My top 10 of 2019 (so far).

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Michael Stolt, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. Michael Stolt

    Michael Stolt Well-Known Member

    I'm still awaiting a couple of great coins that definitely both would make the list, one which is the female head denarius I recently posted, and the other one a purchase I'll keep secret until I receive it in two weeks or so ;)

    I'll do it in reverse order starting with number ten, even though I must say it's difficult to give them specific placements as I really like them all. So here goes.


    Number ten is this gorgeous Q. Pomponius Musa denarius depicting Urania, the muse of astronomy on the reverse.


    Q. Pomponius Musa. 56 BC. AR Denarius (18.5mm, 4.06 g). Rome mint.

    Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo (or Urania?) right; star of eight rays to left.

    Reverse: Urania, the Muse of Astronomy, wearing long flowing tunic and peplum, standing left, touching with wand held in right hand a globe set on base; Q • POMPONI downward to right, MVSA downward to left.

    Reference: Crawford 410/8

    Provenance: Naville Numismatics Auction 46, (27 January 2019) lot 371. Ex Varesi sale 28, (1998) lot 182.


    In place number nine we have this gorgeous little obol minted in Cabellio by Lepidus. This is a scarce type that is very difficult to find in good condition.


    M. Aemilius Lepidus. 44-42 BC. AR Obol (9mm, 0.36 g). Minted in Cabellio (Cavaillon), Gaul.

    Obverse: Head of Apollo right; CABE upwards in right field.

    Reverse: LE-PI flanking cornucopia; all within laurel wreath.

    Reference: RPC I 528

    Provenance: Leu Numismatik Web auction 8 (29 June, 2019), lot 611.


    We continue with small denominations minted in Gaul with number eight. A gorgeous and well struck quinarius of Mark Antony minted in Lugdunum. With the obverse bust of Victory bearing the resemblance of his third wife Fulvia. This type is extremely difficult to find in this conditon.


    Mark Antony. Early 42 BC. AR Quinarius (13mm, 1.88 g). Lugdunum (Lyon) mint.

    Obverse: Winged bust of Victory right, with the likeness of Fulvia; III·VIR downwards in left field; R·P·C upwards in right field.

    Reverse: Lion walking right; ANTONI above; A - XLI ( = 41, Antony’s age at time of issue) across field; IMP in exergue.

    Reference: Crawford 489/6

    Provenance: Numismatik Naumann Auction 73 (6 January 2019), lot 440.


    At number seven we have a mythological creature depicted on the reverse, a sphinx, and you cant complain much about the gorgeously engraved obverse bust :)


    T. Carisius.
    46 BC. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.80 g). Rome mint.

    Obverse: Head of Sibyl Herophile right, hair elaborately decorated with jewels and enclosed in a sling, tied with bands.

    Reverse: Sphinx seated right; T • CARISIVS above, III • VIR in exergue.

    Reference: Crawford 464/1

    Provenance: Ex Aureo & Calicó Auction 319 – Alba Longa, vol. I (7 November 2018), lot 223, Ex Sotheby's "Greek and Roman coins" (28 October 1993), lot 1385.


    Number six is so lustrous in hand it almost burns you eyes, I love the high state of preservation of this coin, a tiny little masterpiece.


    L. Censorinus. 82 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.99 g). Rome mint.

    Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo right.

    Reverse: Marsyas standing left, raising hand and holding wineskin over shoulder; L•CENSOR downwards in left field; column surmounted by statue of Minerva(?) in right field.

    Reference: Crawford 363/1d

    Provenance: CNG 111 (29 May 2019), lot 613. From the Alan J. Harlan Collection, purchased from Edward J. Waddell, Ltd.


    In fifth place we have a tiny wonder of the earlier days of Republican coinage. These are extremely difficult to find like this. And this particular specimen is probably among the finest known. A big bonus after having purchased it was the discovery of the provenance leading to the collection of Virgil Brand.


    Anonymous. Ca. 235-231 BC. Æ Half-Litra (12mm, 1.37 g, 7h). Rome mint.

    Obverse: Head of Roma or Minerva(?) right, wearing Phrygian helmet.

    Reverse: Dog standing right, left forepaw raised in pointing stance; ROMA in exergue.

    Reference: Crawford 26/4

    Provenance: Heritage Auctions, Weekly auction 231923 (29 May 2019), Ex Goodman collection, Triton I (2 December 1997), lot 842; Ex Virgil Brand (1862-1926) collection, Part VII (Sotheby's , 25 October 1984, lot 478 (part of).


    In fourth place we have something really rare, a Tressis from mark Antony's fleet coinage. This was a random find listed at a dealer that coincidentally lives in the same town as I.


    Mark Antony. 38-37 BC. Æ Tressis (32mm, 25.78 g). Naval base in Greece (at Piraeus?); M. Oppius Capito, propraetor and praefectus classicus.

    Obverse: M•ANT•IMP•TERT•COS•DESIG•ITER•ET•TER•III•VIR•R•P•C - Conjoined bare heads of Mark Antony and Octavian right, facing draped bust of Octavia left.

    Reverse: M•OPPIVS•CAPITO•PRO•PR•PRAEF•CLASS•F•C - Three galleys under sail to right. Γ (Gamma) and Triskeles below.

    Reference: RPC I 1463


    Time for the podium. On third place we have another T. Carisius denarius. This one is absolutely stunning. these are difficult to find well struck in the first place, and they almost always come from dies of far inferior style. This one is just marvelous.


    T. Carisius. 46 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.61 g). Rome mint.

    Obverse: Head of Roma right, wearing ornate helmet; ROMA behind.

    Reverse: Scepter, cornucopia on globe, and rudder; T • CARISI below; all within laurel wreath.

    Reference: Crawford 464/3c

    Provenance: Triton XXII (9 January 2019), lot 912. From the Alan J. Harlan Collection, purchased from Freeman & Sear. Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 33 (5 April 2006), lot 339.


    On second place we have this Social War denarius that I posted very recently, so it doesn't need too much of an introduction :)


    The Social War. Coinage of the Marsic Confederation. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.64 g). Corfinium mint. Struck 90 BC.

    Obverse: Laureate head of Italia left, ITALIA upwards behind.

    Reverse: Oath-taking scene: Youth kneeling by standard, holding pig at which eight soldiers (four on each side) point their swords, C in exergue.

    Reference: Campana 63i, D36/R54 (this coin).

    Provenance: Ex Roma Numismatics, Auction XVIII (29 September 2019), lot 842; Ex Baldwin's Auctions Ltd - M&M Numismatics Ltd - Italo Vecchi Ltd, The New York Sale I (3 December 1998), lot 4; Ex 'R. J. Graham' (Paul Tinchant) Collection, J. Schulman, Auction 243 (8 June 1966), lot 1400.
    Published in A. Campana, La monetazione degli insorti Italici durante la guerra sociale 91-87 A.C. (Modena, 1987)


    And finally, what I consider the most awesome acquisition of 2019. An absolutly breathtaking C. Vibius Varus denarius. You almost never see this type in this grade with a strike like this. Add the masterfully engraved bust and gorgeous old cabinet toning and we have ourselves a winner :)


    C. Vibius Varus. 42 BC. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.67 g, 11h). Rome mint.

    Obverse: Laureate and bearded head of Hercules right.

    Reverse: Minerva, helmeted and draped, standing right, holding spear in right hand and Victory in extended left; shield at side, C • VIBIVS downward to right, VARVS downward to left.

    Reference: Crawford 494/37

    Provenance: Heritage Auctions - Long Beach Expo World & Ancient Coins Signature Auction Session 5 (September 5-9 2019), lot 155. Ex Coin Galleries: The Numismatic Review and Fixed Price List (May - June 1960), lot A371.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
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  3. tibor

    tibor Well-Known Member

    You've really added some beautiful coins. #7 is my favorite.
    Thanks for sharing!!
    Michael Stolt likes this.
  4. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Almost too many wonderful, rare and special coins on this list! #1 is my favorite, several times over. After that, the Antony tressis and the Marsic denarius. Congrats on the great coin year you've had.
    Michael Stolt and HippoMan like this.
  5. TIF

    TIF Well that didn't last long :D Supporter

    What a fabulous year! It must've been very difficult to attempt ranking these beauties :). My 1 and 2 are the same as yours; after that it becomes very difficult.
    Michael Stolt likes this.
  6. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Wow.. amazing.
    #4 is really my favorite - it is stunning (and I have a weak spot for large bronzes).
    But how can I pick anything over #2? The history, quality, etc are just amazing..
    It also has an eeriness about it ..that reverse is so intimidating - not an oath I would be breaking!!
    Michael Stolt and Orielensis like this.
  7. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    Amazing group of coins - I'd call it a successful year!
    Michael Stolt likes this.
  8. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    A very impressive group! I especially like #4.
    Michael Stolt likes this.
  9. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Michael Stolt, You did well this year :D! You're obviously a serious collector of Republican coinage ;). 1 & 6 are my favorites. Both coins are beautifully engraved & in extraordinary condition. May I suggest wearing sun glasses while viewing #6 :cool:.
    Michael Stolt likes this.
  10. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    A spectacular show of Denarius, all beautiful and with strong detail, but number one does it for me but hard to choose a favourite, congrats on a good year.
    Michael Stolt likes this.
  11. Michael Stolt

    Michael Stolt Well-Known Member

    Thank you :) One can never have too many I think :p
  12. Michael Stolt

    Michael Stolt Well-Known Member

    This would be like ranking my children if I had any :joyful:
    TIF likes this.
  13. Michael Stolt

    Michael Stolt Well-Known Member

    Yes there is indeed some powerful messages on the Social War coinage.

    Since you like large bronzes, here is another fleet coin that did arrive in 2019 and would have made the list, but it was bought in 2018. But remained in Italy for over 5 months awaiting export clearance.


    Mark Antony, struck by M. Oppius Capito, Propraetor and Praefectus classis ca 38-37 BC. Æ Sestertius (40mm, 30.16 g). Minted at Piraeus(?).

    Obverse: Bare head of Antony right vis-à-vis head of Octavia left.

    Reverse: Mark Antony and Octavia in quadriga of hippocamps; in l. field, HS and below, Δ and astragalos.

    Reference: RPC I 1462.
  14. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Amazing.. thank you for sharing!
    Michael Stolt likes this.
  15. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

  16. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Fabulous coins Michael:) I think they are all nice, my fav. would be all ten! Quality, artistic designs, historical aspects all first rate. Fine additions to your collection. Can hardly wait for next years.
    Michael Stolt likes this.
  17. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    You had a great year Michael!
    My favorite is the Sibyl / Sphinx Carisius. I could not imagine what could beat #2 until I saw #1.
    Your Mark Antony and Octavia in quadriga of hippocamps Sestertius is another example of good things come to those who wait. I have not had to wait that long, but have not bought something as historically significant as you coin.
    Michael Stolt likes this.
  18. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Excellent selection

    Seeing the Musa (#10) and before scrolling down I though that will certainly be my favorite (I love the Musa series so much !)

    Then I saw #7, and #5, then #4, and #2 and #1
    Oooohhhh vertigo !!!

    #2 and 4 are my favorites in the end
    Michael Stolt likes this.
  19. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Amazing pick ups!.....Love the #4 :jawdrop:.......Congrats!
    Michael Stolt likes this.
  20. Bob L.

    Bob L. Well-Known Member

    Outstanding group. Well done.
    Michael Stolt likes this.
  21. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I always enjoy your posts immensely, and it's a real treat to see 10 of your stunners all together! There's no denying how fabulous #1 and #2 are, but personally I think the two bronzes are in the same class.

    I very much look forward to what's coming from you in 2020...
    Michael Stolt likes this.
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