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Author Topic: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?  (Read 412 times)

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Offline Ciaran M

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Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« on: June 12, 2022, 12:39:23 pm »
Hello all, I am a new ancient coin collector and this is my third Byzantine Solidus purchase.  Obviously the weight is very suspicious at 3.8g, the diameter is 1-2mm less than other solidus I have, and I think this might be explained by clipping.  When I queried the weight with the seller (ebay) he said it came from a German collection and it is likely clipped given the low weight and said he would accept a return or partial refund if I wanted to keep it.   Colour is not as lustrous as my other solidus.  Coin seems a little thinner.  Maybe it is genuine but well clipped?  Hopefully some experts here can help?

Offline Callimachus

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2022, 12:02:26 am »
Clipped. That should show up on the edge.
What does the edge look like?

Offline Ciaran M

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2022, 05:02:15 am »
I am sorry but I do not know what I am looking for on the edge that would indicate clipping and my camera is not great for taking detailed close-ups.  I have searched the forum for photo examples to compare but cannot find anything.   The edge does not look any different to me than the other solidus I have.  I do not have any loupe to inspect.  Here it is on the right compared to the other solidus.   It seems that the dimensions are smaller all round.

Offline Ciaran M

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2022, 05:07:45 am »
Having the 3 side by side I am happier with the colour of it than I was on first inspection.  Difference is lustre only.

Offline Kevin D

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2022, 02:31:22 pm »
On the obverse (the side with the facing bust), at the top of the character V in the legend (at the upper right of the top of the bust) there is a dark 'spot'. Does this dark spot look like it is a deposit on top of the coin's surface, or does it look like the exposed inner core of the coin (as would be seen in a platted coin)? I also see some smaller dark spots at the bottom of the bust and on the neck of the bust.

Offline Ciaran M

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2022, 05:58:46 am »
I would say surface although I have never inspected a plated coin so I cannot say for sure.  I am going to have to purchase a loupe for inspecting these ancient coins.

Offline Kevin D

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2022, 05:10:50 pm »
Magnification is essential for coin inspection. I recommend buying your loupe from a coin shop. You might be able to take your coin to the shop and try some loupes with it, to make sure you get one you like.

Offline Din X

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2022, 03:15:31 am »
It seems like the light weight solidus has a little smaller size than the toher 2 solidii, so it actually could be from clipping.
Gold has density 19,32 g/cm³ and copper has density 8,96 g/cm³.
So if it would be plated with copper core it should have either about 2 times the size as a real solidus or 2 times the thickness as a real solidus.
Or a combination of huger size and thickness for example 50 % huger size and 50 % huger thickness.
It only looks like red encrustrations on pictures and as written a plated coin would have huger size and thickness, which I can not see on pictures.
I do not see any reason to suspect it on pictures but pictures are not good enough for a really reliable authentication.

So you can either make much better pictures including pictures of the whole edge to search for clipping.
Or showing this coin to dealers or experts of auction houses for example at coin shows/fairs, it is possible that some will have a look at it for free.
Or you can offer it to dealers or auction houses, some have the option to upload pictures of your consignment/coins you want to sell and if they want to have or sell it, it is likely authentic and then you will have to say depending on their estimate yes or sorry I hoped for more not interesting anymore in selling for such a price.
Or sending it to Sear or NGC etc.

Offline Kevin D

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2022, 03:46:06 pm »
I understand the difference in specific gravity between the two metals, but any size difference would also depend on how much of the non-gold metal was used. The OP has stated that the coin is thinner than his other solidi, so this seems to point to it not being platted. If the dark spots mentioned earlier is where the core is exposed, this should be easy enough to tell with the coin in hand (for an experienced numismatist).

Yes, an examination for edge clipping or shaving would be good.

It would also be nice to know what the coin's diameter is. 

The surfaces of the coin have a strange look to me, but hard to be sure from photos.

Edit: Official issue light weight solidi started under Justinian I.

Offline Obryzum

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2022, 07:51:46 pm »
You could always deploy the sixth century solution: Get out a hammer and chisel and make a test cut.   :P

Offline djmacdo

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2022, 03:43:50 pm »
My questions about the coin come from the reverse legend....AVGGGI.  Is that appropriate for Justin I?  And what is going on in the exergue where I seem to see a X and a blob in addition to the regular mint mark?

Offline Kevin D

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2022, 06:08:15 pm »
There is at least one solidus of Justin I in the CNG archive with this reverse legend ending (I found one and didn't continue searching - away from home and can't check other references at the moment). I am assuming officina I.

The blob above the O in CONOB might be the foot of Victory, though it appears garbled. Looks like something else going on under/above the N.

I thought Justin I had issued light weight solidi, but I now see these first appear under Justinian I.

Reportedly, the seller/previous collector felt it had been clipped, and I didn't mean to dispute that, I was just posting some thoughts.

Offline Hydatius

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2022, 08:09:59 am »
I am assuming officina I.
The blob above the O in CONOB might be the foot of Victory, though it appears garbled.

Yes, tenth officina and a foot descending below ground line into exergue. The VICTORI A-AVCCC was copied by Marcian from western issues of Valentinian III.
Richard
Non tam praeclarum est scire Latine quam turpe nescire.

Offline djmacdo

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2022, 09:50:03 am »
Perhaps an ignorant question, but why AVCCC?

Offline dwarf

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2022, 11:44:32 am »
Perhaps an ignorant question, but why AVCCC?
To quote David Sear's remark in the introduction of his book
A singularly inappropriate sentiment now that the West had fallen and what was left of the Roman Empire was being ruled by one sovereign

Regards
Klaus

Offline Hydatius

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2022, 08:40:25 am »
Perhaps an ignorant question, but why AVCCC?

In Latin abbreviations they multiplied the last consonant by the number of things it covered. So VICTORIA AVG is Victoria aug(usti), VICTORIA AVGG is Victoria (duorum) aug(ustorum), VICTORIA AVGGG is Victoria (trium) aug(ustorum), and so on. It became fossilized in the West under Arcadius, Honorius, and Theodosius II as AVGGG and was never fixed following Arcadius' death. When it was copied in the East under Marcian they had no real idea of what it meant. The C was a sigma to them.

The development of G to C arose because on western coins the hook became detached and eventually was lost. Have a look at the obverse and reverse of this solidus of Majorian from Rome. There's an AVG at the end of the obv legend and AVGGG on the reverse. Note separation of the hooks (along with the separated tail of the snake which used to be attached to the loop between his feet).

Richard

PS This doubling of final letters is the origin of 'p.' (pagina) and 'pp.' (paginae) in English (and you thought 'p' stood for 'page'!), 'f' and 'ff' with page numbers ('folio'), and 'ed.' for 'editor' and 'edd.' for 'editors' (although this is becoming 'eds'), and so on.

PPS C was originally a voiced palatial — note that it's in the same position as the gamma in Greek — but lost the voicing (so it was just like the K, so Latin stopped using the K apart from kalendae), and so another voiced palatal symbol had to be added, which was just a C with a line or hook to note the voicing.
Non tam praeclarum est scire Latine quam turpe nescire.

Offline djmacdo

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Re: Justin I solidus sear 55 but weighing only 3.8g?
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2022, 07:18:44 am »
Thank you!  That explains it for me.  And that is quite a coin you illustrate!

Mac

 

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