This coin was #8 on my Top 10 list for 2020, but I haven't had the chance to give a write-up until now.
Normans in Sicily. AE follaro (12 mm). William II (1166-1189). Obverse: Lion scalp facing. Reverse: Arabic inscription "al-malik/ Ghulyam/ al-thank" (King William the Second). This coin: Frank S. Robinson Sale 113, lot 405 (alternate).
The Norman kingdom in Sicily, while fairly short-lived, is one of the more interesting states in medieval Europe. For a while, it served as a model of peaceful coexistence between different cultures (Latin [Roman Catholic] Christians, Greek Christians, and North African Muslims) and was a thriving center of agriculture and art. It played a part in the Crusades, and was deeply involved in the shifting political relations between the Catholic Church, the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. I can't do the situation justice in this post; I recommend the book "The Normans in Sicily" by John Julius...
When the mention of silver coins comes up, one often thinks of the silver dollars of the United States, the 8 reales of Mexico and Latin America, or the Maria Theresa dollars, to name a few.
However, in the late 1400's and most notably the early 1500's there was intensive mining of rich silver deposits in Bohemia, in the vicinity of Joachimsthal (Jáchymov in Czech). Indeed one could argue that these deposits, along with those in the Harz Mountains of Germany and elsewhere constituted a major source of silver coinage in Europe, before the flood of silver arrived from Latin America later in the century.
As noted, in Wikipedia,
"At the beginning of the 16th century, silver was found in the area of Joachimsthal. The village of Joachimsthal was founded in 1516 in place of the former abandoned village of Konradsgrun in order to facilitate the exploitation of this valuable resource. Stefan Schlick was the founder of Jáchymov. The silver caused the...
Dear Friends of ancient mythology!
I know that Christmas was some time ago, but I don't want to deprive you of this article that I just rediscovered.
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him." (Matthew 2: 1f.)
"and, look, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was." (Matthew 2:9)
The pic shows the "Adoration of the Magi" of Giotto di Bondone (the great pioneer of the Italian Renaissance, 1267 or 1276-1337), a fresco in the Cappella degli Scrovegni in Padova/Italy, c. 1303. Above the scene, one recognises the Star of Bethlehem in the shape of a comet. This may be the first depiction of Halley's Comet, which was visible to the naked eye in 1301.
Since the late ancient...
Scipio Africanus may have his image on a couple of coin types. He may have it on none.
He may be the first living Roman to have his likeness on a coin. Or not.
We're not even sure if this is his likeness:
(If this is him, then the legends are true of him being the world's first unified staring contest champion)
We do know that after Hannibal's brother, Hasdrubal Barca (those Carthaginians had some rad last names. Barca=thunderbolt), killed Scipio's father and uncle at the battle of the Upper Baetis he was the only Roman willing to lead another attack on this rampaging enemy. Everyone else believed the position an assisted suicide.
This Scipio though was the little Roman who could... and would bring down the second greatest threat Rome would ever know.
He was a 25 year old kid, a decade too young to even hold the proconsular position the Roman people gave him in hopes of some of that Scipio magic.
As we all know, Lil...
I was very pleased to have recently acquired a Domitian obol from Alexandria featuring the Great Sphinx on the reverse. It has been a dream coin of mine ever since @AncientJoe and @TIF posted their examples here on CT.
Æ Obol, 4.26g
Alexandria mint, 91-92 AD
Obv: ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ΔΟΜΙΤ ϹƐΒ ΓƐΡΜ; Head of Domitian, laureate, r.
Rev: LΙΑ; Sphinx, r.
RPC 2645 (11 spec.). Emmett 326.11.
Acquired from Athena, February 2021.
In Domitian's 11th regnal year at Alexandria the city's mint struck a most fascinating obol featuring the Great Sphinx of Giza on the reverse. The monolith of a mythical beast with a pharaoh's head and lion's body was carved out of solid limestone during the reign of pharaoh Khafre (c. 2558–2532 BC) and sits on the west bank of the Nile in front of the Great Pyramid. During the Roman era the monument was a source of wonderment and awe. Pliny the Elder in the late first century wrote -...
We had some discussion here about a website called coinshx.com. It was apparent they were selling fakes so I purchased two pieces for educational reasons. Both for myself and any newer collectors here that may be attracted by the apparent bargain basement prices.
I paid $20.00 for the Morgan and $10.00 for the ASE. An experienced collector knows that these prices are far below silver melt value. So lesson #1 is that if it appears too good to be true, then it is probably bogus.
I’ll start with the ASE. A genuine ASE is on the left. This is probably visually the more convincing of the two pieces. The fields of the piece are stunning. That I am sure is a ploy to get you to overlook the flaws. The piece has a medal orientation. Genuine ASE’s are oriented like any other coin. The reverse is fairly convincing however the obverse is a hodgepodge of mistakes. A quick look at the greenery in Lady Liberty’s arm isn’t even close to the genuine ASE. Take a close look at the stars and folds...
The Great Britain Farthing of 1860 imaged below appears to be an interesting candidate for a new variety. All comments welcome.
'I' doubled at top left.
'R' doubled at top left, bottom left & bottom right.
1 1/2 stops after 'D'.
'R' doubled at top left, outside lower
left of the upright & outside right
of the upper loop.
'6' doubled at top right, '0' imbedded into inner circle.
The '1' is imbedded into a strongly
reworked inner circle. Note
splitting of circle with one part
extending into juncture of the
upright and left foot of the '1';
the other part extending below
the '1' through two...
Rarity is an odd concept in ancient coins, where, as I have mentioned elsewhere, even collectors of modest means can own coins that are unique. Not that rarity is meaningless, with popular coins and types rarity does mean higher prices. But, to put the issue in more focus, consider the sestertii of Caracalla, in fact, the sestertii of the direct family of Septimius Severus generally. Sometime on or near 200AD, the Rome mint all but ceased the production of imperial bronzes, not striking these types, except in extremely small numbers, until 207AD or so. There were some imperial bronzes struck during this period of inactivity, but sestertii are extremely rare - despite close to 15 years of diligent searching I have not been able to buy a single example of a Caracalla sestertius struck from 200AD to 207AD - not one - and have all of one example as an As (RIC 415(c) - INDULGENTIA AVGG IN CARTH - to be posted).
The early sestertii of Geta as Caesar, are all extremely rare, since...
Until a couple of months ago, my earliest royal woman portrayed on a Roman Imperial coin was Hadrian's wife Sabina (unless one believes that Pax on the reverse of the Tiberius "Tribute Penny" = Livia). Since then, I've acquired coins depicting Domitia (Domitian's wife), Julia Titi (Titus's daughter), and now, Antonia, known as Antonia "Minor" or "the Younger" (36 BCE - 37 AD) (her older sister was Antonia Major/the Elder). Antonia Minor was the daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia Minor (Augustus's sister) and, therefore, Augustus's niece. She was the wife of Nero Claudius Drusus; the mother of Claudius I and Germanicus (as well as Livilla, whom she allegedly punished for her plot with Sejanus by locking her in a room until she starved to death); the grandmother of Caligula (Germanicus's son); and the great-grandmother of Nero through her granddaughter Agrippina the Younger, daughter of Germanicus and mother of Nero. Her death was either a suicide or the result of poisoning by...
This will be a random and sporadically updated thread- so apologies in advance!
But, in the past few months I have bought up quite a few large lots of coins, ranging from $2 per coin to nearly $50 per coin. Obviously most lots will have plenty of ugly/cull coins, but I felt the need to start a thread for the keepers and cream of the crop as I work through imaging them. Apologies in advance for the lack of verbose write-ups; short on time and sleep these days
That some of these were deemed unworthy of individual listings baffles me!
First up, some Romans
Tiberius, "Livia as Salus" AE dupondius - pretty worn, but still a highly coveted type!
Caligula for Germanicus, AE Dupondius, SIGNIS RECEPTIS type, also rough, and desirable in pretty much any grade!
Vespasian Dupondius / Roma - this is IMO the definition of honest wear - and I had already been feeling the itch for some nice Flavian AE...
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