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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.

Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander the Great, 336 - 323 B.C., Lifetime Issue

|Alexander| |the| |Great|, |Macedonian| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |the| |Great,| |336| |-| |323| |B.C.,| |Lifetime| |Issue||stater|NEW
In 334 B.C. the Siege of Miletus by the forces of Alexander the Great of Macedonia liberated the city from Persian rule, soon followed by most of Anatolia. Under Alexander, the city reached its greatest extent, occupying within its walls an area of approximately 90 hectares (220 acres). When Alexander died in 323 B.C., Miletus came under the control of Ptolemy, governor of Caria and his satrap of Lydia Asandrus, who had become autonomous. In 312 B.C. Antigonus I Monophthalmus sent Docimus and Medeius to free the city and grant autonomy, restoring the democratic patrimonial regime.
SL97494. Gold stater, ADM I series I, 14 (same dies); Price 2077; Müller Alexander 8; SNG Munchen 571; SNG Saroglos 131; HGC 3.1 893f (S); SNG Alpha Bank -, ANACS Extremely Fine EF45 (6275437), weight 8.59 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 345o, Ionia, Miletos (near Balat, Turkey) mint, struck under Philoxenos, c. 325 - 323 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right wearing earring, necklace, and crested Corinthian helmet decorated with a coiled snake, small thunderbolt under neck truncation; reverse Nike standing slightly left, head left, wreath in extended right hand, stylus in left hand, HA monogram left, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right; scarce; $5200.00 (€4784.00) ON RESERVE


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!; $2350.00 (€2162.00)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||sestertius|
A decursio was a military exercise, by which Roman soldiers were taught to make long marches in a given time, under arms and without quitting their ranks. They sometimes consisted of a mock fight between two divisions. Augustus and subsequently Hadrian ordered that the infantry and cavalry were to march out three times a month ten miles from the camp and ten miles back, fully armed and equipped. Decursio on this coin probably refers Nero's participation in mock military maneuvers in the circus.
SH96390. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 508, Mac Dowall WCN 448, BMCRE I 316, BnF II 135, Cohen I 88, SRCV I -, Choice aEF/VF, superb portrait, well centered and struck, scratches, marks, porosity more on the reverse, weight 23.971 g, maximum diameter 35.4 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONT MAX TR POT P P, laureate head left, small globe at point; reverse DECVRSIO (in exergue), Nero and a companion on horseback prancing right, Nero holds spear in right hand, companion holds vexillum in right over shoulder, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $2070.00 (€1904.40)
 


Russian Empire, Nicholas II, 1 November 1894 - 15 March 1917, Napoleon's Defeat Centennial Commemorative

|Russia|, |Russian| |Empire,| |Nicholas| |II,| |1| |November| |1894| |-| |15| |March| |1917,| |Napoleon's| |Defeat| |Centennial| |Commemorative||ruble|NEW
On June 24th 1812, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte led an ill-fated invasion of Russia. This ill-prepared advance on Russia, and his ultimate defeat on December 14th, resulted in Napoleon's exile to the island of Elba. This coin commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Cossack's victory, known in Russia as the Patriotic War of 1812. This type is 90% silver and only 46,000 were minted. The dies were engraved by M. A. Skudnov.
IS96531. Silver ruble, SCWC KM Y68, Bitkin 334, near Mint State, minor bumps and edge nicks; Russian inscription on edge: Pure Silver 4 zolotniks 21 dolyas (parts) (E B), weight 19.859 g, maximum diameter 33.6 mm, die axis 0o, St. Petersburg mint, 1912; obverse Russian legend: Alexander I by God's grace Emperor and Autocrat of All Russia; RУБЛЬ (Ruble) below, crown above double-headed imperial eagle, shield ornamented with St. George spearing dragon on eagle's breast, imperial scepter in right claw, imperial orb in left claw, garland tied with x on tail, various crowned shields on garland around; reverse Russian inscription: This glorious year has passed, but the deeds committed in it will not pass, 1812 above, 1912 below; rare, 46,000 minted; $1500.00 (€1380.00)
 


Byzantine Empire, Justin I, 10 July 518 - 1 August 527 A.D.

|Justin| |I|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Justin| |I,| |10| |July| |518| |-| |1| |August| |527| |A.D.||solidus|
They look similar, but there is a significant physical difference between angels and Victory. Angels are all male. Victory (Nike) is female. On Byzantine coinage, the male angel replaced the female Victory after the reunion with Rome was concluded on 28 March 519 A.D.
SL96959. Gold solidus, DOC I 1b (not in the collection, refs. Ratto), Ratto 382, Hahn MIB 2, Sommer 2.1, SBCV 55, Morrisson BnF -, Wroth BMC -, Tolstoi -, Ch XF, wrinkled, clipped, marks (4284830-012), 3rd officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 518 - 519 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTI-NVS P P AVI, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, helmet with plume, diadem and trefoil ornament, pellets on cuirass, spear in right hand over shoulder and behind head, shield on left arm ornamented with mounted cavalryman right attacking prostrate enemy; reverse VICTORI-A AVCCC Γ (victory of the three emperors, 3rd officina), Victoria standing half left, head left, long staff topped with an inverted staurogram (P) in right hand, star left, CONOB in exergue; NGC| Lookup; $900.00 (€828.00)
 


Parthian Empire, Vologases V, c. 191 - 208 A.D.

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Vologases| |V,| |c.| |191| |-| |208| |A.D.||drachm|
Vologases V supported Pescennius Niger in the Roman Empire's civil war. After defeating Niger, Septimius Severus marched his legions into Babylonia in 198 A.D. While he achieved some success, Severus was forced to withdraw his forces from Parthia.
GS96065. Silver drachm, Sellwood 86.3; Shore 448; Sunrise 455; BMC Parthia p. 239, 17, EF, toned, flow lines, die wear, marks, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 3.727 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, c. 191 - 208 A.D.; obverse diademed and draped bust facing, oval bunches of hair at sides and on top of head, vertical lines divide the top bunch of hair into thirds, long pointed beard engraved with straight lines; reverse archer seated right, blundered Aramaic and Greek legend forming square around, AT monogram (Ecbatana mintmark) under bow; from the Robert| L3 Collection; ex Ponterio & Associates, C.I.C.F. auction 146 (25 Apr 2008), lot 1310; first specimen of this type handled by FORVM; rare; $825.00 (€759.00)
 


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 333 - 250 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |333| |-| |250| |B.C.||stater|
After Alexander took Perga peacefully, Aspendos sent envoys to offer surrender if he would not take the taxes and horses formerly paid as tribute to the Persian king. Agreeing, Alexander went on to Side, leaving a garrison behind. When he learned they had failed to ratify the agreement their own envoys had proposed, Alexander marched to the city. The Aspendians retreated to their acropolis and again sent envoys to sue for peace. This time, however, they had to agree to harsh terms - they would host a Macedonian garrison and pay 100 gold talents and 4,000 horses annually.

This type is a late example and likely among the last of the wrestler and slinger staters. Struck during economic crisis, perhaps resulting from the harsh terms set by Alexander after their treachery, the flans are underweight, crudely cast and appear to be of debased silver. The wrestlers and slinger are carelessly depicted. It is not as attractive as earlier examples but it is certainly much scarcer.
GS95992. Silver stater, Tekin Series 5, SNGvA 4576, SNG BnF 122, SNG Cop 240, Arslan-Lightfoot -, Choice gVF, attractive style, toned, obverse edge beveled, edge cracks, weight 10.440 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 333 - 250 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers grappling, nude, wrestler on left holds the right wrist of his opponent with his right hand and right forearm with his left hand, E between their legs, tiny die break on right, beveled edge; reverse slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, EΣTFE∆IY upward behind, O between legs, clockwise triskeles of human legs above club on right, round border of dots; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $810.00 (€745.20)
 


Byzantine Empire, Alexius I Comnenus, 4 April 1081 - 15 August 1118 A.D.

|Alexius| |I|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Alexius| |I| |Comnenus,| |4| |April| |1081| |-| |15| |August| |1118| |A.D.||hyperpyron|NEW
Similar types were struck at Constantinople and Thessalonica and are often carelessly misattributed to the wrong mint. Distinguishing the mint is actually quite easy. On coins struck at Constantinople the emperor's chlamys (cloak) has jewels (round pellets) on the bottom edge. On specimens of this type struck at Thessalonica, such as this coin, the jewels ornament the edges on the sides of the chlamys, but not on the bottom.
SH97094. Gold hyperpyron, DOC IV part 1, 20; Hendy p. 83, var. III; cf. Sommer 59.23; CLBC 2.1.3j; Grierson 1048; SBCV 1924, gVF, scyphate flan, well centered, flow lines, a few scratches on obverse, weight 4.294 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, post reform, 1092 - 1118 A.D.; obverse  KE RO-HΘEI (Lord, help [Alexius]), IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsoús Xristós - Jesus Christ), Christ Pantokrator enthroned facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, gospels in left, double border; reverse A/ΛE/ΞI/W / ∆EC/ Π/T - TW / KO/MNH/N/W (MNH ligate), Alexius standing facing, wearing chlamys, four jewels on collar, no jewels on the bottom of the chlamys, curved diagonal fold in chlamys under his left arm, labarum scepter in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, manus Dei (hand of God) above right; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 92 (2 Aug 2020), lot 992; $750.00 (€690.00)
 


Julia Mamaea, Augusta 13 March 222 - February or March 235 A.D.

|Julia| |Mamaea|, |Julia| |Mamaea,| |Augusta| |13| |March| |222| |-| |February| |or| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
Describing this coin "as-found" does not mean recently found. This coin, part of a family collection assembled over generations, was found long ago. Silver denarii sold as found with their natural dark toning are rare. Very often the toning is uneven and unattractive and the coins are cleaned to remove it. This coin and others from the find were clearly an exception and its attractive toning has been left intact for decades and should never be removed.
RS94695. Silver denarius, RIC IV 358, RSC III 76, BMCRE VI 713, Hunter III 5, SRCV II 8216, Choice EF, very attractive as-found dark hoard toning, well centered, attractive portrait, small edge splits, weight 1.854 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 231 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in waved horizontal ridges, looped plait at back of neck; reverse VENVS VICTRIX (victorious Venus), Venus standing half left, head left, helmet extended in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, grounded shield on left at feet against far side; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $400.00 (€368.00)
 


Julia Mamaea, Augusta 13 March 222 - February or March 235 A.D.

|Julia| |Mamaea|, |Julia| |Mamaea,| |Augusta| |13| |March| |222| |-| |February| |or| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
Describing this coin "as-found" does not mean recently found. This coin, part of a family collection assembled over generations, was found long ago. Silver denarii sold as found with their natural dark toning are rare. Very often the toning is uneven and unattractive and the coins are cleaned to remove it. This coin and others from the find were clearly an exception and its attractive toning has been left intact for decades and should never be removed.
RS94698. Silver denarius, RIC IV 343, RSC III 35, BMCRE VI 43, Hunter III 1, SRCV II 8212, Choice EF, very attractive as-found dark hoard toning, well centered, flow lines, attractive portrait, small edge splits, weight 1.904 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 11 Mar - 31 Dec 222 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, draped bust right, hair in waved horizontal ridges, looped plait at back of neck; reverse IVNO CONSERVATRIX, Juno standing slightly left, head left, veiled, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, peacock standing left with head right at feet on left; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $400.00 (€368.00)
 




  



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