Ugly Obverse - Decent Reverse

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Bing, Jul 7, 2020.

  1. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I was able to purchase this coin for a relatively low price mainly because it appears it was befouled by a farm implement of some sort. Whatever tore into the coin has caused it to be concave although the image doesn't show it. I decided to buy it for the reverse which is borrowed from Marc Antony's coinage and many here know my affinity for MA coinage. And, of course, it is another Flavian.
    Vespasian 15.png
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right
    REVERSE: COS VIII, Prow right, star of eight rays above
    Struck at Rome, 77-78 AD
    3.3g, 18mm
    RIC 941; RSC 136

    Post your damaged/disfigured coins
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  3. doucet

    doucet Well-Known Member

    Nice one Bing
    The obv. looks like abstract art.

    Here is a late issue of Carthage that was damaged somehow. I've always thought it looks deliberate.

    carthage late issue.jpg

    Also a fouree of Thorius Balbus with a square nail hole.

    Thorius Balbus fouree.JPG
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  4. Gary R. Wilson


    Like Bing has an affinity for Antony coinage, I have the same feelings for Caligula and "Memoriae Damnatio" coinage. Here's a Caligula sestertius with his name erased and a gouge(?), some say corrosion on his portrait.


    Caligula (Augustus)
    Coin: Brass Sestertius
    C•CAESAR•AVG•GERMANICVS•PON•M•TR•POT - Laureate head left
    S•P•Q•R / P•P / OB•CIVES / SERVATOS - Legend within wreath
    Mint: Rome (37-38 AD
    Wt./Size/Axis: 29.13g / 35mm / 6h
    Rarity: Rare
    RIC I 37
    BMCRE 38
    Cohen 24
    BN 50
    Roma Numismatics
    Ex L. Rose Collection.
    Acquisition/Sale: Roma Numismatics Internet E-Sale 61 #631 $0.00 08/19
    Notes: Aug 22, 19 - The Gary R. Wilson Collection

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  5. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    I found this in a batch of uncleaned crusties. I've saved it because bronze coins of Vitellius are very expensive and I don't have anything else of this emperor.
    Imperator, 69 A.D.
    Bronze As
    Spanish (Tarraco?) mint
    Rev: VICTORIA AVGVSTI - Victory, with shield inscribed S P Q R, between S and C
    RIC 46
    29mm, 8.4g.
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  6. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Nice coin Bing. It looks like Titus and Domitian threw darts at it hoping the old man would keel over and they would be in charge.
    My favorite damaged coins are cut -
    Cut greek Tin 12.16.17.jpg Cut greek rev Tin 12.16.17.jpg DSCN0752.JPG DSCN0754.JPG bronze axe knife in new light.JPG
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  7. Plumbata

    Plumbata Well-Known Member

    Very interesting coin! My dad made jewelry and faceted stones years ago and the first thing that comes to mind is that your coin was modified for jewelry (I think Cufflinks), with the obverse scarified and peened perhaps to make it easy to mount in a paste/pitch/resin setting, kinda like stone cabochons. There are lots of approaches and while soldering would make sense for late 19th century forward, maybe that was modified considerably earlier? The fact that Vespasian's face is unmarred seems to preclude an implement accident or damnatio.

    I've got one that has a terrible reverse but arrived with a pleasing obverse, and was probably also used in jewelry like yours. Mr Glover in the UK has lots of nifty items, and a while back I came across one of his unidentified "Greek silver coin" auctions with only a picture of the scarred (naturally concave) reverse, the 2nd picture being an accidental upload of a random arrowhead or something.


    The spidey senses tingled and I suspected there was a good chance that the obverse was better looking, so I took the ~14.00 shipped gamble and was very pleased to see it was a ~2.9g Calabria, Tarentum drachm!


    Not connoisseur grade but we're happy to have them!
  8. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    You could be right, but I do not think so. The scar on the obverse makes me think something hit it causing not only the scar but also the bend in the coin making it concave. Of course, it is all conjecture.
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    IMHO, the best cut coins are those with a surprise inside.
    Athens fourree New Style tetradrachm half
  10. Plumbata

    Plumbata Well-Known Member

    The scar is not the main thing I was looking at, could be a planchet flaw from this side of the computer for all I know and the scar alone would not have made the coin uniformly cupped. It's all the punctates that look like nail-punch divots that are of the most interest and which are most certainly intentional, along with the shallow scratching. These would increase surface/binding area for mounting and also get the cupped shape I imagine it has but is not shown well in the pictures. The scar line alone is not really indicative of much that I can tell. To elaborate, I too have dabbled in lapidary/silverworking and barring soldering, I'd likely have to do something very similar to get a good mount if you didn't want a big distracting bezel wrapped around and up over the edge of the coin.

    EDIT: It just occurred to me that the coin was probably indeed scarred long ago, making it basically a cheap cull example 100+ years ago and a great candidate for damaging further and turning into jewelry.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
  11. singig

    singig Well-Known Member

    I have one in the reverse situation decent obverse - ugly reverse destroyed by bronze disease and some improper cleaning.

    Domitian AE Sestertius. 92-94 AD. RIC 751
    IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XVI CENS PER P P, laureate head right /
    IOVI VICTORI S C, Jupiter seated left, holding Victory and sceptre.
  12. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Nice one, @Bing ! Beat up by a plow would be purdy cool.

    RI Aemilianus 253 CE AE24 Viminacium mint Moesia Bull-Lion - Damnatio Memoriae - slashed eye and throat.
    EX: @John Anthony
    "Aemilian was a powerful general who defeated invading Goths and got himself proclaimed emperor by his troops. He marched on Rome and defeated Trebonianus Gallus, but when Valerian came at him with a much larger army, Aemilian's soldiers mutinied and assassinated him. He reigned all of three months in AD 253.
    His short reign makes him one of the challenging slots in an emperor set, which is probably exacerbated by the fact that a damnatio memoriae was issued against him. Likely many of his already scarce issues were destroyed."
  13. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    This coin of Philip II has a counter mark on the mouth of the Emperor, thus it had disfigured it. The reverse looks decent. It was struck at Zeugma Commagene in Syria. SGI 4142.

    Fil 2 O.JPG Filip R.JPG
  14. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    You want a damaged or disfigured coin? I never thought there would be a venue for posting this coin on any site so thanks for offer IMG_1462[5866]damaged trajan obv.jpg IMG_1463[5864]Trajan damaged rev..jpg ing one. This appears to be a dupondius of Trajan, which, if it had not met a steel plow blade before seeing the light of day, would have been a decent find.
  15. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    When I first saw this post, I thought Bing was talking about my whole collection - most everything has something wrong with it. So it was so hard to decide on what to share.

    Commodus - I have a weakness for Commodus portraits, and this miserable sestertius demonstrates this. The reverse is a hot mess. The obverse has a pretty fine mid-period portrait - not a youth, but not the baggy-eyed degenerate of his later years:
    Commodus - Sestertius Annona Mar 2020 (0aa).jpg
    Commodus Æ Sestertius
    (183-184 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    [M CO]MMODVS ANTONINVS AVG PIVS laureate head r. / ANN [AVG] PM T[R P VIIII IMP VI COS] IIII P P S-C, Annona standing left, holding statuette & cornucopiae, modius & ship with 2 figures.
    RIC 407 (maybe).
    (24.11 grams / 28 mm)

    Attribution Note:

    OCRE and auctions are riddled with errors; Annona holding a statuette comes in several variations. This one has ANN and PM early in rev. legend with Annona holding statuette.

    RIC 407 is a guess.
    RIC 442 with rev. legend ANNO
    AVG TR P VIIII does not match.
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