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ID On Some Roman Coins Please.

 
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 Posted 11/24/2022  02:06 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add ttkoo to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Still fairly new to the ancients.
The first came from the seller as a Claudius, so that narrowed down the field. I searched and came up with the details, so I hope I got this one correct.




This next one is fairly toasted on the obv, and the reverse has me stumped.
Your help would be appreciated

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 Posted 11/24/2022  03:53 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The second one is an antoninianus with either Probus, Carus, Carinus, or Numerian, emperor receiving Victory from Jupiter on reverse. Here is a Probus one: http://numismatics.org/ocre/id/ric.....922?lang=en
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 Posted 11/24/2022  4:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ttkoo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The second one is an antoninianus with either Probus, Carus, Carinus, or Numerian, emperor receiving Victory from Jupiter on reverse.


@erafjel. Thanks very much. I went off searching on a different tangent think it was two soldiers on the reverse. In hindsight.....
And the reverse colouring, is that an indication that it was silvered?
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 Posted 11/24/2022  5:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You're welcome, @ttkoo. Yes, the antoninianus coins at this time had a very low silver content, below 5 %. It is believed that the 'XXI' is an indication of 20 parts copper to 1 part silver (which gives 4.7 % silver). Since coins like that naturally look more like copper than silver, the appearance was often improved by giving them a silver wash before they left the mint.
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 Posted 11/24/2022  5:14 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, these coins were originally silvered. The process by which the Roman mints at the time applied the silver layer was by "pickling": the coin blanks, made of very debased silver (the "XXI" at the bottom indicates the coin is made of 20 parts copper to 1 part silver, or 4% silver content) would be soaked for days in vinegar. The acidic vinegar etched out the copper from the surface, leaving a layer of silvery "sponge". The sponge was then collapsed and crushed when the coin was struck, creating a thin layer of purified silver on the surface of a mostly-copper coin.

After it is dug up, it is very difficult to clean a high grade coin from this time period and preserve the surviving plating intact. Regular uncleaned ancient coins are difficult, but silver-plated late Roman coins are more difficult again. Buyers of these coins do have to beware of "replate jobs" - much like people who buy American 1943 steel cents.
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 Posted 11/24/2022  5:19 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you for that interesting piece of info, @Sap. I didn't know that it was done in that way.
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 Posted Yesterday   02:26 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ttkoo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I wonder who it was that originally thought up the process....
Thanks to you both for this very useful information.

Is there a publication(s) that focuses on the production of the ancient coins?
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 Posted Yesterday   07:22 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I wonder who it was that originally thought up the process....

As with most ancient chemistry discoveries, it would have been discovered serendipitously, as they had no knowledge of actual chemistry theory. Perhaps someone noticed that dropping a base-silver coin in vinegar made the coins look more silvery; a bit of experimentation would have then developed the process. Or they may have thought about the process and came to a logical conclusion.

The ancients knew that copper reacted with vinegar, as that is how they made the green dye they called "verdigris", which was usually composed of copper acetate (Pliny, Natural History 34:27). They would have noticed that in the process of verdigris manufacture, the pieces of copper metal disappeared. They also knew that vinegar did not likewise make silver disappear, though they knew that vinegar was helpful for removing tarnish from silver when mixed with chalk (Natural History 33:46). So they may have deduced that, if they add vinegar to a piece of very debased silver, then the copper might disappear and the silver remain.

The actual process, of making silver-plated coins look nicer by pickling, does not seem to have been known in Pliny's day; he mentions disdainfully that Marc Antony diluted his denarii with iron, and that the counterfeiters of his day often dilute their fake denarii with copper, but makes no mention of any form of plating, or of the coins we call "fourees"; he only mentions, with astonishmnet, that merchants actually collect and study fake coins and even pay more than a denarius in order to obtain a new variety of fake (Natural History 33:46).

As for publications that talk about ancient coin production, we actually know very little about the process from contemporary written records. Like many ancient crafts, coin-making was like a guild, with trade secrets passed down from master to apprentice - and coin production would have been especially protected so that counterfeiters did not learn to imitate the secrets. Pliny goes to great length in describing the uses and history of coinage, but makes no mention of coin production methods at all - he wasn't in on the secrets. So most of what we know about coinage production has to be deduced from the coins themselves.

But a good modern book about ancient Roman coinage production, use and the place of coins in the overall Roman economy, is "Coinage in the Roman World" by Andrew Burnett.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
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 Posted Yesterday   2:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ttkoo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
But a good modern book about ancient Roman coinage production, use and the place of coins in the overall Roman economy, is "Coinage in the Roman World" by Andrew Burnett.


@Sap, thanks for this information and the interesting history lesson.
The Ox moves slowly, but the Earth is patient.
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