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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: goldenancients)  |  Topic: Could this be the reason we see lots of Barbarous imitations? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Could this be the reason we see lots of Barbarous imitations?  (Read 864 times)
mwilson603
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« on: February 06, 2012, 07:20:51 pm »

Well, maybe not, however it is an idea worth considering.  i.e. ancient peoples in certain areas fell the need to launch thier own currencies for similar reasons to these more modern versions.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-16852326
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Mark
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Fides
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2012, 05:45:00 am »

Interesting story. I live in Bristol and know some people interested in trying this stuff out.
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marcos x
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2012, 04:56:10 pm »

only difference was the coins in antiquity were backed by the metal they contained.
even copper therefore bronze was harder to come by and probably more valuable back then
because the difficulty in mining and refining.
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hannibal2
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2012, 06:49:16 am »

And perhaps not so ancient.

http://www.rampantscotland.com/know/blknow_money.htm
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mwilson603
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2012, 07:12:54 am »

only difference was the coins in antiquity were backed by the metal they contained.
even copper therefore bronze was harder to come by and probably more valuable back then
because the difficulty in mining and refining.
OK, I am ready to knocked down over this next comment Smiley  However, not totally true surely, as many of the "barbarous" imitations were often significantly smaller and lighter than the official versions.  So the "type" of coin must have had a value for people in spite of the metal weight, or is there evidence that a "barbarous" Constantinian follis was worth less than an official one?
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Mark
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marcos x
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2012, 07:18:05 pm »

i think bronze was a much more desirable material then it is today it is just my uneducated guess.figuring there was greek and pre classical colonies set up all the way in spain etc just to mine the stuff.copper tin what have you.
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Victor
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2012, 07:59:25 pm »

or is there evidence that a "barbarous" Constantinian follis was worth less than an official one?

There are some hoards that show that people knew imitations were not official-- so perhaps worth less.

The Maidenhatch hoard of Constantinian copies contained some 193 coins of which all but two were imitations.

There was a smaller hoard of 52 imitations found near Carnuntum, of which 37 were VLPP imitations.

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otlichnik
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2012, 04:24:35 am »

Mark,

It is an interesting question and it is hard to be certain of the answers.

It clearly must have varied depending on what imitations we are talking about. 

Imitations of the coins of the 318-320 period - i.e the VLPP and its bretheren - are very odd.  The official coinage jumps in 318 from approx 1.5% fineness to approx 4% fineness and their is likely a fiduciary re-valuation the results in 318 being a "barrier" in hoards.  I believe that most imitations have very low fineness - approx 0.5% - but maintain the weight range.  They should therefore be intended to deceive and to yeild some measure of profit as their intrinsic value would be a fraction of the ones with 4% silver (given approx 1:100 AR:AE value of the time).  However, the designs of many are so barbaric as to have made identification rather easy.  So what gives??

By contrast, the imitations of the 330-341 period - i.e. GLORIA EXERCITVS and its bretheren -  come in both regular weight and reduced weight.  Now with fineness values averaging approx 1.3% 330-336 and 1% 336-341 the coins had a low intrinsic value anyway so even a drastic reduction of weight would not really altar the overall intrinsic value by as much as in earlier coinage.

So how to explain the under-weight imitations?  People have tried in different ways.

Some thought that they were struck much later than the original types and the reduced weight related to the by-then reduced standard - i.e. GLORIA EXRCITVS struck in the 5th or even 6th century.  This arguement has been de-bunked by hoard evidence or co-circulation.

Another theory is that they traded by weight - tied up in bags - so it did not matter how heavy the individual coins were (nor incidentally what their design looked like) just what the overall weight was.  I believe that the challenge with this theory is that there is no evidence of this untill well after the mid-4th century.

Then of course there is the theory you mentioned that they traded at their "face" or fiduciary value regardless of weight, and thus intrinsic value.   Given that most imitations seem to occur in relatively limited geographic area - i.e. not empire wide - and for relatively brief periods and are often linked to shortages of regular coinage I would not be surprised if this was the correct explanation.  And even though bronze / aes was valuable the difference in the intrinsic value between a 1.7 grams late official GLORIA EXERCITVS and a 0.85 gram (1/2 weight) imitative was really not that much when they were already likely overtarriffed in terms of their fiduciary value.

Perhaps they were a sort of parallel to 3rd century provincial coinage - circulated at an accepted rate in certain areas and circumstances but not so accepted everywhere.

Shawn
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SC
(Shawn Caza, Vienna)
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