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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Quality| ▸ |Eye Appeal||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coin Eye Appeal

The most important factor in determining the |price| of a coin is eye appeal. One coin of the exact same type as another can be priced ten times higher or more. So, what is this eye appeal?

It is beauty. . . It is classical fine art. . . It is a masterpiece portrait. . . It is sculptural high relief. . . It is a choice strike. . . It is a gem patina. . . It is Celtic abstraction. . .

It is . . . on this page!

Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.||medallion|
Giovanni Dattari (1853 - 1923) was a self-taught collector and successful trader of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities. He held a near monopoly in the antiquities trade in Cairo, Egypt. He also shared his expertise and first-hand knowledge of Egypt with the foremost scholars of his time. Dattari assembled a collection of over 25,000 ancient coins. His 1901 work, Numi Augg. Alexandrini, cataloged 6411 of his coins from Roman Alexandria, and is still a primary reference for the coinage of Roman Egypt. Dattari also made pencil rubbings of more than 13,000 coins from Roman Alexandria in his collection; these were finally published in 2007 by Adriano Savio. In 1920, Dattari donated large parts of his collection to the Museo Nazionale Romano. After his death, the remainder of his collection was sold.
SL96389. Bronze medallion, Gnecchi II p. 51, 1 & tav. 78, 1, NGC AU, strike 5/5, surface 2/5, Fine Style (ex Coin Gall., 2/95, 1865; The Morris Collection; 4632497-011), weight 53.33 g, maximum diameter 39.5 mm, die axis 345o, Rome mint, 190 - 192 A.D.; obverse COMMODVS ANTONINVS PIVS FELIX AVG BRIT, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse APOL PALATINO P M TR P XVI IMP VIII, Apollo Palatine on left, standing facing, head right, plectrum in right hand, Victory on right, standing left, presenting kithara (lyre) to Apollo, COS VI P P in exergue; ex Heritage NYINC auction 3071 (6-7 Jan 2019), lot 32133; ex Morris Collection; ex Coin Galleries (15 Feb 1995), lot 1865; ex Spink & Sons (1950's); ex Dattari Collection; NGC| Lookup; extremely rare; $4800.00 SALE |PRICE| $3880.00
 


Tyre, Phoenicia, 78 - 77 B.C., Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver

|30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver|, |Tyre,| |Phoenicia,| |78| |-| |77| |B.C.,| |Judas'| |30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver||shekel|
Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver
"Then one of the 12, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, 'What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?' And they covenanted with him for 30 pieces of silver." Matthew 26:14-15. Shekels of Tyre were the only currency accepted at the Jerusalem Temple and are the most likely coinage with which Judas was paid for the betrayal of Christ.

The Temple Tax Coin
"..go to the sea and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou has opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them [the temple tax collectors] for me and thee." Since the tax was one half shekel per man the coin would have to be a shekel to pay the tax for both Jesus and Peter. Matthew 17:24-27
SL95986. Silver shekel, BMC Phoenicia p. 243, 141; Cohen DCA 919/49; HGC 10 357; SNG Cop -, NGC Ch AU, strike 4/5, surface 3/5 (5770405-008), weight 14.330 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, 78 - 77 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond under wing, date ΘM (year 49) over club left, ∆ right, Aramaic letter bet between legs; from the Errett Bishop Collection; NGC| Lookup; $3000.00 SALE |PRICE| $2700.00
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia

|Ephesos|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Ephesos,| |Ionia||AE| |36|
See this type online:
RPC Online VI
Asia Minor Coins
ANS Mantis (No photo on ANS, but photo of this specimen is available on RPC Online.)
SH87621. Bronze AE 36, Karwiese MvE 5.2 p. 164, 750b (O3/R3, only 1 spec. of this variety); RPC Online VI T4956 (5 spec.); ANS Mantis 1972.185.5, Choice EF, excellent centering, olive green patina, some legend weak, small flaw/punch on reverse, porous, weight 25.344 g, maximum diameter 36.3 mm, die axis 180o, Ephesos mint, obverse AYT K M AYP CEB AΛEΞAN∆POC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse M-ONΩN - ΠPΩTΩN - ACIAC, on left: cult statue of Artemis standing facing, wearing ornate kalathos, flanked on each side by a stag, arms with supports; on right: Demeter enthroned left, wreathed in grain, two stalks of grain in right hand, long torch vertical in left hand; EΦECIΩN in exergue; only the second known of this variety with stags flanking Artemis, fantastic HUGE 36mm provincial bronze!; $2655.00 SALE |PRICE| $2390.00
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||sestertius|
A decursio was a military exercise, by which Roman soldiers were taught to make long marches in a given time, under arms and without quitting their ranks. They sometimes consisted of a mock fight between two divisions. Augustus and subsequently Hadrian ordered that the infantry and cavalry were to march out three times a month ten miles from the camp and ten miles back, fully armed and equipped. Decursio on this coin probably refers Nero's participation in mock military maneuvers in the circus.
SH96390. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 508, Mac Dowall WCN 448, BMCRE I 316, BnF II 135, Cohen I 88, SRCV I -, Choice aEF/VF, superb portrait, well centered and struck, scratches, marks, porosity more on the reverse, weight 23.971 g, maximum diameter 35.4 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONT MAX TR POT P P, laureate head left, small globe at point; reverse DECVRSIO (in exergue), Nero and a companion on horseback prancing right, Nero holds spear in right hand, companion holds vexillum in right over shoulder, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $2700.00 SALE |PRICE| $2180.00
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||sestertius|
The Lost Arch of Nero. This arch is undoubtedly the one that Tacitus says was voted to Nero for Corbulo's victory in Armenia in 58, and that he further reports was being constructed "in the middle of the Capitoline Hill" in 62, despite a successful invasion of Armenia by the Parthians in that year. No traces of the arch have ever been found. The arch was completely destroyed either shortly after Nero's death with the damnatio memoriae Nero received when the senate proclaimed him an enemy of the state, or in one of the two fires that consumed the Capitoline hill in 69 and 80. However, the quadriga on top of the arch is similar to that depicted on sestertii at the center of the Flavian amphitheatre (the Colosseum). It may have been reallocated.
SH96391. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 144, BMCRE I 184, Cohen I 306, Mac Dowall WCN 134, SRCV I -, Choice gVF, excellent portrait, dark patina, well centered, light marks, scattered light porosity, weight 27.125 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER PM TR P IMP P P, laureate head left, globe at point of bust; reverse triumphal arch; surmounted by statue of Nero in a facing quadriga, led by Pax on left and Victory on right, and flanked below by two soldiers; front ornamented with statue of Mars in a niche and bas-reliefs of small figures; garland hanging in arch; ex Pegasi Numismatics; $1850.00 SALE |PRICE| $1490.00
 


Galba, 3 April 68 - 15 January 69 A.D.

|Galba|, |Galba,| |3| |April| |68| |-| |15| |January| |69| |A.D.||dupondius|
A nearly identical type was struck with Pax holding an olive branch in her right hand and a caduceus in her left hand. Another similar type was struck with Pax holding a caduceus and cornucopia, as on this coin, but she leans on a cippus (short column).
RB93753. Orichalcum dupondius, BMCRE I 123 var. (no IMP, notes this legend var. in Hall Coll.), SRCV I 2119 var. (no IMP), RIC I 277 var. (no drapery), Cohen I 155 (same), Choice gVF, superb portrait, attractive image of Pax, well centered, dark patina, scratch, areas of minor corrosion, light deposits, weight 14.113 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, late summer - Nov 68 A.D.; obverse IMP SER GALBA - AVG TR P, laureate and draped bust right; reverse PA-X - AVGVST, Pax standing left, olive branch (caduceus-like shape) pointed diagonally downward in right hand, cornucopia overflowing with grain and fruit in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; from the Errett Bishop Collection, zero sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; extremely rare; $1500.00 SALE |PRICE| $1350.00
 


Balbinus, 22 April - 29 July 238 A.D.

|Balbinus|, |Balbinus,| |22| |April| |-| |29| |July| |238| |A.D.||sestertius|
Providentia is the personification of the ability to foresee and make provision. She was among the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult of ancient Rome. Providentia apparently did not favor Balbinus. If he had a little foresight, he would have modified the chain of events that led to his murder after a reign of only 99 days.
SH92614. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 19, BMCRE VI 34, Cohen V 24 (12 fr.), Hunter III 19, SRCV III 8499, Choice gVF, well centered, excellent portrait, squared flan as typical for the period, some light corrosion, tiny edge crack, weight 21.840 g, maximum diameter 31.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse PROVIDENTIA DEORVM (to the foresight of the gods), Providentia standing half left, head left, wand downward over globe at feet in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection, ex H. Donald Collection; scarce; $1200.00 SALE |PRICE| $1080.00
 


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 333 - 250 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |333| |-| |250| |B.C.||stater|
After Alexander took Perga peacefully, Aspendos sent envoys to offer surrender if he would not take the taxes and horses formerly paid as tribute to the Persian king. Agreeing, Alexander went on to Side, leaving a garrison behind. When he learned they had failed to ratify the agreement their own envoys had proposed, Alexander marched to the city. The Aspendians retreated to their acropolis and again sent envoys to sue for peace. This time, however, they had to agree to harsh terms - they would host a Macedonian garrison and pay 100 gold talents and 4,000 horses annually.

This type is a late example and likely among the last of the wrestler and slinger staters. Struck during economic crisis, perhaps resulting from the harsh terms set by Alexander after their treachery, the flans are underweight, crudely cast and appear to be of debased silver. The wrestlers and slinger are carelessly depicted. It is not as attractive as earlier examples but it is certainly much scarcer.
GS95992. Silver stater, Tekin Series 5, SNGvA 4576, SNG BnF 122, SNG Cop 240, Arslan-Lightfoot -, Choice gVF, attractive style, toned, obverse edge beveled, edge cracks, weight 10.440 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 333 - 250 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers grappling, nude, wrestler on left holds the right wrist of his opponent with his right hand and right forearm with his left hand, E between their legs, tiny die break on right, beveled edge; reverse slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, EΣTFE∆IY upward behind, O between legs, clockwise triskeles of human legs above club on right, round border of dots; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $900.00 SALE |PRICE| $810.00
 


Parthian Empire, Vologases V, c. 191 - 208 A.D.

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Vologases| |V,| |c.| |191| |-| |208| |A.D.||drachm|
Vologases V supported Pescennius Niger in the Roman Empire's civil war. After defeating Niger, Septimius Severus marched his legions into Babylonia in 198 A.D. While he achieved some success, Severus was forced to withdraw his forces from Parthia.
GS96065. Silver drachm, Sellwood 86.3; Shore 448; Sunrise 455; BMC Parthia p. 239, 17, EF, toned, flow lines, die wear, marks, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 3.727 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, c. 191 - 208 A.D.; obverse diademed and draped bust facing, oval bunches of hair at sides and on top of head, vertical lines divide the top bunch of hair into thirds, long pointed beard engraved with straight lines; reverse archer seated right, blundered Aramaic and Greek legend forming square around, AT monogram (Ecbatana mintmark) under bow; from the Robert| L3 Collection; ex Ponterio & Associates, C.I.C.F. auction 146 (25 Apr 2008), lot 1310; first specimen of this type handled by FORVM; rare; $900.00 SALE |PRICE| $810.00
 


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 370 - 333 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |370| |-| |333| |B.C.||stater|
The countermark appears to be a Hoplite advancing right with sword in right and round shield in left, in oval incuse. The hoplite represents the soldiery for which Aspendus was famous. The astonishing abundance of the silver money of Aspendus is a proof of the commercial importance of the town; and the number of countermarks and barbarous imitations shows that it circulated widely in the region.22.6
SH95389. Silver stater, Arslan-Lightfoot 39; SNGvA 4561; Tekin Series 4, 11; SNG BnF 84; SNG Cop 231; SNG Berry 1224 (all same obv die), VF, attractive rainbow toning, typical slightly flat strike, weight 10.855 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 370 - 333 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, AK between their legs; reverse slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, triskeles on right with feet clockwise, EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ upward on left, countermark lower right: lion head right in a round 3.6mm punch; ex Forum (2011); $750.00 SALE |PRICE| $675.00
 




  



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