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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Quality| ▸ |Eye Appeal||View Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Coin Eye Appeal

The most important factor in determining the |price| of a coin is eye appeal. One coin of the exact same type as another can be priced ten times higher or more. So, what is this eye appeal?

It is beauty. . . It is classical fine art. . . It is a masterpiece portrait. . . It is sculptural high relief. . . It is a choice strike. . . It is a gem patina. . . It is Celtic abstraction. . .

It is . . . on this page!

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!; $2100.00 SALE PRICE $1890.00


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |454| |-| |404| |B.C.,| |Old| |Style| |Tetradrachm||tetradrachm|
This type was struck on thick flans, almost always with a diameter too small to fit all the details from the obverse die. Most of the helmet crest is usually off the flan, or Athena's nose is cut off on the right. The happy coincidence of this irregularly shaped flan allowed an unusual nearly full strike of Athena's head and crested helmet.
SH98708. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, Choice aEF, near full helmet crest, well centered on an oblong flan, flow lines, light toning, small bumps and marks, mild die wear, weight 17.159 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 90o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; $1750.00 SALE PRICE $1575.00


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.
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; $900.00 SALE PRICE $810.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius II Nikator, 146 - 138 and 129 - 125 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Demetrius| |II| |Nikator,| |146| |-| |138| |and| |129| |-| |125| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Demetrius II ruled for two periods, separated by years of captivity in Parthia. He gained the throne with the help of Egypt, but general Diodotus rebelled, took Antioch and made Antiochus VI Dionysus his puppet king. Demetrius then ruled part of the kingdom from Seleucia. In 38 B.C. he attacked the Parthians but was defeated and captured, ending his first reign. The Parthians released him in 129 B.C. when his brother, Antiochus VII Sidetes, marched against Parthia. They hoped the brothers would fight a civil war but the Parthians soon defeated Sidetes, and Demetrius returned to rule Syria. His second reign portraits show him wearing a Parthian styled beard. His second reign ended when he was defeated and killed by yet another usurper set up by Egypt, Alexander II Zabinas.
GY98123. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2195(3)a; Newell Tyre 165; SNG Spaer 2239; DCA 230; HGC 9 1122; BMC Seleucids p. 76, 6 var. (control), EF, nicely toned, excellent portrait, bold strike, light bumps and scratches, a little off center, weight 13.648 g, maximum diameter 29.3 mm, die axis 45o, Tyre (Lebanon) mint, 128 - 127 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust right; reverse ∆HMHTPIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on ship's ram, palm frond under wing, A/PE above (Tyre monogram) over club left, AVΣ monogram over EΠP (year 185) right, ZB monogram (control) between eagles legs; $700.00 (574.00) ON RESERVE


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; $720.00 SALE PRICE $648.00


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 370 - 333 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |370| |-| |333| |B.C.||stater|
The countermark appears to be a Hoplite advancing right with sword in right and round shield in left, in oval incuse. The hoplite represents the soldiery for which Aspendus was famous. The astonishing abundance of the silver money of Aspendus is a proof of the commercial importance of the town; and the number of countermarks and barbarous imitations shows that it circulated widely in the region.22.6
SH95389. Silver stater, Arslan-Lightfoot 39; SNGvA 4561; Tekin Series 4, 11; SNG BnF 84; SNG Cop 231; SNG Berry 1224 (all same obv die), VF, attractive rainbow toning, typical slightly flat strike, weight 10.855 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 370 - 333 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, AK between their legs; reverse slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, triskeles on right with feet clockwise, EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ upward on left, countermark lower right: lion head right in a round 3.6mm punch; ex Forum (2011); $670.00 SALE PRICE $603.00


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Sebaste, Samaria, Judaea

|Roman| |Judea| |&| |Palestina|, |Domitian,| |13| |September| |81| |-| |18| |September| |96| |A.D.,| |Sebaste,| |Samaria,| |Judaea||AE| |23|
Sebaste was in the heart of the mountains of Samaria, a few miles northwest of Shechem. The city was called Samaria when it was a capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel in the 9th and 8th centuries B.C. According to Josephus, King Herod the Great renamed Sebastia in honor of emperor Augustus.
RP98118. Bronze AE 23, Sofaer p. 64, 8; RPC II 2227 (9 spec); SNG ANS 1072; BMC Palestine p. 78, 5; Rosenberger III 30, Choice aVF, nice style, attractive blue-green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, scratches, weight 9.992 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, Sebaste (Sebastia, Israel) mint, Sep 81 - 82 A.D.; obverse IMP DOMITIANVS CAESAR, laureate head right; reverse CEBACTHNWN L ΘP (Sebaste, year 109), Zeus standing half right, nude to the waist, himation over arm and around legs, long scepter vertical in left hand, small Nike presenting a wreath in right hand; only one sale of this type recorded on Coin Archives for the last two decades; very rare; $350.00 SALE PRICE $315.00


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

|Constantine| |the| |Great|, |Constantine| |the| |Great,| |Early| |307| |-| |22| |May| |337| |A.D.||centenionalis|
In 328 Arelatum (Arelate) was renamed Constantina in honor of Constantine II. After Constantine II was killed in 340, the name reverted to Arelatum, only to be changed again in 354 to Constantina by Constantius II. It retained that name, although the mintmark 'AR' appeared on some of its coins even in the fifth century.
RL98419. Billon centenionalis, Hunter V 129 (also 2nd officina), RIC VII Arles 321, LRBC I 329, SRCV IV 16310, Cohen VII 665,, Choice aEF, well centered, some silvering, flow lines, weight 3.10 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Constantia-Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 328 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, pearl-diademed head right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), campgate with four turrets, open doors, star above, S - F flanking at sides, SCONST (Constantia) in exergue; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


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|
On 11 March 222, Elagabalus was assassinated, along with his mother, Julia Soaemias, by the Praetorian Guard. Their mutilated bodies were dragged through the streets of Rome before being thrown into the Tiber. Severus Alexander succeeded Elagabalus. He was only 13 years old, his mother, Julia Avita Mamaea, governed the Roman Empire with the help of Domitius Ulpianus and a council of 16 senators.
RS94688. Silver denarius, RIC IV 343, RSC III 35, BMCRE VI 43, Hunter III 1, SRCV II 8212, Choice gVF, dark as-found hoard toning, flow lines, minor flaw obverse left field, small edge cracks, weight 2.214 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 225o, 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; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


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

|Constantine| |the| |Great|, |Constantine| |the| |Great,| |Early| |307| |-| |22| |May| |337| |A.D.||centenionalis|
Nicomedia was the Roman metropolis of Bithynia. Diocletian made it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis in 324. Constantine resided mainly in Nicomedia as his interim capital for the next six years, until in 330 when he declared nearby Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) the new capital. Constantine died in his royal villa near Nicomedia in 337. Due to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.
RL97849. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Nicomedia 121, LRBC I 1094, SRCV IV 16258, Cohen VII 454, Hunter V 334 var. (4th officina), Choice VF, dark green patina with highlighting buff earthen deposits, weight 2.389 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 325 - 326 A.D.; obverse CONSTAN-TINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse PROVIDENTIAE AVGG (to the foresight of the two emperors), campgate with two turrets, star above, MNA in exergue; from a Norwegian collection; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00







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