One of the fundamental tasks that need to be done when trying to identify an Antoninianus of Probus is correctly identifying the bust type. This task is made all the more difficult by the large variety of busts that appear on the coins of Probus. These pages will attempt to help to identify the general characteristics of as many of the bust types as I have in my collection. Unfortunately there are many bust types that I do not yet have and I will illustrate these as and when I obtain examples.
I will begin with the most common bust types and then move on to as many other bust types as I can cover.
When referring to busts styles, there are two main reference schemes that are generally used. The two schemes are RIC (taken from Roman Imperial Coinage. volume 5, part. 2) and BMC (British Museum classification). In general this site uses the RIC types but this section includes both classifications for completeness.
RIC and BMC both include “Radiate, draped bust right” (RIC Bust type A, BMC Bust Type C1 or C2) and “Laureate, draped bust right” (RIC Bust type B, BMC Bust type C1*), it is likely that these bust types do not actually exist and were erroneously used to describe the radiate and laureate “draped and cuirassed bust right” (RIC Bust types C and D, BMC Bust types D1, D2 and D2*), where either the cuirass was missed or was unclear on the examined specimens and all references in RIC to Bust type A should be read as Bust type C etc.
The following examples can be considered as typical examples of the type but there are several stylistic variations both across a mint and between mints. There are many variations to the design of the cuirass, Imperial mantel and shields used. It is worthwhile becoming more familiar with these stylistic differences as they will greatly ease the exercise of attribution.