Classical Numismatics Discussion
  Welcome Guest. Please login or register. STORE WIDE SALE!!! 10% OFF EVERYTHING UNTIL 3 SEPTEMBER Layaway and reserve are not available during the sale. Shop now and save! Welcome Guest. Please login or register. STORE WIDE SALE!!! 10% OFF EVERYTHING UNTIL 3 SEPTEMBER Shop now and save! Please support Forum with your PURCHASES!


FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: Alexander the Great Contorniate with Circus Maximus 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: [1] Go Down Print
Author Topic: Alexander the Great Contorniate with Circus Maximus  (Read 400 times)
Baccus
Legionary
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« on: June 24, 2019, 05:17:40 am »

In an upcoming Swiss auction is presented a contorniate of Alexander the Great sold as a paduan (it's 38mm for 31,43 gr).
It is the first time I saw a contorniate with this subject on the reverse which I found very interesting coupled with a tributing Alexander portrait on the obverse so I did some research on it.
I have seen that a very similar coin has been sold as an authentic contorniate in the New York Sale 11, in 2006, with an important pedigree  (Ex Robert; Th. Prowe; Consul E. F. Weber; Herzfeld; H. P. Hall and W. Niggeler collections; and ex G. Sambon, Rome June 6, 1898, 1168; Brüder Egger, Vienna 17 (1904), 2856; J. Hirsch, Munich 24 (1909), 3638 and 29 (1910), 1618; P. & P. Santamaria, Rome November 29, 1920, 284; Glendining & Co., London November 16, 1950, 2131; and Münzen und Medaillen AG, Basel Bank Leu & Co. AG, Zurich, Niggeler 3, (Basel 1967), 1589 sales). This very coin is reported 40mm for 30,43 gr.

For me the two coins are very very similar. Can one be a paduan and the other authentic?

Then I have found an interesting article on Alexander's contorniate by Dominique Hollard (curator of the Biblioteque Nationale coin cabinett in Paris) where it says that the contorniates were produced both struck and as casts both in antiquity. I didn't know this fact (here the article https://antiquitebnf.hypotheses.org/5870)
In the article it's also presented, as authentic, one other very similar contorniate of Alexander with the Circus Maximus from the Paris coin cabinett collection that shows also the Gonzaga/d'Este countermark on it (so it was in the former Gonzaga/d'Este collections, Dukes of Ferrara and later of Modena, already in the early XVI century).
Also this coin is very very similar to the other two (besides the counter mark with the little eagle Gonzaga/d'Este).

Could it be then that they are all cast contorniates produced in antiquity and so in a way all authentic ancient contorniates from the fifth century?

Here included:

first photo of the coin now in auction as "paduan"

second photo of the coin sold at NY Sale in 2006 as authentic

third photo of the coin from the Biblioteque Nationale Paris, with d'Este/Gonzaga countermark
Logged
shanxi
Tribunus Plebis 2018
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1570


WWW
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2019, 05:59:48 am »

Just as an additional note. The seller gives the following information in the auction text:

"Alföldi notes that all 18 recorded examples of this issue are casts made from a lost original. As one example has the d'Este/Gonzaga countermark and another example was present in the collection of Apostolo Zeno (1668-1750), they probably date to the late 17th or early 18th century."


A similar example (not a die match)  is shown in the Berlin collection. The Aföldi Plate example is dated to AD 355-395/423

https://ikmk.smb.museum/object?id=18200660

(click on the little orange circle arrow to see the reverse)
Logged

Tacitus
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 413


« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2019, 04:54:46 pm »

How can you tell the first one is a paduan?  Looks like the second one.  (Though that is the point).... 
I would assume the only way to tell for sure is by testing the metal....
Logged
curtislclay
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 10828



« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2019, 05:57:15 pm »

The three examples Baccus illustrates are not Paduans, but early modern casts of a struck ancient original.
Logged

Curtis Clay
Baccus
Legionary
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2019, 02:29:56 am »

The three examples Baccus illustrates are not Paduans, but early modern casts of a struck ancient original.

Dear Curtis, the second one has been sold at New York Sale in 2006 as authentic with an estimate of 12.500 $. Was this then in your opinion a mistake of the auction house?

As the third one with the countermark was already in the d'Este/Gonzaga collections (so around 1500 AD..) then in the case they are all later casts (not Roman era casts) they are quite ancients already, probably before Cavino. Right?

Why is Dominique Hollard saying that the contorniate were produced also with casting technique in ancient times and not only struck? Are there evidence of this and other scholars with this opinion?
Logged
Baccus
Legionary
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2019, 02:38:22 am »

Just as an additional note. The seller gives the following information in the auction text:

"Alföldi notes that all 18 recorded examples of this issue are casts made from a lost original. As one example has the d'Este/Gonzaga countermark and another example was present in the collection of Apostolo Zeno (1668-1750), they probably date to the late 17th or early 18th century."


A similar example (not a die match)  is shown in the Berlin collection. The Aföldi Plate example is dated to AD 355-395/423

https://ikmk.smb.museum/object?id=18200660

(click on the little orange circle arrow to see the reverse)

The one reported here from Berlin collection is from very different dies.
It is anyway important, not for direct comparison with the others in this discussion, but for the fact that there are different dies of this specimen. This is already a problem then for Anfoldi's theory about the fact that all the known 18 recorded examples in his opinion are all coming from an unique original, implying that for him there was one unique die for this type.
Logged
Tacitus
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 413


« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2019, 05:29:27 am »

The three examples Baccus illustrates are not Paduans, but early modern casts of a struck ancient original.

Dear Curtis, the second one has been sold at New York Sale in 2006 as authentic with an estimate of 12.500 $. Was this then in your opinion a mistake of the auction house?

As the third one with the countermark was already in the d'Este/Gonzaga collections (so around 1500 AD..) then in the case they are all later casts (not Roman era casts) they are quite ancients already, probably before Cavino. Right?

Why is Dominique Hollard saying that the contorniate were produced also with casting technique in ancient times and not only struck? Are there evidence of this and other scholars with this opinion?


So now I am very confused.  Are any real?  Paduans?  Or modern fakes?   How would you tell?
Logged
curtislclay
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 10828



« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2019, 08:39:06 am »

Baccus,

Yes, that was a mistake of the auction house to offer one of these casts as authentic.

Yes, the casts are quite old, since one of them has the modern Eagle countermark, which was only applied up until about 1600 if I am recalling correctly.

There are some ancient cast contorniates with their own types. But the overwhelming majority of contorniates were struck. Casts reproducing the types of those struck contorniates are all modern, in my opinion. They are not Paduans and had nothing to do with Cavino.

These are questions I have some familiarity with, having myself composed the die and specimen catalogue for the new 1976 edition of Alföldi's Die Kontorniat-Medaillons.
Logged

Curtis Clay
Baccus
Legionary
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2019, 03:47:56 am »

Thanks a lot Curtis for your precious considerations, I share your view for what it counts.

The contorniate that was in the Swiss auction listed as a Paduan at the end has been sold for 3200 swiss francs. Not the value of an authentic specimen but still quite high for a Paduan, an interesting bet for the buyer indeed.
Logged
Pages: [1] Go Up Print 
FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: Alexander the Great Contorniate with Circus Maximus « previous next »
Jump to:  

Recent Price Reductions in Forum's Shop


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 1.563 seconds with 39 queries.