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Home>Catalog>CollectingThemes>Quality>EyeAppeal PAGE 1/10«««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); $1570.00 (€1177.50)

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 (€937.50)

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 We were unable to find another example with this combination of control symbols. Thompson lists the lion head and AP monogram control symbols for Lysimachia, but not together. The ΠA monogram is not listed for not for Lysimachia but is listed for other mints.
SH71162. Silver tetradrachm, Apparently unpublished; Thompson -, Müller -, SNG -, Armenak Hoard -, Black Sea Hoard - , et al. -, gVF, nice style, a few bump, small test cut in edge, weight 17.024 g, maximum diameter 30.0 mm, die axis 90o, Lysimachia(?) mint, c. 297 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Athena seated left on prow-like throne, Nike crowning king's name in right, rests left arm on round shield behind, ΠA monogram over AP monogram left, lion head left in exergue; ex Pecunem Gitbud & Naumann auction 12, lot 78; possibly unique; $900.00 (€675.00)

Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great
Click for a larger photo According to myth, the cult image of Hermes Perpheraios was carved by Epeios before he made the Trojan Horse. After Achilles insulted him, the river-god Scamander sided with Troy. The swollen Scamander flooded the Greek camp at its mouth and washed their cult image out to sea. Scamander also was said to have attempted to kill Achilles three times. Later the statue was caught by fishermen from Ainos. They wore themselves out trying to cut it up for firewood, making only a little wound-like mark. They tried to burn it whole, but the flames just went around. Giving up, they threw it back in the sea. After they caught it in their nets a second time they realized it was sacred, received it into the city, and honored it like the gods.
SH71164. Silver tetradrachm, Unpublished variety; cf. Meydancikkale 2691 (no palm), Müller 114 (same), Thompson -, Black Sea Hoard -, Armenak -, Choice VF, weight 16.618 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Thrace, Ainos (Enez, Turkey) mint, c. 283 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Athena enthroned left, Nike crowning king's name in extended right, rests left arm on round shield behind, transvers spear against far side, palm frond (or apluster?) outer left, enthroned cult image of Hermes Perpheraios inner left; ex Dorotheum auction (May 2014), lot 71; possibly unique; $900.00 (€675.00)

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 (€600.00)

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 (€600.00)

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Laodicea ad Mare, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria
Click for a larger photo Laodikea ad Mar (Latakia, Syria) has been inhabited since the second millennium B.C. It was on the Via Maris, a coastal road that ran south from Antioch to Damascus and Beirut. The city was renamed by Seleucus I Nicator in honor of his mother, Laodice and was a major port for the Seleukid Kingdom. Laodikea flourished under Rome and was second only to Antioch in the region. Herod the Great, king of Judaea, furnished Laodikea with an aqueduct, the remains of which stand to the east of the town. The Legio VI Ferrata was probably based in Laodicea.
SH71299. Bronze cf. RPC Online 8590; SNG Cop 349, BMC Syria 66, SNG München 912, SNG Hunterian II 3202 (all with date in right field, vice end of legend), Choice aEF, weight 9.345 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 140 - 141 A.D.; obverse AYTO KAI TI AI A∆PI ANTΩNEINO, laureate and draped bust left, from behind; reverse IOYΛIEN TΩN KAI ΛAO∆IKEΩN HΠP, turreted and draped bust of Tyche left; ΦO before neck; $800.00 (€600.00)

Athens, Greece, New Style Tetradrachm, c. 110 - 109 B.C.
Click for a larger photo The "New Style" tetradrachms were issued by Athens as a semi-autonomous city under Roman rule. The new-style Owls are markedly different from the Owls of Periclean Athens or the "eye in profile" Athena head of the Fourth Century. They were struck on thinner, broad flans, typical of the Hellenistic period, with a portrait of Athena that reflected the heroic portraiture of the period. The owl now stands on an amphora, surrounded by magistrates' names and symbols, all within an olive wreath. The amphora is marked with a letter that may indicate the month of production. Letters below the amphora may indicate the source of the silver used in production.
SH71157. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 165 (same obverse die); Thompson Athens 718 (same obverse die, reverse die not listed); Svoronos Athens pl. 60, 24 (different dies), VF, weight 16.762 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 0o, magistrates Zoilos, Euandros, and Theoxen[...] mint, 110 - 109 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena Parthenos right, triple-crested helmet decorated with curvilinear ornament on the shell, Pegasos right above the raised earpiece, and protomes of horses above the visor; reverse A−ΘE / ZΩI−ΛOΣ / EYAN/∆POΣ / ΘEO/ΞE/N, owl standing right on amphora on its side, bee on right, K(?) on amphora, ΣΦ under amphora, all within olive wreath; $750.00 (€562.50)

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; $720.00 (€540.00)



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Catalog current as of Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
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Eye Appeal