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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: Progress on new Roman coin book 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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rasiel
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« on: August 22, 2006, 12:53:32 am »

Hello list - this is a list i don't follow very often but should! lots of interesting threads :-)

i wanted to apprise those who might be interested in a new work i'm undertaking. some of you might be familiar with a book called ERIC - yours truly was the author. even before the first copy came into my hands work had already begun to improve on the idea. at first "ERIC II" was just going to be a mop up effort to get rid of bugs and add a few more coins. i had hoped to maybe republish it yearly inching towards an eventual super-book that listed every coin.

plans have changed.

about two or three months into the revision i was a little disappointed that the book was shaping up to be something that fell well short of what in my head i really *wished* it were: a truly encyclopedic catalog. meanwhile, the first wave of feedback from users was coming in. the one most uniform requests have been regarding coin prices and rarity tables. i've argued before against the idea but i don't think it's so wise to argue against your customers... they're the ones paying me after all ;-)

so i scrapped what i had done and started anew. my primary goal now is to put together as complete a catalog for each ruler as i can (within reason). at some point every cataloger has to decide where to draw the line between what does and doesn't constitute a new variety but, for the most part, i intend on keeping to most of the already observed conventions when it comes to this and add a few of my own.

meanwhile, i have felt strongly that if i'm going to include market pricing and rarity at all that i must at least make a pretense at compiling data with some sort of scientific method semblance. the easy way out, and one too many catalogers fall victim to, is just copy someone else's data or give a "gut guess" and move along. i can't blame them really, it's a truly daunting task to gather all this data, filter it and process it to get meaningful analyses. but it needs to be done, and done right, so i have started a number of new databases culling info from auctions. the work so far in this area has been intense and if i had the means i'd hire someone fulltime to help me prepare it. nevertheless, i'm pleased with progress on this end.

some more info, including some rought drafts on a number of emperors, are available at http://dirtyoldbooks.com/eric2/index.html - if you think this book might be of use to you please consider donating a bit of your time in looking it over and giving me some feedback. if you have access to as-yet unpublished coins you're welcome to submit them either by email or, preferably, by uploading them yourself to the tantalus database at tantaluscoins.com with an "unlisted" in one of the reference fields of the record.

many thanks,
ras
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areich
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2006, 01:16:06 am »

Just a small thing, could you change the page you link to so it's no longer light grey text on a darker grey background? My eyes hurt looking at it.

Andreas
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Andreas Reich
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2006, 02:37:16 am »

Ras,
I had a look at the Carus section to see how you are approaching this. It looks fine. Are you thinking of raking the same approach with Probus? If so then you have a mammoth task ahead of you. I will offer whatever assitance I can with this section and will upload as many of my unpublished varieties as you can stand.
Regards,
Martin
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Robert_Brenchley
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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2006, 03:16:51 am »

A mammoth task indeed! The thing that strikes me is that the production of the catalogue (the more important task) could end up being swamped by the work of collating the rarity and price stuff.
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Robert Brenchley

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maridvnvm
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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2006, 03:58:17 am »

if you have access to as-yet unpublished coins you're welcome to submit them either by email or, preferably, by uploading them yourself to the tantalus database at tantaluscoins.com with an "unlisted" in one of the reference fields of the record.
Ras,
I would also suggest that the reason that the coin is given as though to be unlisted be quoted. Whether a coin is unlisted or not can be such a variable thing.

What reference is being quoted against?
  Just because it isn't listed in RIC doesn't mean it is unlisted everywhere. If you take Probus for example, Bastien contains loads of coins from Lugdunum that are not in RIC. Alfoldi contains loads for Siscia that aren't in RIC. RIC contains coins that don't exist and many that are simply errors in RIC. Should a coin that is unlisted in RIC still be considered unlisted if it exists in another standard references such as Gobl, LaVenera or Catalogue of the Paris collection of Roman Imperial coins, Vol. XII, D'Aurélian á Florien (270-276 après J.-C.).

How do you interpret what is written in RIC?
  If we take a look at the scan from RIC V Pt 2 Probus 811 below. Does this mean that all the busts with all their "sometimes seen" varieties are known for all officina for both emissions? I can tell you knat the answer is a loud "NO". So what do you / don't you include?

How different is a coin before it is unlisted?
  Again a Probus example. I was looking at Tantalus and searched for unlisted. I found the following coin:- http://www.tantaluscoins.com/coins/11076.php. It is a variation of RIC 366 Bust Type G, where the bust has a buckler rather then a shield. Did the authors of RIC simply amalgamate these bust varieties into Bust Type G or is it to be treated as a separate bust type? What about helmet varieties, shield varieties etc? I am not proposing that these should be considered as separate types but a line needs to be drawn somewhere. Another example of going too far would be Alfoldi with the VIRTVS PROBI AVG "Emperor galloping left, spearing enemy" series where he gave a separate entry to coins where the enemby being speared is "prostate" or, "Enemy falling to left, warding off attack", whether there is a shield in the field etc. This is way over the top for most people to even have a vague interest in so even using texts like Alfoldi have to be approached carefully. Similarly Bastien lists the coins with legend with and without dots as separate entries, which is of interest to the specialist but not the generalists.

Attempting to get around some of these issues are going to be challenging in the least. This issue exists for most of RIC V as far as I can see.

I am not trying to be negative here but trying to get an appreciation for the ground rules.

Regards,
Martin


* RIC 811 entry.jpg (46.14 KB, 749x335 - viewed 94 times.)
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Robert_Brenchley
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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2006, 05:35:20 am »

I wonder how many varieties that would make if it was in RIC VII?
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rasiel
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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2006, 11:06:36 am »

ok, let me see if i can answer everyone's questions.

first off, i'm not kidding myself into thinking this will be a piece of cake. the collating task is thankfully not one i have to worry about as the printing plates are all prepared digitally from the master pdf's. the rest, unfortunately, will be.

since the questions revolve mostly around probus, an emperor i haven't done yet, i can say the following:

- the format will be the same as that of carus and all the others in the book. consistency in format is a bookwide rule i won't break except perhaps in a couple of "experimental" cases. for one, under philip i caved in and distinguished a variety between busts seen from front and those from rear. personally, i think it's trivial but i'm game to see what comes of it.
any time i break one of these consistency rules i pile on an excessive amount of work and make the book a bit less cohesive for the benefit of a few ultra-specialists. so far, it's not worth it as an investment of time.

- where i will break it down more than ric is to give each mintmark arrangement  a separate entry. two identical mintmarks with different officinae will have two ensuing entries. you don't need to tell me this will be a daunting task, i already know. again, you can probably get a feel for what i have done with carus. with the carus rough draft and the probus section of eric I you can get a pretty good idea of where i will be going with this.

- i wouldn't be so crude as to call any one piece "unlisted". the workaround however is elegant enough: if i can't find a listing in one of my references i put in the reference i do know. my sort order is preferentially listed first by a printed reference, then by an online one if i have access to the image (usually a tantalus id no.) and lastly by a "collection of so-and-so" if i don't have the image. if i haven't actually SEEN the coin in hand or from a decent pic i'm not likely to include it unless it comes from a printed reference (in which case it would be provisionally listed as an "unconfirmed")

- not getting too fancy with decorations of accessories. this is where i draw the line. and again, i realize this is an arbitrary line that isn't necessarily right or wrong and may even change for eric iii. for a design element to trigger a discrete variety in eric ii it has to be substantial. to use the provided example, alfoldi clearly goes overboard by breaking down the positioning of the barbarian in distress (and a similar parallel can be found in ric viii with fel temp varieties, also taking pains to point out the various ways the horseman falls).

- i'm also not taking account of legend breaks, or puncutating dots within breaks, as i feel that is also rather trivial. however, i'm much more sensitive to mintmarks and will give varieties here a lot more attention.

- a bigger problem for me will be in determining whether two identical coins in terms of design were minted in different cities. there's a lot of controversy surrounding origin mints and i'm kind of caught in the crossfire. since i don't have anywhere near the scholastic genius of a gobl or pink or estiot when they disagree i'm left with an awkward position. the format presently allows for an entry such as Bx, Ox, Rx, Tx, My where x's are the representative line item making up the coin from a primary list of availables and the y's are the mint cities. in this way i can account for any given entry with the same design and mintmark to be listed in as many mint cities as there are listed. this confuses the user as it forces him or her to catalog a coin based on style cues alone which is beyond the scope of the book and is, as we have noted, controversial in the first place. any suggestions?

probus is an extreme example both because ric is so notoriously weak in this area and also because of the sheer corpus of coins. i will probably use gobl and estiot as my primary references for the 270-280 decade and since i can't afford the books at the moment i'm putting these guys on the back burner. all in all i expect both the probus and aurelian sections to number in the thousands when all is said and done.

ras
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