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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Quality ▸ Eye AppealView 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!


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C., Portrait of Queen Philistis

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Hieron II placed his wife and son on coins during his long reign. Those of Queen Philistis are eagerly sought after by collectors.
SH84601. Silver 5 litrae, CCO Syracuse 221 (D2/R2), SNG ANS 893, SNG Lloyd 1546, SNG Cop 827, Dewing 959, McClean 2918, Weber 1708, HGC 2 1557 (R2) (all from the same dies), Choice aEF/gVF, toned, light marks, weight 4.441 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, c. 218 - 215 B.C.; obverse veiled and diademed head of Queen Philistis left, palm frond behind; reverse Nike galloping biga left, holding reins with both hands, E in front of horses' legs, BAΣIΛIΣΣAΣ above, ΦIΛIΣTI∆OΣ in exergue; from the Lawrence Woolslayer Collection; Numismatica Ars Classica auction 27 (12 May 2004), lot 129; ex A.D.M. Collection; ex Ratto Collection, 1929 sale, lot 213; rare; $3000.00 (2670.00)


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

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Nero considered himself an artist, perhaps he was and took an interest in his coinage - the sestertii of Nero are considered by many to be the finest numismatic art of the Roman Empire.
RB84073. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 443 (S), Mac Dowall WCN 428, Giard Lyon 119, BnF II 83, Cohen I 262, BMCRE I -, Hunter I -, SGCV I -, VF, fine style, excellent portrait, attractive brown toning, obverse slightly off center, some light corrosion, weight 25.990 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head left, globe at point of neck; reverse Roma seated left on cuirass and shields, wearing helmet and military garb, Victory in offering wreath in her right hand, her left hand resting on parazonium at side, right foot drawn back and resting on helmet, S - C flanking across field at center, ROMA in exergue; $1800.00 (1602.00)


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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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)

SH84233. Silver denarius, RIC I 167a, BMCRE I 451, RSC I 137, BnF I 1373, SRCV I 1610, Choice EF, nearly as struck, lustrous, slight die wear, weight 3.887 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTVS DIVIF, bare head right; reverse bull butting right, IMPX in exergue; $1700.00 (1513.00)


Macrinus, 11 April 217 - 8 June 218 A.D.

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Macrinus was Praetorian Prefect for Caracalla but arranged Caracalla's assassination and seized power. He and his son were accepted by the senate. The Syrian legions, inspired by Julia Maesa, Caracalla's aunt, revolted after he concluded an unfavorable peace with the Persians. He was defeated and executed.
SL84525. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 139 (S), BMCRE V 120 var. (also draped, noted), Cohen IV 66 71, SRCV II 7386, Hunter III -, Ch VF, strike 5/5, surface 5/5 (4373010-005), lovely mahogany tone with lighter tones on the high points, weight 20.5 g, maximum diameter 31 mm, die axis 15o, Rome mint, 11 Apr 217 - 31 Dec 217 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse PONTIF MAX TR P COS P P, Felicitas standing facing, head left, long caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, drapery over left arm, S - C flanking across field below center; NGC Certified, ex Stacks-Bowers; $1100.00 (979.00)


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Tribute Penny of Matthew 22:20-21

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Jesus, referring to a "penny" asked, "Whose is this image and superscription?" When told it was Caesar, He said, ''Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:20-21). Since Tiberius was Caesar at the time, this denarius type is attributed by scholars as the "penny" referred to in the Bible
SH84237. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon group 1, 144; RIC I 26 (C); BMCRE I 34; SRCV I 1762; RSC II 16; SRCV I 1763, Choice gVF, attractive style, well centered, toned, light marks, weight 3.789 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 45o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, early 'plain' fine style, c. 15 - 18 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse PONTIF MAXIM, Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with plain legs set on base, long scepter vertical behind in her right, branch in left, no footstool; $1100.00 (979.00)


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Tribute Penny of Matthew 22:20-21

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Jesus, referring to a "penny" asked, "Whose is this image and superscription?" When told it was Caesar, He said, ''Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:20-21). Since Tiberius was Caesar at the time, this denarius type is attributed by scholars as the "penny" referred to in the Bible
SH84238. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon group 1, 144; RIC I 26 (C); BMCRE I 34; SRCV I 1762; RSC II 16; SRCV I 1763, Choice gVF, mint luster, well centered, die wear, light marks and scratches, weight 3.785 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, early 'plain' fine style, c. 15 - 18 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse PONTIF MAXIM, Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with plain legs set on base, long scepter vertical behind in her right, branch in left, no footstool; $1000.00 (890.00)


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Tribute Penny of Matthew 22:20-21

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Jesus, referring to a "penny" asked, "Whose is this image and superscription?" When told it was Caesar, He said, ''Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:20-21). Since Tiberius was Caesar at the time, this denarius type is attributed by scholars as the "penny" referred to in the Bible.
SH84235. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon, group 3, 148; BMCRE I 45; RIC I 30 var. (scepter instead of spear, no base under throne); RSC II 16b; SRCV I 1763, VF, mint luster, nice style, toned, well centered on a tight flan, a few bumps and marks, weight 3.904 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 225o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 18 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse PONTIF MAXIM, Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with decorated legs, inverted spear behind in right, branch in left, both a base under the throne and feet on footstool; rare; $900.00 (801.00)


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, 320 - 300 B.C.

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Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the second millennium B.C. The city was refounded as Neapolis in the sixth century B.C. and became an important hub of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society. Naples remained influential under Rome and more so after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.
SH79832. Silver didrachm, Historia Numorum pl. 10, 571 (same dies); Sambon 438; SNG ANS 318; BMC Italy p. 98, 47; SNG Cop -, VF, beautiful style, well centered on a tight flan, uneven toning, weight 7.362 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, 320 - 300 B.C.; obverse diademed head of nymph Parthenope right, wearing large pendant earring and pearl necklace, bunch of grapes (control symbol) behind neck, ∆IOΦANOYΣ (master engraver or magistrate name) below neck truncation (off flan); reverse man-faced bull standing right, head turned facing, Nike above flying right and placing wreath on bull's head, Π∆ monogram below, NEOΠOΛITΩN in exergue (off flan); $750.00 (667.50)


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, 320 - 300 B.C.

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Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the second millennium B.C. The city was refounded as Neapolis in the sixth century B.C. and became an important hub of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society. Naples remained influential under Rome and more so after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.
SH79834. Silver nomos, SNG ANS 325; Sambon 450; BMC Italy p. 99, 53; Head HN 571; SNG Cop -; SNG Mnchen -, VF, finest style, well centered and struck on a tight flan, toned, scratches and bumps, small edge splits, weight 7.252 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, magistrate Olympios, 320 - 300 B.C.; obverse diademed head of nymph right, wearing pendant earring and pearl necklace, no legends or symbols; reverse man-faced bull standing right, head turned facing, Nike above flying right and placing wreath on bull's head, OΛ−YM−ΠI below, NEOΠOΛITHΣ in exergue; ex Fritz Rudolf Knker GmbH & Co. KG, auction 216 (8 Oct 2012), lot 48; rare; $750.00 (667.50)


Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.

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In July 69, Vitellius learned that the armies of the eastern provinces had proclaimed their commander, Vespasian, as emperor. Vitellius, aware that he would be defeated, negotiated terms of resignation, but the praetorians refused to allow him to carry out the agreement, and forced him to return to the palace. When Vespasian's troops entered Rome he was dragged out of a lodge where he was hiding, taken to the fatal Gemonian stairs, and executed. His body was thrown into the Tiber according to Suetonius; Cassius Dio's account is that Vitellius was beheaded and his head paraded around Rome, and his wife attended to his burial. "Yet I was once your emperor," were his last words. His brother and son were also killed.
SH72950. Silver denarius, RIC I 107 (S), RSC II 72, BMCRE I 34, BnF III 71, Hunter I 17, SRCV I 2200, gVF/VF, superb bold portrait, nice toning, a few minor marks, weight 3.055 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jul - 20 Dec 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right; reverse PONT MAXIM, Vesta seated right on throne with back, veiled, draped, patera in right hand, long scepter in left hand vertical on left (far) side; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Baldwin & Sons (2009); scarce; $720.00 (640.80)




    



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Eye Appeal