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Reverses issued for only one Roman


Valentinian

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Denarius. 21-19 mm.
There is only one Roman with this reverse type. Can you recognize who it is?
(The answer is here.)  
One of my many collecting themes is reverse types that were issued by only one Roman, so the reverse alone allows the Roman on the obverse to be identified. Long ago I made a website about them:
http://augustuscoins.com/ed/unique/unique.html
It has been almost three years since I added any types to it, but this one, which I have been seeking for a several years (It is "rare" according to RIC), came yesterday and I added it to my pages. 

Show us another coin where the reverse alone allows the Roman on the obverse to be identified. 
 

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I was wrong about that one! Interesting challenge.

Of course, it also raises the very interesting topic of what counts as a "type." Different people will reasonably divide them up differently, for different purposes. (Identical legends + devices? Different abbreviations of the legends? Different device or figure in different poses? Different die-pairs?)

Using types defined in collector literature, there are more for Provincials and Republicans. Fewer Imperial.

I collect "barbarians & captives" on Roman coins. I'm always watching for the handful of reverses that can only be found paired with a specific ruler.

 

think this ruler's coinage is the only time we see a captive standing alone with no trophy or palm tree or other seated captive or personification (and with hands bound in front), just accompanied by his captured arms. (The closest are some of the scarcer-to-rare IVDAEA types.)

https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=7798304

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1 hour ago, panzerman said:

This one for sure/ since its him on reverse.

I don't know how you know it is him on the reverse unless you saw the obverse first. The "emperor/soldier" looks a lot like all the other emperor/soldier figures.  Here is one of Philip II--not identical, but the soldier is similar. The Severus Alexander above might be uniquely identifiable by the legend with its TRP date, but that's asking a lot of the collector.

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I think Valerian is the only emperor with Saturn holding a scythe and nothing else. There are only five emperors with Saturn at all.

Valerian I Antoninianus, 254-255
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Viminacium. Billon, 22mm, 4.33g. Radiate draped Bust right; IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG. Saturn standing right holding scythe; AETERNITATI AVGG (RIC V, 210). Purportedly from the Bristol (Somerset) II Hoard 1996.

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I don't think anyone other than Gallienus had a reverse depicting a bearded centaur holding a baseball bat:

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Or  a tigress, see  http://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Liber Pater; see also description of type as tigress at Ed Flinn’s website, at http://www258.pair.com/denarius/coinage.htm :

[IMG]

And I'm pretty sure that Hadrian's RESTITVTORI – HISPANIAE reverse was the only one showing an emperor raising Hispania, with a rabbit symbolizing the province:

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An excellent idea for a thread. This is one of the collecting themes I follow - coins where you can instantly know the obverse after seeing just the reverse. But without finesse things (requiring a check in the catalogue - like this is only for emperor X because it says "IMP yy TRP zz"). Or - the one seated is Trajan's father according to legend so surely the answer is simple - there are many reverses with somebody seated. If you read the legend, you get it, but if you don't, you might pass it. 

Gallienus Zoo series are an excellent example. 

Although the capricorn is not unique, I don't think many beginners will fail in recognizing who is on the obverse. 

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Although this theme is not unique either, I think many collectors know who is the emperor if we just take a QUICK look at the legend (or recognize the design directly) 

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Obverse not exactly mandatory for ID:

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Some counter examples with common reverse designs. Deeper check is required, investigating the reverse legend but in some cases this is not enough. 

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15 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

I think Valerian is the only emperor with Saturn holding a scythe and nothing else. There are only five emperors with Saturn at all.

Valerian I Antoninianus, 254-255
image.png.45e9445cc51217a152e6e5694d4c52ec.png
Viminacium. Billon, 22mm, 4.33g. Radiate draped Bust right; IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG. Saturn standing right holding scythe; AETERNITATI AVGG (RIC V, 210). Purportedly from the Bristol (Somerset) II Hoard 1996.

Gallienus was also featured on this issue and it was assigned to Antioch rather than Viminacium due to Gobl (MIR).

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On 1/24/2024 at 7:20 PM, Valentinian said:

There is only one Roman with this reverse type. Can you recognize who it is?
(The answer is here.)  

Wow, there are some fantastic reverse types in your collection, Warren, some of which l have never seen before. I'll add them to my want list.

PS

I think on your Philip I the reading of the reverse legend is wrong

SPES FELICITATIS OBVIS

should be

SPES FELICITATIS ORBIS

 

Edited by Tejas
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Some emperor-specific unique types are obviously more interesting than others, but I wonder how many emperors didn't have any at all and just got by on stock designs ?

The emperor I'm most familiar with is my avatar, Constantine I, who had many unique types (at least if we include legend as well a design), but perhaps he is more of an exception? Certainly the emperors both preceding (tetrarchy) and following (Christianized types leading into Byzantine era) Constantine had less personalized and current event types and more generic ones.

 

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Probus' coins are wellknown for his many innovative obverse types, while his reverse types are mostly standard. This one from my collection, however, was minted only for Probus:

 

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Edited by Tejas
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9 hours ago, Tejas said:

I think on your Philip I the reading of the reverse legend is wrong

Thank you for the note. (I knew the legend, but typed it incorrectly.) I fixed it. 

I'm glad to see so many responses to the original post. Many of those coins are on those "unique" pages somewhere, but some are not. I hope to see more in this thread. 

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Another that is a favorite of mine:  You would think that a reverse naming the issuer would be unique but....

Pescennius Niger was called IVSTVS (the Just) and issued the type VICTOR IVST AVG. 

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The type was copied by his adversary Septimius Severus letter for letter.  I suspect someone at the mint got in trouble for this one since it suggested that the eventual victor was the Just one and that was the other guy.

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Shortly after that the IVST was replaced by similar coins reading VICTOR SEVER AVG.  This one was unique to Septimius. 

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I would like to know whether this change came before or after the death of Pescennius and the settling of just who was Victor (just or not).  I also would like to know what happened at the mint when they discovered this 'situation'.  Did heads roll?

 

 

Edited by dougsmit
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3 hours ago, Victor_Clark said:

How many "unique" wolf and twins reverses? the only difference is the legend, otherwise same old wolf and twins. Even the Ostrogths recycled this reverse.

 

True, but the image combined with the legend makes the reverse type. The ORIGINI AVG reverse of Probus is unique to this emperor. I think it is not just a unique, but also a mysterious reverse. Is it refering to the origins of the Augustus, i.e. of Probus or is it refering to the origins of Rome with the Romulus, Remus and Lupa image? Perhaps the coin indicates that Probus was from Siscia, i.e. celebrating that a native of their city had become emperor? 

Here is another unique reverse type from the Gothic kingdom. Athalaric (or better is mother) introduced a number of new reverse types inculding the type below, which shows a tree with two eagles. The tree may stand for the Ficus Ruminalis and the eagles my indicate Romulus and Remus. The interpretation is, however, uncertain.

Athalaric (526-534)

AE 20 Nummi (half follis)

Mint: Rome

The 20-Nummi coins of with ficus ruminalis are very rare and this is one of the best of the type:

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Edited by Tejas
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Vespasian struck this unusually rustic themed reverse in 77-78 for both himself and Titus Caesar.

 

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Vespasian
AR Denarius, 3.19g
Rome mint, 77-78 AD
Obv: CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: IMP XIX in exergue; Goatherd std. l., milking goat l.
RIC 977 (R). BMC 220. RSC 220. BNC 193.
Acquired from Ancient Delights, August 2012.

 

 

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Titus as Caesar [Vespasian]
AR Denarius, 3.53g
Rome Mint, July 77 AD - December 78 AD
Obv: T CAESAR VESPASIANVS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIII in exergue; Goatherd std. l., milking goat l.
RIC 985 (R). BMC 230. RSC 103. BNC 204.
Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.

 

It was never repeated again.

Edited by David Atherton
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5 hours ago, mcwyler said:

Nice! Did goatherds always have spikes on their backs in those days? 

I believe they are wearing rough woolen cloaks - the 'spikes' are a kind of Roman engraver's shorthand for rustic wholesomeness. Bib overalls would be the modern equivalent.

Edited by David Atherton
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