Cucumbor’s 2020 review : my Top 5 ½

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Cucumbor, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Hi CT folks

    2020 hasn’t been a good year in many ways, especially with the Covid pandemic and its millions of victims. Collecting coins may appear very futile in such circumstances. However I feel it’s even more necessary, as it’s a place/time out of the real world, were we can breathe and dream at ease, and escape to all this darkness.

    I’ve not bought many coins in 2020 (less than 20), but some of them are very important in my collecting process. As a side note, I’m a roman empire guy, which you won’t find obvious in what follows !

    Anyway, here are the 5 ½ that stand out the (small) horde…

    6 – Thick roundness (or round thickness…) : a Syracuse bronze

    While following an online auction during a very frustrating lockdown #1 last april, I saw that coin, and because I like so much Syracuse coinage, I thought (well, sort of « thought ») it might be a good idea to adding it to my small series. Upon arrival it appeared to be even better than expected with its kind of globular aspect : very thick and with round, soft edges. I find the hippocamp very attractive. All in all, a good surprise, well deserving a room in the top of the year list

    Sicily, Syracuse - Bronze litra, circa 375-344 BCE,
    [ΣYPA] Head of Athena left, wearing Corinthian helmet with neck guard,
    Hippocamp left
    15mm., 6.13g
    Ref : Calciati # 34, Sear # 1193

    5 – A rare douzain : Dombes, Marie de Montpensier, douzain 1616

    Among french royal coinage, the douzain is quite a popular denomination, being abundant, and large enough to allow collectors to having fun at reading legends and finding unrecorded varieties. On the other hand the billon they’re made of isn’t the best metal to strike coins, hence quality isn’t often there.

    When it comes to Dombes (yes, you will have to stand Dombes coins this year too :D ), if douzains are quite numerous for Henri II de Montpensier, they are scarce before him (i.e. Louis II and François II), and become very rare after him. His daughter, Marie de Montpensier has had douzains struck in her name from 1613 to 1620, of which only a total of 15 specimens are known. When that one showed up, I had to have it, my 1613 specimen being very sad, alone in its tray. It was sold as 1616, not quite sure about that, it might well be 1618 all the same, the last digit being cut in half at the edge of the planchet. Anyway, it’s either unique, or the 5th known example.

    Dombes, Marie de Montpensier (1608-1627) - Douzain, billon - 1616
    Atelier de Trévoux
    + MARIA • P • DOMBAR • D • MONTIS • P (cœur) Ecu de Bourbon couronné, dans le champ, deux M couronnées
    + DNS • ADIVT • ET • REDEM • MEVS 1616 Croix échancrée cantonnée de couronnes
    22 mm - 2,11 gr
    Ref : Divo Dombes # 129a

    4 – An unusual bust : Trajan Decius, Antioch tetradrachm

    That one was the last important purchase this year, and I presented it in a thread not long ago, here. What appealed to me was the unusual bust, with balteus and trabea.

    I have since contacted CGB (the french auction house) whose former director was Michel Prieur. They still host and maintain his Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms database, and confirmed the rarity of the coin which is now #8 of the type

    Roman provincial, Trajan Decius (09/249 – 07 or 08/251) – Billon Tetradrachm, Antioch mint - 7° officina
    AYT K Γ ME KY TPAIANOC ΔEKIOC CEB Radiate bust right, cuirassed with trabea on right shoulder, and balteus on chest, seen from front. Z under bust.
    ΔHMAPX EΞOYCIAC Eagle standing right on a palm branch, head right holding wreath in beak, and wings spread. At exergue SC
    27 mm - 12,35 gr - 6h
    Ref : Prieur # 558_08 (2), McAlee # 1140 (very rare)

    3 – An attractive portrait of Octavian, but lacking a portrait of Julius Caesar : Vienna half dupondius

    That one too has been presented not long ago in a thread here, even though I bought it earlier this year. After the Covid frenzy not allowing a lot of time for writing up, I am now at home for a few weeks and can do some…

    As the title suggests, I’ve been drawn to this half coin for its beautiful portrait of Octavian. Moreover, those somewhat crude gaulish coinages (Vienna, Arausio, Lugdunum, Nemausus) have a great symbolic and historical background that I find very attractive.

    Gaul, Julius Caesar & Octavian – Halved dupondius, Vienna (Gaul), ca. 36 BCE
    [•IM]P• [DIVI•IVL•CAE]SAR•DIVI•F bare headed portraits [of Julius Caesar to left] and Octavian to right
    C•[I•V] Prow of galley to right, surmounted by superstructure and mast (CIV for Colonia Ivlia Viennensis)
    31,5 mm – 9,96 gr
    Ref : RPC # 517

    2 – Where non specialists begin to think you’re nuts : Dombes, Anne Marie Louise de Bourbon, luigino 1665

    Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans was Princess of the Dombes principality. She was born to Marie de Montpensier and Gaston d'Orléans in 1627 CE. Her mother passed away soon after her birth, and her father ruled the principality as a regent until her majority. The family was of highest rank, Gaston being king Louis XIII's brother, hence Louis XIV'S uncle.

    When Anne Marie Louise issued her famous 5 sols silver coins, aka luigini, they soon became very popular in the Middle East countries, allegedly because they featured an advantadgeous female bust. Many duchies, counties and principalities, especially in Italy followed the trend and flooded the market with copies of various quality and legends. The fact is that very quickly the silver content decreased, to the point where a royal edict lead to a withdrawal of all of them.

    The usual, standard, design is the following, with the date in the reverse field, left and right to the ecu :


    As written above, you find them by the million. The reference book to them, the « Cammarano », describes a variety with the date at the end of the reverse legend, instead of being in the field.

    « What the heck do you care about this, dude ? »

    Although it’s been given a R1 rarity rate, I haven’t seen any 1665 of those in 22 years of collecting other than in public collections . In the middle of june, leaving home for work around 7 AM, I got an alert for new items from a dealer. Needless to say I jumped on it (litterally) even considering its poor preservation, knowing I might have to wait decades before I see another. And now I have plenty of time to upgrade if necessary

    Dombes, Anne Marie Louise d'Orleans (1650-1693) - Douzième d'écu, argent - 1665
    Atelier de Trévoux
    AN •MA • LVD • PRINC • SVP • DOMBA, Buste drapé de 3/4 à droite
    (Rose) DNS (trèfle) ADIVTOR • A • ET • RED MEVS 1665, Ecu d'Orléans couronné.
    20 mm - 2.23 gr
    Ref : Divo Dombes # 232, Camarano # 46

    1 – In the end, the sun rises ….. Bosporan kingdom – Sauromates II, Electrum stater

    That was the most joyful purchase this year. Not just because it’s yellow. For quite a while I’ve been lurking around a bosporan kingdom stater, but never pulled the trigger for financial/necessity ratio reasons : should I come across a rare Dombes coin 5x the price of that one, I would buy it, as it would be a brick in the wall I’m currently building. It’s not the case here. Just something I find appealing, but not fitting in any of the directions I pursue. But it gives some diversity to the small roman provincial collection I have, which was enough (we need reasons for acting, don’t we ? :D )

    When I got it I was blown away. I had previously hold gold, of course, but the feeling of the coin’s weight in hand, the pale color of electrum, the dual portrait, all together, was really something special.

    I’ve lenghtly written about it here, if you would like to know more

    Bosporan kingdom, Sauromates II (173/174 - 210/211 CE) – El stater, dated 491 (194-195 CE)
    BACIΛΕωC CAVPOMATOV (anticlockwise). Draped and diademed bust of Sauromates II right
    Laureate head of Septimius Severus right. Star in right field. Retrograd VPA at exergue (year 491)
    20 mm - 7,69 gr
    Ref : MacDonald # 502/2, Sear # 5476 var

    Thank you for reading

    I wish you all, my CT friends, a merry Christmas, and a most happy new year

    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Great coins, I like #6 & #4 best.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
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  4. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    These are beautiful coins, @Cucumbor

    I like your #1,3 and 6. The #6 Syracuse coin is one on my wishlist. Great to see a good example. :)
    Cucumbor likes this.
  5. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Excellent and various review. I'll choose De Bourbon.
    Cucumbor likes this.
  6. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    I find that halved dupondius really attractive and enigmatic.
    Theodosius and Cucumbor like this.
  7. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    An interesting and eclectic mix. Thanks for the write ups too, and I hope you have an equally good 2021 for coining (and obviously a better 2021 for all the other reasons)
    Cucumbor likes this.
  8. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Show stopping Bosporan EL of ole Septy! I recently lost out on a lovely bronze keeping my Bosporan collection at zero.
    And LOVE the Syracuse bronze:artist:
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  9. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Great coins Cucumber, but your Bosporan EL stater is the best I have seen struck on a large flan with exquisite detail, an absolute stunner. Congrats on a great year of collecting.
    Cucumbor likes this.
  10. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Nice coins @Cucumbor - some great additions in 2020.
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  11. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coins, my favorites are 4 and 6.
    Cucumbor likes this.
  12. PlanoSteve

    PlanoSteve Supporter! Supporter

    I'm giving you a full "6 Stars" on these! :happy::singing:;):

    6 - Who doesn't like Athena???

    5 & 2 - I have several French coins merely because of the crowns & fleur-de-lis!

    4 - I'm a big fan of eagles! (Well, not the ones from Philadelphia :D) Did someone say Morgan?? :jawdrop::p

    3 - Ah, Julius, who needs him, right? :smug: Well, I suppose history would have been "slightly" different had it been someone else. Nevertheless, your half has a really endearing & "honest" quality/character - great capture! You know, if you glue those 2 halves together...:rolleyes:...(OK, I hate having to explain jokes, but before any imbecile points out to me that it is only 1/2 of a coin, yes, I know it's only 1/2 of a coin...sheesh!)

    1 - ...and that is one exquisite specimen! :singing::singing::singing:;)

    Congrats on these acquisitions!...& stay safe!

    PlanoSteve (still living vicariously through my fantastic collector friends. :))
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  13. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    All excellent additions. I really like all of the Dombes pieces. They aren't what I specialize in but I still look for them.
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  14. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    An enjoyable Top 5.5, a beautiful EL stater - I also especially enjoy the 1/2 coin! and best wishes for a joyful in 2021.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
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  15. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Excellent 5.5 my friend. I greatly enjoyed your write ups this year.

    Your Dombes are great as are all the coins in your collection but my favorites overall this year are:

    #1 Electrum stater - A very nice coin. You need no excuses to buy this one. It is a great example of a cool series.
    #3 Half Augustus - I loved your write up on this coin. I also think it is remarkable how nice the portrait of Augustus is considering half the coin is literally missing! The half coins are a cool reminder of how denominations were thought of in antiquity and how it differs from the modern conventions (i.e. If I were to cut a dime in half it wouldn’t be worth a nickel).
    #6 Syracuse Bronze - I like these too. Nice coin Q.
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  16. Alegandron

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

    Excellent coins, Cuke! I really like the two Dombes. And, the Syracuse is my type of coin!

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  17. Quant.Geek

    Quant.Geek Well-Known Member

    Wow! That Octavian, even though it is half a coin, far exceeds all the others in my eyes. Congrats!
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  18. bcuda

    bcuda Supporter! Supporter

    Wonderful coins all worthy to be in my collection !!!!!!!
    Love the #1 Bosporan kingdom the best it is a piece of art work .
    Cucumbor likes this.
  19. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    While the appearance of Septimius Severus on the electrum makes it one I would most appreciate, the half is a coin I have been wanting for some time simply because I have the one below. My coin is nowhere close to yours in condition but it is, what it is - the other half. Mine is AE30, 11.1g and came from Mark Breitsprecher in 2001.
    It would not make 2020 a good year in any significant way but it would be nice if either (both) of us were to find the other half of our coin. I'd say that is about as likely as Covid going away by Christmas.

    The Syracuse is a type I believe should be in any general collection. As I recall one of our members here has a really nice one (at least considerably better than mine).
  20. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Great stuff, Q! That Sep Sev EL is truly envy-inducing... I've bid on a couple before, but no luck so far. Hopefully I'll be fortunate
    enough to get one as nice as yours eventually.

    I don't think I've heard anyone describe one of these Syracuse hippocamp types as "globular" before, but it's appropriate, and somehow also makes the coin sound that much more tasty. :D The hippocamp on yours has a great naturalistic style.

    And that halved dupondius... wow, nicer than so many whole coins! It's another one I'm jealous of and would love to have.
    Cucumbor likes this.
  21. Alwin

    Alwin Supporter! Supporter

    I’m not asked to vote, but I vote 1. I still have no electrum coin. This one is in perfect condition and with a beautifully style, congratulations.
    And 7.69 g for 20mm wow!
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