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Solved: Constantine I (Smantz- Retrograde Z)

 
 
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Valued Member
Netherlands
142 Posts
 Posted 08/22/2019  6:00 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add MetzKaj to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi guys,

How should I read this mint mark? SMAN (?)

Thank you for your time.

Kaj

Edited by MetzKaj
08/22/2019 8:34 pm
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
4183 Posts
 Posted 08/22/2019  6:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ben to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This mintmark is 'SMANTI'.

Mint marks at this time follow a standard format - SM (Sacra Moneta) / [Mint City] (here, ANT for Antioch) / Officina mark (here, I, perhaps the 9th officina in Antioch, according to the greek alphabet - the 'A' or alpha officina being the 1st).
Valued Member
United States
359 Posts
 Posted 08/22/2019  7:04 pm  Show Profile   Check Victor's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Victor to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
the mintmark is SMANTZ, with what looks like a retrograde Z.
Valued Member
Netherlands
142 Posts
 Posted 08/22/2019  7:56 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add MetzKaj to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
So, I am a bit confused now. Is it an I or a Z? And if it's a Z, what should be the best explanation for the retrograde Z? Is this common on such coins?
Valued Member
United States
359 Posts
 Posted 08/22/2019  8:29 pm  Show Profile   Check Victor's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Victor to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There is no confusion, it is a Z. Retrograde letters happen sometimes, not really common, but not necessarily that rare.It happens when the die engraver, perhaps unfamiliar with the letters, forgets that he must engrave letters backwards or else they will be retrograde. In your title you say "Constans" but this is a Constantine I coin.
Valued Member
Netherlands
142 Posts
 Posted 08/22/2019  8:34 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add MetzKaj to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you :)
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
1707 Posts
 Posted 08/23/2019  06:10 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add maridvnvm to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It should also be noted that it would appear that during some mints may have deliberately used retrograde letters.

During the final emission of Probus from Lugdunum they chose to use A, B, C and D as their 4 officina identifiers. Officina B, C abd D all produced many dies with the officina letter in both normal and retrograde form. The number of dies with retrograde letters is smaller than the standard direction but are also too numerous to think that it is simply an isolated set of errors. We can only suppose that they were using retrograde letters in this mint at this time for some meaning that we cannot know as it was never documented.




I think that most such retrograde letters are simple engraving errors. Z seems to have been a regular error.



A more peculiar retrograde error is illustrated on the following coin. The engraver was attempting to engrave VI and engraved the pair as IV (IV is not used as an officinal mark).


Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
4183 Posts
 Posted 08/24/2019  10:25 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ben to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The others are totally correct - this one is indeed a retrograde Z! Strongly supported by the existence of coins bearing (correctly oriented) Z officina marks for Constantine, while the SMANTI mintmark only appears for Fausta and commemoratives (perhaps all in error from the Z officina), finding more use on coins of Constantius II and Constantine II.
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