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Coins defaced in antiquity


kirispupis

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Recently, I decided that Agathokles of Syracuse does actually belong in my Philip II, Alexander III, and the Age of the Diadochi collection, so I started looking for a good representative coin. I felt that I didn't want to pay for a tet and was perfectly fine settling for one of his nice bronzes. These being common coins, I pored through the wares for a bit before settling on this one. 

331A5084-Edit.jpg.76aad33ee3aba5230b9acf53077dadb8.jpg

Sicily, Syracuse. Agathokles
Period 4, circa 295 BCE
Æ Litra 23mm, 8.35 gm, 1h
ΣΩTEIΡA, head of Artemis Soteria right, wearing triple-pendant earring and necklace, quiver over shoulder / AΓAΘOKΛEOΣ BAΣIΛEOS, winged thunderbolt.
Calciati II pg. 279, 142/25; SNG ANS 708; Favorito 34

 

However, literally the day after I put the order for that one in, I noticed this one for a very reasonable price. What drew me in is how it appears the first part of Agathokles' name was scratched out, I presume in antiquity.

331A4603-Edit.jpg.8288177018b0b71780471214eb2715f5.jpg

Agathokles 317 -289 BCE
Syracuse Sicily
Ae Trias 22.1mm, 8.4gms
Obv: SOTEIPA; Draped bust of Artemis Soteira right with quiver over shoulder
Rev: AG AThOKLEOS BASILIEWS; Winged thunderbolt
SNG ANS 708

 

First of all, I'd appreciate someone just confirming my sanity that indeed the first five letters of his name are defaced. Based on wear elsewhere on the coin, it certainly looks intentional.

My guess is someone didn't like Agathokles and took it out on this coin. He certainly earned his share of enemies. How much emotion must have gone through this coin! I could write an entire book/movie just on this one piece. Naturally, I purchased it immediately, even though it remains the only coin where I have two of the exact same type.

Lets see some of your defaced coins!

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19 hours ago, kirispupis said:

Recently, I decided that Agathokles of Syracuse does actually belong in my Philip II, Alexander III, and the Age of the Diadochi collection, so I started looking for a good representative coin. I felt that I didn't want to pay for a tet and was perfectly fine settling for one of his nice bronzes. These being common coins, I pored through the wares for a bit before settling on this one. 

331A5084-Edit.jpg.76aad33ee3aba5230b9acf53077dadb8.jpg

Sicily, Syracuse. Agathokles
Period 4, circa 295 BCE
Æ Litra 23mm, 8.35 gm, 1h
ΣΩTEIΡA, head of Artemis Soteria right, wearing triple-pendant earring and necklace, quiver over shoulder / AΓAΘOKΛEOΣ BAΣIΛEOS, winged thunderbolt.
Calciati II pg. 279, 142/25; SNG ANS 708; Favorito 34

 

However, literally the day after I put the order for that one in, I noticed this one for a very reasonable price. What drew me in is how it appears the first part of Agathokles' name was scratched out, I presume in antiquity.

331A4603-Edit.jpg.8288177018b0b71780471214eb2715f5.jpg

Agathokles 317 -289 BCE
Syracuse Sicily
Ae Trias 22.1mm, 8.4gms
Obv: SOTEIPA; Draped bust of Artemis Soteira right with quiver over shoulder
Rev: AG AThOKLEOS BASILIEWS; Winged thunderbolt
SNG ANS 708

 

First of all, I'd appreciate someone just confirming my sanity that indeed the first five letters of his name are defaced. Based on wear elsewhere on the coin, it certainly looks intentional.

My guess is someone didn't like Agathokles and took it out on this coin. He certainly earned his share of enemies. How much emotion must have gone through this coin! I could write an entire book/movie just on this one piece. Naturally, I purchased it immediately, even though it remains the only coin where I have two of the exact same type.

Lets see some of your defaced coins!

I think that is some corrosion and deposits occurring on the part of the name where the letters are weak.  If they were removed I would expect to see scratches or signs of physicals removal.  Also, it doesn't make sense that only part of the name would be removed or defaced instead of the entire name.

Interesting coin.

Edited by robinjojo
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Didius.jpg.8568f20b24ac5e3054a5df15ebe3b145.jpg

Here's my defaced coin. It's not a fouree. I believe it's a result from a "damnatio memoriae" decree.

Pescennius Niger, 193–194 AD

Denarius, Antiochia 193 AD. Damnatio Memoriae? 

Obverse; IMP CAES C PESCE NIGER IVST, Laureate head right.

Reverse: MINER VICTRIS, Minerva standing facing, headleft, holding Victory and spear.

Reference: RIC 60, RCV 6117, BMCRE 309

Sixe: 18 mm.  Weight: 3.57 g. Conservation: Scratches, flan damage: cleaned - Rare.

"The battle of  Issus took place on 31 March 194, and Pescennius Niger was defeated. According to the historian Cassius Dio, 20,000 people were massacred. Pescennius tried to flee to his ally, the Parthian king Vologases V, but he was intercepted by the soldiers of Severus before he could cross the Euphrates. His reign had lasted less than one year. He was killed and his head was sent to Byzantium in order to induce the defenders to surrender. Severus punished Pescennius' adherents and sent his family into exile. The Senate convened and pronounced a damnatio memoriae."

Edited by Svessien
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26 minutes ago, Deinomenid said:

I've seen quite a few of  his coins and  not noticed one intentionally defaced yet though they should  have been.  One of Machiavelli's criminal  posterboys.

@kirispupis what made you decide  he was actually good for part of the collection?

Well...since you asked... 🙂

The primary qualifier for whether someone should be in my Philip II, Alexander III, and the Age of the Diadochi collection is they need to have one of the following:
a) Had direct interaction with Philip II or Alexander III
b) Had direct interaction with three other members of the collection

Agathokles of Syracuse AFAIK had no direct interaction with either Philip or Alexander. However, he did interact with several of the Diadochi in ways I wasn't previously aware.
1) He betrayed and killed Ophellas near Kyrene
2) He defeated Kassander's forces on Korkyra and took the island for himself
3) His daughter married Pyrrhos of Epeiros, and then famously left him for his arch-rival Demetrios I Poliorketes

So, Agathokles certainly qualified...

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3 hours ago, robinjojo said:

I think that is some corrosion and deposits occurring on the part of the name where the letters are weak.  If they were removed I would expect to see scratches or signs of physicals removal.  Also, it doesn't make sense that only part of the name would be removed or defaced instead of the entire name.

Interesting coin.

Thanks! I also thought about why only part of the name would be defaced. I can certainly see why Artemis wasn't touched. Definitely wouldn't want to mess with her.

I don't have a great answer, but I did find the following thanks to Google Translate:

ΚΛΕΟΣ = glory, fame

The plot thickens...

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Either section could  have been removed for similar effect. Agathokles means  good  glory or brave glory.

Family had  odd  names (to me.) His brother's name means  something  like Not the Man and  his potter father, well he was called Karkinos, which was also the name of a giant  crab that attacked  Herakles.

 

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15 minutes ago, Deinomenid said:

Either section could  have been removed for similar effect. Agathokles means  good  glory or brave glory.

Family had  odd  names (to me.) His brother's name means  something  like Not the Man and  his potter father, well he was called Karkinos, which was also the name of a giant  crab that attacked  Herakles.

 

Interesting, but I assume whoever did this had a particular message in mind and isn't around any more to elaborate.

So far, it seems I may be the only one who thinks it was defaced intentionally in antiquity. 😞 Weird, because to me it looks obvious...but then I am a novelist...

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Square nail hole

4421a.jpg.58b85edde5bfd92e228bda9d48b4e214.jpg

Circle nail hole (coin show signs of being pried off something)

JulianIIArlesRIC319.JPG.388c2fe4d54087b6b0f7667505c8680f.JPG

Someone angry or bored in ancient times…

FaustinaII.PNG.9ce9fe3d69a314652543e88febf216c3.PNG

Modern “defacement” by a museum (lacquer and numbering)

MarcusAurelius___.JPG.11bcabaef3d61848e8ccaaef378ff48d.JPG

Modern numbers and gouges… have always wondered what this was about…

TrajanAs.jpg.0642b38c69cab326231962e41ff5e94f.jpg

Edited by Orange Julius
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Not really a coin from antiquity, but still 700 years old. Such a lovely type, showing two lions adossed under the sun. These were issued by Al-Salih Salih I (1312-1364), the ruler of the Artuqids of Mardin, a Turkish dynasty in Anatolia whom you might know from its expressive large pictorial copper coins. There are two variants, one like this one, not my coin but borrowed from Zeno because it's the clearest depiction of the scene. (Zeno 46196, dated 736 AH = 1335/6 AD, 24mm, 3.41g)

 

Mm1274z.jpg.93f67b4cb9f68ce7f727e83e40cb893c.jpg

 

The other variation shows the lions with their tails entwined - I didn't find a clear enough example for you. But there's mine: 

6835ARTenm.jpg.92e1d8fa8d2bea57c4fa7ed5c1c2abc7.jpg

Like someone aptly commented when I posted this coin on Zeno: "The second lion was shot."

 

 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Orange Julius said:

Modern numbers and gouges… have always wondered what this was about…

TrajanAs.jpg.0642b38c69cab326231962e41ff5e94f.jpg


That's an interesting date. In Britain, it was around that time a lot of coins were defaced in support of the Jacobite rising. As you can see by my coin below, they weren't left in spendable condition, so perhaps it didn't matter that it had Trajan on the obverse. People seemed to carry coins around for all sorts of reasons other than as money - convict tokens, love tokens, touch pieces etc.

George II Halfpenny, 1729-1754, filed down and engraved ‘Down with the Rump’ 1745-1752
image.png.91ad5bae5d856fe12ff81f293a2e9f7d.png
Tower. Bronze, 28mm, 5.18g (the halfpenny from 1729 was 28mm and 9.9g) (S 3719). The Rump Parliament was what was left after it was purged of Charles I sympathisers in 1648. The motto 'Down with the rump', sometimes preceded by 'God bless PC' (Bonnie Prince Charlie, grandson of James II) was used on items produced after the Jacobite rising of 1745 and the Battle of Culloden in 1746 (the culmination of the rising and the last pitched battle fought in Britain). The slogan was popular amongst Prince Charlie's supporters, the rump being a derogatory term for the Hanoverian establishment.

In that scenario, '1745' would refer to the Jacobite rising of 1745, and would likely have been added in the years afterwards. By then it could've been in support of all sorts of things, least of which was a return of the Stuarts.

Edited by John Conduitt
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