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Show me: Bizarre contemporary imitations


Prieure de Sion

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lot4661gordianus.jpg.cbfb035d4c9d2896119bed248254f14d.jpg

 
Gordian III, 238-244.
 Antoninianus (Silver, 22 mm, 4.89 g, 6 h), a contemporary imitation of an issue from Rome, irregular mint, after 241. IMP CORDIANVS PIVS PEL AVC Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian III to right, seen from behind. Rev. AETERNITATI AVG Sol standing front, head to left, raising his right hand in salute and holding globe in his left. Cf. Cohen 41, Michaux 369 and RIC 83 (for prototype). A interesting and unusually well preserved imitation.

 

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After I bought this contemporary imitation at LEU yesterday, I had the idea for this thread. I have created the thread in the category "Roman Emperors" - but coins of the Greeks, the Republic etc. may also be posted here.

The only conditions are:

1. they must be contemporary imitations
2. no stylistically good imitations please. No imitations that are even difficult to distinguish from the originals. I would like to see your bizarre (!) imitations - a style that almost makes you smile. 

So please show me your "funny" contemporary imitations, a bizarre bust, a funny artistic style of the back, etc. 

With my Gordianus, the portrait is anything but successful. Almost like a comic face, he got thick lips - and he looks like a naughty 15 year old snotty boy ... I am curious about your coins.

 

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A very interesting coin @Prieure de Sion!

What I like about this coin is that, although it’s clearly an imitation, we can know exactly which coin they were copying… which is much more uncommon in an era when many mints were operating.

LiciniusIICyzicusRIC11Imitation.JPG.c9543acb6b86c55cae238a0e01bfa21d.JPG

Imitation of: 
Licinius II AE Follis, Cyzicus. AD 317-320. DN VAL LICIN LICINIVS NOB C, laureate, draped bust left, holding globe, mappa and sceptre / IOVI CONSER-VATORI CAESS, Jupiter standing left, chlamys across left shoulder, holding Victory on globe and sceptre. Wreath in left field, Epsilon in right field. Mintmark SMK. RIC VII Cyzicus 11; Sear 15414.

Example of the official coin:

image.jpeg.8fa9cb09d2c8619a5b5f50fdba3a711f.jpeg

Edited by Orange Julius
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Tetricus is definitely your man.

Tetricus I Barbarous Radiate, 274-280
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Imitating Colonia Agrippinensis. Bronze, 13mm, 0.86g. Radiate head left; (IMP TET)RICVS (P F AVG). Salus standing facing, head left; SA(LVS AVGG) (cf RIC V2, 127). From the Whitchurch (Somerset) Hoard.

Tetricus I Barbarous Radiate, 274-280
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Imitating Colonia Agrippinensis. Bronze, 10mm, 0.32g. Radiate head left; (IMP TETRICVS P) F AVG. Laetitia standing, holding rudder and cornucopea; (LAETITIA) AVG (cf RIC V2, 86). Found in Britain.

Tetricus I and II Barbarous Radiate, 273-280
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Britain. Bronze, 17mm, 1.55g. Radiate head of Tetricus I. Radiate head of Tetricus II (cf RIC V, Tetricus I 201). Found Forest of Dean 1870.

Edited by John Conduitt
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Even the official Gallic Empire coins are terrible, so the barbarous mints had to go that extra mile.

Tetricus II Barbarous Radiate, 273-280
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Imitating Cologne. Bronze, 16mm, 2.41g. Radiate beardless? bust right, very crude letters. Equitas standing, holding scales and cornucopia; AEQ[UITAS AVG]. Found in Britain.

Victorinus Barbarous Radiate, 270-280
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Imitating Southern Gallic Mint. Bronze, 16mm, 2.21g. Bust of Victorinus, radiate, cuirassed, right; IMP C VICTORINVS P F AVG. Spes, draped, walking left, holding flower in right hand and raising robe with left hand; SPES PVBLICA (cf RIC V, 73). Found in Britain.

Edited by John Conduitt
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They got pretty good at it in Constantine's era, but there were still a few dodgy attempts.

Constans (or Constantine II/Constantius II) Contemporary Imitation AE12, 335-337
image.png.4173f195129b2bbe6e36bbc8afafe537.png
Imitation of Lugdunum. Bronze, 12mm, 0.93g. Laureate or laurel and diademed, cuirassed bust right; CONSTAN(…). Two soldiers standing facing, heads towards each other, each holding inverted spear and resting hand on shield, standard between; (GLORIA EXERCITVS); PLG in exergue (Coin Hoards from Roman Britain, vol. X 699 (this coin)). From the Chapmanslade (Wiltshire) Hoard 1993.

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I think this was engraved with a stick.

Constantius II Barbarous Fallen Horseman, 350s
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Bronze, 15mm, 1.59g. Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right with coarse features, exaggerated hairlines and long diadem ties; garbled legend. Soldier spearing fallen horseman who is wearing broad-brimmed helmet, seated half upright and reaching backwards; garbled legend and mintmark.

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Constans in his Hendrix phase.

Constans I Barbaros Nummus
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Imitating Treveri. Bronze, 14mm, 1.09g. Rosette diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Constans right; CONSTAN-S P F AVG. Two soldiers standing, each holding a spear and a shield, one standard between them inscribed M, TRP below; GLORIA EXERCITVS (cf RIC VIII, 106). Found in Britain.

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The imitations during Magnentius's time were hard to distinguish from the official issues. Not all of them, though.

Decentius Barbarous Centenionalis, 350-353
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Imitating Lugdunum. Bronze, 14mm, 1.32g. Bare bust of Decentius right; partially retrograde (D N DECENT)IVS NOB CAES. Two Victories standing, holding wreath; VICTORIAE DD NN AVG ET CAE (cf RIC VIII, 127-152). Found in Britain.

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They kept going even when bronze coins disappeared.

Julian II Contemporary Imitation Siliqua, 361-363
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Imitating Arles. Silver, 16mm, 1.63g. Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; D N FL CL IVLIA-NVS P F AVG. VOT X MVLT XX within wreath, dot in medallion at top; CONS in exergue (cf RIC VIII, 312). From the West Norfolk/Grimston Hoard 2018. Portable Antiquities Scheme: NMS-963FF1.

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2 hours ago, seth77 said:

Far from bizarre, this is an excellent piece.

Thanks... but the portrait is really a little "special" 🙂 

 

2 hours ago, Ancient Coin Hunter said:

Really interesting @Prieure de Sion. I wonder what the purpose of the imitation was? Was it supposed to circulate outside the borders of the empire? Or is it just a fake?

Thats a good question ...

 

2 hours ago, Orange Julius said:

What I like about this coin is that, although it’s clearly an imitation, we can know exactly which coin they were copying… which is much more uncommon in an era when many mints were operating.

You have a great imitation there! Also a wonderfully abstract portrait!

 

1 hour ago, Amarmur said:

Tetricus I is happy he and his son were  spared. He looks super goofy here. Fairly common and inexpensive imitation

Cool Imitation!

 

1 hour ago, John Conduitt said:

Imitating Colonia Agrippinensis. Bronze, 13mm, 0.86g. Radiate head left; (IMP TET)RICVS (P F AVG). Salus standing facing, head left; SA(LVS AVGG) (cf RIC V2, 127). From the Whitchurch (Somerset) Hoard.

1 hour ago, John Conduitt said:

Tetricus II Barbarous Radiate, 273-280

59 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

Carausius Antoninianus, 286

57 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

Constans (or Constantine II/Constantius II) Contemporary Imitation AE12, 335-337

56 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

Constantius II Barbarous Fallen Horseman, 350s

45 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

Constans I Barbaros Nummus

25 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

Julian II Contemporary Imitation Siliqua, 361-363

John! What a cool series of bizarre / abstract Imitations... !

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I love that Gordie, I would have bid on it if I didn't already have a Gordie imitation that I like.  Here it is, rather wilder if less beautiful than yours:

image.jpeg.0096eaa0e0c1ccb1e112423fab5835a7.jpeg

 

Here are some other favourites.  First, proof that the dinosaurs still roamed the earth in the 3rd century!

image.jpeg.0375973371e294e0ba41c292d9c00de6.jpeg

A little known historical fact: Marcus Aurelius attempted to add Gumby to the Olympian pantheon, believing he was an ideal examplar of Stoic philosophy:

image.jpeg.7cac03a60e07ac2ab6d762105d9d34fb.jpeg

 

And finally, a very silly looking lion:

image.jpeg.de323762362db3ab5f55cdb84b5fdd61.jpeg

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These Sri Lankan imitations are pretty weird, unlike barbaric or middle eastern imitations, these coins have been minted 1000s of mile away from where the originated. Also interesting to note that there are Indian/Sri Lankan imitations of first-second century roman denarii, and these fourth-fifth century follis, but no radiates from the third century and coins from the Byzantium. Which means Indo-Roman trade flourished only during those brackets of time. 

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15 minutes ago, JayAg47 said:

These Sri Lankan imitations are pretty weird, unlike barbaric or middle eastern imitations, these coins have been minted 1000s of mile away from where the originated. Also interesting to note that there are Indian/Sri Lankan imitations of first-second century roman denarii, and these fourth-fifth century follis, but no radiates from the third century and coins from the Byzantium. Which means Indo-Roman trade flourished only during those brackets of time. 

s.jpg.3f0ce907cf5ddadfc689270f61280b08.jpgft.png.1b24dee036f55b25f3a786425fdf88e8.pngge.png.63b5de94de7f84f1d11790c9da457b6e.png

Love those! The FEL TEMP reverse is great, as is the cross altered to a swastika.  I have one where they went even further afield, placing a chakra on the reverse (you've seen it before, it reminded you of a Pallava coin):

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I also have a Gloria Exercitus:

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@JayAg47, these were both found in the Tamil Nadu state in south India rather than Sri Lanka. Is the attribution of your coins to Sri Lanka definite, or could they be South Indian? (If South Indian, I'm thinking they'd be best attributed to the Kalabhras, given the rough date. Of course the Kalabhras would have traded with the island, so that find spot doesn't mean anything.)

I also have an example of the earlier denarius imitations.  I love this portrait of Tiberius:

image.jpeg.1b23eb36dbfc4ec260a950337cdf12ed.jpeg

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The famous Claudius invaded Britain in AD 43. After the conquest his well-known copper as coins were imitated.  Here is an original followed by an British imitation.
 

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28 mm. 11.12 grams. Claudius AD 41-54.
Minerva brandishing a spear right, shield in left.
 

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24 mm. 4.81 grams.
I bought this from Baldwin's in 1992.

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Marcus Aurelius as Augustus, AD 161-180. Barbaric Imitation AR Denarius (17mm, 3.24g, 5h). Obv: M ANTONINVS AVG-ARMENIA CVS: Laureate head right. Rev: PM TRP XIX IMP III COS III; Annona standing facing, head left, holding grain ears and cornucopiae, feet flanked by modius on left and prow on right. Ref: Cf. RIC 142; Cf. BMCRE 371; Cf. RSC 484. 

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Agrippa, died 12 BC. Æ As (22mm, 5.66g, 6h). Barbarous imitation, copying a Rome mint issue, posthumous issue struck under Gaius Caligula, AD 37-41. Obv: [M•AGR]IPPA•L [F•C]OS [III]; Head left, wearing rostral crown. Rev: Neptune standing left, holding small dolphin and trident; S-C across fields. Ref: cf. RIC I 58 (Gaius).

image.jpeg.69e71aaa9134f4d4f98a1c738ea6f122.jpeg

 

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6 hours ago, Severus Alexander said:

Is the attribution of your coins to Sri Lanka definite, or could they be South Indian? (If South Indian, I'm thinking they'd be best attributed to the Kalabhras, given the rough date. Of course the Kalabhras would have traded with the island, so that find spot doesn't mean anything.)

I got mine from Alexander Fishman, he listed them as Sri Lankan, and other specimens from auctions and British museum look similar. I'm not sure about them being from Tamil Nadu, I mean Sri Lanka is just a stone's throw away from each other so exchange of dies and celators would've been possible. 

Here're couple of interesting issues minted by the Chera kingdom, usually they minted square shaped anepigraphic bronze coins, however these below suggest they were inspired from Roman denarii. The silver could've been even melted from such denarii, and rather than just imitating, they made their own coins depicting the king's face with the Tamil Bramhi inscription stating their names Kuttuvan Kotai(1) and Makkotai(2), and the last coin features a man wearing the iconic Roman helmet, the locals probably copied it from the Roman mercenaries hired for the protection of rich Roman traders. These are the only examples of the kind and wish they were in my collection😁

chera.jpg.bc98d709b1e437d37fd0560030855dc5.jpg

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