Variants of a sestertius of Orbiana and a goof in BMCRE6

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Post your Orbianas, comments, or anything you feel is relevant!

    Although I purchased this coin in 2011, I thought I'd revisit it today as I have been recently reorganizing my Severan collection by BMC numbers, rather than by RIC numbers because so many of the RIC listings are dubious (see here and here, for examples).

    Orbiana Concordia Sestertius.jpg
    Orbiana, wife of Severus Alexander, Augusta AD 225-227.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 20.02 g, 28.6 mm, 12 h.
    Rome, special marriage issue, AD 225.
    Obv: SALL BARBIA ORBIANA AVG, diademed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: CONCORDIA AVGVSTORVM S C, Severus Alexander, togate, standing right, holding scroll in left hand and clasping right hands with Orbiana, veiled and draped, standing left.
    Refs: RIC 657; BMCRE 301; Cohen 6; RCV 8194; Banti 3.

    If you were to go by RIC, you'd think there are no variants of RIC 657:

    Capture.JPG

    However, when one consults BMCRE6, there are two variants noted, nos. 299 and 300, where Severus Alexander does not hold a scroll in his hand on the reverse, and no. 301, where he does.

    20190813_203400.jpg

    So, I thought I'd look at the plate coin, because it was supposedly the same variant as mine and as described in RIC -- with Alexander holding a scroll.

    20190813_203547.jpg

    I became confused, because the emperor is not holding a scroll. I thought they must have accidentally illustrated 299 or 300 instead by mistake. So I searched the British Museum collection online and found the coin illustrated is the obverse of 301 ...

    Orbiana Concordia Sestertius BMC 301.jpg

    ... combined with the reverse of 300!

    Orbiana Concordia Sestertius BMC 300.jpg

    OOOPS!

    In addition, here are the two reverse variants in high grade as seen on examples in the Münzkabinett Berlin (OCRE online).

    12345.jpg 12346.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  3. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

    This is wonderful resea
    rch! I can’t wait to check my Orbiana which is unfortunate in a safety deposit box.
     
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  4. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    In the major collections he checked, Alberto Banti (I Grandi Bronzi Imperiali, Vol. IV-2) found 30 specimens of the version without a scroll (BMC 299 and 300 = Banti 2), but only 10 specimens with the scroll (BMC 301 = Banti 3 = RIC 657 = Cohen 301). Banti calls the "scroll" a "volumen", by the way.
     
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  5. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    I wish I could show a Sestertius with the happy couple clasping hands, but I only have the more common version with Concordia seated:

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-08-14 um 09.23.40.png

    SALL BARBIA ORBIANA AVG - Diademed and draped bust of Orbiana right
    CONCORDIA AVGVSTORVM S C - Concordia enthroned left, holding patera in right and double cornucopiae in left arm
    Sestertius, Rome 225 a.d.
    31 mm / 20 gr
    BMC 293, RIC 655, Cohen 4, Banti 1 (82 specimens)

    As a sidenote: Banti illustrates yet another Sestertius reverse type of Orbiana, which is neither included in RIC, nor in BMC or Cohen: PAX PVBLICA (1 specimen, Ratto 1966).
     
  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks for that info. That's about the ratio I see when I do a search for "Orbiana 657'' at acsearchinfo.

    The British Museum search function appears to be working now and I've edited my OP to show the specimens in their collection.
     
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  7. Alegandron

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

    dunno much about them... here’s mine

    ORBIANA
    [​IMG]
    RI Orbiana w Severus Alexander Augusta 225-227 CE Æ AS 23 mm 8.75g Rome Concordia patera double cornucopiae RIC 656
     
  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Lovely sestertius and as with the Concordia seated reverse type, @Julius Germanicus and @Alegandron . In bronze I only have this in the as denomination:

    Orbiana Concordia Dupondius.jpg
    Orbiana, wife of Severus Alexander, Augusta AD 225-227.
    Roman Æ as, 11.43 g, 24.5 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, special marriage issue, AD 225.
    Obv: SALL BARBIA ORBIANA AVG, diademed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: CONCORDIA AVGVSTORVM S C, Concordia seated left, holding patera in extended right hand and double cornucopia in left hand.
    Refs: RIC 656; BMCRE 297-298; Cohen 5; RCV 8195.
     
  9. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    Bronze coins of Orbiana are rare as such. The best source for the relative rarity of 3rd century Sestertii is the Guelma hoard of 7.495 Sestertii burried in Algeria in 258 aD:

    Out of the 1.640 Sestertii from the reign of Severus Alexander included, 1.276 were of Alex himself, as compared to 346 of Julia Mamaea, 14 of Julia Maesa, and a mere four of Orbiana (three RIC 655, one RIC 657).

    So if you have one, take good care of it :)
     
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  10. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES! Supporter

    That's a sweet, big, green sestertius @Roman Collector (hey, I'm pretty sure that coin isn't 18 mm, right? :woot:)

    I don't have an Orbiana coin, here is hubby sestertius I need to reshoot. The oblique reverse angle show why this coin is so nice in hand even if it isn't very easy on the eyes.

    102_4252_zps85a7cf01.jpg
     
  11. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    28.60 mm. D'OH!
     
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