Saturday, July 03, 2004

Silvered Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Cyzikus, Göbl 1549Ac 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right, no pellets beneath | VICTORIA AVG, Victory standing facing, head left, holding wreath left and palm right. SPQR in exergue.

This is a normal example, with the expected reverse legend, of the puzzling variety I posted on Thursday.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Æ tetradrachm, Alexandria, Saloninus, Emmett 3776(7) 

ΠΟ ΛΙΚ ΚΟΡ CΑ ΟVΑΛΕΡΙΑΝΟC Κ CΕΒ, Bare-headed draped cuirassed bust right | L_Ζ, Eagle standing left, head right, wreath in beak. Regnal year across fields.

Coins of Roman Egypt are dated, with the dates counting from the start of the current reign. (Japanese coins use a similar system to this day.) This, dated year 7 of Gallienus's reign, is from 259-260 CE. Saloninus is bare-headed because he holds the office of Caesar, junior emperor and heir apparent, rather than that of a full-fledged Augustus. In this same year, Saloninus, besieged by Postumus in Köln, would declare as emperor, issue a small number of coins naming him as such, and be captured and killed.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Silvered Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Cyzikus, Göbl 1549Acvar 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right, no pellets beneath | VICTORIA AET, Victory standing facing, head left, holding wreath left and palm right. SPQR in exergue.

Another example of collector obsession with minutia: Robert Göbl's book on this coinage is by far the most complete, comprehensive catalog for Gallienus. Per Göbl, VICTORIA AET was used, for Gallienus, only at Rome (and only with this Victoria standing figure.) All Cyzikus VICTORIA coins are VICTORIA AVG (with four different reverse designs).

This isn't a simple bungled legend, nor a case of a legend otherwise used at the mint being paired with the wrong figure. This legend wasn't used at all at this mint, outside of this one coin that's not recorded anywhere, until now.

In the last message on this January 2004 thread from FORVM's discussion board, Finn Johannessen, who knows his Claudius Gothicus, notes that the attribution of these coins to Cyzikus isn't certain.

But even if this coin was minted outside of Cyzikus, it certainly wasn't minted at Rome, where VICTORIA AET was used.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

AR tetradrachm, Athens, c 113/112 BCE, SNG Cop 154var 

Helmeted head of Athena right | Owl standing right, head facing, on amphora marked Α. Triptolemos, holding grain ears, riding left in serpent car in right field. Α_ΘΕ in upper field. ΕΥΜ / ΑΡΕΙ / ΔΗΣ / ΑΛΚΙ / ΔΑΜ / ΘΟΙ in left field. ΜΕ in exergue, all within wreath.

The characters in the left field advertise that Eumareides, Alkidam, and Thoi-something are the magistrates at Athens. We don't know much about them, but that Eumareides and Alkidam were brothers, that Thoi-something was replaced by ΔΙΟΝ-something in month "B", and that Alkidam was replaced by Kleomenes in month Γ.

The earlier Athenian tetradrachms were very thick coins with a diameter no bigger than a US quarter dollar. These "new style" coins are much closer to a US half dollar in diameter and thickness.

Image hosting for this post provided by Ancients.info which offers free hosting for non-commercial ancient coin sites.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Æ30, Perga in Pamphylia, Gallienus, SNG Cop 356 

ΑVΤ ΚΑΙ ΠΟ ΛΙ ΓΑΛΛΙΗΝΟ CΕΒ, Laureate draped cuirassed bust right, I before | ΠΕΡ_ΓΑΙΩΝ, Nike standing facing, head left, holding wreath before and palm-branch behind.

I just like it for the Emperor's pointy head, and for the Nike that looks like it should be stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet. I don't think she's supposed to be whistling.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Billon antoninianus, Gallienus, Antioch, Göbl 1603berr 

IMP GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate cuirassed bust right | VICTORIA GVRMAN, Victory handing wreath to emperor who holds spear and globe.

The Roman economy was cash and barter, and very little else. With no paper money, virtually no banking, and a lending system that consisted almost entirely of delivery of cash, they needed a phenomenal number of coins.

Mistakes were made, quality control was poor, and frequently coins with errors reached circulation. Sometimes the results are obvious and amusing to our eyes, sometimes obscure and evident only to specialists, and sometimes just strange, as here where GERMAN has been misspelled GVRMAN.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Æ tetradrachm, Alexandria in Egypt, Salonina, Emmett 3745(6) 

ΚΟΡΝΗΛΙΑ CΑΛωΝΕΙΝΑ CΕΒ, Diademed draped bust right | L_S, Alexandria standing facing, head left, holding scepter right and head of Serapis left. Regnal year across fields.

Alexandria is a personification of the city established by Alexander the Great, capital of Egypt under the Greeks and the Romans, and under Muslim control until c. 968 when Cairo became the capital.

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