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Macrinus Tetradrachm - is it an A or an Δ


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Hello, I have a "problem" with a Macrinus tetradrachm, more precisely with Prieur 1282 or see also attached image file. 

The legend on the reverse reads:
ΔHMAPX ЄΞ YΠATOC T A
Demarchos Exousias Upatos to Alpha
Tribunicians authority, Consul for the first time

The specimens I found in other auction houses also translate this as A for alpha = 1.

Example:
https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=2067719 
https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=5864115 
https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=6782666

 

But is it really an A for Alpha? Or is it an Δ for Delta (= 4 = the fourth consulate)

There are many different Macrinus coins from other cities from the same period with an Δ instead of an A.
ΔHMAPX ЄΞ YΠATOC Δ

Prieur 246:
https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=7236926 

Prieur 889:
https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=7645915

Prieur 891:
https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=6396991 

Prieur 1695:
https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=8418012 

...and many more.

However, it must also be said that there are some specimens where one may recognise an A and some specimens where one may just recognise a Δ.

So there are two versions:
ΔHMAPX ЄΞ YΠATOC T A
ΔHMAPX ЄΞ YΠATOC T Δ

 

I now ask myself:
1. were they all supposed to be A and some stamp cutter had accidentally made it a Δ?
2. should they all actually be a Δ and some stamp cutter had accidentally made an x out of it?
3. both A or Δ are intended (and correct), the stamp cutters assumed a first or fourth consulate respectively?
4. the auction houses misread the A, it represents a Δ?
5. the auction houses misread the Δ, it is supposed to be an A?

Does anyone shed light on this? Thanks 🙂

 

Attached Prieur 1281 with an A
Attached Prieur 891 with an Δ
 

 

217 AD Prieur 1282 Silver Tetradrachm Arados Macrinus Webseite.png

217 AD Prieur 891 Silver Tetradrachm Beroea Macrinus Webseite.png

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Two remarks:

What does Prieur say to this? Unfortunately I own only McAlee for Antiochia which is of no help.
The Δ-tetra for Antiochia is struck from a reverse die intended for Caracalla

When comparing letters, you have to stick as closely as possible to the same "series" (or whatever you want to call it)
You just cannot compare lettering from various cities - unless it is proven that the die cutter was the same (which is possible)

Regards
Klaus

 

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A and Δ can be hard to tell apart. It may take some study to establish which of these letters was meant on tetradrachms of a particular issue at a particular mint.

As Klaus says, following McAlee, tetradrachms calling Macrinus COS IV were presumably mules, struck from dies originally prepared for Caracalla, since Caracalla had been COS IV since 213 AD, but Macrinus never advanced beyond the rank of COS II.

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Posted (edited)

Sorry for late feedback...

On 6/15/2022 at 5:32 PM, Dwarf said:

What does Prieur say to this? Unfortunately I own only McAlee for Antiochia which is of no help.

Prieur says, the book from cgb.fr comes next week 🤠

On 6/15/2022 at 5:32 PM, Dwarf said:

When comparing letters, you have to stick as closely as possible to the same "series" (or whatever you want to call it)
You just cannot compare lettering from various cities - unless it is proven that the die cutter was the same (which is possible)

Ok, that I understand.

On 6/15/2022 at 6:48 PM, curtislclay said:

As Klaus says, following McAlee, tetradrachms calling Macrinus COS IV were presumably mules, struck from dies originally prepared for Caracalla, since Caracalla had been COS IV since 213 AD, but Macrinus never advanced beyond the rank of COS II.

Ok, next shopping, McAlee.

On 6/15/2022 at 6:48 PM, curtislclay said:

but Macrinus never advanced beyond the rank of COS II.

Yes, that's what confused me. Why COS for the fourth time? Macrinus never reached that.

On 6/15/2022 at 6:48 PM, curtislclay said:

Macrinus COS IV were presumably mules, struck from dies originally prepared for Caracalla, since Caracalla had been COS IV since 213 AD, but Macrinus never advanced beyond the rank of COS II.

Yes, I have already read that somewhere in a publication. But I can't find it anymore and I don't know who it was. It also said that some mints used the Caracalla dies and that COS is therefore probably the fourth time from such a die. If only I could remember where I read that.

Ok - but I'll wait for my specialist literature before I speculate further. Thank you both.

Edited by Prieure de Sion
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