Ancient imitations of Roman coins of
Philip I (AD 244 - 249), his wife Otacilia Severa, and their son, Philip II

Although the silver content of official Philip coins was below 50%, it seems there still was profit in making fourrees. Some, like the second and third examples below, seem official style, but if "plated coins are false coins," then these must be imitations. Some, like those of Philip II below, are very well executed but distinctly not of official style.

Philip I (AD 244-249)
imitation Philipofficial Philip/AEQVITAS AVG
23 mm. 12:30.  5.05 grams                                                                                                    Its prototype
Bold obverse. Slightly crude style. Fine lettering. Thick and heavy.
    /AEQVITAS AVG, Aequitas standing left holding balance and cornucopia.
RIC Philip Antioch group A for obverse legend (first issue). RIC 69-71 and 89 for the reverse type, plates 7.2 and 7.4, undated but 245-247 at Rome.
Prototype shown:  Antioch mint, not in RIC with only one G.  Cf. RIC 27b variety of note on  page 71.  AR21. 6:00.

imitation Philip, looks almost officialofficial Philip/ANNONA AVGG

25-22 mm.  6:00.  3.68 grams                                                                                           Its prototype
Extremely close to official style. Only the clear copper breaking through the silver suggests this is irregular. This and the next coin are food for thought about imitations in this period. Was the official silver content so low that copper could break through like this? Was the mint (or, mint workers, unofficially) making fourrees? Or, were counterfeiters outside the mint getting really good at fakes?
    /ANNONA AVGG, Annona standing left, holding grain over modius, and cornucopiae
RIC 28c, plate 5.13, "244-247".
Prototype shown:  RIC 29, with prow at feet to left.    AR22. 6:00.

imitation Philip, official styleofficial /ROMA AETERNAE
22 mm.  6:00. 3.70 grams                                                                                                    Its prototype
This is official style. Only the clear copper breaking through the silver suggests this is irregular.
    /ROMAE AETERNAE, Roma seated left, holding Victory and vertical scepter.
RIC 85, page 78, Antioch = RIC 44b Rome, page 73.  AR22. 6:00.

fourree Philip official Philip

Another Philip in excellent style, with copper showing beneath the toned silvering, and its prototype.
This piece:  24-20 mm. 12:00. 3.77 grams.                                                                                    Prototype:  AR23. 6:00. 4.44 grams.
    /LIBERALITAS AVGG II, Liberalitas standing holding up counting board, with cornucopia in left.
Prototype: Sear 2561. RIC 38b, page 72 "C, 244-247", plate 5.15.
We know that silver comes to the surface of low-silver coins when the flan is struck. Philip coins are less than 50 percent silver. Could it be that the copper showing beneath the silver is just an example of that phenomenon? If the surface is purer than 50% silver, that makes some of the interior less. Are we seeing that? Under a microscope this does not have as clear a differentiation between the edge of the silver and the copper as I see on Republican fourrees. But, it is close. The style is too good for most fourrees, but Philip has (see above) some good-style imitations. It is too close to call.

PAX AETERN imitation   21 mm. 6:00. 2.83 grams.

Most silver. Excellent lettering, but portrait style slightly off.
    /PAX AETERN, Pax standing left holding up olive branch. with scepter in left.
Prototype:  Sear 2563. RIC 40b, page 73, plate 5.5, "Rome 24-247." 

Felicitas  21mm. 5:30.
Base metal. Bold and good style, with reverse lettering perhaps a tiny bit large.
IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, cuirassed bust right  
    PM TRP III COS PP, Felicitas standing left, holding long caduceus and cornucopia.
Prototype:  RIC 3, page 68, "AD 246". Hunter 67.4.

Otacilia Severa
Otacilia Severa   22-21 mm.  5:30.  4.49 grams (heavy)

A thick and heavy imitation in good, but not quite official, style.
    /IVNO CONSAVAT  [approximately, intending IVNO CONSERVAT] Juno standing with patera and scepter.
A hybrid.  RIC 127 (AD 246-248) has this reverse with the "M OTACIL ..." obverse legend. RIC says of the prototype it is "probably of Antioch, but listed here [with Rome] becaue there is still a doubt."  Given the number large number of imitations of coins of the Antioch mint that I have been seeing recently, I'd agree the prototype is probably from Antioch.

fourre Otacilia Severaofficial CONCORDIA AVGG
23-21 mm.  6:30.  4.12 grams                                                                                             Its prototype.
    /CONCORDIA AVGG, Concordia seated left with patera and cornucopia.
Prototype: RIC 126, page 84 "c. 246-8" plate 7.13.  AR23-22, 12:30.

Philip II (son of Philip I, Caesar 244-247 and Augustus 247-249)

Philip II fourre  23 mm.  12:00. 4.09 grams

A lovely bold piece, very well engraved, but not quite official style.
    /PAX AETERNA, Pax standing left, holding up branch and with transvers scepter.
RIC --, but both obverse and reverse are common. Obverse legend of Rome as Caesar RIC 213-221 with reverse as Augustus, RIC 227, plate 8.12, page 97. Also, mint of Antioch "hybrids" RIC 250, page 100.  Reverse of Philip I dated 244 on page 56.

slightly irregular style Philip II  21 mm.  12:00.  3.75 grams

Lettering sharp and correct, but slightly irregular style.
    /VICTORIA AVGG, Victory standing left holding wreath and palm
Hybrid. RIC 51 of Philip, plate 5.10, but portrait of Philip II.  Hunter 67.24.

Official or not?  21 mm. 12:00. 3.77 grams.

This one is a real puzzle!  The style is perfect and the coin is struck and sharp. I would call it certainly official except for one obvious thing -- there appear to be regions of copper below a thin (but not extremely thin) surface layer of silver. The surface-silver seems to be in a distinct layer, and the metal below is without visible silver -- so it is a fourrée (isn't it?). But, how did a fourrée turn out to have such perfect style? 
    Can we decide that official mint workers made it? Or, is the silver in this time period of such low fineness that the separation of surface-silver known to occur when coins are struck produced this extreme example? I held this one for a year before putting it up on this site because I didn't know what to think. I incline toward official with accidental surface enrichment, but am not confident.

Continue with imitations of Trajan Decius and Trebonianus Gallus.

Return to the index page on Severan and third-century imitations.

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