short-lived co-emperor? Nobody knows.

    It's not that unusual to find these holed, presumably for use as jewelry. Holed imitative Roman coins are commonly found north of the Bosporan kingdom.
  13. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter


    I got this one, I just liked it and was in the mood to add an out my focus coin into my collection. This thread was helpful, so thank you @Valentinian .
    However, mine is Constantine so it does not fit into the title of the thread.

    I got it from Forum Ancient coins.

    Kingdom of Bosporus, Rheskuporis V (VI), 314 - 342 A.D., Constantine the Great Reverse
    Billon stater, MacDonald 679/1; Anokhin 769; BMC Pontus pl. XVIII 12 (not in text), VF, dark brown patina, 8.230g, 20.6mm, 0o, Pantikapaion (Kerch, Crimea) mint, 323 - 324 A.D.; obverse BACILEVC PHCKOVPOPIDOC, diademed and draped bust of Rheskuporis right, wreath of pellets (control symbol) right; reverse laureate and draped bust of the Roman emperor Constantine the great right, K-X ([year] 620 [of the Bosporan Era]) divided across field;
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  14. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I think mine wins the race to terrible. It shows king Rhadamsades who shared the throne with his brother above but mine is 9 years earlier (AIX = 611 = 314 / 315 A.D.). The problem is that Constantine was sharing the empire with Licinius so we have to look at this portrait and decide which Roman it is. I say Licinius since it shows a radiate portrait which is more common from some of Licinius' mints. In other words, it is a guess. Websites more wise than adventuresome refer to the guy on the reverse as 'Emperor' without committing to which one.
  15. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    Rheskouporis II (211/2 - 226/7)

    ZHphi = 218

    Hence, the emperor should be Macrinus or Elagabalus

    Screenshot 2021-11-24 at 08.06.37.png

    Rheskuporis V, 240-276

    Year 561 = AD 264 (Gallienus)

    Screenshot 2021-11-24 at 08.13.04.png

    Rheskuporis V

    Year thetaIX = AD 332 (Constantine I)

    Weight 6.96 gr

    This is one of the last coins of the Bosporan Empire, which seized minting coins after 700 years some time in the AD 330s.

    Screenshot 2021-11-24 at 08.14.39.png
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  16. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    Looking through my 20 or so Bosporan coins, the Emperor is always depicted with laurel wreath, but often with spiky hair that can look like a radiate crown.
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