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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Quality ▸ Eye AppealView 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

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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!; $3300.00 (€2805.00)
 


Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia

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The obverse legend abbreviates Consul Designatus, Iterum et Tertium, meaning Consul Elect for the second and third time. The reverse legend abbreviates Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, the title adopted in November of 43 B.C. by the three Caesarian leaders (Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus) when they formed the Second Triumvirate to oppose the tyrannicides Brutus and Cassius.
SH86609. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RPC I 2202, Sydenham 1198, Crawford 263, RSC Octavia and M. Antony 3, Sear CRI 263, BMCRR East 135, SRCV I 1513, Choice gVF, toned, well centered, some die wear and rust, scratches, weight 11.723 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT (Consul Elect for the 2nd and 3rd time), conjoined head of Antony and bust of Octavia right, Antony nearer and wreathed in ivy, Octavia draped; reverse Dionysus standing half left on cista mystica, in his right hand, thyrsus in his left hand, flanked by two interlaced snakes with heads erect, III VIR (triumvir) downward on left, R P C (Reipublicae Constituendae) upward on right; $2700.00 (€2295.00)
 


Aspendos, Pamphylia, c. 465 - 430 B.C.

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In 467 B.C. the Athenian statesman and military commander Cimon, and his fleet of 200 ships, destroyed the Persian navy based at the mouth of the river Eurymedon in a surprise attack. In order to crush to Persian land forces, he tricked the Persians by sending his best fighters ashore wearing the garments of the hostages he had seized earlier. When they saw these men, the Persians thought that they were compatriots freed by the enemy and arranged festivities in celebration. Taking advantage of this, Cimon landed and annihilated the Persians. Aspendos then became a member of the Attic-Delos Maritime league.
GS87795. Silver stater, Apparently unpublished variant; cf. SNG BnF 1; SNGvA 4477; SNG Cop 153; SNG Delepierre 2811; BMC Lycia p. 93, 1, VF, exceptional style, centered, tight flan (typical for the type), light marks, weight 10.609 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, Aspendos mint, c. 465 - 430 B.C.; obverse nude warrior advancing right, wearing crested helmet, shield on left arm, spear in right hand; reverse triskeles of human legs left, within an incuse square, no ethnic, no control symbol; CNG recently sold an example from the same dies, e-auction 429 (26 Sep 2018), lot 167, for $2500 plus fees. They described their specimen as "Unpublished in the standard references. VF. Exceptionally powerful and artistic warrior for series. Extremely rare."; extremely rare; $1000.00 (€850.00)
 


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

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The old-style tetradrachm of Athens is famous for its almond shaped eye, archaic smile, and charming owl reverse. Around 480 B.C. a wreath of olive leaves and a decorative scroll were added to Athena's helmet. On the reverse, a crescent moon was added.

During the period 449 - 413 B.C. huge quantities of tetradrachms were minted to finance grandiose building projects such as the Parthenon and to cover the costs of the Peloponnesian War.
GS88879. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, Choice EF, well centered, some luster, light marks, small edge splits, weight 17.186 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 15o, 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; $1000.00 (€850.00)
 


Kelenderis, Cilicia, c. 430 - 420 B.C.

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Kelenderis was a port town, one of the oldest in Cilicia, described in Hellenistic and Roman sources as a small, but strong castle. The rider on the obverse may be Castor, who was not only a horse trainer but also the protector of sailors, an appropriate type for a port town.
GS87797. Silver stater, Celenderis Hoard, series II, 9 (O5/R5); SNG BnF 52 (same dies); SNGvA 5621 (same dies); BMC Cilicia -; SNG Levante ; SNG Delepierre -; Hunterian -, gVF, well centered, fine style, attractive dark toning, flow lines, highest points flat, weight 10.807 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 135o, Kelenderis (Aydincik, Turkey) mint, c. 430 - 420 B.C.; obverse nude young male dismounting from horse rearing left, whip in left hand, bridle in right hand, Π below horse's belly; reverse goat crouching left on dotted exergue line, head turned looking back right, KEΛE above, all within a shallow round incuse ; $750.00 (€637.50)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus I Soter, 281 - 261 B.C.

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Antiochus faced a formidable task holding the empire together. Revolt broke out in Syria almost immediately after his father's death. He earned the title Soter (savior) for victory over hordes of Gauls that attacked Anatolia. Elsewhere, he had little success. He was forced to abandon Macedonia, Thrace, Bithynia, and Cappadocia and to execute his eldest son for rebellion.
GS82667. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 379.6c, Newell ESM 177, Meydancikkale 2929, HGC 9 128g, Choice gVF, attractive style, well centered and struck, dark toning, marks, edge bumps, weight 17.101 g, maximum diameter 29.6 mm, die axis 0o, Seleucia on the Tigris (south of Baghdad, Iraq) mint, c. 263 - 261 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, eyes to heaven; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, nude but for drapery over right thigh, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on left, ANT−IOXOY complex monograms outer left and outer right; $720.00 (€612.00)
 


Roman Republic, Julius Caesar, Posthumous, 42 B.C., Moneyer L. Livineius Regulus

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L. Livineius Regulus had served with Caesar in North Africa.
SH87936. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1425, Crawford 494/24, Sear CRI 115, Sydenham 1106, RSC I 27, BMCRR Rome 4274, F, iridescent rainbow toning, well centered, banker's mark, weight 3.462 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 42 B.C.; obverse wreathed head of Julius Caesar right, laurel branch behind, winged caduceus before; reverse L LIVINEIVS / REGVLVS, bull charging right; rare; $680.00 (€578.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Demetrius I Poliorketes, 306 - 283 B.C.

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The bull's horns suggest Demetrius' relationship to Poseidon is the same as Alexander's to Zeus Ammon. The portrait is individualized, but evokes the image of Alexander. Demetrios was the first to assimilate elements of Alexander's deified portrait and the first living ruler to portray himself as a god on coins.
SH88881. Silver drachm, Newell 154, SNG München 1051, SNG Alpha Bank -, SNG Cop -, VF, attractive style, toned, edge splits, weight 4.202 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Euboea, Chalkis(?) mint, c. 290 - 287 B.C.; obverse Demetrios diademed head right with horns of a bull, the animal sacred to Demetrios' patron deity, Poseidon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ∆HMHTPIOY, Poseidon standing left, right foot on rock, trident in left (apparently inspired by the Lateran Poseidon, a statue by Lysippos, court sculptor of Alexander), monogram inner left; ex Gorny & Mosch Giessener, auction 257, lot 334; very rare; $650.00 (€552.50)
 


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 116, Trajan completed his invasion of Parthia by capturing the cities of Seleucia, Babylon, Ctesiphon and Susa. This was the high-water mark of the Roman Empire's eastern expansion.
RX87338. Bronze drachm, BMC Alexandria p. 48, 402; Geissen 702; Emmett 611.19; Dattari 1072; Kampmann-Ganschow 27.662; SNG Milan -, Choice VF, well centered, attractive brown patina, a little flatly struck on highest points, weight 18.113 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 115 - 28 Aug 116 A.D.; obverse AVT TPAI-AN API CEB Γ-EPM ∆AKIK ΠAP, laureate bust right, aegis on far shoulder; reverse Zeus enthroned left, long scepter vertical in right hand, thunderbolt at side in left hand, eagle at feet standing left looking back, L I-Θ (year 19) across field; ex CNG, auction 78 (14 May 2008), lot 1508 ($650 plus fees); ex Empire Coins, auction 8 (7 Dec 1987), lot 429; $520.00 (€442.00)
 


Mesembria, Thrace, c. 275 - 225 B.C., Civic Issue in the Types and Name of Alexander the Great

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Mesembria, Nesebar Bulgaria today, was a Doric settlement on a Black Sea island just off mainland Thrace. Thrace was invaded by the Galatians in 279 B.C. Only the wealthy coastal cities, including Mesembria, withstood their attacks. Following that chaos, rule of Thrace was divided between many tribes. Philip V, 221 - 179 B.C., tried to regain control of the area for the Macedonian Kingdom, but his success was limited and short lived. Mesembria was taken by Mithradates VI in the First Mithradatic War and surrendered to Rome in 71 B.C. The city struck Alexandrine tetradrachms as early as 275 B.C., more than 50 years after Alexander's death, and probably issued the very last Alexandrine tetradrachms struck anywhere, possibly under Roman rule as late as 65 B.C.
SH85286. Silver tetradrachm, Karayotov p. 84 and pl. VII, 41 (O7/R18); Price 992; Müller Alexander 436, gVF, attractive style, light marks and scratches, weight 17.000 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 180o, Mesambria (Nesebar, Bulgaria) mint, c. 275 - 225 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion-scalp headdress; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, Corinthian helmet right over (ΠA monogram) in inner left field under arm; ex FORVM (2013); $500.00 (€425.00)
 




  



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Eye Appeal