Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Jugate busts from London are not common. I recently came across this example of Severus II in an auction catalogue and I thought I would share it with you. The Trau collection was sold at auction in Vienna in 1935 and contained a number of Roman rarities. This coin, lot number 3695 was estimated at 80 Austrian schillings and sold for 135. As you can see from the catalogue entry, it was not exactly highlighted, which might be indicative of the rest of the sale rather than the quality of this coin. The RIC entry for this type (RIC VI London 75) gives the reference specimen as in the Vienna collection, which might be a coincidence or it could be that the coin was bought for the collection from this sale. RIC records it as R3, notionally meaning up to ten examples had been recorded.
Friday, 11 December 2009
This coin (RIC VII London 102) was minted in London, moved to France at some point in the last 1700 years and recently travelled to the USA and back! A scarce coin, only three occur in the four major hoards I have studied, and also highlights an interesting variety. One of the two examples in the Bourton on the Water hoard (#1449) is described as with spread chlamys. I have also been alerted to another spread chlamys example and this is illustrated on Lech Stepniewski's "Not in RIC" site. He suggests that it should be listed as a new type after RIC 104. At present I have simply recorded the the variant in my notes but will be giving serious consideration to listing it as a new type. It will be interesting to try and find out if the two "variants" are from the same or different dies ..............
Monday, 30 November 2009
Continuing my CLARITAS theme, here is one I acquired a month or so ago. The obverse is not so bad but the reverse is horrendous and difficult to photograph - particularly as my usual photographic set-up is temporarily out of commission. However, the reverse legend clearly (pun intended!) starts with a C and appears to continue with an L - the rest is pure conjecture. This means that this coin confirms the existence of RIC VII 127 and 128 with the B4 bust type. Completely expected, but unpublished until now. I would be delighted to hear from anybody who has a better example.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
"How do I differentiate between the two London Mint T-F issues. For example this SOLI INVICTO COMITI coin of Constantine I.
Obverse: CONSTANTINVS P AVG Laureate and cuirassed right
Reverse: SOLI INVIC-TO COMITI Sol standing left, chlamys draped behind left shoulder
T-F across fields and in exergue PLN
Now, this coin with identical descriptions is listed in RIC VI as London 127 (rare), year 310 AD (ref "VG 45")and RIC VII London 93 (R1) year 316-317 AD. (ref only as "London")
So I wonder, do you know what the visible differences are between these two ?"
So, how do you tell? The answer is weight, die diameter and style. If you had one of each together, the differences stand out a mile. If you just have one on their own, it can be a little more difficult. Size, by which I mean die diameter – the distance from one side of the beaded perimeter to the other – is key. The earlier coin is 21mm, the later one 19mm. My examples of the earlier mintmark weigh between 3.25g and 5.6g. The later issue usually weighs in at between 2.5g to 3.8g, so there is some overlap but wear and flan thickness can usually explain this. Finally, and the most difficult to explain is style – sometimes I cannot tell the difference and much prefer to go by die diameter and weight as supporting evidence. Having several examples of each issue, all I need to do is compare a coin against my “large” issue and my “small” issue.
Saturday, 14 November 2009
I have rather a soft spot for CLARITAS types of London. They are quite scarce and can be found for Constantine the Great, Crispus and Constantine II, although as a type it was supposedly the reverse of choice for Constantine II. Occasionally, they can be found lurking amongst the usual SOLI INVICTO COMITI types in hoard groups and can be bought at the SOLI price. Not often, though! I recently spotted this little coin on eBay at a starting price of 1€. I was, of course, hoping that no-one else had spotted it. Unfortunately, there was one other alert person around and the price went up to 50€. The coin is unlisted in RIC VII, should come after RIC 101 and is number 134 in my preliminary list. I know of two other examples. However, the interesting thing about this example is the reverse legend that is REIPVBLICE (sic) rather than REIPVBLICAE CLARITAS. This doesn't seem to be caused by the engraver running out of space so probably just a typo!
Saturday, 24 October 2009
An interesting coin that I have recently acquired. Described correctly on eBay as an unlisted type, it attracted very little interest and I was able to obtain it very reasonably. Although "unlisted", a previous example of the type was included in the Spink "Vogelaar" auction of 24 September 2008 as part of lot #126. It should be placed after RIC 223 and is a previously unknown bust type for this obverse legend. I will be including this coin and many other previously unpublished types in the second part of my London Mint listing that will be published in Spink's Numismatic Circular in the first half of 2010.
Monday, 5 October 2009
A rare reverse from London. This example is RIC VI 241 with the obverse legend:
CONSTANTINVS PF AVG
Unlisted in RIC, but known from a number of examples, is the same type with the obverse legend:
CONSTANTINVS P AVG
Two examples of SPES REIPVBL were discovered in the Sarzeau hoard. One of each obverse legend type, they are linked by a reverse die match and are illustrated in the hoard report.
Monday, 28 September 2009
Friday, 18 September 2009
- "RIC 215-6 are the last listings for the BEATA TRA-NQVILLITAS type of RIC 199-216, not a new variant with BEAT only. So the introduction, p. 96, names two versions of this type only, BEATA TRANQVILLITAS and BEAT TRANQLITAS, with no mention of the alleged BEAT TRANQVILLITAS version of RIC 215-6. The same in Voetter's Gerin cat., pp. 156-8; no BEAT TRANQVILLITAS, though RIC 216 with this alleged legend is stated to be very common (c3)! According to RIC, BEATA TRANQVILLITAS does not occur for Constantine II in this issue, but Voetter no. 5 indeed lists it for him. Voetter 5 is clearly the same as RIC 216, with BEATA not BEAT"
- P/A//PLON (BEATA) then PLON (BEATA) then F/B//PLON (BEAT) and finally PLON (BEAT).
- PLON (BEATA) then P/A//PLON (BEATA) then F/B//PLON (BEAT) and finally PLON (BEAT).
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
This coin arrived today! A little "sleeper" in a group of three T/F//PLN coins. The other two were Constantines of the first T/F issue but this one is of Licinius from the later reduced weight T/F issue. Many thanks to Tony who alerted me to this coin.
Obverse IMP LICINIVS P AVG Laureate bust, draped and cuirassed.
Reverse SOL INVIC-TO COMITI Sol standing left as usual.
Weight 3.17g and die diameter 19mm (est.)
Unlisted in RIC but known from the single example in the Gaulle III hoard and the two examples in the Bourton-on-the-Water hoard. The two BoW examples were obverse and reverse die matches.
This shortened form of obverse legend for Licinius is quite scarce and this is only the second example I have, the other being RIC 42.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Hope that's all clear then ............
Monday, 20 July 2009
It has been known for some time that there were two coins in existence with the mark MSN in the exergue (one in the Fitzwilliam, one from the Appleford Hoard) but, until now, it had been assumed that these were simply the result of a die engraver’s error. While completing the last letter of MSL, the engraver reverted back to the last letter of the previous MLN issue. This is much like we might write the year 2008 on a cheque during the early weeks of 2009 – a common example of the influence of previous activity. This theory does, of course, assume that these issues were in the sequence suggested by RIC.
Earlier this year, at a coin fair, I acquired an example of Licinius I with MSN in the exergue. This coin would, like a coin in the Fitzwilliam, be RIC 79 if it had MSL in the exergue. A further two coins have also come to light during my investigations.
I have now been able to compare images of four of the five MSN coins for die matches. The Appleford hoard Constantine coin is a reverse die match with the French Constantine coin. The obverses of these coins are not a match. A Waddington hoard coin, despite its poor condition, can be identified as both an obverse and a reverse die match for a French hoard example and a reverse die match with the Appleford specimen. The reverse die of these coins do not, however, match my Licinius reverse which is clearly struck from a different die. I have been unable to obtain an image of the Fitzwilliam coin as it has not been possible to locate the coin in the collections. These results are summarised in an article in the July edition of Spink's Numismatic Circular.
We have, therefore, at least two dies with MSN in the exergue, thus increasing the likelihood that this is a deliberate mintmark rather than simply a die engraver’s error. To misquote Oscar Wilde, “One die error looks like an accident, two looks like sheer carelessness, three looks like a new mintmark!” We shall await a further example with interest.
Friday, 3 July 2009
Friday, 26 June 2009
The long awaited Coin Hoards from Roman Britain volume XII is now available. The “blurb” below gives a rough précis of the contents but for London Mint enthusiasts, the inclusion of the Langtoft , Ravenstone and Prestwood B Hoards is a real selling point. The Langtoft Hoard of almost 2,000 coins discovered by metal detectorists in 2000 was sold at auction in 2002 by DNW in London – only 54 coins were retained by the Yorkshire Museum or the finders. Some coins from the hoard are still available through the trade, having been sold in large groups. The hoard included well over 500 London Mint coins and so the full report by Craig Barclay is a valuable reference source.
The Ravenstone hoard of 469 coins, 275 from the London Mint included an extremely rare S over star/P mintmark CLARITAS similar to the one reported recently on this blog. This hoard was returned to the finder and its ultimate disposition is unknown. So, maybe some of us have already got coins from this hoard! If anyone knows where this hoard ended up, please let me know ............
The Prestwood “B” hoard of 735 coins included 438 examples from the London Mint and again includes some very scarce types, including two unlisted in RIC. This hoard was retained in its entirety by the Buckinghamshire County Museum.
All in all, this volume is thoroughly recommended and is available from Moneta:
Coin hoards from Roman Britain Vol. XII edited by Richard Abdy, Eleanor Ghey, Celine Hughes and Ian Leins
“The twelfth volume of Coin Hoards from Roman Britain presents 57 hoards with terminal dates from AD 244 to the end of the Roman period. This is the companion volume to CHRB XI, which contained the earlier hoards discovered between 1997 and 2001. CHRB XII also includes later hoards found up to April 2003. More recent addenda to these hoards have been included where possible.
The volume includes the Chalgrove II hoard of 4,957 radiates, with its important find of the second known coin of Domitian II. The recognition of an additional Gallic usurper has expanded our knowledge of this less well understood period of Roman history. The latest hoards included in the volume, Patching and Oxborough, are accompanied by discussion of the significance of these hoards for the monetary history of the late Roman to early Medieval transition.
Richard Abdy, Eleanor Ghey and Ian Leins are curators of Roman coins in the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum. Celine Hughes is a former intern of the department.
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Bastien, P. & Vaselle, F. - Le trésor monétaire de Domqueur (Somme) Wetteren, 1965.
Bastien, P. - Some comments on the Coinage of the London Mint, AD 297-313 NC 1971, p.152-156.
Amandry, M.- Un follies inédit de Dioclétien pour l’atelier de Londres BSFN, April 1980, p.677-679.
Bastien, P. -Atelier Continental sans Marque Le Monnayage de l’Atelier de Lyons, Wetteren 1980, p.125-128 (pl.LXIX).
Burnett,A.M. & Robinson,P.H. - The Upavon, Wilts, hoard. CHRB, Vol.V, BM 1984, pp.90.
Stewartby - Early Tetrarchic Coins of London from the Market Stainton Finds NC 1998, p.89-102 (pl.28,22).
Besly, E. - A Hoard of Tetrarchic nummi from Bridgend, South Wales NC 2002, p.169-215 (pl.31-42).
Drost, V. & Gautier, G. - Le Trésor de Larré (Morbihan) : une thésaurisation mixte de la 1re Tétrarchie (terminus 300 après J.-C.) Trésors Monétaires XXIII, 2009, p.1-33 (pl. 1-10).
Essentially. the current thinking is that as well as the “unmarked continental mint” with its plain laureate busts, there is a further group of plain laureate busts attributable to London with its distinctive small, neat lettering – as opposed to the big, irregular letters with slender down-strokes of the Lyons style. Stewartby gives these London plain busts the designation Class Ib with the LON issues being assigned to Ia. There then follows a new series designated as IIe that comes before the IIa class described in RIC VI as "with small head on tall neck".
Class IIe are all cuirassed but have busts that are reminiscent of the Lyons style. Stewartby is careful to point out, however, that there is no definitive break between IIe and IIa and goes so far as to describe a series IIea into which ambiguous coins can be placed.
Stewartby describes the Ib and IIe series combined as the “intermediate group” although it is not clear to me that this was Bastien’s original intention. In his 1971 NC article he seems to describe the IIe series alone as the “intermediate group”.
Thursday, 11 June 2009
Just before Constantius invaded Britain to defeat Allectus, a number of coins were produced at an “unmarked” continental mint. Although the location of the mint was unknown (possibly Bolougne), it is fairly certain that they were produced using workers from the Lyons mint (Bastien , RBN 1959). The style and bust types are identical to contemporaneous marked Lyons issues (LA and LB). Therefore, Sutherland, when compiling RIC VI included this issue in the Lyons mint section – numbers 14-21. Bastien in an annexe to a later work, Le Monnayage de L’Atelier de Lyons (Wetteren, 1980), - Annexe Atelier Continental Sans Marque pp.125-128 and Plate LXIX revisits this issue. He reaffirms his view that these coins were minted at an unknown continental mint prior to the invasion and concludes that, in reality, there are only four types in the issue, RIC 14a, 14b, 17a and 17b. The others listed under Lyons by Sutherland are erroneous, either unofficial or lightly struck LA or LB coins or unmarked London coins. He goes on to catalogue these four types each with two different versions; the first group with large heads (“effigies larges”) and the second with small heads (“petites effigies”). Examples of some of these coins are pictured on James Pickering’s website – see link left, and the picture above is an example of RIC VI (Lyons) 14b.
Tuesday, 2 June 2009
The Trésors monétaires series published by the Bibliothèque nationale de France is a rich seam of information as many hoards of this period found in France contain a good proportion of London mint coins. The latest volume (XXIII) contains a significant early hoard of the first Tetrarchy that includes a rare LON issue and many unmarked examples. The Larré trésor contains a total of 44 coins from London and a further 15 of the unmarked continental mint. The terminal date is 300AD and the total number of coins found in the hoard was 929.
Monday, 18 May 2009
Monday, 11 May 2009
It adds about 30% more types to those known when RIC VII was published and records the incidence of each type in four major hoards relating to the period.
I am pleased to report that thanks to James Pickering it is now available online. It is being hosted on his website, ROMAN COINS OF THE LONDON MINT: 296-325 AD. There is also a direct link to the article in the Links column on the left.
This new coin was found by a detectorist in Sutton Scotney, Hampshire, here in the UK and was posted on the FORVM discussion board earlier this month. It has not yet been possible to compare reverse dies.