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Rarity and Origin Questions and Observations

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Virgil H:
I am putting this here instead of the Greek section. I think this is a wide ranging topic, but I am using a specific coin. The coin is:
Kingdom of Paphlagonia, Pylaimenes II. / III. Euergetes

I have two of these, one from an auction house and one from Forum, links below:

Both are in very nice condition. They are rated R1 in Hoover and these are HGC 7, 441. I just saw another one come up for auction today. Up until early this year, it didn't show up in the usual places I look for coins, but three this year when I hadn't seen one before. Obviously, I am not looking everywhere and I also realize that I have missed some that have been sold in the places I regularly look. I did a search on ACsearch to see what was up. The attachment chart shows auction sales by year since 2010. The plot is flat until 2022, with some years with zero sales. 2023 to date is high, but not on pace to beat 2022.

This raises two questions for me. The first is that this coin can no longer really be called Rare. It could at the time Hoover wrote his book. All the listings I have looked at still rate it as rare. I am not sure if it should be scarce or common. With Hoover's criteria, it would fall into common. It doesn't matter to me much, I love the coin regardless of how rare it is.

I don't recall seeing any listings that have provenance. I am sure there are some that do, I just haven't seen them. The huge question is where did all these coins from? Was there a hoard found and dispersed out of Turkey in 2021? Or sometime before 2022? We went from 5 in 2021 to 74 in 2022 and this is only auctions reported for single coin sales on acsearch. The range of auction houses is quite wide and include those I never heard of or don't follow. Lots of European houses.

Anyway, I thought I would put this out there and see what folks think. I know, years ago, a lot of Elymean coins hit the market, supposedly from hoards found in Iran.


Nice chart, Virgil. You make a good case for a new hoard being disbursed through the market.  It happens!  Sadly, I don't have any information to contribute. Perhaps you'll continue with your line of inquiry, which could conceivably include enumerating the sales by auction house or dealer.  Perhaps some clarity will emerge?

I believe that we'd know more about any such hoard if countries were to adopt more reasonable rules around their discovery; the usual poster-child is, of course, the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) in the United Kingdom. However, I'm not particularly optimistic about any such adoption in countries where Greco-Roman coins are typically found.

Pekka K:

Virgil, next step is to find out what other types of coins may have
included to suspected hoard.

Pekka K

Joe Sermarini:

Mark Fox:
Dear Virgil, Anaximander, Pekka, Joe, & Board,

Large hoards are still being found and dispersed in less than ideal ways to even this day.  The latest that I am fairly certain of is a hefty group of Byzantium bronzes from the Demeter/Poseidon homonoia series (with Calchedon).  Some smaller bronzes were also obviously part of the same cache as well.  I first noticed the big bronzes hitting the market a few years ago via a single source on eBay, but regrettably I did not take the time to start recording them then as I felt I should have.  They are now popping up nearly everywhere, including in the established auction houses.

Then there is also the very massive Alexandria Troas/Parium Roman provincial hoard that first began to flood the market roughly a decade ago.  I still think I am seeing batches of them floating around even now. 

As for Virgil's possible hoard, I would also evaluate that possibility based on the condition spread of the group you are studying.  If the grades are all over the place, then perhaps what we are seeing is more of a systematic hunt of the region (which has arguably been going on for several years now) rather than a single hoard per se.

Best regards,

Mark Fox


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