Classical Numismatics Discussion
  Welcome Guest. Please login or register. Please look at the RECENT ADDITIONS and PRICE REDUCTIONS at the top and bottom of the page. All items are guaranteed authentic for eternity! Thanks for supporting Forum with your PURCHASES! Welcome Guest. Please login or register. Point your mouse to a coin in RECENT ADDITIONS or PRICE REDUCTIONS on this page to see the the price. All items are guaranteed authentic for eternity! Thanks for supporting Forum with your PURCHASES!


FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  Reading For the Advanced Collector  |  Topic: Trajan Decius, very first emission at Rome 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: [1] Go Down Print
Author Topic: Trajan Decius, very first emission at Rome  (Read 2692 times)
Rupert
Procurator Caesaris
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1930



« on: September 26, 2006, 02:31:13 pm »

Hello friends,

this is a topic I originally posted at www.numismatikforum.de, where Curtis read it. He found this an interesting coin and asked me to show it to you too. So here you are:

Trajanus Decius, 249-251, billon antoninianus
Obv. IMP C DECIUS AUG
Radiate, cuirassed bust right
Rev. DACIA
Dacia with "donkey staff" (really a Dacian dragon-head standard) standing left

This is not an Ebay coin for a change. 22 years ago, when I finished my army service, I bought myself coins from my dismissal wage, including this one. It was sold to me by Mr. Funk, an experienced dealer in Munich. With the encrustations, the piece seems surely ancient. At 10 o'clock on the obv., a small piece of metal has flaked off; the edge is also very slightly flattened at this spot, so the coin must have been dropped at some time. Below the surface, the colour of the metal is that of oxidized low-grade silver.

My main question now: Is this an official or inofficial piece? And if the latter, what compelled its maker (who was well capable to cut good quality dies) to adopt such a strikingly different obv. legend (known for quinarii only) that would have made the imitation easy to recognize as such?


Eagerly awaiting your responses,

Rupert
Logged

Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt.
curtislclay
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 10613



« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2006, 02:59:21 pm »

And here is my answer, as posted yesterday in the German Forum:

Rupert,

That is a highly important piece! I respond in English, because the argument is somewhat complicated, and because I think we should post the coin and my explanation in the U.S. Forum also.

From the style, I have no doubt that your coin at least represents a genuine issue. Either it is itself an original, provided that the metal below the brown patination really is good silver, around 50% fine, as you think, or it is a good ancient cast of an official original. Maybe you could show it around to experienced dealers, academics, or collectors for opinions on this question, and/or send it to me for inspection if you like.

As you note, two quinarii are known with this obv. legend, RIC 35a=Cohen 14 (Copenhagen), and RIC 42b=Cohen 112 (Banduri I, 1718, p. 7, citing the coll. of "Ser. Princeps Ludovicus Augustus, Cenomanensium Dux": that is, as Zwerg reports, the region Maine in France with capital Le Mans). Since the obv. legend is short, RIC lists these quinarii among the antoniniani with the late short obv. legends IMP CAE TRA DECIVS (or DEC) AVG. I have probably glanced over those rare coins a dozen times, without realizing that the dating proposed is quite obviously wrong!

(1) The rev. types of the two quinarii are EARLY not late. DACIA with "Ass's head", on the first quinarius and your antoninianus, is the EARLIEST version of that type, which occurs first with the earliest obv. legend IMP TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, then with the main obv. legend IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG. In the course of this main issue it was superseded first by DACIA with standard, then by DACIA FELIX with standard, BEFORE THE FINAL ISSUE WITH THE SHORT OBV. LEGENDS BEGAN! DACIA FELIX with standard is the only normal Dacia type on antoniniani of this final issue; the rare antoniniani of this issue with the DACIA Ass's head and DACIA Standard types, RIC 35a-c, must be regarded as exceptional mules struck from old rev. dies that by chance had remained in use.

VICTORIA AVG, the type of the other quinarius, is also an early type, which on antoniniani occurs only in Issue 1 and then in Issue 2, where it was evidently superseded by one of the two new types, ABVNDANTIA AVG or VBERITAS AVG. VICTORIA AVG is not attested on antoniniani of the final issue with shortened obv. legend, though it does occur on one exceptional aureus with the unique obv. legend IMP TRA DEC AVG, whose small size and light weight (3.86 g.) confirm its late date (RIC 42a=Naville VIII, 1924, Bement 1370).

(2) The obv. legend of the quinarii and your antoninianus, IMP C DECIVS AVG, is THE ONLY OBV. LEGEND OF DECIUS AT ROME TO OMIT HIS NAME TRAIANVS! It is evident that Decius assumed the name of that famous former emperor only after his accession; as Antinoos pointed out, his first issue of bronze coins at Viminacium calls him merely IMP CAES C MES Q DECIVS P F AVG, without TRAIANVS. It seems obvious that IMP C DECIVS AVG must be Decius' very rare EARLIEST obv. legend at Rome, before he assumed the name Traianus! We may assume that antoniniani with this obv. legend were also struck, and may someday turn up, with all of the other rev. types of Issue 1 too, namely GENIVS EXERCITVS ILLYRICIANI, PAX AVGVSTI, VICTORIA AVG, VIRTVS AVG seated, ADVENTVS AVG, and PANNONIAE.


 
Logged

Curtis Clay
Rupert
Procurator Caesaris
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1930



« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2006, 12:40:43 pm »

Thanks a lot Curtis; of course it is great news that this is not just some legend variation, but a hitherto unknown early issue that may help to shed some light on the goings-on in 249 AD. There are three things I'd like to add:

1. As Antinoos pointed out on the German board, the low quality silver alloy would go well with a dating very early in the reign of Decius. Silver quality had declined badly late in Philip's reign and was restored to a higher standard by Decius after a few weeks or months. In fact, the two late Philips I have (a Saeculares of Philip I with cippus rev., and one of Otacilia with hippo) are of rather low billon, while a later Decius ant (with Genius Exerc Illyriciani) is of good, bright silver of certainly more than 50%.

2. The coin is struck, not cast. The features of the face are too sharp for a cast. Unfortunately, I find this coin particularly hard to photograph, some part always being over- or underexposed - I'm still trying to get better pictures.

3. Curtis, do I understand you correctly that this is actually the first antoninianus with this legend to show up? If so, this first issue cannot have lasted more than a few hours or one or two days at most, until it was announced that the new emperor's name was not just Decius but also Traianus. What's remarkable is the good quality of the portrait - the engraver obviously knew what Decius looked like (remember the early portraits of Vespasian at Rome, made by people who evidently didn't know how he looked), so we might presume he had returned to Rome by then from the battle against Philip at Verona. So the course of events might have been:
FIRST return to Rome,
THEN coinage begins,
THEN VERY SHORTLY AFTERWARDS the emperor assumes the name of Traianus.

Am I right, or am I making logical mistakes?

Rupert
Logged

Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt.
curtislclay
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 10613



« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2006, 12:51:29 pm »

Rupert,

Here my answer, again from the German Forum

The traditional history of the years 248-9 is certainly wrong.

1. The final battle between Philip and Decius took place not at Verona, but near Beroea in Macedonia, as R. Ziegler has shown. A late Greek historian, Zonaras I think, has a detailed account of Philip's end and places the final battle near Beroea; in Greek that's very similar to "Verona", whence the mistake in all the Latin authors. Now we understand why Beroea's neighbor and rival Thessalonica received the most extravagant honors possible from Decius, namely the titles Metropolis (formerly Beroea's) and Colony, and THREE new neocorates, an unparalleled increase, as shown e.g. by the coin Sear, Gk. Imp. 4162: Thessalonica must have espoused Decius' cause, opening their gates to him and providing other key aid, in the showdown with Philip.

2. Philip's reign lasts into Sept. 249 in Egypt: year 7 on coins and in papyri. However, as I was astonished to discover, his Rome-mint coinage ends before the close of 248 (his TR P V)! That should mean that Decius had wrested Rome from Philip c. Nov.-Dec. 248; otherwise we have to propose a nine-month gap in coin production at Rome during which the mint was totally inactive.

A possible scenario:

1. Philip and family undertake an expedition to the East in fall 248; note type VIRTVS AVGG, the two emperors on horseback, in their final issue of antoniniani at Rome.

2. Decius seizes Rome and the West in Philip's absence, Nov.-Dec. 248. Rome now has two emperors: Decius ruling in the West, Philip in the East.

3. C. Aug.-Sept. 249: Philip invades Europe in an attempt to crush Decius, but is himself defeated and killed in a battle near Beroea.

In this case, Decius can be in Rome when he seizes the city from Philip late in 248, so no problem with the realistic portrait on his earliest coins! However, he was a prominent senator, and his features will have been known in Rome anyway; the immediate appearance of ADVENTVS AVG among his coin types might suggest that he was not in Rome when he rebelled.

The precise chronology is uncertain, but it was in c. Nov.-Dec. 98 that Trajan was first adopted by Nerva, then voted the tribunician power by the Senate. I suspect that the anniversaries of these events were still being celebrated in Rome exactly 150 years later, at the end of 248, and that one of them more or less coincided with Decius' seizure of the city, explaining why he decided to add Trajan's name to his own. 
Logged

Curtis Clay
Rupert
Procurator Caesaris
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1930



« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2006, 01:11:01 pm »

Ah, I think I understand: so Decius seized Rome - coincidentally - right at the time of the sesquicentenary jubilee of Trajan's accession. He also may have admired Trajan, and so he made it his programme: "Now, 150 years after the great conqueror Trajanus, here comes 'Trajanus' Decius!"

Rupert
Logged

Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt.
curtislclay
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 10613



« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2006, 03:03:58 pm »

Exactly.  Naturally the connection to Trajan's anniversary is just a conjecture.  Trajan was famous enough that his name could have been adopted at other times too, for other reasons.

As to silver quality, Antinoos will have to cite a specific study to convince me that we know so much about the debasements and improvements as he claims.  His reconstruction is not borne out by the figures in David Walker's Metrology of the Roman Silver Coinage III, Oxford 1978, pp. 41-2, viz.:

Percentage silver content of antoniniani, last issue of Philip, with Greek officina numbers, eight specimens:

34, 48.5, 47.5, 52.5, 48, 48.5, 48, 47.5%.

First main issue of Decius, obv. IMP TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, seven specimens:

58, 38, 36, 59.5, 47, 47.5, 47.5%.

Correction:  Nerva adopted Trajan late in 97 not 98, so Nov.-Dec. 248 was the 151st anniversary of that event, not the 150th.
Logged

Curtis Clay
Rupert
Procurator Caesaris
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1930



« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2007, 12:44:28 pm »

Now here is a quinarius of this type! It was in German Ebay one or two weeks ago from a seller with little feedback. This seller had a few Severan denarii, but also a badly tooled Antoninus Pius sestertius, so I didn't dare to bid on it. It went to a British dealer who is currently reselling it. Do you have an opinion about the authenticity of the coin? The portrait and obv. lettering look strange to me. But of course I have no experience with this type of coins.

Rupert
Logged

Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt.
curtislclay
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 10613



« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2007, 01:19:22 pm »

Clearly modern, in my eyes.  Both the style and the jagged edge cracks are wrong.
Logged

Curtis Clay
Rupert
Procurator Caesaris
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1930



« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2007, 01:28:56 pm »

Thanks a lot Curtis - then I did the right thing following my gut feeling and skipping this one. I'm very relieved, as you can imagine.

Rupert
Logged

Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt.
Bonus Eventus
Praetorian
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 63


« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2018, 08:36:45 am »

Here is another example of this very intersting Decius first issue. It is from the British Museum collection.

It appears to be from the same dies of the first coin posted.



Logged
Rupert
Procurator Caesaris
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1930



« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2018, 01:13:43 pm »

Extremely interesting, thank you! How did you find it (I didn't)? And do they have any description on their site what they think about it?

Rupert
Logged

Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt.
Joe Sermarini
Owner, President
FORVM STAFF
Caesar
*****
Online Online

Posts: 9151


All Coins Guaranteed for Eternity.


WWW
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2018, 01:35:42 pm »

Fake coin report for the fake in Rupert's post please.
Logged

Joseph Sermarini
Owner, President
FORVM ANCIENT COINS
Bonus Eventus
Praetorian
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 63


« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2018, 02:18:31 am »

Extremely interesting, thank you! How did you find it (I didn't)? And do they have any description on their site what they think about it?

Rupert


Hi Rupert,

The BM has published on line many objects of its collections. I found it here:

https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?searchText=dacia%20decius&ILINK34484,assetId=1613250609&objectId=3768334&partId=1

There is a description of the coin but no discussion about it. It is classified as: "RIC4 35a var, p.? (var = denarius rather than quinarius)"

It is described as silver with a Weight of 2.2 grammes.

Congratulations! You have a most interesting coin!


Logged
Bonus Eventus
Praetorian
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 63


« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2018, 02:22:10 am »

By the way, it was donated by Dr. John Kent to the BM in 1995.

I try to put the link again. If it does not work, you'll need to cut and paste the link in your browser.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?searchText=dacia%20decius&ILINK34484,assetId=1613250609&objectId=3768334&partId=1
Logged
Rupert
Procurator Caesaris
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1930



« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2018, 03:19:42 am »

Quote from: Bonus Eventus on November 07, 2018, 02:18:31 am
... It is classified as: "RIC4 35a var, p.? (var = denarius rather than quinarius)"

Denarius? Really?? With radiate crown???
That would be the first radiate denarius since Divus Augustus on the reverse of Caligula and on AD 69 Civil Wars denarii.
If they see it as a variant to the quinarius, they're missing the big point, which is that there seems to be a very first emission, lasting about two hours (one die) at the mint, without "Traianus" in the obv. legend.

Rupert
Logged

Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt.
Bonus Eventus
Praetorian
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 63


« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2018, 03:31:51 am »

Quote from: Bonus Eventus on November 07, 2018, 02:18:31 am
... It is classified as: "RIC4 35a var, p.? (var = denarius rather than quinarius)"

Denarius? Really?? With radiate crown???
That would be the first radiate denarius since Divus Augustus on the reverse of Caligula and on AD 69 Civil Wars denarii.
If they see it as a variant to the quinarius, they're missing the big point, which is that there seems to be a very first emission, lasting about two hours (one die) at the mint, without "Traianus" in the obv. legend.

Rupert


I noticed that too, but I thought it was just a material mistake of the author of the entry. In the  "Denomination" line, the coin is identified as a "radiate".

It would be interesting to compare the die of the quinarius with that of this coin, but I was not able to find any picture of it.

Fabio
Logged
Pages: [1] Go Up Print 
FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  Reading For the Advanced Collector  |  Topic: Trajan Decius, very first emission at Rome « 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 1.546 seconds with 52 queries.