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Coin of the week: Alexandria Troas


seth77
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Savoca (and other auction houses, mainly in Germany) had these last 2 months a series of these Alexandria Troas 'civic issues' on auction and most of them went for low bids, despite their indisputable quality. But this is probably one of the best I have ever seen. It's a regular coinage of the 250s apparently, with many specimens available in trade and at auction at any given time (despite the rarity implied in RPC, more on that later).

2959845_1654871784.jpg.841a8d4f098ca1cab4c6dc083a072192.jpg

Alexandria Troas
Civic issue
AE22mm 6.17g copper unit, minted at Alexandria ca. 250s.
AL - EX TRO; draped bust of Tyche wearing arched einceinte with three towers, holding vexillum inscribed CO/AV over her right shoulder
CO - L AVG - TRO; eagle with its wings widespread, holding a protome of a bull in its talons.
RPC IX 515, Bellinger A490.

 

Alexandria Troas minted extensively at the middle of the 3rd century, both coinage with Imperial figures and these so-called 'civic issues' showing on the obverse the local Tyche with a detailed city wall with towers and possibly arched gateways holding the symbols of the colonial status of the city on a vexillum. The reverse type with the eagle holding the bull protome in its talons is shared with coinage minted for emperors Trebonianus Gallus and Valerian so the dating is likely in the 250s.

Although the type is common and many of them are presently offered by auction houses, RPC only notes 1 specimen under this entry. Very similar style and engraving, if not exactly a double die-match, here.

Edited by seth77
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Great coin! I live the details on the eagle. I have a few coins from Alexandria Troas but apparently only two (poorly) photographed.

1164782299_ValerianAlexandriaTroasSNGCop191v2.JPG.94eb839e60f146d0a907af7ac9050f49.JPG

VALERIAN, Alexandria Troas, 253 - 260 AD SNG Cop 191 var (obv legend).  O: IMP LICI VALERIAN, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right.   R: COL AVG TRO, horse grazing right

CaracallaAlexandriaTroasSngCop134v.PNG.041a719867fdd9d7dd8b6fb189f93dd1.PNG

Caracalla AE27 of Alexandria Troas. M AVR ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right / COL AVG TROAD, perspective view of hexstyle temple with statue of Apollo within holding patera and bow. SNG Cop 134

I really like the Caracalla but was just getting terrible photos of it and eventually gave up… the 3D temple is very cool in my opinion.

The Temple of Apollo Smintheus and the legend behind the founding of the city is very interesting and really deserves a write up. ….but my kids are insane and don’t leave me time for such things. Maybe someday.

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Very nice acquisition, @seth77!  The reverse is especially fabulous!

This appears to be the last issue at Alexandria, Troas.  It doesn't exist for Valerian, and so was likely produced after his capture c. 260:

image.jpeg.b38af09dabcd2fa97a3419330e9d5491.jpeg

I'm hoping to understand how it figures in the context of the provincial mint closures, which you discuss in your interesting (and ongoing!) late provincial thread.  I find it interesting that the portrait style coheres with the sole reign Imperial portraits much better than the earlier Alexandria portraits of Gallienus.  The earlier ones look much the same as @Orange Julius's Valerian portrait.  The production values were clearly higher in the pre-capture era as well... the poor legends on my coin are on the die, not a product of wear.

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Mine is nowhere near as nice.

GI_105a_img~0.jpg

A similar reverse type under Caracalla

GI_066l_img~0.jpg

An a Max Thrax - horse and tree type

Obv:- IMP MAXIMIMVS(retrograde), PIA, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
Rev:- A in upper left, V in upper right, TROAS in exe, Horse facing right, grazing, tree behind

Bellinger A364, the rev. is type 40, horse r. with tree

GI_080a_img~0.jpg

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I've yet to get one of those grazing horse or eagle types, but here are a couple:

1535415126_Caracalla-AlexandriaTroasApolloSminthusMar2020(0).jpg.56c7bb0c3a2c89237839bc8517dca96b.jpg

Caracalla   Æ 23 Alexandria, Troas (c. 214-215 A.D.) [IMP] M AVR ANTONINVS  PI[VS?], laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. / COL ALEX AVG, statue of Apollo Smintheus standing right on plinth, holding patera & bow; lighted tripod-altar right.  (8.67 grams / 23 x 22 mm ) eBay March 2020  Attribution:  Cf. Bellinger A293; Cf. SNG Cop 136; Cf. SNG von Aulock 1472.  From Agora Auction No. 73, Lot 138 March 27, 2018

1754367215_Troas-MarsyastimeofGallienusMay2019(0).jpg.23c350e543f99c05d48a15f18e32d8ab.jpg

 

Alexandreia, Troas  Æ 22 Pseudo-autonomous (Gallienus era c. 253-268 A.D.) CO ALEX [TRO], Turreted, draped bust of Tyche r., vexillum w. CO/AV behind / COL AV[G] TROA(C?), Marsyas standing right on pedestal, wine-skin over shoulder, right hand raised. (4.41 grams / 22 mm ) eBay May 2019  Bellinger A497 var. (with CO ALEX TRO on obv.); SNG Cop 103 var (ditto) SNG von Aulock 1463 var (ditto)

 

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I have two Troa'n coins;

 

This is the more traditioinal style with the COL AVG reverse. Horse is rather nice. Valerian's face is all bashed in, sort of like in real life, I would imagine.

2004895729_ValerianISNGvATroas7573.JPG.127336e577620342398a04ce5d049baf.JPG

 

 

This is an interesting coin of Caracalla with a weird portrait. The reverse isn't that Civic style.

1856847633_CaracallaParis264(2020_11_1803_38_31UTC).JPG.1a2814036da0f5cb534ab45c5689d7ae.JPG

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Hi @hotwheelsearl -- none of your coins is a 'civic issue' they are both with Imperial portraits. 'Civic' issues usually have the local Tyche or a god/goddess, often with local connotations, instead of the emperor. Yours are 'provincial' issues. Another difference is I think regarding the intended use: 'civic coinage' was theoretically confined to the city use while coinage with Imperial portraits circulated more widely throughout the general area and/or province.

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On 7/25/2022 at 5:32 AM, seth77 said:

Hi @hotwheelsearl -- none of your coins is a 'civic issue' they are both with Imperial portraits. 'Civic' issues usually have the local Tyche or a god/goddess, often with local connotations, instead of the emperor. Yours are 'provincial' issues. Another difference is I think regarding the intended use: 'civic coinage' was theoretically confined to the city use while coinage with Imperial portraits circulated more widely throughout the general area and/or province.

Thanks for the knowledge!

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I have only 2 coins of Alexandria Troas.

First Berlinger A 491, AD 200-268, semi automous period.

image.png.03743c98c13e149f65b20001a16620d5.png

 

Berlinger A 486 var.

reverse : COL AL AV : I have read that this inscription was only used by Alexander Severus, but I am not sure.

 

 

image.png.3cb1bab12e9e64e10794309696a80453.png

 

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