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Good old Off-pollo: A thread for Coins that missed the mark


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Something that I think a lot of us took for granted, coming from collecting modern coins as kids into ancient coins, is centering. We make such mindlessly well centered coins with our fancy machines at our mints nowadays. Ancient coins can be all over the place when it comes to where their flans were placed when the hammer came down. 

Were they in such a hurry, or did the workers all just look like this?


Early on I was gifted this slightly off ancient:


A Swing and a miss! Well, I guess you could say he got a piece of it on the back end. 


It took a while until I'd come across this example and recognized the reverse, and that perfect hair.


LYDIA, Sardes
133 BC-AD 14. Æ.
Laureate head of Apollo right. / Club within laurel wreath; monogram above.
SNG Copenhagen 470-482. BMC 238
17 mm, 4,62 g

Of course, we all have a few centered to silliness coins laying about. 

Here are a few others:

On this extremely common but popular type, I sacrificed almost all of the lion's curly locks for his face and showing of the ships prow(?) in his mouth:


Ionia. Miletos circa 520-480 BC.

Diobol AR

c. 525-475 BC.

Obv. Forepart of lion left.

Rev. Stellate pattern in incuse square.

11 mm, 1,17 g

very fine

And here the horse has pranced off half the coin while the Griffin has sprung almost off flan to get away from the little grasshopper. What a beautiful mess:


SICILY, "Kainon".

Circa 365 BC. Æ 25mm (7.15 g, 11h). Griffin springing left; below, grasshopper left / Horse prancing left, trailing rein; star above. CNS 10; SNG ANS 1176 (Alaesa). Green and brown patina.

Not identifiable with a known mint in Sicily, the Kainon issues have traditionally been attributed to Alaisa. They may have been struck by mercenaries in the employ of Dione of Leontini.


And lastly, this guy isn't too wildly off. Just off enough to save me some$$$:


PHRYGIA, Kibyra.

Circa 166-84 BC. AR Drachm (15mm, 2.65 g, 11h). Helmeted head of male (Kibyras?) right / Horseman, holding couched spear and palm, riding right; O below. HGC 7, 706; SNG Ashmolean 996 var. (O below). VF

So please, share your off but still identifiable coins, thoughts or anything ridiculous!

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I have several of these. 🙂 Owls in particular seem to have been difficult to center in those days. I assume it was difficult to keep the birds still...


Circa 353-333 BCE
AR Drachm 14mm, 3.94 g, 12h
Imitating Athens pi-style coinage. Helmeted head of Athena right, with profile eye and pi-style palmette, Aramaic M horizonally on cheek (only traces visible) / Owl standing right, head facing; olive sprig and crescent to left.
Gitler & Tal V.25D; HGC 10, 542



Mazakes as Satrap of Mesopotamia
c. 331-323/2 BCE
AR tetradrachm 19mm, 16.87g
Imitating types of Athens. Head of Athena r., wearing Attic helmet/ Owl stranding r., head facing; to l., crescent; to r., Aramaic legend.
Le Rider, Alexander, pp. 214-9; Van Alfen, Group IVb



Edom (Idumaea)
4th century BCE
AR Quarter Shekel – Drachm 11mm, 3.61g
Imitating Athens. Helmeted head of Athena right, degraded to blank dome-like surface /
Owl standing right, head facing; olive spray and crescent to left.
GTvA 12–20; HGC 10, 617

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Must have been a bring your own bottle day at the Ambracia  mint.

Silver stater, 8.36 g, 28 mm.

"Fine, impressively double struck, this extraordinary error coin slipped during the striking process, creating a tab-like extension on one side. The entire planchet partially slid off the anvil, allowing only the rear part of the Pegasus to be doubled, and enabling the punch die to strike a second head of the Athena to the right of the original one."




And a slight pegasus centering issue here, though it looks almost intentional (enter stage right) in hand.

Leukas. Circa 380-320 BC. Stater (Silver, 21 mm, 8.58 g). Pegasos flying left; below, [Λ]. Rev. Head of Athena to left, wearing Corinthian helmet






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I think the mint employee thought that it didn´t matter about the reverse missing half of one of the horses. As long as they could gaze at Apollos face in awe. Lol

L. Memmius AR Denarius (20mm, 3.77 g.)
Rome mint, struck 109-108 BC Gens Memmia
Obv. Apollo facing right, wearing oak wreath, mark of value below chin.
Rev. The Dioscuri standing facing, each holding spears and bridle of their horses, Xanthus and Cyllarus. Moneyer name in exergue.
Crawford 304


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I have this coin of Alexander that's weirdly off-centered and double or possibly triple struck. Just my hypothesis. With most double struck coins I've seen, they had the images on top of each other, and also mostly on the same side, however on this coin it looks like as if the hammer had two or more sets of die to strike two or more blanks at a time to produce multiple coins in one strike. With my coin, when the oblong flan was was struck, it got in the middle between the dies on both hammer and anvil and the images on both sides overlapped. As you can see on the obverse the border dots and the head reappearing twice, possibly thrice as the border dots appear on the left side! looks like the anvil had multiple dies. And on the reverse the head of the eagle repairing on the left.



Edited by JayAg47
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Some super fun coins so far!

Here's a triple strike (must've taken three cuts to take off Medusa's head):


Pontos. Amisos circa 85-65 BC.

Bronze Æ

30mm., 18,18g.

Helmeted head of Athena right, helmet decorated with griffin / AMIΣOY, Perseus standing facing, holding harpa and head of Medusa, at feet, body of Medusa, monograms to both sides.

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I think I've shown this one before, but I always liked to think that the sun was rising when this one was struck.

Islands off Caria. Pseudo-Rhodes. Circa 88-85 AD. AR Hemidrachm (13mm, 0.86g, 11h). Plinthophoric type. Obv: Radiate head of Helios facing slightly right. Rev: MAHΣ / P - O; Rose with one bud, Isis headdress to right; within incuse square. Ref: SNG Cop 846; Jenkins, Group E, 246; HGC 6, 1464. Ex Sammlung Karl, Lanz 131 (27 Nov 2006), Lot 627. image.jpeg.feab75a62e4c8acf79837a77d7c5700b.jpeg

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Is it just me, btw, or does the Seleucia ad Calycadnum mint have a serious quality control problem with double-striking?

Here's my Trebonianus Gallus:

No photo description available.


I see the same all over the internet, especially affecting the chins of Artemis and Tyche:

Image 0

Image 0

Image 0

Edited by GregH
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Roman Imperatorial period AR Denarius(3.82g, 16mm), C Caesar Octavianus, mint with Octavian in Italy, 41 BC. Bare head of Octavian right, with slight beard; C·CAESAR·III·VIR·R·P·C around; border of dots / Equestrian statue of Octavian galloping left, his right hand extended; POPVL·IVSSV in exergue and on right. Sear HCRI 299; Crawford 518/2

Ex Numismatica Ars Classica Spring Auction 2020, 25 May 2020, lot 726, ex RBW Collection, Numismatica Ars Classica 63, 17 May 2012, lot 553, ex Jesus Vico sale June 1992, lot 401

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...Okay.  This is a wholesale repost, but what the heck.  In this regard, ancients have some serious competition.  German coins of the Salian period (11th-early 12th c.) are notorious not just for off-center strikes, but fragmentary ones even if they're reasonably well centered.  You have to wonder how hungover the mint worker was.  This is just the first pair of two separate issues from the OP.

Heinrich III (German emperor 1046-1059) as ‘King of the Romans’ (heir designate to the German Empire), 1039-1046.  Denar /Marienpfennig of Speyer, 1042-1046, celebrating the ongoing construction of the cathedral there, initiated by his father, the emperor Konrad II.



Obv.  Cathedral facade, tower to right; “CHON[RADVS]” –or variant (cf. first example)-- inside.  

(Again with variations; here drawing mainly from the second example, from 11 o’clock:) 

H[ENRIC? …SPIRA] CIVITAS [‘S’ retrograde].  

(Several related issues use the original Roman place name, ‘NEMETIS’ (cf. Dannenberg 830-839, passim), but that’s no obvious help in interpreting the variant legend in the first example.)



 Rev.  Neo-Byzantine ikon of Mary, haloed, orans, with Jesus’ haloed face on her breast.  (Cf. Panagia, Our Lady of the Sign - Wikipedia.) 

(From 9 o’clock: various elements of) +S[AN]CTA MARIA.

Dannenberg 838, apparently with several legend variants.  Cf. this listing: NumisBids: Alfa Numismatics ApS Auction 8, Lot 111 : Germany. Speyer. Heinrich III 1039-1056. AR Denar.

For anyone who hasn't already seen enough, here's the OP this came from, with another pair along the same lines.



Edited by JeandAcre
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AR Denarius 18mm. 3.84g. Rome mint

Head of young Bacchus r., wearing ivy wreath; PANSA behind.

Ceres walking r., holding a torch in each hand, plow to r.; C.VIBIVS C.F.C.N behind.

RSC I Vibia 16; Craw. 449/2

Good VF. Lustrous fields with attractive iridescent multicolor toning. A bit bright under toning. A bit off-center with some porosity at edge.

Ex. Civitas Galleries



Roman Republic, M. Porcius Cato, 47 - 46 BC Silver Quinarius African Mint, 14mm, 1.75 grams Obverse: Head of Liber right wearing ivy wreath. Reverse: Victory seated right holding patera and palm branch. Porcia 11 // Crawford 462/2

Ex. Ken Dorney



LUCIUS MEMMIUS AR silver denarius. Struck 109-108 BC. Bust of Apollo Vejovis right, wearing oak-wreath; before, XVI monogram of value before, thunderbolt underneath. Reverse - The Dioscuri standing facing between their horses, each holding spear; L MEMMI in exergue. 19mm, 3.9g. RCV 181

Ex. Incitatus Coins

Edited by MrMonkeySwag96
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Not any easy task. Most of my coins are  more or less nicely centred. Here are two exceptions.


Uncertain Mint
Pontus ?
Obv.: Pilos decorated with star
Rev.: Star
AE, 13mm
Ref.: BMC -; SNG ANS -; SNG v. Aulock -; SNG Copenhagen -; Isegrim -.



Rhodes, 304-166 BC
Asia Minor, Caria
AR Drachm, magistrate Stasion
Obv.: Head of Helios facing slightly right.
Rev.: ΣΤΑΣIΩΝ, P - O, Rose with bud right, winged thunderbolt in field left.
Ag, 2.75g, 14mm
Ref.: "Neue Beiträge zur antiken Münzkunde aus schweizerischen öffentlichen und privaten Sammlungen", p. 63, no. 59, RSN 30 (1945) p. 1-103. (1 specimen cited).



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 A serious loss of face...

Lampsakos, Mysia

390-330 BC
AR Trihemiobol (10mm, 1.32g)
O: Janiform female head, wearing tainia and earring.
R: Head of Athena right, wearing Corinthian helmet.
SNG France 1195; Sear 3893; BMC 15 83,43

~ Peter 


Edited by Phil Anthos
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On 12/1/2023 at 4:27 PM, Ryro said:

Something that I think a lot of us took for granted, coming from collecting modern coins as kids into ancient coins, is centering. We make such mindlessly well centered coins with our fancy machines at our mints nowadays. Ancient coins can be all over the place when it comes to where their flans were placed when the hammer came down.


So please, share your off but still identifiable coins, thoughts or anything ridiculous!

I think you have to make an effort to get a coin this far off center:


Seleucid Kingdom, Antiochus VI Dionysus (144-142 BC), Serrate Æ (17mm , 4.57g, 1h), Antioch on the Orontes, 143/2 BC

Obv: Diademed head right

Rev: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY above, [EΠIΦANOYΣ ΔIONYΣOY] in exergue; panther standing left, foreleg raised, head facing, broken spear in mouth; ΣTA above panther's tail; [star behind].

Ref: SC 2007

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