My Top 10 for 2021

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Al Kowsky, Nov 27, 2021.

  1. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    This morning I awakened to a chilly 34 degrees & a blanket of snow on the ground. It looks like autumn is gone & winter is here in Churchville, NY. I had a good year scoring coins I really liked & had a hard time picking a top 10. These coins are arraigned from oldest to latest. Let me know if you have a favorite ;).

    CNG Triton XXIV, 839_1.jpg CELTIC, Veneti Tribe, Northwest Gaul, circa 100-50 BC. AR Stater: 7.19 gm, 19.5 mm, 8 h. Obverse: Head of Ogmios surrounded by strings of pearls & spirals. Reverse: Charioteer holding a stem with a rosette on top while driving a man-headed horse, running boar below, Gruel & Morin 469. Very rare.

    Some of the Celtic coins from Gaul & Eastern Europe have bizarre & surreal images that influenced a number of modern artists from the 20th century.

    CNG Triton XXIV,image01365, Coin Archives.jpg
    CELTIC Britain, Trinovantes & Catuvellauni, Cunobelinus, circa AD 10-43. Camulodunum Mint. AV Stater: 5.42 gm, 18 mm, 12 h. Obverse: Ear of grain & letters CA MV. Reverse: Prancing horse with palm branch above & war shield below, CVNO in exergue. ABC 2768; Van Arsdell 2010-1. Ex CNG Triton XXIV, lot 13.65; Ex Dix Noonan Web 114, lot 1281, September 18, 2013.

    This is the most iconic coin type from Celtic Britain, & the first to identify a king & the mint where it was struck. Cunobelin was the most powerful king of the Britons & an important trading partner with the Romans.

    CNG 118, 1100_2 image (4).jpg
    Septimius Severus, AD 193-211 (struck AD 194/5), Rome Mint. AE Sestertius: 24.58 gm, 32 mm, 6 h. Obverse: Laureate & cuirassed bust of Severus. Reverse: Goddess Africa with an elephant-skin headdress, drawing a fold of her drapery, striding lion behind her. RIC IV 676. Ex CNG Inventory 861656, January 2010.

    Severus was the first emperor born in Africa, & his reign changed the face of Roman history. Under his control the military became the dominate force in Roman politics while the senate became a mere legislative body void of any real power.

    Caracalla-Judaea, Prieur 1660 & 1661.jpg
    JUDAEA, Caesarea Maritima, Caracalla, AD 198-217 (struck AD 215/217) Mintmark: flaming torch surrounded by a serpent. Billon Tetradrachm: 14.69 gm, 25 mm, 1 h. Prieur 1660/1661 (obverse/reverse). Rare.

    Caracalla was the eldest son of Septimius Severus & Julia Domna. After the death of Severus, he plotted to have his younger brother assassinated so he could rule the empire alone. His ambition to conquer the Persian empire, as Alexander the Great did, was his undoing. His praetorian prefect, Macrinus, had him assassinated before his army reached Carrhae, Mesopotamia.

    CNG Auction 491, image00212, large (4).jpg
    Pisidia-Antiochia, Gordian III, AD 238-244. AE 25.82 gm, 34.1 mm, 7 h. Krzyanowska dies XX/85; RPC VII 2 (unassigned ID 3373) Rare.

    The young prince became emperor of Rome at the age of 13. The Historia Augusta states "he was light-hearted, handsome, & loved by the people, senate, & the soldiers as no prince before him ever was". Despite the crude lettering & light adjustment marks on the obverse, I couldn't resist adding this coin to my collection. Gordian's portrait is exceptional for a provincial coin & it feels great in the hand.

    image01681, Postumus (3).jpg
    Romano-Gallic Empire, Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus, AD 260-269, Treveri Mint (Trier, Germany), 3rd emission, AD 261. AE Sestertius: 25.5 gm, 32 mm, 6 h. Obverse: Laureate & cuirassed bust of Postumus. Reverse: Victory striding left with wreath & palm branch, captive at her feet. RIC V 170.

    Postumus is the most well-known & important of all the Gallic usurpers. He was appointed by Valerian as Imperial Ligate of Germania Inferior. As Valerian & his co-emperor Gallienus were fighting barbarians, the Roman empire rapidly decayed. The soldiers under the command of Postumus elected him as emperor of Gaul & Germania. He held that position for 9 years until he was assassinated by his own troops.

    Zeno, CNG, 489, lot 584, flip-over double strike.jpg
    Zeno (2nd reign), AD 476-491, Constantinople Mint. AV Solidus: 4.49 gm, 21 mm, 6 h. Obverse: Zeno with helmet & spear dressed in battle gear. Reverse: Victory holding a long cross. Flip-over double strike. RIC X 910. Rare.

    Flip-over double strikes are not common on Byzantine copper coins & rarely seen on gold coinage. The main images on the coin weren't distorted, so the mint inspector probably missed it or decided it was good enough to mix with the good coins.

    CNG 490, Lot 339_2, $460, AK.jpg
    Justinian I, AD 527-565 (struck year 31, AD 557/8) Nicomedia Mint, Officina 2. AE 40 Nummi: 18.43 gm, 33 mm, 6 h. Hard green deposits on the reverse & die rust on both sides. Sear 201. Ex Peter J. Merani Collection, purchased from Mark E. Reid (The Time Machine), December6, 1998.

    Justinian I is considered by most historians as the greatest of all Byzantine emperors. His military leaders temporarily recovered all the territory that had been lost by the previous late Roman emperors. The "Great Plague" epidemic occurred during his reign, & Justinian was also stricken with the plague but miraculously recovered. I usually don't buy coins that look this rough, but you can't be too fussy with Byzantine coins.

    Sear 1859, Al Kowsky Collection (2).jpg
    Romanus IV & Eudokia, AD 1068-1071, Constantinople Mint. AV Histamenon Nomisma: 4.43 gm, 27 mm, 6 h, 18K. Obverse: Jesus Christ flanked by Romanus & Eudokia. Reverse: Michael VII flanked by Constantius & Andronicus. Sear 1859.

    The collecting fraternity refers to these common syphate coins as "6 headers". Well struck examples that haven't been clipped or bent can be very expensive. Romanus IV is best remembered for leading the Byzantine army & mercenaries in the Battle of Manzikert, which turned out to be the greatest disaster in Byzantine History. In the heat of the battle most of Romanus' troops deserted him, but he fought bravely until he was forced to surrender to the Sultan of Baghdad, Alp Arslan. The Sultan allowed him to return to Constantinople where he was immediately arrested. Romanus, in a public demonstration, had his eyes removed with a red-hot iron poker, & was then paraded on a jackass to a church he had built. He died an agonizing death several days later. Endokia was also arrested & sent to a church she had built. She was never seen in public again.

    CNG 489, 678_2 (2).jpg
    AUSTRIA, Holy Roman Empire, 1564-1595, Hall Mint. AR Thaler: 28.20 gm, 40 mm, 12 h. Obverse: Ferdinand II, Duke of Austria, Archduke of Burgundy, Count of Tyrol, crowned & armored, holding a scepter & the other hand on a sword hilt. Reverse: Coat of arms of Austria surrounded by the Order of the Golden Fleece. Davenport 8094.

    This coin obviously isn't ancient, it is an early Baroque Period machine-made coin that replaced the hand-struck coinage of the Gothic Period. It was made on a screw press that was usually operated by two strong men. This new method of manufacturing coins attracted some of the finest engravers in Europe, especially Germany, Austria, Italy & France. The new Baroque style was highly detailed, the lettering was done in the simple Roman style that was easier to read than Gothic lettering, & the finished product surpassed anything made before it in quality.

    Nvb, eparch, Heliodromus and 53 others like this.
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  3. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Wow, Al-- I must've missed these the first time around because I didn't know you strayed much from eagle-reverse tets! What a wonderfully diverse assortment!

    The condition of that Postumus sestertius is remarkable :).

    Love that Gordie provincial!

    The Septimius Severus sestertius is envy-inducing.

    The Celtics, particularly the Veneti, are very interesting.

    Nice year!!
  4. El Cazador

    El Cazador Well-Known Member

    @Al, great coins - my vote goes for the wonderful portrait of Postumus, though I was expecting more Greek silver and a ton of Caracalla Tetradrachms (those are just so cool to collect)
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2021
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Wow!!! Fantastic coins, @Al Kowsky! Any of these would be a treasured addition to anyone's collection. If pressed, I'd have to say the Septimius Severus sestertius with the Africa and lion reverse is my favorite of the bunch.
  6. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    I liked the most the Veneti coin, the Cunobelin and that exceptional Septimius Severus portrait.
  7. Alwin

    Alwin Supporter! Supporter

    :wideyed::wideyed::wideyed: Impossible to choose a single favorite coin, all of them are impressive. I particularly like 1, 3, 6 and 9.
  8. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    It's an outstanding group. My favorites are the Septimius Severus AFRICA sestertius and the 6-figure Byzantine gold of Romanus IV.

    I have the AFRICA type as a denarius:


    Septimius Severus, 193-211.
    20-19 mm. RIC 253.

    The warmth of the brown sestertius is wonderful. I think a good sestertius is preferable to a good denarius of the same design.
  9. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    Wonderful additions to your collections Al, my favorites are the Zeno solidus and the Celtic stater. However, all are excellent. Thank you for sharing.
  10. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Great group Al! The Septimius/Africa sestertius is a stunner! I also really like that Caracalla tet and the huge Gordian provincial.
  11. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Wonderful selections, Al. Your Celtic coins and Zeno AV solidus are my favorites.

    I recently noticed some Celtic coins have very nice designs. I'll have to do some research before picking up a few next year. I like modern error coins, and surely like your flip over double struck Zeno. Thanks for sharing.
  12. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    The sestertius of Gordie is irresistible. Very nice assortment indeed.
  13. kirispupis

    kirispupis Supporter! Supporter

    Going to have to go with the Veneti Tribe coin. I've always loved the abstract designs.
  14. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    While the Septimius is very nice, I prefer the Veneti. In keeping with the season, I choose to see Ebenezer Scrooge riding Bob Cratchit in the rush to make up for work lost on Christmas day.

    I do not have the Africa standing even as the denarius but I have the reclining denarius from the later period which I have never seen in bronze.

    Gordian is certainly exceptional. My closest is the common type (AE34) from the city (and worn). It came identified as the emperor sacrificing but the reverse face hardly seems like the boy.

    My 'match' for the Postumus suffers a bit from the flan having been used previously (by the two Victories type).

    You have very good taste in coins.
  15. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

    Lovely coins but for me the detail and style of the obverse on the Septimius Severus makes it my favourite.
  16. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    A wonderful group, @Al Kowsky! My favorites: the two Celtic coins, the Postumus, and the Gordian III.
  17. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Very nice indeed, all great specimens but that Gordi is exceptional, congrats Al.
  18. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter Dealer

    A fabulous set of coins, Al. Well done! My favorite is the Veneti stater - the whole universe of Celtic culture seems to be summed up in that one coin. Also, the sestertius of Postumus is outstanding for its strong and even reverse strike.
  19. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    These are all exceptional Al! I like them all but my top three favorites are;
    • Celtic Cunobelin stater - What an interesting coin type being the first to name a Celtic British king. Very cool
    • Septimius Severus Sestertius - Simply wonderful portrait
    • Romanus IV Histomenon Numisma - What a brutal story to go with a beautiful coin!
  20. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    TIF, Thanks for the comments :happy:. I didn't have much luck with Levant Tets this year, most of the high-grade coins were going for crazy prices :rolleyes:. You were absent from CT a long time this year & probably missed many of my threads, so I'll leave some links on threads below ;).
    DonnaML and TIF like this.
  21. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    El Cazadon, Thanks for the comments :happy:. The coin pictured below was the best looking Caracalla Tet I scored this year.

    Caracalla, AD 215-217. Prieur 1225.jpg
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