"True Dollar" of the Middle Ages
Many coins have been dubbed the "dollar" of the middle ages, almost always byzantine and gold. What is meant by this is that the coinage was widely available, widely accepted, and widely used. The usual suspects pointed to are the solidus and hyperpyron, both common today but infact were not used much by the lower rungs of society (aka the majority of people). Such coinage was typically used by the wealthy to pay taxes and the Byzantine government went out of its way to limit people's access to gold. It was discouraged to use in private transactions and outright banned from leaving the empires border. The Byzantine government would often require that those individual with higher tax rates (upper middle and wealthy) to pay their taxes in gold and all change paid back would be in bronze.
Byzantine to USD Exchange Rate
The US dollar, although sharing similarities with byzantine gold, is also quite different. Both were/are the means to...
I have read that in the 19th century collectors were much more interested in rarity (as opposed to condition) than today - it could be that most ancient coins were not available in higher grades in an era before the metal detector and organized hoards of diggers (sorry for the pun). Or it could be that history was more important and a coin that had historical value would be prized much higher than a more common coin in splendid condition.
My area of interest is Severan sestertii. One of the interesting aspects of this area is the rarity of coins from the period approximately 199/200AD to 207/208AD when the Rome mint ceased production of sestertii in all but small quantities, perhaps for special celebrations. Some types are only known by a handful or even a single specimen. The provinces supplied the bronze coins for the empire. In fact, despite searching for a number of years for sestertii from this era I have only a single sestertii of Septimius Severus, the Di Patrii type...
Summer of 285 AD. Viminacium in Moesia. Two armies face to face; Diocletian and Carinus will fight on the banks of the river Margus for victory and domination of the Roman world. We all know the issue of this battle, but what do we know about the city where it took place ?
The city, Viminacium, has grown in importance under the reign of Vespasian, and was under an intense activity during the Dacic wars of Trajan (101-107 AD). Then during the second century, it became a provincial capital before finding itself at the forefront of the Danubian limes from the Marcomanic wars and the great invasions of the 3rd century. Viminacium, the capital of Lower Moesia then of Moesia Superior in the 4th century, had been the cantonment of the 7th Legio Claudia Pia Fidelis, this from the 1st century AD. The city was elevated to the rank of colony under Gordian III in 239 AD and a coinage of Latin language was struck there until 255. For sixteen...
I have all of the necessary documentation from records on file in Washington DC to more than move what this bill really is.
First, it it a (CSA) Confederate States of America $100.00 dollar Note. Hand issued on October 12th, 1862. It was printed by J. T. Paterson in Columbia, S.C.. The plate letters are Ac and the serial number is 59,000 which is hand written in red ink on the left and right sides of the front of the note.
The printing on the note is dark, all details are visible and has strong signatures. The paper is crisp with a light folder to and has one crease but they do not readily stand out. Three sides the note is fully framed wall it is cut tight at the top right margin.
There are a couple small pinholes but the note has no tears, no ink corrosion and no other major conditions.
On the backside there is a unique endorsement and date from civilian purveyor, William G. Hoge. He worked in Macon, Georgia during the Civil War selling supplies to the confederacy. This...
Recently I was researching up the matte uncirculated issues of the Franklin Mint from the 1973-1977 period when I came up with one of those bits of information that just begs for further investigation.
I saw mentioned that after striking a few proof sets for Liberia in the mid-70s with the last being 1979 by recall that they (the FM) got a contract and then struck some currency coins for circulation in Liberia in 1983-1984. Googling seemed to confirm this being the case but nowhere could I find specimens. In the 1984 year they supposedly struck 2 million 1 cent coins, 1 mill. 5 cent coins and 500k 10 cent coins for Liberia, and what was more is that they were struck in supposedly matte or at least satin finish.
And then I remembered the "Coins of All Nations" in several issues by the FM. Except for some sets that included a few old coins possibly leftover FM coins from earlier years - these are individual national sets often issued with a stamp and usually were made up of coins...
John III Vatazes -- emperor, Christian Saint, restorer of Byzantium and general wellbeing through out Anatolia and Greece, distinguished intellectual and statesman, successful soldier and general -- possesses a rare combination of talent and charisma seen in few humans across history. Such capable individuals shape and define the world around them, impacting people for hundreds of thousands of years to come. If the great man theory isn't true, then people such as this do all they can to disprove it..
Born into a humble family in the early 1190's (comparatively so...this was the era of powerful magnate families: Comnenus, Doucas, Phocas, Angelus, Lascaris, Palaeologous, Kantakouzenos), John's father saw rapid promotion under the Byzantine emperor Isaac Angelos. Not much is known of John's childhood, however, and he first pops up on the historical radar in 1204. After the Venetians sacked Constantinople,...
This city in western Pisidia is not well-known. Hill, citing an article in The American Journal of Archaeology, states its ruins are thought to be those at Ak Euren in the open plains of the Lysis valley in Turkey, between Olbasa and Lysinia, and is so placed on David Sear's map of the coin issuing cities of the region.
Coin issuing cities of southern Asia Minor, David Sear.
Researching the city has proven difficult. A Google search for "Palaeopolis Pisidia" yields nothing outside of the numismatic literature. Similarly, a Google search for "Ak Euren Turkey" yields only 19th and early 20th century literature, and I can only assume that its name was changed -- as were so many place names in Turkey -- after the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1923). I would love to know more about the ruins and whether any archaeological work has been done there in recent years.
The city issued coins from the early...
Compared to the debased & wretched looking coinage of the emperor Gallienus, the coinage of Postumus is a joy to look at. His coinage like that of Gallienus, is plentiful & handsome looking double denarii are not that expensive. No denarii or bronze as coinage was struck during his reign, but he did strike gold aurei, billon double denarii (antoniniani) bronze sestertii, & double sestertii. Pictured below are examples of some his coinage.
Romano-Gallic Empire, Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus, AD 260-269, Treveri Mint (Trier, Germany), 3rd emission, AD 261. AE Sestertius: 32 mm, 25.5 gm, 6 h. Obverse: Laurate, cuirassed, & draped bust facing right, IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG. Reverse: Victory striding left while holding a wreath & palm branch in her other hand. A captive is seated on the ground, VICTORIA AVG. RIC V 170. Al Kowsky Collection.
Postumus, AD 260-269 (struck AD 261), Treveri Mint. AE Double...
Does no one like half cents? I ask this only because, given their relatively tiny mintages and pretty obvious rarity, good examples don't seem particularly difficult to find. The Red Book has said that "all half cents are scarce" for years, but does anybody care? It doesn't seem to really impact their value immensely.
I have begun reading Bill Eckberg's fantastic book The Half Cent, 1793-1857: The Story of America's Greatest Little Coin and have found myself far more interested in the half cents that I already have around. None of the examples shown below broke the bank (depending on one's budget, of course), but when I looked at the mintages and the number of estimated survivors from Eckberg's book, I became stunned that these little things with the fractured denomination have not caught on more. Maybe they have but with a relatively small group of collectors?
Whatever the case, I'm starting to become slightly obsessed with them, though I highly doubt that I will ever...
Silver Tram - King Levon I (Leo, Leon or Lewan)
Mint - Sis
Born: AD 1150 (est)
Lord of Cilicia: AD 1187-1198
King of Armenian Cilicia: AD 1199-1219
Obverse: Seated Crowned Figure Holding Cross and Fluer-de-lis - Text: "Levon King of the Armenians"
Reverse: Cross Between Two Lions Rampant - Text: "By the Will of God"
This is a silver tram of Levon I, the tenth Roupenian (Rubinid) prince of Cilician Armenia and its first king. He is variously referred to as Leo II, Leon II, Lewan, Levon II as a prince, Levon I as King. He is also often referred to as "Lord of the Mountains" or "Levon the Magnificent".
Obverse: Depiction of King Levon I enthroned facing, crowned with mantle and sitting on a lion throne. He holds a cross in his right hand and a Fluer-de-lis in his left hand. The inscription in Armenian states "Levon King of the Armenians."...
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