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Early eastern Hadrian denarius


maridvnvm
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I just had to share this new purchase. As some of you know I like Roman Imperials but with a strong leaning to the Eastern mints when it comes to denarii.

This coin comes from the first eastern issue of Hadrian from Antioch (or Tyre?) mint. Struck August–December AD 117. It celebrates his adoption by Trajan which was made public just before Trajan died.

It is quite an attractive denarius despite areas of legend being slightly off flan. The style is distinctly eastern and quite different in style to the same type from Rome. 

Obv:- IMP CAES TRAIAN HADRIANO OPT AVG GER DAC, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from front
Rev:- PARTHIC DIVI TRAIAN AVG F P M TR P COS P P, Trajan and Hadrian standing vis-à-vis, clasping right hands and each holding a volumen in left; ADOPTIO in exergue.
References:- RIC II.3 2959; RPC p. 449; RSC 4d; McAlee p. 217; Butcher p. 97, fig. 30, 13 (same dies?); RIC II –; BMCRE 1021

RI_044au_img.JPG

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Great coin, @maridvnvm!  While I don't have an eastern variant that you share (jealousy implied 🙃) here's my relative of this coin which is an early variant from Rome which lacks the word added later in exergue, "ADOPTIO".

My notes on this coin are here: https://www.sullacoins.com/post/transition-of-power

image.png.6ab9c27f39700e7d985518abfc6cfd8e.png

Hadrian, AD 117-138, AR denarius (18.9mm, 3.32g, 7h), Rome mint, struck AD 117

Obv: IMP CAES TRAIAN HADRIAN OPT AVG GER DAC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right

Rev: PARTHIC DIVI TRAIAN AVG F P M TR P COS P P Trajan presenting globe to Hadrian, each holding scroll

Ref:RIC II 2c p.338

Tyre and a Tyrian Tetradrachm also caught my attention this week in my most recent "note":

https://www.sullacoins.com/post/purple-of-tyre

 

Edited by Sulla80
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1 hour ago, Sulla80 said:

here's my relative of this coin which is an early variant from Rome which lacks the word added later in exergue, "ADOPTIO".

My notes on this coin are here:

Hey Sulla, 
  I enjoyed your blogs and with this post I recommend them to others. I think we all study our coins to some extent, but you obviously extensively study yours and then write them up very well.
  For the rest of you, just click on "Blog" at this page.

https://www.sullacoins.com/

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13 minutes ago, Valentinian said:

Hey Sulla, 
  I enjoyed your blogs and with this post I recommend them to others. I think we all study our coins to some extent, but you obviously extensively study yours and then write them up very well.
  For the rest of you, just click on "Blog" at this page.

https://www.sullacoins.com/

Thanks for the kind words, @Valentinian, I enjoy collecting the history, geography, and relevant art, as much as the coins and hope that others find the pages useful and entertaining.  I've found your website (http://augustuscoins.com/) useful as well and include it on my "Library" page: https://www.sullacoins.com/library

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On 9/24/2022 at 9:52 AM, Roman Collector said:

Fantastic addition to your numophylacium, @maridvnvm! I really like that it has the ADOPTIO legend. Historically important, indeed!

I no longer scratch my head wondering "what is a numophylacium" - perhaps time for a movement in the coin world #numophylacium 😄

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Posted (edited)

@maridvnvm, by sheer coincidence, just a few days after you posted your beautiful Hadrian Eastern "Adoptio" denarius (RIC II.3 2959), I was able to obtain an example of its companion type (RIC II.3 2960), also issued at the outset of Hadrian's reign, probably in Antioch. I didn't post about it right away because I wanted to wait until it arrived. But here it is now:

Hadrian, AR Denarius, AD 117 (Aug-Dec), Antioch Mint. Obv. Laureate and cuirassed bust right with exposed upper part of breastplate visible with balteus strap, IMP CAE DI TRA PAR F DI NER NEP TRA HADRIANO AVG / Rev. Trajan standing right, clasping hands with Hadrian standing left, Trajan holds scroll in upraised left hand, [TRIBVNIC][off flan] POTESTAS; in exergue, ADOPTIO. RIC II.3 2960 at p. 278 (ill. Pl. 49) (frequency “R2”) (2019 ed.); old RIC II 22C (leg. corr.) (1926 ed.); RSC II Hadrian 7a (Antioch); Strack *4 corr. [citing example in Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum (No. 8668); see RIC II.3 2960 at p. 278 n. 1442, correcting Strack’s erroneous rendition of legend]; BMCRE III Hadrian, p. 243 No. 3 [also citing example in Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum (No. 8668)]. 17x18 mm., 2.64 g. Purchased at St. James’s Auctions, Auction 65, 21 Sep 2022, Lot 1039 (described as  "deeply toned").*

image.jpeg.0ef227d0c9848c86c2b3a44c643cdcd1.jpeg

*This unusual “Eastern” Imperial denarius was issued together with RIC II.3 2959 (the coin in the OP) at the beginning of Hadrian’s reign, when he was the governor of Syria, headquartered in Antioch. See McAlee p. 216 [Richard McAlee, The Coins of Roman Antioch (2007)]: 

“When Hadrian succeeded Trajan as emperor in August 117 he was the governor of Syria, so that province and its capital, Antioch, were at the center of the political events at the beginning of Hadrian’s reign. [Discussion of Hadrian’s early Syrian tetradrachms, including the transfer of the provincial mint from Tyre to Antioch before the end of the year 117, omitted.] . . . . Hadrian also struck denarii in Syria, and was the first emperor to do so since Vespasian [who was himself the first emperor to strike Roman imperial aurei and denarii in Syria; see id. p. 152]. (Not coincidentally, Vespasian also came to power while he was a Roman governor in the east.) The earliest type – presumably struck in 117 – has a legend with the honorific titles adopted from Trajan and a reverse showing Trajan and Hadrian standing together and clasping hands, with ADOPTIO in the exergue. The legend and portrait style are similar to those seen on the first issue of tetradrachms with eagle on club ([McAlee] no. 529), attributed here to Tyre.”  See this example of the obverse portrait on McAlee 529 (taken from specimen # 14 at RPC III Online 3684):

 image.jpeg.afcd07f424730bf5c608b1c265b443af.jpeg

 There is certainly some similarity in style to the portrait of Hadrian on the obverse of my denarius (RIC II. 3 2960).

 In terms of rarity, RIC II.3 classifies this type as “R2” (“very rare”), by contrast to RIC II. 3 2959, which is classified as only “R” (rare). (Note that unlike the old RIC, the frequency analysis is based not only on museum collections, but on the frequency of specimens sold on the market.) The only museum specimen listed either in RIC II.3 or in OCRE (and cited in Strack) is this example at the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum (No. 8668):

 image.jpeg.af017ed970818f3543fdb3153d65ce31.jpeg

The British Museum does not appear to have an example of this type; instead, as noted above, it cites the Vienna specimen. (See BMCRE III Hadrian, p. 243 No. 3 & fn.) 

Other than my example, I have found only four other specimens listed on ACSearch:

 image.jpeg.b0247c4486e89383df51255bc0678029.jpeg

Given the rarity of this type, I believe that I was lucky to be able to obtain my example at what I consider a reasonable price. I am rather surprised that it did not get more attention given its scarcity and historical significance. One possible explanation is that the only reference cited by St. James’s Auctions in its lot description was the old RIC II 22C from the 1926 edition of RIC II, rather than the new and much more detailed RIC II.3 2960 from the 2019 edition.  Perhaps the consignor would have been better off auctioning his or her coin through a house better known for ancient coins. 

I didn't even realize until a few years ago that there were Imperial denarii issued in Syria at the same time as those mints were also occupied with issuing "Provincial" coins with Greek legends, in non-Imperial denominations. And even after I became aware of such Eastern denarii, it took a while for me to find out that some were issued prior to the reign of Septimius Severus, when large numbers of Eastern denarii were minted.  I'd certainly be very interested in seeing other examples of pre-Severan Imperial denarii issued in Syria, whether by Vespasian, by Hadrian, or by anyone else who may have issued them between Hadrian and Septimius Severus.

Edited by DonnaML
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Posted (edited)

I did collect eastern denarii of Hadrian for a while but sold off many of them to a Hadrian specialist. I still have a small number such as the following:-

Hadrian Denarius

Obv:- HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, Bare headed, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from the rear
Rev:- COS III, Mars walking right holding spear and trophy
Eastern Mint.
Reference:- RIC -. BMCRE -.

RI_044aa_img.jpg

Edited by maridvnvm
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1 hour ago, maridvnvm said:

I did collect eastern denarii of Hadrian for a while but sold off many of them to a Hadrian specialist. I still have a small number such as the following:-

Hadrian Denarius

Obv:- HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, Bare headed, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from the rear
Rev:- COS III, Mars walking right holding spear and trophy
Eastern Mint.
Reference:- RIC -. BMCRE -.

RI_044aa_img.jpg

Great coin. I believe it's RIC II.3 3052 at p. 285 (part of "Eastern mints group III," dated 128-c.130), illustrated on Plate 52, frequency R.3 (highest rarity). There's an example in Paris, BnF no. 4681.

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On 10/8/2022 at 12:05 PM, DonnaML said:

image.jpeg.afcd07f424730bf5c608b1c265b443af.jpeg

 There is certainly some similarity in style to the portrait of Hadrian on the obverse of my denarius (RIC II. 3 2960).

The resemblance is pretty good evidence that we're looking at the products of the same mint workers, for sure!

I've been on the lookout for one of these (preferably the eastern version, since Hadrian was there).  I was watching your denarius in the auction, @DonnaML, but I wasn't willing to pay the premium for the rarer reverse legend.  Congrats, nice coin!

There was another of the OP type on VCoins at about 300 USD, but I was too cheap for that one too.  By fluke I managed to snag this one for just a hundred bucks, an auction unsold from a short time ago:

image.jpeg.b1a9203fa54aeed12136c74bd9328b89.jpeg

Looks to be an obverse die match to @maridvnvm's OP coin.  I see a dot at the end of our obverse legend.  The reverse on mine makes it pretty clear that's Hadrian on the left and Trajan on the right, I'd say.

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12 hours ago, Severus Alexander said:

The resemblance is pretty good evidence that we're looking at the products of the same mint workers, for sure!

I've been on the lookout for one of these (preferably the eastern version, since Hadrian was there).  I was watching your denarius in the auction, @DonnaML, but I wasn't willing to pay the premium for the rarer reverse legend.  Congrats, nice coin!

There was another of the OP type on VCoins at about 300 USD, but I was too cheap for that one too.  By fluke I managed to snag this one for just a hundred bucks, an auction unsold from a short time ago:

image.jpeg.b1a9203fa54aeed12136c74bd9328b89.jpeg

Looks to be an obverse die match to @maridvnvm's OP coin.  I see a dot at the end of our obverse legend.  The reverse on mine makes it pretty clear that's Hadrian on the left and Trajan on the right, I'd say.

Great buy! Why do you think that's Hadrian on the left? Most people say it's Trajan.

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