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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  For the New Ancient Coin Collector (Moderators: wolfgang336, cscoppa, Gavignano, Lucas H)  |  Topic: Question about variation in coins 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Question about variation in coins  (Read 911 times)
renegade3220
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« on: May 10, 2010, 04:17:21 pm »

Ok, I have been surfing around just finding coins and then looking them up.  I was curious as to variations in a Marcus Aurelius I came across.  This one is actually being sold on eBay.  I have no intention of buying it, but was seriously interested in the reverse type on the coin.

The first picture is the coin on eBay.  It is described as RIC 429a.  The obverse seems to match, but the obverse legend is in a different place.  In particular, the S in COS.  Looking at RIC 429b, the reverse seems to match.  The only difference I can see in RIC 429a and b is the bust type.  In particular right facing and left facing respectively.

Is it that this coin is struck with the reverse dye of RIC 429b and obverse dye of RIC 429a, or is it common for the legends to be moved like this?  I would say significantly, since it is on the opposite side of the arm.

Second pic. RIC 429a
Third pic. RIC 429b

Thanks all!  I think this may be a good example for noobs like me to learn from!

Ohh, it also seems like the draping matches that with 429b too.  Looking at the draping on the right side of the coin as viewed, it appears rounded like 429b and not as straight as in 429a. 

It appears the two types were minted in the same years too.
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maridvnvm
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2010, 05:31:05 pm »

These legend breaks can be quite varied and the change in the reverse legend letter positioning typically doesn't change the attribution. There are some exceptions to this, where the legend breaks are specified in RIC.
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Martin
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dougsmit
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2010, 09:01:48 pm »

There are a few examples where the legend break is even significant and intentional.  The prime example here is the fact that the Romans showed greater honor on a coin when the legend was broken than when the legend was continuous.  Toward the end of the 4th Century they stopped having a junior grade ruler called Caesar but had several called Augustus including some that were small children.  Coins of this period that have the obverse legend continuous might be struck for a junior Augustus but the same coin issued after he became a senior Augustus would have the same letters but have a break with the head separating the two parts.  It is appropriate that a meaningful difference like this would be noted in a catalog listing.  Other break differences happened because a die cutter failed to plan ahead or was just in the mood to be different and usually don't get mention.  Different authors have different rules as to when they feel it appropriate to mention a variety based only on letter position.   I like to think that any difference that helps place the coin as to date or mint would be mentioned by a catalog but there may well be examples where a variation did have a meaning that is lost to us today. 

I do not have an example of the same reverse used with broken and continuous legends but attach two coins of Honorius below.  One is when he was junior and the other shows his promotion to full honors of the split legend
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renegade3220
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2010, 06:02:51 am »

Thanks for the replies so far.  It really seems that the drapery lines in the garb on the question coin are very similar to that in the 429b, rather than that in the 429a.  That also led me to question.  However, I guess that is easily just the hand of the die engraver as well.  Smiley
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areich
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2010, 06:14:27 am »

I'm sure it is. If the drapery wasn't used by the authors in RIC in classifying the coins (and I doubt they were) then they are also not useful in assigning a RIC number to a coin.
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renegade3220
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2010, 08:36:08 am »

Ahh, I see!  So simple right!  Grin  I am just focusing on the wrong things... 
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  For the New Ancient Coin Collector (Moderators: wolfgang336, cscoppa, Gavignano, Lucas H)  |  Topic: Question about variation in coins « previous next »
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