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Old 08-05-2007, 04:38 PM
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Question 3rd & 4th Century Mint Identification

Hello Fellow Tantalusians,

I thought I had a handle on reading the mint letters of late Roman coins, but my last few acquisitions have me baffled.
1.) Silvered Antoninianus of Maximianus, IoviConservatoriavgg rev., TR above line.
Attributed by seller to Tripolis. CoinsCatalog does not list Tripolis mint issues. wildwinds does. In other cases TR indicates the Trier mint.

2.) Bz, possibly once silvered, 1/2 Centenionalis of Constantine the Great, VOT XX rev.
In exergue: S centered w/space and T at right. Identified by seller as from the Ticinum mint.
This is a classic example of an ancient Roman coin. High quality execution, which would indicate Italian manufacture, but Siscia also used S as a mint letter, and T might indicate 3rd workshop?
At least two other ancient coin identification sites list varieties of this type with S T (not TS) as being from the Ticinum mint.

3.) Silvered Antoninianus of Probus Clementiaavg rev. KA in exergue w/crescent above line. Seller justifiably identified coin as to Tripolis with similar coin listed in wildwinds. Coinscatalog does not list Tripolis as among the mints that issued coins for this Emperor.

This is enough for now. I'm sure you get the idea. So, who's correct? I thought I read that the Roman armies salted Carthage soil after the Punic Wars so that nothing would ever grow there again. Did enough time pass that the land made a comeback, or is this a different location entirely? Coins with KA letters in exergue with symbols above and below the line are
also attributed to Siscia and Serdica , and possibly other locations.

Also, how much stock can I put into a comment that a 2nd century denarius is from
Lugdunum or Antioch for instance when no mint letter is apparent?
I saw a bronze antoninianus of a late 3rd century Emperor as being from Cologne. Did the seller mean Trier? I know there aren't cut and dried answers to my questions, because according to some sources the Romans stuck coins at some 600 different locations. There is even reference to field mints that were brought along with the military forces.

Any comment sincerely appreciated,

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Old 08-08-2007, 10:15 AM
mrichter mrichter is online now
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 170


Interesting questions. I am not sure, but I don't think that you could ever have a Roman Coin from Tripoli. The roman era city in that area was Leptis Magna. That would make me think that Trier woiuld be correct.

I am sure you will get a more detailed (and accurate) response by posing this question on the Moneta-L or AncientPeddlers groups on yahoo.


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Old 08-08-2007, 01:51 PM
rasiel rasiel is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 276

phil, i'll give you some quick opinions to your questions:

1) the mint is triplois, not tripoli the leptis magna city in libya that matt thinks of but rather a city in turkey, see http://www.gototurkey.co.uk/index.php?link=1211 for a little more. one is easily confused of this mintmark since it's typically indicative of trier provenance. however, as a mint city with explicit mintmarks trier coins start coming out under the reign of diocletian. also, the style of tripolis (whose output is limited to the aurelian-probus years off the top of my head) is very similar to that of antioch with pointy radiate crowns.

2) in this case the ST stands for second [officina of] trier. the officina enumerator is placed less characteristically to the left but is done in this case to avoid confusion with coisn of thessalonica which were often abbreviated TS. yes, siscia could be a point of confusion except those mints in the eastern side of the empire (siscia, constantinople, antioch, alexandria, etc) used the greek alphabet for the officinae (A, B, Γ, Δ, ∈, etc.) while the western half (rome, trier, lugdunum and so on) used latin ordinal numbers like prima (first), secunda (second), tertia (third)... you get the point. it does take a while to make sense of the mintmarking conventions i admit. my advice would be to start off by becoming familiar with which mints were active during the reign of the coin you're trying to figure out then try to narrow down from there.

3) siscia, serdica and cyzicus used these mintmarks. if you can post the coin i'm sure one of us can get you the correct mint.

that bronze you saw attributed to cologne may well have been made in trier. without further reference i can't tell for sure but it sounds like this is a coin from one of the secessionist rebel emperors from postumus to tetricus. none of these guys used mintmarks but were known to have used as their homebase cologne and trier from historical records so the natural inference is to assume the coins were made in that area. no one can tell for absolutely certain which city they used though stylistic differences suggest two or three different mints.

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