Author Topic: Maybe Greek?  (Read 205 times)

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Offline gpimper

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Maybe Greek?
« on: January 24, 2020, 10:23:54 PM »
Cleaned this little one as gently as I could.  I know I've seen this coin before but not this small.  3.92g, 12mm and 3mm thick.  High gold content (22 on the detector).  Looks to me like a desert patina but I could be wrong :-)
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 12:20:15 AM by gpimper »
The Chief...aka Greg

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Maybe Greek?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2020, 12:40:39 PM »
Yes, Greek, Marathus in Phoenicia, about 200 BC, compare Wildwinds http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/greece/phoenicia/marathos/BMC_15.jpg and http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/greece/phoenicia/marathos/Rouvier_805.jpg. These are dated (in Phoenician!) but I'm sorry, I can't read the date on this one.

For larger bronzes with a ship's prow you are probably thinking of early Roman Republican bronze, but the obverse portrait on those is usually of a double-headed bearded Janus, or other god, rather than the veiled female head as on this one.

The alloy will be bronze or brass, with at most only a trace of gold which just does not corrode, even when quite low quality. I attach three of my coins below to illustrate this: the first is a solidus of Valentinian (issued as 24 carat) which though very worn and having been buried for over 1,500 years is still quite obviously gold with just a little discolouration round the lettering. The only cleaning this has needed is probably just a wash in warm soapy water.

The second is a contemporary 'gold' plated forgery of a similar solidus, where all that is left is a bronze core with a layer of corrosion products and just traces of the original 'gold' plating visible under a magnifying glass.

The third is a very base gold (probably 4-5 carat or less) Ghaznavid dinar, c.1065-85, where the silver alloy is so badly mixed that it is visible, and on the reverse there are signs (the red-brown patch at the upper right) that the copper part of the alloy has corroded. It is still obviously a gold alloy, which has again probably just needed a wash to clean any earth off it.

I'm very sorry to say that any test machine(?) which suggests there is anything more than an extremely tiny amount (a small fraction of a percent) of gold impurity in a bronze/brass coin such as this is definitely not trustworthy. What gold detector is it that you use?

Finally, the patina looks like a fairly standard greenish bronze one: desert patinas are usually what is (I believe) called laterite, a fairly pale to mid-brown hard crust, which often can be quite pleasant, as on this early 8th century Umayyad fals.

Alan

Offline gpimper

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Re: Maybe Greek?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2020, 08:18:48 PM »
Thank you very much for the reply and research!  I've been combing through my Sear texts and still have not found it.  It's not in the best of shape but I still find it fascinating.  Great links!
The Chief...aka Greg

Offline gpimper

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Re: Maybe Greek?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2020, 04:29:39 AM »
Detector is an MTX Tracker E-Series.  Pretty reliable for gold nuggets (and silver) :-)  I have a couple others but they aren't as reliable.
The Chief...aka Greg

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Maybe Greek?
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2020, 07:26:19 AM »
No idea about which types do what, but my detecting friends tell me they dig up fantastic amounts of bent nails and lips of #@%! coke cans, all indicated as precious metal.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline gpimper

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Re: Maybe Greek?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2020, 08:54:09 AM »
All the time!  Just have to fine toon the settings.

Alan, I very much enjoy that gold ?Justinian?...very nice coin.
The Chief...aka Greg

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Maybe Greek?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2020, 10:04:48 AM »
No, it's Valentinian, as is the bronze core. It is rather battered and worn, but was all I could afford at the time :)

Alan

Offline gpimper

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Re: Maybe Greek?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2020, 09:45:52 PM »
Valentinian (either the first or the third I'm guessing).  They all start to look the same during that time ;D  Very nice coins, though!
The Chief...aka Greg

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Maybe Greek?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2020, 11:19:56 PM »
Sorry; Valentinian I (364-375), Antioch mint 5th officina, struck 364-367. 4.075 gm (should be about 4.45 gm, which shows how worn it is), 21 mm.

Alan