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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!; $2100.00 (€1722.00)
 


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 (€1435.00)
 


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 (€738.00)
 


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; $720.00 (€590.40)
 


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)
 


Decentius, Caesar, July or August 350 - 18 August 353 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit or Barbaric Imitative

|Decentius|, |Decentius,| |Caesar,| |July| |or| |August| |350| |-| |18| |August| |353| |A.D.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit| |or| |Barbaric| |Imitative||maiorina|
This interesting ancient counterfeit or imitative specimen combines the mintmark of the mint at Ambianum, and the reverse field control letters S-V which are only found on issues of Lugdunum. Also, Ambianum did not use this mintmark with AMB flanked on both sides with a palm. The Bastien MM specimen was found near Lyon. We know of about a half dozen specimens of this imitative, all from the same dies.
RL98410. Bronze maiorina, Bastien MM pl. XVII, 32 (same dies); RIC VIII -; LRBC II -; Cohen VIII -; SRCV V -, gVF, good centering, very sharp detail, areas of porosity, ragged edge, A's appearing as H (as normal on official issues of the era), weight 3.158 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, barbarous imitation of Ambianum (Amiens) mint, c. 351 - 353 A.D.; obverse D N DECENTIVS NOB CAES, bare-headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIAE DD NN AVG E CAE (victories of our lords, Emperor and Caesar), two Victory's standing facing each other, between them holding a shield resting on a short column, shield inscribed VOT / V / MVLT / + in four lines, S - V flanking column, palm AMB palm in exergue; very rare; $220.00 (€180.40)
 


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class A3, Basil II & Constantine VIII, c. 1023 - 11 November 1028 A.D.

|Anonymous| |Folles|, |Byzantine| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |Class| |A3,| |Basil| |II| |&| |Constantine| |VIII,| |c.| |1023| |-| |11| |November| |1028| |A.D.||anonymous| |follis|
The emperor's name and portrait are not part of the design on the Byzantine types referred to as anonymous folles. Instead of the earthly king, these coins depict Jesus Christ, King of Kings.
BZ91286. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ class A3; Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 47; DOC III-2 A2.47, Wroth BMC 4, Ratto 1974, Sommer 40.3.4, SBCV 1818, gVF, part of edge ragged, reverse off center, weight 10.017 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHΛ (Latinized Hebrew: Emmanuel - "God with us"), facing nimbate bust of Christ, pallium and colobium, Gospels in both hands, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsoús Xristós - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings), square above and below inscription; $160.00 (€131.20)
 


Magnentius, 18 January 350 - 10 August 353 A.D.

|Magnentius|, |Magnentius,| |18| |January| |350| |-| |10| |August| |353| |A.D.||heavy| |maiorina|
In 352, Constantius II invaded northern Italy in pursuit of the usurper Magnus Magnentius, who withdrew with his army to Gaul. Constantius declared an amnesty for Magnentius' soldiers, many of whom deserted to him. By the end of the year Constantius entered Milan. After another defeat in battle, Magnentius committed suicide in 353.
RL93376. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Arles 179, Bastien MM 268, LRBC II 437, SRCV V 18824, Cohen VIII 68, Hunter V -, gVF, tight oval flan, uneven strike with small weak areas on edges, tiny deposits, tiny edge cracks, weight 4.424 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, spring 351 - August 353 A.D.; obverse D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right, A behind; reverse VICTORIAE DD NN AVGG ET CAE (victories of our lords, the two emperors and two caesars), two Victories holding shield inscribed VOT V MVLT X, E over IS low center, PAR in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $120.00 (€98.40)
 


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|
Fecunditas (Latin: "fecundity, fertility") was the goddess of fertility. She was portrayed as a matron, sometimes holding a cornucopia or a hasta pura, with children in her arms or standing next to her.
RS94690. Silver denarius, RSC III 6, RIC IV 332, BMCRE VI 913, SRCV II 8208, Hunter III -, gVF, dark as-found hoard toning, excellent portrait, flow lines, tight flan, some light corrosion, small edge cracks, weight 1.334 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 232 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, with looped plait at the back of neck; reverse FECVND AVGVSTAE, Fecunditas enthroned left, reaching out with her right hand to small boy standing before her nude with hands raised, left arm on chair; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $120.00 (€98.40)
 


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 (€98.40)
 




  



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