A Coin that Ticks Boxes

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Sulla80, Nov 17, 2020.

  1. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    upload_2020-11-17_9-30-54.png I thought about calling this post "How worn will you go? the sequel" after a recent post by @David Atherton, as this coin is good illustration of my willingness to overlook condition in exchange for history, provenance, and other attributes of an ancient coin. Instead, I decided to focus on the boxes that this coin ticks for me i.e. attributes of this coin that attract my interest. With this particular coin, the boxes ticked for me, seem to have been uninteresting to everyone else, and "no competition between buyers" also translated into "easy on the wallet". This coin didn't get a single bid (at 40 EUR) the first time it came to auction this year, and I was glad to get a second chance. Although I shy away from discussion of price, I do consider this a bonus box ticked ( upload_2020-11-17_10-42-36.png price).

    I've been looking for Nilus reclining with crocodile ( upload_2020-11-17_10-42-36.png subject), an Alexandrian drachm ( upload_2020-11-17_10-42-36.png denomination), and an Alexandrian Marcus Aurelius ( upload_2020-11-17_10-42-36.png history). This coin is also rare: a quick search on vcoins will show you that there are none for sale today. This particular coin (regnal year 6, bust right, nilus left) doesn't have a single example in ACSearch( upload_2020-11-17_10-42-36.png scarcity). And I almost forgot an additional box - upload_2020-11-17_10-42-36.png provenance - it is "the coin" from Dattari Plate 187 9283 and RPC plate coin 2837.2 (currently with a temporary ID in RPC online).
    M Aurelius 9283.jpg
    Egypt, Alexandria, Marcus Aurelius, 161-180, Drachm circa 165-166 (year 6), Æ
    Size: 32.4mm., 20.90g
    Obv: Μ ΑVΡΗΛΙΟϹ ΑΝΤƱΝΙΝΟϹ ϹƐ, Bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Rev: Nilus, with crocodile beside him, reclining left, holding reed and cornucopia;in left field, LϚ
    Ref: RPC 2837.2 (this coin). Dattari-Savio Pl. 187, 9283 (this coin).

    Giovanni Dattari
    For an excellent article on Giovanni Dattari and the source of the opening image of the collector sitting at his desk in front of a pile of coins (or ancient rubble) see Lucia Carbone, “Giovanni Dattari and His Fabled Collection of Alexandrian Coins”, ANS Magazine, 2018 Issue 2. The pencil image shown with the coin is from Dattari-Savio, which is overwhelming in it's number of coins, and as well a testament to the commitment of the collector who created pencil images of these coins.

    War & Plague

    There are so many good resources on the Emperor and Stoic Philosopher Marcus Aurelius that in the interest of keeping this post to a bearable length, I won't attempt a survey. I will only mention the context for this coin which is the end of the 5 year long war with Parthia (AD 161-166). For Rome it was a decisive victory and Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius both enjoyed a triumph in Rome and gained new titles from the war including Armeniacus, Medicus, Pater Patriae, and Parthicus Maximus. The "Antonine Plague" first struck near the time of this coin, AD 165-180 and is thought to have been small pox carried from the East with returning armies. This plague may have been cause of death of Lucius Verus in AD 169.

    CT Anniversary & Thanks

    Today, Nov 17, is my 2 year anniversary of joining CoinTalk and weekly daily interactions surprisingly accumulate on my profile as ~1500 posts and ~9500 likes. Over the last few months, I have organized information that mostly started as CT posts into my "Notes on Coins" website which is evolving into a way to organize my collection - the volume of notes surprised me when I looked back. I am grateful to the many CT contributors and experts who add each day to my enjoyment, understanding, and awareness of history & ancient coins - and who add to my wish list for "next coin".

    Meditations by Marcus Aurelius provides an interesting window into the emperor's thoughts and world view - I will pick one quote (Book VI.48) which seems relevant:

    “When you have a mind to divert your fancy, consider the good qualities of your acquaintance; as the enterprising vigour of this man, the modesty of another, the liberality of a third, and so on. For there is nothing so entertaining as a lively image of the virtues exhibited in the character of those we converse with, occurring as numerously as possible. Let this, therefore, be always at hand.”

    Post coins that tick boxes ( upload_2020-11-17_10-42-36.png ) for you, coins of M. Aurelius, or anything else that you find interesting or entertaining.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Sorry for the (partial) offtopic but I think your thread is helping me in identifying a coin I have

    I keep trying to attribute it and I was 99% sure it's Commodus but looking at your coin, the obverse is very similar.Perhaps I will tick a box for this one - attributed upload_2020-11-18_0-33-16.png

    Attached Files:

    Limes, Shea19, Ryro and 5 others like this.
  4. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    I lean more toward Antoninus Pius with curule chair perhaps a clue to finding the right coin.
  5. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    IMHO, that coin is perfectly acceptable condition-wise. The superb provenance is of course a huge bonus!

    A great coin to mark your anniversary. Congrats!
    Theodosius, ominus1, Ryro and 3 others like this.
  6. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Supporter! Supporter

    Nilus reciling with a crocodile is a good box to check by itself - here's my Nilus aureus, which came to me through a circuitous route post-auction:


    As for coins which tick a number of boxes, this Larissa stater, a recent purchase is:

    1) Nicely styled
    2) Well pedigreed, Ex. Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection (Sotheby's New York, 19 June 1990), lot 93 - one of the photographed lots in the first catalog which were the ~130 "best" coins from the Hunt collection.
    3) Attractively toned (and stable: the coin looks identical to how it looked in 1990)
    4) Reasonably priced: I wasn't planning on bidding on it but it was about to close and I couldn't let it slip by at such a low price relative to its quality.

    DonnaML, Scipio, Theodosius and 17 others like this.
  7. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    I see no problems with the slight - detail + ancient usage. That is a freaking ex Dattari!!! In wonderful condition and some amazingly Alexandrian artistry and iconography.
    I'm peanut butter and jelly:troll:
    This new acquisition checks boxes all over the place for me:cigar:. But I'll let you all decide the reasons:
    SICILY. Leontini, Circa 450-440 BC. Litra (Silver, 12 mm, 0.83 g, 10 h). ΛΕΟ - Ν Lion’s head with open jaws to right. Rev. Apollo, nude, standing left holding phiale in his right hand and branch in his left; to left, altar; to right, barley grain. Boehringer, Münzgeschichte 50. SNG ANS 264. SNG Fitzwilliam 1054. A few rough spots, otherwise, very fine.
    Ex: Nomos: Obols
    DonnaML, Theodosius, Sulla80 and 7 others like this.
  8. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    That is quite a Nilus - I hope we will hear more about the "circuitous path" at some point, @AncientJoe, and the Larissa stater not bad looking (understatement) either :)
    I can't help but smile reading your post, and I can find plenty of boxes to tick for your AR Litra - from spiky toothed lion with spit flying from his jaws on the obverse to lanky Apollo walking tall, carrying a big stick and being chased by a barley corn all etched into a 12mm die...nice coin[​IMG]!
    DonnaML, Theodosius and Ryro like this.
  9. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Really nice, @Sulla80 ! NICE to be ticked off! Great coin and wonderful checklist. SUPER congrats and a wonderful feeling to add your coin to the collection!

    I have several coins that satisfy the list, but here is a coin that slammed into my collecting niche, and ticked off my boxes! Price? A song compared to anything from Ancient Etruria.

    Shown before, but I still get the RUSH when I look at this coin:

    [​IMG] Rasenna, Fufluna, (Etruria, Populonia)
    2-½ asses , AR 0.85 g
    3rd century BCE
    Obv: Radiate female head r.; behind, IIC (Retrograde)
    Rev: Blank.
    Ref: EC 104 (misdescribed, Female head with an Attic helmet). Historia Numorum Italy 179.
    NAC Comment: Of the highest rarity, apparently only the second specimen known. Dark patina and about very fine.
    Ex: From the collection of E.E. Clain-Stefanelli

    ANS Executive Director Ute Wartenburg reported that
    Elvira Eliza Clain-Stefanelli died Oct. 1, 2001 of cardiac
    arrest. Mrs. Stefanelli retired in 2000 as the Senior
    Curator of the National Numismatic Collection in the
    Numismatics Division of the National Museum of
    American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington,

    She was at the Smithsonian for forty years, and was
    responsible with her husband Vladimir for organizing and
    building up the National Numismatic Collection. She
    survived a Nazi concentration camp in WWII Europe,
    moved to Rome, and learned numismatics there. In New
    York she and her husband worked for Stack's and started
    the Coin Galleries division there
    DonnaML, Theodosius, PeteB and 5 others like this.
  10. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    LOL - I hadn't expected the post to tick off fellow CT members. Your coin ticks an additional box for me as it is from the province where I was born (although no longer called Etruria at that time). Reference to the Etruscan god of plant life, happiness, wine, health, and growth also interesting.
    DonnaML, Alegandron and Ryro like this.
  11. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Very nice, Sulla. I think that your coin ticks off a box and then some...any Dattari plate coin is a great addition to almost any collection. That’s a great price too, especially for a drachm.

    Here’s one that I bought earlier this year that checked off an important box for me. A major hole in my collection was that I didn’t have any coins of Tiberius. I’m fine with not having coins of emperors like Otho or Balbinus, or many others who had very short reigns, but how could I not have a coin of the 2nd Roman emperor, especially when he ruled for 22 years?

    The problem was that I just couldn’t bring myself to pay the heavily inflated price for a “Tribute Penny” denarius. They are so common and to be honest, I find them a little boring...or maybe I just didn’t want to pay what it would take to get a nice example. So I wanted to get a coin of Tiberius that was:

    -not a “Tribute penny”
    -with a clear obverse legend
    -preferably a large bronze
    -under $100

    This one checked off all of those boxes, and filled a major hole in my collection:

    6B50E63A-E3B0-4039-BEB4-9F9D786EEC1A.jpeg 6CDF1F2A-ADDF-4DC2-BA96-80CDC39B2DCB.jpeg
    Tiberius, Dupondius (AE, 30 mm, 16.44 g), Commagene, circa 19-20 AD. TI CAESAR DIVI AVGVSTI F AVGVSTVS Laureate head of Tiberius to r./ Rev. PONT MAXIM COS III IMP VII TR POT XXII Winged caduceus between two crossed cornucopiae. RIC 90. RPC I 3869

    The next thing for me to check off my list is to figure out how to use that cool checklist graphic :)
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
    ambr0zie, DonnaML, Edessa and 9 others like this.
  12. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    @Sulla80 Thanks for the great post and for sharing this excellent coin. Here is one that ticked a few boxes.

    Flavian? Check
    Rare? Only known example
    Dattari plate coin? Check
    Interesting reverse? check
    Cool Alexandrian type? Check

    Vespasian Æ Obol of Alexandria, Egypt. Dated RY 7 = AD 74/5.
    Obv: [AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY], laureate head right
    (21mm 4.47g, 12h.)
    Rev: Canopus right; L [Z] (date) in right field.
    RPC 2446.1 (this coin); Dattari (Savio) 373 (this coin); Emmett 219.
    Extremely Rare; the only known example.

    Vespasian RRPC 2446.jpg
    DonnaML, Broucheion, PeteB and 6 others like this.
  13. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    That is cool you are from the area! And thank you for the nice words.
    Sulla80 likes this.
  14. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Nice buy, @Sulla80. Nilus + Dattari = win! I'm usually happy enough with just one good reason to buy a coin, but it's always a bonus when multiple boxes get checked.

    Here's one that comes to mind for me:
    - squarely in my area of interest (Thessalian coins)
    - a fascinating type (depicting the ancient sport of taurokathapsia, or bull-leaping)
    - has an excellent pedigree (ex BCD, has a hoard provenance, and is cited in a paper by Catharine Lorber)
    - lovely to look at (that toning! that reticulation!)
    - and wallet-friendly ($63... get out of here!)

    Thessaly Larissa - Hemi Taurokathapsia 2734.jpg
    THESSALY, Larissa
    AR Hemidrachm. 2.96g, 17.3mm. THESSALY, Larissa, circa 450-430 BC. Lorber, Thessalian, Series 4, 18c (O10/R9) = CH 9, 77, inv. D/E-2-12 (this coin); BCD Thessaly I –; cf. BCD Thessaly II 178; HGC 4, 459 var. (horse left). O: Thessalos standing left, holding band across horns of forepart of bull leaping left; TO below. R: Λ-Α-P-Ι, forepart of bridled horse right within incuse square.
    Ex BCD Collection; ex Thessaly hoard, circa 1996 (CH 9, 77, inv. D/E-2-12)
  15. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    A steal, Zumbly!!!
    What kind of gun did you use?
    Sulla80 and zumbly like this.
  16. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    None at all! Taking inspiration from the coin's obverse, I just jumped in there and grabbed it by the horns. :D
  17. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Hadrian, AE drachm, Nilos reclining.

    Egypt, Alexandria - Hadrian. (117-138)
    Year 127-128

    Type: AE Drachm, 32mm 24.42 grams

    Obverse: AVT KAI TPAI AAPIA CEB, Laureate draped and cuirassed bust right

    Reverse: LDW (delta) EK in exergue, Nilos reclining left upon a crocodile, holding cornucopia and reed, Genius emerging from the cornucopia and pointing at letters IS in upper field

    Reference: Milne 1269


    DonnaML, PeteB, Theodosius and 8 others like this.
  18. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Sweet coin, great provenance! And congratulations on your anniversary!
    I just posted a recent auction win, which tick all the boxes! I love the coin, despite (or perhaps because of) it's flaws.

    I've got two scarce/rare beauties arriving any time soon, and after a preventive soak in DW I'll be posting these. Despite their flaws, they both tick all the boxes of coinawesomeness: amazing history, rarity, desirability (to me anyway), affordability (the last one being the biggest box ... :))

    Lastly, here's a coin of MA, commemorating the 'liberation' of Armenia from the Parthens.
    DonnaML, PeteB, Bing and 4 others like this.
  19. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    A nice Tiberius and with Latin legends and large AE coin from Commagene that is a nice alternative to a Rome mint.

    Unique is a hard box to tick by itself - a Vespasian from Alexandria is nearing the top of my "next coin" list these days.

    "get out of here" was my first reaction - quite a bargain, I wish more coins had hoard/find location information.

    nice Nilos!
    Armenia often being in the middle of Rome and Parthia - I wonder if they felt truly "liberated" with either in the lead.
  20. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I can't really pick out only one coin that ticked all the boxes for me -- a lot of my Roman Republican coins would probably qualify. But here's my own Alexandrian coin with Nilus and crocodile, which I bought only for the reverse. So it didn't tick quite all of the boxes!

    Hadrian, Billon Tetradrachm, Year 22 (137/138 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate bust right, ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙϹ ΤΡΑΙΑ ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ ϹƐΒ / Rev. Nilus seated left on rocks, holding reed in right hand and cornucopiae in left; crocodile below; L KB (Year 22) in left field. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. III 6254 (2015); RPC III Online at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/6254; Emmett 876.22 [Emmett, Keith, Alexandrian Coins (Lodi, WI, 2001)]; Milne 1569 [Milne, J., A Catalogue of the Alexandrian Coins in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, 1933, reprints with supplement by Colin M. Kraay)]; Köln.1241 [Geissen, A., Katalog alexandrinischer Kaisermünzen, Köln, Band II (Hadrian-Antoninus Pius) (Cologne, 1978, corrected reprint 1987)]. 24 mm., 12.9 g.

    Hadrian reclining Nilus COMBINED.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
    PeteB, Bing and Johndakerftw like this.
  21. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    A coin from 137/8 AD of Hadrian (RY 22) after the "suppression" by Hadrian of the Bar Kokhba revolt, and the last year of Hadrian's reign...a coin that could easily start a long journey....
    DonnaML likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page