When James Ruddy was selecting the coins for his Photograde book of United States coins, he stated that the hardest coins for him to find were the Draped Bust, Small Eagle type coins. If you are forming a type set of U.S. coins from 1792 to date, this group of coins is the spot where "the rubber meets the road." These coins are expensive, and they are hard to find. You be lucky to see any of them at the small coins shows, and you will see only a limited number at the large shows. Finding select examples for the grade is even harder.
I started this set in the early 1980s. Since I have collected the early half dimes and dollars by date, I will provide few alternative coins to see which you prefer.
This 1796 half dime is the highest grade piece I have at AU-58, CAC. This is a "glamor shot" that was supplied by the dealer. I have never been able to photograph this coin well. The 1796 half dime is rarer than the 1794 half dime.
There is a...
The Soho Mint was created by entrepreneur Matthew Boulton in 1788 on the grounds of the Soho Manufactory. Boulton designed and patented minting machines for use in his mint that were driven by steam engines and which could produce 60 to 80 coins per minute depending on the size of the coin. The mint produced a wide variety of interesting coins, medals and tokens from its founding in 1788 until it was sold off in 1850.
The Soho Manufactory c. 1800
One group of coins manufactured by the Soho Mint was on its way to India aboard an East Indiaman ship known as the Admiral Gardner when, on January 24, 1809, the ship was caught in a storm and sank near the Goodwin Sands.
Location of the...
Historically the name of Galatia was derived from the Gauls who invaded central Asia Minor in the third century BC, and established an independent kingdom centered around the cities of Pessinus, Ancyra and Tavium. There were three Galatian tribes: Trocmii, Tectosages and Tolistobogii.
The constitution of the Galatian state is described by Strabo: Eeach tribe was divided into cantons, governed by a Tetrarch with a judge under him, whose powers were unlimited except in cases of murder, which were tried before a council of 300 drawn from the twelve cantons and meeting at a holy place, twenty miles south-west of Ancyra.
These Galatians were warriors, respected by Greeks and Romans and were often hired as mercenary soldiers. At the beginning of the Mithridatic Wars the Galatians had supported the Pontic King Mithridates VI against Rome. However, after defeat at the Battle of Chaeornea in 86 BC Mithridates began to suspect treachery even in...
Perhaps demonstrating my opportunistic approach to ancient coins, I recently added this coin to my Parthians. This is an unusual coin (see below). This coin is not countermarked and is not a drachm of Phraates IV.
Indo-Parthian, Margiana or Sogdiana, Unknown king, circa late 1st century BC - early 1st century AD, imitation countermarked Parthian AR Drachm of Phraates IV
Obv: Diademed bust left; "countermark": helmeted bust right; to right, eagle left, holding wreath in beak
Rev: Archer seated right on throne, holding bow
Ref: Sellwood 91.13; Shore 473
Although the legends are garbled, they do seem to have some resemblance to the coin they imitate. Here is the drachm of Phraates IV that could be the model:
Phraates IV 38-2 BC. AR Drachm
Obv: Diademed bust left, wart on forehead, wearing segmented necklet; to right, eagle left, holding wreath in beak...
These three coins are among the three most difficult to find U.S. type coins. The mintages were very low, and many coins were melted because they contained more gold than their face value.
Although the first Philadelphia Mint opened in February 1793, it did not issue any gold coins until July 1795. The reason was that the certain key mint personnel, the Treasurer, Chief Coiner and Assayer had to post bonds that were as high as $10,000. All of these men made annual salaries that were around $1,500, which made posting the bonds, without loans from wealthy individuals, impossible.
Two of those officials had less the sterling credit ratings. Chief Coiner, Henry Voigt had declared the modern equivalent of two bankruptcies. Assayer Albion Cox had gone to debtor’s prison because of some missing copper while he had worked for the company that had made the New Jersey copper coins. Cox had to avoid stepping into the state of New Jersey because of fear of arrest.
Finally, secretary of...
The latest larger addition to my collection is something you don’t see everyday here on CoinTalk: a medieval gigliato struck by the Knights Hospitaller, a military order originally founded in 1099 in the context of the First Crusade:
Knights Hospitaller (Order of St. John) at Rhodes, under Raymond Bérenger, AR Gigliato, 1365-1374. Obv: + F RAIMUNDVS BERENGERII D GRA M; Grand Master, wearing cloak with cross on shoulder, kneeling l. in prayer before patriarchal cross set on steps; arms of Raymond Bérenger to r. Rev: + OSPITAL ♣ S • IOhS • IRLNI : QTS • RODI •; cross fleury with arms of the Knights Hospitaller at the end of each arm. 28 mm, 3.64g. Ref: Metcalf 1208–1210; CCS 22.
After loosing their last foothold in the Holy Land with the Fall of Acre in 1291, the Knights Hospitaller, also known as the Order of St. John, first moved their base of operations to Cyprus. Yet, their position in Cyprus, where they...
By the year 44 BC, Julius Caesar had shown an increased inclination towards royal power. This was much to the concern of several senators that belonged to the Optimates faction in the Senate. After - according to Suetonius - several fateful acts, the “Liberators” decided to step up their game and assassinate Caesar on the Ides of March, in the Senate house.
Without a doubt Brutus and his fellow conspirators (also called the tyrannicides) thought they were doing the Roman people a great favor by murdering the would-be-king. However, the populace - also incited by Anthony’s funeral speech - thought differently and after a funeral pire seeked out Brutus and Cassius to avenge Caesar’s murder. Both left the city and Brutus fled to Greece. To prepare for the inevitable war with the heirs of Caesar, Brutus pillaged his way through Greece, Thrace and Asia Minor, looting treasure to pay for his growing army. Brutus and Cassius’ armies met with the armies of...
At that time they say that the Emperor Honorius in Ravenna received the message from one of the eunuchs, evidently a keeper of the poultry, that Rome had perished. And he cried out and said, 'And yet it has just eaten from my hands!' For he had a very large cock, Rome by name; and the eunuch comprehending his words said that it was the city of Rome which had perished at the hands of Alaric, and the emperor with a sigh of relief answered quickly: 'But I, my good fellow, thought that my fowl Rome had perished.' So great, they say, was the folly with which this emperor was possessed."
Procopius, The Vandalic War (III.2.25-26)
After a very interesting thread by @seth77 about Theodosius I, why not talking about another Emperor in the category "low profile" : Honorius. He was in fact the younger son of Theodosius and Aelia Flaccilla. Born in 384 AD, he was named Augustus in 393 at the age of 8 years old. On...
I was metal detecting a couple of days ago and found a 1919 wheat penny, 1949 Washington quarter and a 1962 dime, all in pretty good shape. Added a flattened bowl from a large sterling spoon and it was a pretty good day.
Then I got a strong signal but could not find the target in the hole. I would remove a handful of dirt and it looked like the target moved within the hole. After chasing it back and forth I was getting frustrated and about to move on. I pulled the plug of grass and weeds over a bit and something banged my knuckles. I looked more closely and a big ring was caught up in the roots. Nice.
at home I cleaned it up a bit. My wife examined it and claimed to see a K stamp inside the band. Maybe it was gold. An acid test was inconclusive but heavily hinted it was indeed.
But the object mounted on it was mysterious. I was reminded of a Mayan calendar. I snapped some pictures then took it to my jeweler to be cleaned and possibly sized. Then I posted some pics and sent a...
1/4 CENT COIN 1890 - SRI LANKA (CEYLON) - QUEEN VICTORIA
(KM 90) - Low Mintage
Obverse: Portrait crowned head left inside key pattern border - VICTORIA QUEEN (small CM on bottom of bust Colombo Mint)
Reverse: Cocoa-palm tree and denomination inside border in Tamil and Sinhalese - Victoria- CEYLON QUARTER CENT 1890
Engraver: Leonard Charles Wyon
This Quarter cent was created late in the reign of Queen Victoria (but shows a decidedly young empress as was customary for provincial issues) by the British Empire who held the island of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) as the British Crown Colony of Ceylon between 1795 and 1948. Ceylon was a British crown colony for 146 years until gaining independence on February 4, 1948 when it became a Democratic Socialist Republic.
The obverse is rather simple with the crowned bust of a young Queen Victoria inside a decorative key pattern border with the...
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