After buying an upgraded Vitellius, I'm contemplating trying to sell the first one

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Jul 2, 2020.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    A little more than two years ago, I bought a Vitellius denarius that would probably be considered a "budget" example, given how much really nice Vitellius coins cost. Not a terrible coin by any means -- his name is readable, and there's actually quite a bit of detail left on his face -- but certainly not a great one either, given the loss of detail on the reverse and the surface roughness. I admit that I bought it more for the sake of having a Vitellius, than because I was in love with the coin.

    Vitellius AR Denarius 69 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TRP/ Rev. Jupiter seated left holding a scepter and Victory left, IVPPITER VICTOR. RIC I 75, RSC II 44, Sear RCV I 2197, BMCRE 8. 19.5 mm., 2.77 g.

    Vitellius-Jupiter denarius jpg (Purch. from Aegean 5.5.18).jpg

    I've never been completely content with this coin -- as I said, I wasn't in love with it from the beginning -- so I recently decided to "upgrade" a little and bought a somewhat nicer Vitellius denarius. It's not in wonderful condition itself -- there's a lot of wear (and/or a weak strike or worn die; I'm not good at telling the difference!) on Vitellius's hair -- but it has better surfaces, the legends are all visible on both sides, it has an interesting reverse, and, besides, I liked it!

    Vitellius AR Denarius, Jul-Dec 69 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TRP / Rev. Tripod-lebes (cauldron) surmounted by dolphin lying right on top, with raven standing right below, XV VIR SACR FAC. RIC I 109, RSC II 111 (ill.), Sear RCV I 2201 (ill.), BMCRE 39. 18.5 mm., 3.1 g. [See Sear RCV I at p. 421, explaining that the reverse “refers to Vitellius’ membership in the priestly college of the Quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis, ‘fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters.’ This body had care of the Sibylline prophecies and were famous for the opulence of their banquets ,a feature of the priesthood which particularly appealed to the gluttonous emperor.]

    New Vitellius jpg version.jpg

    You can see the difference when the coins are placed side-by-side:

    2 Vitellius Coins, Obv..jpg

    2 Vitellius Coins, Rev.jpg

    So now that I have a Vitellius I really like, I'm seriously contemplating trying to sell the first one, even though it isn't a duplicate. It isn't that I object to having more than one coin per Emperor or Empress -- the numbers don't compare to those of us who have 75 or more examples of particular monarchs, but counting Roman Provincial coins I do have 7 Philip I's, 6 Gallienuses, 4 Gordian III's, and 3 apiece of eight others. It's that if I did sell it, I could almost certainly buy one or more coins I like better with the proceeds.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2020
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  3. Alegandron

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

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2020
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  4. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I agree with @Alegandron. I see two different coins that could both find a place in my collection. I like them both. However, if you don't have a connection to the first, why not free up a little space and get some extra $$ for another coin that you do like.

    I can't help with value since $160 is way out of my collecting budget lol so I haven't looked at too many coins in that price range.
  5. cmezner

    cmezner Supporter! Supporter

    same here, I would keep both :); on your first one, Vitellius is handsome & younger
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  6. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Agreed. If you didn't pay to much for it... that first one's a cutie that I wouldn't sell easily.
    Here's my daily does of Vita- man:
  7. Alegandron

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

    LOL, Vita-Man

    RI Vitellius 69 CE AR Denarius Pont Max Vesta Seated
  8. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    You all make some good points. I will continue to contemplate!
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  9. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    The new one is definitely an improvement but I really don't think you will get back what you paid. I find the coin very rough & I wouldn't pay $60 for it if it was on ebay as a buy it now & I was in the market for the first one.

    This train wreck was $90 and much rarer than his Denarii. I doubt I would get $90 back.

    I still hold out for a better one in a price I have in mind, just being patient.

    Vitellius (69 A.D.)
    Egypt, Alexandria
    Billon Tetradrachm
    O: ΩΛΟΥ ΟΥΙΤ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒ ΓΕΡΜ ΑΥΤ, laureate head right.
    R: Nike advancing left, holding wreath with her extended right hand and palm frond with her left; LA (date) to left.
    RPC 5372; Köln 260-2; Dattari 340; K&G 19.1. Emmett 196.1
  10. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Also an important consideration! As I indicated above, even if I made the decision to try to sell, if there were a consensus that I could only get $50 or $60 for it, it wouldn't be worth the trouble and I'd rather just keep it.
  11. Nathan B.

    Nathan B. Active Member

    Donna, I am not advising that you sell this coin, but I do think there's something to be said for the experience of selling a coin from one's collection. Can I ask if you've ever done this before? (If the answer is "many times" then please forgive me! In that case, I guess you're mostly asking for a market appraisal of your coin, in which case I can't help you as I don't have the knowledge.)

    I've learned the hard way that there is often no relationship between what I've paid for a coin and what I can sell it for, as there are several variables that can have a significant effect on the coin's resale value. Having an awareness of just how much of a loss one will usually take on a coin purchased in the last decade or two can help to inform your future buys. At least, that's been my experience.
  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I've never sold, or tried to sell, an ancient coin. (Not even the handful of drecky LRBs I bought for about a quarter apiece when I was 8 or 9 years old!) But over a period of a few years starting about five years ago, when I was unemployed and my savings were dwindling and I was pretty desperate for cash, I sold most of my more valuable British coins and historical medals, accumulated over a 30-year period, to Stack's Bowers. (I couldn't afford to wait the months that it would take for Stack's to put them up for auction and pay me the proceeds.) Nor could I afford to take the time to sell them myself one by one on Ebay! I ended up receiving about 35-40% of retail value. Which, given how many years previously I'd bought most of them, was still about equal to what I paid. It was enough to pay my rent on a New York City apartment, and other expenses, for more than a year. (Although I try not to think about how much all the gold coins I sold -- dating back to the early 1600s -- would be worth now, especially given how much the price of gold has gone up in the last five years!)

    But this is a very different situation. It's only one coin, and I'm no longer in a financial position in which I'm forced to sell.
  13. Nathan B.

    Nathan B. Active Member

    Ah. I'm very glad that you are in a better financial situation now. In that case, I would recommend that you keep your coin, since it wouldn't fetch enough to help you buy a coin you like. If you were like me, though, and you saw one special coin that was more than you could afford, you might sell half of your collection at whatever price you can get for it in order to buy that one pearl of great price. You would miss some of what you sold from time to time, but you would never regret doing it. :)
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
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  14. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    I'd never heard your story about buying LRBs when you were 9 or 10! I started off mainly in LRBs:happy: (finance and circumstance:shame:) just a few years ago.
    Still got em?!:wideyed:
    And sorry to read about the financial crunch that squeezes all (or 99% of us) from time to time. And I'm very glad you bounced back as I love your posts. And it's a testament to your resilience. Having suffered surprise unemployment:nailbiting: in the past, I sympathize:)
  15. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    No, I don't think I would ever do that. I'd much rather have 20 $100 coins I like, or 10 $200 coins, than one $2,000 coin!
  16. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    That is the truth!!
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  17. Numisnewbiest

    Numisnewbiest Well-Known Member

    If you could magically lift the portrait from your first Vitellius and plant it onto your second Vitellius, that would be one cool coin. I think the portrait on your first example is much more lifelike than the second, but the reverse of the second is better than the first coin. All subjective, of course.
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  18. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I prefer both sides of the second coin, since the first one is rougher in-hand than it looks in photos. [There I go again, talking it down and ruining any chance to sell it!] But I certainly can relate to wishing that one could magically combine the better sides of two different coins. That happens a lot!
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  19. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Similar to your situation DonnaML:

    First one:


    I tried to sell the first one, wanting to use the gains for another coin purchase. Nobody was interested however (I offered it three times), so I decided to keep it. You could try to offer your old one for a price you are content with (like you, I do not aim for a profit) and if it won't sell, keep it. Not everybody on this forum agrees with selling their coins, I've encountered, but you can do with your collection what you want of course.
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  20. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    I would bide my time, not rush into selling the denarius. But, if you do decide to sell, this forum would be a good way to test the waters.

    I really haven't sold many coins, except once by auction (not very satisfactory) and other times by direct sale when I was raising money for the down payment for the house and at another time to buy a cinquentin (at that time both my wife and I were terminated from our positions at a local health foundation - talk about timing!)

    So, now the collection is scattered around my place, flotsam and jetsam, dispersed between rocks, minerals, Asian objects, paperweights, books, catalogs and bric a brac, creating my version of Miss Havisham's house (it really isn't but I like the imagery).
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
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  21. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    The cheapest recent sale of that type on acsearch went for over 100 USD. While there have been some ratty Vitelliuses in Savoca for considerably less, I think the nice style portrait and decent grade of yours would net you at least 100 for it. But you're probably right that the surfaces mean you probably wouldn't quite get back what you paid.

    Should you sell it? I like the Marie Kondo theory applied to coins. Does it give you that special feeling in hand? If not... sell it and get something that does! :)

    I think it's generally a mistake not to sell something just because you don't expect to get back what you paid. In fact, having paid too much is sometimes part of what detracts from the coin for you and means you can't really enjoy it. Selling and taking a bit of a loss will give you more enjoyment in the long run. And what is collecting about if not enjoying one's coins?

    If you do decide to sell it, I would recommend consigning to an auction firm that will take the trouble to list it individually and do all the listing work for you. And who gives discounts for CoinTalk regulars. And where the buyers include lots of CoinTalk regulars who enjoy owning coins posted here by other members. But I'm perhaps a bit biased in this particular opinion... :shame:
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