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Old 01-13-2018, 09:38 AM
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Default [SOLVED - See the first post] Coin ring. possibly gold... what coin is it?

Hey all,

Before I post this in "Stories" of finds, I'd like to figure out what it is!

Some of you know I'm on a business trip to Israel. I pulled this off the Tel-Aviv beach, today, in about 5-6 inches of sand. I'm pretty sure it'd been there a few weeks, but clearly not long enough to blacken up the silver.

The weirdest part, is that while the coin LOOKS gold, it definitely had some green verdigris on it on the back of the coin [inside of ring]. It rubbed off in about 2 seconds with my finger nail (there's a before an after pic of it, below).

I've done searches on what I think the coin could be and the lettering, but I cannot find ANYTHING that even remotely resembles it.

The ring is definitely a custom/hand made one. It's definitely now a jewelers cast (it's been cut and hand hammered, too).

It's a wicked cool find, but I'm clueless what the coin is, on the inside. I can't even test it for at least 2 weeks (as I'm overseas), so there's no way for me to confirm it's gold nor not.

Help?!

Edit: One of our fantastic forum members, put me on the right track with this post:
Originally Posted by achaios View post
Not a "widow's mite". It is a bronze coin from the Byzantine empire, and without being able to see the obverse, I have no idea which ruler. I'm sure it is 6th-7th century AD, though. I'm not sure, but I B on either side of the cross may be 12 nummi.

-- Tom

Nutshell, is that Tom is SPOT ON (amazing diagnosis, there, Tom!), this is a 12 Nummi Byzantine Bronze coin minted in Alexandria. By pointing out that it's an I B with a CROSS in the middle. A quick google image search of "I B Cross Bronze Coin" shows a variety of examples that match the lettering and configuration, clicking on a few confirm also, that Tom was on the money when he noted it was minted in Alexandria.

History of Alexandria that is important to the conversation:
Alexandria was founded around a small, ancient Egyptian town c. 331 BC by Alexander the Great. It became an important center of the Hellenistic civilization and remained the capital of Hellenistic and Roman and Byzantine Egypt for almost 1000 years until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD 641
The coin is definitely bronze, too. After looking more closely at the metal, it reminded me of what happens to an Indian Head Penny under a high polish. Turns kind of a buttery yellow with a hint of red to it. That's definitely what this is, and it explains the bronze disease that is cropping up in the crevices.

The coin, set in the silver ring, definitely follows the I - Cross - B configuration, and that let me do image searches. At Tom noted, though, without an obverse to determine exactly which coin it was (at least easily), it came down to comparing letter placements on coins to figure out EXACTLY which one I have... It's pretty easy to rule out, many of them, based on simple things, like the size of the B, the design under the cross, the length of the line under IB, or the placement of letters under the line...

It just came down to comparing exact mint details on the reverse to isolate the specific coin... I could rule out coins that had lines under the Cross, such as this:



I expected finding a perfect match, of course, would be darn near impossible, as hand stamping rarely produced perfect copies... add to that a slight disfigure of the coin due to the patina, and then subsequent REMOVAL because it was polished, and a lot of details just become a bit distorted.

BUT! Given that information, I was hopeful, there would be SOMETHING close enough, that I could say, "oh yeah, I'm 99% on that one..."

This best guess (after literally HOURS of searching, btw), comes from an eBay listing of 3 Justin II 12 Nummi coins, by Hartland Collectables in London.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-JUSTIN-II...MAAOSwZ3BaWe0d

Going on that, I continued to research Justin II 12 Nummi coins, and they're all nearly identical to mine. Here's an example from Wildwinds.com (a great site, I've used for years!):


In the above example, the separator line is slightly smaller, but it's enough nearly perfect detail that I'm confident the reverse is indicative of what used to be on the Obverse

Basically, Friendly Metal Detecting Forum (especially Tom), nailed another one!

Justin II. Alexandria mint. 565-578 AD. Æ 12 Nummi





Thanks!

Skippy
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Last edited by Skippy SH13; 01-15-2018 at 04:26 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2018, 10:37 AM
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I would say that's a gold coin of sorts, really nice find! Anywhere you go, the rings follow congrats! I can't find anything at all like it online... Im sure someone will ID it soon enough!

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Old 01-13-2018, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by cellrdwellr View post
I would say that's a gold coin of sorts, really nice find! Anywhere you go, the rings follow congrats! I can't find anything at all like it online... Im sure someone will ID it soon enough!
If it is, it's a low carat one. never seen green verdigris on gold, before, unless it was low carat. It's nice and shiny in the ring, but I'm not holding my breath that it's real, until I can ID it.

If it is, it'll be my first gold coin... And I suspect the coin is out of circulation, regardless. Cool find, no matter what. I love searching Tel Aviv beaches..> There's so much weird stuff, from around the world!

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Old 01-13-2018, 11:27 AM
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It appears to be very old...the workmanship of the setting.. Sometimes a silver item deep in the sand does not tarnish like a fresh drop, up here anyway...sometimes an old drop comes up crisp as the day it was lost....we see the verdigris on low K gold singleton drops from Meggie in Austrailia.......perhaps the dissimilar metals added to the format? I really dont know for sure though...Could be ancient and Maccabean, could be a recent tourist drop.....That verdigris is a puzzler, takes a while for that to build up, with the silver base being shiny?....Very cool find!...

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Old 01-13-2018, 11:43 AM
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I would guess that it's a "Widows Mite". Like when the rich folks were giving large coins to the church and the poor widow gave 2 small coins and Jesus said she gave far more because they gave from their surplus and she gave from her poverty. It's around 2000 years old.
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Mud-puppy View post
It appears to be very old...the workmanship of the setting.. Sometimes a silver item deep in the sand does not tarnish like a fresh drop, up here anyway...sometimes an old drop comes up crisp as the day it was lost....we see the verdigris on low K gold singleton drops from Meggie in Austrailia.......perhaps the dissimilar metals added to the format? I really dont know for sure though...Could be ancient and Maccabean, could be a recent tourist drop.....That verdigris is a puzzler, takes a while for that to build up, with the silver base being shiny?....Very cool find!...
<<.That verdigris is a puzzler, takes a while for that to build up, with the silver base being shiny?>>

I know... totally blew my brain. Couldn't figure it out, and immediately looked at it, and just assumed the coin inside was total junk... But later, upon inspection, it just looked really really OLD. Possibly, the alloy was already on it's way to corrosion when the coin was set into the ring. Then a few weeks into the damp sand just caused the verdigris to pop out (Bronze disease/verdigris can manifest in just a few days). Hadn't thought to check out Maccebean/Hasmonean times, because I was unaware of any gold during then. Doesn't meant they didn't have it, I just couldn't ever afford it, so I never looked. LOL

I asked a few folks who are Israeli, and they don't believe it's Hebrew writing... but then again, Maccabean wasn't much for Hebrew, except maybe Jannaeus... It's worth a look. Thanks for the lead.

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  #7  
Old 01-13-2018, 12:41 PM
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Skippy,
I would love for this find to be the real thing,...
But with the verdigris I would say it's a gold plated "coin" that is corroding at the worn high points.
I don't see any detail on the bottom of the coin and it looks as if it has been ground flat.

Please have it tested and prove me wrong!!
Fingers crossed.
Still a great ring find none the less.

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Old 01-13-2018, 01:07 PM
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Awesome find. Congrats.......

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Old 01-13-2018, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooterjim View post
I would guess that it's a "Widows Mite". Like when the rich folks were giving large coins to the church and the poor widow gave 2 small coins and Jesus said she gave far more because they gave from their surplus and she gave from her poverty. It's around 2000 years old.
Nice guess! That was my initial guess, when I pulled the ring out, based on the slight discoloration (and caked sand). I instantly knew it wasn't though, when the gold color showed up.

I'm quite familiar with the Alexander Jannaeus lepton (widow's mite). They're tiny tiny... like end of a pencil eraser tiny... and even when stamped on the larger prutah, they're still not this size (just double the weight of a lepton).

Widows mites are always bronze (I have owned well over a dozen, over the years, and have several in a show case at home), too. The clincher though, is that they have the Selucid anchor and stars on each side. Definitely no writing like this.

But... heck of a guess for a ring in Israel.

Cheers,

Skippy

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Old 01-13-2018, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by HuntinDog View post
Skippy,
I would love for this find to be the real thing,...
But with the verdigris I would say it's a gold plated "coin" that is corroding at the worn high points.
I don't see any detail on the bottom of the coin and it looks as if it has been ground flat.

Please have it tested and prove me wrong!!
Fingers crossed.
Still a great ring find none the less.
I wondered that, at the same time, too, but the verdigris is actually on the low points (The high points are nice an clean.). It's weird... What makes me think this might be a low-carat gold coin is that 9K rings will do this (they'll just have spotty areas as the copper in the alloy degrades)...

The other weird thing, is that my fingernail scratches show up on the bottom where I scraped off the green gunk. I wouldn't have expected that with a low carat alloy, or plating. The whole thing just has me weirded out.

It's a puzzle for sure. If I could just figure out WHAT coin it is, that'd be fantastic. As for plating, I'm pretty sure it's not that. There's enough wear and tear on the ring that any plating would have resulted in more exposed more than what's there, if that makes since.

I'm tickled pink with the ring (all my Israel rings go into the show box anyway)... but if I can get a positive ID on the coin, and it's legit "something" that'll make it more special.

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Old 01-13-2018, 01:44 PM
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Looks oooold, the green corrosion is puzzling.

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Old 01-13-2018, 06:49 PM
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Not a "widow's mite". It is a bronze coin from the Byzantine empire, and without being able to see the obverse, I have no idea which ruler. I'm sure it is 6th-7th century AD, though. I'm not sure, but I B on either side of the cross may be 12 nummi.

-- Tom

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Old 01-13-2018, 06:50 PM
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BTW, I think the mintmark says it was made in Alexandria, Egypt.

-- Tom

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Old 01-13-2018, 08:45 PM
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Skippy, whatever it is, that is so awesome. I hereby dub you the Ringmaster of the Known World.
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by achaios View post
Not a "widow's mite". It is a bronze coin from the Byzantine empire, and without being able to see the obverse, I have no idea which ruler. I'm sure it is 6th-7th century AD, though. I'm not sure, but I B on either side of the cross may be 12 nummi.

-- Tom
I thought that coin was old - Byzantine Empire - that era is so crazy to find it's not even on a bucket list!! Bronze / gold - it doesn't matter cause that ring is friggin cool!!!

Great find - congrats
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:11 PM
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Wow - what an amazing find! Very cool, Skippy. Congrats! Let us know when you find out for sure what it is.

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  #17  
Old 01-14-2018, 01:08 AM
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Take it to a jeweler while you're there. There are many there that could tell you. Looks like a gold coin in a silver setting to me. Great find!

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Old 01-14-2018, 11:05 AM
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Whatever it turns out to be it is a beautiful find- congrats!

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Old 01-15-2018, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Bagelbites View post
Skippy, whatever it is, that is so awesome. I hereby dub you the Ringmaster of the Known World.
I wish! I do get pretty dang lucky, though, huh?

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  #20  
Old 01-15-2018, 09:16 AM
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Great Update and an awesome ID assist from Member Achaios! Bravo all around!

Boy, there sure is a lot of knowledge floating around on this site...amazing Hunters and find ID'ers...

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