Valentinian II or Gratian? Need help with a tiny VOT V LRB

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Marsyas Mike, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    In a lot of miscellaneous Romans, a tiny LRB with VOT V reverse was included. After a lot of staring through a loupe and rummaging around the usual online sources, I have it narrowed down to Gratian or Valentinian II...but neither once comes up a full match.

    The mintmark is fairly clear: SMH...(?). The last letter looks like a D with a dot in the middle (under a loupe). Heraclea, then? But there are no VOT V's for Valentinian II for Heraclea, and the obverse legend seems too long for Gratian? Also, the obverse legend is unbroken, also a no-show for Valentinian? Maybe I have the wrong emperor altogether?

    Size: 0.93 grams / 12 mm

    Unfortunately the relevant OCRE listings have no images. I was hoping one of the LRB experts out there could help.

    Grat or Valent - AE VOT V lot Apr 2021 (0).jpg

    My vague interpretation of the lettering:

    Grat or Valent - AE VOT V lot Apr 2021 (0det2).jpg

    The Tesorillo site for LRBs was helpful - this is a Type 62 reverse, I think.

    Thank you!
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  3. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    It's likely Heraclea and I'd suggest Arcadius as a probable candidate.
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  4. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    There are too many letters in the obverse for Arcadius. Valentinian II is the best fit. I would looks at possibly SMK[?] or SMN[?]
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  5. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    I'd also vote for Valentinian II
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  6. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Thank you @seth77 @Victor_Clark @ancient coin hunter for your responses!

    Valentinian II does seem likely because of the length of the legend, although I cannot find a VOT V for him from Heraclea, nor one with a continuous legend.

    Arcadius the name seems short for the visible legend, but continuous legend from Heraclea is a known issue.

    Ancient coins can be baffling. Which is kind of fun. Thanks again for the suggestions.

    If anybody is interested, here is the odd-job eBay lot this coin came from - I found the little VOT V far more interesting and appealing than I thought. Furthermore, I now have a pocket piece dupondius of Trajan and a Gordian Viminacium too.

    Lot 4 Rome AE Traj. Vicim. Nik Apr 2021 (0).jpg

    I bid on it because I loved that green Gordian III from Nikopolis. As it turns out, I think it is a reverse (and possibly obverse?) die-match for a Baldwin's offering from 2016 (also included as an RPC Online example). Perhaps of interest to @Jochen1 ?:

    Nikopolis - Gordian III AE eagle lot Apr 2021 (0).jpg

    With Baldwin's example on the right - note the ligate OY and the wonky spacing of the NIK O...and the poorly-struck eagle's head on both:

    Nikopolis - Gordian III AE eagle lot Apr 2021 (0 die match).jpg

    Gordian III Æ 25
    (c. 238-244 A.D.)
    Moesia Inf., Nicopolis ad Istrum
    Sabinius Modestus, legatus

    [ΑΥΤ Κ Μ] ΑΝΤΩ(Ν) ΓΟΡΔ[ΙΑΝ]ΟϹ, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right / [ΥΠ ϹΑΒ ΜΟΔƐ]ϹΤΟΥ ΝΙΚΟΠΟΛƐΙΤΩΝ ΠΡΟϹ [ΙϹΤΡΟΝ], eagle standing facing, head left, wreath in beak
    (11.80 grams / 25 mm)

    Attribution Notes:
    RPC VII.2, (unassigned; ID 28829); Varbanov 4192; AMNG 2099.
    Possible obv. (?) / reverse die match to RPC specimen, from Baldwin's Auction 99, Lot 686 4 May 2016|1678|686|a0d497bf24d413d3f54d96116e77133b
  7. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    @Marsyas Mike The coin of Gordian III from Nikopolis is already listed under Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020) I too think it is a double die match of Baldwin's coin.

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  8. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Thank you Jochen! I'll add the Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov attribution to my flip.

    Best Regards
  9. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    I am nearly certain that the coin is Valentinian II, based on the long, unbroken obverse legend. On worn LRBs, it can be very difficult to tell the difference between SMH and SMN.
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  10. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I agree - I have made the SMH/SMN error several times in the past and the long legend just doesn't fit for Gratian. The obscure last letter that looks like a D to me might be a long-tailed gamma with a (variety?) dot. Which would fit this, pretty much:

    Valentinian II Æ 12
    (378-383 A.D.)
    Nicomedia Mint

    [D N VALENTIN]IANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right /
    VOT/V within wreath.
    Mint mark: SMNΓ (with dot in center of Γ?)
    RIC IX Nicomedia 37B
    (0.93 grams / 12 mm)

    Thank you for your help - and to everyone else as well. :)
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