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What Type Of Hat Is This? + Die Matches In Barbarous Radiates

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Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
4176 Posts
 Posted 01/02/2019  09:30 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Ben to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've just finished up cleaning a group of minims that are reportedly from a single site in Suffolk. I will be taking the lot to be recorded by PAS once the seller lets me know a more accurate find spot. Interestingly, some of the coins are very very similar, perhaps even die matches. The prevailing style of the radiate crown is 'sawtooth', with the radiations parallel to each other. The reverses, on the other hand, vary greatly in their artistic quality and style.

Here are 3 coins, struck from the same reverse die, presumably at the same time by the same team, given the high consistency of the strike. Other coins in the lot might be from the same die too, but with such a small area of the die on each flan (these coins are 6mm across), I could not satisfactorily place any more into this group.

My question is: what is the headwear on this figure? I would presume a modius, but I could not find a parallel in the coinage of the Gallic empire (Serapis being a rare reverse with a full width modius at the top of the head). It appears to be a single line out from the top of the head that is then cross at the top to form a T shape.

I have identified a further 3 coins with matching reverse dies in the lot, but they are not in such nice condition.

I thought I'd also show off this minim from the lot, which shows Mars (this one is 7mm across). Here, the headwear is poorly copied from an official type, where it seems the die sinker has not understood what the coin was depicting. A full flan strike of a very similar design shows what the whole design could have looked like, and I've included examples of official issues to show how this design changed from roman helmet to farmers hat:

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United States
5664 Posts
 Posted 01/02/2019  1:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very cool coins! Barbarous minims don't get nearly enough love.

Can you post images of the other side? I am wondering if this isn't just a badly rendered Pax holding a scepter, Fides holding a standard, or a reversed-image Hilaritas holding a palm?
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Pillar of the Community
United States
730 Posts
 Posted 01/02/2019  9:15 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Kushanshah to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The most likely candidate for a figure with raised arm and vertical scepter is Pax. Looking at a number of Pax prototypes online, I'm not certain if it should be headgear, hairstyle or a combination. On a die that small and crude, she's lucky to have been given a head at all!

The bit to the left of the head may be a vestigial remnant of the letter X.
Edited by Kushanshah
01/02/2019 9:17 pm
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
4176 Posts
 Posted 01/03/2019  08:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ben to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nothing to be seen on the other sides unfortunately (you can see the radiate crown in the right light, but using a phone camera, I couldnt get anything good). I suspect it is derived from Pax with the forearm running parallel next to the scepter in the middle coin, but I am not sure the X could degenerate so neatly into the head, especially as the X is often retained on barbarous radiates well after the rest of the legend is lost and is an easy shape to retain with fidelity.

Oriens often shows a radiate crown of only 3 spikes, but this coin shows a deliberately cut T shape and no other radiations. It might be silly to try to determine what these die sinkers were up to, but sometimes they did let their creativity into their designs. Barbarous minims are known with designs that had never been used on official coinage.

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