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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!; $2350.00 (1927.00)


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; $2070.00 (1697.40)


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; $1000.00 (820.00)


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.
SL94921. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber 2450(3); Newell LSM 116a corr. (control ex. in error); Cohen DCA 303; HGC 9 1305; BMC Seleucid p. 101, 1 var. (different controls), NGC Ch XF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (5771210-004, in error has date yr. 218, 95/4 BC), weight 16.852 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Damaskos (Damascus, Syria) mint, 96 - 95 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, A over N (controls) outer left, date ΞIC (Seleucid Era year 217) in exergue, laurel wreath border; from the Ray Nouri Collection, NGC| Lookup; scarce; $1000.00 (820.00)


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; $810.00 (664.20)


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|NEW
Ptolemy VIII and his older brother Ptolemy VI ruled jointly from 170 to 164 B.C. 145 B.C. began as year 36 of Ptolemy VI Philometor. When Ptolemy VI died in July, it became year 25 of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II. Ptolemy VIII counted his years from the beginning of his joint reign in 170 B.C.
GP97749. Silver tetradrachm, Svoronos 1437; Noeske 22; SNG Cop 323; Cohen DCA 54/25; Paphos I Alexandria pl. XVIII, 10; SNG Cop -; Weiser -, gVF, flow lines, scratches on reverse, mild porosity, remnants of dark tone in recesses, weight 12.985 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 0o, 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; from a New England collector; scarce; $440.00 (360.80)


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|
Describing this coin "as-found" does not mean recently found. This coin, part of a family collection assembled over generations, was found long ago. Silver denarii sold as found with their natural dark toning are rare. Very often the toning is uneven and unattractive and the coins are cleaned to remove it. This coin and others from the find were clearly an exception and its attractive toning has been left intact for decades and should never be removed.
RS94695. Silver denarius, RIC IV 358, RSC III 76, BMCRE VI 713, Hunter III 5, SRCV II 8216, Choice EF, very attractive as-found dark hoard toning, well centered, attractive portrait, small edge splits, weight 1.854 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 231 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in waved horizontal ridges, looped plait at back of neck; reverse VENVS VICTRIX (victorious Venus), Venus standing half left, head left, helmet extended in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, grounded shield on left at feet against far side; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $400.00 (328.00)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Laodicea ad Mare, Seleucis and Pieria

|Roman| |Syria|, |Caracalla,| |28| |January| |198| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Laodicea| |ad| |Mare,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria||tetradrachm|
Laodicea ad Mar was founded by Seleukos Nikator. The site was determined after an eagle snatched a piece of flesh from an altar where Seleukos was sacrificing. The exact site was indicated when he slew a boar following the eagle's flight. Perhaps the eagle on this reverse refers to the city's founding myth, though the ancients did not need a special reason to depict an eagle, the companion of Zeus.
RY92564. Billon tetradrachm, Prieur 1179; Bellinger 72; SNG Cop 364; BMC Galatia p. 195, 364 (Antioch), aEF, dark even toning, areas of minor porosity, scratches, tight flan, weight 13.927 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 180o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 215 - 217 A.D.; obverse AYTKMA-ANTΩNEINOCCEB, laureate head right; reverse ∆HMAPXEΞYΠATOCTO∆ (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the 4th time), eagle standing facing, head left, wings open, wreath in beak, star between legs; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $270.00 (221.40)


Roman Republic, L. Calpurnius Piso L.f. Frugi, 90 B.C.

|99-50| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |L.| |Calpurnius| |Piso| |L.f.| |Frugi,| |90| |B.C.||denarius|NEW
This issue was minted to support the war with the Marsic Confederation.
RR97637. Silver denarius, Sydenham 665m, RSC I Calpurnia 11, Crawford 340/1, SRCV I 235, aEF, toned, flow lines, die wear/cracks, weight 3.989 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, 90 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair in long ringlets, A below chin, two pellets behind; reverse L PISO FRVGI, naked horseman galloping right, holding palm frond, F above; $240.00 (196.80)


Antioch, Syria, 41 - 40 B.C., Time of Marc Antony, Labienus and Pacorus

|Antioch|, |Antioch,| |Syria,| |41| |-| |40| |B.C.,| |Time| |of| |Marc| |Antony,| |Labienus| |and| |Pacorus||AE| |24|NEW
About the time this coin was minted, the Parthians led by Quintus Labienus and Pacorus I attacked Syria, which was under Marc Antony's authority. Quintus Labienus was the son of Caesar's general Titus Labienus. He served under Brutus and Cassius, and after the battle at Philippi fled to Parthia, where he had visited before as an ambassador. After several battles against Antony's governor, Saxa, they occupied the entire province and later Asia Minor and Palestine. In Judea, Pacorus deposed King John Hyrcanus II and appointed his nephew Antigonus as king in his place. Labienus was killed during a Roman counter-attack in 39 B.C. The territory was recovered for Rome. Pacorus retreated to Parthia but died one year later in an attack on a Roman camp.
GY97975. Bronze AE 24, McAlee 56 (R2); SNG Cop 81; BMC Galatia p. 154, 25; Cohen DCA 382; HGC 9 1369; RPC I 4223 corr.; SNG Hunterian -; SNG Righetti -, EF, oval flan, exceptional for these, weight 10.557 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 41 - 40 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right, palm branch behind neck, fillet border; reverse ANTIOXEΩN / THΣ MHTPOΠOΛ in two lines downward on right, EΩΣ THΣ IEPAΣ AΣYΛOY in two li, Zeus seated left on high back throne, Nike offering wreath in his right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, pilei each surmounted by a star flanking throne, date BOΣ (Seleucid Era year 272) in exergue (off flan), all within laurel wreath closed at the top with a thunderbolt; from a New England collector; rare; $240.00 (196.80)




  



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