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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.

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)


Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius III, c. 96 - 87 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Demetrius| |III,| |c.| |96| |-| |87| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
The inscription on the reverse of this coin translates, "King Demetrios, the god, father-loving, savior." He was nicknamed Eucaerus ("the Timely") by the Syrian Greeks but was called Acaerus ("the Untimely) by the Jews. He defeated the Hasmonaean priest king Alexander Jannaeus but was forced to withdraw from Judaea by the hostile population. While attempting to dethrone his brother, Philip I Philadelphus, he was defeated by the Arabs and Parthians, and taken prisoner. He was held in confinement in Parthia by Mithridates II until his death in 88 B.C.
SL94920. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber 2450(2); HGC 9 1305; cf. BMC Seleucid p. 101, 1 (SE 217, same controls); SNG Spaer 2863 (SE 219, different controls), NGC Ch XF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (5771210-005), weight 16.501 g, maximum diameter 30.10 mm, die axis 0o, Damaskos (Damascus, Syria) mint, 97 - 96 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Demetrios III right, fringe of curly beard at jawline, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩS / DHMHTPIOY / ΘEOY - ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ / ΣΩTHPOΣ, cult image of Atargatis standing facing, holding flower, barley stalk behind each shoulder, two monograms (controls) outer left, date CIS (Seleucid Era year 216) in exergue, ∆H monogram (control) in exergue on right, laurel wreath border; from the Ray Nouri Collection, NGC| Lookup; scarce; $1000.00 (920.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius III, c. 96 - 87 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Demetrius| |III,| |c.| |96| |-| |87| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
The inscription on the reverse of this coin translates, "King Demetrios, the god, father-loving, savior." He was nicknamed Eucaerus ("the Timely") by the Syrian Greeks but was called Acaerus ("the Untimely) by the Jews. He defeated the Hasmonaean priest king Alexander Jannaeus but was forced to withdraw from Judaea by the hostile population. While attempting to dethrone his brother, Philip I Philadelphus, he was defeated by the Arabs and Parthians, and taken prisoner. He was held in confinement in Parthia by Mithridates II until his death in 88 B.C.
SL94921. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber 2450(3); Newell LSM 116a corr. (control ex. in error); Cohen DCA 303; HGC 9 1305; BMC Seleucid p. 101, 1 var. (different controls), NGC Ch XF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (5771210-004, in error has date yr. 218, 95/4 BC), weight 16.852 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Damaskos (Damascus, Syria) mint, 96 - 95 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Demetrios III right, fringe of curly beard at jawline, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩS / DHMHTPIOY / ΘEOY - ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ / ΣΩTHPOΣ, cult image of Atargatis standing facing, holding flower, barley stalk behind each shoulder, A over N (controls) outer left, date ΞIC (Seleucid Era year 217) in exergue, laurel wreath border; from the Ray Nouri Collection, NGC| Lookup; scarce; $1000.00 (920.00)


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)


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|
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)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Laodicea ad Mare, Seleucis and Pieria

|Roman| |Syria|, |Caracalla,| |28| |January| |198| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Laodicea| |ad| |Mare,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria||tetradrachm|NEW
Laodicea ad Mar was founded by Seleukos Nikator. The site was determined after an eagle snatched a piece of flesh from an altar where Seleukos was sacrificing. The exact site was indicated when he slew a boar following the eagle's flight. Perhaps the eagle on this reverse refers to the city's founding myth, though the ancients did not need a special reason to depict an eagle, the companion of Zeus.
RY92564. Billon tetradrachm, Prieur 1179; Bellinger 72; SNG Cop 364; BMC Galatia p. 195, 364 (Antioch), aEF, dark even toning, areas of minor porosity, scratches, tight flan, weight 13.927 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 180o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 215 - 217 A.D.; obverse AYTKMA-ANTΩNEINOCCEB, laureate head right; reverse ∆HMAPXEΞYΠATOCTO∆ (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the 4th time), eagle standing facing, head left, wings open, wreath in beak, star between legs; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $270.00 (248.40)


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class A3, Basil II & Constantine VIII, c. 1023 - 11 November 1028 A.D.

|Anonymous| |Folles|, |Byzantine| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |Class| |A3,| |Basil| |II| |&| |Constantine| |VIII,| |c.| |1023| |-| |11| |November| |1028| |A.D.||anonymous| |follis|
The extraordinarily crude, unusual and interesting style of this coin suggests it is unofficial; however, the style is typical for all specimens with Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 29. The weight of specimens from the issue was well controlled at around 10 grams. The variety is likely official, but from a provincial mint, certainly not Constantinople.
BZ86495. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ class A3, Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 29; DOC III-2 A2.29 (not in the collection, refs. Bellinger); SBCV 1818, EF, sharp detail, extraordinary and interesting crude style, tight flan, reverse off center, edge ragged, weight 10.472 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 180o, provincial (or unofficial?) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHΛ (Latinized Hebrew: Emmanuel - "God with us"), facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger with two pellets in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, Gospels in both hands, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsos Xrists - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below inscription; $240.00 (220.80)


Roman Republic, Manius Fonteius C.f., c. 85 B.C.

|99-50| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Manius| |Fonteius| |C.f.,| |c.| |85| |B.C.||denarius|
Vejovis is a little-known Italian deity. He was worshiped in a temple on the Capitol in Rome. The reverse most likely depicts a statue that was beside the statue of Vejovis in the temple. This statue may refer to the infancy of Jupiter who was suckled by the goat Amaltheia on Mount Ida.

The thyrsus is the staff carried by Bacchus and his associates; topped by a pine cone or a bunch of ivy leaves and wreathed with tendrils of vine or ivy.
RR93666. Silver denarius, Crawford 353/1a, Sydenham 724, RSC I Fonteia 9, BMCRR I Rome 2476, Russo RBW 1350, SRCV I 271, gVF, well centered, attractive toning, flow lines, good strike with a little weakness on part of edge, light marks, weight 3.989 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 85 B.C.; obverse MN FONTEI C F (MN and NT in monogram) downward behind, laureate head of Vejovis right, hair falling in four spiral curls, thunderbolt below neck truncation, Roma monogram below chin; reverse Cupid seated on goat right, caps of the Dioscuri above, thyrsus of Bacchus in exergue, all within laurel wreath; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $220.00 (202.40)




  



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