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Old May 2, 2008, 07:19 PM   #1
Zsigmunt
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Maximianus Herculius, AE Follis, c. 296, London or continental mint?

Dear all,

the following coin is similar as for the description to RIC 6b for the mint of London but differs by the style of the cuirassed bust of Maximianus Herculius on the obverse. Very uncommonly, the legend on the reverse is unbroken. Any comment or reference is welcome. Thanks, Jay.

Bust r. of Maximianus laureate and cuirassed
IMP C MAXIMIANVS P F AVG
Genius w. chlamys on the l. shoulder holding patera and cornucopiae
GENIO POPVLI ROMANI
26 mm, 10.65 g.
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File Type: jpg Maximianus1.JPG (27.4 KB, 189 views)
File Type: jpg Maximianus2.JPG (24.0 KB, 189 views)
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Old May 2, 2008, 08:33 PM   #2
Congius
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CGB are currently offering a similar piece which they are attributing to Boulogne:

http://www.numishop.eu/fiche-brm_177...ummus_296.html

The style does seem a little different to the more common non-cuirassed unmarked nummi attributed to Boulogne (Lyonese style), but still much closer to that than London.

Ben
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Old May 3, 2008, 02:48 AM   #3
Zsigmunt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Congius View Post
CGB are currently offering a similar piece which they are attributing to Boulogne:

http://www.numishop.eu/fiche-brm_177...ummus_296.html

The style does seem a little different to the more common non-cuirassed unmarked nummi attributed to Boulogne (Lyonese style), but still much closer to that than London.

Ben
Thanks Ben for the reply. I agree the style of the portray on the obverse matches some coins of the Lyonese style (but according to my inquiry, mostly bearing the LA and PLA mintmarks than the ones without mintmark), but also the coins of the first issue attributed to London (with a reverse mark LON). Save for no of these coins have a cuirassed bust on the obverse. Therefore my question linked to the difficult issue of the continental mintmark.

The coin of CGB looks alike but not the same one indeed (cf. bust on the obverse) and does not have an unbroken legend on the reverse.

Many thanks in advance for your further comments. Jay.
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Old May 3, 2008, 02:03 PM   #4
rol69
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Hi Jay,
Interesting coin, and interesting comments on the CGB coin also ; I have seen hundreds of Lugdunum follis and surely, the style of your coin do not remind me the one of scalptores from either the Lugdunum or the continental mint. Then my guess is that this coin is indeed from the London mint. Concerning the coin of CGB, the attribution to a scalptor from Lyon may be possible, but clearly the discussion remains open ..... As I said, it is just a feeling that I wanted to share. Best wishes,
Roland
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Old May 3, 2008, 06:44 PM   #5
Congius
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Jay, you're right that there is a similarity of style to the early LON issue, although not to the (strikingly different) unmarked groups II & III attributed to Britain. I think this brings up an interesting possibility that there may have been an additional unmarked issue from the LON mint that RIC (& Sutherland, Bastien) may have missed. There was another interesting coin recently sold (Diocletian "A", below) that may also support this idea.

I've put together a couple of composite pictures to illustrate this suggestion.

The currently accepted (RIC VI, & Bastien 1976) view is that these unmarked nummi fall into three groups, unmarked I, II & III. Group I, of Lyonese style, are the coins that Bastien assigns to a postulated continental coastal mint, where Lyonese celators were brought to supply pre-invasion coinage for Constantius. Group II are the crude long necked angular jawed coins, and Group III are the final short necked broader head coins. Groups II and III are both attributed to Britain.

The sequence of issues in this conventional view is:

1) 294-297 immediately following Diocletian's monetrary reform, Lyons starts issuing the new nummi, first with mintmark B, then LA/LB, PLA/PLB. Britain is still under the control of Allectus and does not yet participate in the coinage reform.

2) 296 Constantius prepares for, and succeeds in, recovering Britain from Allectus. As part of preparation he utilised Lyonese celators (nominally at Boulogne) to issue the Group I unmarked nummi destined for Britain. The style of these coins is the same as that of the prevailing Lyonese style of 296 reflected on the Lyonese coins with LA/LB and PLA/PLB marks.

3) 297 The London mint issues it's first nummi, in fine style, using the LON mintmark.

4) 298-300 British mint issues the crude Group II unmarked nummi.

5) 300-305 British mint issues the much improved Group III unmarked nummi.

On the composite pictures below, the first for Diocletian and the second for Maximianus, I have illustrated the LON, PLA, and unmarked I, II & III coins. On both pictures there is also a coin marked "A" (your Maximianus) which according to the RIC scheme must also belong to one of the designated I, II or II groups. The similarity of the "A" coins to those of the LON issue is unaccounted for since that style is not shared by any of the unmarked groups. To me, if we must assign the "A" coins according to this conventional scheme then the best stylistic match in both cases is with group I from the nominal Boulogne/continental mint.

The alternate possibility that I would like to suggest is that the unmarked "A" coins are in fact a separate group/issue, distinct from the previously identified groups I, II and III, and that this issue was a product of the London mint, following the LON issue, either preceding or in parallel with group I. These group A coins would be defined by having style similar to that of the LON issue, but maybe with some Lyonese influence, and - from this sample of 3 (these 2 "A" coins, plus the CGB specimen) - martial/cuirassed busts.

In addition to the LON style similarity, assigning these "A" coins to a new London issue would also makes the martial busts better fit in (as then continued in the following Groups II & III), and could perhaps be seen as a precursor to having the Lyonese mint help out by also issuing similarly unmarked nummi to boost the delayed introduction of the nummus to Britain. The stylistically poor British Group II coins could then perhaps be explained by having Britain become numismatically self-sufficient by replacing the Lyonese imports (or mint workers) with a large influx of poorly trained British celators.

Incidently, I think the Boulognese origin of the Group I coins is far from proved. Bastien himself (whose idea it is) offers little solid support. The Lyonese style is undoubted, but logistically the coins could equally well have been minted in Lyons itself, or even in Britain using Lyonese imported help. I would imagine that metallurgical tests might be able to identify the origin via different alloy and/or isotopes from the different localities.

Ben
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Unmarked nummi - Diocletian.jpg (112.1 KB, 178 views)
File Type: jpg Unmarked nummi - Maximianus.jpg (106.5 KB, 177 views)

Last edited by Congius : May 3, 2008 at 06:54 PM.
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Old May 20, 2008, 10:14 PM   #6
jamesicus
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That is an intriguing hypothesis, Congius. However, I am not following your Group categorization (IAW RIC, Volume VI, Londinium) -- I think you are using the term differently from the way it is used in RIC:

Group I(i) ..... plain laureate head ........................................ LON in reverse exergue ..... RIC numbers: 1-5 ..... c. 297 AD
Group I(iia) ... cuirassed bust, small head on tall neck .................... no mint mark ............... RIC numbers: 6-16 .... c. 300 onward
Group I(iib) ... cuirassed bust, larger head on shorter neck ................ no mint mark ............... RIC numbers: 17-22 ... c. 300 onward
Group I(iii) ... large, spread bust almost always cuirassed in low relief ... no mint mark ............... RIC numbers: 23-39 ... c. 303 onward
Group II(i) .... various cuirassed, draped or mantled busts ................. no mint mark ............... RIC numbers: 40-77 ... c. May 305-late 306
Group II(ii) ... various cuirassed, draped or mantled busts ................. no mint mark ............... RIC numbers: 78-81 ... c. late 306-summer 307

Group II(iii) starts the PLN Mint mark coinage ... with RIC number 82. All Group III coins bear Mint marks.

James
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Old May 21, 2008, 06:47 AM   #7
Congius
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James,
Yes - I was using the term "group" in a more casual way to refer to the "Unmarked I/II/III" classifications that Sutherland had originally (pre RIC) described in his paper "Diocletian's reformed coinage in Britain and related problems". I see now that the RIC VI London intro refers to these as "classes" rather than "groups".

I'm glad you brought the thread back to life, since I forgot to add a correction that I've since realized that the coins I've marked "A" (incl. Zsigmunt's that started this thread) would appear to be London Group II (using the term per RIC) rather than Group I, per a similar style example for Maximinus II as caesar which can't be earlier. It's still interesting how the style groups together the LON and Group II coins setting them apart from the Carausian/Alllectian cruder long necked varieties - I think there's probably more to be said about this.

Ben
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Old May 21, 2008, 08:24 AM   #8
jamesicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsigmunt View Post
.......... the following coin is similar as for the description to RIC 6b for the mint of London but differs by the style of the

cuirassed bust of Maximianus Herculius on the obverse. Very uncommonly, the legend on the reverse is unbroken. Any comment or reference is welcome

..........
Hi, Jay. Very nice coin! Here is my examplar RIC 6b (Londinium) coin ..........



.......... which has the usual GENIO POPV--LI ROMANI reverse legend break.

I think Ben's thought provoking hypothesis and references are going to be of great value in this discussion.

James

Last edited by jamesicus : Aug 16, 2008 at 03:26 PM.
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Old May 21, 2008, 08:32 AM   #9
jamesicus
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Two of the folles of Group I, (ii), Class II, (a), unmarked ... cuirassed bust, small head on tall neck series .........



RIC (Londinium) Constantius, No. 14a .................... RIC (Londinium) Galerius, No. 15

.......... are, to me, very reminiscent of the Carausius late "long neck" issues ..........


RIC Volume V(2), No. 475

James

Last edited by jamesicus : Aug 16, 2008 at 03:23 PM.
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Old Aug 16, 2008, 02:44 PM   #10
jamesicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Congius View Post
James,
Yes - I was using the term "group" in a more casual way to refer to the "Unmarked I/II/III" classifications that Sutherland had originally (pre RIC) described in his paper "Diocletian's reformed coinage in Britain and related problems". I see now that the RIC VI London intro refers to these as "classes" rather than "groups" .......... Ben
Ben -- here is an expansion of my previous post:

I think that Sutherland's notes relating to the unmarked folles -- RIC VOLUME VI, pages 113-115 (LONDINIUM) -- are somewhat confusing. When he speaks of "..... the three clearly distinguishable classes of unmarked coins, class I ....." (on page 114) and "..... Unmarked I, then, was produced in Gaul by Lugdenese staff in preparation for the invasion of Britain ....." (on page 115) he is obviously referring to the unmarked folles described on page 243, LUGDUNUM, (iv), Class I, RIC No. 14-21, for there is no Class I category for LONDINIUM Mint folles.

RIC VOLUME VI, LONDINIUM (and 'unmarked' subsiduary coinages) :

Group I, RIC No. 1-39
(i) LON mint mark folles, c. 297, No. 1-5
(ii) unmarked folles, Class II, (cuirassed bust), c. 300 onward
(a) With small head on tall neck, No. 6-16
(b) With larger, elongated head on shorter neck, No. 17-22
(iii) unmarked folles, Class III, (large, spread bust in low relief), c. 303 onward, No. 23-39
Group II, RIC No. 40-100
(i) unmarked folles, 1 May 305 - early 307, No. 40-77
(ii) unmarked reduced folles, late winter 306 - early summer 307, No. 78-81
(iii) PLN mint mark reduced folles, late winter 306 - c. summer 307, No. 82-100

.......... end of Londinium compilation summary encompassing unmarked folles.

RIC VOLUME VI, LUGDUNUM (and associated issues):

Group I, RIC No. 1-182
(iv) unmarked folles, Class I, (high relief head of medium size almost always with bare neck truncation) c. 296, No. 14-21

.......... end of Lugdunum compilation summary encompassing unmarked folles.

James

Last edited by jamesicus : Aug 17, 2008 at 07:16 PM.
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Old Aug 16, 2008, 02:57 PM   #11
Congius
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That's correct James - Classes II & III are assumed to be made in Britain, and Class I only destined for Britain, but made by Lyonese celators at an unknown location (postulated to be Boulogne).

I gave a brief description, and example pictures, of these 3 classes in my long post, above.

Ben
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