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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Resources  |  Identification Help (Moderators: Varangian, Arados)  |  Topic: Mystery Domitian denarius 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Mystery Domitian denarius  (Read 876 times)
Jay GT4
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« on: June 20, 2019, 09:09:58 pm »

Well, I said I wasn't going to post this until it was in hand, but I just can't wait.  I purchased this coin thinking it was RIC 539 (R2) under Vespasian.  However, after I won I noticed that the legend is blundered.  Instead of:

CAES AVG F DOMITIAN COS II

it reads:

CAES AV DOMITIAN COS II

It's pretty clear from the photo it's missing the G and F on the obverse.  There is no footnote in RIC noting an engravers error and I can't find another on acsearch or Coinarchives.  In talking with David we both agree it looks like a product of an Eastern mint like Antioch or even the "O" mint.  David points out the clumsy lettering and ragged flan.  The portrait doesn't look like a product of Rome either, although the early portraits of Domitian are not as stylized as they would become later on.  I've never seen an Eastern mint for this issue.  It's wonderfully executed and it's nice to still get the centering circle on the reverse.  So, the question is...official coin or ancient counterfeit?  

I won't have it in hand for at least a week but I thought the sellers pictures were good enough to start the conversation. Claimed weight is 3.4g.

    

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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2019, 11:19:18 pm »

Hmm, really interesting,  Thumbs Up

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shanxi
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2019, 11:59:46 pm »



I see (or don't see) the missing letters, but COS II

Maybe you can find a reverse die match. For the official coins there should be only a limited number of dies.
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Jay GT4
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2019, 05:16:13 am »

Thanks Shanxi, that was a typo.  Indeed it is COS II.
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David Atherton
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2019, 05:39:36 am »

Although it is remotely possible the piece is 'Eastern', I believe it to be an ancient forgery. The lettering and mistakes are too crude for Rome, IMHO.
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FlaviusDomitianus
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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2019, 08:52:11 am »

Hard to say.

Style and lettering remind me of the Antiochene Flavian denarii, altough so far we don't know of any denarius struck for Domitian.

That's intriguing

Alberto
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Jay GT4
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2019, 11:52:40 am »

Yes, this is what is fascinating about this coin.  I posted here in the hopes of someone remembering a similar example. 
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Jay GT4
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2019, 10:08:57 am »

Well, I found another coin (2 different photos), where it is almost certain the same artist engraved the portrait.  Is that also a faint centering circle on the reverse?  Lettering is different.  Could this be a case of an apprentice doing the lettering?



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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2019, 10:46:32 am »

More and more fascinating!
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Steve P
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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2019, 08:49:55 pm »

Pretty cool, Jay ... congrats on scoring that sweet mystery coin (good luck sleuthing!)

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Jay GT4
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2019, 12:25:02 pm »

Well, the coin arrived today.  I must say it really does have an Antiochine like flan.  The edge is ragged like the Antioch series with lots of striations. The flan tappers down  to one side.  No sign of being a fouree.  Image is clickable for a larger pic.

3.34g

http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-156281
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2019, 12:35:20 pm »

I do not know what it would be if not Antioch.
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FlaviusDomitianus
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2019, 12:35:46 pm »

Great news Jay.

You couls forward a picture to Ian Carradice and ask for his opinion too.

Alberto
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Jay GT4
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2019, 12:38:46 pm »

I do not know what it would be if not Antioch.

That was my feeling originally.

Alberto, I will forward to Ian Carradice and see what he says.

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David Atherton
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2019, 01:44:35 pm »

Well, the coin arrived today.  I must say it really does have an Antiochine like flan.  The edge is ragged like the Antioch series with lots of striations. The flan tappers down to to one side.  No sign of being a fouree.  Image is clickable for a larger pic.

3.34g

http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-156281

Can you show a photo of the edge? I'm very curious.
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Jay GT4
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« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2019, 02:00:05 pm »

Edge shots
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« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2019, 03:44:27 pm »

What a cool coin, the style is excellent.  I'm looking forward to hearing the updates!
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Jay GT4
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« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2019, 03:53:07 pm »

Thanks!  I've fired an email off to Professor Carradice
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David Atherton
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« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2019, 05:23:04 am »

Thanks for showing the edge photos. This type of flan for denarii is fairly common for coins from the East, not just Antioch. Given the eBay seller's location and the coin's fabric, no doubt it is of Eastern manufacture.

The question remains is it official? I'm more in the unofficial camp. Why? Crude style, mistakes in the legend, and the fact this type for Domitian as Caesar is totally unknown in the East. Also, no coins were struck for Domitian as Caesar at Antioch.

An intriguing piece to be sure.
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Jay GT4
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Leave the gun, take the Canoli!


« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2019, 03:00:49 pm »

Thanks David.  I showed Robert Kokotailo the coin today and he agrees, ancient and probably eastern but has the same question...official or unofficial?
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« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2019, 06:32:54 pm »

While some may find the style "crude," I think the style both of the portrait and the reverse to be very good--just somewhat different than we are used to.  I think it is official, from an eastern mint, probably Antioch.  Others are sure to disagree, but collecting the unusual always involves ambiguity.
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FlaviusDomitianus
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« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2019, 12:36:43 am »

While some may find the style "crude," I think the style both of the portrait and the reverse to be very good--just somewhat different than we are used to.  I think it is official, from an eastern mint, probably Antioch.  Others are sure to disagree, but collecting the unusual always involves ambiguity.


I agree with that.

In almost twenty years of active collecting of Domitian coins I never met unofficial silver coins that weren't fourree.

This is certainly not, given the weight.

The main argument against officiality is the fact that so far no coins of Domitian as Caesar have been recorded. But we all know that there are constantly new discoveries and that this is one of the most fascinating aspects of collecting ancient coins.

Other examples may have been simply overlooked and mistakenly attributed to the mint of Rome.

Alberto
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« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2019, 05:29:07 am »

This is certainly one of the most interesting coins ever to appear on the Forum!
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David Atherton
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« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2019, 05:35:46 am »

In almost twenty years of active collecting of Domitian coins I never met unofficial silver coins that weren't fourree.

Not all unofficial coins are fourrées. I have one or two examples in my own collection that may be 'unofficial', one of which is even referenced in the new RIC II.1 introduction on p. 8 - 'a recent example seen in trade (Imperial Coins 2004) had the correct legend (and good weight for a denarius, at 3.29g) but a very different, inferior style on both the obverse and reverse. Is such a coin a barbarous imitation, or simply the product of a less able die-engraver employed at the start of a mint's output?'

When weighing all the evidence at hand concerning Jay's piece - crude legend style, mistakes, and an unprecedented fabric for this type what are we left with? Using Occam's razor I would side with a coin of unofficial production.
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« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2019, 12:42:46 pm »

Great looks and find Jay,

the Legends looks very similar too Hadrian CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea

http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=5747
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Resources  |  Identification Help (Moderators: Varangian, Arados)  |  Topic: Mystery Domitian denarius « previous next »
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