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Author Topic: What to do with a rare slug  (Read 165 times)

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Online Phil P

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What to do with a rare slug
« on: November 27, 2021, 09:19:12 am »
Hello,
I was in the hobby of uncleaned coins about 15 to 20 years ago, back when you could actually get some decent coins that way. Now, newly retired, I’m taking a new look at an old collection and trying to recatalogue everything. So I may have a few questions for the experts along the way.
But my first question is just a matter of curiosity. I have a coin that’s practically a slug, just the bare outline of the back of somebody’s head, and on the reverse the top of a woman holding a cornucopia. And 3 clear letters at the one o’clock position: OVN (possibly followed by IK). It sat unidentified for 15 years. Now I’ve tentatively labeled it as Nikopolis Ad Istrum. And the only time Nikopolis ever gets pushed all the way to 1 o’clock is with a long magistrate's name. That really narrows it down. The closest match I can find to what I can see is Diadumenian (with Macrinus and Elagabalus running second and third). That would be my first Diadumenian (with over 60 emperors and empresses in the collection). But I’m probably just seeing what I want to see.
So my question is, what do you do with a coin like that? Even if I could somehow nail down the ID (doubtful), would such a slug be worth anything to anyone? Do you give it a place of honor in your collection just because of the wishful thinking that it’s such a rare emperor? Or chuck it back in the box with all the unknowns and unworthies? I've got a couple other coins that I think I may have applied a heavy dose of wishful thinking on when I IDed them 15 years ago. But I'm leaning toward stricter standards now.

Offline Heliodromus

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2021, 09:47:44 am »
Well, condition is (almost) everything when it comes to value ...

For a very rare emperor, or even reverse type, it may still have some value if in extremely poor condition but at least identifiable. If the type can't be identified with any certainty, then it's probably not going to have any monetary value.

FORVM member Jochen is an expert on the coinage of Nikopolis Ad Istrum (having just written a book on it!), so may be able to identify your coin if you post it.

Offline Jochen

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2021, 09:52:16 am »
Dear Phil!

You can mailme  the photos of obv. and rev. of your coin and I will do my best.

Please mail to hjhoeft@t-online.de

Best regards
Jochen

Online Phil P

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2021, 10:16:58 am »
Here's the slug. It's 29mm, and I haven't bought new batteries for my coin scale yet.

Offline otlichnik

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2021, 11:37:20 am »
I believe in attributing everything possible and putting it in your collection.

Like you i used to be more "wishful" in my attributions 15-20 years ago, now I am much stricter and more "suspicious".

But once you can ID it that is great.

SC

SC
(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Offline Ron C2

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2021, 12:26:04 pm »
I know nothing about Nikopolis coinage, or any RPC coinage for that matter, but the obverse looks more like an Empress outline to me than emperor.  It's vaguely reminiscent of an Orbiana silhouette to me, or possibly Julia Mamaea.

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Offline otlichnik

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2021, 02:38:18 pm »
I actually see a young man (Caracalla ?) with a radiate crown.

SC
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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Online Phil P

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2021, 03:05:48 pm »
There might be the slightest trace of a couple points of a radiate crown; there could also be the slightest trace of the tie strings you see behind a head with a laurel crown. But in hand I think it looks most likely to be a bare head (and perhaps a youthful one). I'm having a hard time seeing it as a woman, and the only empress that seemed to fit the bill on wildwinds (with the placement of Nikopolis on the reverse) was a Julia Domna that's not quite right for it. I was leaning toward Diadumenian for the bare head (if that's what it is), and one coin on wildwinds that seemed to match the placement and relationship between the lettering and the cornucopia very closely: http://wildwinds.com/coins/ric/diadumenian/_nikopolis_AMNG_1863.jpg

Offline Jochen

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2021, 04:49:57 pm »
Hello Philp P!

I would like to show you how I went about determining your coin. When determining the coin, we have to start from the facts, that are still present on the coin, even the smallest(!). And that is what we have:

Obv.: Male bust, draped and cuirassed, seen from front, radiate (look at the spikes on his head!), r.
Rev.: [.....] - Φ OV NIKOΠOΛ[...]. The Φ somewhat weaker, but clear!
          Female goddess in long garment and mantle, standing frontal, head l., holding
          in left arm cornucopiae and in extended right hand unknown object.

Conclusions:
(1) It is a provincial coin from Nicopolis ad Istrum.
(2) It was struck under the governor Novius Rufus. There is no other governor whose name ends in ΦOV. This makes it Elagabal, AD  218-222.
Now it is a matter of details. The most important is that the cornucopiae ends at the top between the letter Φ and OV, leaving a gap between Φ and OV!

If you are lucky enough to have the monograph "The Coinage of Nicopolis ad Istrum" by Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov, you can now look for the coin. As co-editor, I have all the editions.

My procedure:
(1) I go to Elagabal.
(2) I seek out the goddesses with a cornucopiae
(3) I look for those with a legend break  of POV- ΦOV. There are several. I look for one where the cornucopiae has a gap between Φ and OV. And, voila!, there is only one:
It's HrHJ (2020) 8.26.36.7.
And it also fits that it has enough space below the goddess for 2 lines in the exergue, and it also fits the shape of the hanging ribbons of the radiate crown!

Here is the exact description:
Moesia inferior, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Elagabal, AD 218-222
struck under the governor Novius Rufus
Obv.: AVT K M AVP - ANTΩNEINOC
          Bust, draped and cuirassed, seen from front, radiate, r.
Rev. VP NOBIOV POV - ΦOV NIKOΠOΛIT
         in exergue in 2 lines ΩN ΠPOC / ICTP
         Homonoia (Concordia) in long garment and mantle, standing frontal, looking  l.,
         holding cornucopiae in left arm and patera in extended right hand.
Ref. a) AMNG I/1, 1966 var. (has AVPH and ΠPOC I / CTP)
        b) Varbanov 3916 (same dies)
        c) Hristova/Jekov/Jekov (2020) 8.6.36.7 (same dies)

This is to show that even such a coin can still be identified if you have the right literature and know what to look for. And some playing with contrasr and brightness.

With kind regards
Jochen

Offline otlichnik

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2021, 05:25:55 pm »
Brilliant!  And now a "junk box slug" has significant historical value and, though hard to measure, I would guess more actual value. 

SC
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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Online Phil P

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2021, 05:30:19 pm »
Much obliged. Staring at the coin under a magnifier, I think I can now make out the Φ. But how you could see it in that photo, I'll never know.

otlichnik: but not as much actual value as if my wishful thinking had been correct.

Thanks everyone, there will probably be more as I work through the whole collection. (I'm now looking at a pair of coins I wishfully labeled Magnus Maximus and Flavius Victor campgates that may not pass stricter scrutiny).

Offline otlichnik

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2021, 05:32:56 pm »
Phil, great, waiting for those (in separate posts please.)  Much more up my alley.

SC
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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Online Joe Sermarini

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2021, 08:18:34 am »
Fantastic Jochen! Great post! Thanks!
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Offline Dominic T

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2021, 09:16:04 am »
Is there a category or a contest here for BEST ANSWER OF THE YEAR ?
DT

Offline Jochen

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2021, 04:50:50 pm »
Thank you all! The determination gave me a lot of pleasure. And if someone can learn from it, I am even more pleased.

Jochen

Offline Ron C2

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Re: What to do with a rare slug
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2021, 09:00:12 pm »
Jochen - that was wizardry! If this were Salem in the 1600's - you'd be in trouble :)
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