Hybrid coins, mules

Related to our DiviSeries we have two hybrids with obverses of Trajan Decius, and his wife the Empress Herennia Etruscilla; they show a reverse with the pyre and the legend CONSECRATIO (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Hybrid antoninians with CONSECRATIO reverses.
Origin: ForumAncientCoins
* If anyone has a better image, I would appreciate it.


However, the most interesting pieces are the 4 hybrid coins that show an obverse typical of the DiviSeries and an atypical reverse, which is neither the pyre nor the eagle; these are the ones that we have been able to link by their dies with the other (95%) coins in the series.

These 4 hybrids are in the British Museum in London and in the Cabinet des Médailles of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. These are two specimens restoring DIVO AUGUSTO, one DIVO VESPASIANO and the other DIVO PIO (Figure 2 and 3).

For the DIVO AUGUSTO pieces the obverse dies are different, but they share the same IVNONI MARTIALI reverse die with the temple of Juno. This type of reverse is typical of the Trebonian and Volusian emissions (251-253 AD).

Illustration 2. Hybrid fourrées coins.
 Provenance:
British Museum Collection

Figure 3. Two hybrid antoninians with Augustus obverse and two Volusian antoninians sharing the same reverse die.

Provenance:
Cabinet des Médailles de la Bibliothèque Nationale de France #7824,
British Museum Collection P.J.D. 158-13,
Numismatik Lanz (24-11-2003) München - Auction 117 Lot 1135,
Savoca Numismatik (10-12-2023) München Online Auction 187 Lot 344

 

These hybrids are already mentioned in RIC IV, although to establish a secure temporal link it is not enough to know coins with the same type of reverse. We need to locate regular coins in the name of a specific emperor with the same reverse die that we have seen on the DiviSeries hybrids.

After reviewing many auction catalogs, we have been able to locate in catalogs from the Lanz (2003) and Savoca (2023) houses, some antoninians from Volusian with the same reverse die used for our hybrids. This unequivocally places the moment of coinage of these hybrids during the reign of Volusian, which occurred simultaneously with that of his father Trebonian. The DIVO AVGVSTO obverses of our hybrids, in turn, link to the global (95%) coins registered in our DiviSeries catalog. This marks a continuity in the production of  Divi coins from the reign of Decius until the reign of Volusian, which began in November 251 AD.

We also know of two other hybrids with obverses that, belonging to our DiviSeries, that we have not been able to link to any other registered piece. They are also fourrée coins, unlike those mentioned above which were hybrids minted on the conventional billon alloy. The first one, restoring DIVO VESPASIANO, shows a reverse of VICTORIA AVG, a very common type throughout the 3rd century AD, which can be attributed both to Trajan Decius and to other previous or later emperors; unfortunately, its conservation and the long chronology of the motif make it very difficult to locate die matches with other datable coins. The second hybrid fourrée, with a DIVO PIO obverse, has a reverse with a much more specific type: it shows the two standing Pannonias and the legend PANNONIAE. For this reverse, no chain with datable pieces has been found yet, although its typology corresponds exclusively to the reign of Trajan Decius and more specifically towards the middle or the end of it.