I’m thinking about AR obols this morning…

Some visuals I want to think more about.  Mostly I’m thinking about Italy in the late fourth, early third century BCE, e.g. context for RRC 13/2, but this caught my eye because of very general similarities to RRC 2/1 and RRC 13/1:

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This type from Tarentum is also really fascinating.  Again you’ll see straight away why it caught my eye (bridled horse, like RRC 13/1), but also notice the ‘mint mark’ behind the horse, here an apulstre. There also seem to be a good number of these Tarentum obols coming on the market although most that I see have decent collection histories.

(You may notice that I”m now collecting images off coinarchives where for years I’ve been a acsearch.info loyal fan.  I broke down and paid coinarchives for an academic account…  I still prefer acsearch interface but subscription to CA was better value.)

Capture2 (2).jpgCapture.JPGOf course all these horses are profile not 3/4s profile which is a rather key feature of RRC 13/1…

There are lots of AR italy obols with Athena but they almost (?) all have a Corinthian helmet: Cumae (minted maybe at Neapolis), Alba Fucens (Pyrrhic War?), Arpi (I’ve always wondered about this mint and a connections to RRC 13/1 but that seems a dead end, pie in the sky speculation)…

But we do have this from Tarentum (again!)…

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Grading, kiddos, and other research commitments all call…  Must stop this line of thinking for now.

Ok, one more and then I’m really leaving it

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Update Feb 2, 2020:

This last type is nearly identical to HN Italy 617 (Illustrated) of Phistelia = SNG ANS 582.

Also part of this broader conversation should be the v rare HN Italy 636 (Illustrated) = McClean 397, boar head/bridled horse head obol, c. 325-275 BCE.

an episode from the history of “cleaning” coins…

[Machine/Human translation]



… correspondence of our meritorious partner Mr. Giuseppe Scalco, of Rome, a well known restorer of ancient coins, … some passages that may interest collectors and coin restorers…

“The main basis of any work is being skilled in the art and applying it afterwards to any undertaking. For example, I applied it in the hard stone engraving and in the work carried out I did not come in last place.

“I was lucky to know the numismatist Dr. Tommaso Capo, who, well appreciating my attitude, wanted to start cleaning the coins, sure (he told me) of the useful and complete success.

“This is the principle. You will know well that the hard engraving for the execution technique has no bearing on the cleaning of the coins; yet I found, by means of my reaction wheel [??], excellent support, and today, after years of experience, I can assure you that I have an effective means which, together with the burin, another indispensable work tool, is extremely successful. As you can see, I don’t have any secrets.

“Indeed, at first sight it would seem easy to carry out, yet difficulties arise such that solving them requires having many requirements, that is, art, lightness of hand in using the burin, an eye accustomed to minute things, attitude and limitless patience.

“Frankly, I declare myself satisfied with the result obtained, and more and more satisfied with having people who highlight its importance. 

“In these years of work I have counted thousands of coins brought back to life again and I hope to increase more and more the number.