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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Quality| ▸ |High Grade||View Options:  |  |  |   

High Grade Ancient Coins

When first introduced to ancient coins, most people are shocked to learn that some coins remain in mint state and even more surprised to learn that they are not all in musuems. Ancient people did not have stocks, bonds mutual funds, or bank accounts. The primary implement for holding wealth was coins, often buried, and often buried in uncirculated or mint state condition. If an owner died without recovering their coins or telling an heir where to find them, they were lost. Millions of ancient coins have been recovered, and thousands have been found in superb condition.

Jerusalem or Tyre, 18 - 19 A.D., Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver, Lifetime of Christ

|30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver|, |Jerusalem| |or| |Tyre,| |18| |-| |19| |A.D.,| |Judas'| |30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver,| |Lifetime| |of| |Christ|, |shekel|
Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver
"Then one of the 12, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, 'What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?' And they covenanted with him for 30 pieces of silver." Matthew 26:14-15. Shekels of Tyre were the only currency accepted at the Jerusalem Temple and are the most likely coinage with which Judas was paid for the betrayal of Christ.

The Temple Tax Coin
"..go to the sea and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou has opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them [the temple tax collectors] for me and thee." Since the tax was one half shekel per man the coin would have to be a shekel to pay the tax for both Jesus and Peter. Matthew 17:24-27
SL96054. Silver shekel, RPC Online I 4657 (8 spec.); BMC Phoenicia p. 248, 199; Rouvier 2103; Cohen DCA 920; HGC 10 357, NGC Ch XF, strike 4/5, surface 2/5 (5769683-005), weight 12.58 g, maximum diameter 25 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem or Tyre mint, lifetime of Christ, 18 - 19 A.D.; obverse laureate head of Melqart (Herakles) right, Nemean Lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle left, wings closed, right talon on ship's ram, transverse palm frond on far side, Phoenician letter bet between legs, PM∆ (year 144) and club left, KP over monogram right; NGC| Lookup; $3300.00 SALE |PRICE| $2970.00


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia

|Ephesos|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Ephesos,| |Ionia|, |AE| |36|
See this type online:
RPC Online VI
Asia Minor Coins
ANS Mantis (No photo on ANS, but photo of this specimen is available on RPC Online.)
SH87621. Bronze AE 36, Karwiese MvE 5.2 p. 164, 750b (O3/R3, only 1 spec. of this variety); RPC Online VI T4956 (5 spec.); ANS Mantis 1972.185.5, Choice EF, excellent centering, olive green patina, some legend weak, small flaw/punch on reverse, porous, weight 25.344 g, maximum diameter 36.3 mm, die axis 180o, Ephesos mint, obverse AYT K M AYP CEB AΛEΞAN∆POC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse M-ONΩN - ΠPΩTΩN - ACIAC, on left: cult statue of Artemis standing facing, wearing ornate kalathos, flanked on each side by a stag, arms with supports; on right: Demeter enthroned left, wreathed in grain, two stalks of grain in right hand, long torch vertical in left hand; EΦECIΩN in exergue; only the second known of this variety with stags flanking Artemis, fantastic HUGE 36mm provincial bronze!; $2655.00 SALE |PRICE| $2390.00


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

|Augustus|, |Augustus,| |16| |January| |27| |B.C.| |-| |19| |August| |14| |A.D.|, |denarius|
Honos was the Roman god personifying honor. He was closely associated with Virtus, the goddess of manliness, or bravery, and the two are frequently depicted together. Honos is typically shown wearing a wreath of bay leaves, while Virtus is identified by her helmet.
SH95113. Silver denarius, RSC I 429, RIC I 313, BMCRE I 55, BnF I 196, Choice EF, attractive style, nice toning, well centered, banker's mark on cheek, thin flan cracks on reverse, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.894 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 90o, Italian (Rome?) mint, moneyer M. Durmius, 19 - 18 B.C.; obverse M DVRMIVS III VIR HONORI, bare head of Honos right, with idealized features of Augustus; reverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, slow quadriga right, modius-shaped car, three grain ears on top, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; ex Superior Galleries, The Moreira Sale, part 2 (10-11 Oct 1988), part of lot 2305; very rare; $1900.00 SALE |PRICE| $1700.00


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

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |454| |-| |404| |B.C.,| |Old| |Style| |Tetradrachm|, |tetradrachm|
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.
SH96069. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, EF, attractively centered, flow lines, bumps marks, die wear, edge splits, weight 17.192 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 180o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 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 owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; $1500.00 SALE |PRICE| $1350.00


Nerva, 18 September 96 - 25 January 98 A.D.

|Nerva|, |Nerva,| |18| |September| |96| |-| |25| |January| |98| |A.D.|, |sestertius|
Nerva maintained that he had liberated Rome from the tyranny of Domitian and restored a constitutionally-based regime. The pileus liberatis was a soft felt cap worn by liberated slaves of Troy and Asia Minor. In late Republican Rome, the pileus was symbolically given to slaves upon manumission, granting them not only their personal liberty, but also freedom as citizens with the right to vote (if male). Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., Brutus and his co-conspirators used the pileus to signify the end of Caesar's dictatorship and a return to a Republican system of government. The pileus was adopted as a popular symbol of freedom during the French Revolution and was also depicted on some early U.S. and many Mexican coins.
SH94036. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 86, BMCRE III 112, BnF III 100, Cohen II 114, SRCV II 3050, Hunter I -, Choice gVF, well centered, nice portrait, mottled patina, scattered tiny pits, weight 19.627 g, maximum diameter 34.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jan - Sep 97 A.D.; obverse IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS III P P, laureate head right; reverse LIBERTAS PVBLICA (freedom of the people), Libertas standing left, pileus liberatis (freedom cap) in right hand, staff in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $1410.00 SALE |PRICE| $1140.00


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

|Balbinus|, |Balbinus,| |22| |April| |-| |29| |July| |238| |A.D.|, |sestertius|
Providentia is the personification of the ability to foresee and make provision. She was among the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult of ancient Rome. Providentia apparently did not favor Balbinus. If he had a little foresight, he would have modified the chain of events that led to his murder after a reign of only 99 days.
SH92614. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 19, BMCRE VI 34, Cohen V 24 (12 fr.), Hunter III 19, SRCV III 8499, Choice gVF, well centered, excellent portrait, squared flan as typical for the period, some light corrosion, tiny edge crack, weight 21.840 g, maximum diameter 31.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse PROVIDENTIA DEORVM (to the foresight of the gods), Providentia standing half left, head left, wand downward over globe at feet in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection, ex H. Donald Collection; scarce; $1200.00 SALE |PRICE| $1080.00


Byzantine Empire, Romanus III Argyrus, 12 November 1028 - 11 April 1034

|Romanus| |III|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Romanus| |III| |Argyrus,| |12| |November| |1028| |-| |11| |April| |1034|, |histamenon| |nomisma|
Romanus III married Zoe, daughter of Constantine VII. He thought a lot of himself, but in fact, was inept, corrupt and self-absorbed. His government was corrupt and mismanaged. He made the fatal mistake of ignoring his wife Zoe. He was poisoned and drowned.
SH95342. Gold histamenon nomisma, DOC III part 2, 1d.1, Morrisson BnF 43/Cp/AV/01, Ratto 1972, Sommer 43.2.2, SBCV 1819, Wroth BMC 2, Choice EF, well centered, beautiful Madonna, mild obverse die wear, weight 4.372 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 12 Nov 1028 - 11 Apr 1034; obverse + IhS XIS REX REGNANTInm (Jesus Christ King of Kings), Christ enthroned, wears nimbus cruciger, pallium, & colobium, right hand raised in benediction, Gospels in left; reverse ΘCE bOHΘ RWMANW (god-bearer help the Romans), MΘ (mother of God) above center, nimbate Virgin (on right) wears pallium and maphorium, with right hand she crowns Romanus, who is bearded and wears a crown, sakkos and loros, right hand to his breast, globus cruciger in his left, four pellets in loros end below globus, two groups of four pellets in diamond shape on skirt of the Virgin; ex Miller's Mint Ltd. (Patchogue, NY); scarce; $1100.00 SALE |PRICE| $990.00


Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D.

|Trajan| |Decius|, |Trajan| |Decius,| |July| |249| |-| |First| |Half| |of| |June| |251| |A.D.|, |double| |sestertius|
The rare double sestertius denomination, distinguished by its radiate crown, was introduced with this issue. The denomination was also issued by Gallienus and especially by Postumus.

Trajan Decius, a general under Philip I, was sent to crush the revolt of Pacatian but was forced by his troops to declare himself emperor. He defeated Philip in a great battle at Verona. Decius spent the rest of his short reign combating barbarians. In June 251, Trajan Decius and his son Herennius Etruscus became the first Roman emperors to die in battle against a foreign enemy.
SH94035. Orichalcum double sestertius, RIC IV 115(a) (R), Hunter III 42, Cohen V 39, SRCV III 9395, NGC XF, strike 5/5, surface 2/5 (3762223-007), removed from NGC holder, flaws on obverse, edge crack, weight 34.843 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 249 - 251 A.D.; obverse IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder (as normal for similar busts, not described in references except in Hunter); reverse FELICITAS SAECVLI (era of good fortune), Felicitas standing slightly left, head left, grounded long caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking at center; ex Pegasi sale 154 (21 Aug 2018), lot 425 ($2950 on tag, $2500 estimate, unsold), big 35 mm DOUBLE Sestertius!; NGC| Lookup; rare; $1130.00 SALE |PRICE| $910.00


Byzantine Empire, Constantine IX Monomachus, 12 June 1042 - 11 January 1055

|Constantine| |IX|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Constantine| |IX| |Monomachus,| |12| |June| |1042| |-| |11| |January| |1055|, |histamenon| |nomisma|
In 1047, Constantine's nephew, general Leo Tornikios rebelled and besieged Constantinople from 25 to 28 September. Two assaults on the walls were turned back by the defenders under the personal leadership of Constantine. Despite suffering from gout and having no military experience, he showed courage and energy. Tornikios was forced to withdraw. After a failed attack on Rhaidestos, his followers abandoned him. He found refuge in a church, but was lured out, captured, and on Christmas day, he was blinded at Constantinople. Nothing thereafter is known about him.
SH94417. Gold histamenon nomisma, DOC III-2 1a, Wroth BMC 8 - 11, Morrisson BnF 1, Ratto 1987, Sommer 48.1, SBCV 1828, Choice aEF, weight 4.375 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 12 Jun 1042 - 11 Jan 1055; obverse +Ihs XIS REX REGNANTInm (Jesus Christ, King of Kings), Christ enthroned facing on lyre-backed throne, wearing nimbus cruciger (halo with cross), tunic and himation, gospels in left, triple border; reverse +CWNSTAnTn BASILEWS Rm (Constantine King of the Romans), bearded bust of Constantine XI facing, crown with cross and pendilia, jeweled chlamys, cruciform scepter in right, globe surmounted by patriarchal cross in left, triple border; from the Robert Watcher Collection; $1000.00 SALE |PRICE| $900.00


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

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |454| |-| |404| |B.C.,| |Old| |Style| |Tetradrachm|, |tetradrachm|
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.
SH95116. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, aEF, much mint luster, high relief, flow lines, tight flan, obverse die wear, edge cracks, weight 17.202 g, maximum diameter 26.7 mm, die axis 180o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 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 owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; $1000.00 SALE |PRICE| $900.00




  



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