Saturday, March 04, 2006

“Silver coins formed the backbone of currency in the Roman Empire” 

Via rogueclassicism, a study of the metallurgy of ancient coins is underway.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Æ28, Tyre in Phoenicia, Valerian, cf. BMC 459 

[IMP C P LI]C VALERIANVS A[VG], Radiate draped cuirassed bust right |COL TV_R_O MET, Melqart-Hercules standing facing, head left, holding club and lion-skin in left hand and sacrificing over altar with right hand. Behind his arm, ambrosial rocks from which water flows.  Murex shell at right.

As I mentioned at the end of last week, I'm always happy to add another coin of Tyre. This one's particularly interesting in that I can't find a very good reference to it (BMC 459 is really rather different) and I can't figure out what's seen over Hercules' right arm. Because the legend breaks around the object, it looks like part of the design, not a die break, but I haven't figured out the details yet.

Update Mar 11: I now believe the unknown object to be the ambrosial rocks, with water flowing from them. They're fairly common on coins of Tyre, though I hadn't encountered them in quite this guise before.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Billon antoninianus, Valerian, Antioch, Göbl 1557a 

IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right | P M TR P II COS P P, Emperor, veiled, standing left, sacrificing from patera over altar with right hand, holding scepter in left.

I almost, almost regret buying this, as I mistakenly thought I lacked an example and now find that I do, and that isn't much of an improvement. Not for the first time. But I console myself that I've added another example to the collection and that, even if I don't see it right now, there's something to be learned from the ways that it's different.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Constantius I (Chlorus), Silvered Æ Follis, Cyzicus, RIC 21a 

IMP C FL VAL CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, Laureate head right | GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, Genius, modius on head, nude except for chlamys off shoulder, standing left, sacrificing from patera in right hand, holding cornucopia in left, KS in exergue.

As Galerius was the protege and successor of Maximian in the tetrarchy, so Flavius Valerius Constantius Constantius served under (and after) Diocletian, whose idea the tetrarchy was.

Constantius became Augustus in May, 305 and died just over a year later, having spent almost all that time fighting in Britain.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Æ23, Augusta Traiana in Thrace, Gallienus, Varbanov (2002) 506 

ΓAΛΛIH_NOC AVΓ, Radiate head right | AVΓOVCTHC TPAIANH, Demeter standing left, holding grain ears left and long torch right. Δ in right field.

As I've mentioned, I don't usually like “upgrading” unless I believe that the new coin is the end of the upgrade: that I'll never feel the need to replace it. This one sold itself, the detail in Demeter's clothing makes me think that, lacking a time machine, I won't be seeing a superior example.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Rome, Göbl 348x 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate cuirassed bust right | IOVI VLTORI, Jove standing facing, head left, holding lightning bolt left and cloak right. S in left field.

Admittedly, I misjudged the bust, thinking the crown had one trailing ribbon and one brought forward over the shoulder, rather than this more common version with both ribbons trailing behind. Still, no disaster. %5. With shipping, in the door for $5. Over 1,700 years old, unlovely but with the details visible.

Not too shabby a deal, even if shabby quite describes the coin.

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