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Late Roman Imperial Ae 3-ish: Aelia Zenonis Or Julius Nepos?

 
 
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 Posted 08/17/2019  4:05 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've think that I have gone about as far as I can with attributing this little late Roman bronze. As you can see below, it is in pretty rough condition (as might be expected). However, I can clearly see the roughly N-shaped monogram on the back with a letter S halfway through the diagonal crossbar. I had picked up this coin thinking it to be Aelia Zenonis, but am less sure now.

My specific concern is that the monogram on this coin appears to have a looped letter on top of the left upright. As I now know, Zenonis' monogram had a letter Z on the left upright and an O on the right upright. I do see over on a FORVM thread that Nepos' monogram might be a better fit as it is similarly N-shaped with a bisecting S; however, it has the loop of a P on the left upright and an O on the right upright. For quick reference, I'm looking at RIC 1018 for Zenonis and RIC X 3222 for Nepos. The diameter is 9 mm and the weight is 0.5 g. I know that there aren't tons of comps for coins from either of these folks, but it seems like the few Zenonis bronzes I can find on the interwebs are typically closer to 1 gram and perhaps best described as AE4s. On the other hand, if I squint when I look at the obv, the last two digits of the inscription look vaguely like ON.

I'm interested in your thoughts and expertise as to what coin I actually have here. Thank you in advance for your guidance!






Added: As I continue to ponder what I have, I see that some auction houses show the Zenonis monogram upside down compared to how I have it oriented. Then the loops are at the bottom of the uprights.
"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz
Edited by Spence
08/17/2019 4:28 pm
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 Posted 08/17/2019  6:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add january1may to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
On the other hand, if I squint when I look at the obv, the last two digits of the inscription look vaguely like ON.
I personally quite clearly read NON on the obverse photo, even without much squinting!
Which is actually a bit worrying, because all the Zenonis AE4s with legend that I could find online go AZEN-ONIS, and shouldn't have NON on the left side on the portrait.

If I squint more I can kind of turn the NON into IVLN, which a Julius Nepos coin is supposed to have here, but at this point it's grasping at straws.
This urgently needs a better obverse photo, or better yet, a rubbing (probably of the monogram too). Just be careful with the pencil!


EDIT: random unrelated thought - I wonder what the triangular heck possessed the auction house to label this coin as Julius Nepos when it's a perfect fit to the Anastasius monogram and is nothing like the supposed Julius Nepos one.
I'm guessing that the bidders knew that, which is why it sold below estimate...

EDIT 2: even more unrelated - anyone knows what's going on with the third monogram example on this page, labeled as "Leo I"?
The two sides fit each other, so it's clearly the same coin, but the monogram looks suspiciously like Leontius, and the legend doesn't look much like either.

EDIT 3: oh, right, it's an exact legend match to specimen 4 in the July 2009 Celator article, so the legend ends [xx]NASMAI, where the [xx] does not contain any of L, E, O (but can be almost anything else).
That article tentatively guessed Anastasius, apparently because its author couldn't think of anything better; that said, if I had to guess from the NGC specimen, I'd say [VERI]NA /some abbreviation that comes out to SMAI/, which would conveniently explain the Leo-ish monogram. (I don't know enough Latin to take a guess at the abbreviation.)
Edited by january1may
08/17/2019 7:47 pm
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 Posted 08/17/2019  7:20 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ok thanks for the input @j1m. I'm not sure that I'm capable of better pics with my current set-up. Below I've tried to lay out what I am seeing of the monogram (red) and wreath (blue) with the coin in hand. I can also try a tracing as you suggest.




Added: here is a link to a prior auction of this coin (second from the bottom):

https://www.coinarchives.com/a/resu...arch=Zenonis

"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz
Edited by Spence
08/17/2019 7:46 pm
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 Posted 08/17/2019  7:56 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add january1may to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Added: here is a link to a prior auction of this coin (second from the bottom)
...Huh, their pics are worse than yours. It must have a really inconvenient patina.

That said, I can see from their pic where they were going from - it might be the right support that has a Z, which would fit several of the monograms in the same link.
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 Posted 08/17/2019  8:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I was actually doing some research last night for a potential purchase, and came across the rather disturbing accusation that Emporium Hamburg has been selling large numbers of fake AE4's of the terminal empire. I sincerely hope this is the genuine article, but I would certainly get some expert opinions before your window to open a claim expires. I would perhaps also give it an acetone bath to ensure the patina doesn't wash off.
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 Posted 08/17/2019  8:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ok thanks @finn!
"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz
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 Posted 08/25/2019  1:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have an unfortunate update on this coin.

As you can see from the pics below, the coin was wrapped in some sort of plastic patina which has started to come off in an acetone bath. The edges look like they were sanded down yesterday. It seems like the details were also largely "drawn" with this same material.

Oddly, I purchased this coin from Muenzhandel Andreas Fenzi, for which I hadn't heard of any previous sales of fakes. It wasn't until I dug around the internet looking for provenance on the coin that I discovered the previous sale by Emporium Hamburg.

Wish me luck as I seek a refund for this fake!




"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz
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 Posted 08/25/2019  1:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow. Good luck, Dave. Keep the board updated.
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 Posted 08/25/2019  6:56 pm  Show Profile   Check FVRIVS RVFVS's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add FVRIVS RVFVS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Gad zooks !
I have bathed many a coin in acetone and uncovered the rare plugged hole (well disguised)
and even found a Caligula bronze with green paint sprayed over an electrocuted provincial
But never have I seen an entire coin go the way of an Alka Seltzer tablet
It almost looks like some sort of mold was used and paste applied to a corroded bronze mini to leave the details you were attempting to interpret
They have probably managed to fool more than a few "experts" as most people are reluctant to do much to these tiny coins beyond cradling them in the palm and carefully placing them back into a tray or flip
Acetone is the ancient collectors best friend
Harmless to an 'honest' surface
But brutal to the arts of deception
IN GOD WE TRVST ....... all others pay cash !

COGITO ERGO SPVD
I think ...... therefore I yam
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 Posted 08/26/2019  06:49 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ouch! Sorry to hear this Spence....I've never seen anything like this before!

Good one on Finn spotting this one though

Hope it all works out well...Paul
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 Posted 08/29/2019  09:38 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sorry to hear how this turned out. I was really hoping I was wrong on this one
My Collections:
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http://goccf.com/t/348979
Japan Type set Tokugawa + Modern
http://goccf.com/t/348999
Indo Sassanian
http://goccf.com/t/322087
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 Posted 08/29/2019  6:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Me too! But a good lesson to learn.
"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz
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 Posted Today  3H 21M ago  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
For those who were wondering, here is an update. After four or five decreasingly cordial emails, some of which cc:ed ma-shops customer service department, I got a full refund from Fenzi yesterday. Here are a couple lessons that I have learned from this experience:

1. Ancients should be given a bath in acetone when received.
2. Emporium Hamburg is either actively manufacturing fakes or at the very least trafficking in them.
"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz
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 Posted Today  2H 29M ago  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Excellent Spence I'm glad you got a refund....
Im still quite shocked by what I've seen in this thread so thanks for bringing it to our attention...Paul
Edited by Palouche
Today 2H 29M ago
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