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Home>Catalog>CollectingThemes>Quality>EyeAppeal PAGE 1/9«««1234»»»

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!

Selinus, Sicily, c. 466 - 415 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Selinus was once one of the most important Greek colonies in Sicily. In 409 B.C., the Carthaginians attacked with a vast army believed to include at least 100,000 men. Selinus, with a population of about 30,000 excluding slaves, was unprepared and an auxiliary force promised by Syracuse, Agrigentum and Gela did not arrive. The Selinuntines defended themselves with courage, and after the walls were breached, continued to fight from house to house. After tens days the city fell. Of the citizens, 16,000 were slain and 5,000 made prisoners, but more than 2,600 escaped to Agrigento.
SL90860. Silver didrachm, SNG ANS 702 - 705 (same obverse die); BMC Sicily, p. 141, 34; SNG Lloyd 1243; SNG München 889 ff.; SNG Cop -, NGC XF, Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5 (4165998-006), weight 7.64 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 90o, Selinus (Selinunte, Sicily) mint, c. 466 - 415 B.C.; obverse ΣEΛINOTION, nude Herakles advancing right, subduing the Cretan bull; reverse HVYAΣ, river-god nude standing left, holding phiale over canopied altar in right hand and branch in left; snake coiled around altar, heron under selinon leaf to right; ex Forum (2007); $1750.00 SALE PRICE $1575.00

Athens, Greece, Old Style Tetradrachm, c. 449 - 413 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Some numismatists believe Athens tetradrachms on which Athena has this droopy eye, thick lips, and big chin are imitatives struck in either Asia Minor or Egypt. Most references and sales catalogs, however, list coins with this portrait style as ordinary Athens mint issues.
SH71562. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31 ff., Kroll 8, SGCV I 2526, Nice VF, small flan flaw reverse center, weight 17.154 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 270o, Athens mint, c. 449 - 413 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse AΘE right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square; no test cuts!; $1200.00 (€900.00) ON RESERVE

Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great
Click for a larger photo Sardes was a treasury of Lysimachus and one of his most active mints. Demetrius Poliorcetes captured the city in 287. Lysimachus regained it in 286, but it appears he did not reopen the mint. All the coins are pre-286 style. Lysimachus permanently lost Sardes when it was captured by Seleukos in 282.
SL90460. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 86, Müller 407 (Pergamon), Armenak Hoard 806 - 810, NGC Choice VF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (2416724-006); fantastic high relief portrait of Alexander, weight 17.02 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 330o, Lydia, Sardes mint, lifetime issue, c. 297 - 287 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Athena enthroned left, left arm on shield decorated with Gorgoneion, transverse spear against right side, Nike crowning name in right, ΠPE monogram within circle left, ∆K monogram in exergue; $1250.00 SALE PRICE $1125.00

Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.
Click for a larger photo "With typical prescience, Colin Kraay conjectured that Larissa's staters and mass drachm issues belonged to the early Macedonian period and in fact resulted from the intervention of Philip II, who probably placed Macedonian silver at the disposal of Larissa. Several of the hoards cited above support the general thrust of Kraay's hypothesis though they illustrate a flow of Larissaean coinage to Macedon, probably before 348, rather than provision of Macedonian silver to Larissa." -- C. Lorber, "A Hoard of Facing Head Larissa Drachms" in SNR 79 (2000).
GS68671. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar, Early Group 6, head type 25 (O118/R1); SNG Cop -, VF, fine style, well centered, a few marks, lightly etched surfaces, weight 5.483 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, hair floating freely. Small eyes. Round earring and wire choker well above the neck truncation; reverse ΛAPI above, horse grazing right; $810.00 SALE PRICE $729.00

Diadumenian, Mid May - 8 June 218 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Macrinus was the first emperor who was not of Senatorial rank, his birth was obscure, and he had never distinguished himself in any matter of public service. Rumors soon spread that he was born a slave, was trained as gladiator, and was complicit in Caracalla's murder. Doomed from the moment his father took the purple, Diadumenian paid with his life for his father's hubris.
SL70860. Silver denarius, RIC IV 102a, BMCRE V 87, RSC III 3, SRCV II 7449, NGC Ch XF, strike 5/5, surface 4/5 (4161195-005), weight 2.79 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, as caesar, 11 Apr 217 - mid May 218 A.D.; obverse M OPEL ANT DIADVMENIAN CAES, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse PRINC IVVENTVTIS, Diadumenian standing slightly left, head right, in military dress, standard in right, short scepter in left, two grounded standards behind on right; from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection; scarce; $800.00 SALE PRICE $720.00

Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias II Kynegos, 185 - 149 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Prusias II, son of Prusias I, inherited his father's name but not his character. He first joined with Eumenes of Pergamon in war against Pontus, but later turned on Pergamon and invaded. He was defeated and Pergamon demanded heavy reparations. Prusias sent his son Nicomedes II to Rome to ask for aid in reducing the payments. When Nicomedes revolted, Prusias II was murdered in the temple of Zeus at Nikomedia.
SH71000. Bronze AE 22, SNG Cop 640; BMC Pontus p. 210, 8; SNGvA 256 var (monogram); Rec Gén 26; HGC 7 629; SGCV II 7266, Choice VF, nice style, weight 6.393 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, c. 180 - 150 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠPOYΣIOY, centaur Chiron standing right, playing lyre, his cloak flying behind, NΦ monogram inner right under raised foreleg; $800.00 SALE PRICE $720.00

Mesembria, Thrace, c. 275 - 225 B.C., Civic Issue in the Types and Name of Alexander the Great
Click for a larger photo Mesembria, Nesebar Bulgaria today, was a Doric settlement on a Black Sea island just off mainland Thrace. Today it is a seaside resort and a man-made isthmus connects it to the coast. The city struck Alexandrine tetradrachms possibly as early as 275 B.C. It is likely Mesembria issued the very last Alexandrine tetradrachms, possibly even under Roman rule, as late as 65 B.C.
SH71566. Silver tetradrachm, Karayotov p. 80 and pl. VI, 24 (O4/R9); Price 992; Müller 436, EF, superb style, nick on reverse right side edge, weight 16.858 g, maximum diameter 31.1 mm, die axis 0o, Mesambria (Nesebar, Bulgaria) mint, c. 275 - 225 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion-scalp headdress; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, Zeus seated left, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right, long scepter vertical behind in left, Corinthian helmet right over ΠA monogram in inner left field under arm; $700.00 SALE PRICE $630.00

Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander III The Great, 336 - 323 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Without control symbols, attribution is made by comparing the fabric and style to attributed examples. We did not find any examples in our references similar enough to confidently identify the mint or date of this coin.
SH90222. Silver tetradrachm, cf. Price 844, Müller Alexander -, Choice aEF, scratch behind Herakles ear, weight 16.884 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain mint, posthumous, c. 310 - 275 B.C.(?); obverse Herakles' head right, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, right leg drawn back, feet on footstool, throne with high back, eagle in right, long scepter vertical behind in left, no control symbols; ex Savoca Coins (Munich); rare; $600.00 SALE PRICE $540.00

Nerva, 18 September 96 - 25 January 98 A.D.
Click for a larger photo In late October 97 A.D. Nerva adopted Trajan as his son and heir of the Empire. The previous emperor Domitian was a friend of the army and gave no consideration to the Senate, while Nerva was a very old senator. Trajan was perhaps the most popular and successful general of the time. The adoption reversed growing military opposition and brought concord with the army.
RB68481. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC II 81, BMCRE III 122, Cohen 32, gVF, weight 14.365 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, 97 A.D.; obverse IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS III P P, radiate head right; reverse CONCORDIA EXERCITVVM S C, clasped hands holding a legionary eagle set on a prow; $570.00 SALE PRICE $513.00

Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.
Click for a larger photo A most desired type with an excellent strike in fantastic condition.
SH65426. Bronze antoninianus, RIC V 904, Choice EF, nice patina, weight 4.002 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 0o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 276 - 282 A.D.; obverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG, radiate, helmeted and cuirassed bust left, spear in right over shoulder, shield decorated with horseman in left; reverse ADVENTVS PROBI AVG, Probus on horseback left, raising right, scepter in left; scarce; $460.00 SALE PRICE $414.00

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, September 30, 2014.
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Eye Appeal