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Old Jan 11, 2008, 10:44 AM   #1
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Constantine I, AE3, 319-320, London - RIC VII, -- (cf. RIC 158 for same w/o pellet)



Constantine I, AE3, 319-320, London
IMP CONSTANTIN_VS AVG
High-crested helmeted, cuirassed bust left, spear over right shoulder, stars on helmet fields, plain crossbar
VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
Two Victories, standing facing each other, inscribing shield with VOT / PR above altar with diamond pattern, dot in each corner of altar and on in center (altar type d)
Pellet in center field
PLN in exergue
18mm, 2.92g
RIC VII, -- (cf. RIC 158 for same without pellet in field)
Ex Gorny & Mosch, Auction 159-162, Lot 3073, October 2007

Note: RIC does not attest the legend break N_V on any examples and does not list a series with pellet field mark.

Interesting coin and until this piece, I had assumed when there was something in the center field on the reverse, it was an engraving style where the celator had terminated the hand of the right Victory holding the shield. Now with this specimen clearly showing the object as a separate and distinct pellet, a review of the entire series from 319-320 is required. Some time ago, Barry Murphy alluded to this necessity as in the 1990s he was analyzing the London mint AE issues with a specialist in the field and they discovered many issues with pellet field marks on the obverse and reverse not accounted for in RIC.

Other examples in my collection where previously I was assuming the hand of Victory versus a pellet field mark include:



Constantine I, AE3, 319, London
IMP CONSTANTI_NVS AVG
High-crested helmet, three pellets on crossbar, cuirassed bust left, spear over right shoulder, mappa in left hand, large stars with pellets in helmet fields
VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
Two Victories, standing facing each other, inscribing shield with VOT / PR on column
PLN in exergue
19mm, 3.20g
RIC VII, 156 (R1)
Ex Claude Peltier, eBay, May 2006



Constantine I, AE3, 319-320, London
IMP CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG
Laureate, helmeted, cuirassed bust right
VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
Two Victories, standing facing each other, inscribing shield with VOT | PR above altar with diamond pattern, dot in each corner of altar and one in center
PLN in exergue
18mm x 19mm, 3.73g
RIC VII, 157 (R1)
Ex Steve Santore Collection, 2005; Ex Tony Laverack, eBay; Ex Dix Noonen Webb Auction Catalog 53, March 2002; Ex Langtoft Hoard B



Constantine I, AE3, 319-320, London
IMP CONSTANT_INVS AG
High-crested helmeted, empty crossbar, cuirassed bust left, spear over right shoulder, mappa in left hand
VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
Two Victories, standing facing each other, inscribing shield with VOT | PR above altar with diamond pattern, dot in each corner of altar and one in center
PLN in exergue
18mm x 19mm, 3.01g
RIC VII, 159 (R1)
Ex Ancient Auction House (AAH), eBay, March 2004

And to contrast against an example with no pellet field mark:



Crispus, AE3, 319-320, London
FL IVL CRIS_PVS NOB CAES
Laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right, seen from behind
VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
Two Victories, standing facing each other, inscribing shield with VOT | PR above altar with diamond pattern, dot in each corner, circle with dot in center
PLN in exergue
17mm, 3.37g
RIC VII, -- (cf. 164 for type)

Note: B3 bust type not attested in RIC for this issue.

Note: RIC footnotes #164 "is, so to speak, a forewarning of the subsequent issue which was to include obverses of the sons of Constantine". Also, RIC notes for #158, an example with a shield on the altar, referring to the Senckler collection, but was unable to verify. Perhaps this example is another of the "shield on altar" type, as RIC does not describe in any other footnotes a type with large circle and center dot. Jeff Clark agrees with me on the "shield on altar" proposal for this coin.

Here is my London VLPP page with the table showing the issues documented in RIC:

http://www.beastcoins.com/Topical/VL...LPP-London.htm

Hopefully Jeff Clark or another expert on this series can comment.

Respectfully,

--Zach Beasley
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 11:19 AM   #2
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The pellets look like centering marks.


http://www.constantinethegreatcoins.com/dots/
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 11:38 AM   #3
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Victor,

Yes, I agree they look like centering marks and may or may not be obliterated when the coin is struck. the centering mark is seen on many LRB from all (?) mints:



Constantine I, AE3, 321, Aquileia, Officina 1
CONSTAN_TINVS AVG
Laureate head right
D N CONSTANTINI MAX AVG
Legend surrounding laurel wreath terminating in large jewel, enclosing VOT / . / XX
. AQP . in exergue
19mm x 21mm, 3.36g
RIC VII, 85 (C2)

But is not always seen. The trick is to determine if it really is a centering mark or a pellet. For example, this coin does not have a pellet in the center of the reverse:



Constantine I, AE3, 325-326, Antioch, Officina 2
CONSTAN_TINVS AVG
Laureate head right
PROVIDEN_TIAE AVGG
Campgate with six rows, two turrets, no doors, star above, top and bottom rows empty blocks
SMANTB in exergue
19mm x 20mm, 3.58g
RIC VII, 63 (R2)

But the same coin with a pellet in the center of the reverse, all other thng being equal, gets a separate RIC listing and is ascribed to a separate series and subsequent date range.



Constantine I, AE3, 326-327, Antioch, Officina 7
CONSTAN_TINVS AVG
Laureate head right
PROVIDEN_TIAE AVGG
Campgate with eight rows, two turrets, no doors, star above, pellet in doorway, top and bottom rows empty blocks
Pellet in archway
SMANTZ in exergue
18mm x 20mm, 2.98g
RIC VII, 71 (R1)

How very inconsistent. So, which is correct? Treating the center mark as a series device or simply one to assist the celator in engraving?

--Zach
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 11:42 AM   #4
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Or, let's consider two coins from the same series and date range, but given spearate listings if the "pellet" exists or not.



Constantine I, AE3, 327-328, Antioch, Officina 9
CONSTAN_TINVS AVG
Laurel and ladder diademed head right
PROVIDEN_TIAE AVGG
Campgate with eleven rows, two turrets, no doors, star above, top and bottom rows empty blocks
D | E across fields
SMANT in exergue
19mm x 21mm, 3.20g
RIC VII, 79 (R5)



Constantine I, AE3, 327-328, Antioch, Officina 9
CONSTAN_TINVS AVG
Laurel and ladder diademed head right
PROVIDEN_TIAE AVGG
Campgate with nine rows, two turrets, no doors, star above, top and bottom rows empty blocks
D | E across fields, pellet in doorway
SMANT in exergue
19mm x 20mm, 2.54g
RIC VII, 81 (R2)

Hmmmmm......

--Zach
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 11:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vic9128 View Post
The pellets look like centering marks.


http://www.constantinethegreatcoins.com/dots/
Hey Victor,

By the way, I used your website as the Internet Site of the Month in my Celator column for the February issue. The column is on Constantine Era imitative AEs.

--Beast
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 11:56 AM   #6
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When is a dot just a dot?

Let's look at the Rome mint for a moment, just to get in a nice mix of mints in the thread.

It's 321 AD and we have a dot.



Constantine II, AE3, 321, First Stage, Rome, Officina 2
CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C
Laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right
CAESARVM NOSTRORVM
Legend surrounding laurel wreath terminating with open circle enclosing VOT / . / V
RS in exergue
19mm x 20mm, 3.64g
RIC VII, 236 (C1)

Then comes the "second stage" of 321 and the dot is gone:



Crispus, AE3, 321, Second Stage, Rome, Officina 3
CRISPVS NOB CAES
Laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right
CAESARVM NOSTRORVM
Legend surrounding laurel wreath terminating with large jewel enclosing VOT / X
RT in exergue
19mm x 21mm, 3.21g
RIC VII, 238 (C1)

Oh wait, it's back now.



Constantine II, AE3, 321, Second Stage, Rome, Officina 3
CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C
Laureate head right
CAESARVM NOSTRORVM
Legend surrounding laurel wreath with bands at the sides and terminating with large clover enclosing VOT / . / X
RT in exergue
19mm x 20mm, 3.19g
RIC VII, 243 (C1)

324-325 and it's dots everywhere!



Constantine I, AE3, 324-325, Rome, Officina 1
CONSTAN_TINVS AVG
Laureate head right
PROVIDEN_TIAE AVGG
Campgate with seven rows, two turrets, no doors, star above, top and bottom rows empty blocks, one pellet in doorway, two pellets above
RP in exergue
RIC VII, 264, sub-issue d. (S)

RIC 264-269 includes a sub-issue, delineated by the number of dots on the reverse, with:

a = no dots; b = dot in arch; c = dot in arch, one dot above; d = dot in arch, two dots above; e = dot in arch, three dots above.

Oh good - it's 326 now and those pesky dots have been circular filed.



Constantine II, AE3, 326, Rome, Officina 3
CONSTANTINVS INV NOB C
Laureate, draped, cuirassed bust left
PROVIDEN_TIAE CAESS
Campgate with six rows, two turrets, no doors, star above, top and bottom rows empty blocks
R wreath T in exergue
RIC VII, 289 (C2)
Ex Carlos Escuer, August 2003

Oh No! They're back!



Constantius II, AE3, 330, Rome, Officina 3
FL IVL CONSTANTIVS NOB C
Laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right
GLOR_IA EXERC_ITVS
Two soldiers standing facing each other, spear in outer hand, resting inner hand on shield, two standards with large medal on banner between them, pellet in center field
RFT in exergue
18mm x 20mm, 2.53g
RIC VII, 329 (C1)

Why would they keep appearing and disappearing all throughout the coinage? We need to think about these some more. Or, it could simply all be a matter of one engraver over another at each given mint...

Sometimes a dot is just a dot. Or is it?

--Zach
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 12:01 PM   #7
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Just as RIC does not give separate listings for, let's say, a GLORIA EXERCITVS with a pellet in the center, they should not have done so for the campgate issues. I believe that if you call some of the dots control marks, then you have to call all of them control marks, otherwise this is completely arbitrary and makes no sense. Of course, RIC is not error free. Below is another CG with a dot in the doorway, and I don't think anyone would say this is a control mark, as the control mark is in the right field.


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Old Jan 11, 2008, 12:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vic9128 View Post
The pellets look like centering marks.


http://www.constantinethegreatcoins.com/dots/
Victor,

By the way, on your "dots" page, you use an image of mine which you renamed (the Quies follis):



and only part of the explanation of the blundered reverse. You can use the entire explanation so readers can fully understand what happened.

Diocletian, AE Follis, Before 305, Cyzicus, Officina 6
D N DIOCLETIANO BAEATISSIMO SEN AVG
Laureate bust right in imperial mantle, olive branch in right hand, mappa in left
PROVIDENTIA DEORVM QVIES AVGG
Providentia standing right, extending right hand to Quies standing left, branch upward in right hand, vertical scepter in left
S | KV | F across fields
PTR in exergue
28mm x 29mm, 9.68g
RIC VI, -- (Trier)

Note: On p. 208, footnote I states "The significance of the letters in the reverse field has not yet been explained." What appears to have happened is this reverse type was created in Trier and the die sent to Cyzicus to copy. In error, the celator did not realize the exergual mark was for Trier and was to replace it with a Cyzicene type, possibly due to the precedent set with the post-reform radiate folles where a field mark was used instead of an exergual. Two other attributes point to justify this hypothesis: Cyzicus did not use the longer version of BAEATISSIMO on this issue as standard, but Trier did, and the style of the reverse is typical of retirement issues from Cyzicus vs. Trier as evidenced by the employment of a small branch for Quies and the generally compact nature of art this mint, versus the often bold and grandiose style of Trier.

In any event, even under Trier listings, this coin is not attested for officina 6.

Best regards,

--Beast
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 12:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vic9128 View Post
Just as RIC does not give separate listings for, let's say, a GLORIA EXERCITVS with a pellet in the center, they should not have done so for the campgate issues. I believe that if you call some of the dots control marks, then you have to call all of them control marks, otherwise this is completely arbitrary and makes no sense. Of course, RIC is not error free. Below is another CG with a dot in the doorway, and I don't think anyone would say this is a control mark, as the control mark is in the right field.


Victor,

Sometimes it does seem rather arbitrary, doesn't it? Let's look at another series from Antioch where the dot keeps appearing and disappearing.

No center dot, but pellet below



Same thing.



Then a center dot and pellet below



Same thing, but the center dot is actually accounted for in the spacing of the legend



Another center dot



So, why no center dots for Constantine I and Crispus, but center dots for Constantine II and Constantius II? Purely coincidental?

--Beast
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 12:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeastCoins View Post
Victor,

You can use the entire explanation so readers can fully understand what happened.
Thanks, but I like my simplified explanation, as I am trying to demonstrate how the engravers might mindlessly copy something-- like a dot.
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 12:26 PM   #11
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Dafne issues also have a dot in the center, at least every example I have seen, but nobody, to my knowledge, has ever suggested that it is a field mark.


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Old Jan 11, 2008, 12:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vic9128 View Post
Thanks, but I like my simplified explanation, as I am trying to demonstrate how the engravers might mindlessly copy something-- like a dot.
You could mention where you got the image from at least.
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 12:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeastCoins View Post
You could mention where you got the image from at least.
I actually think I got it from a post on another FORVM, but if it will make you happy, I will amend the pic.
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 12:35 PM   #14
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I believe if you look at enough amepigraphic coins, you will find examples with and without the dots. Here is one of Constantius without the dot.

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Old Jan 11, 2008, 12:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vic9128 View Post
Dafne issues also have a dot in the center, at least every example I have seen, but nobody, to my knowledge, has ever suggested that it is a field mark.


Victor,

This example does not have a dot (it has the bottom of Victory's wing):



Same on this one



This one could be argued either way



Whereas this one could easily be argued the pellet was engraved on top of (after) Victory was engraved (this supporting the argument for a series mark)



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