Wednesday, 2022.01.26
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Numismatic Puzzle: A Rebellious Mint Master

According to its reverse, this denarius of Louis the Pious was minted in Venice. But the lagoon city wasn’t even ruled by the Carolingians! How is this possible? Does this coin testify to a plot of the mint master against his doge? …

Numismatic Puzzle: Arcadius

This solidus of Arcadius was minted in AD 395. Arcadius’ father Theodosius had just died. His brother Honorius administered the western part of the empire from Rome, and he himself administered the east from Constantinople. The beginning of the Byzantine Empire!

Numismatic Puzzle: Lombards

This gold coin is an issue by Sico I, the Lombard Prince of Benevento (817-832). His realm was in southern Italy and bordered Byzantine territories. Coins like this solidus testify of the neighbour’s cultural impact.

Numismatic Puzzle: Paris

This stater is attributed to the Parisii tribe. In ancient times, today’s Paris was not yet a centre of art. However, inspired by Greek coins, Celtic engravers found their very own form of expression at the end of the 2nd century BC.

Numismatic Puzzle: Cunobelinus

For many collectors, Greek coins form the highlight of numismatics. Already the Celts of Britain were enchanted by these coins. A gold stater of Cunobelinus from the 1st century BC was inspired by coins of Alexander the Great.

Numismatic Puzzle: Hadrian’s Beard

Well-shaved or with beard? It’s always a statement – and it even was in ancient Rome. Hadrian was the first emperor with beard. Why? Scholars are still trying to figure out the answer. The beard certainly added a whole new “touch” to his coins as this aureus shows.

Numismatic Puzzle: Caesar

Today we have a first for you! This denarius of 44 BC was the first coin to feature a living Roman: Gaius Julius Caesar. He mentioned two good reasons for it: the star refers to the descent from Venus, the laurel wreath to Caesar’s achievements as a general.

Numismatic Puzzle: Caesar as an Elephant

Today you will try your hand at a special denarius of Caesar. In 49 BC, in the midst of the civil war, the general chose a dramatic image: an elephant that tramples a snake. What do you think? Who is who in this political message?

Numismatic Puzzle: Greek Yin and Yang

This time, you will try your hand at a drachm from Istros on the Black Sea coast. The issue does not specify what the motif in the style of a Chinese yin and yang symbol depicts: the brothers Castor und Pollux, the trade up and down the river? Anyway: a fascinating beauty!

Numismatic Puzzle: Metapontum

Today’s coin from Metapontum in southern Italy is a masterpiece of incuse minting. The ear was the trademark of the Greek settlement on the Gulf of Taranto.
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