This year I set out with a goal of compiling a list of my 10 favorite coins from under $10 to under $100 (in $10 increments) that would be just as interesting to me as my overall Top 10. I spent a lot of time carefully considering all of my under $100 purchases with this goal in mind. This list will follow the style started by @dougsmit (here) and @zumbly (here) among others of posting favorite budget purchases for the year in $10 increments. I previously posted such a list in 2017 and 2019. This year I set a few guidelines for myself. All coins on the list would be bought without an intention to “upgrade” them in the future. In other words, all coins were bought as keepers for my core collection. The calculated cost would include all shipping and fees. The coins on the list would have to be interesting in some way beyond the grade or the low cost. The total cost of all 10 coins came out to $512.49. That is $51.25 per coin on average. Please feel free to vote on which three coins you think were the best buys. Category: $1-$10 An Active Battle Scene Roman Empire Constantius II AE Centenionalis, Heraclea mint, struck ca. AD 350-355 Dia.: 22.5 mm Wt.: 5.3 g Obv.: DN CONSTAN-TIVS PF AVG; Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right Rev.: FEL TEMP RE-PARATIO; Γ in left field, SMH (?) in exergue; Helmeted soldier spearing fallen horseman who is reaching back. Hair in braids, no beard. Plain shields. Ref.: RIC 82 Heraclea Ex Minotaur Coins Write up: A Group of Interesting Coins: Roman Edition Why I find it interesting: This coin type is common enough that I think it gets taken for granted that the reverse scene is both interesting and artistically ambitious. This coin looks and feels great in hand. The horseman is well detailed and identifiable as beardless with hair in braids reaching back on this example. This is important because the designs seem to have been making reference to individual tribes of Roman enemies in many cases. This is one of only two coins in my entire collection that shows an active battle scene. I consider this a great purchase for under $10! Category: $11-$20 A Nice Galerius Follis with Collection Tag Roman Empire Galerius as Augustus AE Follis, Antioch mint, struck AD 309 Dia.: 24.7 mm Wt.: 6.06 g Obv.: IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMIANVS P F AVG; laureate head right Rev.: GENIO IMP-ERATORIS; Genius, nude but for chlamys over left shoulder, standing front, head to left, holding patera from which flows in right hand and cornucopia in left; O over I in right field, ANT in exergue Ref.: RIC VI Antioch 112a Ex Minotaur Coins. Part of a Swiss collection formed in the 1960s and 70s with tag. Collection tag Write up: A Group of Interesting Coins: Roman Edition Why I find it interesting: Tetrarchy folles are a fun and popular collecting area. Galerius is one of the primary emperors of the first (and second) tetrarchy and I didn’t have an example of him as Augustus. That alone is enough to purchase this coin at under $20 (purchased as part of a group lot). However, the connection to a 1970s or older provenance is a great bonus. I value finding older provenances for humble coins. At some point I hope to be able to identify further the tag (Numiphil Basil?) that came with this coin in order to learn more about its previous owners. Category: $21-$30 An Important Temple to Artemis Pamphylia, Perge AE16, Perge mint, struck ca. 50-30 BC Dia.: 16.6 mm Wt.: 3.9 g Obv.: Cult statue of Artemis Pergaea facing within distyle temple, facing eagle in pediment Rev.: ΑΡΤΕΜΙΔΟΣ ΠΕΡΓΑΙΑΣ, Bow and quiver Ref.: SNG France 373-8 Ex Savoca Coins 111th Blue Auction (August 2021) Write up: Cult Statue of Perge: A Fascinating Architecture Type Why I find it interesting: This type shows details of a cult-statue to Artemis that was the central object of worship in Perge at least as far back as the Greek-Archaic period and continuing into the Roman period. The remains of the temple itself have never been located so the coins are one of the primary sources for reconstructing what the temple and the cult statue looked like. The statue probably consisted of a meteorite in the shape of Artemis’s face, along with a carved plinth, and other decretive elements. This is all the more fascinating when we compare the coins to later Roman era relief carvings of the cult-statue as I discuss in the above write up. Overall I am always glad to add an architecture type, particularly in this price bracket. Category: $31-$40 A Lost Myth PISIDIA, Etenna AE19, Etenna mint, struck ca. 1st century BC Dia.: 19.3 mm Wt.: 3.32 g Obv.: Naked nymph/woman standing to front, legs crossed, entwined by serpent; at her feet to left, a vase. Rev.: E-T, sickle-shaped knife. Ref.: SNG Cop 146 Ex Minotaur Coins Write up: A Group of Interesting Coins: Greek Edition Why I find it interesting: The city of Etenna minted coins for centuries that displayed scenes from what was probably a local founding myth. The best guess for reconstructing the story from the coin designs is that the myth involved a young woman or nymph who was attacked by a snake while bathing. It’s possible that the curved blade shown on the reverse of this coin was the weapon that was wielded by a hero who came to the woman’s rescue. I like coins that refer to mythological stories and I find this one especially charming due to the unique design and fascinating mystery. Category: $41-$50 A Crusader Coin Inspired by a Roman Temple? Crusaders, Duchy of Athens Regency of Helena Angelina for Guy II de la Roche (AD 1287-1291) BI Denier Tournois, Thebes mint, struck ca. AD 1287-1288(?) Dia.: 19 mm Wt.: 0.82 g Obv.: + ⦂ ThEBE ⦂ CIVIS ⦂ Chateau tournois Rev.: + ⦂ G ⦂ DVX ⦂ ATENES ⦂ Cross pattee Ref.: Malloy 86, Tzamalis GR105 Write up: A Group of Interesting Coins: Medieval Edition Why I find it interesting: This coin and my above write up recently led to some really interesting discussion in regard to the design and the influences on it. It is possible that the design developed from a Carolingian era temple coin that was abstracted and influenced by the architecture of medieval Tours. This is a Crusader coin from Greece with a fascinating and enigmatic architectural reference… what is not to like here for barely over $40?! Category:$51-$60 A Coin Showing the Poet Homer Ionia, Smyrna Menophilos Krabaus, magistrate. Ae Homereium, struck ca. 105-95 BC Dia.: 21 mm Wt.: 7.05 g Obv.: Laureate head of Apollo right Rev.: ΣΜΥΡΝΑΙΩΝ MHNOΦIΛOΣ KPABAYΣ. Homer, holding scroll and resting chin upon hand, seated left on plinth; sceptre behind Ref.: Milne 1927, 294 Ex Plankenhorn Collection of Ionian Coins Write up: An Ancient Coin Showing Homer Why I find it interesting: It has Homer on it! It was also probably the coin that was directly mentioned in The Geography of Strabo. Speaking of Smyrna he writes; “There is also a library; and the Homereium, a quadrangular portico containing a shrine and wooden statue of Homer; for the Smyrnaeans also lay especial claim to the poet; and indeed a bronze coin of theirs is called Homereium.” – Strabo - Category: $61-$70 A Distribution Device for Coins Roman Empire Severus Alexander AR Denarius, Antioch mint, struck AD 223 Dia.: 18.38 mm Wt.: 3.20 g Obv.: IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right Rev.: LIBERALITAS AVG, Liberalitas standing left, holding counting board and cornucopia Ref.: RIC IV 281 Antioch Ex Phil Peck (aka Morris Collection) with collectors envelope, ex private purchase from Herb Kreindler (Jan. 2005) Write up: A Beautifully Toned Liberalitas... but What is she Holding? Why I find in interesting: This coin shows Liberalitas (the Spirit of Generosity). The type commemorates occasions when the emperor distributed gifts of coins to the people. Shown in the right hand of Liberalitas is a square device with a handle that was used to quickly count and distribute the coins. Category: $71-$80 The First Jewish War Judaea First Jewish War AE Prutah, Jerusalem mint, struck ca. AD 67/8 Wt.: 2.13 g Dia.: 16 mm Obv.: Amphora; Paleo-Hebrew inscription: "Year Two" Rev.: Vine leaf; Paleo-Hebrew inscription: "Freedom of Zion" Ref.: Hendin 1360 Ex Tareq Hani Collection Write up: A Fascinating Bronze Coin of the First Jewish-Roman War Why I find it interesting: This coin was struck in Jerusalem during one of the most famous and pivotal events in history: The revolt that led to the destruction of the Second Temple. The coin proudly references the hope of the Judeans and the purpose of the currency in its Paleo-Hebrew inscription of “for the Freedom of Zion.” When you really stop and think on it the fact that someone can own such a direct link to history for barely over $70 is astonishing. Absolutely astonishing! Tower of David, Jerusalem. Place where this coin was most likely minted. (Author's photo) Category: $81-$90 A Travel Series Denarius Roman Empire Hadrian, AD 117-138. AR Denarius, 18mm, Rome mint, struck AD 134-138. Dia.: 18 mm Wt.: 3.15 g Obv.: HADRIANVS AVG COSIII PP; Laureate head right. Rev.: ITA-LIA, Italia standing left, holding sceptre and cornucopiae. Ref.: RIC II 307; BMC 853; RSC 869 Ex DePew Collection Write up: A Group of Interesting Coins: Roman Edition Why I find it interesting: Hadrian is well known to have travelled extensively during his principate. The personification of places that the emperor visited during his travels were commemorated on his coins. Here we see a reference to his travels in Italy. Italia holds a scepter in recognition of her authority over the rest of the empire. The Italia coins are less common than many of the others. Travel series coins can be quite expensive sometimes so I was very happy to add this great example with plenty of pleasant detail and toning for less than $90. To add even more to this coin it is an ex CTer coin that I purchased through a JAZ auction (super happy to see those up and running again!). Bust of Hadrian in the Uffizi Gallery (Author's photo) Category: $91-$100 Excuse me sir, you have something on your head... Roman Empire Elagalabus (218-222) AR Denarius, Rome mint, struck AD 221. Dia.: 19 mm Wt.: 2.84 g Obv.: IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG; draped and “horned” bust right Rev.: Rev. emperor standing left, sacrificing over altar, standard on either side Ref.: RIC IVB 51 Ex Shea19 collection, Ex CNG E-Auction 465, Lot 722 (part of), Ex Mike Vosper FPL 112 (11 March 2000), no. 35a Write up: Is Elagabalus Really Wearing a Desiccated Bull Phallus on his Head? Why I find it interesting: I have wanted one of these coins for YEARS but I was never able to find the right one. When I saw this one I knew it was the example I had to have. This was my one and only win from AMCC 3 which makes it that much more of a special coin. It was sold to me through a CTer (@Severus Alexander) and has a 20+ year provenance that includes the collection of another fellow CTe (@Shea19). The reason I find it interesting is the “horn” on Elagabalus’s head. One of the leading theories is that this was a dried bull penis that the emperor wore at ceremonies when sacrificing to his Syrian sun-god Elagabal. I encourage you to read my above write up for more details and some interesting discussion on the various theories. Thanks for reading! Hopefully the above is helpful in showing that interesting coins can still be had in any price bracket despite a sometimes irrational market in 2021.