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The Worst Flans of the Ancient World


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I have this thread over on CT, thought I'd start one here.

Please show off the absolute worst, dog-awful flans you have. The worse the better, and especially for those periods when flans tended to be "alright."

First post is this absolutely wonky Gallienus. He's got some weird flans, but they're typically relatively okay. This one really missed the "uniformity" memo.


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Yes, there are some bad flans. Here is a Tetricus.


Tetricus I
Antoninian, Köln
Obv.: IMP C TETRICVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Rev.: PAX AVG, Pax standing facing, head left
AE, 2.5g - 17/20 mm
Ref.: RIC 100

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My worst flans seem to coincide with some festival/party going on. Perhaps it tells about about the state the mint workers were in ... 😁


Although it's not the worst flan, the double struck reverse gives it an extra party look...! And of course the 'C S' ! 


Edited by Limes
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Fun, if unattractive, thread.  The Byzantine Empire can always be counted on for some really lousy flans.

Phocas half follis


Heraclius & Constans II collection of broken potato chips:


These are Heraclius countermark issues for Sicily - some of these are on full-sized folles.  But some, like these, I think they were chopping up largish folles and making new coins out of the bits:




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A beautiful Aurelianus with a strange flan :

pro.jpg.356fb91fa8b41bd41a040f1ebf6b2664.jpgIMP AVRELIANVS AVG : radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right

IOVI CONSERVATORI /✱P : emperor standing right, holding short sceptre, receiving globe from Jupiter, standing left, holding sceptre

Antoninianus, AD 270-275, Siscia, RIC 227

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Bad flans can also be found on SMALL coins 


Ionia, Phokaia. Circa 521-478 BC. AR Tetartemorion. 7 mm, 0,18 g.

Head of griffin left / Incuse punch.

Cf. SNG Kayhan 514–6 (hemidrachms) and 1428 (diobol).

It is possible that this issue may belong to Abdera or Teos, both of which also issued early silver coins with griffins on the obverse.


Mysia. Kyzikos circa 525-475 BC (other sources - 450 or 480-400 BC)
Tetartemorion AR
8 mm, 0,18 g
Forepart of boar left, tunny to right / Head of roaring lion left, star to upper left, all within incuse square.
Von Fritze II 14; SNG France 375.

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User-error contributed  hugely to this flan but -

AMBRACIA. Ca. 456-430 BC.
Silver stater
Obv. Pegasus flying right, A below. Rev. Head of Athena wearing Corinthian helmet right, within incuse square.

Impressively (!!) double struck, slipped during the striking process, creating a tab-like extension on one side. The entire planchet partially slid off the anvil, allowing only the rear part of the Pegasus to be doubled, and "enabling" the punch die to strike a second head of the Athena to the right of the original one.




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Justin II and Sophia (Grey Aliens!), AE Follis. Ragged Flan.

31.4 mm 13.79 grams

Obverse: DN IVSTINVS PP AVG, Justin on left holding cross on globe and Sophia on right, holding sceptre topped by cross, both nimbate, seated facing on double-throne

Reverse: Large M, ANNO to left, cross above, regnal year to right (year III), officina letter below, mintmark CON.

Reference: SB 360, MIB 43. (492 (!) combinations known) 



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Some of the flans presented thus far are quite ..... what can I say??? Impressive conbis9.jpg.3bcd3b23236056ba73167a455914058e.jpgThis one for a siliqua is not so great. 

Ar Pre Reform Siliqua of Constantius II Sirmium 350-355 AD Obv  Bust right draped and cuirassed wearing rosette diadem. Rv Inscription within wreath. RIC 66 2.83 grms 20 mm Photo by W. Hansen 

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On 4/24/2023 at 8:24 AM, Marsyas Mike said:

Fun, if unattractive, thread.  The Byzantine Empire can always be counted on for some really lousy flans.

You got that right!!

Tiberius II Constantine 574-582 CE and Anastasia.
Byzantine Æ half-follis, 5.02 g, 20.4 mm, 7 h.
Thessalonica, 579 CE.
Obv: dmTibCONS TANTPPAV, Nimbate Tiberius and Anastasia seated facing on double throne; he holds globus cruciger, she a scepter.
Rev: Large K; above, cross; to left, A/N/N/O; to right, regnal indicator V (=5); beneath, TЄS.
Refs: Berk 398; DOC 23; SB 439; MIBE 65.

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This is the only mis-shapen flan I have


Honorius, AE3. Constantinople. AD 408-423. DN HONORI-VS PF AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right, star behind head / GLORI-A ROMA-NORVM, two emperors standing facing, looking at each other, holding a globe between them. Mintmark CONS and officina letter A, B, Gamma or Δ RIC X Constantinople 409; Sear 2102. 15mm, 1.47gr

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Celtic, Northeast Gaul. Leuci. Circa 100-50 BC. Potin Unit (15mm, 2.36g, 10h). Boar Standard series. Boviolles (Meuse) mint(?). Obv: Celticized male head to left on raised disc. Rev: Boar standing left; fleur-de-lis below. Ref: Castelin 582-593; LT 9078; CCCBM III 412-424.


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Quality was so poor at the Sacra Moneta Roma they chopped up square flans! 

Gallienus, BI Antoninianus

Gallienus BI Antoninianus

Minted: 260 - 268 AD, at the Rome Mint

Weight: 4.57g, Diameter: 23.65mm, Axis: 6H

Head of Gallienus, radiate, right

Goat, walking right

Exergue: ς

Reference: RIC V Gallienus 207

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An nice Easter egg :



δ N ҺЄRACLIЧS P P AVG : Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Rev: VICTORIA AVςЧ : Cross potent set upon globus

gold Semissis, Constantinople, A.D. 610-641 Sear 784


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