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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.


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


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

|Kingdom| |of| |Thrace|, |Kingdom| |of| |Thrace,| |Lysimachos,| |305| |-| |281| |B.C.,| |Portrait| |of| |Alexander| |the| |Great|, tetradrachm
Lampsacus was known as a center for worship of Priapus, who was said to have been born there.

Thompson notes that Lampsacus was Lysimachos' largest mint in Asia Minor, with approximately 150 known obverse dies. Output from Lampsacus declined when Amphipolis began its extensive coinage c. 288 B.C.
SL89730. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 195, MŁller 102, HGC 3 1750l, NGC VF, strike 5/5, surface 4/5, fine style, scratches (2490386-005), weight 16.859 g, maximum diameter 32.0 mm, die axis 30o, Amphipolis mint, 288 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of deified Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Athena Nikephoros enthroned left, Nike crowning name in extended right hand, left arm rests on grounded round shield decorated with lion head, transverse spear against right side, kerykeion with handle inner left field, YE monogram outer right; $1725.00 SALE |PRICE| $1553.00


Nerva, 18 September 96 - 25 January 98 A.D.

|Nerva|, |Nerva,| |18| |September| |96| |-| |25| |January| |98| |A.D.|, sestertius
Nerva maintained that he had liberated Rome from the tyranny of Domitian and restored a constitutionally-based regime. The pileus liberatis was a soft felt cap worn by liberated slaves of Troy and Asia Minor. In late Republican Rome, the pileus was symbolically given to slaves upon manumission, granting them not only their personal liberty, but also freedom as citizens with the right to vote (if male). Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., Brutus and his co-conspirators used the pileus to signify the end of Caesar's dictatorship and a return to a Republican system of government. The pileus was adopted as a popular symbol of freedom during the French Revolution and was also depicted on some early U.S. and many Mexican coins.
SH94036. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 86, BMCRE III 112, BnF III 100, Cohen II 114, SRCV II 3050, Hunter I -, Choice gVF, well centered, nice portrait, mottled patina, scattered tiny pits, weight 19.627 g, maximum diameter 34.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jan - Sep 97 A.D.; obverse IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS III P P, laureate head right; reverse LIBERTAS PVBLICA (freedom of the people), Libertas standing left, pileus liberatis (freedom cap) in right hand, staff in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $1570.00 SALE |PRICE| $1413.00


Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D.

|Trajan| |Decius|, |Trajan| |Decius,| |July| |249| |-| |First| |Half| |of| |June| |251| |A.D.|, double sestertius
The rare double sestertius denomination, distinguished by its radiate crown, was introduced with this issue. The denomination was also issued by Gallienus and especially by Postumus.

Trajan Decius, a general under Philip I, was sent to crush the revolt of Pacatian but was forced by his troops to declare himself emperor. He defeated Philip in a great battle at Verona. Decius spent the rest of his short reign combating barbarians. In June 251, Trajan Decius and his son Herennius Etruscus became the first Roman emperors to die in battle against a foreign enemy.
SH94035. Orichalcum double sestertius, RIC IV 115(a) (R), Hunter III 42, Cohen V 39, SRCV III 9395, NGC XF, strike 5/5, surface 2/5, removed from NGC holder, flaws on obverse, edge crack, weight 34.843 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 249 - 251 A.D.; obverse IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder (as normal for similar busts, not described in references except in Hunter); reverse FELICITAS SAECVLI (era of good fortune), Felicitas standing slightly left, head left, grounded long caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking at center; ex Pegasi sale 154 (21 Aug 2018), lot 425 ($2950 on tag, $2500 estimate, unsold), big 35 mm DOUBLE Sestertius!; rare; $1260.00 SALE |PRICE| $1134.00


Balbinus, 22 April - 29 July 238 A.D.

|Balbinus|, |Balbinus,| |22| |April| |-| |29| |July| |238| |A.D.|, sestertius
Providentia is the personification of the ability to foresee and make provision. She was among the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult of ancient Rome. Providentia apparently did not favor Balbinus. If he had a little foresight, he would have modified the chain of events that led to his murder after a reign of only 99 days.
SH92614. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 19, BMCRE VI 34, Cohen V 24 (12 fr.), Hunter III 19, SRCV III 8499, Choice gVF, well centered, excellent portrait, squared flan as typical for the period, some light corrosion, tiny edge crack, weight 21.840 g, maximum diameter 31.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse PROVIDENTIA DEORVM (to the foresight of the gods), Providentia standing half left, head left, wand downward over globe at feet in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection, ex H. Donald Collection; scarce; $1200.00 SALE |PRICE| $1080.00


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy IV Philopator, 221 - 204 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |IV| |Philopator,| |221| |-| |204| |B.C.|, drachm
Ptolemy IV's surname, Philopator, means father lover, ironic since according to some authorities he poisoned his father. Ptolemy IV is a major protagonist of the apocryphal 3 Maccabees, which describes events following the Battle of Raphia, in both Jerusalem and Alexandria. He was a cruel and evil monarch.
SH93419. Bronze drachm, Lorber CPE B495; Svoronos 1125; Noeske 140 ff.; SNG Cop 199; Weiser 49; BMC Ptolemies p. 57, 106 ff.; Hosking -, Choice EF, beautiful depiction of Zeus, perfect centering, slight weakness in hair, light deposits, central depressions, beveled obverse edge, weight 68.235 g, maximum diameter 41.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 219 - 204 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, filleted cornucopia left, ∆I between eagle's legs; from the Errett Bishop Collection, a superb and massive 68g Ptolemaic bronze!; $1000.00 SALE |PRICE| $900.00


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (Physcon), Second Reign, 145 - 116 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |VIII| |Euergetes| |II| |(Physcon),| |Second| |Reign,| |145| |-| |116| |B.C.|, tetradrachm
Ptolemy VIII and his older brother Ptolemy VI ruled jointly from 170 to 164 B.C. Porphyry notes, "The 36th year of [Ptolemy VI] Philometor was the 25th of [Ptolemy VIII] Euergetes II." The reverse die has a date that could be read as 11 years earlier. Instead, this is an issue for Ptolemy VIII, Year 25. This year was the same as Ptolemy VI, Year 36. Ptolemy VI died in July of 145 BC, and his Year 36 became Year 25 of Ptolemy VIII.
SL94004. Silver tetradrachm, Paphos I Alexandria pl. XVIII 10 (Ptolemy VIII), SNG Cop 323 (VI), Svoronos 1437 (VI), Noeske 228 (VI), SNG Cop -, Weiser -, NGC VF (Ptolemy VI) (4882205-012), Alexandria mint, Jul - Aug 145 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), smallish eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, LKE (year 25) left, ΠA right; ex Heritage auction 231941 (10 Oct 2019), lot 62121; $900.00 SALE |PRICE| $810.00


Vetranio, 1 March - 25 December 350 A.D.

|Vetranio|, |Vetranio,| |1| |March| |-| |25| |December| |350| |A.D.|, maiorina
In 312 A.D., Constantine the Great dreamed he saw a Christogram in the sky and heard the words IN HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, meaning in Latin, "In this sign, you will be the victor." He ordered the sign of Christ on his legions standards and shields. He won a great victory and later became the first Christian Roman Emperor.
RL92012. Billon maiorina, RIC VIII Siscia 287 (S), LRBC II 1174, Voetter 9, SRCV V 18905, Cohen VIII 4 (25 Fr.), EF, one of the finest Vetranio bronzes we have ever seen, weight 4.857 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 1 Mar - 25 Dec 350 A.D.; obverse D N VETRANIO P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, A behind, star before; reverse HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, Vetranio standing left in military dress, labarum (Christogram standard) in right hand, scepter in left hand, crowned by Victory behind, A left, ēASISē (A resembling H) in exergue; ex FORVM (2009); ex Scott Collection; ex H.D. Rauch auction 75 (6 May 2005), lot 923; scarce; $750.00 SALE |PRICE| $675.00


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III Arrhidaeus, 323 - 317 B.C.

|Macedonian| |Kingdom|, |Macedonian| |Kingdom,| |Philip| |III| |Arrhidaeus,| |323| |-| |317| |B.C.|, drachm
Struck in the name of King Philip III Arrhidaeus, Alexander the Great's half-brother, under the regent Perdikkas. Philip III and Alexander's infant son, Alexander IV, were made joint kings after Alexander's death. Philip was the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa. Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, allegedly poisoned her stepson Philip III as a child, leaving him mentally disabled, eliminating him as a rival to Alexander. Neither Philip III nor Alexander IV was capable of actual rule and both were selected only to serve as pawns. The regents held power, while Philip III was actually imprisoned. In 317, Philip was murdered by Olympias to ensure the succession of her grandson.
SL89735. Silver drachm, Price P56, SNG MŁnchen 947, SNG Cop 1105, HGC 3.1, 974e (S), MŁller Alexander -, SNG Alpha Bank -, NGC MS, 5/5 strike, 5/5 surface, fine style (4629644-013), weight 4.26 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Ionia, Magnesia ad Maeandrum (near Tekin, Turkey) mint, struck under Menander or Kleito, c. 323 - 319 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse Zeus seated left on throne without back, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, feet on footstool, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, IAT monogram left, ΦIΛIΠΠOY downward on right; ex Giessener Munzhandlung D. Gorny GmbH; $700.00 SALE |PRICE| $630.00


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy III Euergetes, 246 - 222 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |III| |Euergetes,| |246| |-| |222| |B.C.|, hemidrachm
Ptolemy III Euergetes was the third ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. He promoted the translation of Jewish scriptures into Greek as the Septuagint. Due to a falling out at the Seleucid court, his eldest sister Berenice Phernophorus was murdered along with her infant son. In response, he invaded Syria, occupied Antioch, and even reached Babylon. This war, the Third Syrian War, is cryptically alluded to in Daniel XI 7-9. The Ptolemaic kingdom reached the height of its power during his reign.
GP93402. Bronze hemidrachm, Lorber CPE B936; Svoronos 965; SNG Cop 173; Weiser 72; BMC Ptolemies p. 55, 89; SNG Milan 166; SNG Blackburn 1165; Noeske 120; Hosking 31; Weber 8259, Choice EF, attractive style, well centered, mottled burgundy, red, brown and olive patina, ares of light corrosion, central depressions,, weight 30.905 g, maximum diameter 35.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 246 - 222 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, filleted cornucopia left, chi-rho monogram between eagle's legs; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $700.00 SALE |PRICE| $630.00




  



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High Grade Ancient Coins