Tooled Salonina? Rare Julia Paula? What gives?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Here's the coin in question. I posted it in a thread last night:

    Julia Paula Alexandrian tetradrachm.jpg

    The more I think about this tetradrachm, the more it bothers me. I was the successful bidder on it in Frank's latest auction (lot 262). It was previously up for sale at Pegasi (auction XXXIX, lot 370; see also acsearchinfo), where it was noted to be a variety of Köln 2365 and a variety of Dattari 4172. Pegasi notes "ex PNC collection," which is a provenance I don't recognize.

    I do not have Köln or Dattari, but I do have Sear and I looked it up there to find this listing:


    Sear notes the eagle is standing facing and mine looks more like it's advancing right. Sear also notes LΔ in the upper left field, whereas on mine, the regnal year is in the lower right field. Sear makes no mention of a palm branch behind the eagle's head. He cites BMC Greek 1533. Sear often uses the British Museum collection as a reference, so I simply assumed he was referencing the exemplar there. Here's the listing in BMC Greek:

    Capture 1.JPG

    So, I searched out the example in the British Museum at their website. This is the coin:

    Julia Paula Alexandrian tetradrachm BMC.jpg

    It's very different from mine in style. The obverse inscription is rendered with large, crowded letters. Julia Paula's hairstyle is very different and resembles that of many of her imperial denarii. The eagle takes up most of the surface area of the reverse and is facing with head turned right. There is no palm behind the eagle's head.

    That's not necessarily a red flag, as you know, because my coin may simply be a variety cut by a different die-engraver.

    But the obverse portrait and the reverse of the "Julia Paula" resemble the features of a year 15 tetradrachm of Salonina I have in my collection too closely for comfort:

    Salonina Alexandria Tetradrachm Year 15.jpg

    Here's my new purchase again, the ex FSR, ex Pegasi one:

    Julia Paula Alexandrian tetradrachm.jpg

    Tooled from a Salonina tetradrachm? This coin does not appear when I search Forum's fake coin reports. I'm hampered by my ability to compare the coin to others. Apart from the British Museum example, I am unable to find any other specimens online -- real or fake.

    I need help from Alexandrian experts. Thanks!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
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  3. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I'm away from my books or I'd look it up for you. @Justin Lee has Emmett... Justin, does Emmett list a Julia Paula tet with eagle standing right, wings spread?
    ominus1 likes this.
  4. shanxi

    shanxi Well-Known Member

    What is the weight? The was a constant decrease of the weight. Julia Paulas usually around 10-14g, Salonina usually 7-11g. There is some overlapping, but a high weight might be a indication for a real Julia Paula.

    Emmett 2974: Eagle standing r., wings open, wreath in beak, Year=4

    only example with eagle in Emmett
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  5. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    It does, Emmett 2974.4:

    You'd think with it only being R2 that there'd be others online. A search for "Emmett 2974" on ACSearch or plain ol Google returns no examples of this coin type.
  6. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Per the 2018 Pegasi listing, 9.97 gm.
  7. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks, everyone, for your help so far.

    I have Emmett, which I consulted, but it doesn't go into enough detail about the presence/absence of a branch behind the eagle's head or the placement of the regnal year to distinguish its listing from the BMC example.
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  8. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Oh. I see. :oops:

    Hmm, the style is different but there is not much consistency in the minor details of Alexandrian coinage and portraits become more generic in the mid and later issues.

    I've not found any rhyme or reason to regnal year placement, which can vary within a given type.

    As for the branch behind the eagle's head, I'm not sure what that lump of metal is. Perhaps it is a palm frond, since a palm frond is often the eagle's shoulder. That would make the line under the wreath the other end of the palm frond. Perhaps the middle portion of the branch has been smoothed away on your coin?
    Marsyas Mike and Roman Collector like this.
  9. shanxi

    shanxi Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  10. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Roman Collector likes this.
  11. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

  12. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    That portrait/hairstyle on your coin doesn't look like other issues of Julia Paula and the date on your coin does look more like LA rather than LΔ. It's not looking good...
  13. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    In looking at the listing for Salonina, Emmett DOES go into enough detail to list the palm above the wing... So why wouldn't he for Julia Paula if it was there?
    I agree. :(
    Curtisimo, TIF and Roman Collector like this.
  14. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks for your help, @Justin Lee, @shanxi and @TIF. It's time to send it back to the dealer. I would always have doubts about it and never feel comfortable with it.
    Justin Lee likes this.
  15. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    I saw the first post last night & ho hummed it thinking it looked like a Salonina, but since you know lady coins well, I figured you knew better so I moved on.

    Now I see this thread this morning & my gut is correct.

    I think it's a Salonia, just from the portrait alone. But I could be wrong.

    You could contact Keith Emmett himself, over on Forvm via PM. He posts under "iwaniw", he's helped me with many questions of mine over the years.
  16. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Roma Invicta

    Sorry about that @Roman Collector - better to be safe than sorry I guess. I'll share my Salonina here.

    EGYPT, Alexandria

    Billon Tetradrachm, 23mm, 9.8 grams, 12h

    Dated RY 15 (A.D. 267-268)

    Diademed and draped bust right.

    Reverse: Eagle standing right, holding wreath in beak; palm in left field, L IE to right

    Reference: Koln 2983; Dattari 5346; Milne 4189; Curtis 1642; Emmett 3854


  17. SeptimusT

    SeptimusT Well-Known Member

    It must be Salonia. RPC has photos of a number of the Paula issue, and all of them are similar in style to the BM coin.
    Roman Collector likes this.
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