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. . .
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Selinus, Sicily, c. 466 - 415 B.C.
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 SALE PRICE $1410.00
Byzantine Empire, Constantine VIII, 15 December 1025 - 11 November 1028 A.D.
Constantine VIII was crowned emperor when he was an infant; however, for his first 63 years of "rule" he was a junior emperor and rarely played even a minor role in state affairs. He spent his life in search of pleasure and entertainment, including spectator sports at the Hippodrome, feasting, riding and hunting. After his brother Basil II died, Constantine was sole emperor for nearly the last three years of his life. He carried on as he always had, enjoying life and avoiding state business as much as possible. Ineffective and cruel, he allegedly ordered the execution or mutilation of hundreds of innocent men.
SH90886. Gold histamenon nomisma, DOC III, part 2, 1.1; Wroth BMC 3, Morrisson BnF 3; Ratto 1969; SBCV 1815; Sommer 42.1 var (pellet on shaft of labarum), gVF, centered, light marks, weight 4.325 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 225o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 15 Dec 1025 - 11 Nov 1028; obverse + IhS XIS REX REGNANTIhM, bearded bust of Christ facing wearing nimbus cruciger with straight arms and crescents in upper quarters, pallium and colobium, raising right hand in benediction, Gospels in left, triple border; reverse +CWnSTAnTIn bASILEhS ROM, bust facing, with long beard, wearing crown and loros, labarum (no pellet on shaft) in left, akakia in right, triple border; ex Ponterio & Associates sale 157 - N.Y.I.N.C. Auction (7 Jan 2007), lot 2222; scarce; $1300.00 SALE PRICE $1170.00
Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great
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 $1120.00
Persian Empire, Carian Satrapy, Pixodaros, c. 340 - 335 B.C.
Pixodarus was the youngest of the three sons of Hecatomnus, all of whom successively ruled. To secure the friendship of Philip II, king of Macedonia, Pixodarus offered his eldest daughter in marriage to his Philip's son Arrhidaeus. Arrhidaeus' ambitious younger brother, Alexander (later Alexander the Great) offered himself instead. Pixodarus eagerly agreed but Philip put an end to the scheme. Pixodarus died, apparently a natural death, before Alexander landed in Asia in 334 B.C. and was succeeded by his Persian son-in-law Orontobates.
SH90963. Silver didrachm, SNG Cop 597; SNGvA 2375; SNG Keckman 280; SNG Kayhan 891; SNG Lockett 2913; BMC Caria p. 185, 5 ff.; Weber 6608; SGCV II 4966, gVF, some nicks or flan flaws, some pitting, toned, weight 7.000 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Mylasa mint, c. 340 - 335 B.C.; obverse head of Apollo facing slightly right; reverse ΠIΞΩ∆APOY, Zeus Labraundos standing right, labrys (double-headed axe) over shoulder in right, lotus-tipped scepter vertical in left; $1200.00 SALE PRICE $1080.00
Pergamene Kingdom, Attalos I Soter, 241 - 197 B.C.
After his success in wars against Antiochos Hierax and his Galatian mercenaries, Attalos claimed the title Soter (savior). Threatened by Philip V of Macedon, near the end of his reign, Attalos sought aid from Rome.
SH71568. Silver tetradrachm, Westermark 68, V.CXII; SNG BnF 1624; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; Meydancikkale -, Choice gVF, superb high relief portrait, toned, light marks, weight 16.985 g, maximum diameter 30.7 mm, die axis 0o, Mysia, Pergamum mint, 241 - 235 B.C.; obverse Philetairos (founder of the Attalid dynasty) diademed head right; reverseAthena enthroned left, crowning ΦIΛETAIPOY with right, holding spear and resting left arm on shield, crowning dynastic name with wreath, spear in background, bee outer left, thunderbolt inner left, bow on right; ex Roma Numismatic e-Sale 1, 219 (31 Aug 2013); ex Tannenbaum Collection; rare; $1200.00 SALE PRICE $1080.00
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Alexandreia Troas, Troas
Silenus, the old man of the forest with horse ears (sometimes also a horse tail and legs), was the oldest, wisest and most drunken of the followers of Dionysus, and was said in Orphic hymns to be the young god's tutor. He was usually drunk and had to be supported by satyrs or carried by a donkey. When intoxicated, he possessed special knowledge and the power of prophecy. Eager to learn from Silenus, King Midas caught the old man by lacing a fountain from which Silenus often drank. Silenus shared with the king a pessimistic philosophy: That the best thing for a man is not to be born, and if already born, to die as soon as possible. In another myth, when lost and wandering in Phrygia, Silenus was rescued by peasants and taken to King Midas, who treated him kindly and entertained him for five days and nights. Dionysus offered Midas a reward for his kindness towards Silenus, and Midas chose the power of turning everything he touched into gold.
RP71870. Bronze AE 24, Bellinger A435; SNG Cop 194; SNG München 125; BMC Troas p. 30, 165; SNGvA - (refs ID the central figure as drunken Hercules), gVF, grainy surfaces, weight 6.082 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria, Troas mint, obverse IMP LIC VALERIANVS AVG (N retrograde), Laureate, draped and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverse COL A-VG, TROAC (ending in exergue, AC ligate), Silenus standing half right, supported by three satyrs, one standing behind with arms around his waist, and two more at sides; very rare; $1200.00 SALE PRICE $1080.00
Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great
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, transverse 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 SALE PRICE $810.00
Diadumenian, Mid May - 8 June 218 A.D.
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 cuirassedbust right; reversePRINC 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.
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
Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Laodicea ad Mare, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria
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 SALE PRICE $720.00