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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!

Pertinax, 31 December 192 - 28 March 193 A.D.

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Pertinax was the son of a humble charcoal-burner. After a successful career in the military, as a senator and then as praefect of the city of Rome, he reluctantly accepted the throne offered by the murderers of Commodus. After a reign of only 86 day he was murdered by mutinous guards.
SH72991. Silver denarius, RIC IV 13a, BMCRE V 25, RSC III 56, Hunter III 7, SRCV II 6048, EF, excellent portrait, toned, weight 3.180 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1 Jan - 28 Mar 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES P HELV PERTIN AVG, laureate head right; reverse VOT DECEN TR P COS II, Pertinax standing left, veiled, sacrificing over lit altar from a patera in right; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; very rare (R2); $1800.00 SALE PRICE $1620.00

Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D.

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With this coin Otho claimed there was peace all over the world. It was true that at the time it was struck there was peace along all the borders of the empire, which was a rare event because Rome was almost always engaged in some war with the nations and tribes that surrounded it. It was, however, an absurdity, in the midst of a civil war within the borders, to acclaim peace on the borders as peace all over the world.
SH75695. Silver denarius, RIC I 4, RSC II 3, BMCRE I 3, BnF III 3, SRCV I 2156, VF, superb portrait, nice toning, scratches, reverse center flatly struck, weight 3.518 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jan - Feb 69 A.D.; obverse IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right; reverse PAX ORBIS TERRARVM (All the World at Peace), Pax standing left, olive-branch in right hand, caduceus in left; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; rare; $1800.00 SALE PRICE $1620.00

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., CHORTIS SPECVLATORVM

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Speculatores served the legions as spies, scouts, messengers, lookouts, and executioners. Aboard ship speculatores stood watch as lookouts in a turret (specula) at the stern, explaining their unusual standards. Normally ten speculatores were assigned to each legion. Anthony formed a separate cohort of speculatores which served him personally and also acted as his personal bodyguard. Augustus would later create a speculatorian cohort at Rome to serve as the inner corps of the praetorian guard. This coin probably refers to the naval equivalent, who were comparable to the Marines and provided a shipboard bodyguard for Antony.
SH76389. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1484, Crawford 544/121, Sydenham 1214, BMCRR II East 185, RSC I 6, Sear CRI, Choice VF, well centered on full flan, toned, banker's mark and V graffito on obverse, scratches, weight 3.636 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with fluttering banners at prow, border of dots; reverse CHORTIS SPECVLATORVM, three standards, each decorated with two wreaths and a model war galley prow, border of dots; ex CNG auction 76/2 (12 Sep 2007), lot 3262; ex John A. Seeger Collection; rare; $1600.00 SALE PRICE $1440.00

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG VI - Ferrata, the "Ironclad"

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The VI Ferrata, the "Ironclad," was an old legion of Caesar's that fought for Antony. It was retained by Augustus, and later served in Syria and Judaea. The VI Victrix, on the other hand, was one of Octavian's legions. This Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus issued a 'restitution' of the type, presumably in connection with the latter's Eastern campaigns.
SH76382. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/19, Sydenham 1223, BMCRR II East 197, RSC I 33, Sear CRI 356, Choice EF, near perfect centering, light toning, slightly uneven strike, contact marks, areas of porosity and light corrosion, weight 3.664 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow, border of dots; reverse LEG - VI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; ex Forum (2005); $1400.00 SALE PRICE $1260.00

Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 377 - 326 B.C.

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Mytilene was famous in ancient times for its great output of electrum coins struck from the late 6th through mid - 4th centuries B.C. The usual denomination was the hekte (1/6th stater). Warwick Wroth noted in the British Museum Catalog, "The Sixths of [this Lesbos electrum series] form one of the most beautiful coin-series of the ancient world. This will be evident from a glance."
SH73442. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt Em. 99; SNG Cop 321; SNGvA 1729; HGC 6 1025; Boston MFA 1735; Weber 5631, gVF, fine style, minor die wear, weight 2.564 g, maximum diameter 10.5 mm, die axis 0o, Mytilene mint, c. 377 - 326 B.C.; obverse head of Kabeiros right, wearing wreath and pileus, two stars flanking cap; reverse head of Persephone right in linear square; ex Triton XVII (6 - 7 Jan 2015), lot 599; ex CNG auction 72 (14 Jun 2006), lot 714; $1300.00 SALE PRICE $1170.00

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

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The reverse refers to the harmony and friendship of the emperors Balbinus and Pupienus. Because they were quarreling they were unable to put up a joint defense against the praetorians. They were both murdered after a reign of only 99 days.
SH76157. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV, part 2, 20; Cohen V 7 (12 fr.); BMCRE VI 43; SRCV III 8530; Hunter III 12, aVF, superb portrait, well centered, toned brass with touches of green, areas of light corrosion, weight 20.257 g, maximum diameter 29.7 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, later issue; obverse IMP CAES M CLOD PVPIENVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse CONCORDIA AVGG, Concordia seated left, patera in extended right hand, double cornucopia in left, S C in exergue; $1250.00 SALE PRICE $1125.00

Herbessos, Sicily, c. 344 - 335 B.C.

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The site of the native Sikel Herbessos is uncertain but it was probably located near Leontinoi. Like other Sikel towns, it supported Carthage against Syracuse, however, in 396 B.C. Herbessos formed an alliance with Dionysos I. In 310 B.C., Agathokles installed a garrison to hold it against Carthage. In 309 B.C., with the aid of Akragas, the city expelled the garrison and claimed its freedom. In the Punic Wars, Herbessos was repeatedly held by Carthage until taken by Rome. About 213 B.C., Herbesso became a civitas decumana, paying 1/10th of its annual harvest to Rome. Although it probably continued to exist for centuries, it then disappears from history.
GI72187. Bronze drachm, Castrizio series II, 1 (354- 344 B.C); Calciati III, p. 252, 4; SNG Morcom 593; SNG Lloyd 1002; Rizzo pl. LIX, 17; HGC 2 411 (R2), VF, overstruck on Syracuse drachm, weight 32.639 g, maximum diameter 33.1 mm, die axis 270o, Herbessos mint, c. 344 - 335 B.C.; obverse EPBEΣΣINΩN, head of Sikelia right, hair adorned with myrtle olive wreath; reverse forepart of man-faced bull right; big bronze!; rare; $1200.00 SALE PRICE $1080.00

Otho, February - 9 March 69 A.D.

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The second issue of Otho is characterized by the missing M in the obverse legend and a changed coiffure. This combined with the serene portrait makes this particular die one of the nicest ones available.
SH72955. Silver denarius, RIC I 10, RSC II 15, BMCRE I 19, BnF III 11, SRCV I 2163, VF, superb portrait, nicely toned, well centered on a tight flan, weight 3.475 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Feb - 9 Mar 69 A.D.; obverse IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right; reverse SECVRITAS P R, Securitas standing left, wreath in right, long scepter in left; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex CNG, ex Harlan J. Berk; rare; $1200.00 SALE PRICE $1080.00

Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia

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Dido, the founder and first queen of Carthage, is primarily known from Virgil's Aeneid. Upon succeeding their father as king of Tyre, Dido's brother Pygmalion had her husband Sichaeus killed in a plot to seize his immense wealth. Dido, with a large group of friends and followers, escaped Tyre, carrying with them all of Sichaeus? treasure. As depicted on the reverse of this coin, Dido made a sacrifice at the temple of Melqart-Hercules before leaving. The reverse on some other Valerian types, we know of one example struck with this same obverse die, depict Dido in Carthage beginning construction.
RP75357. Bronze dichalkon, Unpublished in the many references examined by Forum, cf. SNG Righetti 2354 (radiate and cuirassed bust), Rouvier 2503 (same), VF, well centered, porous, flan adjustment marks, weight 11.064 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 180o, Tyre mint, Oct 253 - Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP CP LIC VALERIANVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse COL TVRO MET, Dido standing right, kalathos on head, extending both hands toward a distyle temple of Melqart-Hercules in perspective to upper right, club within the temple, flaming column altar at her feet, murex shell on right below temple; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection; the best of the few examples of the type known to Forum; extremely rare; $1100.00 SALE PRICE $990.00

Athens, Greece, Old Style Tetradrachm, c. 454 - 404 B.C.

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The old-style tetradrachm of Athens is famous for its almond shaped eye, archaic smile and charming owl reverse. Around 480 B.C. a wreath of olive leaves and a decorative scroll were added to Athena's helmet. On the reverse a crescent moon was added.

During the period 449 - 413 B.C. huge quantities of tetradrachms were minted to finance grandiose building projects such as the Parthenon and to cover the costs of the Peloponnesian War.
SH76169. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Mnchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, VF, no test cuts, nice Athena and owl, well centered on a tight flan, as frequent almost all the crest off flan, toned, light scratches and contact marks, weight 17.042 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 135o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C. (probably close to 404 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; $1000.00 SALE PRICE $900.00



Catalog current as of Friday, November 27, 2015.
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Eye Appeal