Old collector, new to coins and to this forum!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Only a Poor Old Man, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    Hello everyone,

    New member here and new ancient coin collector! I got into this hobby only about a month ago, and like most things in life, it was unplanned. I have the collecting bug since childhood (it started with comics) and while I was growing up it kept evolving to more serious stuff. For the past few years my main interest has been old swords (Japanese). Last month I attended a special event with my sword club where we got to study and examine some blades that are not on display, at the British Museum in London. It was a weekday, and on the way out I got the chance to visit a couple of the ancient coin shops that are located accross the street. I was aware of these shops, but the few times I visited the museum before was always on weekends, and they were always closed. I guess I always liked coins, my favourite comic book character was Carl Bark's Uncle Scrooge so I guess there is a connection there. One of the shops I visited was Coincraft and I spent quite a bit of time there looking at coins. I was surprised that you can actually buy ancient coins for an affordable price. At a moment's inspiration I decided that I wasn't going to leave empty-handed. I knew this was an old and reputable shop, so I felt it was a safe place to get a coin. I decided to go for a higher end one, thinking that would be the only coin I would ever own. I ended up with an Alexander the Great Tetradrachm.



    I know I have to learn alot about this hobby, and coin photography is one of those subjects. Taking photos in daylight and without flash is probably a better idea. Sorry about the quality...

    Long story short, I got back home and spent hours researching the coin and my fascination about the subject grew rapidly. I read a few articles, found out that this coin was minted in Byblos, read all about how Zeus' feet determine the age (or not) of the coin and that my coin is either lifetime or if not, then a very early posthumous one,not later than 320 BC.

    Only a few days passed, and then I was back in the shop looking for an owl... But that's a story for another thread..

    What do you think of my first purchase? Looking forward to learn about coins from the experienced collectors in this forum :shame:
    eparch, octavius, TIF and 23 others like this.
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  3. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    You take way better photos then I! Looks like a lovely coin:)
    Collecting coins is the ultimate hobby. Welcome to the forum:)
  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Without checking any further, I believe your coin is a posthumous issue. An indication is the crossed legs under the throne. I will check further into the attribution.

    Welcome to the "Dark Side".
  5. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    It seems your example was minted in Arados Phoenicia.

    KINGS OF MACEDON. Alexander III 'the Great', 336-323 BC. Tetradrachm, Arados, struck under Ptolemy I as satrap, circa 320/19-315. Head of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress. Rev. AΛEΞANΔPOY Zeus seated left on low throne, holding long scepter in his left hand and eagle standing right with closed wings in his right; to left, monogram of AP. Price 3426 corr.
  6. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    Yes, welcome to the hobby and welcome to CoinTalk!! Japanese swords are really cool!
  7. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  8. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Great first coin!
    I love these Alexander III Tets.
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    The nice coin deserves another photo. Try no flash, no artificial light and no direct sunlight. Just be near a north facing window where the light is bright but diffused and lay the coin on a plain background. What is that in your photo. I hope you removed the coin from the plastic flip.
    Only a Poor Old Man likes this.
  10. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    Welcome to a great hobby. There are days when I regret getting into coins, but they are few and far between. It’s a wonderful learning experience, and no aera is more educational than ancient coins.
    Please take your time with the purchases now at the beginning. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with owning a 2300 year old uncirculated coin from one of the most famous conquerors of all time, but it’s good to read a bit and decide what area you really want to get into. We just can’t collect them all :) Your experience with swords will be useful with coins too, I think. You have probably a developed eye for quality and intuition for fake or overpriced items.
    Have you given any thought to where you want to go with the hobby? Greek coins, Roman coins, Oriental, Anglo-Saxon, British Hammered, Crusaders, Tudors? :)
  11. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    Wow, thank you for your replies :)

    It looks like I got my first attribution wrong. But I think it is a forgivable mistake as the differences between Byblos and Arados are very subtle. I already learned something new though which pleases me alot. Having looked at a few examples of these coins I recognise the style of my own, especially on the Zeus side. Those Phoenicians must have been going to the gym a lot judging by the way they depict the Greek god. I don't mind that my coin is not lifetime that much, it is still early enough for me.

    My collecting experience from swords has taught me that buying from brick and mortar shops will always be more expensive than buying carefully and strategically from auctions. I would never buy a sword from a shop nowdays, but I have experience on the subject which is not the case with coins. I knew that I could probably do better price-wise, but felt more safe with a well established shop. Having said that, I have seen the prices of a few tets online and on other physical shops and I don't think I did that bad on my coin.

    That thing on the photo is a membrane coin holder that gives the illusion of the coin floating in space, which is a cool way to display them on a bookcase. It supposed to be archive material and acid free. The coin does look better in hand and it definitely deserves a proper photo at some point.

    I will focus on Greek and Byzantine coins. I love the Byzantine empire. I have visited a few times the monastic republic of Mount Athos, which is like traveling to the Byzantine Empire itself. I was lucky to see some items and relics belonging to Byzantine emperors (I forget who exactly, but I think it was Tsimiskis and Phokas) at the Great Lavra monastery.
    fretboard, TIF, Theodosius and 5 others like this.
  12. I like collecting Byzantines as a side interest from Roman Imperial and Provincials, which make up the bulk of my collection. I had a great time in Istanbul a few years back and was there for several weeks, also saw various other famed cities in Asia Minor. In Sinai, I visited the monastery of St. Catherine which also is a Byzantine structure, fortified in the time of Justinian. They have a great collection of original documents from the time including a letter from Muhammad which promised religious freedom to the monks and protection as well. Located at the foot of Mt. Sinai, you can also take the 3500 steps of repentance to the top of the mountain.
  13. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

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  14. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I agree that I trust a brick and mortar shop as opposed to some faceless/nameless person on the internet. The biggest problem I find with most local coin shops is a lack of experience with Ancients. I was in a shop last year that happened to have a handful of poor quality LRBs, but you wouldn't know it based on the price tag. The shop owner, knowing only enough to be dangerous, thought he had a gold mine in coins near 2000 years old. I couldn't dissuade him either.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
    Only a Poor Old Man and svessien like this.
  15. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..welcome...you've already got a coin i'll never have for i'm 'too tight for tets'..and much too poor for'em...:)
    Only a Poor Old Man likes this.
  16. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    Welcome to CT. Great 1st coin.
    Only a Poor Old Man likes this.
  17. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    You might need to study up on the names most commonly used in the hobby when you go searching for coins of your emperors of choice. Tsimiskes is usually sold as John I. Phokas was a ruler a couple centuries earlier than John but the emperor immediately before John was Nikephoros II Phokas rarely using that last name but quite possibly the man you are considering. Byzantine history and coinage is a huge subject. Enjoy it.

    This is not to say that you can not collect them all. I have a half dozen major specialties and a very few coins from every other ancient category I could find and several medieval civilizations. It is not necessary to limit yourself since there is no such thing as a complete set. Most of us see something each week that we had previously never suspected to exist. We collect what we like -- coins that 'speak' to us.
  18. Alegandron

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

    Congrats for the Tet, @Only a Poor Old Man ,and welcome to the Ancients Forum.

    Kingdom of Makedonon
    Alexander III (MEGAS) 336-323 BCE
    AR Tetradrachm
    24.5mm, 16.9g
    Lifetime Issue
    Obv: Herakles
    Rev: Zeus on big-ball throne, holding Eagle, staff; very faint trident in field l

    BABALONIA, Babylon
    AR Tetradrachm / Stater (or Dishekel)
    Minted ca. 323-328 B.C.
    24 mm, 16.3g
    Obv: Ba’al seated left holding scepter
    Rev: Lion walking left, control mark Г above. (Control mark was minted during Alexander III Lifetime)
    Ref: Ref: BMC Arabia XXII no.1
    Comment: "This type was discussed by Martin Price in his article "Circulation at Babylon in 323 BC," in the book "Mnemata: Papers in Memory of Nancy M. Waggoner." He asserts that a reengraved die clearly shows the "lion staters" with gamma followed the ones with delta. "They are probably shekels on the local standard." (page 67). He dates them to the lifetime of Alexander, because they were present in a hoard with deposition dated to 323/2. He doesn't give the earliest possible date explicitly, but mentions that Mazaeus was governor until 328 and issued coins, so I infer Price would put them at or after 328. So you can say "Struck 323 or before, under Alexander the Great."
  19. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    I agree wholeheartedly, Doug. But I have seen new collectors burn themselves, or their purse rather, out after a year or two, getting a bit too busy building a volume. It’s quite expensive to change direction with a large collection. It’s good to take it a little slow, read a bit and always remember there will be another coin another day. The coins speak a little bit louder after you have read a little, don’t you agree?

    It’s just as much a «note to self». I decided long ago that I wanted to own fewer and better coins. Today I bought 18 new old coins. :inpain: Oh well. I delivered 20 kilos of modern coins to an auction house last monday, it’s ok, it’s ok...
    Only a Poor Old Man likes this.
  20. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I see it the opposite way. General collectors don't 'change' by selling at a loss and converting those old favorites to the flavor of the day. Instead, after buying our fill in one specialty we just start buying something else as whim dictates but we keep what we had enjoyed before and visit it every so often. When you only spend money on coins that you might as well burned going to a movie or dining out, there is no need to cash in and convert every time you have a change of interest. I stopped collecting modern coins about 60 years ago but still have the bulk of them. I sold once when poverty required but not to support a new fad. Now I sell duplicates and mistakes. I try not to classify last year's favorites as this year's mistakes.
    That is good - almost as good as more better coins.
  21. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    I’m smiling. Not because I think this is stupid, but because I come from a family of general collectors. And not only general coins, but generally collecting. I helped tidying up after one late uncle who was into militaria, old instruments for map making and navigation, birds, minerals, pipes, model building, and generally keeping everything old that he came over, including the 15 old FM radio cabinets of my grandfather. Another uncle is having a hard time getting rid of his 50-60 porcelain tea pots. None of us can let anything go without years of mental preparation.
    I can definitely understand your angle to collecting, but when I consider that there are coins in every shelf and drawer in my house, that my «art collection» is too big for my walls, that old stamps are lying around to be torn and destroyed, that I own more books than I’ve ever read, and that the old radio cabinets ended up with me, I think it’s time for me to find an angle to collecting that doesn’t feel like an anchor weighing me down. It was a great relief to deliver a big box full of silver, cuprio-nickel and copper coins collected by date. Refinement, that’s my Nemesis.
    This is by my bedside. There are «treasures» everywhere. :)

    But I’m hijacking OPs thread. Sorry. I hope you will be a happy coin collector and that you will keep sharing your coins here, @Only a Poor Old Man!
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