Friday, September 22, 2006

Æ30, Perga in Pamphylia, Salonina, cf. SNG von Aulock 8522... 


KOPNHΛIA CAΛΩNINA CE, Diademed draped bust right, on crescent, I before | ΠEP_Γ_AIΩN, Zeus seated left, holding spear in left hand and Nike, who presents him with a wreath, in right.

One method often used to clean encrustened material off of ancient coins is electrolysis. While I wasn't at all involved in the cleaning of this coin, I do recognize the look of a harshly zapped coin.

About the only good things I can say are that:
A) Details that were probably completely covered by mineral crust are now visible, and
B) The coin wasn't horribly scratched by amateur mechanical cleaning.

Some details on cleaning here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Silvered Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Siscia, Göbl 1426i 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate head right | ANNONA AVG, Annona standing left, holding cornucopia right and grain ears over a modius left.

Collecting even these coins, over 1700 old, produced by a culture that so informed our own, day-to-day artifacts handled by both the most and least honorable of people, still sometimes it's a matter of filling blanks, no less pedestrian than filling empty slots in a folder of pennies.

I don't at all regret buying this, blanks need filled and this isn't less worth having just because I have very similar examples different busts.

And even for all that, there's still much of interest here. Annona, an obscure harvest goddess, had become a personification of the corn dole, the distribution of grain at low cost, the “bread” of “bread and circuses”.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

AR Siliqua, Theodosius (the Great), Mediolanum, RIC 14b 

D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG, Diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right | VOT X MULT XX, legend in four lines within wreath, MDPS in exergue.

Flavius Theodosius, served as a general of Gratian, and was raised to imperial status by him, becoming the sole emperor in 392 on the death of Valentinian II.

Theodosius was successful in regaining territory from the Goths that had been lost the Valentinian's weak sons and re-united the Eastern part of the empire with the West, which had largely been lost to Magnus Maximus.

Theodosius is called the Great because of his support of the Nicene Creed, which had largely been opposed by Valentinian II, still blamed for his support for Arianism.

Theodosius died in 395, one of the rare natural deaths among the emperors.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Æ23, Dium in Macedonia, Gallienus, SNG Copenhagen 160 

IMP GAL_LIE[NVS AVG], Radiate draped bust right | COL IVL D_[IENSIS], Athena standing left, holding patera in right hand and long scepter with left. D in left and right fields.

While I'm certainly aware that this coin is in rather poor shape, I'm pleased that I recognized what it was and was able to make a reasonable bid, and win.

I already had these two coins from the city and was able to recognize the two Ds on the reverse and confirm it with the bust and what I could make out of the legends.

Once I had it hand, I was able to assess the size and weight, which are consistent with my other coins of the city, as is the overall appearance.

So, I think I got a bit of a bargain because I was able to recognize what this was and that it was different from anything that I had.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Æ barbarous radiate, Gallienus, unknown location, cf. Göbl 599a 

[...]IALLIEN[...], Radiate head right | [...]IL[...], Fides standing left, holding standards in each hand.

As I said when I posted another barbarous coin last week, the precise place of these coins in the ancient economy isn't universally agreed upon. Certainly some attempt to deceive was being made since the coins copy, with more or less skill, issues of the official mints. If they'd been intended as nothing more than minimal-value tokens to facilitate trade, I'm not sure why anything more than a simple geometric design would have been needed.

But it's true that, even when the ancient Romans seem familiar, this was well overe 1500 years ago and some things that were subtlely self-evident to them may be quite obscure to us.

My examples of various ancient imitations of Roman coins here.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Elisson remembers the Kennedy half dollar.

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