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Author Topic: Interesting Constans overstrike  (Read 661 times)

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Offline Frans Diederik

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Interesting Constans overstrike
« on: January 03, 2016, 06:11:02 am »
At first glance This Gloris Exercitus coin of Constans from Constantinople looks like one of the many 'double strikes' . At close inspection, however, therte is more at hand. Pieces of legend and depiction of another coin appear once you obliterate the features of the most recent strike.
Reconstructing what should be on the obverse, the letters 'IS' plus some illegible are extra. On the reverse I think I see parts of a similar 'Gloria' coin, but then one with two soldiers and standards.
The only possibility I can think of with the letter combination 'IS' on a late Constantinian coin is 'CONSTANTIS' a legend which appears on coins of Siscia and on a very rare issue of Nicomedia.
In the first case the text is followed by 'BEA C' and on the Nicomedia coins by 'NOB C' . The most remarkable feature on the reverse is the form of the top of the standard ending in a 'pellet'.
Preliminary conclusion: In the transfer to the second type 'soldiers-with-standards' a used coin was used, possibly from Nicomedia, which apparently had the correct weight. This implies that the new type is not necessarily connected with a further reduction of the standard, but that this reduction was a gradual process. WHY a good coin was re-minted is an open question; possibly because it was from another mint than Constantinople.
weight: 1.60 gr
diam: 17 mms
RIC: 140


PS The coin was part of the Ihnasyah hoard found in 1903. (905.5.674.3 inventory number Ontario Museum)

Offline SC

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Re: Interesting Constans overstrike
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2016, 05:23:40 pm »
Hmmm.  I am not sure.

Double-strikes / multiple-strikes sometimes do really funny things. 

On the reverse I see what looks like the top of a 2nd standard between the normal standard and the head of the figure on the right.  But if that is what it is then it is a different standard design from the main one.  When you look at other GR 1-standard coins from Constantinople you will see that this 2nd design - with a dot at the top point is at least as common as your main design where the dot does not sit on top.  This would imply a double strike but from different Constantinople dies. 

On the other hand that bit might be something else indeed not related to the top of a standard.  Or it might be a bit of the regular standard top and the helmet top mixed up.  There is a bit of an optical illusion at play as my eye keeps adding to that to make more of a standard by "borrowing" the front of the guy on the right's face.  But if you eliminate that then there is not enough to be certain that the bent line and dot are indeed part of a standard.

None of the other things you circle on the back worry me - the helmet of the guy on the right, the dot on top of the spear on the guy on the left.  The shields that look like knobbly canes are perfect for Constantinople.

As for the obverse.  That could be an extra IS at the end.  But it could also be the right hand upright of an N plus an S.  I think this is the easiest explanation as an NS appears in two places on the obverse legend already so it would just mean a rotation during a double strike. 

It may seem odd to suggest that only the right upright of an N survives but that is the thing with double strikes.  They almost always yield these incomplete bits.  Your theory of CONSTANTIS calls for a similar cut-off with the IS existing but not the T, so 1/2 the N plus the S is just a matter of a letter being cut-off in the middle.

To me Occam's razor argues for the simpler explanation - a double strike with rotation.

(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)


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