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Misidentified! Not Faustina Despite the Chignon


Roman Collector

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Because I often use "Faustin*" as a search term at biddr, V-Coins, and MA-Shops, from time to time I'm directed to coins misattributed to Faustina the Younger. It's not unusual to see lower grade imperial or provincial issues of Lucilla or Crispina misidentified in this way because of the similarity in hairstyle and because the obverse inscription may not be clear. I've even picked up a scarce Plautilla provincial misidentified as Faustina II.

Here's the latest acquisition, which arrived in yesterday's mail: a Provincial of Crispina from Germe in Mysia. It's not particularly rare, but has an interesting reverse type. The dealer was obviously fooled by the "...INA CEBAC" and the empress's hairstyle on the obverse. But not every woman who wears her hair in a chignon is Faustina the Younger!

CrispinaGermetwonymphs.jpg.6df6e100c5fdf18c5ec069da7c595b4e.jpg

Crispina, 178-182 CE.
Roman provincial Æ 26.1 mm, 8.38 g, 11 h.
Mysia, Germe, issue 1a, 179-180 CE.
Obv: ΚΡΙ
ΠΙΝ-Α ΕΒΑ, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: ΓΕΡΜ-Η-ΝΩΝ, two Nymphs(?) standing, facing, heads turned towards each other, each emptying an oenochoe over pillar and holding her dress (or towel); between them on the ground, an amphora.
Refs: RPC IV.2, 654 (temporary); Lindgren III, 464; SNG France 982-82.


There were two towns named Germe: Germe ad Rhyndakos situated between the rivers Macestus and Rhyndacus in Mysia, and Germa ad Caicus in Lydia near Pergamon. SNG Copenhagen and Lindgren include the city under Lydia, and BMC Greek lists the coins in their collection under both Lydia and Mysia, but recent scholarship indicates that only Germe ad Rhyndakos in Mysia struck coins. Here are both cities on this map of Mysia. The coin is from the one in the upper right (left-facing arrow).

Germemap.jpg.6f3ab0b5fb54935525edf9ad12a96d61.jpg

Although mentioned by Ptolemy (Geography) and Stephanus of Byzantium, the city was "insignificant" and we know little about it.

The two Nymphs on the reverse of this coin almost certainly represent the rivers Macestus and Rhyndacus.

Let's see your coins that had been misidentified but which you purchased because you knew what they really were.

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Nice catch, @Roman Collector.  As for misidentified coins, I'm not sure where to begin, since I buy most of my stuff off eBay, where misidentifications abound!  

This is a recent one - sold as a Marcus Aurelius sestertius, when it is actually Lucius Verus (an easy mistake to make).  I had this reverse type already, but not with a cuirassed bust, which is a bit scarcer:

LuciusVerus-Sest.Marscuir.May2023(0).jpg.1bb711f2741aacde226a3336e689d4ca.jpg

Lucius Verus  Æ Sestertius (163-164 A.D.)        Rome Mint [L] AVREL VERVS AVG ARM[ENIACVS], laureate, cuirassed bust right / TR P IIII [IMP II COS II], S-C, Mars walking right with trophy and spear. RIC III Marcus Aurelius 1380; BMCRE 1113-1114. (27.39 grams / 30 x 28 mm) eBay May 2023  

Die-Match Characteristics:  Obv: Big cuirass scales, 3 rows; laurel ties point back, parallel. Rev: Legs crude, skinny tip-toe.

Die-Match Obv. & Rev.: Baldwin's Auctions Ltd Auction 100; Lot 725; 27.09.2016 Error:  RIC 1379; C 224

  These next two were listed by the seller as "possible fantasy."  I'm pretty sure they're the real thing - and at $10 each, a great deal:

Egypt-Hadriantet.DikaiosynestandingL-May2023(0a).jpg.51b5b09cea16d99288593d0402765b7a.jpg

Egypt Tetradrachm Hadrian Year ς (6) = (121-122 A.D.) Alexandria Mint ΑΥΤ ΚΑI Τ[ΡΑΙ ΑΔΡΙΑΒ], laureate head right, drapery on right shoulder, crescent right / L ς. Dikaiosyne standing front, head left, holding scales and cornucopiae. (13.06 grams / 23 x 21 mm) eBay May 2023   RPC III 5315 (Average weight  12.84 grams; Specimens 27); Dattari (Savio) 1357; Geissen 826; Emmett 833.6; Kampmann/Ganschow 32.183; Milne 1003.

DoraPhoenicia-HadrianDorosMay2023(0).jpg.62428346489561da2f0de2bd66980a7f.jpg

Dora, Phoenicia, Syria ΠP = Year 180 (117-118 A.D.) [ΑΥΤΟ ΤΡ]Α ΑΔΡΙΑΝωΚΑΙϹlaureate and cuirassed bust right / ΔωΡ ΙƐΡ ΑϹΥΛΑΥΤ ΝΑΥ[ΑΡ], laureate head of Doros, right [aphlaston right?], ΠP below. RPC III 3919; Rouvier 773; De Saulcy 1–2. (10.86 grams / 23 x 22 mm) eBay May 2023    

Additional Attribution: RPC III 3919; Rouvier 773; De Saulcy 1–2; BMC Phoenicia pg. 117, 37-39; Sofaer 33 (same obverse die); Rosenberger 31; Meshorer, "The Coins of Dora," INJ 9 (1986-7), pg. 70, 37 corr.   "Doros was the son of of the god Poseidon, and was credited with  founding the city of Dora." CNG

Die-Match Obverse:  Zumzim Coins SKU: jbc683 "Sofaer 33 (same obverse die)" CNG Mail Bid Sale 57; Lot 891; 04.04.2001 CNG Electronic Auction 316; Lot 331; 04.12.2013 Harlan J. Berk Buy or Bid Sale 223;  Lot 387; 22.06.2023

Die-Match Reverse: Coin no. 19 of RPC III 3919 (CNG Electronic Auction 238; Lot 280; 11.08.2010)

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/13/2023 at 2:35 PM, Marsyas Mike said:

Nice catch, @Roman Collector.  As for misidentified coins, I'm not sure where to begin, since I buy most of my stuff off eBay, where misidentifications abound!  

This is a recent one - sold as a Marcus Aurelius sestertius, when it is actually Lucius Verus (an easy mistake to make).  I had this reverse type already, but not with a cuirassed bust, which is a bit scarcer:

LuciusVerus-Sest.Marscuir.May2023(0).jpg.1bb711f2741aacde226a3336e689d4ca.jpg

Lucius Verus  Æ Sestertius (163-164 A.D.)        Rome Mint [L] AVREL VERVS AVG ARM[ENIACVS], laureate, cuirassed bust right / TR P IIII [IMP II COS II], S-C, Mars walking right with trophy and spear. RIC III Marcus Aurelius 1380; BMCRE 1113-1114. (27.39 grams / 30 x 28 mm) eBay May 2023  

Die-Match Characteristics:  Obv: Big cuirass scales, 3 rows; laurel ties point back, parallel. Rev: Legs crude, skinny tip-toe.

Die-Match Obv. & Rev.: Baldwin's Auctions Ltd Auction 100; Lot 725; 27.09.2016 Error:  RIC 1379; C 224

  These next two were listed by the seller as "possible fantasy."  I'm pretty sure they're the real thing - and at $10 each, a great deal:

Egypt-Hadriantet.DikaiosynestandingL-May2023(0a).jpg.51b5b09cea16d99288593d0402765b7a.jpg

Egypt Tetradrachm Hadrian Year ς (6) = (121-122 A.D.) Alexandria Mint ΑΥΤ ΚΑI Τ[ΡΑΙ ΑΔΡΙΑΒ], laureate head right, drapery on right shoulder, crescent right / L ς. Dikaiosyne standing front, head left, holding scales and cornucopiae. (13.06 grams / 23 x 21 mm) eBay May 2023   RPC III 5315 (Average weight  12.84 grams; Specimens 27); Dattari (Savio) 1357; Geissen 826; Emmett 833.6; Kampmann/Ganschow 32.183; Milne 1003.

DoraPhoenicia-HadrianDorosMay2023(0).jpg.62428346489561da2f0de2bd66980a7f.jpg

Dora, Phoenicia, Syria ΠP = Year 180 (117-118 A.D.) [ΑΥΤΟ ΤΡ]Α ΑΔΡΙΑΝωΚΑΙϹlaureate and cuirassed bust right / ΔωΡ ΙƐΡ ΑϹΥΛΑΥΤ ΝΑΥ[ΑΡ], laureate head of Doros, right [aphlaston right?], ΠP below. RPC III 3919; Rouvier 773; De Saulcy 1–2. (10.86 grams / 23 x 22 mm) eBay May 2023    

Additional Attribution: RPC III 3919; Rouvier 773; De Saulcy 1–2; BMC Phoenicia pg. 117, 37-39; Sofaer 33 (same obverse die); Rosenberger 31; Meshorer, "The Coins of Dora," INJ 9 (1986-7), pg. 70, 37 corr.   "Doros was the son of of the god Poseidon, and was credited with  founding the city of Dora." CNG

Die-Match Obverse:  Zumzim Coins SKU: jbc683 "Sofaer 33 (same obverse die)" CNG Mail Bid Sale 57; Lot 891; 04.04.2001 CNG Electronic Auction 316; Lot 331; 04.12.2013 Harlan J. Berk Buy or Bid Sale 223;  Lot 387; 22.06.2023

Die-Match Reverse: Coin no. 19 of RPC III 3919 (CNG Electronic Auction 238; Lot 280; 11.08.2010)

Always nice to pick up a Lucius Verus at a Marcus Aurelius price!! Kudos on the cuirassed bust variety, too!

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