2020 coins by price bracket – dougsmit

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by dougsmit, Nov 30, 2020.

  1. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Earlier I posted my Top Ten of 2020 consisting of eight coins that I considered 'expensive' by my definition and two under $100. I am old enough and poor enough that it bothers me to be calling $100 'cheap' but the fact remains that I have quite enough cheap coins and it is rather rare to find a coin I really want for less than that figure. I grew up wishing I had a nickel so I could have a Coke and have trouble adjusting to the fact that an annual income of $20,000 is considered 'poverty'. I would like to borrow Curtisimo's idea of posting a coin from this year to represent $10 price 'Categories' BUT in 2020 I did not buy a single coin under $20 and none $70-80 so there will be gaps. Two of these are my second favorites in their category since the best one made the regular Top Ten. The purpose here is to show what I considered worth buying in that particular bracket. Some may be bargains and some were silly extravagances; few will agree on which were which. With that said, here are my second choice, lower priced additions of 2020.

    Category $20-29:


    At $24.99 postpaid in February from an eBay seller in a country I don't usually buy from came a coin mostly purchased as an experiment to see if it would come and be genuine. It came in good time and I am not smart enough to see what is wrong with it other than the fact that I already had seven of these Alexandria mint AEQVITAS II denarii including some better and some worse. I am fond of this series of coins so 'Is Eight Enough?' $25 a lesson in the University of Coin Collecting is not unreasonable. The seller was not asking more for this coin than lesser Rome mint denarii so he probably did not share my belief that Alexandria mint coins are 'Premium' items. It is what it is (I hope!).

    Category $30-39:


    At $32 postpaid from Frank Robinson in February was this AR tram (22mm, 2.96g) of Levon I of Armenia 1198-1219 AD. I don't buy many coins this late but thought this type was attractive and the condition met my desires so I bid on it. The coin does not define my collection but I am happy to have it.

    Category $40-49:


    Another Robinson coin, this from May at $40.50 postpaid, is a Selge AE12 I already had but failed to realize that when I bid. It turned out that my previous one was a slight variation so I am keeping both. This one has all the important features on a coin that does not always make room for the design and legend. Was it worth the price? Would I buy it again? Probably not. By May, I was getting tired of not going to coin shows and bid too much. Now, in November, I'm comatose (numismaticly speaking) and not bidding at all. This was my only coin in this price category this year so here it is.

    Category $50-59:


    From the same FSR sale but at $51 so just enough to get into this category came this Antiochus VII AE18 that I consider a bargain. For these, this example is well struck and detailed in the center of the Isis headdress reverse far ahead of its peer group. The obverse is a well done Eros and the reverse has legible date (182 = 130BC). I consider it attractive and a welcome addition to my collection. If I had more interest in Seleucid AE, the coin may have made the Top Ten.

    Category $60-69:


    At $69 postpaid from Praefectus in July came what I considered a well styled Caracalla AE29 from Caesarea with the ubiquitous mountain reverse and clear legends. I don't like the surfaces so the coin failed to make the Top Ten. I might not have bought it any other year but I do still like the coin (just not as much as I like the matching Elagabalus I got for less money at a show last year). Did I mention that I miss coin shows? Do I hope that at least some of my favorite show dealers are still in business if and when we have shows without pandemics? Such concerns seem petty these days but I still hope I have not finished the coin show attending part of my life.

    Category $70-79: Not one coin this year!

    Category $80-89:


    Another FSR May coin illustrates my love/hate relationship with Parthian coins. This is a Laodicea mint (did not have) drachm of Phraates IV (had others) which I got for $88 mostly because other people disliked the edge fault more than I did. I keep telling myself that I need to research the 'modern' theories that have come out changing the traditional (Sellwood, Shore) ID's but I keep finding other things that jump in line ahead of that project. I really do with more Parthians put their names on the coins. Phraates IV did almost as well when he put a bird next to his brain which seems appropriate for accepting a slave girl (Musa) donated by Augustus and stood by as she replaced him with her son Phraataces.

    Category $90-99:


    At $95 postpaid, from Praefectus in July, came this Alexandrian drachm of Antoninus Pius with Roma just sitting there but dated year nine spelled out to avoid the unlucky solo theta. I always like the coins showing the aversion to theta (first letter in the Greek word for death). The real reason for this purchase was what I considered a great obverse with legible legend. The reverse was not particularly interesting so the coin did not make the Top Ten but this is my best Pius obverse.

    That should be the end but there is one more coin that came in at exactly $100 as I figured the split on a package purchase from Coin Talk's own PeteB. The coin that needs to be shown is an AE23 triassarion of Julia Domna from Callatis with mounted Dioscuri reverse. I picked it simply because I though it was attractive. Of course I have too many coins of Julia Domna but none from this city. It was in contention for the Top Ten list but on the day I made that post it fell just a bit short.

    Those eight coins and the ones posted as my Top Ten leave only six not making my year end posts. While 2020 was a 'bad' year in terms of quantity of coins, the lack of coin shows mostly stopped me from buying as many 'cheap' coins at coin shows. Most of the coins under $20 that I have purchased in recent years came from the stock of a couple favorite show dealers (one of whom has since passed away) so it seems unlikely that I will ever return to buying fifty to a hundred coins a year as I had been in the last few decades. That may be a good thing. Time will tell. I hope this post will drive others of you to show coins divided by price categories (Curtisimo originated the $10 spacing idea as I recall). There is fun to be had in all price ranges of this hobby if you are willing to realize that not every collectable coin need be mint state gold to be interesting. I blame show closures from keeping me from finding lower priced coins this year. I hope for a better 2021.
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    You have a great eye for the unusual and interesting. My favorites are the Levon/Leopards, the Antoninus Pius AE drachm, and the Julia Domna from Callatis.
  4. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    I like these price bracket Budget Top 10s at least as much as I like the overall Top 10 threads. So much interest can be had for under $100 even if you have been collecting for decades. Unfortunately I didn’t acquire enough coins this year for a budget list but I hope more people who did will follow the example of this thread.

    I find the Levon I coin very attractive and well worth the money for a chance to learn about a type out of the ordinary area of focus.

    The Antiochos VII AE is an excellent bargain at $51 and a very attractive coin.

    Great list... more of these lists are needed!
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
    Valentinian likes this.
  5. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Nice coins at all levels! I've been playing along and posting a list in this format since 2015 and will post this year's later as I'm still waiting on some coins that will likely make the list. Three of the coins posted in my Top 10 came in under $100, so the runners up will take top spot in the list to come.

    I love that big green A-Pi drachm. The full obverse legend and strong portrait really make it a standout and a nice deal, IMHO. Speaking of which, did the dealer who sold you the Alexandria mint Sep Sev know it was from Alexandria? If so I do think he let it go much too cheaply! I also like the Levon I tram. I don't collect much that late either, but I do find that particular example very attractive. As for the Selge... I've had my fair share of purchases this year for similar reasons. :D It's not the exact same variety, but it reminds me of the one I consigned to AMCC 1 two years ago that hammered for ~$15. Happily, it went to @TIF, who didn't know at the time that I was the consignor.

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
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  6. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My old coin demonstrates the minor variations of club placement and, like yours the K under the stag. Do I care about minor details on these? No, but I keep both since selling for a loss seems unnecessary.
    Ryro, Curtisimo, Marsyas Mike and 3 others like this.
  7. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I like your approach to collecting. We've discussed that on several occasions. I am torn between several of the coins. I think my absolute favorite is Antiochus VII. It is really well struck and the patina is attractive.
    All are great coins, though.
    Thanks for sharing!
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