Cicero12's Top 7 of 2020

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Cicero12, Dec 3, 2020.

  1. Cicero12

    Cicero12 Supporter! Supporter

    While I have spent much of 2020 selling coins that no longer fit my collecting interests and/or goals, I did have an opportunity to acquire seven new pieces this year. I would have been happy to acquire just one of the below, but am absolutely thrilled to have gotten all of them! A few are still with my dealer, but should arrive by year-end, giving me one last photo session to obsess over.

    7. Domitian Aureus. This was my first purchase of the year at NYINC. I already have a Titus and a Vespasian with a Vesta reverse, and am very excited to have completed the set. While I originally passed by the coin at the dealer's table, after discovering it in Evans, I contacted the dealer and was pleased to find it was still available.

    Obverse: CAES AVG F – DOMIT COS II laureate head of Domitian to right

    Reverse: VES – TA Round temple of Vesta with four columns; statue of Vesta standing l. within the temple. In l. and r. field, two statues.

    References: C 614 var. (DOMITIAN). BMC Vespasian 412. RIC Vespasian 559. CBN –. Calicó 940 (this coin)

    Provenance: Privately purchased in January 2020. Ex Ernst Ploil Collection, NAC 101, 2017, 216; European Nobleman, NAC 24, 2002, 56 ; Astarte 1, 1998, 235; Triton II, 1998, 866; Vicomte de Sartiges Collection (Ars Classica XVIII, 10 October 1938; Sir John Evans Collection (Rollin & Feuardent, 26 May 1909).

    6. Caracalla Aureus. I was the underbidder on this piece in 2019. It eventually sold to a dealer and has gone unsold in a few auctions since then, being estimated above the purchase price. While flipping through Biaggi, I happened to see the coin and immediately recognized it. Fortunately, the coin was still available, and I managed to acquire it for just slightly above what I would have paid in 2019. I have been fortunate enough to track the piece back to the collection of the Dukes of Saxony-Gotha prior to Biaggi.


    Obverse: ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust

    Reverse: Rev. P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P Caracalla in military attire, standing l., sacrificing over lighted altar before domed temple of Vesta, behind him pontifex, wearing apex, and a child; before him, two Vestales and a child

    References: C.350 var. (not draped). BMC 101 (misdescribed). RIC 249. Calicó 2715 (this coin). Biaggi 1190 (this coin), monuments pp 23 f.

    Provenance: Privately Purchased, November 17, 2020; ex Heritage Auctions, Inc., 3071 (January 2019), lot 34110; ex NAC 7, 1994, 767; Leo Biaggi de Blasys Collection, 324 (purchased from Ratto for 1500 francs); ex Dukes of Saxony-Gotha Collection, Hess, auction 240, Lucerne, (May 1951), lot 206 (purchased by Ratto for 350 francs); probably acquired by Duke Frederick II (1676-1732) from Count Anton Günther II of Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen-Arnstad (1653-1716).

    5. Galba Aureus. Another piece I missed at auction that thankfully found its way into the inventory of a dealer. After finding the piece in Montagu and Ryan, I decided to jump on it.


    Obverse: IMP SER GALBA AVG, bare head right

    Reverse: S P Q R/ OB C S in two lines within oak wreath

    References: RIC I 164; Calicó 509; BMCRE 29-30; BN 72-4; Biaggi 265; Jameson 53; Mazzini 286.

    Provenance: Privately purchased, October 16, 2020. Ex Provence/Brexit Collection Triton XXIII (January 2020), lot 679; V. J. E. Ryan Collection (Part IV, Glendining, 20 February 1951), lot 1669; Sir Hyman Montagu (Rollin & Feuardent, 20 April 1896), lot 172.

    4. Geta Aureus. While Geta's aurei have not commanded a huge premium in the last few years, they remain remarkably rare. I have always liked this type for the artistic, idealized reverse portrait who is either Geta, or more likely, Caracalla, with the aspect of Sol.


    Obverse: P SEPT GETA – CAES PONT Bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right

    Reverse: SEVERI INVICTI AVG PII FIL Half-length and radiate bust (Caracalla?) l., draped and cuirassed wearing aegis right, hand raised

    References: 1. BMC S. Severus 244 var. (bust seen from behind). RIC 21 var. (bust seen from behind and misdescribed legend). Calicó 2930 and 2930b (the latter, this obverse die).

    Provenance: Ex MDC Monaco (October, 2020), lot 231; NGSA 4 (November 2006), lot 204; Münzhandlung Basel 10, 1938, lot 690

    3. Vitellius Aureus. After being the underbidder on another Vitellius just a few months prior, I did not expect to have another chance to cross the Emperor off my list so soon. While the reverse is a touch off-center, the coin is in remarkable condition, and has a portrait of very interesting style. As a bonus, I was able to track it to Du Chastel!


    Obverse: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P Laureate head right

    Reverse: [L VI]TELLIVS COS III CENSOR Lucius Vitellius, togate, seated l. on curule chair, feet on stool, holding eagle-tipped scepter in l. hand and extending

    References: BMC 23. RIC 95. CBN 54. Faces of Power 44. Calicó 565a (this coin). This coin illustrated in David R. Sear's, Roman Coins and Their Value: Vol. I (2236).

    Provenance: Ex collection of a Spanish Gentleman Numismatica Ars Classica 119 (in association with Jesus Vico), October 2020, 23; NFA sale XXX, 1992, 227; Comte Du Chastel, Rollin & Feuardent, 26-27 May 1889, 279.

    2. Nero Aureus. While by no means the rarest coin on this list (in fact, it is the most common by a fairly wide margin), I am in love with the artistry of the piece. The spectacular Boscoreale toning doesn't hurt either. The auction-house's images do not do the coin justice, and this is undoubtedly the piece I am most excited to photograph.


    Obverse: NERO CAESAR AVGVSTVS Laureate head of Nero to right.

    Reverse: ROMA Roma seated on cuirass to left, holding Victory in her right hand and parazonium in her left; behind, greaves and shields

    References: Biaggi 238 (this coin). BMC 81. BN 223. Calicó 439 (this coin). C. 257. Hurter 6 (this coin). Morgan 65 (this coin). RIC 54.

    Provenance: Ex collection of an attorney, Kunker 341, October 2020, 5797; Götz Grabert Collection; LHS 97, Zürich 2006, 7, ("European Scholar"); Leu Numismatik 83, Zürich 2002, 727; Bank Leu 25, Zürich 1980, Nr. 252; J.P. Morgan Collection, Hans Schulmann, New York 26.-28. April 1951, 3048; Prof. Carlo Stiavelli Collection, P. & P. Santamaria, Rome 6. April 1908, 400. From the Biaggi collection (238). From the Boscoreale Hoard of 1895.

    1. Vespasian Aureus. It could never be another coin for me in the top spot, and if this were the only one I got all year, or even all decade, I would be satisfied. By far my favorite type, with a lovely portrait and rich Boscoreale toning on the reverse. It did not hurt I found it in Biaggi and tracked it back to 1952 after purchasing it, helping it fit in my pedigreed collection. I am still in disbelief.


    Obverse: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG laureate bust of Vespasian to right.

    Reverse: IVDAEA in exergue; Mourning Jewess seated right, head resting on hand in attitude of mourning; behind, tropaion.

    References: BN 89 no. 20-22; Calicò no. 643b; Hendin no. 1464; RIC² no. 1. Overbeck – Meshorer no. 300.

    Provenance: Ex Samel Collection, Kunker 334, March 2020, 2285; Leu 22, May 1979, 225; ex Leo Biaggi de Blasys Collection, 324; privately purchased from Ratto in 1952. Almost certainly from the Boscoreale Hoard of 1895.
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  3. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Only 7?

    Haha. Jaw-dropping coins. Any one of which would be a centerpiece of a glorious collection. Do I have to pick a favorite? Oh, all right. I’ll go with number one. What a remarkable year.
    Severus Alexander and Cicero12 like this.
  4. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member're 'condensing' your collection i see...those are say the least...
    Cicero12 likes this.
  5. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Supporter! Supporter

    Truly an unbelievable year. Your Judaea Capta is my favorite (it's one of my favorite ancient coins of any type in existence) but any of them would have been a centerpiece for any ordinary year.

    And, you are truly doing the work of a "catalog archaeologist" by finding all of these pedigrees!
  6. Romancollector

    Romancollector Well-Known Member

    WOW!!!! Your aurei are truly jaw dropping! You've had a great year, and as the saying goes, quality over quantity. I can only hope to acquire an aureus as nice as any of your examples in the future.
    Cicero12 and Restitutor like this.
  7. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Absolutely stunning. Every coin is a piece of art. I can only drool over each one.
    Cicero12 likes this.
  8. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    All super nice pieces. So beautiful!
    Cicero12 likes this.
  9. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Cicero12, What a magnificent group of museum quality aurei :jawdrop:! The Judaea Capta aureus of Vespasian is a jewel. I wonder if it was struck with dies from a denarius o_O? The reverse of the Caracalla aureus has an incredibly complex composition :woot:. This coin must have been struck for a special occasion. The aureus of Geta / Caracalla as boys is one of my favorites :D.
    Cicero12 likes this.
  10. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    I thought I had a stellar year for Roman Aurei but your assemblage is absolutely phenomenal. I particularly like the Geta with that superb rendition of Caracalla? as Sol??? Besides wonderful coins you have phenomenal pedigrees. I am impressed.
    Cicero12 likes this.
  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    That's a stunning list of Roman gold! The rich colors of the Vespasian and Nero aurei are absolutely fabulous!
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  12. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Nice pedigree sleuthing!! This method of collecting is way outta my league, but I see you've refined it to its Platonic form. I love all of them, but my favourite is probably the Caracalla due to the fantastic reverse scene. Lovely Nero too.

    Like AJ and other well-heeled members here, I have no doubt that you are very generous to important causes as well, because that's how ancients collectors roll. :happy:
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  13. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Way out of my league too -- I doubt I'll ever be able to own a single aureus unless the price of gold collapses completely and brings gold coins down with it! -- but I enjoy them immensely, just as I would if I were seeing them in a museum. They are all remarkable, particularly No. 1, although the Galba and Nero are almost equally amazing.
    Cicero12 likes this.
  14. FrizzyAntoine

    FrizzyAntoine Active Member

    Amazing selection! I don't know if I'm more impressed by the coins or the provenance :woot:
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  15. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Every coin here is spectacular, but the ex Boscoreale Judaea Capta really takes the cake. Truly amazing coin and pedigree!
    Cicero12 likes this.
  16. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    A "magnificent Seven" :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

    I love the Caracalla and the Vitellius Aurei/ truly works of art. Thanks for showing them!
    Cicero12 likes this.
  17. kazuma78

    kazuma78 Supporter! Supporter

    Wow, amazing and stunning pieces. Well done.
    Cicero12 likes this.
  18. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Absolutely fantastic, words fail me...all perfect, congrats on owning these amazing coins.
    Cicero12 likes this.
  19. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Good heavens, what a bedazzling array. I could sell my entire collection and still be unlikely to afford a single one of those!

    I liked the Vitellius the most until I saw the last coin. Judaea Capta in gold plus a likely Boscoreale provenance? Be still my beating heart.
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  20. Alegandron

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

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  21. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

    WOW!!! What a fabulous year. Each aurei worth drooling over.
    Cicero12 and lordmarcovan like this.
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