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Every ancient coin is associated with a place, at the least where it was minted. Rarely, but occasionally, we learn where a coin was found. Many ancient coins depict the personification of a nation, province, city, or river. Every coin has some tie to geography. Of course collecting every coin is not a theme, so geography must be narrowed down in some way. Collecting the coins of one mint, city or region is popular. Hadrian's famous "travel series" would make an excellent geography theme collection. Another is the travels of Paul. Or you could collect coins from all places you simply find captivating.
Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.
Strabo wrote, "The Romans possess Lugdunum, founded below a ridge at the confluence of the Arar and the Rhone. It is the most populous of all the other cities except Narbo; for it is a center of commerce, and the Roman emperors strike their silver and gold coinage there." (4.3.2) RS85086. Silver denarius, RIC I 167a, BMCRE I 451, RSC I 137, BnF I 1373, Hunter I 197, SRCV I 1610, Choice near Mint State, well centered and struck, lustrous, very light rose-gold toning, some light marks and deposits, weight 3.606 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverseAVGVSTVS DIVI?F, bare head right, dot border; reverse bull butting right, left foreleg raised, lashing tail, IMP?X in exergue, linear border; $2300.00 SALE PRICE $2070.00
Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
Otho ruled for just a few months. The mint of Alexandria struck coins with his name, though the portrait bears little resemblance to those of the other mints. It is possible that Alexandria produced coins without having an image of the new emperor.RP84745. Bronze hemidrachm, RPC I 5364 (3 spec.); Geissen 257; Dattari 336; BMC Alexandria 26, 217; Milne 376; SNG BnF 710; Kampmann-Ganschow 18.13; Emmett 189 (R4); SNG Milan -, F, attractive brown tone, flan crack, light scratches, smoothing, weight 16.768 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, beveled edge; reversebust of Nilus right, wearing papyrus diadem, cornucopia behind right shoulder, date LA (year 1) before; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $1300.00 SALE PRICE $1170.00
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt, Ancient Counterfeit
J. G. Milne wrote in 1933, "There are scarcely any counterfeits or forgeries of Alexandrian coins in existence, other than those made in modern times." This is an ancient counterfeit Alexandrian tetradrachm of Nero struck with unofficial dies shared with counterfeit coins published by William Metcalf in "Two Alexandrian Hoards." The first of the two hoards, a "Hoard of Forgeries from Luxor" was acquired by E. T. Newell at Luxor in March, 1908. The American Numismatic Society Collection includes 76 pieces from the hoard. The counterfeits were probably struck c. 138 A.D., the date of the latest official prototype imitated in the hoard. The die combination of our coin is upublished.RX85240. Billontetradrachm, Metcalf Two, part 1. A Hoard of Forgeries from Luxor, Obv. IV / Rev. 8 (unlisted die combination); cf. Dattari 246, RPC I 5293 (official, Alexandria), VF, attractive dark toning, well centered and struck on a tight flan, weight 13.386 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, unoffical counterfeiter's mint, c. 138 A.D.; obverse NEo KΛΛV KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEPM, radiatebust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVTO KPΛ, helmeted and cuirassedbust of Roma right, L IΓ (year 13 = 29 Aug 66 - 28 Aug 67 A.D.) to right; very rare; $580.00 SALE PRICE $522.00
Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
This variety with a simpulum on the reverse is much rarer than the same type without this control symbol. RPC reports only 5 specimens with the simpulum and 17 specimens without it. This variety is missing from the important collections in Cologne, Paris, and Milan, and we know of only one example offered at auction in the past two decades (CNG 76, 12 Sep 2007, lot 3152, VF, $430 plus fees).RP84748. Billontetradrachm, Milne 359; RPC I 5354 (5 spec.); Dattari 327; BMC Alexandria p. 25, 208; Curtis 238; Kampmann 18.6; Emmett 184; Geissen -; SNG BnF -; SNG Milan -, F, toned, light encrustations, tight flan cutting off parts of legends, weight 12.583 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, LA (year 1) lower right; reverse EΛEY-ΘEPIA, Eleutheria (Liberty) standing left, wreath in extended right hand, scepter in left hand, leaning with left elbow on column, simpulum (ladle used for tasting and pouring sacrificial libations) left in lower left field; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $500.00 SALE PRICE $450.00
England, Charles I, 1625 - 1649
Charles I attempted to reign as an absolute monarch and rule without Parliament. Civil war broke out, the forces of the King lost, and Charles was beheaded. Parliament took control of the Tower mint in 1642. UK85378. Silver crown, SCBC 2758, North 2195 (R); crown mint mark on obverse and reverse, F/VF, light marks, weight 29.304 g, maximum diameter 45.2 mm, die axis 345o, Tower mint, 1635 - 1636; obverse CAROLVS • D • G • MAG • BRI • FRA • ET • HIB • REX (Charles, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland), king on horseback left (group III), holding upright sword in right hand, no ground; reverse CRISTO • AVSPICE • REGNO • (I reign under the auspices of Christ), oval garnished shield - royal coat-of-arms (lion, fleur de lis, harp) within ornate oval frame; ex Gordon Andreas Singer; rare; $500.00 SALE PRICE $450.00
Octavian and Divus Julius Caesar, Second Triumvirate, 36 B.C., Lugdunum, Gaul
Lyon was originally founded as the Roman city ColoniaCopiaFelixMunatia, a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods. The city became increasingly referred to as Lugdunum by the end of the 1st century A.D. The etymology of Lugdunum is a latinization of the Gaulish place name Lugodunon. While dunon means hillfort, the source of Lug is uncertain. The most commonly offered meaning is the Celtic god named Lug. During the Middle Ages, Lugdunum was transformed to Lyon by natural sound change.RR70870. Bronze dupondius, RPC I 515, Giard Lyon 7, SNG Cop 689, F, weight 16.797 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 36 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESARDIVI F DIVI IVLI, two heads back to back: laureate head of Divus Julius Caesar to left and bare head of Octavian to right; between them palm branch with its tip bent to right over Octavian's head; reverse Prow of galley to right, ornamented with an eye and dolphin; star superimposed on globe and meta above deck, COPIA below; rare; $490.00 SALE PRICE $441.00
Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy III Euergetes, 246 - 222 B.C., Tyre, Phoenicia
Svoronos 1013 has Θ (theta) between the legs of the eagle. This specimen appears to have an MY monogramengraved over a partially effaced Θ. The MY monogram is not listed in Svoronos for year two, but we know of two other examples, both Θ and the MY monogram are published in Svoronos for year three.GP84108. Silver tetradrachm, unpublished, cf. Svoronos 1013 (Q between legs), SNG Cop 499 (same), Cohen DCA 30, BMC -, SNG Milan -, Malter -, Hosking -, Noeske -, Weiser -, gVF, excellent portrait, off center, bumps, scratches, darker areas, weight 14.194 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, 29 Aug 246 - 28 Aug 245 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reversePTOLEMAIOUSOTHROS (of Ptolemy the savior), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, head left, Tyre monogram over club, B (year 2) over I right, MY monogram over Θ over effaced between legs; ex CNG e-auction 375 (1 Jun 2016), lot 48; Dennis Rider Collection of the Coins of Tyre; extremely rare; $480.00 SALE PRICE $432.00
Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.
Issued to commemorate victory in Britain. Between 208 and 210 A.D., Septimius Severus and his son Caracalla campaigned into Scotland (then Caledonia) and also restored Hadrian's Wall. The victories in the north pacified the island for the remainder of the century, but the aged Septimius died at Eburacum (York) in 211 A.D.SH83529. Silver denarius, RIC IV 332 (S); RSC III 727; BMCRE V p. 366, 51; Hunter III 108; SRCV II 6382, Choice gVF, some luster, perfect centering, nice portrait, light toning, small edge cracks, weight 3.369 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 210 - 211 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverseVICTORIAE BRIT (victories over the British), Victory advancing right, raising wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder; scarce; $450.00 SALE PRICE $405.00
Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.
Pax, regarded by the ancients as a goddess, was worshiped not only at Rome but also at Athens. Her altar could not be stained with blood. Claudius began the construction of a magnificent temple to her honor, which Vespasian finished, in the Via Sacra. The attributes of Peace are the hasta pura, the olive branch, the cornucopia, and often the caduceus. Sometimes she is represented setting fire to a pile of arms.RA73231. Billonantoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 319 (C); Webb Carausius 375; SRCV IV 13644; Cohen VII 215; Hunter IV - (p. ccvii), gVF, much silvering, light marks, tiny encrustation, a little weak in centers, edge split/crack, weight 4.819 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 180o, Camulodunum (Colchester, England) mint, c. 292 - early 293 A.D.; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassedbust right; reversePAX AVG (the peace of the Emperor), Pax standing half left, head left, raising olive-branch in right hand, long scepter transverse in left hand, S - P across fields at center, C in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection, ex-Wayne C. Phillips; $340.00 SALE PRICE $306.00
Roman Egypt, Nov 130 - c. 138 A.D.
Both the obverse and reverse types on this tessera are published but the combination does not appear to be published. Nor did we find another example online. According to Milne, lead tesserae served as local small change in Egypt during the first to the third century A.D.
Euthenia is the Greek personification of abundance or plenty. To the Romans she was Abundantia. Her attributes are grain and the cornucopia. On Roman coins of Alexandria she often appears to be the spouse of the Nile; yet, in the Egyptian pantheon Euthenia did not exist and the Nile had no consort.RX90574. Lead tessera, Unpublished; cf. Dattari 6444 and Geissen 3584 (for obversetype) and Dattari 6493 and 3575 (for reversetype), VF , weight 5.107 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 270o, Alexandria(?) mint, Nov 130 - c. 138 A.D. (possibly later); obverseAntinous on horseback right, wearing hem hem crown, caduceus in right hand; reverseNilus reclining left on crocodile right below, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, reeds in his right hand, cornucopia in left; before him at his feet stands Euthenia (prosperity) wearing chiton and peplos, offering wreath held in right hand; extremely rare; $300.00 SALE PRICE $270.00