A couple of weeks ago, I wrote the following in a thread about aurei and other ancient gold coins, after explaining that it's very unlikely that I'll ever be able to afford to buy an aureus: "I have been keeping my eye out for some time for a solidus to buy, as the closest thing to an aureus there is. Specifically, I've been hoping, since well before this thread, to buy a solidus that's (1) from a well-known, reputable dealer, for obvious reasons; (2) under $1,000 . . .; (3) in decent condition on both sides, reasonably well-centered, with the legends readable and none of the important elements worn off or off the flan; (4) early enough still to look like (and be considered) a Late Roman coin, with a Latin legend and reasonably realistic faces and figures, rather than looking like a Byzantine coin with very non-realistic figures and ultra-religious themes, since coins like that don't generally appeal to me as a matter of personal taste . . . and, preferably, (5) one that isn't in a slab, since I'd probably break it out anyway and don't want to pay the premium that dealers usually charge for slabbed coins. Maybe all of that is asking a lot, but that's been my ideal." When I posted that comment, I had just finally found one that met all or most of those criteria -- and also has a provenance all the way back to 1960! -- but wanted to wait to talk about it specifically. It arrived a couple of days ago, so I can safely post it now. It's a solidus of Arcadius -- actually the very first separate Eastern Roman emperor, from 395-408 AD. As summarized at http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?vpar=489&pos=11&sold=1, "Flavius Arcadius was the son of Theodosius I and Aelia Flaccilla. Born in 377 A.D., Arcadius was raised to the rank of Augustus by his father at the age of six [in 383 AD]. Upon the death of Theodosius in 395 A.D., Arcadius was given the Eastern half of the Roman empire while his brother Honorius received the Western half." A notoriously ineffective emperor (just like his brother!), but that didn't seem to affect his gold coins adversely. Anyway, here it is: Eastern Roman Empire, Arcadius, 383-408 AD, AV Solidus 397-402 AD, Constantinople Mint (9th Officina). Obv. Helmeted and cuirassed bust facing three-quarters right, holding spear over right shoulder and shield on left arm bearing image of horseman right; D N ARCADI-VS P F AVG / Rev. Helmeted Constantinopolis seated facing on throne, head right, with right knee bare and right foot resting on prow, holding long scepter with right hand and, on left hand, Victory with wreath standing on globe; CONCORDI-A AVGG Θ [Theta, for 9th Officina]; in exergue, CONOB [for Constantinople Mint]. RIC X 7 at. p. 240 (1994); Dumberton Oaks Catalogue, Late Roman 207-217 (217 = 9th Officina) and Plate 8 [P. Griessen. & M. Mays, Catalogue of Late Roman Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection, etc. (1992)]; Sear RCV V 20706 (ill. p. 431) (1994). 20 mm., 4.44 g. Purchased from Dr. Busso Peus Nachf., Frankfurt, Germany, 1 April 2021. Ex. Auktionen Münzhandlung Sonntag Auktion 33 Lot 36 (23.11. 2020); ex. Auktion 116 München Münzhandlung Karl Kreß [Kress](Otto Helbing Nachfolger), Lot 729 (28.10.1960). Obviously it's not in perfect condition, but I really love it. I had almost forgotten how much I like gold coins! Of course, I'm more familiar with milled British gold, and hammered gold is much thinner -- the reverse of this one is a little bit concave near the rim, in fact -- but it's just as appealing. To me, it looks even better in hand than in the photo. For example, you can clearly see in hand what appears in the photo to be the very faint upper right edge of Arcadius's helmet. I very much like the way that Constantinopolis's face is engraved on the reverse; it's much more finely and realistically engraved than a number of others I've seen. Also, I might have preferred an obverse portrait in profile (as more traditionally Roman), but even though this one is in three-quarters facing view, I think the face is much better preserved than some of the others I looked at. (Such as the ones on which the emperor's nose is basically spread all over his face!) In general, I was very pleased to be able to buy the coin for less than my $1,000 self-imposed price limit. (The 5% discount the dealer gave me helped!) Interestingly, David Sear states in RCV V at p. 429 that this 3/4 facing style was something new: "In the gold coinage, a new obverse type was introduced for the eastern solidi showing a helmeted three-quarter face bust of the emperor with spear and shield. Honorius' western mints retained the traditional profile image, but in the East the new obverse was to become the norm down to the early years of the reign of Justinian and in the late 7th century was even briefly revived by Constantine IV." (But: isn't there an earlier solidus of Constantius II [RIC 168] that has almost exactly the same type of three-quarters facing bust? See https://www.acsearch.info/image.html?id=5918148 for an example. So did Arcadius really "introduce" that type? Perhaps Sear didn't mention the earlier one because it didn't establish a trend?) Here's a copy of the entry for this type from the Dumbarton Oaks Catalogue, which is available online. As noted above, the 9th Officina is No. 217: The dealer, Dr Busso Peus, was kind enough to provide me with documentation (including the relevant plate) of the 1960 provenance, namely, Karl Kress Auction 116 in Munich, 28 Oct. 1960, Lot 729. It's the third-oldest provenance I have (after a Giovanni Dattari Collection coin I own and a coin from the 1887 East Harptree hoard), and the only one with photographic evidence for the provenance: A detail of Lot 729: The handwritten numbers next to each lot are, of course, the actual auction prices. I don't know what currency they're in -- presumably, the Deutschmark (DM), in effect from 1948. The relevant plate: A detail showing Lot 729 -- a bit blurry, but clearly the same coin, I think. The only thing that made me feel a bit uneasy was the fact that Karl Kreß (Kress) was the coin's dealer in 1960. See this Dec. 2019 post by @Curtisimo (at https://www.cointalk.com/threads/curtisimo’s-top-10-of-2019.352186/#post-3955142): "Otto Helbing Nachf. was a prominent Jewish family run auction house based in Munich which was founded in 1878. In the mid 1930s the family was forced to flee Germany and the firm was seized by the Nazis and transferred to Karl Kress at some point before 1938 (a process often referred to as aryanizing). Until 1944 Kress continued to use the Otto Helbing name. A look through restitution claim records show that some of these auctions were populated with material seized by the SS and sold through the Kress-run auction house. This coin was part of an auction in November 1942 held under these circumstances. My research leads me to believe that this coin was unsold in that sale and that it and the other unsold lots were retained by Karl Kress for the rest of his life. Kress died in 1969 but his firm continued until 1986. These WWII era unsold lots as well as the rest of the Karl Kress inventory were purchased as a group and sold by Gorney & Mosch at auction in 2016." A couple of further notes based on my own brief research: At the time the Otto Helbing firm was "Aryanized" -- which, as I know from my own family's experience, usually meant a forced sale at an extortionately low price that sometimes wasn't even paid -- it was "owned by Heinrich Hirsch, father of Gerhard Hirsch, who founded the still active Münzhandlung Gerhard Hirsch Nachf." See The E-Sylum for 9/11/2016 at the Newman Numismatic Portal (https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/periodical/512844). We don't know exactly why Karl Kreß was given the opportunity to acquire the firm and its inventory -- although of necessity he must have been a Nazi party member himself or otherwise a supporter of the regime -- but it seems that he was not even a numismatist by trade before the sale. See https://nnp.wustl.edu/Library/AdvancedSearch?page=3&fullsearchterm=hess leu&contenttype=Periodical for an abstract of the article published after his death in Coin World [02/11/1970] (pg. 65), stating that "Mr Kress had been a printer by trade then had purchased the Munich numismatic firm of Otto Helbing." See also https://www.amazon.com/Messen-Prüfen-Gewinden-Werkstattbücher-German/dp/3662406136/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&qid=1618339690&refinements=p_27:Karl+Kress&s=books&sr=1-2, a link to a copy on Amazon, with a photo of the cover, of Karl Kress's 1938 book Messen und Prüfen von Gewinden (Werkstattbücher, 65) (in translation, "Measuring and testing threads (workshop books, 65)" -- nothing to do with numismatics, I think). What gives me comfort, though, and leads me to feel that there's nothing "tainted" about the coin (at least, not directly), is that I think it's extremely unlikely that any coin that was in the Otto Helbing inventory at the time Kress acquired the firm circa 1938 was still in inventory in 1960. Especially a gold solidus. Of course it's true that Kress benefited financially from the sale of this very coin, but there''s nothing I can do about that. And better that the coin is in my hands now than in his. Please post your coins of any kind issued by Arcadius, and/or your gold solidi issued by any emperor. Or your old European provenances for which you have actual photographic evidence from catalogs.