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my first Crusader coin


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The History of Byzantium podcast also made me desirous of getting a Crusader coin, especially one close to the first Crusade. 

Folles of Tancred seemed to be the most abundant and they checked many boxes; they were close to the First Crusade, are fairly plentiful (and cheap), have a portrait, and as a bonus, are rather like Byzantine coins.

It's supposed to be a turban on Tancred's head but doesn't it rather look like a hairpiece?

I scanned vcoins to find the nicest Tancred follis I could find and it was from of one of my go-to shops of late, London Ancient Coins.  It was much more expensive than most of the same types, but it was also much nicer. There were a handful with a clear,high grade portrait, but all had some issue or another; possible BD, etc. 

Df4DF7Ey3oANdTX89RcSr5LKBQt26j.jpg.f0594f7a04facf42808a2653370cea54.jpg

Tancred (Regent, 1101-03, 1104-12). Æ Follis (23mm, 4.46g, 6h). Bust of Tancred facing, wearing turban and holding sword. R/ Cross pommetée; IC XC NI KA in quarters. Metcalf, Crusades 63-9; CCS 4a

It was also smaller than I expected.  Although the description does say the size I had a somewhat larger module in my mind's eye.

This is a pretty nice example of the Tancred type (it also seems to have Renaissance Wax or lacquer, which I like).  However, I think my thirst of Crusader coins is quenched for now.

Feel free to post pre-1204 Crusder coins.  Does anyone have an ultra high grade version of this type?

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I don’t know about “ultra high grade,” but here is my example:

Med-16-CrAnt-1101-Tancred-Fol-2-4079.jpg.2b65c4b9ab2755bce75c40a46dace7a0.jpg

Crusader - Antioch; Tancred, Regent, r. 1101-1103, 1104-1112; AE Follis, 20.3 mm x 3.3 grams; Obv.: Bust of Tancred facing, wearing turban, holding sword; Rev.: Cross pommetée, fleuronnée at base; IC XC NI KA in quarters; Ref.: Malloy Antioch 4a, De Wit 4079; (Metcalf, Crusades 63-70); Overstruck on a First type follis of Tancred, Malloy Antioch 3a

I like the clear facial expression and hair on yours.  Well done!

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@Nerosmyfavorite68, for a first 'Crusader' example, you did very well!

Regarding the module, Malloy (Coins of the Crusader States) does note a variant of this, "[a]s above but with reduced dies and flan, 18mm or smaller" (1st ed. --not something you want except for, hmm, Faulkner-- p. 199; Antioch: 3b.)

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13 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

The History of Byzantium podcast also made me desirous of getting a Crusader coin, especially one close to the first Crusade. 

Folles of Tancred seemed to be the most abundant and they checked many boxes; they were close to the First Crusade, are fairly plentiful (and cheap), have a portrait, and as a bonus, are rather like Byzantine coins.

It's supposed to be a turban on Tancred's head but doesn't it rather look like a hairpiece?

I scanned vcoins to find the nicest Tancred follis I could find and it was from of one of my go-to shops of late, London Ancient Coins.  It was much more expensive than most of the same types, but it was also much nicer. There were a handful with a clear,high grade portrait, but all had some issue or another; possible BD, etc. 

Df4DF7Ey3oANdTX89RcSr5LKBQt26j.jpg.f0594f7a04facf42808a2653370cea54.jpg

Tancred (Regent, 1101-03, 1104-12). Æ Follis (23mm, 4.46g, 6h). Bust of Tancred facing, wearing turban and holding sword. R/ Cross pommetée; IC XC NI KA in quarters. Metcalf, Crusades 63-9; CCS 4a

It was also smaller than I expected.  Although the description does say the size I had a somewhat larger module in my mind's eye.

This is a pretty nice example of the Tancred type (it also seems to have Renaissance Wax or lacquer, which I like).  However, I think my thirst of Crusader coins is quenched for now.

Feel free to post pre-1204 Crusder coins.  Does anyone have an ultra high grade version of this type?

I’ve not bought one of these because I’m still waiting for a (too) good example. Yours isn’t far off the best they get. As you say, there’s always something not perfect, and if there wasn’t, maybe that coin would be in yet another price bracket, far out of reach.

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@Nerosmyfavorite68 I think you got an excellent portrait.  These coins tend to be carelessly struck.  I am of the opinion that Tancred’s hair is depicted, and not a turban, and your coin seems to support that school of thought.  The main virtue of my example is the clear name in the inscription.   Apologies for the iPad photo.  image.jpeg.4c94932e98e5309de0072f1bcf1893a5.jpeg

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@Hrefn, that part of the legend ('TANKPI') is Absolutely Brilliant.  ...I have to love it that the Franks were already using Greek legends --sometimes more literate than the Latin ones they were used to from home.  As they would a century later, in the imitative Ayyubid dirhams, replete with accurate AH dates.

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17 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

I’ve not bought one of these because I’m still waiting for a (too) good example. Yours isn’t far off the best they get. As you say, there’s always something not perfect, and if there wasn’t, maybe that coin would be in yet another price bracket, far out of reach.

Thanks for the very fine compliment!  yes, it was exponentially more expensive than most of the other ones on vcoins, but was sub-$200. The same dealer had one which I considered slightly less nice for 40 or 50 more than this example!

Hrefn's example is very nice (with a very nice sword and legend) and I like everybody's posted coins!

I'm no expert, but it does look like hair rather than any turban I've seen.

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Posted · Supporter

Nice first crusader coin, @Nerosmyfavorite68! Virtually all folles of this type, including mine and yours, are overstruck on first type folles of Tancred. I don't know why this was done. Maybe someone else does.

480803796_MAKreuzfahrerTancredfollis.png.1959973ad5698a9ab7c09d0ed7890cbb.png

Principality of Antioch, Tancred, AE follis, 1104–1112 AD. Obv: [KE BO TANKR or similar; as usual not struck]; bust of Tancred, bearded, wearing 'turban,' holding raised sword in r. hand. Rev: Cross as the Tree of Life; in quadrants, IC-XC / NI-KA. 22 mm, 2.45g. Ref: Schlumberger II.7, Metcalf 63-70, CCS 4a. Overstruck on Schlumberger II.6; Metcalf 49-62.

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6 hours ago, Ursus said:

Virtually all folles of this type, including mine and yours, are overstruck on first type folles of Tancred. I don't know why this was done. Maybe someone else does.

I don't, but reading this article, I imagine it was to upgrade his status. A bit of PR...

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Posted · Supporter
8 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

What was the first type?

A follis copying Bohemond's earlier design showing a bust of St. Peter. Here is the relevant page with line drawings from CCS:

IMG_5393.jpg.3db0228c24101a18bcc6464b6144c39c.jpg

13 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

I don't, but reading this article, I imagine it was to upgrade his status. A bit of PR...

That sounds like a reasonable assumption, though it doesn't explain why Tancred later on had folles of the 2nd type (like OP's and mine) once more overstruck with his 3rd type, and then overstruck his 3rd type with his 4th type. There is thus a sequence of overstrikes on Antiochene bronze coins that later continues under Roger of Salerno. CCS doesn't give a reason for this, and I don't know whether any further research on this matter has been done and published.

Edited by Ursus
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Those are cool types! Depending how exactly it's defined, I may have only one Crusader coin. (I suppose there might be other unidentified/iable ones among piles of low grade "group lot" coins.) The thing I really like about this region and period is the cultural influence and overlap. Just as there were Islamic coins imitating Christian coinage, there was a period when Crusader coins imitated Islamic coins.

Others will know the details better, but my reading was that the original design with the Kalima / Islamic legends was eventually forbidden by Papal decree. Following that, there are some cool varieties of these AR Dirhems, still in Arabic, but with crosses in the center, and giving a Christian legend. This one, I believe, is more, uh...faithful to the original design of the Abbasid caliph al-Mustansir Dirhams, struck in Damacus, c. AH 648.

The CNG description:

"CRUSADERS, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Imitation Dirhams. Mid to late 13th century. AR Dirham (20mm, 2.91 g, 10h). Imitating a Dimashq (Damascus) mint issue in the name of the Ayyubid al-Salih Isma'il and the 'Abbasid caliph al-Mustansir. Uncertain mint. Dated AH 648 (AD 1250/1). Cf. Balog & Yvon 37 (AH 641); Metcalf, Crusades –; CCS 3."

image.jpeg.3b2f2393d3c8d7840e418745b77acb27.jpeg

Ex Jay Galst Coll. (Triton XXV [Online, 11 Jan 2022], 6767); Erich Wäckerlin (Coins of the Crusader States and Their SuccessorsMunzen & Medaillen GmbH 47 [23 May 2019], 217.2); Münz Galerie München (Jan 1988).

The following is not a Crusader coin, of course, but a slightly earlier Artuqid AE Dirhem (Mardin, mid 12th Cent. CE), and the direction of influence is reversed. Diademed male heads on obv., facing female head on rev. The exact artistic influence is debated, but it's clearly in the tradition of late Roman / Byzantine coinage. (In my view, the reverse of this Septimius Aureus [the Aureus isn't my coin!] is a very likely model for the female head -- Julia Domna, just check out her hair! -- and even the two sons, Caracalla and Geta, could be turned slightly forward to get the obverse design, at least for one of the potential influences.)

image.jpeg.686b95ffb11bc6717e26d472b17250f5.jpeg

Image Credit: Kunker. ICV 1203 (this coin illustrated) = Wilkes, Islamic Coins & Their Values, vol 1, p. 117.

The reverse a possible influence (just one of multiple, probably)? (Image Credit: CNG - cngcoins.com archive -- not my coin!)

image.jpeg.7d2225df464cc65a275cea27e3e5fe42.jpeg

 

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13 minutes ago, Curtis JJ said:

This one, I believe, is more, uh...faithful to the original design of the Abbasid caliph al-Mustansir Dirhams, struck in Damacus, c. AH 648.

That's a really nice example. There was a similar thread on Crusader coins a couple of weeks ago, where we took a good broad definition 🤣 

 

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1 minute ago, John Conduitt said:

That's a really nice example. There was a similar thread on Crusader coins a couple of weeks ago, where we took a good broad definition 🤣 

Thank you! Wow, what great stuff I've been missing. Glad I finally found the party and signed up here!

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The obverse on Hrefn's example seems to correspond more exactly to the CCS line drawing than mine, while the garb depecited by FitzNigel's coin seems to be more like mine.  Are these variants noted in the references?

And using simple logic, if the first type has both a large and small module, as well as the portrait type, wouldn't this indicate a full follis (or whatever it was called) and a half unit?  Although it would have been rather confusing for the public to discern the difference.

Neat, Seth; I'll have to check it out!

https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/london_ancient_coins/89/product/crusaders_antioch_tancred_regent_110103_110412__follis/1495624/Default.aspx

That's the coin that I decided against in favor of mine.  I think mine is nicer overall, and was $60-80 cheaper!  Except for the blob in the part of his hair, I think the more expensive one also suggests hair, not a turban.

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Might as well include this example of Tancred's third issue.  This represents some serious numismatic regression, imitating anonymous Byzantine folles of the preceding century.  (Recently posted on the 'old coin /old tune' thread.)

image.jpeg.cb51215852c50c7b6a94849c1feb0fd4.jpeg

'Crusaders' /Frankish Levant.  Tancred as regent in Antioch for Bohemond I, 1101-3, 1104-13.  Malloy, CCS p. 199, No. 5; line drawing p. 200.  With intriguing, correspondingly mysterious overstriking on the obverse. Never mind the obvious imitation of Byzantine prototypes, and, Yeah, 'TA / NK' plain as good daylight on the reverse.

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Highly unlikely that the smaller version of earlier Tancred coinage was post 1120, while naming Tancred. I think that what happend in Antioch is a process similar to what happened in Norman Sicily with the multitude of fractional follari used in the Norman lands in Italy. As a matter of fact both Bohemond and Tancred were coming from that world with its particularities and the coinage was most likely used in a similar manner as in Sicily and Southern Italy. 

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Thank you, @seth77.  That's exactly where I was going in an earlier post here.  The Hauteville Normans who wound up with and in Antioch had immediate Byzantine precedent.  Both in terms of circulation, and their own, earliest Apulian imitative issues, conspicuously including folles.  They were already fluent in the denominational language.

 

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