What one could gather from two (very cheap) small lots of Crusader coins

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by seth77, Aug 29, 2020.

  1. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    So lately I have done something that I don't usually do: I bought two small lots (6 coins in total) from what seems to be a collection and/or a deposit of Crusader coins, offered by a German dealer.

    From the 6, three were regular fragmentary Bohemond III "helmeted knight" deniers of the regular type from the 1170s and 1180s, while the other three were rather interesting finds from the early 13th century.

    BOHEMOND IV "le Borgne" of ANTIOCH (1201-1216, 1219-1233)
    AR18mm, 1.01g, billon denier, minted in the City of Antioch, cca. 1201-1203(?).
    + BOANVNDVS; helmeted bust l., mail composed of upwards crescents, crescent
    and star flanking the bust l and r
    + AMTIOCIIIA; cross, inverted crescent in second quarter.
    mule between Metcalf Class E and Class H(?)

    This coin is part of an irregular series minted for Bohemond IV in his first reign, struck with an older Bohemond III die on the obverse and a newer Class H(?) die on the reverse. The resulting coin must be an early irregular coinage, struck in the early years of 1200, showing characteristics of both pre-1188 deniers (the upwards crescents in the mail of the knight, double-barred and pelleted N's) and the newer style (halved O, III instead of HI). Rare and irregular specimen, but other similar mules were present in the general lot, so likely this is the point when much of the material was gathered.

    This particular specimen has residues of other coins attached to it, specifically of the coin presented below:

    BOHEMOND IV "le Borgne" of ANTIOCH (1201-1216, 1219-1233)
    AR17mm, 0.67g, billon denier, minted in the City of Antioch, cca. 1201-1203(?).
    + BAMVNDVS; helmeted bust l., mail composed of downwards crescents, inverted crescent and star flanking the bust l and r
    + ANTIOCMA; cross, inverted crescent in second quarter.
    cf Malloy 75, Metcalf mule Class G-H

    This coin is part of an irregular series minted for Bohemond IV in his first reign, of a particularly distinct style: double-barred and pelleted V(!), a complex M instead of HI on the reverse and an inverted crescent on the obverse left field. The shape of the letter V is probably unique to this issue and suggests some outside influence, probably from Tripolis, where these ornate letter shapes were very en vogue during the reigns of Raymond II and Raymond III. The influence started likely in the 1190s, as Antioch was bestowed to the ruling House of Tripoli by Bohemond III. Very rare, similar specimen here.

    This particular specimen seems to have been attached to the specimen before -- for a reattachment see here:


    -- from which it was broken loose, leaving parts of it on the surface of said coin. The coins must have circulated together and were definitely lost or hidden together, which means they were very close chronologically. The circulation of different styles of irregular coinage during the first years of 1200 proves that the transition between the earlier regular deniers of Bohemond III (that had been minted at least until 1188) lasted for more than a decade, in which although the mint did not close, it minted coinage scarcely, reusing dies from the "golden age" of Antioch as an economic and trade powerhouse in the 1160s to 1180s.

    The circulation of deniers struck with both old and new dies, and of the irregulars (like this spec) together, indicates that they might be earlier than Malloy and others date them (post 1208). The new types decidedly of Bohemond IV (Classes J and K) might be pushed to the second part of his first reign, likely after the troubles of 1203-1207 (the feudal revolt of Renart de Nephin in the County of Tripoli and the encroachments of Levon of Cilician Armenia in Antioch), when the coinage becomes more stable, more copious (although still rather scarce), and more regular, but at least these mule types of early Bohemond III types and classes G, H and possibly I are the coinage of the Principality in the early years of Bohemond IV's reign.

    The actual regularization of the coinage takes place in Bohemond's second reign (Class N), following the stylistic innovations introduced during the short reign of Raymond Roupen.

    Speaking of which, here is an early Raymond Roupen from the same lot:

    AR19mm, 0.73g, denier, minted at the City of Antioch cca. 1216.
    + 8R♧V8P8I8I♧V8S8 ; Helmeted head left with chin guard, with chainmail composed of upward crescents, crescent in the left field, star in the right field.
    + AMTIOCIIIA.; cross pattee, crescent in second quarter.
    Malloy 93, Metcalf Class M, 328-9.

    He was a scion of the Armenian faction of the Poitiers family and the heir presumptive of the throne of Armenia. Levon helped him acquire the throne of Antioch in a revolt against Bohemond IV in 1216 during the so-called War of Antiochene Succession.

    His coinage is consistent and similar to Bohemond IV's. This particular specimen seems to be of an earlier type, possibly as the die cutters were not really familiar with the new name (carving RVPIIVS instead of RVPINVS), so probably dating to around 1216. A scarce variation, similar specimen here.

    This post could be interesting for collectors of Crusader coinage or/and numismatists working their way to trace back together coins to their initial lots/hoards.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2020
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  3. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    I see there wasn't much interest in these deniers of Antioch and their story, possibly due to my rather poor photographs. Here's another addition with equally poor photography.

    In a lot of a dozen or so low to no-value items that sold for 11EUR, along 5 small tokens PLUS ULTRA of Nurnberg of the 1800s, 2 quattrini of Milan from the 17 to 18th century, some (4-5) slugs, 2 Arabic writing coppers, a rectangular weight cut probably from a Byzantine follis, etc, this small copper appeared:

    AE15x14mm 0.43g

    It's ugly as hell, pitted, corroded, under-struck on a pathetic flan and almost indistinguishable if you don't already know the type. It's a pougeoise or a fractional denier from the County of Tripoli during the first part of the reign of Raymond II (ca. 1137-1147).


    They are usually bad but this has to be the worst I have ever seen. Still an absolute bargain for 11EUR.
  4. Quant.Geek

    Quant.Geek Well-Known Member

    I don't think that there isn't any interest, its just we are flabbergasted by your ability to identify coins when at times, it seems impossible for us! Kudos!!!
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  5. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Well, we all like what we like and it's only normal to gravitate more towards beautiful and easily recognizable items. I'm not scolding anyone, but I will continue to add these ugly and ignored things whenever there's something interesting about them. Unfortunately my technical means to add better images is very limited (and possibly my talent also in such matters).
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  6. Moe "Wolfy" Wilder

    Moe "Wolfy" Wilder Moe Wilder

    Do you own a scanner? Scanning is quick, easy and consistent, but the images usually need a little tweaking to get the color right.

    Regarding the coins? Awesome finds and great job at attribution.

    Medievals are often the most difficult to identify, right up there with worn out Roman provincials, due to the multiple reference books that are required, that are written in several foreign and sometimes archaic languages. They are "the final frontier" for me as I currently still struggle to identify almost anything, other than common byzantines, dated between about 500AD and 1600AD, while my pdf library swells with public domain books, various academic papers and articles on medieval coinage.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  7. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    The main problem is that I am not at my main setting, so all I have access to is the cell's camera. Not that otherwise it would have been much better, as I have no macro lens or any of the specialized equipment, but at least I can immobilize the camera enough at equal distancing from the object I want to photograph. Small items and or items with obvious faults such as these coins here would still be a pain to get rightish... meaning less blur usually and showing some better detailing. Scanners I found to be worse.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @seth77, for being away from your books, you're remarkably fluent in the Antiocene classes.
  9. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    That's because I am cheating and I have this print that I have shown before for help:

    Edessa, +VGO.DVCKS and DonnaML like this.
  10. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Doh, @seth 77, right from Malloy! Got my copy when I was preoccupied with other stuff, because the opportunity was kind of a one-off. Need to spend Lots more time with it. Thanks for the nudge!
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