Monday, 30 November 2009

Unclearly a CLARITAS!

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 Completely expected, but unpublished until now.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

The Two T-F Issues of London

Recently I was asked:

"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

Clearly a CLARITAS!

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!