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Nummular brooch update

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Instead of starting a comprehensive write-up and running out of spare time to finish it, I've decided to write short threads on a series of additions. I explained and illustrated the fun of being a specialist collector, and posted about a Viking trade weight with gilded silver inlay. Today, I'll give you an update on my nummular brooch, and ask for help of Medieval specialists such as @Tejas, @JeandAcre, @John Conduitt, @AnYangMan and @Nap.


The nummular brooch, or pseudo-coin fibula, was discussed here when I bought it back in 2022, freshly dug from Zeeland, a coastal province in the Netherlands. 

The obverse shows a figure to the right, with a legend that has so far defied interpretation: it's either a garbled pseudo-legend, or names a local chieftain from the period (who knows!)



or, with the CVS >> DVS:


I shared photos of the brooch with Frisian linguists, hoping for an interpretation, and though it sparkled interest and discussion, no sensible interpretation followed. I also discussed it with Simon Coupland, the foremost authority on Carolingian coinage couldn't make sense of it either. In the end, with help from @AnYangMan who found photo's of similar examples, we tentatively dated is as Carolingian. 

In the past two years, I've searched for examples online, both in databases such as PAS (and the Dutch equivalent PAN), the Dutch NUMIS database, but also on fora of metal detectorists. I found a number of poor examples, all die-match (or 'mold match', more correctly). 

The update ... 

The update regards the reverse. On my brooch, this is just the incuse of the obverse. On a metal detectorist forum, I found a thread that provides new information on my example. I edited the photo's and tweaked a bit with the contrast to make it more legible:


The brooch is 26 mm (mine is 34) and it weighs 4.95g (mine 10.53). No find location was given, and so far, the finder hasn't reacted to my request for more information. I was immediately interested by the reverse which on this example wasn't incuse, but showed a legend between two circles, with a small central cross, much like Carolingian and Ottonian coins. The obverse was very similar to mine - in fact: it was a die-match. Here, I show both obverses together, true to size:


Having thus concluded that the obverses were die-matched ('mold matched'), both brooch had to be made in the same workshop. The reverse of the new find is thus relevant to my example. Again, I tweaked a bit with brightness and contrast:


But here I'm stuck again: what is the reading of the legend? 



The letters I'm quite certain about:




But really - though it feels I'm close to a more precise dating of my brooch, I'm stuck again! Feel free to speculate on the reading 🙂

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You do some great research.

I'm not sure they are 'die' matches. They are different in several ways. But they are similar enough that it would be hard to say they are not from the same workshop. At least, one was copied from the other. If they are different, it suggests the lettering isn't simply blundered but may have been copied. It doesn't seem the second was meant as a brooch if it has a reverse.

The second brooch seems somewhat similar to these from AnYangMan's post, which appear to have a similar reverse. So these could be coins made into brooches, and yours a brooch made in the style of these, as Tejas suggested in the earlier post. That would explain the extra rings around the outside.


Edited by John Conduitt
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