The term 'Brockage' is of relatively recent origin, one dictionary reporting that
its earliest appearance was in 1879. It is a word which derives from the English
dialect word 'brock' meaning 'rubbish' and reflects what moneyers and the public
probably thought about the faulty coins which now bear the name.
A brockage is a coin which has been mis-struck and instead of showing the obverse
and reverse designs, in relief as usual, shows a normal impression on one side of
the coin and an incuse, reversed, version of the same design on the other side. A
brockage is created when a coin, once struck, remains adhering to one of the dies.
This 'sticky' coin then acts as a die when the next coin comes to be struck.
Brockages are known for coinages throughout the ages, from the coins of classical
antiquity, to modern times. Somehow they have escaped the quality control process
which would, normally, have returned them to the melting pot for recycling.
This note looks at a coin which has had a slightly different start in life. It is
a common antoninianus, or two-denarius piece, issued by the Emperor Aurelian shortly
after his accession in 270AD, and portraying his predecessor Claudius II Gothicus
who had been deified following his unexpected death from plague at Sirmium (Sremska
Mitrovica, in modern Serbia) in the summer of 270AD following a reign of just less
than two years.
The obverse shows a standard radiate portrait of Claudius, with the commemorative
legend DIVO CLAVDIO signifying that Claudius had been recognised as a god. So far,
so good; nothing out of the ordinary!
Rome Mint c270AD
The other side of the coin shows, as would any brockage, an incuse and reversed impression
of the obverse. But, on discovering that he had created a brockage, the mint worker
chose, rather than letting it pass, or returning it to the scrap metal bin, to remove
the coin which had stuck to the reverse die and to strike our coin again, resulting
in a 'proper' impression of the reverse design struck over the incuse brockage.
The reverse type is the normal CONSECRATIO reverse showing an altar with flames,
Sear 'Roman Coins and their Values III' reference 11462. It is at an alignment of
180 degrees with the obverse, a normal Roman practice which suggests that the dies
of the pair, obverse and reverse, were fixed in position relative to each other.
This coin formed part of the Normanby Hoard, a massive collection of mid to late
third century Roman coins found in Lincolnshire with, in addition to the coinage
of the legitimate Emperors, considerable numbers of coins issued by the rulers of
the breakaway Gallic Empire. It is struck in very debased billon, probably only around
3 to 5% silver, and of light weight. Traces of the silver wash which originally covered
the coin can still be seen.