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Ill-placed die break or unskilled die-engraver?


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I bought this one, not in spite of its appearance, but because of its appearance. It's interesting from a technical standpoint and rather amusing. There's quite a bit of die-deterioration on the coin. There are die-breaks between the chignon of the empress's hair and the inscription, as well as behind her neck. I think the die broke around her nose, giving her a W. C. Fields appearance, sadly. I suppose it could have been a mistake on the part of the die-engraver, but it couldn't have been intentional. I've never seen her nose deliberately rendered like this, even in the most backwater provincial mints with the most unskilled die-engravers.
 

1185370045_FaustinaJrIVNOSCSestertiusbareheadedBreitsprecher.jpg.49d1aed2f33359d4a26b8fc5c7c14ce2.jpg

What do you think happened to the die to cause this? Any theory, no matter how outlandish, would be welcomed! @dougsmit, @curtislclay, any ideas?

Post your goofy portrait coins or victims of unfortunate die-breaks!

Edited by Roman Collector
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Hard to say. I don't think that we have die breaks here. The position would be unusual.  I'm not sure about other possibilities either, but what about a double strike with a bigger shift or rotation, or an overstrike?

The right side of the obverse legend is weak, but it loks like AAVGVSTA with two A's.

 

Edited by shanxi
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image.png.e7f0af9c6a75aacadb745c8e002f372a.png

 

I am not a specialist but being an official imperial issue, I don't think it can be the case of an unskilled die engraver. Also the environmental damage theory falls.

Should I be wrong and the nose is intentional, I think this (fourree?) antoninianus was designed by a descendant of the die engraver for your coin. The reverse was probably inspired by the same image.

image.png.e788320affab7ad308b814e8019aa005.png

Edited by ambr0zie
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I suspect the large nose may be connected to the flat striking which is also evident on Faustina's temple and hair, in the legend in front of  her nose and forehead, and on the upper third of Juno's body on the reverse.

It would be interesting to find another sestertius well struck from the same obv. die.

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My guess, and just a guess, is that smoothing of the obverse field around the nose contributed to the 'look'.  Whether that included some die irregularity or not, I do not know.  I do believe that a die break is possible around a nose. Valentinian II seems yo have a larger 'beak' here. ry7765bb0099.jpg.02d08bf258cfb42afe02386076cf12ab.jpg

Also, we need to be certain that our current beliefs in what makes a nose attractive were in force at the time. My denarius suggests someone at the mint thought Faustina had plenty.

rc2350bb0532.jpg.65d36a78f870fd74016bdf4dd646560d.jpg

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I would have thought die break immediately too, but after reading the other responses I suppose it's just possible that the flat strike that Curtis mentions, a slightly larger nose than engraved normally, plus the visible corrosion and smoothing could explain it.

A hilarious coin anyway, though! Me likey. 😁

This goateed Probus from Lugdunum went unsold in a couple of previous Roma auctions, but some sucker just bought it.  (Ahem. Might've been me. 😏)

image.jpeg.6b285d1789cb1381ed4b0015321e6244.jpeg

My other favourite die break:

image.jpeg.c0082678e5a585b7f5ca099daa4abe58.jpeg

Edited by Severus Alexander
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Plenty of big noses on display.

I'm not sure what's going on here on the reverse of this victoriatus - Artemide suggested a "die scratch" - maybe the engraver felt the trophy needed a prop or, who knows?

I think it's Cr. 166/1:
spacer.pngspacer.png

ATB,
Aidan.

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An alternate theory would be that there are traces of corrosion around the hair and folds of clothing on the obverse, and around the figure and bird on the reverse. The uneven patina around the nose, cheek and neck and the adjacent field seems to indicate some corrosion there as well. This corrosion could have resulted in pushing out the metal from the surface into "growths" on the coin ( I have seen this happen to other coins as well). Intentional smoothing to remove these "outcroppings" could have led to the nose looking the way it does currently.   

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12 hours ago, Roman Collector said:

I bought this one, not in spite of its appearance, but because of its appearance. It's interesting from a technical standpoint and rather amusing. There's quite a bit of die-deterioration on the coin. There are die-breaks between the chignon of the empress's hair and the inscription, as well as behind her neck. I think the die broke around her nose, giving her a W. C. Fields appearance, sadly. I suppose it could have been a mistake on the part of the die-engraver, but it couldn't have been intentional. I've never seen her nose deliberately rendered like this, even in the most backwater provincial mints with the most unskilled die-engravers.
 

1185370045_FaustinaJrIVNOSCSestertiusbareheadedBreitsprecher.jpg.49d1aed2f33359d4a26b8fc5c7c14ce2.jpg

What do you think happened to the die to cause this? Any theory, no matter how outlandish, would be welcomed! @dougsmit, @curtislclay, any ideas?

Post your goofy portrait coins or victims of unfortunate die-breaks!

Rome's first, and last, honest die engraver. 

Piratakles comes to mind, if we're talking die breaks this beauty made a perfect eye patch. I've always felt Herakles was the precursor to Conan. So it's nice seeing him resembling a freebooter!

2183890_1631628197.l-removebg-preview.png.2f000dc889189076acc8f1568e80eec2.png

And for christpy cream sake, is there a single Aspendos stater without a die break somewhere!?!?

2941198_1654595254.l-removebg-preview.png.14fea788893eb29b43d01f77759c96cf.pngIMG_0354(1).PNG.6af67454116b28f762f8ced4b150213e.PNG

My favorite recent, possible, die break is this mesmerizing MSC with no Herakles in the boss (though awkwardly his nemedian lion is facing up with no visible portrait, the lungs spikey hair should be facing left *see below) where he should be and a spiral staircase wrapping around the shield front. 

3240233_1662447301.l-removebg-preview.png.341cd70ab0367a613ad23eb05761f793.png

IMG_5752(1).JPG.2ba29bb282c93f2a83e36e28d06fe16e.JPG

 

Ps, Gat'damn ma man, I love and appreciate you sharing your level of expertise and passion!

Pss, I ain't kidding. What If a die engraver thought he was being funny? I just don't see the "break". My two cents worth a hey penny 

Calling @curtislclay and @dougsmit 

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