Numismatic and History Discussions > Uncleaned Ancient Coin Discussion

What to do with a rare slug

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Ron C2:
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.

I actually see a young man (Caracalla ?) with a radiate crown.


Phil P:
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:

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.

(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)
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
          Bust, draped and cuirassed, seen from front, radiate, r.
         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) (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

Brilliant!  And now a "junk box slug" has significant historical value and, though hard to measure, I would guess more actual value. 



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