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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Quality ▸ High GradeView 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.


Diocletian, 20 November 284 - 1 May 305 A.D.

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This type with a longer reverse legend CONSER AVGG is attributed to Antioch. All examples with this shorter legend, CONS AVGG, are attributed to Siscia, and were only struck by the second officina.
RA72591. Billon antoninianus, RIC V 275, SRCV IV 12672, Cohen VI 284, Hunter IV -, Choice EF, nice portrait, well centered and struck, near full silvering, some reverse die wear, flan crack, weight 4.202 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 293 - 295 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI ET HERCV CONS AVGG, Jupiter (on left) standing right, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, receiving Victory on globe with right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; Hercules (on right) standing left facing Jupiter, Victory on globe in right his hand is offering wreath to Jupiter, club and lion skin in left hand, B in center above exergue line, XXI in exergue; $90.00 (80.10)


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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In early in December 316, to ensure his loyalty, Licinius elevated Aurelius Valerius Valens, the dux limitis (duke of the frontier) in Dacia, to the rank of Augustus. According to Petrus Patricius, when Constantine learned of this, "The emperor made clear the extent of his rage by his facial expression and by the contortion of his body. Almost unable to speak, he said, 'We have not come to this present state of affairs, nor have we fought and triumphed from the ocean till where we have now arrived, just so that we should refuse to have our own brother-in-law as joint ruler because of his abominable behavior, and so that we should deny his close kinship, but accept that vile slave [Valens] with him into imperial college.'" The treaty between Constantine and Licinius was concluded at Serdica on 1 March, 317. Whether it was part of that agreement is unknown, but Licinius had Valens executed.
RL73468. Billon follis, RIC VII Trier 102, SRCV IV 16063, Cohen VII 525, Choice EF, sharp detail, well centered, attractive bust, mintmark weak, weight 3.636 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 225o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 316 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI, Sol standing slightly left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, T - F flanking at sides, BTR in exergue; $90.00 (80.10)


Constantine II, 22 May 337 - March or April 340 A.D.

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Constantine II's younger brother Constans was born in 323. After their father's death, as the oldest son, Constantine II was made Constans' guardian. When the brother's could not agree on their fair shares of the empire, Constantine II invaded Constans' territory. In March or April 340 A.D., Constantine II was ambushed, defeated and killed near Aquileia by Constans' forces.
RL74450. Billon centenionalis, Hunter V 4, RIC VII London 287, SRCV V 17149, Cohen VII 10, EF, weight 2.712 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Londinium (London, England) mint, 322 - 324 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS IVN N C, helmeted and cuirassed bust left; reverse BEAT TRANQLITAS, celestial globe on altar inscribed VOT/IS / XX in three lines, three stars above, PLON in exergue; ex William B. Porter Collection; $90.00 (80.10)


Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

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This type refers to Aurelian's defeat of Zenobia's Palmyrene Empire in the east. The captives wear Parthian caps and are typically attributed as Persians. The real captives were more likely Palmyreans. Typical of Roman propaganda, Zenobia's Sasanian supporters are depicted to glorify Aurelian's victory and mask that this was an internal revolt and civil war.
RA79584. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 1533, RIC V 151, Hunter IV 61, BnF XII 592 - 594, Venra Hoard 5005 - 5064, Thibouville 2213, Gloucester 275, Colonne 604, Komin 826, Choice EF, near full silvering, nice portrait, bold strike, weight 4.079 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 2nd emission, Jun - Sep 274 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ORIENS AVG, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, two bound captives seated flanking at feet, right foot on captive on left, captive on right looking back at Sol, star left, TXXT in exergue; ex Ancient Imports; $90.00 (80.10)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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Virtus is the personification of valor and courage. Valor was, of course, essential for the success of a Roman emperor and Virtus was one of the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult. During his joint reign with his father, Gallienus proved his courage in battle; but his failure to liberate his father from Persian captivity was perceived as cowardice and a disgrace to the Emperor and Empire. It was not, however, actually fear that prevented a rescue. While others mourned Valerian's fate, Gallienus rejoiced in his new sovereignty.
RA77437. Silvered antoninianus, Gbl MIR 1666k, RIC V S612, Cohen V 1245, SRCV III 10403, Choice EF, near full silvering with some luster, excellent centering, parts of legends weak, slight porosity, weight 3.567 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 267 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVG, Soldier standing right, spear vertical behind with point up in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, PXV in exergue; $85.00 (75.65)


Maximian, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D.

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Heraclea, the Greek city of Perinthos, later known as Heraclea Thraciea to distinguish it from Heraclea Pontica, is now Marmara Ereglisi in the European part of Turkey. The Roman mint was established by Diocletian shortly before his reform and was in use until the times of Theodosius II. Dates of operation: 291 - 450 A.D. Mint marks: H, HERAC, HERACL, HT, MHT, SMH, SMHT.
RB71753. Billon antoninianus, RIC V part II, 595; SRCV IV 13116; Cohen VI 54; Hunter IV -, Choice EF, much silvering, weight 4.220 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Heraclea (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, c. 292 - 294 A.D.; obverse IMP C M A MAXIMIANVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM, Maximianus standing right, in military garb, holding scepter and receiving Victory on globe from Jupiter, standing left, nude but for cloak on shoulder, long scepter vertical in his left hand, A between them, XXI in exergue; $80.00 (71.20)


Diocletian, 20 November 284 - 1 May 305 A.D.

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On 1 March 293, Diocletian and Maximian appointed Constantius Chlorus and Galerius as Caesars. This is considered the beginning of the Tetrarchy, known as the Quattuor Principes Mundi ("Four Rulers of the World"). The four Tetrarchs established their capitals close to the Roman frontiers:
- Nicomedia (northwestern Asia Minor) became capital for Diocletian
- Mediolanum (Milan, near the Alps) became the capital for Maximian
- Augusta Treverorum (Trier, in Germany) became the capital for Constantius Chlorus
- Sirmium (Serbia, on the Danube border) became the capital for Galerius
RA71673. Billon antoninianus, RIC VI Cyzicus 306, Cohen VI 33, SRCV IV 12635, EF, well centered, sharp, some silvering, some legend weak, weight 3.947 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 293 - 294 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS AVG, radiate and draped bust right; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM, emperor standing right, holding parazonium or short scepter, receiving Victory on globe from Jupiter standing left holding long scepter, B in center, XXI in exergue; $80.00 (71.20)


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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Adventus reverse types commemorate the emperor's arrival at Rome, either at the commencement of his reign, or on his return from a distance. They may also refer to his arrival in some other city or province of the empire. At their accession, emperors were not conveyed in a chariot nor in any other vehicle, but went on horseback or on foot when they made their first public entry into the capital of the Roman world.
RB72409. Silvered antoninianus, Cohen VI 37; RIC V, part 2, 157; Pink VI-1, p. 67; SRCV III 11953 var. (bust); Hunter IV 40 var. (3rd officina), aEF, excellent bust, nice centering and strike, some silvering remains, weight 4.163 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 180o, 7th officina, Rome mint, 5th emission, 280 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ADVENTVS AVG, Probus on horseback left, raising right hand in salute, long scepter in left, bound captive seated left in front of horse below raised right foreleg, R wreath Z in exergue; scarce; $80.00 (71.20)


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D., EQVITI Series II of Ticinum, I, VIXXI

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Ticinum mint EQVITI series II - click "EQVITI" to read the NumisWiki article, "Coins of Probus with Coded Markings of EQVITI Embedded in the mint mark." The letter "I" in the reverse field is the fourth letter of the codeword EQVITI. The letter "VI" in the exergue indicates this coin was struck by the sixth officina (mint workshop). The letters of the word EQVITI are coded in the mint marks of coins from all the officinae of the mint, with the specific letters of the codeword assigned to each officina in order corresponding with their officina numbers. This codeword probably refers to cavalry. It may be AEQVITI truncated because there were only six officinae in operation.
RA51609. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 525, EF, centered, much silvering remaining, weight 3.736 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 180o, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, obverse IMP C PROBVS AVG, radiate bust left in consular robe, eagle tipped scepter in right; reverse SECVRIT PERP, Securitas standing left raising right hand to head and resting left elbow on column, I right, VIXXI in exergue; $75.00 (66.75)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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Fortuna Redux, one of the many aspects of Fortuna, was in charge of bringing people home safely, primarily from wars - redux means "coming back" or "returning." She may be one of the later aspects of Fortuna, as the earliest mention of her is of an altar dedicated by the Senate in 19 B.C. for the safe return of the Emperor Augustus.
RA73683. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 586a, RIC V S572 (Siscia), RSC IV 265 (Siscia), SRCV III 10219 var. (S in ex), EF, superb portrait, well centered on a tight and slightly irregular flan, weight 2.941 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 225o, 6th officina, Rome mint, 262 - 263 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate and draped bust right; reverse FORTVNA REDVX, Fortuna standing left, rudder on globe in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, ς right; ex Harlan J. Berk; $75.00 (66.75)




    



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High Grade Ancient Coins