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Ornamentation on Anonymous Byzantine Class A2 & A3 Folles

(An Integration and Update of the Bellinger and Grierson Tables)

Research and Drawings by Kevin Davis (with special thanks to Byzantiumcoins, Yafet Rasnal and Simon for information).

For additions and corrections, please send a Personal Message to Pep or post to this corresponding thread.

Some entries are illustrated with images from the catalog of FORVM ANCIENT COINS. Others may be illustrated with photos from other sources; these are acknowledged in the "Notes" section. Click the hyperlinked numbers in the "No." columns to access these images.

Hint: You can use the individual URLs of the images below (the ornaments are transparent .gifs) to illustrate coins on the Classical Numismatics Discussion Board. Usually, you can click your mouse's right button and copy the URL from the 'Properties' screen.





Official Issues

No.ReverseNimbusBook
1
1a
F1b
2
3
4
5
6
6a
7
8
9
10
10
11
11
12
13
14
14a
14b
F14c
15
15a
16
16a
17
F17a
18
19
19a
20
F20a
21
F21a
22
23
24
24a
F24a2
crude
24b
F24b2
No.ReverseNimbusBook
F24c
25
26
27
28
29
29
30
30
31
32
32a
33
33a
F33b
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
40a
40b
41
42
42
42a
42b
F42c
43
44
45
46
47
F47a
F47b
48
49
50
51


Contemporary Imitations

No.ReverseNimbusBook
F-I1
No.ReverseNimbusBook


Color Legend

Listing in both Bellinger and Grierson tables
Listing in Grierson that corrects/updates (plain #) or adds to (a, b) Bellinger
Listing only in Bellinger (unresolved issue or likely error of nearby entry)
Listing in Bellinger that is actually correct versus Grierson
Book has jeweled border around the ornament
Additional variety found and documented in this FORVM effort




From Sear:

Class A-1: unornamented, average weight of c. 7 grams.
Class A-2: average weight c. 15 grams, some over 20 grams.
Class A-3: average weight c. 9 - 10 grams.


From Metcalf:

"Class A-1 is unornamented, but Classes A-2 and A-3 comprise many varieties, of which Bellinger listed fifty-one on the basis of their ornaments or secret-marks. His classification is summarized in Fig. 3. The varieties can be grouped according to their fabric, style, detail, and metrology,8 as follows:

— ‘Metropolitan’ coins, struck on very large flans, include numerous formal varieties (Bellinger vars. 1, 6, 10-19, 21-3, 30, 36-8, and 48-50) but they seem all to be inter-related in style. Although the weights of individual specimens range widely, the average for most varieties is the same, perhaps originally 18 g (18 to the pound). The Corinth finds, from which the metrology of the series has been studied, give a lower figure of just under 15 g, which can be put down to loss of weight by wear, corrosion, and cleaning.9

— ‘Central Greek’ varieties, so called because they predominate in the Corinth and Athens finds (B. 2-5, 8, 20, and probably also 7, 9, and an unlisted variety with the mark — —). The averages at Corinth are lower than for the ‘metropolitan’ varieties, namely 12½ - 14 g.10

— B. 25 and 26-8. The blundered inscriptions of this group suggest that they are the work of a provincial mint. Average weight at Corinth just under 15 g.

— B. 34 stands alone and is certainly the work of a provincial mint. The average weight, of about 13 g, matches the ‘central Greek’ group.

— B. 31 and 32, which are related by their secret-marks and style, are apparently on different weight-standards. It seems that B. 31 belongs with Class A-2 and B. 32 with A-3. If so, they may be consecutive issues from a provincial mint, bridging the reduction in the weight-standard.

— B. 29/41 and 42-7. The weights are quite closely controlled at about 10 g. Class A-3.

— B. 24, 33, 39, and 40 are mostly around 9 g, but varieties 39 and 40 include some larger coins weighing around 15 g. There is very little overlap in the two ranges of weights, and this group, also, may bridge A-2 and A-3.

— B. 51. Scarce, and possibly provincial like B. 34.

It will be seen that this scheme leaves open the question of the number of mints. Apart from Constantinople, it postulates one major mint in the Balkans."



Notes on Integrating the Bellinger and Grierson Tables:

— Jeweled borders on book ornaments not noted in Bellinger; borders are noted in Grierson and examples in the Byzantiumcoins Collection with the latter even correcting a few entries of the former.
19: Grierson notes book ornament unknown in Bellinger.
25-27: Grierson corrects Bellinger book ornament: adds square and four corner dots; however, the square is actually the book itself and not part of the ornament (see “Notes for Updates, Corrections and Variations Not Listed in the Original Tables”).
27: Grierson confirms Bellinger book ornament but with corrections above.
41: Grierson corrects book ornament in Bellinger.
43: Grierson corrects Bellinger book ornament: adds square and a dot in middle of each side.
45: Grierson notes book ornament unknown in Bellinger.
49: Bellinger is actually correct versus Grierson: two dots exist outside the cross of the nimbus and is confirmed on a coin in the Byzantiumcoins Collection.
51: Grierson notes nimbus and book ornaments unknown in Bellinger.



Notes for Updates, Corrections and Variants Not Listed in the Original Tables:

F1b: Orthodoxcoins Collection
F14c: Abu Galyon Collection
F17a: Byzantiumcoins Collection
F17b: Ancient Numismatic Enterprise (VCoins - 23 September 2007) - Item #1529 (34 mm, 18.04 gm)*
F20a: Scotvs Capitis Collection
24a: Book ornament unknown in Grierson noted on a coin in the Craig Collection.
F24a2: Byzantiumcoins Collection - crude book and reverse ornaments; crude legends too; likely from a provincial mint according to Byzantiumcoins.
F24b2: Byzantiumcoins Collection
F24c: Museo Bottacin, Padova, Italy, cat n. 429
25-27: Square border around book ornament noted in Grierson is actually the book itself, noted on a #25 in the Byzantiumcoins Collection and #26s in FORVM's Sold Catalog, CoinArchives.com, and in the Byzantiumcoins Collection. #27 most likely has no separate square border around the book ornament either.
F33b: Byzantiumcoins Collection
34: Book ornament unknown in Bellinger and Grierson noted on a coin in the Byzantiumcoins Collection.
40: Jeweled border around book ornament noted on a coin in the Byzantiumcoins Collection, corrects Grierson table.
40b: Jeweled border around book ornament noted on a coin in the Byzantiumcoins Collection, corrects Grierson table.
F42c: Byzantiumcoins Collection; The Mardin Hoard, by N.M. Lowick, S. Bendall, and P. D. Whitting, published A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd. London 1977 (plate 1.3; 6.99g, 29.5mm); Barber Institute, Birmingham
F47a: Dea Moneta - Artemide aste, asta per corrispondenza 11 December 2006, lot n.1513
F47b: The Mardin Hoard (plate 1.4; 7.35g, 25mm).
F-I1: Byzantiumcoins Collection

Numbering of variants not listed in the original tables is native to this effort on FORVM's NumisWiki to document additional finds.

* photo included



Outstanding Issues:

10: Are the Bellinger and Grierson reverse ornaments the same? What is the proper length of the vertical lines and is the ornament confirmed?
11: Does Grierson correct Bellinger?
29: Is the Bellinger reverse ornament actually correct versus Grierson? Latter just seems to be an incomplete version of the former.
30: May be just an artistic interpretation but which reverse ornament is more accurate?
31 and 33a: Is 33a the same as 31? See Discussion.
42: Which “A” on the reverse ornament is the proper design?



Sources for the Original Tables:

(Bellinger): Metcalf, D. M., Coinage in South-Eastern Europe 820-1396 (London: Royal Numismatic Society, Special Publication No. 11, 1979), 55-62.

Grierson, Philip, Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection, Volume 3, Leo III to Nicephorus III, 717-1081 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973), 645.