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Suspicious Sestertius

John Conduitt

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I have a coin that I think is meant to be a Clodius Albinus sestertius (RIC IV, 54A), D CLOD SEPT ALBIN CAES, with Minerva reverse, MINER PACIF COS II S C. There are traces of the SC in a different light but not much else of the legend.

But I have zero experience with sestertii. I have two, one of Claudius and one of Commodus, neither of which is like this (or each other, for that matter).

This one has straighter edges than I’d have expected, but they appear not to be filed and there's no obvious seam. It’s rather brassy, which seems reasonable, but other examples often aren't. It has signs of corrosion and has some strange hard red-brown and green deposits, which do not budge (although I haven't tried chemicals).

It’s also a bit light at 29mm and 18.00g. It should be 31mm and 22g, but there is a lot of variation. I imagine there are a few fakes of these. Is it obviously wrong?

Thank you




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Nice one, @John Conduitt.  Whenever I buy an ancient now that is not part of an enormous issue, I poke around looking for die-matches.  This sets my mind at ease when it comes to authenticity, plus it's cool to have a die-match from a prestigious collection.  I start with OCRE and acsearch and go from there.  

In this case, I spent all of about 2 minutes on OCRE before I found a match to yours in the British Museum (obverse and reverse, if I'm looking at this correctly - note the position of the beginning obverse legend at the base of the bust truncation, the big B in front of the nose; on the reverse, the pattern of branches on the branch, etc.)

OCRE:  http://numismatics.org/ocre/id/ric.4.ca.54A

British Museum:  https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/C_R-15700

A match-up photo of yours and the British Museum.  If not a match, very close...


Congratulations on a fine, scarce coin. 

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Nice coin @John Conduitt  Here is a Sestertius which has an even patina that I like.




Julia Mamaea (mother of S. Alexander) Æ Sestertius. Rome, AD 224. IVLIA MAMAEA AVGVSTA, diademed and draped bust to right / VENVS FELI[X], Venus seated to left, holding palladium and sceptre; SC in exergue. RIC IV 701 (Alexander); Banti 18; BMCRE 199-200. 21.35g, 29mm, 12h.

Good Very Fine.

From the 
Angelo Collection, collector's tickets included.

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