I'm quite excited by my newest coin, not only for the very interesting design (let's face it, most medieval coin designs are rather boring), but because of the history surrounding it.
When Pope Innocent III ascended to the Papal throne in 1198, Europe had achieved an uneasy and temporary truce with Saladin and the Muslim defenders of the Third Crusade. The great kings and princes of Europe became too enmeshed in their own quarrels to organize another crusade like the previous one attended by the kings of England, France, and the Holy Roman Emperor. Yet, a relatively small group of knights would eventually be gathered. Their goal was the Holy Land to re-establish the Crusader states, but without the patronage of the Kings of Europe, they were sorely lacking funds. Despite this, the Crusaders would agree to meet in Venice, and from there hire the boats necessary to sail to the Holy Land. Venice then, was prepared to receive a large amount of money which would be distributed to...
One of the stops on our amazing honeymoon in Central Europe was a small Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov in Czech Republic. Situated on Vltava river, it's a picturesque town that turned out to be a hidden gem. We enjoyed walking around the castle, chatting with the locals and canoeing down the river through the city.
While going through the castle, I was surprised to find a small mint. Apparently a number of the ruling families minted coins at different times in castle's history.
Here's some info from the tour:
Hello all - I believe I have posted the following coins randomly a while ago, but since I have been without any major purchases for a while, I though I would take the time to put together a better write-up for these. The coins come from the Genoese controlled city of Caffa from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The allure of Caffa, is its connection to the Black Death.
The Crimea and Genoa's colonies, including the city of Caffa. Caffa acted as a major trading center for Italy on the Silk Road.
The story of the Black Death begins with the Mongol Empire. Through terror, destruction, and war, the Mongols built the largest empire the world had yet seen, and its crowning jewel was China. The Mongols established their own Yuan Dynasty, but were hated by the Chinese. The Mongols destroyed or corrupted China's meritocracy, and the ethnic Chinese suffered under their rule. The Yuan dynasty was short lived however, as the Red Turban...
The year is 976 AD. For over 200 years the remains of the once great Umayyad Caliphate have managed to keep their Abbasid enemies at bay, and have secured a few remaining territories in North Africa, as well as Al-Andalus in Iberia. By all accounts, they've done a good job of it. Islamic culture, science, mathematics, architecture, and literature have thrived under their rules, and the Christian kings of Iberia have been pushed back, and a "permanent peace" appears to have been secured between the Caliphate and the Christian kings...the Christian Reconquista seems almost like a thing of the past. What could possibly go wrong?
Umayyad Caliphate of Cordoba, circa 972 AD
It is in this climate of optimism that the Umayyad Caliph Hisham II took the throne. Little could his subjects know that within 4 decades the seeds of the Islamic decline in Iberia would be firmly sowed, and the last remnants of the once great Umayyads would be...
There's been a lot of discussion recently on this forum about forgeries so I wanted to bring to your attention a series of great articles on on how to detect counterfeits at CoinsWeekly by Ursula Kampmann courtesy of International Bureau for the Suppression of Counterfeit Coins (IBSCC). These 4 short articles provide a great education on the basic types of ancient coin forgeries.
I. Forgeries from newly cut dies:
IV: Transfer Dies:
I received a batch of overstruck Chinese coins over Korean 5 fun. I do have another batch of Russian overstruck coins but I'll post that on another day.
If you don't know what overstrike means, it just means that old coins are used as "planchets" and are struck with new designs. Sometimes, it's just done for trial, sometimes because of a lack of planchets, overstrikes were done. Or sometimes, it's just a quick way to "recycle" coins as melting them down and striking them were too costly. The best example for US coin would be the 1804 dollar coin over a Swiss thaler. (if I am not mistaken)
Here are some shocker Chinese overstruck 10 cash over Korean 5 fun.
China (Chekiang or Hupei) (1902-1906?) 10 cash overstruck on Korean Gaeguk 502 (1893)
China Chekiang (1902-1905) 10 cash overstruck on Korean Guangmu 6 (1902) 5 fun
China Hupei (1903-1906) 10 cash overstruck on...
With a recent purchase, I have completed a complete set of every moneyer known to strike coins for Northumbrian England. Northumbria is located in the north of England, with its major center of York. It was one of the seven kingdoms of the "Heptarchy" during Anglo-Saxon times, and was once the major power in England, but faded quickly after the Vikings attacked in the 8th and 9th centuries.
Coins in Northumbria are called stycas, a word that means "piece" and is not contemporary, probably comes from the 18th century. Coins during this time would not have been labeled as such, but since that is what they are traditionally called, I will continue the use.
Stycas were a debased currency of the 8th and 9th century, which started as a silver alloy and over the years progressed to a brass or bronze composition. They followed the sceatta currency, which in Northumbria featured the name of a ruler with an animal form on the back. I collect these too, but since there is no moneyer on...
I've been known to hold forth occasionally (um, every possible occasion, appropriate or not) on the topic of inexpensive coin photography. The work of rmpsrpms a few years back converted me from an "expensive dSLR/equally expensive macro lens" shooter to a "cheap dSLR/bellows/duplicating lens" photographer, and I haven't looked back.
In a nutshell, without getting too technical: An inexpensive, earlier-generation Canon dSLR - Canon because of their Electronic First Shutter Curtain eliminating shutter shake, and their free bundled Tethered Shooting software - in conjunction with a bellows for variable magnification and easy focus, using an older film-oriented duplicating lens, is a combination unbeatable for price and professional-level image quality. Older dSLR's with smaller (in megapixels) sensors are more forgiving - the larger pixels on the sensor help hold off the onset of diffraction, which is an enemy trying to defeat our quest for sharpness.
The "sweet spot" was,...
Some of you may have known about my long standing goal to acquire the great Punic coins of yesteryear. This was no small undertaking, it took months of selling, trading and hunting for just the right example at a palatable price. (It was not a palatable price, but rather quite sickening.) For a bottom feeder this meant climbing up the column to dangerous shark infested waters, but with no risk there is no reward.
Most are familiar with Carthage to some degree. Most are aware that Carthage was among the Roman Republic's most powerful and fierce enemies. Their history, art and literature are nearly non existent, tales of their brutality, greed and deceit are legendary, first recorded by the Greeks and then etched in stone by the Romans. Everyone knows that the history of the world is written by the winners and is often biased.
Recent and not so recent archaeological evidence suggests that indeed many of the tales of child...
Chicago International Coin Fair, Rosemont IL
April 14-17, 2016
This is a show report of sorts, although somehow I forgot to take even a single picture of the bourse or people! I was too busy looking at coins .
I've only attended one other show, ANA World's Fair of Money, 2014. For an ancients collector CICF was more fun since there wasn't a sea of slabbed Morgans filling most tables , nor were there mile-long lines of poor saps waiting for Kennedy gold. CICF pushes world and ancient coins. Although considerably smaller than WFOM, there were almost as many ancient coin dealers.
The trip was an unexpected and serendipitous event. There was a work-related meeting that Saturday so except for the extra days of hotel, it was a freebie. Considering that there aren't any coin shows within a thousand miles of me, it was a most welcome gift.
The bourse was open to dealers and early birds on Thursday. My plane landed in the mid afternoon on Thursday and I scrambled to...
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