Aspron incomum, um estudo técnico

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Aspron incomum, um estudo técnico

Mensagempor doliveirarod » segunda jan 08, 2018 4:41 pm

Tenho essa peça faz uns 10 anos... Veio de um leilão feito na Noruega.


Seria um aspron trachy de bolhão ou um hyperpiron de electrum muito baixo, com predominância de prata, cunhado no reinado de João III, entre 1222 e 1254, no império de Nicaea (Niceia).

Fiquei na dúvida, pois os hyperpirons de João III eram de ouro bom, tal como esse:


Ao mesmo tempo que achava tão diferente, não me parecia mau, pois o estilo é bom, tem traços de envelhecimento e etc... Nada parecido com as falsas bizantinas que já vi.

Guardei na coleção, e afinal, descobri um parecer feito sobre ela.

Parece que o lote surgiu na Itália, uma botija contendo algumas peças (hoard), umas com maior e outras com menor teor de ouro, algumas com teor de cobre muito alto inclusive. Têm um teor de ouro bem baixo (portanto, trata-se de um hyperpiron, não de um aspron), que varia de 1 a 5%. Seria, segundo alguns, uma desvalorização brutal do Hyperpiron de Nicea devido a emergências de guerras.

Enfim, segundo alguns especialistas, são mesmo boas, e eu fui pelo mesmo caminho, não desprezei minha pecinha!

Segue o laudo em inglês, no original.

"Document of expert S Bendall

An Unusual Hoard of Hyperpyra of John III (1222 – 1256)
There recently appeared on the market a hoard of some 150 or more hyperpyra of John III (1222 – 1256) of which so far the writer has been able to examine 78 (1). Of these most appear to be of base gold but seven appear to have no gold content at all since they are covered with green/black patina so thick that it was difficult to identify the dies. I was able to study these coins since I was lent them by someone acting as an intermediary of an Italian dealer who seems to have acquired the bulk of the hoard.
All the coins from this hoard appear to have come from Italy and the sources at first thought that they had been found there. These coins are of the commonest and latest variety of John III’s Hyperpyra with Christ seated on throne without back and John standing blessed by the Virgin in their cruder style (DO 5ff). There are five varieties (sigla) present, listed here as A – E, and, strangely, each variety seems to be struck by only a single obverse die except for the second issue (B). The purity of the gold appeared to be much lower than that of the regular Nicaean coinage and to possibly deteriorate during the course of these issues with, as noted above, seven coins that have a black or very dark green patina which appear extremely base.
The coins are arranged here partly in their perceived decline in their purity but mainly for the number of reverse dies for each variety. Only the last two varieties use many reverse dies and only the last two include the very basest patinated issues all which are struck from the same dies used to strike the “gold” coins.
The majority of the coins, i.e. those that are not of apparently heavily patinated “brass”, are obviously of baser gold than the regular Nicaean hyperpyra. The writer took two representative specimens that visually appeared as amongst the purest and basest gold coins to a coin dealer with years of experience in scrap gold and silver. His visual examination led him to conclude that their purity was very low. An acid test revealed a very high copper content and that, in the dealer’s experience, the purity was possibly a slow as two to three carats.
The dealer made enquiries and provided the writer with the name of a bullion dealer in Hatton Garden who had an XRF machine. The writer took two other coins for analysis, one which appeared to have a slightly higher gold content, no. 19, and another that appeared to be somewhat baser, no. 77. These two coins are certainly representative of all of those in the hoard.
While there are five different varieties (sigla), all but one struck from a single obverse die the reverses are struck from nine different dies with many links.
The first variety (A) has three small pellets in the right hand side of the obverse above Christ’s throne (DO 9c). There are eight “gold” specimens struck from a single obverse die of which all are struck from a single reverse die used again in all the succeeding four issues. It should be noted that the pellets in the reverse field that form the siglum are very small, smaller than those on the regular coinage, as they also are on the following two issues.
The second variety (B) has on the obverse three small pellets in the left field (DO 9b) although these are again very small and appear in the small space between Christ’s right elbow and the throne. There are 12 “gold” specimens struck from two obverse and two reverse dies, 11 struck from one obverse die and the same reverse die used in the first issue and a single coin with an obverse die that is unique to this coin and a reverse die that is also found in issues D and E.
The third variety (C) has a small pellet above each side of Christ throne although the left hand one is tucked away in the same place as the three pellets in the previous variety (DO 6c). There are three “gold” specimens struck from a single obverse die and two reverse dies, one linking two of the coins to all the other issues and one linking this issue only to issues D and E.
The fourth variety (D) has a “grenade” above the right hand side of Christ’s throne (DO 12). There are 34 coins of this variety, including five base patinated ones, struck from a single obverse die and seven reverse dies, linking the issue to all except the last.
The fifth variety (E) has an annulet above the left hand side of Christ’s throne (DO 6b). There are 20 coins including two base patinated ones, struck from a single obverse die and from all nine reverse dies represented in this hoard and this issue is therefore linked to all the previous issues.
The 49 regular hyperpyra of John III of this type in the DO catalogue which are described as unclipped weight between 3.74g (DO 7d.1) and 5.04g (DO 5.12). Although the coins in this hoard are basically as struck and unclipped they are all of low weight as can be seen from the following list. As these coins purport to be hyperpyra they are, of course, the same size as the official issues and it is the lack of gold that accounts for their low weight.
1. 2.79g 2. 2.71g 3. 2.76g 4. 2.53g 5. 2.56g
6. 2.37g 7. 2.79g 8. 2.70g 9. 2.52g 10. 2.53g
11. 2.92g 12. 2.68g 13. 2.98g 14. 2.31g 15. 2.54g
16. 2.54g 17. 3.03g 18. 2.26g 19. 2.79g 20. 2.49g
21. 2.85g 22. 2.85g 23. 2.65g 24. 2.69g 25. 2.42g
26. 2.80g 27. 2.67g 28. 2.68g 29. 2.74g 30. 2.59g
31. 2.33g 32. 2.41g 33. 2.71g 34. 2.92g 35. 2.70g
36. 2.91g 37. 3.53g 38. 2.60g 39. 3.09g 40. 2.33g
41. 2.60g 42. 2.91g 43. 2.52g 44. 2.52g 45. 3.05g
46. 3.50g 47. 2.48g 48. 2.39g 49. 2.59g 50. 2.60g
51. 2.61g 52. 2.39g 53. 2.63g 54. 2.41g 55. 2.70g
56. 2.89g 57. 2.91g 58. 2.57g 59. 2.57g 60. 2.65g
61. 2.63g 62. 2.42g 63. 3.15g 64. 2.62g 65. 2.57g
66. 2.59g 67. 2.99g 68. 2.73g 69. 2.65g 70. 2.71g
71. 2.54g 72. 2.99g 73. 2.17g 74. 2.49g 75. 2.58g
76. 2.85g 77. 2.55g 78. 2.88g 79. 1.93g
80. 2.75g 81. 2.98g
In the table of the die links below the obverse dies are listed as A – E with the two dies of the second issue noted as Bi and Bii and the reverse dies numbered 1 – 9.
This hoard is unusual in several respects.
1. XRF analysis indicates that there is no gold content.
2. The weights are very low, by a gram and more than the regular hyperpyra of John III, even though the coins are unworn and unclipped. The heaviest coin is lighter than the lightest unclipped specimen in the DO collection. The absence of gold accounts for this.
3. There are very few dies involved with only one obverse die for each variety except for the second issue. There are few dies and many die duplicates and the die-links between the issues are greater than is usual in a group of comparable size of John III’s hyperpyra although there were quite a number of die links in the Agrinion hoard which contained 189 hyperpyra of this type but none between issues with differing sigla. (3)
4. All the coins appear to have been carefully struck with a single vertical blow unlike the usual Byzantine method of striking with two slanting blows of one or two different
obverse dies which usually gives a central vertical line of overlap. (4) There is very little double striking on these coins considering the number of coins in the hoard. One coin (no. xx) has been double struck with the flan being flipped 180 degrees between strikes, something which would surely not be done by a modern forger.
5. The shape of the flans, which are as originally produced and have not been clipped after issue, are not individually unusual but as a group much more so since they are all roughly the same shape with none being circular but all slightly rectangular, slightly “taller” than “wider” as can be seen from the illustrations.
6. Both Hendy and Metcalf, to varying degrees, identify both issues and the products of different officinal by the minutiae of the design of the reverse, the number of pellets on the emperor’s collar piece and loros and the form of the pendilia of the crown. Fig. A illustrates the forms of thrones listed by D.M. Metcalf in his publication of the Agrinion Hoard. The thrones on all five varieties in this hoard are of type c which Metcalf considered late since few specimens appeared in the Agrinion hoard.
Figure [C] depicts the forms of pendilia found on the hyperpyra in the Agrinion hoard which are quite regular, each side matching, while figure C illustrates those on the 9 obverse dies in this hoard which, individually, are not always similar on both sides of the crown on each reverse die and include many variations not noted by Metcalf or Hendy.
FIGS B and C
Figure D depicts the forms of the emperor’s loros on the coins in the Agrinion hoard. The pellets in collar piece and three sections of the loros on the nine obverse dies in this hoard are listed here in the format that Metcalf uses in the text of his article, the first number being that on the collar piece and the following three being those on the three sections of the loros from top to bottom as Metcalf records those in the Agrinion hoard. The detail on the coins in this hoard are not as regular as are the official issues.
Reverse dies.
1. 7; 4 – 9 – 10.
2. 7; 4 – nil – 18; There is no central panel on the loros on this die.
3. 10; 4 – 9 – 14.
4. 7; 4 – 9 – 10.
5. 9; 4 – 12 – 12.
6. 7; 4 – 12 – 14.
7. 9; 4 – 6 – 12.
8. 7; 4 – 9 – 14.
9. 6; 4 – 9 – 12.
All the coins in this hoard have two pellets on the shaft of the labarum held by the emperor which again is unusual while the head of the labarum is missing on die x and the MHP between the heads of John III and the Virgin on dies x and x.
Although coins with sigla x and x are present in both this and the Agrinion hoard, on the coins in this hoard the pellets forming the sigla in issues A – C are much smaller and the annulet on issue E cruder than on comparable coins in the Agrinion hoard but Metcalf notes (p. 118) that “there are hints that the same secret mark (siglum) can occur on coins which are very different style”. This certainly seems to be the case here.
This hoard has so many unusual features that is necessary to consider whether all these coins are modern forgeries. This seems, at first sight, quite possible since many forgeries of later Byzantine coins have come from the Balkans in recent years. However this seems unlikely since modern forgers have great difficulty in producing scyphates. They either cast them (S. F91) or, if engraving dies, cannot reproduce the style successfully and make errors in the details (S. F92). (5)
Most modern forgeries today appear to come from Bulgaria including a number of late Byzantine types but these have always comprised the flat silver Palaeologan coins which are much easier to produce but even then the engravers cannot get the style correct. (6)
A further indication that they are not forgeries is the dark green/black patination on the basest coins and the fact that there are traces of copper (cuprite/oxide?) on a few of the “gold” coins. In addition it is unlikely that a modern forger would go to trouble of engraving so many scyphate dies in such a good, although unusual style, when their easier task of forging flat coins is so incompetent. If these are modern forgeries it might be expected that the pellets on the first three varieties would be larger as they are on the official issues and those on the left side of Christ’s throne not tucked away. Also, if these are modern forgeries why are not more dies used in issues A – C and why would a forger produce so many dies of a coin which, after all, is not uncommon and amongst least valuable of the Byzantine gold coins? No self respecting forger would surely produce so many dies in a such good style, better than other copies of the Palaeologan coins, and yet strike coins whose weights were so much lighter than the coins they were copying. Modern forgeries of gold coins are made of gold.
In addition, the shape of the flans is unusual. In an assemblage of this size it would be expected that many of the coins would be rounder but irregular, the usual shape of coins, but all these are the same shape and somewhat rectangular – taller than wider. On the other hand, a fellow numismatist to whom I showed the photographs immediately considered the coins false because of the similar shape of the flans which he considered had been clipped out of a sheet of brass, originally rectangular and then had the corners clipped. But why not clip the flaws so that the coins appeared rounder after clipping?
Tentative Conclusions
It seems unlikely that these are modern forgeries for the reasons mentioned above. Can they be Nicaean? The Nicaean hyperpyra of John III fall from about 18 to 16.75 carats with the latter figure being assigned to those considered as Latin by Pegolotti and the coins published here contain no gold. If these coins were some form of official issues they would have been surely well known by now, found commonly in the Balkans and Western Asia Minor.
Are they Latin? The fact that the Latins copied the hyperpyra of John III seems to be entirely due to the fact that such coins are mentioned in the notebook of an Italian merchant, Pegolotti, who describes Latin gold perperi of 16 ½ carats as being recognisable by having an arrangement of four or three pellets above the left side of Christ’s throne.
The writer understands that a few years ago a Bulgaria (?) numismatist, as the result of studying a large hoard, published, to his own satisfaction, what he considered were the Latin hyperpyra, apparently identifying them according the details of the emperor’s costume, as Hendy and Metcalf had done in their arrangement of the coinage since he identifies the Latin copies by regular details of the emperor’s costume. These coins are too irregular for them to be Latin by his standards and in any case these coins contain no gold.
These coins surely cannot be Latin for the same reasons why they cannot be Nicaean. There is contemporary evidence that immediately on conquering Constantinople the Latins began to issues coins, melting down statues to obtain the metal for a base currency and indeed the earliest issues of billon trachea attributed to the Latin Empire are very common, but are much rarer and indeed several new types, unique or extremely rare, have been discovered since DOC IV was published in 1999. It seems clear that the Latin billon trachea were produced in quantity immediately after 1204 and tailed off before the accession of John III in 1222. How is it therefore that at the time the Latins were producing very few billon trachea they were able to produce a gold coin in some quantity since the hyperpyra generally attributed to the Latins appear to copy John’s later hyperpyra, those in which Hendy calls the “late” style. Indeed, are there any Latin hyperpyra at all or was the information Pegolotti recorded merely bazaar gossip? Any hyperpyra that might be attributed to the Latins do not appear to be identifiable by style.
The evidence is rather in favour of the antiquity of these coins and that they are not Nicaean or Latin otherwise they should be well known by now and not known from what is apparently a single hoard. Is it possible that they were struck in the general area of what is now Kosovo whether officially or unofficially in a single short space of time? The writer knows of no other coins like them. Do other specimens exist. If they do and were found many years ago it would be unlikely if these coins are modern forgeries. On the other hand if these are the only known struck from dies represented here, it is even more unlikely that they are forgeries struck in the last year or two.
Specimens of these coins, in view of the good style but the irregular details of the Emperor’s dress, particularly the forms of the loros, other piece or pendilia, together with the absence of any gold content might suggest that these coins were the product of a superior thirteenth Century forger. The author, however, is not categorically stating that this is so but suggests that this is a possibility and feels that it is important to publish these coins and reveal their existence.
Simon Bendall.
1. With these coin of John III there were two billon trachea of Isaac II (A.D. 1185 – 1195) of the general type of DOC 4, one clipped and one of Alexius III (1195 – 1204) (DO 3). Their patination is not exactly the same as those on the base coins of John III. They may not be part of the hoard and are listed here as nos. 78, 79 and 80.
2. Pinchbeck
3. Agrinion
4. Bendall and Sellwood
ELECTRUM COIN (Very Low Gold Coin with silver and copper aleation)" ... liveirarod ML -
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