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Byzantine Byzantine coinage.

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Old Jun 2, 2008, 09:47 AM   #1
Basileus
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Fake or barbaric imitation?

See this coin on eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=110257745948

While I am no expert on fakes, my area of focus is Byzantine, so even I know this was not a standard imperial issue. The style is too crude, and the legends are all out of whack, using reverse legends on the obverse etc. I guess it comes down to whether or not it was a barbaric imitation (and a poor one at that) or is an outright fake.

Needless to say, there are no takers on this coin yet.
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Old Jun 2, 2008, 01:56 PM   #2
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See
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/boa...?topic=46015.0

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Old Jun 2, 2008, 04:39 PM   #3
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Thanks, Richard. That was my suspicion as well. The barbaric imitations, from what I could tell, at least got the legends and all right, they were just of a cruder style. This one is just plain WRONG! I know Constans II solidi probably came in more varieties than almost any other Eastern Roman emperor, but I never ran across that one!

It seems a couple more questionables have shown up on eBay now as well. This Licinius aureus with a full frontal portrait seems unusual: http://cgi.ebay.com/Licinius-II-Aure...QQcmdZViewItem

I didn't think the first full frontal portraits came from Roman coins until Justinian...but I certainly could be wrong. I just have never spotted this many questionables at once before.
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Old Jun 2, 2008, 05:10 PM   #4
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These frontal portraits of Licinius II are quite famous (the URL below will take you to five recent examples) and there were lots of frontal portraits on Roman coins from the reign of Constantius onwards, though the skill of the engravers rarely matched the difficult angle (see the dust jacket of RIC 10 for a cross-eyed example from Ravenna).

http://www.coinarchives.com/a/result...II+AND+solidus

On the other hand, this example looks like a free-hand copy to me.

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Old Jun 2, 2008, 06:27 PM   #5
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Richard, thanks again. I need to add coinarchives.com to my favorites. You are very correct, and I should've known better, as I own a copy of RIC X and know exactly what you are talking about now. Licinius II was just a bit before the time period in coinage where I've studied the most, so I wasn't entirely sure about that one. I am glad you guys are around to clear these things up!
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Old Jun 3, 2008, 07:18 AM   #6
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Facing portraits - some of the most dramatic portraits on Roman coins:

Maxentius (AR Argenteus, c.307-310, Rome Mint):


Image courtesy NAC Auction 27, Lot 509

Carausius (AE Antoninianus, 287-288, Camulodunum Mint):


Image courtesy NAC Auction 42, lot 189

Postumus also has some, as did Tetricus II on a gold quinarius, but I cannot quickly find any examples to add at this time.

--Zach Beasley
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Old Jun 3, 2008, 11:24 AM   #7
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Here's the famous Postumus Aureus with 3/4 facing portrait. This obverse comes from one of the most beautiful dies ever cut, IMO.

If of interest, I can scan the picture of the Tetricus II. coin from Schulte's Die Goldprägung der gallischen Kaiser von Postumus bis Tetricus.

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Old Jun 4, 2008, 05:12 AM   #8
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Extraordinary 3/4 ad facing portraits, especially the Postumus! Byzantine facing portraits, by contrast, are not nearly as realistic, and much more iconic. Some would even say a less detailed or cruder style at that. That followed a logic in the Eastern Empire which essentially took a side portrait during Theodosius I, and gradually turned it until Justinian I to the front over 150 years. Quite a bit of innovation during the later 3rd and 4th centuries I see!
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Old Jun 4, 2008, 05:47 AM   #9
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The 3/4 facing bust with spear over shoulder and shield is the standard Eastern type for solidi from Arcadius right through into the sixth century. It starts under Constantius II with his thirtieth anniversary issues (the one in the picture is 35th).

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Old Jun 7, 2008, 08:38 PM   #10
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I have always found the Late Roman 3rd-4th Century facing bust coins to be incredible works of art. One could only imagine that the die engravers were inspired by the Greek coins of similar design.

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