Featured Two New Roman Provincials: Impulse Purchases

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I don't make a lot of impulse purchases. It's no exaggeration at all for me to say that I often look at 500-1,000 ancient coins before I see one that interests me, and that when I do see one, I often let it sit in my watch list for weeks or even months before I make a decision to buy. Once in a while, though, I do see coins that for whatever reason -- usually just because I like the way they look -- I feel I simply have to have, and buy either immediately or after only a day or two. That happened recently with not one but two coins, both of them Roman Provincials. There's nothing special about either of them, and I certainly wasn't looking for either type. The appearance of both appealed to me a lot, for reasons I can't specifically explain, so I bought them. And thought I'd post them together.

    The first is a Hadrian didrachm from Caesarea in Cappadocia, purchased from a dealer in Spain; the coin arrived less than 48 hours after I ordered it. I assure you that I'm not a violent woman, but nonetheless I liked the design of the fancy club on the reverse. Something I'm more used to seeing on Trajan's coins. I assume that it symbolizes Roman power, authority, etc., and suggests Hercules or Melqart -- especially given how big your hand would have to be to hold it. (I could swear that someone posted an article once about representations of power on Trajan's provincial coins, but perhaps I"m imagining it.)

    It feels like I have dozens of Hadrian coins, but this is actually only the 11th. Still the most I have of any emperor other than Gallienus, for whom I also have 11.

    Hadrian, AR Didrachm, 128-138 AD, Caesarea. Cappadocia Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ - ϹΕΒΑϹΤΟϹ/ Rev. Club, handle at top, ΥΠΑΤΟϹ Γ ΠΑ-ΤΗΡ ΠΑΤΡΙΔΟϹ [ΥΠΑΤΟϹ Γ = COS III, 128-138 AD; ΠΑΤΗΡ ΠΑΤΡΙΔΟϹ = Pater Patriae]. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. III 3109 (2015); RPC III Online at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/3109 ; Sydenham 280 [E. Sydenham, The Coinage of Caesarea in Cappadocia (1933)]; Metcalf, Caesarea 280 [Metcalf, W.E., The Silver Coinage of Cappadocia, Vespasian-Commodus. ANSNNM (American Numismatic Society, Numismatic Notes & Monographs) No. 166 (New York 1996)]; SNG Von Aulock 6422 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock, Vol. 3: Pisidia, Lycaonia, Cilicia, Galatia, Cappadocia, Cyprus, Imperial Cistophori, Posthumous Lysimachus, Alexander tetradrachms (Berlin, 1964)]; Ganschow 178d [Ganschow, T., Münzen von Kappadokien, Band 1 Konigreich und Kaisareia bis 192 n. Chr. (Istanbul 2018). 21 mm., 6.02 g.

    Hadrian didrachm - club reverse Caesarea  Cappadocia jpg version.jpg

    Here's a question: does anyone think that either side of my coin is a die match to this coin, from CNG E-Auction 110, 16 Mar 2005, Lot 134? See https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coin/70825:

    Hadrian didrachm - CNG 2005 example of club reverse Caesarea  Cappadocia jpg version.jpg

    It's one of those cases where two coins look extremely similar, but I just can't tell if they're a die match on either side.

    The other coin is an Elagabalus from Alexandria, Egypt. Again, it's nothing out of the ordinary, but I liked both the portrait of Elagabalus and the depiction of Nike. Both look less crude to me than many Alexandrian portraits -- as charming as I find them in general. Also, it's my first provincial of Elagabalus.

    Elagabalus, Billon Tetradrachm, Year 3 (219/220 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, Α ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ΜΑ ΑΥΡ - ΑΝΤѠΝΙΝΟϹ ƐΥϹƐΒ / Rev. Nike advancing right, holding wreath out with right hand and palm branch over left shoulder with left hand, L Γ [Year 3] before her. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. VI, 10053 (temporary); RPC Online at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/6/10053; Emmett 2939.3 (R2) [Emmett, Keith, Alexandrian Coins (Lodi, WI, 2001)]; Dattari (Savio) 4122 [Savio, A. ed., Catalogo completo della collezione Dattari Numi Augg. Alexandrini (Trieste, 2007)]; Milne 2775 [Milne, J., A Catalogue of the Alexandrian Coins in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, 1933, reprint with supplement by Colin M. Kraay)]; Geissen (Köln) 2320 [Geissen, A., Katalog alexandrinischer Kaisermünzen, Köln, Band II (Hadrian-Antoninus Pius) (Cologne, 1978, corrected reprint 1987)]; K&G 56.28 [Kampmann, Ursula & Granschow, Thomas, Die Münzen der römischen Münzstätte Alexandria (2008)]. 23 mm., 12.40 g., 12 h.

    Elagabalus - Alexandria tetradrachm - Nike on reverse - jpg version.jpg

    Please post (1) any recently-acquired Roman Provincials of any emperor, and/or (2) any recently-acquired coins of Hadrian or Elagabalus whether they're Provincial or Imperial.
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  3. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    Nice coins, Donna. Congrats!
    If it’s a die match on the first one, I would say that it’s the obverse. The club looks more pointed on the second sample, and it looks like the ornaments (or spikes) on the club have a slightly different position. But my eyes are not what they used to be:)
  4. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    I especially like the Hadrian didrachm, impressive club !
    I dont see a die match on eighter side.

    Bought this Shekel (Tetradrachm?) its still not arrived after 4 weeks :(

    P1170980 (3).JPG

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Very cool, @DonnaML. For impulse buys, those are both conspicuously right up your street!
    Regarding the Hadrian didrachm, for what it's worth, I'm seeing minor variations on both sides. Starting with the top of Hadrian's wreath (the gap between the topmost pair of leaves), segueing to the apparent variation (unless it's reducible to the strike) in the initial 'A' in the reverse legend.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
  6. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    You're probably right. There's kind of a weird feeling of cognitive dissonance when I try to compare two coins for which the dies are really, really similar -- but not quite the same. Perhaps the same engraver, anyway.
  7. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Great additions. I thought about that Tetradrachm but I have to many ELagabalus coins I really didn't want another.

    My only Alexandrian of him.

    Elagabalus (218 - 222 A.D.)
    Egypt, Alexandria
    Billon Tetradrachm
    O: A KAICAP MA AVP ANTWNINOC EVCEB, Laureate bust right.
    R: Eagle standing facing, head right, with wings spread, holding wreath in beak; LΔ (date) to left.. Dated RY 4 (220/221 A.D.)
    Köln 2326; Dattari 4153; Milne 2819 = Emmett 2921.4

    Published on Wildwinds!

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    That's some provenance....
  9. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    Nice new acquisitions Donna!
  10. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @DonnaML, I continually run into the same kind of thing with the myriad classes of earlier English hammered. Compared to which, the legends are a walk in the park. --@TheRed is the only one here I know of who's actually good at squinting them out. One consequence is that my English hammered will probably never get very far beyond the level of a 'type collection.'
    The irony is that ancients of this level --which I never rose to, while collecting them as a kid-- are often easier to 'read,' for die variations, than the sort of thing that's ostensibly in my purview. ...I have to wonder whether, in both our cases, the relative level of subjective investment ends up getting in the way of what you might get by a more disinterested 'second pair of eyes.'
    (Disclaimer: as a lifelong fan of Kierkegaard, I'm very skepical of the mere concept of 'objectivity,' other than as an unattainable ideal.)
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
  11. Etcherman

    Etcherman Active Member

    The obverse looks like a match to me.

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  12. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

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  13. tenbobbit

    tenbobbit Supporter! Supporter

    Nice additions from the provinces Donna.

    To my eye neither side is a match, there are just enough subtle differences to tell them apart.
    I will agree that they were most likely created by the same hand, how could they not be.
  14. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Nice coins both. I don't see a die match on the first one though

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  15. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Nice acquisitions!

    In terms of die match, the obverse die might qualify, but not the reverse die, in my opinion.
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  16. benhur767

    benhur767 Sapere aude

    This is me, too!

    Neither side is a die match. The obverses are more similar than the reverses, so maybe the same engraver. Beautiful coins, though.
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  17. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Now that I look at the obverse dies, I agree. The lettering spacing spacing differs between the two dies.
    benhur767 and DonnaML like this.
  18. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I did an overlay to confirm that there's no die match on either side. Some details that prove it: see the little blip of hair at the top of the forehead on the obverse? On your coin it points to the back of the C, on the CNG coin it points to the front of the C. On the reverse: look at the distance between the top of the club and the A.

    Nice new didrachm! These are nice and chunky in hand.

    The Elagabalus looks like it's probably ex Hermanubis, given the toning.
    [edit: indeed it is! It's ex CNG, here's the acsearch link: https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=4297617 ]
    DonnaML, zumbly, Andres2 and 2 others like this.
  19. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    ..those are nice Donna...i guess most of my purchases, save for a few, are impulse buys :)
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  20. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Wow; thank you! Now, that's a match! What was the Hermanubis Collection, and why did its coins have similar toning?

    I wonder why the dealer (Sphinx) didn't mention the provenance. It's not as if he wanted to conceal a recent sale at a price far lower than what he charged: taking the buyer's fee into account, I paid less than $10 more than what the coin sold for in 2017.

    Re the other coin: the verdict is unanimous, and I'm convinced. No die match. It's almost more intriguing to me that the two are so close, but not the same. No cigar, though.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
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  21. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

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