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Two new ancients from my local coin shop - a Nero As and a "Neroesque" AE Dirham


robinjojo
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Posted (edited)

Over the past few weeks I made a couple of visits to my local coin shop in San Jose to go through some of the ancients stock.  I've been basically going through the same box.  I am sure there are other ancients available, but the shop, always a bit of jumble, became more disorganized because of one break-in and a couple of attempted break-ins.  Additional security measures, in addition to the video monitors, were added, including a beefed up door, a concrete barrier in front, in the form of a planter, and a metal security door that can be lowered electronically.  Needless to say the owner is upset and very angry about this situation and there's talk that the shop will likely close in two or three years, I assume when the current lease expires.

I did find a crude but interesting AE As of Nero.  At least I think it is an As, but it is somewhat on the heavy side for an As.

This is a well known type, with Nero playing a lyre on the reverse.  The portrait, unlike most examples that I have seen, is facing left.  Does anyone have the RIC# for this coin.  I assume that it would have its own due to the left facing portrait.  Is this a rare variety?

The obverse is rough, with deposits and some corrosion, while the reverse is quite decent all things considered.

Nero, AE As, 64 AD, Nero playing the lyre on reverse.

11.33 grams

 

218046869_D-CameraNeroAEAs64ADReshootNeroplayingLyre11.33gSal7-26-22.jpg.053e73fef9aaeb54e694445ee7b99380.jpg

The second coin, which I call "Neroesque", was minted by the Artuqids of Mardin.  It is the only ancient or medieval coin that I know of that has both a profile and a facing portrait on the same side, the obverse for this coin.

The profile portrait clearly resembles Nero, at least to me.  Perhaps others might think it is another emperor.  The facing portrait is very much in the Byzantine style.

Artuquids of Mardin, Husam al-Din Yuluq Arslan. AH 580-597 (1184-1201 AD), SS34, variant portrait page, 103.

13.48 grams

The larger roman style portrait, in the astrological context of royalty, represents Jupiter.  The facing figure, with the pointed crown could represent the sun.  On December 19, 1189 an occultation, or planetary eclipse of Jupiter as it passed behind the sun occurred, deemed an auspicious conjunction.  Could this coin's obverse be a reference to this event?  Spengler and Sayles think it is.

This coin is a fairly decent example of a scarce type.  There seems to have been an attempt to clean the coin in the past, as evidenced by the scratches on both sides.

 

1914871843_D-CameraArtuquidsMardinHusamal-DinYuluqArslanAD580-5971184-1201ADSS34variantportraitpg10313.48g7-24-22.jpg.f7e06662fee441e0a92ccd38fcb1cee3.jpg

 

Thanks for helping to ID the Nero As, and please post anything you wish.

 

Edited by robinjojo
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Your Artuqid coin is very interesting. The ruler is named above the busts on the obverse: Husam al-Din malik Diyarbakr ("Husam al-Din king of Diyarbakr"). The reverse names his Ayyubid overlord Saladin: al-malik al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf bin Ayyub muhyi dawlat amir al-mu'minin ("the king al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf son of Ayyub, life-giver to the state of the commander of the faithful"). 

A century and a half ago, the British Museum (Oriental Coins, vol. 3, Turcomans, p. 150, 405) described the profile portrait as "probably copied from a coin of Nero" and the smaller facing portrait as "clearly Byzantine". That said, the turreted crown on the facing portrait strikes me as more Sasanian than Byzantine. Indeed, Saladin issued coins with a very similar single portrait which Balog (The Coinage of the Ayyubids, p. 101, 172) describes as "Sultan's facing bust, crowned with a three-pointed Sasanian crown". The "sultan", of course, is Saladin. I will go out on a limb and suggest that the portraits on your Artuqid coin may represent Saladin (left) and Husam al-Din (right).  No less reasonable, I think, than the 'occultation of Jupiter' hypothesis. Fun to contemplate!

Edited by DLTcoins
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Roman Collector said:

That's RIC 455, which appears to be quite rare. This is the only example I could find online.

2663916.jpg.79b5dcabfe967c5c6b20c3ffe4c08394.jpg

 

Thank you so much!  That example that you found online is absolutely beautiful and far better quality dies compared to my humble example.  

 

Edited by robinjojo
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3 hours ago, Octavius said:

 My Lyre playing Nero is right facing..

 

640103_0_original.jpg.191f91882041e8cbed740eb1982c6750.jpg

 

That's a an excellent coin!  The obverse, with its high relief portrait is remarkable.  The reverse is also very nicely centered.

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1 hour ago, DLTcoins said:

Your Artuqid coin is very interesting. The ruler is named above the busts on the obverse: Husam al-Din malik Diyarbakr ("Husam al-Din king of Diyarbakr"). The reverse names his Ayyubid overlord Saladin: al-malik al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf bin Ayyub muhyi dawlat amir al-mu'minin ("the king al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf son of Ayyub, life-giver to the state of the commander of the faithful"). 

A century and a half ago, the British Museum (Oriental Coins, vol. 3, Turcomans, p. 150, 405) described the profile portrait as "probably copied from a coin of Nero" and the smaller facing portrait as "clearly Byzantine". That said, the turreted crown on the facing portrait strikes me as more Sasanian than Byzantine. Indeed, Saladin issued coins with a very similar single portrait which Balog (The Coinage of the Ayyubids, p. 101, 172) describes as "Sultan's facing bust, crowned with a three-pointed Sasanian crown". The "sultan", of course, is Saladin. I will go out on a limb and suggest that the portraits on your Artuqid coin may represent Saladin (left) and Husam al-Din (right).  No less reasonable, I think, than the 'occultation of Jupiter' hypothesis. Fun to contemplate!

That's an interesting take.  

Here Spengler and Sayles' take on the artistic creation of this and other Turkoman coins in this series:

"This brings us back to the broader issue of who created the designs for these coins of the Artuqids.  While the series itself  is constantly changing, we are inclined to believe that at this particular point in the evolution of Turkoman coinage the designs were produced by non-Islamic artisans well-schooled in ancient traditions and aided by a cadre of philosophers, scientists, astrologer, poets and historians who served the Turkoman princes as they had served a host of conquerors before them.  We seriously doubt that the rulers themselves played much of a role in image selection beyond approving the final recommendations.  We can only wonder how the engraver of this series of dies justified its significance to his employer." (Page 104, Volume 1,  of their reference on Turkoman coinage).

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One of the criticisms when the books were published was that the astrology angle was overplayed. Maybe so, maybe not. Beyond the obvious affection for classical prototypes, it's really all speculation. Nice coin! The Saladin inscription is a real plus in terms of broad collector appeal.

 

Edited by DLTcoins
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