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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Byzantine Coins (Moderators: vercingetorix, wileyc, Paleologos)  |  Topic: Follis - unexpected Sear 1866/1878 combination 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Follis - unexpected Sear 1866/1878 combination  (Read 676 times)
Vincent C4
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« on: August 25, 2019, 11:35:59 pm »

I have a follis with an obverse that corresponds to Sear# 1878 of Michael VII (1071-78) and a reverse that corresponds to S# 1866 of Romanus IV (1068-71). See attached image. I was surprised to find that this coin is neither listed in Sear's catalogue, nor in the Wildwinds database.

Here's my own analysis of the coin. The names of the emperors occur in both cases on the reverse of the coins (although in the case of S# 1866, the emperor's name is only indicated with the letter 'Ρ', which is believed to stand for Ρωμανον). Because of this, the obverse could change at any time, independently of any dynastic succession. The obverse type that is normally associated with Michael VII would then actually have been introduced late in Romanus IV's reign and continued during Michael VII's reign. During Romanus IV's reign this obverse type would have been paired with the S# 1866 reverse type (which explains the existence of my coin) and during Michael VII's reign it would be paired with the S# 1878 reverse type, resulting in S# 1878. If this analysis is correct, my type would be a transitional type between S# 1866 and S# 1878, but from the time of Romanus IV.

An alternative - less flattering - explanation would be that the mint simply made a mistake and used a Romanus IV reverse die during Michael VII's reign.

Note that my coin is overstruck. There's a vestigial "NI" to the right of the emperor's head from the underlying design.

There's another coin similar to mine here: https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/david_connors/41/product/romanus_iv_ae24_follis_bust_of_christ_facing__ornamented_cross_w_cr_pdelta/543874/Default.aspx.

I would like to know if my type is listed in any catalogue, and in case it is, if the catalogue agrees that it's from the time of Romanus IV. Thank you!
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Abu Galyon
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2019, 03:27:23 am »

Here’s another suggestion: occasionally one comes across a coin which has been so badly overstruck that all one can make out on one side is the undertype. Might that be the case here? So the undertype is SBCV 1866 (which would fit in with the vestigial  overlineNI we can still detect) and the overtype is SBCV 1878 but all we can make out on the reverse are the remains of the SBCV 1866 reverse. Actually, there is a little bit more we came make out on the reverse, three letters in about the 7 o'clock position. On my proposed explanation those letters would have to be be part of the mis-struck overtype. They're very hard to read but they might be  Greek_Lambda Greek_Omicron Greek_Delta , which would fit with the final bit of the SBCV 1878 reverse legend.


Bill R.
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Vincent C4
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2019, 10:45:02 am »

Ah, that makes perfect sense. Thank you! I don't think I have any other overstruck coin in my collection where the undertype is so strong that I couldn't detect the overtype without assistance.

I have attached a new image, where the reverse is rotated (207 degr. clockwise) in accordance with your suggestion. Note that the globes at the end of each limb of the cross are gone in three cases. At the bottom it is overstruck by the lines and dots of the emperor's loros. To the left it is overstruck by the emperor's labarum with five dots on it. At the top of reverse you can see the emperor's crown, blending in with the cross and delta of the undertype. There's also an inscription above the emperor's head, though it's difficult to read.

The coin is slightly scyphate, with the reverse being concave. Apparently the die used for the overstriking was relatively flat and only made an impression along the edges, leaving most of the revese unaltered.

Again, thank you for helping me with this!
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Vincent C4
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2019, 10:48:42 am »

By the way, with this interpretation, both the undertype and the overtype have obverse and reverse aligned in so-called coin alignment.
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Byzantofil
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2019, 10:09:46 am »

Overstruck, no doubt. We can see traces both types of coins.
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Byzantine Coins (Moderators: vercingetorix, wileyc, Paleologos)  |  Topic: Follis - unexpected Sear 1866/1878 combination « previous next »
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