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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Resources  |  Identification Help (Moderators: Varangian, Arados)  |  Topic: Which Ptolemy? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Skolot
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« on: December 18, 2020, 09:42:25 am »

Hello. Please help me to identify this tetradrach. 26-28 mm, 13.56 gr
Is there a guide for ptolemaic coins, how to identify the kings?
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Pekka K
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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2020, 10:18:46 am »


Regnal year 38, so: https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=6134403

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Skolot
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2020, 01:43:41 pm »

Thank you!
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PtolemAE
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« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2020, 07:04:17 pm »

Hello. Please help me to identify this tetradrach. 26-28 mm, 13.56 gr
Is there a guide for ptolemaic coins, how to identify the kings?


Coins of the Ptolemaic Empire is the modern reference, by Catharine Lorber.

AKA "CPE"

covers the first four Ptolemaic kings, Ptolemy I - IV

ANS has set up a web site CPEOnline that may be helpful in some cases.

Fortunately most of the dated tetradrachms are pretty easy to link to a specific ruler.

PtolemAE
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Joe Sermarini
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2020, 10:14:14 am »

If you abbreviate it Lorber CPE it will link to NumisWiki.
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Joseph Sermarini
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2020, 11:35:03 pm »

If you abbreviate it Lorber CPE it will link to NumisWiki.

Thanks for the hint.

The ANS site is called 'PCO' (Ptolemaic Coins Online) and it's like their 'SCO' (Seleukid Coins Online) site. You type in a catalog number, like Svoronos 964, and it comes up with specimens in the ANS, BNF, British Museum, and a couple other smaller collections. Caution - there are *many* errors in the PCO site's cataloging; on some pages as many as 95% are incorrect. That is, you ask for one catalog number and get coins that are actually different catalog numbers. They are the numbers provided by the collections referenced, but many are incorrect. Seems many catalog numbers were assigned long ago and sometimes by non-specialists or perhaps just copied from information provided by the donor. The information technology is brilliant, linking in photos and data entries for many coins in different collections. Alas, the content isn't as well developed as the IT. At some point they'll probably have someone go through them to update them for accuracy but it's wise to be cautious until they do.

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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2020, 01:18:16 am »

You have these problems with the data quality e.g. in SCO as well. But if you there follow the coins into their collection of origin, then quite often the error comes from the collection of the ANS itself.
I also think that we often don't have errors of cataloging (if a bronze coin is said to be of silver  Undecided) but errors of data import:
http://numismatics.org/pco/id/cpe.1_1.357
http://numismatics.org/pco/results?q=material_facet%3A%22Silber%22&start=260  (see the first couple of coins)

But what the ANS organized during the last years to digitize and to bring together different collections is really tremendous and a great gain for all collectors Smiley.
And because the budgets of all the institutions involved is limited, these defects arise and cannot be cured immediatedly  Undecided.

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Altamura



 
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PtolemAE
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2020, 02:11:53 pm »

You have these problems with the data quality e.g. in SCO as well. But if you there follow the coins into their collection of origin, then quite often the error comes from the collection of the ANS itself.
I also think that we often don't have errors of cataloging (if a bronze coin is said to be of silver  Undecided) but errors of data import:
http://numismatics.org/pco/id/cpe.1_1.357
http://numismatics.org/pco/results?q=material_facet%3A%22Silber%22&start=260  (see the first couple of coins)

But what the ANS organized during the last years to digitize and to bring together different collections is really tremendous and a great gain for all collectors Smiley.
And because the budgets of all the institutions involved is limited, these defects arise and cannot be cured immediatedly  Undecided.

Regards

Altamura
 

Thanks for your input. Not sure what's going on entirely. The first page link you have shows dozens identical images of a single bronze coin with a single British Museum catalog number, each listing with a different weight, and it is classified as a 'silver decadrachm'.  Maybe they haven't photographed all the specimens and use the single image as a place-holder. It's hard to interpret such nonsense on a site that obviously took a great deal of effort to build. The IT is beautiful, the content... sometimes not so much.

Here's another PCO page that's fun:

http://numismatics.org/pco/id/cpe.1_2.B290

This page refers to 24 specimens of Lorber CPE B290, and has 21 coin photos and listings.  Out of the 21 coins shown, it looks like one actually *is* a specimen of B290. Can you find it? In this case it's the catalogers who appear to have erred - at a rate exceeding 95%.  The catalogued types of most of them don't even correspond to the site's namesake - the CPE book itself.

You may also get a smile out of the nonsensical 'average' die axis calculation.  Die axes aren't scalar values (like weights) so you can't just average them like ordinary numbers; they are directions (they are vectors) so 3h + 9h does not average to 6h, those 'average' to (null). It's not a hard calculation to average some vectors, but someone has to be both numismatically *and* mathematically aware of what die axes mean. And the folks who make these sites clearly are not, so what's even the point of the ridiculous calculated values?

These sites are released with social media blasts and accompanying praise and fanfare and the folks who are responsible for them are pretty sensitive about their problems. Beautiful, indeed they are. Reliable research tools, not. They are nevertheless useful for what they can actually do well. They give pointers that may lead to useful data. For example, the photos and listings on the 'B290' page are great - and do include one that I actually was looking for.

The technical achievement is (mostly) brilliant and we can hope the content will catch up some day. An enormous amount of ANS's money (read: grant funding) and time have been expended to develop these very complex sites and we can hope a small fraction of that fortune will some day make the data on the sites as useful as possible. The sponsors' priorities aren't clear and we could be in for a long wait. New sites (e.g. the recent Antigonid Coins Online) seem to appear faster than data on existing ones is being updated.
 
PtolemAE





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Tom Mullally
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2020, 02:53:25 pm »

I will also add that in both the Ptolemaic and Seleukid websites, many of the entries do not yet have photos.  This is extremely important in identifying monograms, especially so in Seleukid coins.  Some day, both sites will be extremely useful to both the collector and academic, right now, not so much.

Tom
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Tom Mullally

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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2020, 12:42:41 am »

... in both the Ptolemaic and Seleukid websites, many of the entries do not yet have photos. ...
Because at the moment they rely only on specimens in public collections. If there is a type with only some few coins known and none of them in a public collection, then there is no picture.

... Some day, both sites will be extremely useful to both the collector and academic, right now, not so much. ...
It seems that for you both the glass is half empty  Sad, for me it is half full (even more than half)  Smiley.
I regularly use these ressources and have great benefit of it, despite the flaws they still have.

Regards

Altamura

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PtolemAE
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2020, 02:37:28 pm »

... in both the Ptolemaic and Seleukid websites, many of the entries do not yet have photos. ...
Because at the moment they rely only on specimens in public collections. If there is a type with only some few coins known and none of them in a public collection, then there is no picture.

... Some day, both sites will be extremely useful to both the collector and academic, right now, not so much. ...
It seems that for you both the glass is half empty  Sad, for me it is half full (even more than half)  Smiley.
I regularly use these ressources and have great benefit of it, despite the flaws they still have.

Regards

Altamura



Not sure how you use them. The research here is mostly quantitative analyses of coin weights for different types - which necessarily requires correct attributions. For some types it's easy - they are recognizable and hard to confuse with others. Others are harder.

I do use the sites extensively, but double-check every attribution. Sometimes it's all correct, sometimes many tedious corrections,
 sometimes obvious silliness that's good for a laugh or two (like the die axes 'averages'). The reliability is a bit unpredictable. Fortunately the pictures are top notch and very helpful. It's probably fair to say: The sites are half full for their terrific IT, half empty for reliable information. Some pages being nearly 100% erroneous is problematic viewed even through the rosiest specs. And it's not hard to find them. A search for B333 on PCO and returns (null) though both ANS and BNF have specimens.

Use these sites for what they offer but don't believe everything you find (or can't find) there.

PtolemAE

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