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Author Topic: Gratian bust left  (Read 1308 times)

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Offline Jan

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Gratian bust left
« on: December 31, 2016, 12:09:55 pm »
I have problems finding a reference for this coin and would appreciate any help. The type is common but I am unable to find any coins with bust left. The exergue is also difficult to identify without knowing what to look for.

The weight is 2.38 g and the diameter 17 mm.

I wish you a happy new year!
Jan

Offline Jochen

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2016, 12:59:11 pm »
According to RIC IX left busts of Gratian don't appear on AE coins. According to Guido Bruck the sign on the labarum appears only on coins from Nicomedia.

Best regards

Offline Jan

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2016, 01:23:11 pm »
Thank you Jochen, that is interesting information! I wonder if it could be a mule, or even a high quality barbarous issue. Cheers, Jan

Offline Jochen

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2016, 01:35:24 pm »
It is probably not an official coin.

ochen

Offline Jan

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2016, 02:10:57 pm »
Thank you Jochen, I tend to agree although I would have been fooled if it wasn't for the bust direction. All the best, Jan

Offline otlichnik

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2017, 09:42:44 am »
A left facing bust was used for Gratian for the rare FELICITAS ROMANORVM type (with Victory advancing left reverse) struck at Aquiliea.  It is pictured on Plate VII of RIC-IX.

Pearce dates it to 375 - 378 based on what he thinks the reverse legend might refer to but there is no hard evidence and I believe that a date in the 367 - 375 period fits better based on the reverse legends and on Gratian's left facing bust examples - which often mean lesser status at this time - thus pre-375.

Anyway, perhaps yours is rare contemporary issue of the GLORIA EXERCITVS or a mule of the FELICITAS ROMANORVM type.

Shawn


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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Offline Jan

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2017, 01:45:05 pm »
Thank you Shawn, this makes it more interesting than I originally thought. Your comments sent me off for a new search and I happened to come across a similar coin on the following web page:

http://www.colleconline.com/fr/Artefact/Viewer/421531fc-327f-4a84-8b7f-784454f19bab

The included discussion also follows similar arguments as in your comment, with the addition that bust left has a special significance. A quick and approximate translation: "This is one of the rare examples of left bust existing for a bronze coin (another coin, struck at Aquileia is referenced in RIC IX under number 16 (d) and denoted R4, with a reverse of type FELICITAS ROMANORVM. The workshops of Lyon (RIC 26 - RSC 56 + c and RIC 27 - RSC 87 + c), Nicomedia (RIC 20 c - RSC 66 + c), Antioch (RIC.34 f (3) - RSC 70 + Siscia (RIC.19b (1,3) - RSC 72c and RIC 20b - RSC 86A) used this bust left on their siliquae. A theory could be the use of a siliqua die to strike this bronze, which may potentially reveal the workshop. The bust left has a religious significance; it is the exception in the coinage. It is often a sign of mourning (see in particular the portraits left for the Divine Augustii, for Hadrian on his bronzes, and closer to Gratian in time, for Constans and Constantius II with reverses of the type FEL TEMP, which mark the mourning of a century and the birth of a new one). The exergue is difficult to read ... NK (?) B [...] seems to read with some reserve, SMKB, 2nd officina in Cyzique. The type is undoubtedly part of the first emission of the year 367; inaugural emissions of this type do generally not have letters in the reverse fields. This type, which is extremely rare for Gratian on bronze coins, does not appear to come from a die mix with that of a siliqua. In fact none of the workshops having struck siliquae with a portrait to the left has a style similar to the present one. It is doubtless necessary to see in this type an inaugural emission for the young Augustus Gratian named as such at the age of 8 in 367. The bust to the left certainly indicates the opening of a new era, he is the designated successor of the new Valentinian dynasty."

I also add a closeup of the mintmark on my coin that I am unable to identify.

Jan

Offline otlichnik

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2017, 04:44:21 pm »
I can't make out the mintmark either.

The note from the CollectOnline blog is interesting.  Especially the information about the left facing busts on the silver siliquae.

I don't agree though about a left bust being religious.  Certainly not in the late Roman era.

The left facing bust on the FEL TEMP of 348 is just part of the use of alternating bust directions for the three denominations - right, left, right.  In the later 4th century it is sometimes used for junior co-emperors and I thin that is the case with Gratian.  That is why I agree that it was likely issued early, ie close to 367.

Shawn


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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Offline OWL365

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2017, 04:05:04 pm »
I have one in my collection. The coin is a little rough but much better in hand. All legends and ex is readable
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-50645
Obv:D N GRATIA-NVS P F AVG
 pearl diademed, draped, cuirassed bust left
 Rev: GLORIA RO-MANORVM
 Gratian advancing right with labarum & dragging captive
 SMNB in ex.
 17mm 1.9 gm

Offline Jan

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2017, 05:20:48 pm »
Great, thank you for sharing! It looks like your coin could be from the same dies as the coin at CollectOnline. Maybe you can confirm having the coin in hand.

I will have a new and and closer look at the mintmark on my coin when I am back home in couple of days.

Jan

Offline Al.cofribas N

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2017, 04:32:39 pm »
Hi JAN,
A very-very-very nice coin  +++

my Gratian is pleased to meet yours . We are not alone (lol).

1,98 g - 17 mm - exergue unreadable (unfortunately!)

How do you feel ?  :D

regards

Al

Offline Jan

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2017, 02:51:09 am »
Thank you Al, great to see your coin!

The visible parts of the exergue on my coin would also fit with SMNB, so it looks like we have a new coin type for Nicomedia that is not listed in RIC IX.
Cheers, Jan

Offline Al.cofribas N

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2017, 03:46:33 am »
Hi Jan,

Please to meet you.

We have actually, (on the best late roman bronze coin french forum - ;D), a discussion about that probably new type of Gratian .

it's a french discussion, about the unusual left bust, the mint and the period : I do not speak very good English, but some forum members are very fluent. You can participate if you wish. We would be delighted to answer your questions. I let you read these few lines, there is also sometimes a little humor between members  ;)

I allowed myself to present your pictures, I hope you do not mind me :-[

"Gratian bust left" french post : http://www.nummus-bibleii.com/t8692-id-gratien-buste-a-gauche

On that forum, you can also find a usefull (french) database of about 60000 coins (313 - 476 AD)  ;) http://www.nummus-bible-database.com/

to be continue. :)

Al

Offline Jan

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Re: Gratian bust left
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2017, 04:56:32 am »
Great, thank you Al! I will have a closer look over the weekend. Cordialement, Jan

 

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