My favorite ancient coin from 2019, and my favorite non-Republican coins from 2020

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Because I didn't join CT until the end of January of this year, of course I didn't post a "favorite coins of 2019" thread. So I thought I'd at least post my very favorite coin purchased last year now. Besides, I bought it in December of last year, so it almost qualifies for a 2020 list!

    Corinth AR Stater. Circa 375-345 BC. Obv: Pegasos flying left, Q below / Rev: Helmeted head of Athena left. Control-symbols behind head: Retrograde N and Ares standing left holding shield and spear. Pegasi 376 var. [“N” not retrograde”] [Calciati, R., Pegasi Vol. I (Mortara, 1990)]; Ravel 1056 [Ravel, O.E., Les "Poulains" de Corinthe, I - II (Basel, 1936; London, 1948)]; BCD Corinth 121 [Numismatik Lanz, Münzen von Korinth: Sammlung B, Auction 105 (Munich, 26 Nov. 2001)]; SNG Copenhagen 121 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Copenhagen, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Part 15, Corinth (Copenhagen 1944)]. 21mm, 8.46 g., 6h. Ex. Roma Numismatics Ltd. Auction IX, 22 March 2015, Lot 168.

    Corinth AR Stater jpg version.jpg
    As for my favorite coins of 2020, I've decided that my list is going to be entirely comprised of Roman Republican coins. But I can't decide on or post the list yet, because there are two Republican coins I ordered a while ago that still haven't arrived, so I have to wait and see how much I like them. And, since I bought a total of 30 Republican coins this year, it may take a while to narrow them down to 10.

    But I also bought 90 ancient coins this year that weren't Roman Republican, bringing my total number of ancient coins to 220 from the 90 I had at the end of last year (12 Republican, and 78 not). And I would hate not to acknowledge some of them, even if they don't make my "top 10." So here are my favorites from among them, in chronological order. (I didn't even try to rank them, and won't try to rank my top 10, either.)

    I chose the coins mostly because I found them physically appealing, but there are some I liked just as much for the historical and cultural associations (like the two with Egyptian themes and the Trajan with an underfed, mourning Dacian on the reverse), or because they're not very easy to find in decent condition at a price I can afford. And there are many more that had one side I liked just as much as any of these -- for example, my denarius of Tiberius (which has a great obverse) or my Hadrian tetradrachm from Alexandria with a wonderful Osiris-Canopus jar on the reverse -- but the other side wasn't nearly as nice. I had to reduce the number somehow!

    I will try to keep the descriptions relatively short by omitting the more obscure reference works that I originally cited. Most of the photos are dealers' photos, but I did substitute a few of my own when the dealers' pictures weren't good or the color was really off. I'm not claiming that mine are any great shakes, but I think they're an improvement.

    (The numbering begins with 11, to make clear that these are not my official top 10, which I'll post when I can, sometime after the last two Republican coins arrive.)

    11. Egypt, Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy VI Philometor [“Mother-loving”] (First reign, 180-164 BCE), ca.180-170 BCE, Alexandria Mint. Obv. Diademed head of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis / Rev. Eagle with closed wings standing left on thunderbolt, ΠTOΛEMAIOY on left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ on right. Seaby 7895 [Sear, David, Greek Coins & their Values, Vol. II: Asia & Africa (Seaby 1979)]; SNG Copenhagen 262-268 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Copenhagen, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Part 40: Egypt: The Ptolemies (Copenhagen 1977)]. 26 mm., 12.14 g.

    Ptolemy VI tetradrachm jpg version.jpg


    12. Lydia, Tralleis/Tralles, AR Cistophoric Tetradrachm, 127/126 BCE or 122/121 BCE, Magistrate Ptol-. Obv. Cista mystica with lid ajar and serpent emerging; all within ivy wreath / Rev. Bowcase (gorytos) with two serpents (one to left and one to right, heads at top); H [= date = Year 8 = 127/126 BCE or 122/121 BCE] over ΠTOΛ [PTOL] above, between serpents’ heads, TPAΛ [TRAL] in left field; to right, Dionysos in short chiton standing facing, head left, holding thyrsos in right hand and mask of Silenos in left hand. SNG Copenhagen 662-663 var. [different year] [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Copenhagen, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Part 28, Lydia Part 2 (Copenhagen 1947)]. 24 mm., 12.64 g. [probably = 3 drachms, not 4], 1 h. Ex: CNG Auction 225 (13 Jan. 2010), Lot 144.

    Lydia, Tralleis. AR Cistophoric Tetradrachm. jpg version.jpg

    13. Syria, Seleucid Empire, Antiochos VIII Epiphanes (Grypon) Tetradrachm, 109-96 BCE Antioch Mint. Obv. Diademed head of Antiochos VIII right / Rev. Zeus Nikephoros seated left on high-backed throne, holding Nike on outstretched right hand and scepter in left; to outer left, E/P monogram above A [Antioch]; ΔI monogram below throne; BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ ANTIOXOY EΠIΦANOYΣ; all within laurel wreath. Seleucid Coins [SC] Pt. 2, 2309; Seleucid Coins Online [same] (see http://numismatics.org/sco/id/sc.1.2309); Seaby 7145 (ill.) [Sear, David, Greek Coins & their Values, Vol. II: Asia & Africa (Seaby 1979)]; Hoover HGC 9, 1200 [Hoover, Oliver, Handbook of Syrian Coins, Royal and Civic Issues, Fourth to First Centuries BC, The Handbook of Greek Coinage Series, Volume 9 (2009)]; SNG Israel 2554-55 [Spaer, A. & A. Houghton, Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Israel I, The Arnold Spaer Collection of Seleucid Coins (London, 1998)]. 27 mm., 16.2 g.

    New Antiochos VIII COMBINED 2.jpg

    14. Galba AR Denarius, Aug-Oct 68 AD Rome Mint. Obv. Bare head right, IMP SER GALBA AVG / Rev. S P Q R/ O • B/ C S [OB CS = OB CIVES SERVATOS (For Saving the Citizens)] in three lines within oak wreath. RIC I 167, RSC II 287, Sear RCV I 2109 (ill.). 18.33 mm., 3.29 g.

    Galba Denarius RIC I 167 jpg.jpg

    15. Trajan AR Denarius, 106 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Laureate bust right; IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TRP COS V P P / Rev. Captive Dacian in peaked cap with wide brim, seated right on shield in mournful attitude with left elbow on raised left knee, and face resting in left hand; below, curved Dacian sword (falx) right; SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI. RIC II 219 (http://numismatics.org/ocre/results?q=RIC+II+Trajan+219); RSC II 529; Sear RCV II 3168 (obv. var.); BMCRE 175 (https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/C_R-11584). 17 mm., 3.02 g., 6 h.

    Trajan-Dacian in mourning jpg version.jpg

    16. Hadrian AR Denarius, 136 AD, Travel Series, Rome Mint. Obv: HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, bare head right / Rev: AEGYPTOS, Egypt reclining left, holding sistrum in right hand and resting left arm on basket; to left, ibis standing right. RIC II-3 1482 (2019 ed.), old RIC II 297d (1926 ed.), RSC II 99, Sear RCV II 3456, BMCRE 801-3. 18 mm., 3.11 g., 7 h.

    Hadrian-Aegyptos - new combined photo.png

    17. Julia Domna, AR Denarius ca. 201 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Draped bust right, hair waved vertically and fastened in large bun in back, IVLIA AVGVSTA / Rev. Isis, wearing polos on head, draped, standing three-quarters right, head right, holding the nursing infant Horus in left arm against left breast, with her right hand holding a wreath or other ring-shaped object against her chest, her left foot against prow, right, and her left knee bent with Horus resting on it; to left of Isis, rudder rests against altar; SAECVLI FELICITAS. RIC IV-1 577 (p. 170), RSC III 174 (ill.), Sear RCV II 6606, BMCRE 166. 18x20 mm., 3.35 g., 6 h. Ex. A.K. Collection; ex. CNG Triton XX Auction, Jan. 10, 2017, part of Lot # 614, No. E027. [Note that in reality, contrary to the dealer's photos, the coin is not green at all.]

    New Julia Domna - Isis COMBINED.jpg

    18. Balbinus AR Denarius, April-June 238 AD, Rome mint. Obv. Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, IMP C D CAEL BALBINVS AVG / Rev. Bearded Genius of the Senate or Emperor, togate, standing front, head left, holding branch in right hand and short transverse scepter in left hand, PM TRP COS II PP. RIC IV-2 5, RSC III 20, Sear RCV III 8489 (ill.). 20 mm., 2.65 g. (Ex: Kirk Davis, Cat # 74, Fall 2019, Lot 83).

    BALBINUS, AD 238. AR Denarius (2.65g). jpg version.jpg

    19. Julian II, AE Double Maiorina, 361-363 AD, Sirmium [Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia] Mint, 2nd Officina. Obv. Pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, FL CL IVLI-ANVS PF AVG / Bull standing right, two stars above, SECVRITAS REIPVB; in exergue: mintmark star-BSIRM-palm branch. RIC VIII Sirmium 107B (p. 392), Sear RCV V 19152 (ill.), Cohen 38. 28 mm., 8.48 g. (Purchased from Frank S. Robinson.)

    New Julian II - bull COMBINED (light background).jpg

    [# 20 to follow.]

    Feel free to post any and all comments and opinions, or anything else you think is appropriate.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
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  3. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I thought these two were inextricable, and I like them because animals:

    20a. Philip I AR Antoninianus, 248 AD, Rome Mint, 5th Officina. Obv. Radiate, draped, & cuirassed bust right, IMP PHILIPPVS AVG/ Rev. Stag walking right, SAECVLARES AVGG; V in exergue. RIC IV-3 19, RSC IV 182, Sear RCV III 8958. 22 mm., 4.32 g. (Games commemorating 1,000th anniversary of founding of Rome.)

    Philip I stag reverse Antoninien 248  Rome (23,5mm, 4,32g, 1h) AU_AU _ MA-Shops. jpg image.jpg

    20b. Otacilia Severa (wife of Philip I) AR antoninianus AD 248, Rome mint, 4th Officina. Obv. Draped bust right, wearing stephane, crescent behind shoulders, OTACIL SEVERA AVG/ Rev. Hippopotamus standing right, SAECVLARES AVGG; IIII in exergue. RIC IV-3 116(b), RSC IV-3 63, Sear RCV III 9160 (ill.). 23 mm., 4.52 g. (Games commemorating 1,000th anniversary of founding of Rome.)

    Otacilia Severa hippo COMBINED IMAGE.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
  4. Alegandron

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

    I like them ALL, Donna. Very nice additions! I really enjoy the last one, the Water Pig... really nice with that angry look. :)
     
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  5. Restitutor

    Restitutor Well-Known Member

    All superb coins! That Julian portrait though is killer! Never come across one in such perfect quality in my searches, you are very lucky! ;)
     
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  6. tibor

    tibor Well-Known Member

    Hard to pick a favorite from these beauties. I will pick two though. The
    first one is the Hadrian "Travel Series" piece. I would one like to start a
    collection of these. The second would be #19, Julian II. The condition
    for a coin that is 1600+ years old is amazing. Thanks for sharing!!
     
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  7. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I've always enjoyed your coin choices, your questions about them, as well as all the information you share. Your colt is a beauty, and as for your 2020 coins, my favorite is the Otacilia; I've always liked the type and yours is a great example. Also the Ptolemy tetradrachm and that awesome Trajan. Good stuff so far all around, actually! I'm looking forward to the Top 10.
     
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  8. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    All very nice coins, Donna. Each has something special. I like them all.

    #17, #19, and #20a are so special...
    #17 has such a young looking portrait. #19 portrait is stunning, and #20a reverse a really cool-looking stag. :happy:
     
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  9. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    Great coins Donna. Even though I am not into Roman coinage, I really like your choices. You seem to have a great taste for picking coin themes that make them really interesting.
     
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  10. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Beautiful examples.
    My favorites would be Balbinus (extraordinary details), Trajan with the captive Dacian and the last two from Philip and Otacilia.
     
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  11. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Thats a very nice list of beautiful coins, congratulations. And quite the haul this year, well over 100 coins!
    My favorites are the Julian II, Galba (stunning portrait!) and the Antiochos VIII Tetradrachm. The last one is purely eye appeal, such a beauty of a coin!
     
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  12. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coins, my favorites are denarii of Galba, Trajan, Balbinus and Hadrian. Good year for you.
     
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  13. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    You've had a stellar year @DonnaML congrats. I'm very envious of your Galba, as it would make a nice trio with my own Otho and Vitellius !

    One day....
    Q
     
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  14. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Donna, This is a wonderful selection of coins :D! My favorite is #18, the Balbinus denarius. This coin reaches the epitome of 3rd century portraiture :jawdrop:. My next favorite would be the Galba denarius, #14. Unlike most of the stern, fearsome portraits we usually see of Galba, this coin without the typical laurel wreath, exposes his human side. My next favorite would be #19, the bronze of Julian II. I like the strange, atypical portrait on this coin, depicting him as a wise, old philosopher. An honorable mention should go to the angry hippo :mad: in the midst of her slow charge.
     
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  15. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    What a year it has been for you! My favorites are the Corinthian stater, the Antiochus VIII, and the Galba.
     
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  16. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    DonnaML, 2020 clearly an exception year for coins, with the "not-top 10" all top-10 worthy and another 80 coins from this year in the background!

    I have to mention #12 Tralles Cistophic tetradrachm which I find interesting (i.e. coveted) when you first posted. This coin interesting to me for the "H" (date), PTOL (magistrate?), citophori generally as regional currency, and the clear strike and style of your coin: 12. Lydia, Tralleis/Tralles, AR Cistophoric Tetradrachm (My notes on these coins with some generally useful online references: Late Republican Cistophorus, and Early Cistophoric Tetradrachm).

    As the interactions between Rome and Egypt also of interest : I will mention #11 Ptolemy VI Philometor too as a favorite! Great coins, and I look forward to seeing the official top 10!
     
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  17. Orielensis

    Orielensis Supporter! Supporter

    That's a fantastic selection of non-Republican coins. Having a soft spot for Hadrian, my favorite is clear. Now I'm excited to see how your "official" top ten can be even better!

    Also, I'm green with envy for that fabulous Corinth stater. I was in the market for a Corinth stater myself this year. But as we all know, auction prices skyrocketed... Maybe 2021 will be better.
     
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  18. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    If these aren’t even the top 10, then I’d say you’ve had an excellent year Donna - congrats! They are lovely
     
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  19. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    As my old brain recollects, cistophoric tets were tariffed at three denarii.
     
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  20. bcuda

    bcuda Supporter! Supporter

    All wonderful coins that I would love to have in my collection. Idf I had to pick just one it would be the Balbinus that one checks all the boxes for me !
     
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  21. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..great artistic coins Donna :)
     
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