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A Tarentine Conundrum

Phil Anthos

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I aquired this coin earlier this year thinking it was a nice type I didn't have, and it was relatively cheap. But it soon turned into an interesting attribution project, one which has me stumped. I was hoping for a resolution with the release of the 3rd volume of the D'Andrea series but that was not to be as the problem just seems to be carried over.

The problem is with the object carried by the dolphin rider, described variously as a 'cornucopia' or 'distaff'. Some sources describe one while showing the other, some list both types and others only recognize one variety with no mention of the other, etc.

But rather than try to reproduce all the discrepancies here I will just repost this thread from Forvm (from response 267 down)...


So if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions I am open. Otherwise I may try contacting Alberto D'Andrea to see if he has any thoughts on the matter.

And thanks in advance.

~ Peter 


Edited by Phil Anthos
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They are, but both types definitely exist.

Vlasto has 4 specimens, 904-07, all described as distaff and the 4 plates agree. No mention of a cornucopia type.

HGC 1 has only one coin listed, 894, which is odd in itself for a fairly common type, this one showing a cornucopia and described as such.

Evans has one example, VIII K1, and is similar to the HGC coin.

McGill II, 112 is the same.

SNG France 2041-43 all show distaff but seem to describe a trident, although my French is strictly the restaurant dialect.

D'Andrea lists two dies, 1402 and 1403. The latter is shown and described as a distaff, but... 1402 shows three specimens, all described as a distaff (one which is the same coin as the HGC example), but one which is actually a cornucopia.

And then the McClean listing in the link above just confuses things more.

So obviously both types exist, and these are all major references for Taras. And yet not one appears aware of the two different types. All attributions seem to point back to the same references regardless of what the rider is holding. I find that so unusual that I can't help feel I'm missing something. 

~ Confusedly, Peter 


Edited by Phil Anthos
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Yes this one is. The problem is that not all of them are, but there is no disambiguation between the two types. For instance this page from D'Andrea III, XLIV 1402 with a closeup of the third coin...

~ Peter 


Edited by Phil Anthos
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