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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.

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

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Diocletian,| |20| |November| |284| |-| |1| |May| |305| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|NEW
Elpis was the Greek equivalent of the Roman Spes, the goddess of hope. She was traditionally defined as "the last goddess" (Spes, ultima dea), meaning that hope is the last resource available to men. Elpis personified hope for good harvests, and for children, and was invoked at births, marriages, and other important times.
RX93116. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 3262, Dattari 5675, Milne 5086, BMC Alexandria 2503, Emmett 4046/9 (R1), SNG Cop -, Choice gVF, red tone with green spots, full border centering, flow lines, edge ragged with small splits, weight 7.744 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 292 - 28 Aug 293 A.D.; obverse ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse Elpis (hope) walking left, flower in extended right hand, lifting hem of chiton with left hand, ENATOV - L (year 9), ∆ in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $9999.00 (€9199.08)
 


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.||medallion|
Giovanni Dattari (1853 - 1923) was a self-taught collector and successful trader of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities. He held a near monopoly in the antiquities trade in Cairo, Egypt. He also shared his expertise and first-hand knowledge of Egypt with the foremost scholars of his time. Dattari assembled a collection of over 25,000 ancient coins. His 1901 work, Numi Augg. Alexandrini, cataloged 6411 of his coins from Roman Alexandria, and is still a primary reference for the coinage of Roman Egypt. Dattari also made pencil rubbings of more than 13,000 coins from Roman Alexandria in his collection; these were finally published in 2007 by Adriano Savio. In 1920, Dattari donated large parts of his collection to the Museo Nazionale Romano. After his death, the remainder of his collection was sold.
SL96389. Bronze medallion, Gnecchi II p. 51, 1 & tav. 78, 1, NGC AU, strike 5/5, surface 2/5, Fine Style (ex Coin Gall., 2/95, 1865; The Morris Collection; 4632497-011), weight 53.33 g, maximum diameter 39.5 mm, die axis 345o, Rome mint, 190 - 192 A.D.; obverse COMMODVS ANTONINVS PIVS FELIX AVG BRIT, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse APOL PALATINO P M TR P XVI IMP VIII, Apollo Palatine on left, standing facing, head right, plectrum in right hand, Victory on right, standing left, presenting kithara (lyre) to Apollo, COS VI P P in exergue; ex Heritage NYINC auction 3071 (6-7 Jan 2019), lot 32133; ex Morris Collection; ex Coin Galleries (15 Feb 1995), lot 1865; ex Spink & Sons (1950's); ex Dattari Collection; NGC| Lookup; extremely rare; $4800.00 SALE |PRICE| $3880.00
 


Tyre, Phoenicia, 78 - 77 B.C., Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver

|30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver|, |Tyre,| |Phoenicia,| |78| |-| |77| |B.C.,| |Judas'| |30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver||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
SL95986. Silver shekel, BMC Phoenicia p. 243, 141; Cohen DCA 919/49; HGC 10 357; SNG Cop -, NGC Ch AU, strike 4/5, surface 3/5 (5770405-008), weight 14.330 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, 78 - 77 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond under wing, date ΘM (year 49) over club left, ∆ right, Aramaic letter bet between legs; from the Errett Bishop Collection; NGC| Lookup; $3000.00 SALE |PRICE| $2400.00
 


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
 


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; $2700.00 SALE |PRICE| $2180.00
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Xerxes II - Artaxerxes II, c. 420 - 375 B.C.

|Persian| |Lydia|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Lydia,| |Anatolia,| |Xerxes| |II| |-| |Artaxerxes| |II,| |c.| |420| |-| |375| |B.C.||daric|
This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire
SH97377. Gold daric, Carradice Type IIIb, group C (pl. XIV, 42); BMC Arabia pl. XXV, 12; SNG Cop 276; Meadows Administration 323; Sunrise 28, aEF, well centered, edge scrape/damage, weight 8.081 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 420 - 375 B.C.; obverse kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, bearded, crowned, wearing kidaris and kandys, quiver on shoulder, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand; reverse oblong irregular rectangular incuse punch; ex Heritage auction 232040 (30 Sep 2020), lot 61098; $2200.00 SALE |PRICE| $1980.00
 


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

|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||sestertius|
The reverse legend translates, "The gates of Janus' temple are closed because peace of the Roman people is set on both land and sea." On the rare occasions when Rome was not at war the doors of the 'Twin Janus' were ceremonially closed, an event Nero commemorated extensively on the coinage of 65 - 67 A.D. -- Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. 1 by David R. Sear
SL96449. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 583, Mac Dowall WCN 475, BMCRE I -, Cohen I -, Hunter I -, SRCV I -, NGC AU, strike 5/5, surface 2/5, scuff (5745271-004), weight 30.31 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 66 - 67 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR P P P, laureate head right, globe at the point of the bust; reverse PACE P R TERRA MARIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT, view of the Temple of Janus from the front left corner, temple front on the right with garland over closed doors within arch, the left side of the temple to the left with long latticed window, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; ex Heritage NYINC Sale 3081 (12 Jan 2020), lot 30178; ex Roma e-auction 4 (29 Nov 2018), lot 733; ex Private European Collection; NGC| Lookup; $2600.00 SALE |PRICE| $1840.00
 


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|
This type is not rare, but apparently the 7th officina was not very active during this issue. Hahn identifies three specimens from the 7th officina, one from his own collection, but the 7th officina, is missing from the Dumbarton Oaks, British Museum, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Tolstoi and Ratto collections. Dumbarton Oaks and the other collections do list the type from other officinae - see DOC I 1a - 1h.2, Morrisson BnF 2/Cp/AV/3-12, Tolstoi 11-16, Ratto 381-382. Wroth BMC does not list the type but Sear notes this is only an error.
SL96956. Gold solidus, Hahn MIB 2 (3 spec., one from his own collection), SBCV 55, Sommer 2.1, DOC I -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, Wroth BMC -, Morrison BnF -, Ch XF, wrinkled, marks (4284830-010), 7th 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, 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 Z (victory of the three emperors, 7th 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; rare from 7th officina; $1000.00 SALE |PRICE| $900.00
 


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; $900.00 SALE |PRICE| $810.00
 


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; $900.00 SALE |PRICE| $810.00
 




  



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