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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: Orbiana dupondius? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Orbiana dupondius?  (Read 1326 times)
curtislclay
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« on: January 28, 2009, 12:37:46 am »

A couple of months ago mix_val  added his Orbiana collection to his Gallery and I commented, in the Member's Gallery board:

"It occurs to me that Orbiana's middle bronzes presumably come both in red copper, her As, and in yellow brass, her dupondius.  Unfortunately I have never examined her middle bronzes in any large collection with this point in mind.  Vienna would be a good place to start, because it is very rich in Roman coins and tends to have multiple specimens of undercollected series like middle bronzes, and because one of its curators over a century ago, I suspect Friederich Kenner, decided to determine the metal of all of their middle bronzes by lightly filing one spot on the edge of every heavily patinated piece in the collection until he hit metal!

"J. Mamaea was the first lady whose dupondii, sometime during the reign of her son, were typologically marked by placing a crescent behind her shoulders, analogous to the radiate crown of the emperor. The fact that Orbiana has no dupondii so marked suggests that this innovation took place after the year or so of her marriage to Severus Alexander, c. 226-7 AD."

A week or two after writing that I was at the ANS in New York City and checked their Orbiana collection.  They have several middle bronzes, but generally without exposed metal, so I found it hard to determine for sure whether they were red asses or yellow dupondii.

Recently I came across the specimen illustrated below, which is definitely of yellow metal and so a dupondius, provided that it is ancient and not a modern cast

It came from our forgery cabinet, and I can't exclude that it might be a cast, but I am about 2/3 convinced that it was wrongly condemned and is in fact ancient!

10.04 g, 11h.

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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2009, 09:02:04 am »

Interesting.  Should be able to analyze the metal and compare to Severan dupondii
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Bob Crutchley
My gallery of the coins of Severus Alexander and his family
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curtislclay
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2009, 07:48:23 pm »

This one, from CNG 69, 2005, 1682, 11.38 g, 5h, now in both CoinArchives and Wildwinds, is certainly struck and ancient and also looks very much like a dupondius, assuming that the image shows the metal color accurately.

A coin I would have liked to bid on for my collection, if only I had been aware of this aspect at the time!

Apparently from different dies on both sides than the worn one I show above.

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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2009, 09:21:34 am »

Beauty for sure!  Looks as good as some of her denari 

Here's my Orbiana As.  a die match to your fake cabinet coin(?)
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Bob Crutchley
My gallery of the coins of Severus Alexander and his family
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Steve Minnoch
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2009, 11:31:55 am »

No die match.  Compare the positions of the bust truncations relative to the S in SAL, and on the reverse, the position of the head to that of the G in AVGVS.

Steve
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curtislclay
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2019, 12:05:54 pm »

Not Orbiana but the same problem: separating dupondii from asses among the middle bronzes of empresses and Caesars that show the same types for both denominations, without the radiate crown / laurel wreath differentiation that was normal on the middle bronzes of the emperors themselves from Nero on, or the crescent below bust which was added to mark dupondii of the empresses from sometime in the course of the coinage of Julia Mamaea on.

I have plaster casts of 20-30 middle bronzes of Julia Paula with her Marriage Scene rev. type, all of which I classified as either asses, because of the reddish color of their metal or their fabric, or as of uncertain denomination, since neither criterion, metal color or fabric, seemed decisive. These asses were very probably part of Elagabalus' New Year's issue of asses and bronze medallions for 1 Jan. 220.

The example shown below (CNG's photo) is the first Marriage Scene middle bronze of Julia Paula I have seen that clearly appears to be a dupondius: the metal color, seen without obscuring patination on the portrait and especially on portions of the edge, is definitely yellow, and the long flan crack too is characteristic of orichalcum (sestertii and dupondi) not copper (asses).

CNG E 437, 6 Feb. 2019, 469. 12.35 g, 12 h.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2019, 08:07:46 pm »

Paula's middle bronzes with the simpler Concordia seated rev. type are considerably rarer than the Marriage Scene ones, and were struck a little later in 220, since they added a star to the reverse design, which had been omitted from the Marriage Scene type, and since on the Concordia seated coins Paula's portrait started with her first coiffure and without stephane (BMC pl. 96.4), as on the Marriage Scene middle bronzes, but then changed to her second coiffure and added the stephane, as for example on CNG 69, June 2005, lot 1674, illustrated below (dealer's picture).

I have seen very few of these Concordia seated middle bronzes, and can specify the denomination of only one of them: the CNG coin, though small and light (8.42 g), is definitely of yellow metal, so a dupondius.

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Curtis Clay
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