Unpublished Palaeologan Andronikos II AR Tornese ? (ID HELP)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by The Trachy Enjoyer, Mar 15, 2021.

  1. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    Andronikos II AR Tornese (?):

    Obverse: Military saint holding spear/sword and shield (St Theodore, George, Demetrius, etc)

    Reverse: Winged Emperor holding trilobate scepter and globus cruciger (either one or two wings, hard to make out). (See similar obverse: https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=7290885)
    Tornese Obverse.jpg Tornese Obverse Drawing.jpg Tornse Reverse.jpg Tornese Reverse Drawing.jpg

    This coin has me stumped! I have found no matches in DOC, LBC, Sear, or various articles online. I have not been able to find any matches in ACsearch or CoinArchives as well.

    The coin is silver (low grade, billon) with a weight of 0.61 grams putting it in the correct metal and weight range of a Tornese. Based on style, I would venture it is early to mid Palaeologan. Andronikos II fits into that era. The emperor features coinage with himself winged (not common elsewhere) which seems to indicate an origin in his reign. The reverse of DOC V AE trachys 722-26 feature a winged emperor (Andronikos II) holding a labarum and globus cruciger.
    Noticably, this coin has trilobate scepter. While DOC Reverses 722-26 feature a labarum, elsewhere Andronikos II is featured with a trilobate scepter. The Tornese itself was introduced in Andronikos II's reign and continued for a few decades longer (alongside the basilikon) until the Stravaton reformed the Byzantine economy.

    All of this serves to place this Tornese as an issue of Andronikos II. Thoughts? Has anyone encountered this type before? Any input would be much appreciated
    seth77, DiomedesofArgos and Pavlos like this.
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  3. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

  4. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    Severus Alexander likes this.
  5. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    I've never seen this tornese and any connections to the trachea showed in OP from DOC should take into account that DOC 722-728 are products of the mint at Thessalonica rather than Constantinople and the tornese, like the basilikon in its first stages was supposed to be a Constantinopolitan coinage, counted as fractional basilikon. Not until the second Palaiologos-Kantakouzenos civil war in the 1350s would another mint strike these billon denominations, and then when John VI Kantakouzenos struck them at Didymoteichon (Demotica) or Adrianople(?) around 1353/4 they were the basic general type of the metropolitan basilika.

    Another thing to take into account is that there are no parallel issues in neither basilika nor assaria for this type.

    The figure on the obverse might be Saint Theodore as in S. Bendall "Some Unpublished Late Byzantine Billon Coins" #1, which should date after ca 1304 (like the basilika) and the representation with the winged emperor holding trifurcate sceptre is common from around the 1290s.

    The "style" of your coin is hard to pinpoint, but judging by the obverse it is likely early part of 1300s.

    Very interesting type if real, but Palaiologan silver both basilika and tornesi have been faked before. You can find some of them here.
    Severus Alexander likes this.
  6. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I was familiar with the basilika fakes, but not the tornesi. In any case, the fake basilika are frequently seen, and I've been scared off a number sold as genuine because they look like they might be cast. A real scourge for late Byzantine collectors... do we know anything about the source of these, @seth77?
  7. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    I for one don't know anything other that many of them were offered by German auction houses starting with 2015-2016. The ones I have seen fall into two categories: obvious casts and doubtful coins. Coins that you WANT to be real because adding an Anna of Savoy in silver would really make a difference to your collection.

    I'd stay clear of most basilika offered over the internet if you can't see the piece in person.
    Severus Alexander likes this.
  8. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    This was sold in a group lot as unidentified. If faked, I think it would be odd to include. That being said, who knows
  9. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    I also wonder about the damage. Why would a fake, holed, and chipped coin be faked which doesnt resemble anything high value? The toning also seems legitimate

    Edit: I am also reaching out to a professional Byzantine archeologist. Hopefully they will have good insight
  10. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Well, Constantinopolitan tornesi ARE high value items, especially inedit pieces. I'm not saying your coin is fake though. All I'm saying is that these silver and billon 14th century denominations have been faked, some with quite success.
    Severus Alexander likes this.
  11. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I've seen the fake basilika included in group lots several times, also they are frequently subjected to artificial damage (see the Forum fake reports examples). Adds verisimilitude.
    seth77 likes this.
  12. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    When dealing with uncharted territory as it's sometimes the case with Palaiologan coinage, which is also sometimes shabby in style and texture, the possibility of a fake should be taken into account even if it comes from "low level" lots. You never know who got fooled before the piece ended up in that lot.

    Perhaps @JohnnyC could add something on this.
  13. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    Also, do you have Bendall's "Some Unpublished Late Byzantine Billon Coins" or know where I can find that article? I dont see any copies online
  14. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately I have none of the Numismatic Circular editions, but Bendall's coin is here.
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