Titus Elephants - Fine Style Discussion

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Steelers72, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. Steelers72

    Steelers72 Active Member

    Posted are two Titus elephant denarii. For disclosure, I don't own either they are recently completed sales. I am posting to discuss the topic of fine style portraits as that's what I prefer to collect.

    In my opinion believe the second Titus denarius, graded XF, is of a finer style and an overall better coin than the first one which was graded Ch. XF Fine Style.

    What are your thoughts?

    Post your fine style denarii, or denarii you believe deserve the special designation due to great portraits.


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  3. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    I believe the second portrait is more realistic, I think the top part of his nose was over exaggerated on a lot of issues (like mine below) also on the second one his hair has more detail. Titus-removebg-preview (1).png
     
  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I like both sides of the second one better. The portrait is much more appealing to me, and the elephant is centered, with a complete reverse legend.
     
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  5. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    The two NGC labels are from 2 different price tiers (Edit: I'm incorrect in this though... see below post): the first coin at a higher tier giving it a general rating, Strike & Surface rating, and any comments (if applicable), and the second coin a cheaper tier where it is given just a general condition grade. If the second were to be in the higher tier, it very well may have received a similar "Fine Style" disclaimer.

    Edit: I can only believe that the 2nd coin would have received a 5/5 Strike with it being relatively more centered. I'm uncertain how the luster and toning reflect in the Surface rating, if at all.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
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  6. Steelers72

    Steelers72 Active Member

    A coin can still get the fine style designation without the strike/surface tier. I own a coin graded XF Fine style with no numerical /5 grades
     
  7. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Gotcha! Thanks for the clarification!
     
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  8. IdesOfMarch01

    IdesOfMarch01 Well-Known Member

    From a stylistic and artistic standpoint, I prefer the top portrait. The face is more fully rendered -- note the area just under the lower lip above the chin has more detail, the eye is more realistically positioned relative to the profile, and the ear has more detail. Overall this portrait is much more appealing to my eye.

    However, I prefer the bottom coin's rendering of the elephant to the top coin's. The details seem more finely depicted on the bottom coin's reverse, and the elephant's torso looks more realistic.

    I have this type coin in my collection:

    Bc - Titus AR denarius.jpg
     
  9. Steelers72

    Steelers72 Active Member

    I like yours the best! Thanks for sharing
     
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  10. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Perhaps it's due to the pictures, but I prefer the first coin. The flan is horrible though.

    Here's mine, not that fine, but very pleased nevertheless.
    15.2.png
     
  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    We also are faced with the question whether the Fine Style was aimed at the portrait or the elephant. Grading is an opinion. The first coin has wear on the high points - too much for CH XF? I agree with Ides' assessment of the coins as quoted below. His coin shows what I would call a Choice XF but I assume under current standards it would be MS. It is the sort of coin we have come to expect from Ides' collection.
    I have one, too, and it is the sort of coin you have come to expect from me. I call it a decent VG.
    rb1370bb0192.jpg
     
  12. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    You are too modest. I think it is better. F+ or VF-. Yes, decent!
     
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  13. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Yup and Yup - but in my opinion all the elephant coins posted in this thread so far are great!

    I love “elephant coins” but I don’t have any coin photos of this issue to post :(
     
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  14. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    The first coin, IMHO, has the better style. The handiwork of this engraver is quite distinct and runs through the issue. Any Titus denarii engraved by this individual are of the highest quality and should be highly prized.

    Here is another by the same engraver.

    T46.JPG
    Titus
    AR Denarius, 2.96g
    Rome Mint, 79 AD
    Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
    Rev: TR P VIIII IMP XV COS VII P P; Rostral column, ornamented at sides with beaks of ships and surmounted by a statue, radiate, naked except for cloak, standing front, holding vertical spear in r. hand and parazonium at side in l.
    RIC 46 (C). BMC 29. RSC 289. BNC 23.
     
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  15. Herodotus

    Herodotus Well-Known Member

    Merely comparing the portraits.. The 1st coin appears like a 'life-mask', while the 2nd has the look of a 'death-mask'

    The 2nd coin's surface appears to be slightly rougher in the fields, but the details of the devices are less worn than the 1st coin. As such, It's my opinion that the 2nd coin to be a better grade than the 1st.

    I think a '4/5' for 'Strike' was a little generous for the 1st coin if centering is one of the criteria taken into consideration. Although, perhaps the jagged flan edge was presumed to be environmental damage. In that case, the edge damage might lend one to suggest that '4/5' may have also been generous for 'Surface'.
     
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