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...
Coronation in Scotland of the English king, Charles ICAROLVS AVGVSTISS : ET INVICTISS : MAG : BRIT : FRAN : ET HIB : MONARCHA
The Great Migration to America
An Artist’s View of London, AD 1633
AT VRBEM S : E : SOL ORBE M REDIENS
SIC REX ILLVMIN
During 1633, two significant events took place which had such historical impact that the modern world still feels their influence. The first was the coronation in Scotland of the English king, Charles I. As important as this was at the time, an even greater event occurred whose influence would carry forward not for decades but for generations, and this was the Great Migration of ordinary souls to America from England.
We should remember we are now just 33 years before the Great Fire of London that started in a baker’s shop on 2 September 1666, in Pudding Lane, close to London Bridge. The Great Fire of...
I've always been interested in coins I think mainly because of the history so of course when I Found this like 2 years ago I jumped on it.
I bought this document on a auction site about 2 years ago. It was listed in Coins and came with a ugly 1/2 Escudo. I think because it wasn't listed with having the document really no one paid attention to it. I ended up being the only bidder and got it for the melt value at that time. I took the document to an antique shop and museum and they both said they believe it was authentic. I couldn't find anyone around that could seal it up (with the size of it) so I have a custom frame built. I had it placed between two pieces of non-stick glass. I took pictures of it in the frame also with and without light for the royal water seal.
The document is from King Charles the 3rd of Spain dated 1784. It is concerning the Order of Santiago, which was an order of Spanish Knights. It has the signatures of numerous members of the order and governors at that...
The United States plans to issue commemorative coins in 2016 to honor writer Mark Twain.
The coins planned are a silver dollar and a five-dollar gold coin.
United States (US) Mint photographs:
In 1867 Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) joined a ship excursion to Europe and the Middle East and published a very popular book about his travels, The Innocents Abroad, in 1869.
He made several trips to Europe and published another travel book, A Tramp Abroad, in 1880.
In A Tramp Abroad, he writes about an incident which occurred during his 1867 trip when he accidently gave a blind beggar a gold coin instead of a copper coin and his attempts to retrieve the gold coin.
The episode with the showman reminds me of a dark chapter in my history. I once robbed an aged and blind beggar-woman of four dollars—in a church. It happened this way. When I was out with the Innocents Abroad, the ship stopped in the...
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