Saturday, January 14, 2006

Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, unknown, ancient counterfeit 

[.]ALLIENVS AVG, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right | VIRT[...], Mars standing left, holding spear right, leaning on shield left.

Counterfeits were a bigger part of ancient economies than they are part of ours. This coin copies a VIRTVS AVG issue from Antioch, like this one. It's difficult to believe it fooled anyone familiar with official coins, but this could have been created long after the time of Gallienus and meant to be passed as part of a large group of coins, most of them not counterfeits.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Æ27, Samos (Ionian Island), Gallienus, SNG Copenhagen 1807/1802 

AVT K ΠO ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC, Laureate draped cuirassed bust left | CAM_IΩN, Tyche standing holding patera left and anchor right.

Very distinctive squared-off letter C on coins of Samos and also this coin from nearby Ephesus. The two probably shared some minting facilities or personnel.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Mediolanum, Göbl 1212e 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate head right, slight drapery on both shoulders | ORIENS AVG, Radiate Sol standing left, holding whip right, hand raised left. S in exergue.

Easily overlooked, slight drapery is usually shown on coins of Gallienus as nothing more than a line behind his shoulder and a thicker line or a loop in front of his chest.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

AR denarius, L. Caecilius Metellus Diadematus (or Delmaticus), Roman Republic, 128 BCE, Crawford 262/1 

Helmeted winged head of Roma right, XVI monogram behind | Goddess holding sceptre and laurel-branch standing in biga galloping right. Elephant's head with bell attached below horses. ROMA in exergue.

L. Caecilius Metellus Delmaticus was consul in 119 BCE, his relative Diadematus two years later. The elephant's head was a Metellus symbol since an ancestor had captured Hadrubal's elephants during the Punic wars. (Hannibal Barca acquired his esteem for elephants via Hasdrubal.)

The decline of the Republic can be read in their coins, as they change from hiding the identity of the moneyor through this time, where the family is indicated at, in symbols that'll be clear to those in the know, until the end of the Republic when the family is named. They still avoided naming or portraying the issuer personally until about 44 BCE when Julius Caesar was named and depicted, shortly before his assassination.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Æ28, Berytus in Phoenicia, Salonina, SNG Copenhagen 130 

CORNELIA SALONINA AVG, Diademed draped bust right | COL IVL [AVG FEL] BER, Astarte standing facing, right foot on galley, holding cruciform standard in right hand and aphlaston in left arm, crowned by Nike standing on column right.

Living in the US, my idea of an “old” town uses a time-scale that's quite confounded by ancient coins. This is from Beirut, about 1,750 years ago. According to this, the city was already at least that old when this was minted.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Rome, Göbl 351v 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate cuirassed bust right, seen from slightly behind | PAX AVG, Pax standing left, raising branch in right hand and holding long transverse scepter in left.

Göbl doesn't attest any examples matching this bust with this reverse, but he does show examples of the bust on contemporary (or nearly so) issues from this mint. This coin better shows the obverse.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Æ28, Antioch in Pisidia, Gallienus, SNG Copenhagen 92var 

IMP CA GALIHNVS PIVS AV, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right right | ANTIOSHI CO, She-wolf standing right, suckling the twins, under a tree. SR in exergue.

Over the last couple of weeks, I seem to be finding fault with every coin I see offered, too worn, too-harshly cleaned, too-ugly encrustations. The mailman's going to become a stranger rather than a daily visitor!

I think part of it is being generally cranky because of the short days. It displeases me.

This coin, clearly, was purchased prior to my current bad mood.

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