Numismatic and History Discussions > Uncleaned Ancient Coin Discussion

What to do with a rare slug

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Phil P:
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.

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.

Dear Phil!

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

Please mail to

Best regards

Phil P:
Here's the slug. It's 29mm, and I haven't bought new batteries for my coin scale yet.

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.



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