Amongst all the chaos, coin collecting was a source of stress relief and tranquility for me, and the same applies to discussing our shared hobby with you on this board. When compiling this list, I was rather surprised to see that despite all the turmoil, I actually had what I consider a good collecting year. So, without further ado, here are my favorite ten coins of 2020 (in no prticular order): 1. My Greek year wasn’t particularly good. Even though I bid roughly what coins hammered for in 2019, I was outbid at almost every auction. As a result, I crossed only one item off my "Greek in the broadest sense" wish list: this Parthian tetradrachm of Vologases IV, also known as the nemesis of Lucius Verus (see my write-up here). Together with a second Parthian (posted here), a Ptolemaic snack (in my budget list), and a Thasos trihemiobol (here), this is my complete Greek 2020. On the bright side, I got four coins that I really like, and this tetradrachm is my favorite among them: the expressive portrait, the exact date (down to a single month!), and the reverse scene very much appeal to me, and I am positively certain that it will stay in my collection permanently. Parthian Empire, under Vologases IV, AR tetradrachm, SE 464, month Apellaios (November 152 AD), Seleukeia on the Tigris mint. Obv: Diademed and draped bust l., wearing tiara; B behind. Rev: [SEΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ / Β]ΑΣΙΛΕΩ[Ν - ΑΡΣΑΚΟY / O]ΛΑΓΑΣΟ[Υ - ΔΙΚΑΙΟY - Ε]ΠΙΦΑΝΟY[Σ / ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ], date: ΔΞY – ΑΠΕΛΑΙΟΥ; Vologases seated l. on throne, Tyche standing r. before him, presenting a diadem. 27mm, 13.81g. Ref: Sellwood 84.13. 2. This is a most gruesome Roman Republican denarius, showing the moneyer’s ancestor Marcus Sergius Silus, a veteran of the Second Punic War. Pliny writes about him: “No person living, in my opinion at least, ever excelled M. Sergius [...]. In his second campaign he lost his right hand; and in two campaigns he was wounded three and twenty times [...]. He was twice taken prisoner by Hannibal, [...] and twice did he escape from his captivity” (Natural History VII,29). I have wanted this type for a long time, and fell for the style and toning of this example: Roman Republic, moneyer: M. Sergius Silus, AR denarius, 116–115 BC, Rome mint. Obv: EX·S·C ROMA; helmeted head of Roma, r., denominational mark X. Rev: Q M·SERGI SILVS; one-armed horseman (Marcus Sergius Silus) l., holding sword and severed head in l. hand. 17mm, 2.84g. RRC RRC 286/1. 3. Last year, the popular elephant denarius of Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius ranked high on my favorite list, this year I added the second type struck by this stern Optimate and supporter of Sulla. The tiny stork, the fine portrait of Pietas, and the somewhat mysterious reverse, which probably is pro-Sullan propaganda (see my earlier write-up) catapulted it to my 2020 list. Roman Republic, imperatorial issue of Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius, AR denarius, 81 BC, Northern Italian mint. Obv: diademed head of Pietas r.; to r., stork standing r. Rev: IMPER; jug and lituus; in laurel wreath. Ref: RRC 374/2. 19mm, 3.90g. 4. Septimius Severus struck a series of denarii showing Neptune on the reverse, probably in reference to crossing the English Channel during the mostly failed British campaign in 208–210 AD. I bought this example almost exclusively for the reverse, which I wanted for my “Roman Pantheon.” Look at the quality of engraving and amount of detail on Neptune, and you’ll see why it made my top ten: Septimius Severus, Roman Empire, denarius, 210 AD, Rome mint. Obv: SEVERVS PIVS AVG; head of Septimius Severus, laureate, r. Rev: P M TR P XVIII COS III P P; Neptune, naked except for cloak over l. shoulder and r. arm, standing l., r. foot set on globe, holding trident in l. hand. 19 mm., 3,54 g Ref: RIC IV Septimius Severus 234. 5. A coin of the short-lived emperor Macrinus was still missing from my collection, so when opportunity arose, I bought this denarius (more in my write-up). In hand, the incredible toning, the terrific portrait, and the tiny emperor next to the giant Jupiter on the reverse immediately made it a 2020 favorite: Macrinus, Roman Empire, AR denarius, 217–218 AD, Rome mint. Obv: IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG; laureate and cuirassed short-bearded bust of Macrinus r. Rev: IOVI CONSERVATORI; Jupiter standing left, holding thunderbolt and sceptre; to left, small figure of Macrinus standing r. 20mm, 3.21g. Ref: RIC IV Macrinus 76b. 6. This might come as a surprise some of you – it’s probably not a coin that you would expect to see on this list. Yet, I have a subcollection of coins connected to the 13th century Mongol invasions, parts of which I’ve shown in this write-up. The coin below, struck for Genghis or his sons just after the annexation of the Khwarezmian Empire and its neighbors in the 1220s, must be considered its centerpiece. Coins by Genghis Khan and his direct successors are rare, mostly because the Mongols originally didn’t use money: Great Mongols, under Genghis (Chingiz) Khan or slightly later, BI “jital,” 1220s/1230s AD, Nimruz (Sistan) mint. Obv: "qa’an / al-‘adil" ('the just khan'). Rev: " zarb i/ nimruz" ('struck in Nimruz'). 14.5mm, 3.42g. Ref: Tye –; Album A1973. 7. Bracteates are probably my main medieval collecting focus. I bought the coin below at a good price since the auction house really botched the photography shop, probably deterring other bidders (full story here). The Abbey of Saint Gall was at the center of medieval monastic culture in the German speaking lands. In the Carolingian and Ottonian periods, leading writers and artists like Notker Labeo and Tuotilo worked at Saint Gall, whose library still holds one of the most important medieval manuscript collections in Europe, consisting of about 2.100 handwritten books. In the 12th and 13th century, Saint Gall grew into an important political and economic power. My coin, which shows the abbey’s patron saint, is from this period. In my eyes, this is one of the most accomplished depictions of a monk on a medieval coin: Abbey of St. Gall, under Ulrich IV, AR bracteate, 1167-1199 AD. Obv: +MONETA•SANCTI•GALLI; bearded bust of St. Gall, with tonsure, facing. Rev: negative design (bracteate). 23mm, 0.46g. Ref: Berger 2568–9; HMZ 1-463; Slg. Bonhoff 1818; Slg. Wüthrich 273. 8. This bracteate is from Fulda, another German Benedictine abbey, which was founded in 769 AD by bishop Lullus of Mainz. Many of the earliest works of German literature, including the Lay of Hildebrand and the Merseburg incantations were written down at Fulda, and the poet and theologian Rabanus Maurus became abbot in 822 AD. My coin was produced later, after the abbey had been transformed into an ecclesiastical principality under emperor Frederick II. Note the excellent toning: Abbey of Fulda, under Heinrich IV. von Erthal, AR bracteate, ca. 1249–1261 AD. Obv: Abbot seated facing holding palm branch and book; in Gothic polylobe and double pearl border; around outer rim; H-V-H-V. 29mm, 0.52g. Ref: Berger 2293. 9. Henry II, a member of the Lusignan dynasty, was the last crowned king of Jerusalem. After the Fall of Acre in 1291, he had to retreat to Cyprus. At Cyprus, Henry struck a series of large silver coins mostly used for trade. The obverse of my coin, which was inspired by the design of Neapolitan gigliati, shows Henry with regal insignia accompanied by a legend translating as “Henry, King of”. On the reverse, the Jerusalem cross as well as his claims to “Jerusalem and Cyprus” are displayed: Lusignan Kingdom of Cyprus, under Henry II, AR gros grand (second series 1b), 1285-1324 AD (probably struck after 1310 AD), Famagusta (?) mint. + hЄnRI RЄI DЄ (triple pellet stops), Henry seated facing on throne decorated with lions, holding lis-tipped scepter and orb. Rev: + IЄRuSAL'M Є DЄ ChIPR; Jersualem cross. 26.5mm, 4.50g. Ref: Metcalf; The Gros grand and the Gros petit of Henry II of Cyprus, part 2 (1983), no. 279–280; CCS 52. 10. I already posted an extensive write-up on this one, so I’ll keep it short. Struck for the Knight of St. John at Rhodes, this is a type I long coveted for my small collection of medieval coins struck by the military orders. It shows the Hospitaller’s grand master kneeling in prayer, a design that derives from the order’s earlier seals. Note the small personal arms of Raymond Berenger and the cross on his coat, which identifies him as cruce signatus. The reverse, on the other hand, copies the floral cross of the Neapolitan gigliato, which circulated extensively in the eastern Mediterranean in this period, but adds the shield of the Knights of St. John at each arm of the cross: Knights Hospitaller (Order of St. John) at Rhodes, under Raymond Bérenger, AR Gigliato, 1365-1374. Obv: + F RAIMUNDVS BERENGERII D GRA M; Grand Master, wearing cloak with cross on shoulder, kneeling l. in prayer before patriarchal cross set on steps; arms of Raymond Bérenger to r. Rev: + OSPITAL ♣ S • IOhS • IRLNI : QTS • RODI •; cross fleury with arms of the Knights Hospitaller at the end of each arm. 28 mm, 3.64g. Ref: Metcalf 1208–1210; CCS 22. If you see any favorites, have remarks, or would like to share related coins, please feel free to post them below!