Ugly but interesting

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by thejewk, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    Considering the fact that I want my collection to be interesting, varied and offer a representative slice of what circulated during the time period in question (Nerva-Antonines in my case), it seemed essential to me that I add at least a few coins that fall into the 'limes'/fourree/unofficial/unexplained area. I don't, however, want to spend much on the endeavour.

    Thankfully this popped up on Vcoins a week or two ago, and landed on my doorstep yesterday for a grand total of £15 delivered to the UK from the US.

    Limes Antoninus Pius.jpg

    It's a small coin at about 17mm, and seriously corroded, but captures a surprising amount of detail and lettering, and the style is completely accurate as far as I can see. I most definitely want an official coin of this type in my collection, and think that this mysterious 'limes' will be a nice counterpart.

    Anyone have any thoughts about it?

    Please share your ugly but interesting coins.
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  3. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    Does it appear to be entirely bronze?

    No silvering remaining?

    It does have a lot of detail considering how rough it is. I find it very interesting too. Was it a trial strike before using a die on silver planchets?

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  4. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    I'd say it's definitely base metal, but I am really not sure quite what the alloy is.

    I can find no silvering on it at all under magnification, but with the size reduction it is entirely possible that a silvered layer has worn off and corroded, but that seems unlikely considering the detail that remains.

    A trial strike is indeed an interesting hypothesis.
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I have a base-metal denarius of Plautilla that falls into this category but it lacks the detail in the inscription that yours has:

    Plautilla CONCORDIAE AETERNAE limes denarius.jpg
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  6. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

  7. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Yes, it's the same as this official issue of hers:

    Plautilla CONCORDIAE AETERNAE denarius.jpg
    Plautilla, AD 202-205.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.20 g, 18.6 mm, 12 h.
    Rome, AD 202.
    Obv: PLAVTILLAE AVGVSTAE, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: CONCORDIAE AETERNAE, Caracalla, togate, standing left, clasping right hands with Plautilla, draped, standing right.
    Revs: RIC 361; BMCRE 401-404; Cohen 10; RCV 7069; Hill 575A; CRE 435.
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  8. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Base metal fourrée cores often come from official dies, and some will be found with none of their original silver plating.

    Septimius Severus - Dea Caelestis Fourree 2095.jpg
    AE Fourrée Denarius Core. 2.34g, 18.5mm. Irregular mint, circa after AD 204. cf. RIC 266. O: SEVERVS – PIVS AVG, laureate head right. R: INDVLGENTIA AVGG / IN CARTH, Dea Caelestis seated on lion, holding thunderbolt, running right near water that seems to gush from under rock on left.
    Ex A.K. Collection (Triton XX, 9 Jan 17, Part of Lot 623)

    Another fourrée, but here with almost all of its silver plating intact.
    Marcus Aurelius - Mars Fourree.jpg
    Fourrée Denarius. 3.4g, 17.5mm. Irregular mint, circa after AD 164. cf. RIC 92. O: ANTONINVS AVG ARMENIACVS, laureate head right. R: P M TR P XVIII IMP II COS III, Mars, helmeted, in military dress, standing right, holding inverted vertical spear in right hand and resting left hand on round shield set on ground.

    My official example of the OP:
    Antoninus Pius - Denarius Marcus Aurelius 150.jpg
    AR Denarius. 3.4g, 19mm. Rome mint, AD 140 AD. RIC 417a. O: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III, laureate head right. R: AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F COS, bare head right.
  9. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Antoninus Pius & Marcus Aurelius Ar Denarius 139 A.D. RIC 411 b 3.76 grms 18mm piusmad2.jpg
  10. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Terence's ugly is my EF......:p

    I find my Republican fouree very interesting .. I always wonder how long it circulated before being found out.. I think a very long time as the bronze seems to be showing through from wear.. who knows?

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  11. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    I find it very curious to see these fourree and 'limes' coins, and the differences between them. Even looking at different fourree coins that are available and almost fully plated shows a fairly large difference in detail.

    Roman Collector's Plautilla looks to me like a very worn and circulated AE coin, or possibly a cast AE coin that has had a lot of circulation. Does this mean that it circulated as an AE coin, or is there some sort of chemical process through which the coin completely lost its silvery coating while underground, and it was manufactured at the time to look like a well worn denarius?

    The reverse on Zumbly's Marcus fourree looks like a coin worn by circulation to my inexpert eyes, rather than the result of simply an old die.

    Is the distinction that is made between limes and fourree a result of different processes of adding a silver layer, and what we call limes are actually the result of a plating style that simply doesn't survive the burying process?
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