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Nomos has corrected their description of a denarius of Faustina II

Roman Collector

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This denarius of Faustina II is currently up for auction at Nomos.


They describe its bust as "Diademed and draped bust of Faustina Junior to right, wearing a double circlet of pearls and with her hair bound up in a bun at the back." THIS IS INCORRECT. IT IS NOT DIADEMED (stephaned).

The bust type is the Beckmann Type 7 coiffure, characterized by a prominent brow wave, behind which lies a braid in parallel. Older reference works (RIC, BMCRE, Strack) incorrectly describe this braid as either a single or double "strand of pearls." But statuary never features strands of pearls, but only a braid, such as on this bust in the Museo della Terme.


Die engravers rendered this braid as a series of dots, which do resemble pearls, such as on my example of this coin:


The coin at the Nomos auction is simply another specimen of this very common coin. It does NOT HAVE A DIADEMED bust. How common is this coin??? Well, there were 263 of them in the Reka Devnia hoard, accounting for 19% of all denarii in the hoard issued under Marcus Aurelius. It is NOT WORTH 280 CHF. DO NOT BID ON THIS THINKING YOU'RE GETTING A RARITY.

Nomos cites the CNG provenance. This is real. BUT note that CNG describes the coin properly and DOES NOT MENTION A DIADEM OR STEPHANE (because there isn't one): "Draped bust right, wearing a double circlet of pearls around head." Nomos isn't simply cutting and pasting another dealer's description, inadvertently propagating a misattribution; Nomos described this on their own and MADE AN ERROR.

Here is what a genuine specimen of the diademed/stephaned bust type looks like (specimen in my collection).


I have written to Nomos informing them of their error. I hope they reply promptly and take my concern seriously. I hope they do the right thing and correct the error in their description and notify those who have already placed bids so that they may retract them. I'll keep you folks informed.

Edited by Roman Collector
Acknowledge actions by the auctioneer
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11 minutes ago, Al Kowsky said:

R.C., Your observation is interesting & controversial 🤔. The Nomos denarius has two engraved incisions that appear to form the tip of a diadem 🧐. Is it possible that this is a diadem decorated with pearls?

I do not believe so. I have also just heard from Nomos. See below.

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UPDATE!!! Nomos has acknowledged their error. Here is their e-mail to me.

Dear Roman Collector,

Thank you for your very detailed and, unfortunately (for us), very convincing email! You are, in my opinion, 100% right! And, in fact, when it appeared in CNG e447 it was correctly described, but we, somehow, managed to screw it up.
I have corrected the description in the online version. And we will announce the lack of a diadem at the auction.
We haven’t changed the estimate because, frankly, the quality of the coin is high enough to make the it well worth it. In any case, you may not find it believable but the owner valued this coin much higher than our estimate (but then he is a European living in the USA).
Thanks for the “heads up” and sorry for the error.
Yours sincerely, 
Dr Alan S. Walker

nomos ag

auf der mauer 9
8001 zürich


phone       +41 44 250 51 80
fax            +41 44 250 51 89
e-mail       awalker@nomosag.com


I have edited the title of this thread to reflect they have done the right thing. 👍

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  • Roman Collector changed the title to Nomos has corrected their description of a denarius of Faustina II
9 minutes ago, Curtisimo said:

Nomos is a good auction house. I have never had anything but good experiences with them. I’m not surprised they responded and set everything right.

It is a nice coin, diadem or no. 

The diademed type is quite scarce. Although present in the British Museum collection, the coin is unlisted in RIC and Cohen. Temeryazev & Makarenko estimate there are 25-49 specimens in existence. After searching through internet databases, though, I think that number is an overestimate.

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Here is mine:


Faustina Minor
AR-Denar, Rome, AD 161-175
Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, diademed, draped bust right
Rev.: FECVNDITAS, Fecunditas standing right holding scepter in right and infant in left
Ag, 3.47g, 19mm
Ref.: RIC III 677 var. (diademed), CRE 177 [R]

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Their descriptions can be interesting.

They've also  taken to  describing drinking  horns as giant phalluses emerging from umm abdomens.

CALABRIA. Tarentum. Circa 325-280 BC. Litra (Silver, 11 mm, 0.89 g, 3 h). Scallop shell. Rev. Dolphin leaping to right; above, monogram of NE; below, a very curious figure, squatting and facing front: he appears to be a satyr holding an uncertain object in his raised right hand and has what appears to be a giant phallus coming out from his abdomen to his left.

Probably they'll get a higher price though with that. First image  is theirs, second image is a close up of a coin of mine, a Vlasto 772 nomos.


Admittedly  it  might not be the best-engraved  drinking horn ever, but  nor  is it an "abdomen penis"!





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