Find complete articles on the latest discoveries and useful tutorials to start or deepen your knowledge of numismatics.

New! An unlisted and particular Sestertius of Antoninus Pius

We know the attributes of each Roman allegory, yet sometimes we see some visuals showing us what we call "variants". This is the case here with this coin. Once again, it was a friend who showed me this coin. He thought he had a perfectly normal Antoninus Pius Sestertius. I remember immediately seeing that something was strange. In the second he showed me this coin, I thinked that Annona seemed to have a lot of things in her hands.

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Comment identifier les différentes tailles des lettres A et K pour le type CERES

 There are in all 3 sizes of letters for the mint of Paris (letter A): small, normal and high. However, it is possible that one names small by: very small; normal will also be named medium. This is due to the fact that the punches used to mark the mint letter on the die, are more or less small. For example it will be very small if the letter is engraved with a punch used for cents, on a corner for a 2 francs. The final visual will give the impression of having a ''very small'' letter. I also think that name is given to help people understand what we are talking about. Because people who referenced these variants knew well that it is very difficult to see the difference between normal and small. Because sometimes even the punch '' normal '' is already itself small. One way to say '' imagine a tiny letter ''.

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Explication et position des fruits et raisins sur les 50 centimes MORLON bronze-aluminium

  Si vous avez du mal à voir ou comprendre les variantes ''avec fruit et raisin''...''sans fruit et avec raisin''..., cet article est pour vous. Tout d'abord, de quoi parle-on précisement? Il existe plusieurs coins différents. Et avec des combinaisons connues qui les différencient. Les coins sont les des morceaux de métal gravés en creux et qui servent à imprimer les monnaies en relief lors de la frappe. Il y a donc toujours un coin d'avers et un coin de revers. Ici, seul le coin d'avers contient des changements que je vais vous détailler ci-dessous:

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A scipio hold by Constantine I with little particularity

  A Roman coin must always be analyzed in its entirety. When I look at a coin, I pay attention to the letters, the legend breaks, the drawing and its details. I am looking for an error, a variant or something special. These are often unnoticed items because they are well hidden or are not things that are usually important to watch. The coin I am going to present to you comes in this configuration.

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Avitus with or without a beard, discovery and analysis

  I start here a particularly difficult subject. Throughout this article, you will read my findings supported by evidence. Only, I can only emit hypotheses, so much the subject is complicated. Nevertheless, new discoveries will be useful to our numismatic and historical knowledge. I will make them live in order.

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Constantius II, consular mantle?

 Here is an article showing you how to classify Roman busts. You will be able to follow the analyzes of the clothes and see how sometimes it can be complicated. What adds the biggest part of the difficulty is the quality of representation of the clothes that the coin offers us. I also showed this coin on a forum to compare opinions and I quote in the article, the remarks made by a person who made the same findings as me. I wanted to compare my opinion with that of other people in this subject, because it seems presumptuous to classify this bust definitively. To classify this bust is very subjective. I think we can not reject a mantle on the bust or a simple decorated drapery. It would still be good for ancient numismatics, to look even more precisely on some busts like this one. Because it is not the only one to be discussed and the people who worked on the busts, may not have had these copies to analyze or have not seen the particular points that I emphasize below in the article.

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5 cents Napoleon of 1856, minted in Brass !

Another curiosity that my friend Sylvain.D presented to me. A five-cent Napoleon III for the year 1856, minted in Lyon and in brass.

  The color is yellow and there is no doubt, it is brass. After analysis, I think this coin is official. Everything fits, including the reverse die which shows us a right star a little crushed down, common to all the coins of 1856. There is, for me, no element who permit to doubt about the l authenticity of this coin. The diameter is the same as an official coin and the weight is 4.95 grs, therefore quite good, since the coin is worn and the theoretical weight is 5 grams for a bronze coin. The difference in mass between brass and bronze is tiny. Of course, everything also depends on the dosage in the mixture of metals. Finally, I note that the edge is smooth, as for current coins.

  The Gadoury, 1989 edition, page 90, tells us that a essai of 5 cents in brass for the same year 1856 is already listed. But it is a coin marked ESSAI instead of CINQ CENTIMES and ZINC CUIVRE NICKEL instead EMPIRE FRANÇAIS. On the reverse, no difference except that the two mint marks are anchors. The indicated weight, is 4.70 grs. But, we have here a coin having exactly the type adopted on current coins. And as I pointed out, with the same obverse die as the current bronze coins! It seems to me, therefore, at this point in the investigation, that this coin is not a essai because nothing indicates it, except the change of metal and it does not appear to my knowledge, any essai to the adopted type of brass in the registers. A brass blank was probably introduced when minting coins for circulation. In any case, we know that this blank was present in the Lyon mint. This might perhaps teach us more about the origin and location of these brass essai.

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Discovery of variants on the Aureii and Denarii of Septimius Severus, RIC 288

While browsing the coins of Septimius Severus type RESTITVTOR VRBIS, I noticed a variant of scepter / spear. The RIC gives us for this type of coin, a single description: Rome holding a spear. But, we may wonder, since the tip of this spear always shows us balls, if we always have a spear and not a scepter in front of us. Some coins (such as the one illustrating the javelin crosswise below), show us a spear or a scepter, whose end placed on the ground is masked by the shield. But no characteristic point of a spear goes out on the side of the shield on the right. Except if we follow the drawing, the spear is glued to the shield and so we should see this point. All coins showing a glued spear or behind the shield show no tip. sold by Roma Numismatic Limited, link to the sale:, link to the website:

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Hadrian RIC 927 new copy !

 Here is a small article presenting a currency that had not been seen for a very long time. A sesterce of Hadrian::

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Diocletian RIC 67 var

  When we talk about scarcity, we must always specify several things. Indeed, an antique coin can be rare one day and much less in the future. Why? Because one can find a treasure of 2000 coins during a search and see a large number appear. But how do we know if we have a real rarity in front of us? The coin illustrating the article has been posted to on the subject "Aurélianus de Dioclétien (RIC 67 var)", link to the topic:

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Discovery of nummus CAESATVM NOSTRORUVM retrograde


Here is an ancient curiosity. A Cripus nummus with a retrograde legend on the reverse. But that's not all. This coin was present in the collection of a friend and it is by looking at its coins, that I pointed out these originalities. I will detail you here, all that makes this coin, a particularity.

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How to identify roman coins

  Before starting, I remind you that you have the tool "image search engine"" for already identify the emperor and the type of reverse. The associated legends for each emperor and each type. Full details about ho to use it, here: All illustrated coins are with copyright photo permission of : Numismatica Ars Classica. Link to their website: Except for those with mention.

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1808 1/2 franc-5 francs variant with or without olive

 A few years ago, I discovered the existence or the absence of olives between certain letters for the 5 francs, 1 franc and half franc of the year 1808. These coins are engraved by Pierre - Joseph TIOLIER. So, the engraver who succeeds to Augustin DUPRÉ, known for his variants of large or small oak leaves, with or without acorn, with or without olive. All this, giving multiple combinations. It would, therefore, be logical to imagine the possibility of seeing such variations on coins struck after this period, including by other engravers.

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New estimates serious and realistic

  Quotes are found everywhere, but they are all criticized for the same thing: they are too high! All connoisseurs will tell you and talk about it often. So much so that almost all sellers make their own prices!

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New codification of legends

 When we reads a book on ancient coins, we often encounters the same problem: the way of writing legends changes from one book to another and is often not precise enough or the descriptions are very long. In the case of long descriptions, the author often engages in descriptions like: "VICTORIA CONSTANTINI AVG with the words VOT and XXX written in two lines inside a shield." You will also meet for this coin, such a description: "VICTORIA CONSTANTINI AVG / VOT XXX". If the first description is precise, the second is, on the other hand, much less. What do we want when we read a book or even a description of a sale etc? To be able to imagine the coin as best as possible, if no illustration is available.

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How the old database works

This is not an article, but rather, some details on the functioning of the database of ancient coins.

You will find for each type of coiny listed, a photo of the bust and a photo of the reverse type. If I have not yet done a study of style, these two photos will be a representation of the style that we find most often. If I did a style study like here:, these two photos will also be an illustration of the most common style. Below you have a style board. It does not include the photos just above, which are considered part of the board, but I have not posted a second time in the board. Each picture of the board, declines an evolution of the most current style, therefore the picture of the bust and the type of reverse. So you have, for example, a picture of the bust that is a thin and skinny portrait of the emperor and the last picture of the board that shows an emperor with a large, fat face . All other photos between them are an evolution from skinny to fat.

  In cases, where, there is no style board, while at the top of the page concerning the emperor (example with Vetranio) the mention "study of style available" is noted in red and bold; this simply means that the coin is very rare and therefore style varieties do not exist or are very little different. If some fields, such as weight or diameter, are not filled, the explanation is simply that there is no knowledge about this information. Example with the coins known to only one copy, the sale of which does not inform the weight or the diameter. Some weights can be displayed with extreme precision, for example: 4.03 grams. Either the coin is known to one copy and therefore the displayed weight is that of the coin, or it is an average weight. I note the theoretical weights in the notes below, which does not preclude averaging. Indeed, if we simply stick to the theoretical weight, you will regularly find coins weighing more and even more, quite regularly. It is therefore preferable to give an average indication. Low or high, so-called, extreme weights, sometimes almost double the usual weight in the cases of the most heavy weights, are noted in the comments and are not taken into account in the average.

  The name of the mint can be displayed directly below the name of the type if there is only one mint and there is no study style for the reasons mentioned above. If the style study exists or there are several mints, the name of the mint is shown below in the part called "mints"

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Discovery of a portrait of Constantius II on a coin of Vetranio

  It is in the year 2015, by browsing the coins sold for Vetranio at Classical Numismatic Group: , that I discovered this coin sold 190 $ in July 2015 and described as being a normal coin of Vetranio (link of the sale at the end of the article).

  I wrote a small article, in the same year 2015, about this discovery and a review of descriptions "laureate" and "diademed" for the coins of Vetranio that I put here, online today. This discovery is also described in this page (Maiorina category, light weight series): Since then I have searched for a second coin sharing this particularity and it is which signals us a second coin sold on April 6, 2017, link of the sale: http://https: //www.acsearch .info / search.html? id = 3734612 and describing this portrait error. Currently I do not know if Gemini is aware of the coin sold at CNG.

  What about these two coins? My first observation is that these two coins share the same obverse die, the same mint: Siscia, the same officina: devil (4 ° officina) and the same mint mark: devilSIS at the exergue. However, there is something important: these two coins do not share the same reverse die. The position of the COR letters of CONCORDIA are not aligned in the same way with the letter A in the field, so the position of the hands and the length of the cloak and the decoration of the bottom and top of the standards change. It would be particularly interesting to discover a coin with the same portrait but having been struck by another officina or a different mint mark. If you are reading this and are not a specialist in antique numismatics, you will wonder why such a discovery would be important? Simply because it allows us to know better the functioning of a mint and precisely of this mint of Siscia during the period of Vetranio and Constantius II. Each die is engraved by hand, it is therefore "unique". So it's a puzzle game that is played. Sharing a die, for the same type but with two differents officinas or better, between two different types is important. That's why, if you see a coin sharing one of the three dies described in this article, you can share it here: , if you want to make an anonymous report I will respect your wishes. I also note that I am currently creating a special page for this huge puzzle of obverse and reverse corners, by type and by emperor. Feel free to share your dies here too.

Explanations on the particularities of the portrait and revision of the descriptions "laureate" and diademed "for Vetranio:

This bust is identified by the author as that of Constantius II, due to several points:

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