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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: goldenancients)  |  Topic: Share your rarest coin 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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ancientdave
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« on: September 16, 2010, 01:56:13 pm »

One of the things that always impresses me about the Forum community is the amazing and truly rare coins that we have in our collections. I thought I would make this thread a place where we can share with each other our rarest coins and discuss what we know about them, why they are so rare, how we aquired them, the number of other examples we have seen, etc.

My rarest coin has always been somewhat of a mystery to me, there does not seem to be much information as to why it is so rare. It belongs to a small issue of 4 types in two denominations for the emperor Hadrian, all in orichalcum. The two sizes are roughly semis size (19-22 mm), & a small module As size (23-25mm), and the types are Roma w/Victory, Lyre, Tyche of Antioch, & Griffin. They have been attributed to different mints throught the years, but the consensus now seems to be either minted in the east (most likely Antioch) or minted in Rome for use in the east, as they have an unmistakable classic Roman style, several with eastern leaning themes. Their find spots are typically in the east as well.

While all of these coins are rare, the Griffin reverse seems to be far more rare than the other three. The Lyre & Roma types seems to be the most prevalent, over the years I've seen probably 25 or so of each on the market. The Tyche seems to be scarcer, I have seen probably 10 or so on the market. The Griffin type though seems to be very, very rare. In more than 15 years of active collecting the only one I have ever seen come up for sale is mine. I have seen a pic of only one other example in a private collection, and two pictures of other examples in reference works. 

A few years ago, I took this coin to [Dealer Name removed by ADMIN] excellent Ancients show in San Francisco. Every dealer was impressed said that it was the first example they had ever seen, except for the great Frank Kovaks, and he has seen and forgotten more coins than any of  the rest of us could probably ever hope for. I think about this coin and it's associated types alot, and I feel that there are still answers to be had about their exact function and how they relate to the standard coinage for the reign. My pet theory of course is that they are somehow related to Hadrians' eastern travels, possibly given out as gifts to the populace when the emperor and his massive entourage rolled into town.

What truly rare coins do you have in your collection? What do you know about them? I would like to see what other mysterious gems we have hiding in our Forum collections.................
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2010, 02:05:40 pm »

In my field it's easy to find coins that are so rare you can't find them in the major publications or online so I'll choose one that is also very pretty.



 Moesia, Markianopolis, ? / lion, AE14
14mm, 1.6g
obv: bust of ?, wearing Taenia right
rev: MAPKIANOΠOΛITΩN; lion right

AMNG - ; Hristova/Jekov -; BMC -; Lindgren -; SNG Righetti -; Sear GICV -; Moushmov -
Not known to Ivan Varbanov and the Varna museum.
ex iNumis
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ancientdave
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2010, 02:08:57 pm »

That's a very neat coin areich, extra points for the small size. I've always been a sucker for the smaller denominations.
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2010, 02:37:08 pm »

Heres an ugly one  tongue

Vespasian, first issue of 71 with full name VESPASIANVS

IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG P M T P P P COS III, bust laureate r. resting on globe and with aegis on shoulder

FIDES EXERCITVVM S C, clasped hands before legionary eagle on prow.

"The obverse die is A23 in Colin Kraay's unpublished Oxford dissertation, the rev. die P75. Kraay didn't know this die combination, but it is recorded by RIC 70 from a single specimen in the Termopolio Hoard from Pompeii, published in 1997.

These are rare types: only one other obv. die of the issue shows this combination of aegis and globe for the bust, and this is the only rev. die of the FIDES EXERCITVVM type used in the issue, though a second such die was used later in the year with Vespasian's name abbreviated VESPASIAN (no -VS).

To see what your dies looked like before the corrosion, see RIC pl. 18, 117 and pl. 16, 71 for the obv. and rev. respectively! There are the same two dies on well preserved specimens in other die combinations."


Much thanks to Curtislclay for the info on this one.
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2010, 02:58:43 pm »

Rare coins (which by my definition are those with less than ten known surviving examples) are in fact quite common. This is particularly the case when the type is defined as one with a specific monogram or mint control variant. That said I think this one that I picked from the Forvm catalog may be genuinely unique despite the overall Dionysos/Kantharos type being quite common in the Aegean and broader Greek world. The style poses a couple of pointers to its origin, but the anepigraphic issue makes a definitive attribution problematic, despite a lot of research. 

If someone has further info or ides on it then I'd be happy to hear of them.  It has me stumped.

Greece, Aegean Islands (?), most probably Islands off Thessaly, Peparethos, or possibly Thrace (?), 4th century BC, Æ 11
Obv:   Head of Dionysos wreathed with ivy left.
Rev:    Kantharos with crescent to lower right.
Ref:    Unrecorded emission of uncertain attribution; possibly a unique surviving example of a type struck from dies of considerable artistic merit. Most probably struck on Peparethos. (11 mm, 1.456 gms, 10h). Forvm Ancient Coins

The attribution of this coin by Forum Ancient Coins, Greece, Aegean Islands (?) c. 4th Century BC noted that the pair Dionysos-kantharos is a theme often used by the Greek cities. Our first guess was Naxos in the Cyclades but the style is slightly different and there is no trace of the ethnic present. After spending a fair amount of time researching and looking at plates, we decided to sell it unattributed. In any case it is quite a rare coin and struck with dies of very high artistic merit.

The depiction of Dionysos on the coin bears most similarity to that found on some issues of Peparethos (modern day Skopelos), an island off Thessaly, although left facing heads of this type are not recorded to date. The Kantharos is of the same style to that other bronze issues of Peparethos, attributed to the second half of the fourth century BC, although the the kantharos is usually associated with strands of grape vine accompanied by the abbreviated ethnic Π-E.

A Thracian attribution is a possibility based on the style of kantharos (distinctive unadorned body form with lower hooked handles) accompanied by a crescent moon, which is a distinguishing icon on the epigraphic Æ issues of Ketriporis. The style of the reverse with its the broad bodied, unornamented Kantharos bearing distinctive outer directed hooks on the lower third of the handles, plus the crescent moon are distinguishing characteristics of the Thracian emissions of Ketriporis (356-352 BC). However, documented Ketriporis’ coinage is epighraphic with a right facing head of Dionysos. There is no record of an anepigraphic, left facing head emission.
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2010, 03:29:06 pm »

Areich is right about the frequency of finding "unlisted" coins when collecting provincials (although the number of SNG's is increasing like rabbits).  Here is one that is listed in a  major publication, barely.  George S.

Caracalla, Thrace, Mesembria.  AE28,13.93g, dealer's only attribution "Moushmov -" (the dealer also attributed this to Elagabalus [!], but as a makeweight added a little potted essay on the Curetes!).

Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
AV K MAVP_ANTWNINOC

Two Curetes in short tunics, with swords and shields, obviously intended to be shown in motion and whirling about, one striking the shield of the other, high and low, in classic sword dance style (I have seen the male members of the Georgian State Ballet performing this at a furious pace, and very impressive it was; I am sure the dance depicted on the reverse here was equally dynamic).
MECAMB_P_IANWN

This coin is listed in Varbanov II, 4159: "Two Korybanti stg. facing each other, holding spears and shields. (PC, Unpublished) R9."  Well, the coin illustrated has a miserable reverse, but it is the same as mine if you know what to look for.  A variant of this type also exists for Gordian and Tranquillina from this mint, pretty common, with the dancers standing stiffly side by side, with all the dynamism of the chorus line in "Men in Tights."

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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2010, 03:39:58 pm »

All very interesting coins, thanks so much for sharing them!
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2010, 04:15:51 pm »



 Nikopolis, Lower Moesia, Septimus Severus

"Presumably reflecting Septimius' capture of Ctesiphon in Jan. 198, since we know from IGBulg. II, 659 (Boteva pp. 166-7) that Tertullus was governor when news of that victory and the promotions of Caracalla to Augustus and Geta to Caesar reached Lower Moesia.
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2010, 04:26:01 pm »



and this one which is not really a coin but pretty neat.

Æ trial strike of denarius dies (23 mm, 7.42 g). Rome. [PL]OTINA AVG IMP TRAIANI, diademed and draped bust right, hair in queue down neck / CAES AVG GERMA [D]A[C] COS V[I P P], Vesta seated left, holding palladium in right hand, sceptre in left. Cf. RIC 730 (Trajan); cf. BMC 526 (Trajan); cf. RSC 3. VF, rough green patina. Very unusual and probably unique.



and this one I just won...

CONSTANTIUS II, as Caesar. 324-337 AD. Æ Follis (19mm - 3.21 g). Nicomedia mint. Struck 328-9 AD. FL IVL CONSTANTIVS NOB C, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust left / PROVIDEN-TIAE CAESS•, camp-gate with no doors and two turrets, star above; SMNB. RIC VII 158 note; LRBC -. Good VF, green patina with some spotty silvering

From the Zachary "Beast" Beasley Collection of Camp Gates
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2010, 12:17:16 am »

Interesting post.

As a roman imperial coin I would choose this one as the rarest :


Constantine the Great, Follis
Nicomedia mint, 2nd officina, c. AD 311
IMP C FL VAL CONSTANTINVS P F AVG; Laureate head right
VIRTVTIE-XERCITVS Mars/Virtus advancing right in military dress, holding transverse spear and shield ; trophy over shoulder. B in right field. SMN in exergue.
4.8 gr, 22 mm
RIC-, C-, Roman coins -
RIC lists this type only for Licinius and Maximinus . "Iovi Conservatori and Virtuti Exercitus both appear for Licinius and Maximinus, emissions for the former being the more scarce: coinage for Constantine is extremely rare. Date, c. 311". Coin should be listed after NICOMEDIA 70c.
Please see Victor Clarks website for further information at
: http://www.constantinethegreatcoins.com/unlisted/

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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2010, 12:25:09 am »

But as it has been written above, some numismatics fields that have not been exhaustively explored yet, such as roman provincial or feudal coins,  can give the opportunity to find unlisted types or variants quite often.

Here are two coins from Dombes (see my blog here : http://monnaiesdeladombes.blogspot.com/ ) which are completely unlisted so far. A gold "pistole of an unlisted year, and a "silver "demi teston" of an unlisted year too :


Louis II de Montpensier (1560-1582), Pistole - 1579
Atelier de Trevoux
+ LVDO . P . DOMBARVM . D . MONTISP, Ecu de Bourbon couronné
+ DNS . ADIVTOR . ET . REDEM . MEVS . 1579, Croix feuillue
6.54 gr
Ref : Date inédite : Divo Dombes -, PA -, Mantellier -, Boudeau -, Sirand -, Friedberg -



Henri II de Montpensier (1592-1608), Demi-teston - 1608
Atelier de Trevoux
+ HENRIC . P . DOMBAR . D . MONTISP . R, Buste cuirassé a gauche
+ DNS . ADIVTOR . ET . REDEM . MEVS . 1608 Ecu de Bourbon couronné, dans le champ deux H couronnés. Point dans le O, point dans l'ecu
4.42 gr
Ref : Date inedite, Divo Dombes -, PA -, Boudeau -, Mantellier -, Sirand -


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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2010, 02:12:31 am »

Nice!
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2010, 03:19:56 am »

These two are my "rarest" coins as they're both unlisted. In reality though they might not be that rare!

Kind regards Adrian


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos 305-281 BC. Tetradrachm, mint of CIUS? 
Diademed head of Alexander III ( The Great ) wearing horn of Amon.
Reverse.ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΛΥΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ, Athena enthroned left holding Nike in outstretched right hand, left elbow resting on shield, inner left field monogram above lion head, in exergue club and monogram.
Ref: Unpublished in Thompson and SNG Cop. ( 15.94g, 28mm, 3h )
Good very fine,irridesence in fields, slight corrosion reverse right edge, otherwise an attractive coin.

The mongrams on this coin are closer to those recorded by Thompson for the mint of Cius rather than the mint of Heraclea that employed the club symbol with the limited momogram HP 



Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C., Tyre, Phoenicia 
Silver tetradrachm, Svoronos 626 var (no monogram) or Svoronos 644 var (D behind ear), VF, Phoenicia, Tyre mint, weight 14.076g, maximum diameter 27.4mm, die axis 0o, obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right wearing aegis; reverse PTOLEMAIOU BASILEWS, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, Tyre monogram and club left; rare;

Ex Forvm

Svoronos' description for tetradrachm 626 is the "same as the gold pentadrachm." In the notes for the pentadrachm he notes the type sometimes has a Tyre monogram, but the notes for the tetradrachm 626 discuss only countermarks and not a monogram. The monogram is absent on the plate coin.

Svoronos 644 is be marked with a tiny D behind Ptolemy's ear. On this coin the mark appears to be absent.
 
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2010, 06:32:05 am »

Rare doesn't necessarily equate to valuable or desirable to the collecting community as a whole. If you focus a collection onto a specific area you will find that you can obtain rare variations of officina marks, bust types (a common bust type that isn't seen too often with a reverse or officina) etc., legend errors, and unlisted combinations that only those also interested in that area of collecting might find interesting.

I have many coins that are unpublished and picking out one that others might find vaguely interesting is relatively tricky.

The following coin is well outside my collecting focus but turned out to be an unpublished pair of symbols for the type.

 L Papius Denarius Serratus
Obv:Head of Juno Sospita right, wearing goat skin tied under chin. Behind head, Dolphin wrapped around anchor.
Rev:– Gryphon running right; in ex., L. PAPI.; in field, Hippocamp
Minted in Rome from . B.C. 79.
Reference(s) – RSC Papia 1. RRC 384/1. RCTV 311.



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ancientdave
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2010, 04:18:31 pm »

Very interesting coins, all. Maridvnvm, love that griffin reverseWink
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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2010, 05:28:14 pm »

I have three fairly rare coins (and a bucketload of mintmark variations on lrbc's that are rated rare...). All of them have references.

The first is one I picked up recently unattributed...it turned out to be a decent find:

Cyclades, Syros mint, 3rd Century B.C. AE, 17mm 3.32g, SNG Copenhagen -; BMC Crete pg. 123, 1 var. (no
wreath); Laffaille 404 var. (same); Weber 4719 var. (same), (SG) Number sg3152
O: Horned and bearded head of Pan right
R: ΣVPI, bearded goat standing left; grain ear before, wreath(?) below

The second is from around the same general time period. I got this one unattributed as well and would have never figured it out without FORVM help:

Melita (Malta) mint, Autonomous issue, Last quarter 3rd century B.C. -225 -200 AE, 22mm 6.24g, SNG Vol: X 936 John Morcom Collection
O: Bearded male head, r.; to r., caduceus
R: Priest’s cap in wreath, below, mono

And the third is a tet from an uncleaned lot that turned out not only to be nice, but also to be super rare:

Judaea, Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem) mint, Diadumenian Tetradrachm, 217-218 A.D. AR 25mm 11.46g, Prieur 1645 per Michel Prieur (*second known example)
O: (…) ,bareheaded, draped and cuirassed bust right
R: DHMARX EX UPATOC (or similar),eagle standing, looking left, wreath in beak


Chris


 
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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2010, 07:07:10 pm »

Here are a few that are rare to me.

Peloponnesus. Pylus, Messenia. Caracalla. AD 198-217. Æ Assarion 22mm. Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Athena standing left, holding phiale and spear.


Caria, Ceramos. Antonininus Pius AE33 Zeus Chrysaoreus
Pius bust left. Draped statue of Zeus Chrysaoreus holding patera and sceptre. Eagle at feet. BMC Caria, Pl. XII
City; Province; Region Ceramus; Asia: Conventus of Alabanda; Caria
Date 138–161
Magistrate P. Ailios Themistokles Protoleontos, arxas (ex-archon?)
Obverse design laureate head of Antoninus Pius with traces of drapery, l.
Obverse inscription ΑΥΤΟΚ ΚΑΙΣ ΑΝΤΩΝΙΝΟΝ ΣΕΒ ΕΥ (facing outward)
Reverse design Zeus (Chrysaoreus) standing, facing, head, l., holding patera over eagle and long sceptre
Reverse inscription ΑΙΛΙ ΘΕΜΙΣΤΟΚΛΗΣ ΠΡΩΤΟΛΕ ΑΡΞ ΚΕΡΑΜΙΗΤΩΝ



Thessalian league under Augustus. Pseudo-autonomous AE15. Strategos: Megalokles
Thessalian league under Augustus.Strategos: Megalokles.
Obv. Head of Zeus, THESSALO
Rev. Head of Apollo, MEGALOKLEKLEI
Burrer 109-111.
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ancientdave
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2010, 11:04:17 am »

Those are very interesting coins, ancientone! I really like the Antoninus Pius coin, thanks for sharing them.
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« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2010, 07:11:34 pm »

Thanks Dave,  here is info on Zeus Chrysaoreus:  CHRYSAOR (Chrusaôr). The god with the golden sword or arms. In this sense it is used as a surname or attribute of several divinities, such as Apollo (Hom. II. xv. 256), Artemis (Herod. viii. 77), and Demeter. (Hom. Hymn. in Cer. 4.) We find Chrysaoreus as a surname of Zeus with the same meaning, under which he had a temple in Caria, which was a national sanctuary, and the place of meeting for the national assembly of the Carians. Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.

P.S. Your Hadrian As with Griffin is very interesting.  About as close as you can get to an Imperial Provincial.

Regards,
Chip
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« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2010, 11:06:24 pm »

Thanks Dave,  here is info on Zeus Chrysaoreus:  CHRYSAOR (Chrusaôr). The god with the golden sword or arms. In this sense it is used as a surname or attribute of several divinities, such as Apollo (Hom. II. xv. 256), Artemis (Herod. viii. 77), and Demeter. (Hom. Hymn. in Cer. 4.) We find Chrysaoreus as a surname of Zeus with the same meaning, under which he had a temple in Caria, which was a national sanctuary, and the place of meeting for the national assembly of the Carians. Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.

P.S. Your Hadrian As with Griffin is very interesting.  About as close as you can get to an Imperial Provincial.

Regards,
Chip



Chip, thanks for the interesting information on Zeus Chrysaoreus, I only really dabble in provincials at this point. I am however extremely interested in coins that straddle this imperial/provincial line like my Hadrian coin does.

On the subject of Zeus, here is another very rare coin from my collection featuring Trajan W/ Zeus Ammon reverse that also rides the line between imperial and provincial in ways we don't yet fully understand. It has variously been attributed to Rome, Cyprus, Cyrene, Caesarea, & Bostra! Just like my Hadrian Griffin coin, I feel this coin holds some mystery.


Thanks again,

Dave
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« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2010, 09:00:22 pm »

Dave,  Here is a description of a silver drachm from Wildwinds with similar inscription.

Kyrenaika, Kyrene. Trajan. 98-117 AD. AR Drachm (3.25 gm). AYT KAIS NEP TPAIAN SEBGERM, laureate head right / DHMAPX EX UPAT G, head of Zeus-Ammon right. Sydenham
  (Cappadocia)176/177; Metcalf pg. 155 note. Nice VF. Rare. Estimate $300.

 Metcalf, in The Silver Coinage of Cappadocia, Vespasian-Commodus, pg.155, indicates
  that due to recent hoard evidence this issue can no longer be attributed to Caesarea
  in Cappadocia and postulates its mint attribution should be to Kyrene.
 

Here is mine.  Yours is loads better!

Regards,
Chip
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« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2010, 03:42:06 pm »

Hi,

As a Carausius collector I have a number of "unpublished" coins but given the poor quality of RIC 5 that is not unusual. So, I want to post here a coin of Tacitus from my trays that is an abschlag, a coin in base metal struck from dies intended for gold coinage:



Tacitus 275-6 AD
AE abschlag
Siscia Mint
IMP C M CLA TACITVS AVG
Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
PM TRP COS PP
Emperor standing left holding branch
RIC -, C -
One other example recorded in Vienna (ex von Kolb collection, from the Nassenfuss hoard, Mokronog, Slovenia), published in NZ 12, 1880, pp 321-3

In 1999 Silviane Estiot published the other example of this base metal strike in Journal des Savants, "L'or romain entre crise et restitution, 270-276 apr. J.-C. II. Tacite et Florien", number 24a:




These coins share their obverse die with a known gold strike, coin number 38a in the listing by Estiot:


The role of such off metal strike is uncertain and this is probably the closest I will get to a gold aureus of Tacitus.

Regards,

Mauseus
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« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2010, 04:23:33 pm »

Nice acquisition! I hope you maybe heightened the coup by gettting it from a pick box for ten pounds?

Two points of detail: I'm surprised that Sylviane E. follows the traditional misidentification of that rev. type: it's not the emperor, but the Genius of the Senate. The hairdo is the giveaway, and the identical type is labeled GENIO SENATVS under Antoninus Pius, for example. Alföldi corrected the traditional error in his Insignien und Tracht/Monarchische Repräsentation of c. 1930, and R. Ziegler wrote an article on the subject in the 1990s, mentioning this very type of Tacitus if I'm not mistaken.

Second, "Abschlag" implies "test strike", and I think that is a mistake. I regard such coins as ceremonial denarii, intentionally produced along with the corresponding aurei for distribution on some festive occasion. When gold and silver quinarii in the earlier empire share the same dies, would anyone think of calling the silver ones "test strikes"?
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« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2010, 05:24:52 am »

Hi Curtis,

Thank you for your comments, I must try to dig out Ziegler's paper.

Nice acquisition! I hope you maybe heightened the coup by gettting it from a pick box for ten pounds?

....a little more, £35 if my memory is correct.

I regard such coins as ceremonial denarii, intentionally produced along with the corresponding aurei for distribution on some festive occasion.

I think I also concluded the same thing when discussing the Gallic Empire base laureates in relation to the gold coinage in my thesis and book - am glad that you agree.

Regarding the phrase abschlag, I took it to mean just an off metal strike, rather than something much more specific like a trial strike. I guess that is the danger of interpreting or subsuming a word froom a language that I'm not conversant in.

Regards,

Mauseus
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« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2010, 03:42:37 pm »

I don't know whether this is strictly the rarest - there are endless variations of Hasmonean inscriptions, and I bet a lot of them are from a single die - but this is the most significant. Alexander Jannaeus, with a variant Aramaic inscription. THE KING [AND] PRIEST, or maybe THE PRIEST-KING, I should really ask an expert. Every other coin in the issue has YEHONATAN THE KING, and the significance is unknown.
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Robert Brenchley

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Fiat justitia ruat caelum
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