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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Greek Coins (Moderators: Dino, Meepzorp)  |  Topic: Engravers error or toolers error? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Engravers error or toolers error?  (Read 187 times)
Pharsalos
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« on: February 03, 2021, 07:19:14 am »

In late 2020 I managed to get one of these impressive Ptolemaic bronzes. The type has been on my wish list for a while, and this one was a nice combination of size, quality and price for me:

AE40
Ptolemy IV, 222 - 204 CE
Diameter: 40 mm, Weight: 68.95 grams, Die axis: 12h

Obverse: Bust of Zeus-Ammon to right, wearing taenia.

Reverse: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMA(I)OY
Eagle with closed wings standing left on thunderbolt, filleted cornucopia in field to left, ΔI between legs.

Mint: Alexandria

Notes:
Svoronos 1125
From the Markus R. Weder collection

When recording the details of the coin purchase in my notebook, I noticed a curious mispelling of ΠTOΛEMAIOY - the ‘I’ is missing on my coin.

I think there is some smoothing evident, and the eye of the eagle is a little strange and probably ‘strengthened’. I’m not sure though there is so much work that the last three letters would be so altered. What do others think? Does anyone know of other examples of this kind of legend error on Ptolemaic bronzes?


* 6976E57B-6FE8-4B6E-A912-31F095BEC5E7.jpeg (818.64 KB, 2200x1091 - viewed 16 times.)

* 05FA575F-F82B-48F8-BF65-54C20C2B9834.jpeg (252.78 KB, 640x340 - viewed 12 times.)
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Kevin D
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2021, 07:51:33 pm »

I don't have much experience with these coins, but I searched the CNG archives for Svoronos 1125 and brought up 60 examples. No exact matches for your reverse legend, but two of the CNG 60 are different from the norm. I don't know that striking would account for this, even though some doubling/shifting is seen on these coins. My guesstimate without looking into it further is a die engraver's error.

Finding another example struck from the same reverse die might give a definitive answer.

The area in question on your coin, where the I and O would be, might have these two characters combined, looking something like: b
Like the engraver realized the mistake after having engraved the O centered between the A and Y and then went back and squeezed the I in up against the O. There are other examples of these coins where legend characters appear to have been squeezed in up against adjacent characters, where it looks like the engraver was running out of room. Usually there is still enough definition to the characters so that the viewer's eye sees what is intended, but maybe not always.


* CNG 389 x 384.jpg (55.94 KB, 408x394 - viewed 84 times.)

* CNG 298 x 73.jpg (57.42 KB, 408x388 - viewed 96 times.)
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PtolemAE
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2021, 12:37:14 am »

Quote from: Pharsalos on February 03, 2021, 07:19:14 am
...
I think there is some smoothing evident, and the eye of the eagle is a little strange and probably ‘strengthened’. I’m not sure though there is so much work that the last three letters would be so altered. What do others think? Does anyone know of other examples of this kind of legend error on Ptolemaic bronzes?

The manufacturing quality of the Ptolemy IV large bronzes leaves something to be desired. Apparently issued in vast quantities with less attention to artistic style and more crude lettering on the dies than the preceding issues of Ptolemy III. Various shifts and minor goofs on these are not unusual. Sometimes it's hard to tell if the control symbol in the eagle's legs is DELTA IOTA or LAMBDA IOTA. A definitive answer to your question may not arrive. They did, however, get the weights right. Big and impressive in any case.

PtolemAE

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Pharsalos
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2021, 04:21:07 am »

Yes, I think your right Kevin D, there does appear to be a die shift in the legend which probably contributes to the missing letter either way. I did try the ACSearch image search option which does sometimes yield a die match, but unfortunately not in this case.

If you don’t see anything immediately wrong PtolemyAE then that gives me confidence- I was hoping you’d take a look at the thread. Thank you for your excellent website (which I used to double check the Svoronos reference).

Thank you both for your comments.
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PtolemAE
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2021, 06:57:26 pm »

Quote from: Pharsalos on February 25, 2021, 04:21:07 am
Yes, I think your right Kevin D, there does appear to be a die shift in the legend which probably contributes to the missing letter either way. I did try the ACSearch image search option which does sometimes yield a die match, but unfortunately not in this case.

If you don’t see anything immediately wrong PtolemyAE then that gives me confidence- I was hoping you’d take a look at the thread. Thank you for your excellent website (which I used to double check the Svoronos reference).

Thank you both for your comments.


Thank you for your kind words. Glad the web site continues to be helpful.

It might take a long time to turn up a die match - seems they made lots and lots of these.

PtolemAE
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