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Author Topic: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes  (Read 8069 times)

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Offline slokind

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A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« on: March 08, 2006, 04:56:03 pm »
First, someone a few days ago, with a rather worn specimen, asked about the thing hanging behind Hermes.  Here are two that show it clearly; it is familiar from other media, but hard to explain without an illustrative specimen.  In sculpture, this wrapping strengthens the forearm visually as well as structurally and contributes a plumb line.

Second, at Pick no. 1680 we have descriptions which, on inspecting actual coins, do not exactly match either one of them.  Furthermore, the reverse legends match, but the PR // OS is not in the same place on the two specimens. Pick usually counts minor spelling differences as variants (Abweichungen) of the same listing, while giving separate numbers where additional attributes, such as Hermes' cock, or paraphernalia, such as altars, or postures, like head to r. or l., are concerned.  These two coins are among many which show why using Varbanov's numbers (at any rate in the first edition) is difficult or impossible (the scale armor bust on 08 11 04 is not the same die as that shared in several cases with Agrippa, and the legend is differently divided, too, a nicety Varbanov omits, content just to distinguish those whose reverses begin with P Phou: both of these different dies do).

08 11 04 Æ26 11.6g  axis 6:30h  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Issued by Pontianus.  Macrinus, laureate, bust in scale armor.  AV K OPPEL SEVÊ    MAKRINOS.  Rev., Hermes stg. facing l., purse in his r. hand; on his l. arm rests a short kerykeion with a large head, which he holds in his hand, and, wrapped around his forearm and the shaft of the kerykeion, he carries his chlamys.  VP P PhOV PONTIA    [NOV NIKOPOLIT]ÔN and in field PR // OS and in exergue ISTRÔ.  This is to be distinguished from Pick AMNG 1680, which has a cock at Hermes' feet, which Pick would give a separate entry, but it has the same obv. die and the rev. legend has the same distribution, which, however is known to me on a quite different die.       

09 II 01  AE28  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Issued by Pontianus.  Macrinus.  AV K OPPEL SE    VÊ MAKRINOS.  Rev., Hermes with money bag in rt. hand, kerykeion in crook of his left art, bit of drapery wrapped around his left and hanging (the standard type); to left of his feet a cock to left.  VP P PhOV PONTIAN    OV NEIKOPOLITON, and PR   OS across field, and ISTRO (omega) in the exergue.
Pat L


Offline Bacchus

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2006, 07:47:26 am »
A well detailed and interesting reverse for Macrinus.  I have not noticed that type before - I think it must be scarce.  Very nice indeed.
Malcolm

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2006, 03:52:18 pm »
OK, now we can proceed, having established that neither of the above is exactly the coin Pick examined in listing no. 1680
Here is the second edition: the shared die for the obverse and a substitute reverse.
26 01 06 Æ27 12.58g  axis 6h  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Issued by AgrippaMacrinus, laureate, head to r.  AV K OPPEL  SE    VÊ MAKRINOS.  Rev., Hermes stg. l. holding purse in his r. and kerykeion in his l. with his chlamys wrapped around his l. forearm; at his feet in front of him, cock.  VP AGRIPPA NIKOPOLITÔN PROS IST and in exergue RÔ (thus distinguished from no. 1692).  This is AMNG I, 1, p. 435, no. 1693, known to Pick only from one in Vienna and from the generally unavailable Arneth article: this is the reference copied out in Varbanov I (Bulg.) no. 2689, so obtaining a real one was important to me.   Pat L.

Offline slokind

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2006, 03:57:44 pm »
And here is a scan of the third edition.  Both dies new, both original, so to speak, to Agrippa, still the same TYPE of Hermes (large-headed kerykeion, wrapped chlamys, cock at feet).
07 02 03b AE 26  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Issued by AgrippaMacrinus, laureate, head to r.  AV K OPPEL SE    VE MA[KRINOS].  Rev., Hermes, frontal, face to l., with kerykeion and money bag; cock at his feet.  VP AGRIPPA NI[K    OPOLIT]ON PROS and in exergue IST.  Pick, AMNG I, 1, p. 435, no. 1692; the obv. die, Varbanov I, p. 194, no. 2645,  is one of those (both same engraver) used with the Agrippa Sauroktonos, Pick 1687.  One of two, same die pair, accessioned same day.
The second one has a more legible head of Macrinus.
As you see, much more than RÔ in the exergue distinguished no. 1693 from this one!
It must be rare anywhere in the Imperial age to be able to string out issues as here.  These may not be Syracuse (and neither am I Boehringer), but what fun these 14 months are (not perhaps such fun for Macrinus and his child).
Pat L.

Offline Bacchus

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2006, 04:20:33 pm »
An interesting study!  Is this good evidence that P. Fu. Pontianus was Governor before Marcus Claudius Agrippa (with Statius Longinus being the first of the three for N. ad. I. during Macrinus' tenure as Emperor)?  Does his later portrayal, with an admittedly scraggley beard, indicate this came after the other portraits? - I know that Curtis, in his article on Imperial portraits suggested that the later full bearded portraits of Macrinus were so portrayed because he may have just let his beard grow (nothing mystical :)).

Also - perhaps a typo?
"The second one has a more legible head of Agrippa" - should that be Macrinus?

Strangely I find the first portrait looks almost Caracalla-like, with the others more definitively Macrinus.

All are good examples though - thank you for sharing

Malcolm

EDIT
PS- I note that all the obverses are 'seen from behind'

Offline slokind

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2006, 04:51:28 pm »
Thank you for correcting the typo--really a lapse!
Oh, he had the beard, all right.  Here's a medium one at random.
07-12 02 AE 27 Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Issued by AgrippaMacrinus, fully bearded, laureate, head to r.  AV K M OPEL SEV    ER MAKRINOS.  Rev., Tripod, with a snake climbing its center leg.  VP AGRIPPA [N] I (snake's tongue) KOPOLITON and in exergue PROSI  / STROmega.  Pick, AMNG I, 1, p. 441, no. 1717, the fatter head with OPEL and with rounded sigma and epsilon on the obverse.  No. 1716 has the sharp featured bust with aegis.
And my favorite Nicopolis one:
31 12 01 AE 27  Nicopolis ad Istrum  Issued by Agrippa  Macrinus, full beard, laureate, bust in scale armor.  AVT K M OPEL SEV    E MAKRINOS (with right spelling and round epsilon and sigma--for Agrippa, thats only 1684-5 & 1709-10).  Rev. Demeter, velied,  stg. l. with grain in her r. and scepter (clear here) in her l.  VP AGRIPPA NIK    O    0OLITON PROS I and in exergue STROmega (with spiky letters & angular sigma as on Agrippa Sauroktonos dies).  Pick AMNG I, 1, p. 433, no. 1685 (obv. die as 1684); rev. die similar to 1695 which is a full-bearded HEAD with rho added: SEV    HP and an Hygieia reverse; see essay there.

AND the Belgrad bronze which has not only the full-length beard but a pierced earlobe as well; it is in D. Saltzmann's article  (JdI 98, 1983), which, in turn, relies heavily on Curtis's article (Numismatische Zeitschrift 93, 1979).
Pat
P.S. Yes, the beard is evidence, as Curtis says, but the shared die, which Pick noticed already, is at least as important, since it can't be shaven and regrown (not that I think Macrinus's beard was, either).

Offline curtislclay

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2006, 05:13:56 pm »
To be explicit, Agrippa must be the latest of the three governors on coins of Macrinus at Nicopolis, because only his coins sometimes portray the emperor with a longer beard.
Pontianus should be Agrippa's predecessor, since they share an obv. die as Pick observed, and as Pat illustrates above.
That leaves Longinus as the first of the three governors.
This is the order proposed by Boteva in her dissertation, on the basis of my chronology for Macrinus' beard length on the coins of Rome, published in Num. Zeitschrift 1979.
It looks as though that shared obv. die might be more worn for Agrippa than for Pontianus on Pat's coins, confirming the sequence Agrippa following Pontianus as deduced from the beard length.  Clearer specimens revealing this die deterioration would be welcome, however.
Curtis Clay

Offline slokind

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2006, 05:39:19 pm »
Oh, there are lots.  Just give me a chance to get my books home and arranged (luckily I had the head of Macrinus in Belgrad in my teaching files, because the Belgrad catalogue is packed up) and all the downloaded ones incorporated.  People keep outbidding me for the langobardi of Macrinus, so I have more long beards probably in downloads than in my own files.  Meanwhile there's a dissertation on semiotics and Hindemith (don't ask me why) that I have to slog through.
But I keep looking and thinking every day, saturating my brain with these questions.
Yes, that Hermes (which really is rare--perhaps didn't strike so many) is one of the most fully worn out dies that I know of.  It's not really a worn specimen, but someone loved that die and just used and used it!  Pick observed that the scrawny one is related to it; to me it looks like a clueless attempt to replace the curious Pontianus-Agrippa head die.
There is much else that I don't want to assert without further, less constantly interrupted, study.
For the time being, I'm just pointing out how careful one needs to be in citing listings, not only in Mushmov and Varbanov but even in Pick, just because he could illustrate so few obverses.
Pat

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2006, 02:44:44 am »
Thank you for the extra information.  I think the evidence is good for the chronology of the three Governors.  Could I ask what the Sauroktonos in  'Agrippa Sauroktonos' refers to?  I had always thought the name of the Governor was Marcus Claudius Agrippa but I may be in error.  Also, (sorry for so many questions) is the Saltzmann's article  (JdI 98, 1983), worth obtaining, if it is available?  I have not read Dr. Diliyana Boteva's dissertation, is this yet another essential read? Oxbow books have a copy at £24 with English summaries. (I suspect there are lots of interesting non-English articles/books lurking around)

I have to admit to a strong liking to the full bearded portraits - possibly because they remind me of Pupienus - and the scarceness/expense of good examples of his denarii

A thorough read of 'semiotics and Hindemith' wouldn't get me going either  :D so full marks for bravery for the student.

All the best
Malcolm

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2006, 03:15:45 am »
Malcolm, if I can presume to answer for Pat  'the Agrippa Sauroktonos'  = "The Apollo Sauroktonos reverse type, issued under Agrippa".

Steve

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2006, 06:23:58 am »
Ahh...  Thanks for that.  I wasn't sure if he had a nickname of the "Lizard-Slayer"  or some such.   :D
Malcolm

Offline curtislclay

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2006, 10:40:37 am »
Malcolm,
      Salzmann is concerned mainly to classify the surviving sculptural portraits of Macrinus on the basis of my analysis of his coin portraiture--not essential for the numismatist.
       Boteva presents a useful collection of the material, including full citations of all relevant inscriptions, but the conclusions she draws are mostly unwarranted, and her extensive English summaries are maddening because she merely states her conclusions with no indication of what evidence and arguments she bases them on.  So you really have to learn Bulgarian to understand her arguments, and then you'll find that most of them don't hold water anyway!
Curtis Clay

Offline slokind

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2006, 12:59:24 pm »
Thanks to you all.
I heartily agree with Curtis; Saltzmann's article adds nothing to the numismatic picture, though it does have photos, front and both profiles, of ill-published heads, including the Belgrad one.  The image I posted is from the cover of an exhibition catalogue, Antike Porträts aus Jugoslawien, Frankfurt / M, 1988, Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte (it then traveled to each of the major cities of the still intact Yugoslavia, whose museums had contributed to it).
I apologize for leaving what was, fundamentally, a note to myself (to the Agrippa Sauroktonos) in one of my accession squibs; it only served to remind me which obverse die I meant.  It goes to show, however, the uselessness of yet another basic catalogue of statuary types, separate from their specific relevance, divorced from their own complex history and from the almost equally complex history of Greek Imperial coinage.  When it has been my privilege, on request, to advise a coin collector in this area, I have said to begin by purchasing (at no great cost) the whole series by Sir John Boardman (the Hellenistic volume by R. R. R. Smith) on Greek Sculpture in the World of Art Series.  You might also add the whole series on vase painting in the same set, plus T. H. Carpenter's Art and Myth in Ancient Greece.  These are very good, fundamental, amply illustrated (above all, accurately annotated and up to date), though even as such they are only a beginning.  They all have (even if in fine print) extensive bibliography in the back, for anything that you need to pursue further.
Even though we certainly would break every law of copyright in compiling a 'special area' on statue types, as was suggested today (I use here a combination of my own photos, a half century's worth, and otherwise out of copyright when possible when I need to refer an image on a coin to a type or variant of a type), the best we could do even with a whole server on statue types would be to repeat 19th-century work.  It could be no substitute for the basic mini-library I have recommended.
As for the coins with Apollo Sauroktonos, when Jochen got one of them he posted it and also a photo of one of the copies of the statue.  There is a thread.  I have submitted for publication (and do not feel free to produce bits and bites of it in the meantime) an article which is intended to be essential (and coinage-centered) to the approach required in integrating Greek art history with numismatics.  Even if it were right to do so, excerpting it would be counter-productive; I cannot pretend that it is easy, but I have made it as clear as I can.  I can only hope now that it will be published and without undue delay.  Please do not ask me to regress to the stage, of Overbeck's generation, when copies taken at random were just taken as illustrations or coins used as 'evidence' of a kind that, in the circumstances, cannot exist.
Pat L.

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2006, 01:54:41 pm »
"I apologize for leaving what was, fundamentally, a note to myself (to the Agrippa Sauroktonos) in one of my accession squibs"

Thanks for that, Pat.  Sometimes, us mere mortals get confused when you use 'big words'  ;D
Malcolm

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2006, 06:31:29 pm »
This coin shows that the two obverse dies and the two reverse dies of Pontianus, which I styled (for expository purposes) a 'first edition' and placed at the head of this thread, really must be, so far as we can tell, practically interchangeable, although the unusual, more realistic-seeming portrait so far has NOT been observed paired with an Agrippa reverse die.  In other words, this specimen can be said to tie together what I meant to illustrate in this thread, considering it interesting because it is so rare in the Empire period to have a time and place where die studies of this kind are possible.  I think it is interesting, though I can't explain it, that the letter forms on both of these obverse dies are emphatically different from those on both of the reverse dies used with them.  Perhaps we shall never know whether the figure-engraver and the legend-engraver was usually, occasionally, seldom, or never the same person!  Provisionally, I study the legend-work separately from the figure-work.
18 04 06 Æ27  11.30g  axis 12h  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Issued by Pontianus.  Macrinus, laureate, bust in scale armor, to r.  AV K OPPEL SEVÊ    MAKRINOS.  Rev., Nude Hermes with purse, kerykeion, and chlamys (wrapped around his forearm), stg. with a cock at his feet.  VP P PhOV PONTIAN    OV NEIKOPOLITÔN and across field from 9h to 3h PR  /  OS [and in exergue ISTRÔ].  Apart from the exergue (complete on the Berlin specimen and on my 09 02 01), this is die-for-die and letter-for-letter Pick's AMNG I, 1, p. 432, no. 1680.  My other die pairs have this unusual portrait die with the alternative Hermes of Pontianus, without a cock at his feet, and the crossover die with the sharp chin described by Pick under no. 1682, also used with Agrippa reverses, with the prime cock-at-feet die of Pontianus.
Pat L.

Offline Bacchus

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2006, 02:45:31 am »
I have noticed that 'serif' type font (as seen on the obverse above) a couple of times and wondered about it, in that it does stand out as unusual.  Does it mostly/only appear on the tetrassaria?  Perhaps it was a new idea brought in by the 'management' or they got a new foreign worker in? 
I don't recall seeing that style for any of the Caracalla issues from here though some of the Elagabalus I have seen have some slight tendencys to have that more elaborate font.  Additionally I have not seen this reverse coupled with any Diadumenian obverse (I have been searching :) ) nor have I seen this font style on any of his obverses either.  They may be out there somewhere but does this apparent omission tell us anything as well?
All the best
Malcolm

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2006, 02:07:51 pm »
There are no Pontianus issues for Diadumenian at Nicopolis, unless some of the brass ±22-23mm for Diadumenian happen to have been issued by him.  At Marcianopolis, under Pontianus, of course, the boy joins his father on the E coins.  Although it is in some cases easy to associate Agrippa issues for father and son, when they share a reverse (that Aphrodite, for instance), and then those obverses are used with other reverses, too, I have yet to study these with the care required.  There are several kinds of serif-laden letters, too, and some of them go back a ways.  Some of the big, slightly coarse letters have analogs at other mints, also still to be studied.  There are undoubtedly hints that some of the artisans at work in 218 left evidence of their presence or that of others similarly trained in some of the issues for Elagabalus (all Rufus, the remainder of Elagabalus being signed by other governors at Marcianopolis or other Moesian mints and unsigned).  Since for these mints at this period none of these questions has been studied systematically before (so far as I know), it may be wise to proceed very cautiously.
The most distinctive 'font' certainly is that so perfectly preserved on the P Phou Pontianou reverse dies.
Here's the Asklepios to go with the 'first edition' Hermes and Cock.

30 04 03 AE 27  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Issued by Pontianus (die shared by Agrippa).  Macrinus, laureate, head to r.  AV K OPPEL SE    VE MAKRINOS (2 pi, all squared, spiky serifs); this is the die of AMNG I, 1, p. 432, nos. 1682 and 1683.  Rev., Young, beardless Asklepios, half draped, head to l., leaning on slender staff in his r. armpit, feeding a cake, in his r. hand, to his familiar snake, which climbs the staff as a living snake might do; Asklepios' left shoulder and arm are covered by the himation secured by starting on his shoulder (the ends, after wrapping, hang ddown at r.).  VP P PhOV PONTIA    NOV NEIKOPOLITON and across field PR / OS and in exergue ISTROmega.  Letter forms all as on obverse, but smaller.  The spacing, as well as Pick's not mentioning that it is a deviant type of Asklepios, prove that this is not the reverse of 1681 (of which I have photos of an example) nor that of Varbanov 2665 (Agrippa, besides), though that has similar letter forms.

And here is the die-match for the 'second edition' (not Pontianus) Hermes with cock (above)
11 04 03 AE 26  Nicopolis ad Istrum  Issued by Agrippa  Diadumenian, head to r. K M OPPEL ANTONI [DIADOVMEN]IAN    OS (cf. obv. of Pick 1795, 1797).  Rev., Hermes with purse, the normal type, with a cock at his feet.   For Diadumenian, Pick knew none with a cock.  [VP AG]RIPPA NIKOPOLITON [PROS IST and, perhaps, ROmega in the exergue]--on grounds of spacing at right.  If so, this is the reverse die of MacrinusPick, AMNG I, 1, p. 435, no. 1693; if the rev. legend was shorter, no. 1692.  Since neither die matches, this coin is not Pick 1803 or 1804, one of which is Varbanov I, no. 2905.

And, by analogy, though I don't yet have this Asklepios reverse die for Macrinus, I expect it (dare I say that?), because here is the second edition (not Pontianus, not with legend used as a filler in the field) Asklepios to compare with its first edition and with its corresponding Hermes.
21 01 03 AE 26  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Issued by AgrippaDiadumenian, head to r.  K M OPPEL ANTONINOS DIADOVMENIANOS, Antoninos spelled out, as on Vienna example.  Rev., young (unbearded) Asklepios, frontal, looking left, with his staff in his r. armpit; the snake actively mounts it, as if to take a cake from his hand.  VP AGRIPPA NIKO  POLITON PROS ISTROmega.  All sigmas squared lunate.  Pick, AMNG I, 1, p. 460, no. 1805; Varbanov I, p. 208, no. 2883, illus., also seems to resemble this one exactly, even in an ill lit photo.

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2006, 03:39:24 pm »
Rev., Young, beardless Asklepios, half draped, head to l., leaning on slender staff in his r. armpit, feeding a cake, in his r. hand, to his familiar snake, which climbs the staff as a living snake might do; Asklepios' left shoulder and arm are covered by the himation secured by starting on his shoulder (the ends, after wrapping, hang ddown at r.). 

I can't quite make out the cake - though I'm sure it is there - but overall a really nice example.  Jochen should be interested with the 'armpit' feature.

Issued by Agrippa  Diadumenian, head to r. K M OPPEL ANTONI [DIADOVMEN]IAN    OS (cf. obv. of Pick 1795, 1797).  Rev., Hermes with purse, the normal type, with a cock at his feet.   For Diadumenian, Pick knew none with a cock 

Ah - This was the type I meant to say above (rather than specificially a Pontianus one - a rare type indeed, note to self - must search harder!)


Issued by AgrippaDiadumenian, head to r.  K M OPPEL ANTONINOS DIADOVMENIANOS, Antoninos spelled out, as on Vienna example.  Rev., young (unbearded) Asklepios, frontal, looking left, with his staff in his r. armpit; the snake actively mounts it, as if to take a cake from his hand.  VP AGRIPPA NIKO  POLITON PROS ISTROmega.  All sigmas squared lunate.  Pick, AMNG I, 1, p. 460, no. 1805; Varbanov I, p. 208, no. 2883

This one, I think is particually nice - I really like that obverse die. 

I wonder why the above 'series' seemed to have added the cock aspect of Hermes' attributes to the depictions. My understanding is that Hermes was originally a god linked to fertility but I don't know if this is related to the message the reverses are trying to portray.

-Slightly off topic-
The obverse die of your middle example above seems to have been used quite a lot.  I attach two different examples of reverse dies which use it (both also Agrippa).  It is one of my least favoured obverses as his hair looks like an Otho wig.




Offline slokind

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Re: A die-study coin identity case: a Hermes
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2006, 03:12:55 pm »
Here is I think the prototype for Pontianus's 'first edition'.  Not mine.  I wasn't watching closely enough.  Pat L.

 

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