Saturday, September 10, 2005

Billon antoninianus, Valerian, Rome, Göbl 152b 

IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right | VIRTVS AVGG, Mars standing facing, head right, holding reversed spear left, leaning on shield right.

Well this was a nice Ebay find: Göbl attests only a single example for Valerian (with this obverse legend), and his plate shows a coin no better than this! His plate also shows, I think, that my initial unease about the small size (19.4 mm at its widest and not unusually thick) wasn't warranted. The 3.0g weight, at this small size, argues that this is billon, debased silver, rather than bronze with a silver surface.

In all likelihood then, this is very rare item, but not particularly valuable: while the world's supply could easily be held in one hand, the demand doesn't exceed that supply, and so it was available at auction well within my budget.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Æ tetradrachm, Alexandria, Gallienus, Emmett 3834(14) 

AVT K Π ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC CEB, Laureate cuirassed bust right | LIΔ, Diademed draped bust of Selene right, regnal year left.

What I said then, when I posted a coin minted the next year, is still true now, with this, minted sometime in 263 - 264. Selene was a Greek lunar goddess. The name is the root of the name of the element selenium. Selenium compounds were used in the photo exposure meters first used in, I think, the 1930s.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Silvered Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Cyzikus, Göbl 1525Cc 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right, two pellets beneath | AEQVITAS AVG, Aequitas standing facing, head left, holding cornucopia right and scales left. SPQR in exergue.

I have, I suppose, rather a lot of my favorites when I think about the coins of Gallienus. While I'm very interested in the legionary series, with its badges of the various legions, the imperial issues assigned to Cyzikus are of special interest: Göbl attests them in very small numbers, never more than five per catalog entry, they're clearly modelled on the issues of Antioch, but the dies are equally clearly not from the same hand, the SPQR exergue seems odd for something so far from the city of Rome, and the use of pellets beneath the bust, is unexpected. (All these features continue for the initial Cyzikus issue of Claudius Gothicus, successor to Gallienus.)

Even the assignment to Cyzikus is debated, some arguing for a travelling military mint on the final expedition against the goths.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

AR denarius, Julius Caesar, 47-46 BCE, African mint, Crawford 458/1 

Diademed head of Venus right | Aeneas walking left, carrying Anchises and palladium, with legend CAESAR at right.

Gaius Julius Caesar wasn't emperor. His adopted son, Octavian, who became Augustus started all that. Not that Caesar wouldn't have wanted it, if he'd thought of it.

Coins of Caesar that feature his portrait fetch a premium, since he's of interest to more than just coin collectors. Those that, like this, merely name him are available for far more reasonable prices.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Æ24, Magnesia ad Sipylum in Lydia, Gallienus, SNG Copenhagen 274 

ΛIKIN ΓAΛΛIHNOC·, Laureate draped cuirassed bust right | EΠICTPAV PΦ PONTΩNOC, Prize crown, uncertain inscription, with palms, MAΓNHT / ΩN CIΠ in exergue.

I find it quite remarkable that Gallienus is named on this coin, but that no title is included. At 25mm, a little bigger around than a US quarter dollar, there was enough room, but SNG Copenhagen shows all of his coins from this city without title, and those of previous emperors with.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Æ antoninianus, Salonina, Siscia, Göbl 1417mm 

SALONINA AVG, Diademed draped bust right on crescent | CONCORDIA AET, Concordia seated left, holding patera left and cornucopia right.

Related to this coin posted last year, the recent acquisition of this well-worn coin was welcome, as it's surprisingly scarce (Göbl attests only 10 examples) and it makes the unlikely promise (or forlorn wish?) “Eternal Concord”. That's just not going to be, then or now.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Æ24, Smyrna in Ionia, Gallienus, SNG Copenhagen 1415 

AVT K Π ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC, Laureate draped bust right | CMYPNAIΩN NEΩKOP, Galley sailing right, EΠ M AVP CE / ΞCTOY in exergue.

Remembering the Armenians.

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