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Uncleaned Ancient Coins


jlueke
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Whenever a new collector delves into ancient coins, Roman, Greek, or other, the topic is uncleaned coins is likely to arise. Online auctions are full of uncleaned lots, some promising the lure of silver and even gold. Many dealers carry uncleaned coins and bulk lots show up in high end auctions. As with anything in coin collecting caveat emptor.

 

One of the lures, one used by many advertisters, is that in uncleaned lots one can find rare and valuable coins for minimal expenditure. While it is not impossible to find valuable coins, the odds as in Las Vegas are against the consumer. Coins can be broken, unidentifiable slugs, or barely identifiable but uncollectable slabs of metal. Many also are quite common types, types one could purchase for a few dollars. When one considers the investment in time, a profit is arre.

 

However, there is a very positive aspect in buying uncleaned ancient coins: Fun! If you like the cleaning, the discovery, the thrill of attribution, the experience could prove extremely rewarding. If you have the urge, find a reputable dealer (the online auctions are a gamble within a gamble) and see if you like the experience. For $10 or $20 a single foray is certain not to bring financial ruin.

 

To see some pics of coins being cleaned and mangled go to

http://www.ancientcoinvalues.com/39.html

 

Click on the uncleaned bronzes link. The last one seems like it will end up with the most improvement.

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Neat, I like how you showed the step-by-step with different methods. I've had my share of luck with uncleans (actually, I've never cleaned my better pieces since I didn't want to risk making them worse), so I just buy cleaned ones now.

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I generally prefer pre-cleane dones as well. On occasion it's fun to play around. I did this batch a little fast but I will add a few more series and at least do a few coins in weeklong soaks :ninja:

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Yeah, those week-long soaks in ammonia can reveal some nice bronze pieces. You have to be careful, though. That copper bearing blue ammonia of the soak will stain your skin or clothes permanently. The blue has to wear off your hands if you forget to wear gloves.

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I can certainly identify with the fun and adventure of trying to attribute coins. I've had much practice at scouring through coin books for medieval English hammered. It's well good, takes me back to my days as an archaeology student.

 

I still haven't owned an ancient coin though... in a few week's time hopefully i will be able to remedy this. I've got a few Roman silvers under close observation.

 

Although once i did come close to buying a Julius Caesar silver coin. Infact the coin dealer probably still has it. But i'm more fascinated with the coins of the Empire, as i generally take a dim view of Republics on principle.

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Roman Imperial has something for everyone at any budget, so I fully expect you to have at least one example. For anyone casually interested http://www.vcoins.com is the place to browse. Search for an emperor and you get instant price comparisons.

 

Some uncleaned lots are for sale right now as well.

 

What's wrong with Republics?

 

USA USA USA :ninja:

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I like monarchies. :ninja: We tried having a republic once, it ended up being a bunch of religious fanatics banning Christmas. No thanks!

 

Actually i fully intend to collect Roman Imperials by deity rather than by Emperor. I've seen a nice Iuppiter coin already, and a Vesta, and Ceres.

 

No sign of my patron deity Mercury yet though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello Ætheling,

 

Depends on what you are looking for with Mercury on it. He is usually shown on ancients holding a caduceus and purse such as on this piece:

 

Z2909LG.jpg

 

Herennius Etruscus, AR Antoninianus, 250-251, Rome

Q HER ETR MES DECIVS NOB C

Radiate, draped bust right, seen from behind

PIETAS AVGG

Mercury standing left, purse in right hand, caduceus in left

22mm x 23mm, 3.62g

RIC IV, Part III, 142b

 

To see more examples of how to tell who from whom, please refer to my Deities and Personifications page on my research site.

 

The page is in desperate need of updating, but it will be a while as I have other sections of the site I'm doing right now.

 

Best regards,

 

--Beast

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900430.jpg

 

Hey I have one with Mercury (Hermes in the case of this coin) as well - also with the caduceus. It is on topic in this thread as I received it in one of those batches of awful-looking uncleaned ancients for less than a buck each. Perhaps frowned upon by the more advanced collectors of ancients, I enjoyed the batch quite a bit and it was a very educational experience. Even though the coin is in terrible shape, it is my oldest and I enjoy it a great deal.

 

I was able to make an identification of this one (largely with the help of someone on rcc whose name I have forgotton). Coin 30 on this plate - "1772 Hermes’ head with hat, right. Rev. : TOMEI AΘAE. Caduceus with wings. Plate III 30. " Thank you Moushmov and the fellow who spotted it for me..

 

BTW: The story of the association of the caduceus with the medical profession (which Hermes was not associated with as far as I can tell) is an interesting one - it's a worthwhile net-search.

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Is that one of those "anonymous quadrans"?

 

Nope - syzygy's coin is a Greek bronze:

 

Thrace, Tomis. Circa 2nd Century BC. Æ 15mm Head of Hermes right wearing petasos / TO-MI FI-LW flanking caduceus, Moushmov 1722.

 

Anonymous Quadrantes are Roman Imperial coins, issued by a number of different rulers (mostly early Imperial - Vespasian, Domitian, etc) They look very similar to the other coin though and here is an example CGB has for sale:

 

brm_126339.jpg

 

The way to tell them apart is the use of S C on imperial bronzes (Senatus Consulto) and Greek legends on the non-Roman coins.

 

Clear as mud?

 

--Beast

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Nope - syzygy's coin is a Greek bronze:

 

Thrace, Tomis. Circa 2nd Century BC. Æ 15mm Head of Hermes right wearing petasos / TO-MI FI-LW flanking caduceus, Moushmov 1722.

 

--Beast

 

No, not 1722 which looks like this

 

It's Moushmov 1772, as indicated - check out the link to the plate in my post. They are similar designs, but note that my coin has a winged caduceus and a different inscription.

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Ah yes - yours is the 1772 variety. My error. :ninja:

 

Winged vs. plain caduceus. Both from Tomis in Thrace. I'm not into Greek coins, so I get quite caught up in attributing the city, which is what I did on this one and overlooked the second line of the inscription and the tiny wings. Amazing how some of the details on Greek coins will get a separate listing in the books where some areas of Roman coins have all sorts of varieties lumped together. Sigh.

 

Thanks for pointing out the difference on the two pieces and it is a neat type. I've not seen one of these in hand.

 

--Beast

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Amazing how some of the details on Greek coins will get a separate listing in the books where some areas of Roman coins have all sorts of varieties lumped together.  Sigh.

--Beast

 

The whole area of ancients amazes me..regularly. But what I really find mind-boggling is the effort that went into cataloging these specimens - and much of it done relatively long before the technological advances that we take for granted today!

 

...and kudos to widlwinds.com - a great site for dabblers like me :ninja:

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The whole area of ancients amazes me..regularly. But what I really find mind-boggling is the effort that went into cataloging these specimens - and much of it done relatively long before the technological advances that we take for granted today! 

 

And there is still quite a lot of work to be done, but we just keep building on what others have done before us. In my Roman campgate collection alone, I have around 500 different pieces, which will eventually be the basis of a book I write on that topic down the road. For now, I'm working on the VICTORIAE LAETAE series as I own a currently unique coin from that series for which there is no ancient equivalent:

 

Constantine-Hat-VLPP.jpg

 

...and kudos to widlwinds.com - a great site for dabblers like me  :ninja:

 

Dave Surber does a great job and it is a wonderful tool for helping with attributions. I'm trying to do the same with my site in certain areas and Dave and I work together. His Roman Republican section is linked back to my site and my Byzantine section has individual links back to all of his specific pages:

 

http://www.beastcoins.com/Byzantine/Byzantine.htm

 

I started collecting ancients when I bought some while on vacation in Italy with my mom and sister in 1999. Hooked (addicted?) ever since.

 

--Beast

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r0010b.jpg

 

Another shot here

 

 

Beastcoins, hmmmm maybe you can help me with this one... I know that this is a very common Constantine family design, but I was never able to find it with the 'N' on the standard. Also, I never heard of nicomedia or another mint marked like that. It was suggested that it could be a barbarous copy, I dunno. I looked and looked for quite a while and then gave up. I don't have any RIC volumes or anything really sophisticated...Sears, a Sayle volume and a bizarely thorough catalog volume by Carson, Hill and Kent.

 

In keeping with the thread this one was also from an uncleaned batch.

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Nope - syzygy's coin is a Greek bronze:

 

Thrace, Tomis. Circa 2nd Century BC. Æ 15mm Head of Hermes right wearing petasos / TO-MI FI-LW flanking caduceus, Moushmov 1722.

 

Anonymous Quadrantes are Roman Imperial coins, issued by a number of different rulers (mostly early Imperial - Vespasian, Domitian, etc)  They look very similar to the other coin though and here is an example CGB has for sale:

 

brm_126339.jpg

 

The way to tell them apart is the use of S C on imperial bronzes (Senatus Consulto) and Greek legends on the non-Roman coins.

 

Clear as mud?

 

--Beast

 

Of course! :ninja:

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r0010b.jpg

 

Another shot here

Beastcoins, hmmmm maybe you can help me with this one... I know that this is a very common Constantine family design, but I was never able to find it with the 'N' on the standard.  Also, I never heard of nicomedia or another mint marked like that. It was suggested that it could be a barbarous copy, I dunno.  I looked and looked for quite a while and then gave up.  I don't have any RIC volumes or anything really sophisticated...Sears, a Sayle volume and a bizarely thorough catalog volume by Carson, Hill and Kent.

 

In keeping with the thread this one was also from an uncleaned batch.

 

Well, this is kind of tough because the exergue is off the flan, but it appears to be an AE4 of Constantine II. It has to be either Constantine I or II based on the obverse legend and since the reverse shows only one standard instead of two, it must be an AE4 (smaller sized) module, which would be appropriate to Constantine II as augustus. The N on the banner is a great example of how many Imperial coins get lumped together. As far as I know, there has not been a published in-depth study on the GLORIA EXERCITS coinage, of which this is a part, to explore all of the variations.

 

The N on the banner has nothing to do with the issuing mint per se and you can find all sorts of variations. Here is an M on the banner on an example from Trier:

 

Z0626.jpg

 

Constans, AE4, After April 340, Trier, Officina 1

CONSTANS-P F AVG

Rosette-diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right

GLORI_A EXER_CITVS

Two soldier standing facing each other, holding spears and leaning on shield, one standard with M on banner between them

TRP cresent in exergue

17mm x 19mm, 2.10g

RIC VIII, 111

 

And and example with an O from Rome:

 

Z3632.jpg

 

Constantius II, AE4, After 340, Rome, Officina 2

D N FL CONSTANTIVS AVG

Laurel and rosette-diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right

GLOR_IA EXERC_ITVS

Two soldiers standing facing one another, each holding reversed spear in outer hand and resting inner hand on shield set on ground, one standard between them with O inscribed on banner

R . F . S in exergue

16mm x 18mm, 1.78g

RIC VIII, 57

 

I don't believe your coin is a barbarous imitation as it looks perfectly official in style to me, but without the exergual mark, it is difficult to attribute it to mint without a great deal of comparative study to mint styles and an analysis of all known banner variations. Hopefully we will one day have a work which catalogues this whole series :ninja:

 

--Beast

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I'm sure it is a series mark of some kind. They take all sorts of forms - pellets, palm branches, letters, numbers, all sorts of stuff :ninja:

 

--Beast

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