10. William I Follis Norman Italy - Sicily William I, r. 1154-1166 (1155-1156) Messina mint, AE Follaro, 14.15 mm x 1.27 grams Obv.: ΜΡ ΘΥ (Mother of God). Madonna with Christ Child Rev.: Cufic legend, “Minted in Messina the year fifty and five hundred.” surrounding REX / ●W● Ref.: NCKS 338, MEC 14.289A This coin is a pain to photograph. It is fairly dark, which makes it hard to see the details if not in hand. The tiny concave shape is intriguing, but what I found interesting about this coin was the design. This issue shows the Hodegetria; the Virgin Mary holds an infant Christ, pointing at him as an indication that he is the way to salvation. This image was copied by the Normans in one of their chapels, and this seems to have found its way to this coin. 9. Manuel I Tetarteron Byzantine Empire Manuel I, r. 1143-1180 A.D. AE Tetarteron, 20.34 mm x 4 grams Obv.: MANȣHA ΔϵCΠOTHC. Manuel, bearded, stg. facing, wearing crown, division, locos and sagion, and holding cruciform scepter and akakia Rev.: M̅P̅, Θ̅V̅. The Virgin, nimbate, stg. r., with hands raised towards the hand of God in upper field to r. She wears pallium and maphorium Ref.: SBCV 1968 Here is another coin with the Virgin Mary on it. The was not an intentional collecting focus, but the Virgin holding her hands in deesis seemed rather unique to me. I don’t know if there are other issues with a similar design, but I have not seen them. 8. Caracalla Provincial AE26 Provincial Rome - Macedon Caracalla, r. 198-217 A.D. Edessa AE26, 26 mm x 7.7 grams Obv.: AV K A]VPH AN TΩNINO[C], laureate and cuirassed bust right Rev.: Roma, holding Nike and parazonium, seated left on cuirass and shield, being crowned by Tyche with wreath; [Tyche also holds scepter] Ex. Belgica Collection. Ex Gorny & Mosch 229 (10 March 2015), lot 1509 Note: Some Smoothing While I still have the goal of collecting a sharp portrait denarius of Caracalla for each year of his reign, this has begun to morph into a side collection of large and unique provincial bronzes. At 26mm, this isn’t the largest of coins, but it is still a decent size. This isn’t necessarily unique either, but the reverse is unusual and I like that there are multiple figures. I don’t yet have the coin in hand (I’m breaking one of my cardinal rules here...), but wanted to jump in on the end of the year bandwagon. The picture belongs to the seller (CNG), who has noted this coin has some smoothing. Unfortunate, but again, I liked the look of it. 7. Fulk V Denarius French Feudal, Anjou Fulk V or Geoffrey V, r. 1109-1129 or 1129-1151 AR Denier, 18.92 mm x 0.9 grams Obv.: +FVLCO COMES starting at 3hr. cross pattée, omega in quadrant 3, alpha in quadrant 4 Rev.: + VRBS AIDCCSV. Around Fulk’s monogram Ref.: Duplessy 375, Roberts 4114 The reason behind this coin was that I wanted an issue from Henry II of England from his home county if Anjou. Unfortunately, the coins of Anjou had become immobilized with the reign of Fulk V. There may be some research that has been done to further date types, but I have not yet seen them. This particular coin was a chance find at a coin show, and for a reasonable price as well, so I thought it was worth snagging. Perhaps I can do more research in the future and grab another, but this will do for now. 6. William II Large Follis Norman Italy - Sicily William II, r. 1166-1189 Messina Mint, Second Copper Large Follaro, 25.28 mm x 11.2 grams Obv.: Lion Head Rev.: Palm tree with dates Ref.: NCKS 372, MEC 14.425 This was another chance find at a coin show. Perhaps a weaker strike than I would have liked, but the coin had been on my wishlist, and the price was reasonable. The imagery on these are interesting, as the obverse seems to harken back to the Ancient Greek coins of Bruttium which depict a lion’s scalp. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, and have been meaning to do more research, but the potential connection is intriguing. 5. Norman Imitation of an Anonymous Follis Norman Italy - Apulia Roger Borsa, r. 1085-1111; AE Follis, 19.08 mm x 2.2 grams Obv.: Bust of Christ facing, cross behind, wearing pallium and Colvin, raising right hand in benediction, Gospels in left, crescent above, IC - XC flanking Rev.: Cross with globule and two pellets at each extremity, large crescent below, four globules around each surrounded by pellets Note: Imitative of a Byzantine Anonymous Follis, Class J. Found in Southern Italy. It cannot be earlier than 1085, but my attribution to Roger Borsa in Apulia is due to coins if a similar weight and size from this time and region Speaking of intrigue, this one contains loads of mysteries! I had been eyeing this coin which FORVM had for sale for some time, but decided to buy it after their appeal for aid following Hurricane Florence. There is no definitive proof that this was a Norman struck coin, but it was found in southern Italy, and is much thinner and lighter than Byzantine Folles (and thus more like a European coin). This imitates a type J Follis, and this could be no earlier than 1081, but that would put it in the final days of Robert Guiscard and possible the reign of Roger Borsa. I’ll never know for sure... but I suspect Borsa. 4. Maille of Ghent Low Countries - Flanders City of Ghent, 4th Period, 1253-1300 AR Mailles, 11.3 mm x 0.5 grams Obv.: Head left within circle of pellets, three rings in helmet, Lisa on top and cross behind Rev.: Open cross with bended limbs Ref.: DeWitt 1266 The Mailles of Flanders were city issues which initially contained the name of the ruling count, but eventually became anonymous issues. This particular coin is one of the last issues for Ghent, minted sometime between 1253 and 1300. While the coin has no legend, it is the same design as earlier issues with legends that identify it as an issue of Ghent. Ultimately, though, the image is just fantastic! It’s wonderfully reminiscent of 12th Century knights, but it an unusual and unique style. 3. Enrico Dandolo Denaro Italy - Venice Enrico Dandolo, r. 1192-1205 AR Denaro, 13.66 mm x 0.4 grams Obv.: +S MARCVS around small cross Rev.: +ENRIC DVX around small cross Ref.: De Wit 3625 Enrico Dandolo was the Doge of Venice at the time of the Fourth Crusade. In many of the accounts of the crusade, Dandolo was viewed as responsible for leading the crusade away from the Holy Land to sacking Constantinople. From a Numismatic perspective, payment for the crusade led to the minting of the Grosso: a new denomination which would spread throughout Europe. A Grosso of Dandolo would be one of my white whales - as would any coin by Dandolo! Hence my surprise and delight when this coin became available for a mere $20! The small Denaro (or piccolo as they would eventually be called) are more numerous than the Grosso of Dandolo’s, but I still have not seen any for sale before this one. 2. Frederick II Denari Kingdom of Sicily Frederick II, r. 1197-1250 (1243) Brindisi Mint, BL Denari, 18.64 mm x .07 grams Obv.: +F●ROM●IPR’●SeP●AVG. Bare head right. Rev.: +R●IERSL’●ET SICIL’. Eagle facing with head r. Ref.: MEC 14.555-7 While Frederick II was Holy Roman Emperor, in many ways he was the last Norman king of Sicily. While technically a Hohenstaufen, his mother Constance was the daughter of Roger II, and Frederick seems to have had a greater affinity for his Sicilian possessions than his German ones. Frederick also had an affinity for birds, which is partly what attracted me to this coin, especially within the incredibly detailed plumage on the falcon on the reverse. I’m still looking into the design, and am curious how it matches up to Frederick’s depictions in the book he wrote on Falconry. 1. Robert Curthose Denari French Feudal, Normandy Robert Curthose, r. 1087-1106 AR Denier, 20 mm x 0.93 grams Obv.: +NOR[MAN]NA. Cross patted with pellets in angles Rev.: RI/AV in two lines Ref.: Dumas Group D XXI-17, Duplessy 32var., Roberts 3901-9var. Ex BRN Collection, purchased from Andy Singer June 2012 I saved the ugliest coin for last. I have developed quite an interest in these crude deniers of Normandy post Richard the Fearless. The coins usually contain geometric designs on the reverse (which may be devolved depictions of a temple), but there is a group of these coins which instead have a series of initials. The initials are baffling, but the current theory is that they may have been issued during the reign of Robert Curthose. I haven’t seen one of these available before and wasn’t expecting to see one for some time. CNG had an auction with several Norman coins offered, and the inclusion of a rare, unrecorded type in that same auction probably deflected people from this issue (that and this one was probably the ugliest of all those on offer). All in all, a good year. Perhaps not my best, but I certainly got some top coins!