Saturday, August 27, 2005

Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Rome, Göbl 716u 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate cuirassed bust right | DIANAE CONS AVG, Antelope walking left. Γ in exergue.

What to think, what to think? I don't know if this is a rather convincing ancient counterfeit or a rather hurried poor effort from the mint.

Gallienus's face doesn't look right for Rome, and the back of his head doesn't look right at all. The ends of the ribbons trailing off the back of the crown are the most damning feature since they show pellets that are apparently the result of using a relatively coarse drill, something I don't think I've ever seen on a coin of Gallienus.

But overall, it's hard to be certain.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Æ29, Tyre in Phoenicia, Gallienus, Lindgren & Kovacs 2398... 

(this coin)

IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate cuirassed bust right | COL TVRO METRO, Astarte standing facing, head left, being crowned by Victory on column right, building trophy left. Small figure of Marsyas at feet left, murex shell in extreme right field.

Astarte (Ashtart, Ashtoreth, etc.) was concerned with fertility, sexuality, war, and poor business decisions. She remained popular in Roman Phoenicia.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Billon antoninianus, Salonina, Köln, Göbl 899c 

SALONINA AVG, Diademed draped bust right on crescent | VENVS VICTRIX, Venus standing facing, head left, leaning on shield right, holding apple left and grain ear right.

This must be an early issue, being made from billon with a high silver content. The quality of the alloy declined later in the reign until the coins were bronze with a silvery surface.

Theories about the techniques used to produce that surface are many, but none are universally accepted. I presume that no single method accounts for all the coins, that techniques were tried and discarded as new ones were found.

The Romans did not know electroplating, so what would otherwise seem obvious can be ruled out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

AR Trihemiobol, Abdera in Thrace, c. 352-323 BCE, cf. SNG Copenhagen 363 

Griffin crouching on club left, foreleg raised. MANTIΓ in exergue. | Square containing laureate head of Apollo. [?] TE Ω[?] around.

Abdera dates back to the 7th century BCE, amd was habited well into Roman times. Today there are ruins and a museum.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Æ tetradrachm, Alexandria, Salonina, Emmett 3854(15) 

KOPNHΛIA CALωNEINA CEB, Diademed draped bust right | LIE, Eagle standing right, wings open, holding wreath in beak, palm behind. Regnal year right.

Minted in the last year of her husband's reign, this coin of Alexandria, in Roman Egypt, shows the eagle that's common in both Roman and Egyptian tradition.

I know of no documentary evidence for the end of Salonina's life, but there's no reason to think that she long survived the assassination of Gallienus.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Mediolanum, Göbl 1075m 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate head right, both ribbons behind | PERPETVITATI AVG, Securitas standing facing, resting on column right, head left, holding small globe left and transverse scepter.

Apparently issued in small numbers, this uses a reverse legend not otherwise seen during this reign. It does show up, I've learned, for Severus Alexander, but I don't see evidence of anyone else using it.

The intent is the same as that of the more common SECVRIT PERPET coins; permanent security, the offer of a commodity too rare in the middle of the 3rd Century.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Æ26, Coela in Thrace, Gallienus, Cohen 1364var (both legends) 

IMP GALLIEH, Laureate head right | AEL MOV_NI_CI CO, Marsyas standing right, carrying wineskin over shoulder and holding cup high, right.

The reverse design is quite similar to this coin from Alexandria Troas.

Purchased along with Tuesday's coin, it's from a city for which I haven't yet found the current location. I know it's in the Thracian Chersonese, today the Gallipoli peninsula. As with Tuesday's coin from the same city, I have no more modern attribution than Cohen.

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