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A rare, pseudo-Roman siliqua of Honorius from the Visigoths


ValiantKnight
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I was very fortunate to have acquired a coin of this rare, short-lived, and interesting type for my collection. This was among the first coins struck by the Visigoths, and a product of the turbulent early fifth century, soon after their sack of Rome in 410. After the sack and the death of their king Alaric, the Visigoths went on to continue to ravage Italy and southern Gaul. During their time in Gaul in 414 AD, the Visigoths under King Ataulf propped up Priscus Attalus as Roman emperor for the second time against Emperor Honorius. Successful campaigning against the tribe by Honorius's general Constantius III pushed the Visigoths to abandon Attalus in 415, who was later captured by Honorius-aligned Roman forces. Also in 415, the Visigoths were brought to the negotiating table and signed a peace treaty with Honorius; subsequently, the tribe fought as foederati for the Romans against other Germanic tribes that were occupying parts of the Western Roman Empire. In 418, as a result of their service, Honorius granted them their own territory in Aquitania (in later years, the Visigoths would also extended their control to Hispania).

During Attalus's second usurpation, siliquae were minted in his name by the Visigoths in Gaul, the mint city possibly being Narbonne (which was taken by the Visigoths in 413). Along with the Attalus siliquae, there are those that were stuck bearing Honorius's name and effigy; these carried the mintmark PSRV indicating Ravenna (however, the Visigoths never controlled Ravenna and this appropriation of a Ravenna mintmark could be seen as an attempt to make the coins more accepted). The Attalus siliquae have the reverse legend ending in "AVGG" and "AVGGG" while the Honorius coins were typically only stuck with the latter (interestingly enough on my coin it has "ACGG"; or possibly the C is a deformed V). It is not know with full certainty if these Honorius siliquae were struck before, during, or after the second usurpation and subsequent abandonment of Attalus, but according to J.P.C. Kent in his 1989 address to the Royal Numismatic Society, it is most likely that they were made after the 418 settlement treaty, with an ending date of 423 for this issue (although the earlier date of 415 is likely as well).

In the name of Honorius, Visigoths in Gaul
AR siliqua
Obv: D N HONORI-VS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped bust right
Rev: VICTOR-IA ACGG, Roma seated left on cuirass, holding Victory on globe and spear
Mint: Narbonne (or another mint in Gaul)   
Mintmark: PSRV
Date: 415/418 to 423 AD
Ref: RIC X 3703 var.

1.1 grams, 11 mm wide

VKhonoriusvisigoths.thumb.jpg.7035f0c81e8a43db19486927369987b6.jpg

Western Roman Empire at the end of 418 AD:

2047005389_MapaImperioOccidentalao418wikipedia.thumb.png.480f7356b8e384b3d3f74a965d37b477.png

Sources for information and map:

CNG (https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=163273)

Wikipedia

Please post your coins of Honorius, siliquae, the Visigoths, any/or anything else relevant!

Edited by ValiantKnight
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10 minutes ago, TheTrachyEnjoyer said:

I don’t mean to be harbinger of bad news but that isn’t authentic. It looks to be a cast fake of a honorius siliqua 😟. Sorry 

If it were me I would want to know and return it.

Any chance you could provide details/insight on why you believe this? The red encrustation looks natural and the surface condition looks typical for wear. And the obverse and reverse being misaligned, couldn’t just that be a result of the poor quality control of these late, unofficial siliquae? I could not find any known fakes for this type.

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2 minutes ago, ValiantKnight said:

Any chance you could provide details/insight on why you believe this? The red encrustation looks natural and the surface condition looks typical for wear. And the obverse and reverse being misaligned, couldn’t just that be a result of the poor quality control of these late, unofficial siliquae? I could not find any known fakes for this type.

Sure. There are quite a few issues with it. I will try my best to describe them but I am not the most eloquent or articulate when it comes to describing why a coin is fake.
 

These were of pure silver for one and this coin isnt. The flans were thin where as this quite thick. You can see evidence of it being cast, especially around 9 oclock on the reverse. There is a huge casting seam there. The letters are fuzzy as are details. That kind of patina also isn’t really ever on silver and I don’t recall seeing any vandalic silver with something like that. 
 

Also, were it to be authentic (which it is not), this is a normal siliqua of honorius. A1D5821B-69DA-48CE-AE19-A7EDE6EB39F4.jpeg.702bb5c7caf037ffdb01b80e256652d1.jpeg1F48310A-4778-4A0F-9D5A-3F28D30AFB1F.jpeg.74a410b25207fcc857a449b88f531959.jpeg

Vandal siliqua have extreme stylization, seen most especially with the eye and around the nose. Hopes this helps 🙂 and you can still return the coin.

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54 minutes ago, TheTrachyEnjoyer said:

These were of pure silver for one and this coin isnt. The flans were thin where as this quite thick.

But that's how the type (from the Visigoths, not Vandals) is in general. Its supposed to be a tiny, thin silver coin. And the weight, diameter of my coin check out. The coins you posted is a type commonly attributed to the Vandals.

Please see:

https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=163273

https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=115484

https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/london_ancient_coins/89/product/visigoths_gaul_uncertain_king_415507_ar_half_siliqua_in_the_name_of_the_honorius_pseudoravenna_mint_in_gaul_very_rare/1184621/Default.aspx

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/a-visigothic-siliqua-minted-in-the-name-of-honorius-in-septimania.351687/

https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/traianvs_coins/250/product/vandals_honorius_siliqua_440490_ad_pseudoravenna_gaul_narbonne_psrv_very_rare/876214/Default.aspx (don't know why they call it Vandal here)

https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=83991

https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?term="honorius"+"siliqua"+"visigoths"+"psrv"&category=1-2&lot=&thesaurus=1&images=1&en=1&de=1&fr=1&it=1&es=1&ot=1&currency=usd&order=0

As far as the red encrustations, could it not be from being buried in an iron-rich environment?

Also, what you see is not a seam but rather looks to perhaps be a product of the dies being misaligned. The "seam" is actually the opposite side of the coin. I tried (and failed) to take photos of it, but I will give it another shot later. In the meantime here is a simple illustration of how the edge is if you look at it with the "seam" on the right hand side:

coinside.jpg.d2a88a9997fed46d98af66620594f283.jpg

 

Its so thin that I don't think a seam would even fit. Apart from that protusion that looks like a seam, the rest of the edge looks normal, with a couple of edge chips that look silver inside them.

Edited by ValiantKnight
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56 minutes ago, ValiantKnight said:

But that's how the type (from the Visigoths, not Vandals) is in general. Its supposed to be a tiny, thin silver coin. And the weight, diameter of my coin check out. The coins you posted is a type commonly attributed to the Vandals.

Please see:

https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=163273

https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=115484

https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/london_ancient_coins/89/product/visigoths_gaul_uncertain_king_415507_ar_half_siliqua_in_the_name_of_the_honorius_pseudoravenna_mint_in_gaul_very_rare/1184621/Default.aspx

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/a-visigothic-siliqua-minted-in-the-name-of-honorius-in-septimania.351687/

https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/traianvs_coins/250/product/vandals_honorius_siliqua_440490_ad_pseudoravenna_gaul_narbonne_psrv_very_rare/876214/Default.aspx (don't know why they call it Vandal here)

https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=83991

https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?term="honorius"+"siliqua"+"visigoths"+"psrv"&category=1-2&lot=&thesaurus=1&images=1&en=1&de=1&fr=1&it=1&es=1&ot=1&currency=usd&order=0

As far as the red encrustations, could it not be from being buried in an iron-rich environment?

Also, what you see is not a seam but rather looks to perhaps be a product of the dies being misaligned. The "seam" is actually the opposite side of the coin. I tried (and failed) to take photos of it, but I will give it another shot later. In the meantime here is a simple illustration of how the edge is if you look at it with the "seam" on the right hand side:

coinside.jpg.d2a88a9997fed46d98af66620594f283.jpg

 

Its so thin that I don't think a seam would even fit. Apart from that protusion that looks like a seam, the rest of the edge looks normal, with a couple of edge chips that look silver inside them.

4B4C6921-060A-46DB-8FE0-8C4E252A6871.jpeg.dcdede5f19bddf7e218f3b0ae4358dd7.jpeg

I would just recommend taking a step back and reviewing the coin in question. I don’t think authenticity can really be argued for but I have made my points. No offense but its not a convincing fake. Sometimes a deal to good be true is just that. Maybe other members here wouldn’t mind weighing in as I am sure I am not the only one with this opinion 🙂
 

If you don’t believe me, talk to dealer friends or even inquire at a reputable auction house. Im not trying to reign on your parade but save you what ever this coin cost. At the end of the day its your coin and collecting journey. 

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5 hours ago, TheTrachyEnjoyer said:

4B4C6921-060A-46DB-8FE0-8C4E252A6871.jpeg.dcdede5f19bddf7e218f3b0ae4358dd7.jpeg

I would just recommend taking a step back and reviewing the coin in question. I don’t think authenticity can really be argued for but I have made my points. No offense but its not a convincing fake. Sometimes a deal to good be true is just that. Maybe other members here wouldn’t mind weighing in as I am sure I am not the only one with this opinion 🙂
 

If you don’t believe me, talk to dealer friends or even inquire at a reputable auction house. Im not trying to reign on your parade but save you what ever this coin cost. At the end of the day its your coin and collecting journey. 

Agree to disagree, then. I think I would need more solid evidence for me to believe that it is not authentic. If you'll look at the links I provided, my coin lines up with typical weights, diameters, and style of the other examples (any of those look fake?). The fuzzy details could be from wear and environmental conditions. I have seen red encrustations here-and-there on silver coins; I used to have a (authentic) tetradrachm with it. And since I have it in hand and have looked at it carefully under a loupe, I can tell that what you see is not a seam. Like I said, its the edge itself protruding/overflowing off the coin (which I am not surprised about given the low quality control of these and the tiny flan).

 

I would welcome and appreciate opinions/expertise from others on this.

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Where did you get it from? Do you have a link? The seller may help convince you. All of the problems you mentioned above are tell tale signs of a cast fake. If you don’t believe me go to any ancients dealer in the area (not modern who happens to sell ancients but an actual ancients dealer) and they will confirm what I said. Seriously not trying to be mean but save you a few bucks down the road. Especially if you got it on a third party site like ebay, you will have 30 days to return or you are forever scammed 😟

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On 5/29/2022 at 11:10 AM, TheTrachyEnjoyer said:

Where did you get it from? Do you have a link? The seller may help convince you. All of the problems you mentioned above are tell tale signs of a cast fake. If you don’t believe me go to any ancients dealer in the area (not modern who happens to sell ancients but an actual ancients dealer) and they will confirm what I said. Seriously not trying to be mean but save you a few bucks down the road. Especially if you got it on a third party site like ebay, you will have 30 days to return or you are forever scammed 😟

A dealer friend of mine, who happens to have one of this type and specializes in collecting from this time period, gave the green light on my coin. And I’ve sent an inquiry about it to a well-known, well-regarded, and established auction house, so I’ll see what they have to say as well.

 

Edited by ValiantKnight
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6 hours ago, Mat said:

honor.jpeg.52a7a6b04c480c2cec8ae2a4a11ef888.jpeg

Honorius (392 - 395 A.D.)
Æ2
O: DN HONORIVS P F AVG; pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.
R: GLORIA ROMANORVM; Emperor standing, facing head right, holding standard and globe. ANTΓ in ex.
Antioch Mint
22mm
5.8g
RIC IX Antioch 68e

Great example Mat, thanks for posting. I am of the belief that nice LRBs are underrated in general. I particularly like the detail on the emperor on the reverse.

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Re: the authenticity question, I lean towards the view that it's genuine.  It does have some of the worrisome signs that @TheTrachyEnjoyer pointed out, in particular the surfaces and odd misalignment, but the surfaces are not unlike the other examples that @ValiantKnight linked. I disagree that the patination is a bad sign - looks like normal horn silver to me, which can be purple.  I also agree with VK that this Visigothic silver is a very different kettle of fish from the Vandal silver.  Coupled with the expert opinion that VK has had already I'm betting it's genuine.

In which case: what a great coin! 👍 I wish I had one!!

(In general I think it's best to send someone a pm first if you have an authenticity concern about their coin.  I know I appreciate this, though I haven't always remembered to do it myself!)

Here's a Honorius from around the time of the Sack of Rome, VRBS ROMA FELIX (haha!):

image.thumb.jpeg.b6b9d972f4001e7f529d4b0b251a5f24.jpeg

And one of the crappy Rome mint products from just after the sack (410-415), GLORIA ROMANORVM:

image.thumb.jpeg.0c02cdf2c4e7f6b73b62fdc12b07d4e8.jpeg

Finally here's a recent acquisition, a tiny Visigothic AE nummus (6mm, 0.23g!) from early in the 7th century after the Visigoths had moved to Spain:

image.thumb.jpeg.0094bb4246ff6901c2e521ff41ff1005.jpeg

Seville mint, Obv: SP, Rev: Cross on steps; Crusafont Group A type 2.

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16 hours ago, Severus Alexander said:

Re: the authenticity question, I lean towards the view that it's genuine.  It does have some of the worrisome signs that @TheTrachyEnjoyer pointed out, in particular the surfaces and odd misalignment, but the surfaces are not unlike the other examples that @ValiantKnight linked. I disagree that the patination is a bad sign - looks like normal horn silver to me, which can be purple.  I also agree with VK that this Visigothic silver is a very different kettle of fish from the Vandal silver.  Coupled with the expert opinion that VK has had already I'm betting it's genuine.

In which case: what a great coin! 👍 I wish I had one!!

(In general I think it's best to send someone a pm first if you have an authenticity concern about their coin.  I know I appreciate this, though I haven't always remembered to do it myself!)

Here's a Honorius from around the time of the Sack of Rome, VRBS ROMA FELIX (haha!):

image.thumb.jpeg.b6b9d972f4001e7f529d4b0b251a5f24.jpeg

And one of the crappy Rome mint products from just after the sack (410-415), GLORIA ROMANORVM:

image.thumb.jpeg.0c02cdf2c4e7f6b73b62fdc12b07d4e8.jpeg

Finally here's a recent acquisition, a tiny Visigothic AE nummus (6mm, 0.23g!) from early in the 7th century after the Visigoths had moved to Spain:

image.thumb.jpeg.0094bb4246ff6901c2e521ff41ff1005.jpeg

Seville mint, Obv: SP, Rev: Cross on steps; Crusafont Group A type 2.

Really appreciate the seal of approval Severus! All awesome coins you posted. I am green with envy! The first two are in great shape for their types, and teh Visigothic nummus is one I do not have yet. I have a couple of 7th century Visigothic bronze nummi but of a different type and mint: Crusafont Group B from Hispalis.

(old photo of mine for the first and seller's photo for the second one)

VisigothNummusSpali_zps53315328.thumb.jpg.c6cf1df46cb515c1b70c934280b795a0.jpg

VisigothsSpaliNummus_zpscd456518.jpg.7b3ad3931e7c7bb75deb314599d502b2.jpg

In sort-of related news, I also acquired a silver 9th century Lombard coin a few months back so I can't wait to make the write-up for that and share it on the forum.

 

Edited by ValiantKnight
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32 minutes ago, ValiantKnight said:

I have a couple of 7th century Visigothic bronze nummi but of a different type and mint: Crusafont Group B from Hispalis.

Both are nice, that first one is a real beauty!! Note that it's the same mint: Seville = Hispalis.

34 minutes ago, ValiantKnight said:

In sort-of related news, I also acquired a silver 9th century Lombard coin a few months back so I can't wait to make the write-up for that and share it on the forum.

Cool, I look forward to the post!  I have 2 or maybe 3 Lombard coins, hopefully at least one will be relevant!

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