Pavlos' Top Ten Additions of 2020

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Pavlos, Dec 14, 2020.

  1. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    Despite 2020 being a horrible year because of the COVID situation, it was a nice coin year for me. I had to overwork quite much since I work in the Pharmaceutical industry, and in combination with the lockdown and therefore doing less activities outside = looking at coins = spending money. Not a good combination! Luckily I did not start overpaying on coins and had the discipline to let go when over budget.

    Most of my top ten coins are from my two main focuses: Seleukid Empire and the Greek islands, but other Greek and Byzantine coins interest me as well.

    Lesbos, Mytilene. AR Hemidrachm, Circa 450-350 B.C.
    Laureate head of Apollo right.
    Reverse: MYTI. Lyre.
    Reference: SNG Copenhagen 376-7; HGC 6, 1044.
    2,81g; 15mm

    Let's start with the first coin. Not much to say about this one, it is a nice hemidrachm of Classical style from Lesbos island that fits nicely in my collection. Most coins of Lesbos come from the Archaic times and are quite abundant at auctions. Coins from the Classical time are a bit more scarce and mostly consist of AR fractions and AE coins such as diobols and this hemidrachm. In the Hellenic times issues from Lesbos are mainly in the types of Alexander or Lysimachos, with here and there some exceptions (such as the magnificant tetradrachms with a cult image of Dionysos on the reverse).


    Philip I Philadelphos (circa 95/4-76/5 B.C.) AR Tetradrachm. Antioch mint or uncertain mint in Cilicia (Tarsos?), lifetime issue, circa 94/3-88/7 B.C.
    Diademed head of Philip I to right.
    Reverse: BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ΦIΛIΠΠΟΥ - EΠIΦΑΝΟΥΣ / ΦIΛAΔEΛΦΟΥ Zeus seated left, holding Nike in his right hand and long scepter in his left; to inner left, M.
    Reference: SC 2460c
    15.81g; 27mm

    This coin is an upgrade and it is a tetradrachm from the last Seleukid king who had such a significant output of coinage. The tetradrachms of Philip I were minted abundantly during his 20 years reign, with even more output after his death, the so called 'posthumous' issues (which I actually think are from his son Philip II since the portrait style is so much different) and the issues struck during the Roman times. The Romans would have chosen this type not for political reasons but purely economical, this type was the only type dominating the streets of Syria! When Philip I Philadelphos came to rule Antioch, he started to recycle the tetradrachms of his predecessors and reissued them with his own types, so there were barely any tetradrachms of his competitors circulating.

    Crete, Knossos. AE. 40/30 B.C.
    Laureate head of Zeus to right; to right, vertical thunderbolt. Counterstamp: eagle right.
    Reverse: K-Y/ Δ-A/ Σ. Eagle with spread wings standing to right.
    Reference: RPC 934; Slg. Traeger 193; Svoronos 142, Pl. VII, 19.

    Crete almost has a history of his own and coins from Crete are very different depending on the city state. Mostly Zeus dominates Crete, but also Europa and myths around the Minotaur are regularly seen on coins from Crete. The above coin is my first coin from Knossos, which was ofcourse a magnificent city state during the Minoan and Classical times, but when this coin got minted in ca. 40/30 B.C., very late in the Hellenic times, the city was a shadow of it's former self, struck just before or just after the city becoming a Roman colony in 36 B.C. with it's long rival city Gortyn being the capital of the province Creta et Cyrenaica.

    Demetrios I Soter (162-150 B.C.) AE Denomination A. uncertain mint "83", possibly in Cilicia or somewhere in northern Syria. Struck ca. 155-150 B.C.
    Head of a lion with open jaws to left.
    Reverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ Head of a boar to right; behind, monogram.
    Reference: CSE 2, 415. HGC 9, 823. SC 1660.a.
    14.79g; 25mm

    The above coin is not in great condition but an absolute rarity and unique in the Seleukid world. They often go for a high prices and this condition was the highest I could afford. Not often only animals with totally no Seleukid icongraphy are seen on Seleukid coinage. Demetrios I Soter made an exception, because apparently he was such a fan of hunting wildlife that he had to reflect that on his coins. I will stop talking now before I make @David@PCC a bit jealous of me having the coin :p:D.

    Pontos, Amisos. AE. Time of Mithradates VI Eupator, circa 85-65 B.C.
    Head of Athena right, wearing Attic helmet.
    Reverse: Perseus standing facing, holding harpa and Medusa’s head; Medusa’s body at his feet, monograms to left and right.
    Reference: HGC 7, 357.
    17.30g; 31mm

    Being at #6 is this big Amisos coin struck under one of my favorite generals Mithradates VI. This type is really popular among Greek collector's for the reverse. Who doesn't want to see Perseus holding a decapitated head of medusa with her body at his feet? This example in particular is very clear with the whole body of Medusa clearly visible, I am sure I will never upgrade this coin.

    Antiochos VII Euergetes (138-129 B.C.). AR Drachm, Soloi mint.
    Diademed head of Antiochos VII right.
    Reverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ / ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ. Tyche seated left on throne, holding sceptre and cornucopia. Controls: Two monograms in exergue.
    Reference: SC 2051; HGC 9, 1079.
    3.81g; 19mm

    This is a drachm from Antiochos VII struck in Tarsos, I think it is among one of the sharpest and in best condition that is known. The type is obviously extremely rare and not that many examples are sold. On the reverse the goddess Tyche is visible, a goddess not often seen on Seleukid coinage, except by his father Demetrios I. The city Tarsos however was always a case on it's own as it is an important city in Cilicia and the local types are often represented on the coins. In the reign of him and his brother Demetrios II Nikator the city got a bit more important as the 'Royal Workshop' was stationed there.

    Andronicus II Palaeologus, 1282-1328. AV Hyperpyron Nomisma. Constantinople mint, 1282-1294.
    Bust of the Virgin orans within the city walls furnished with six groups of towers; in lower field, CZ-ZC sigla.
    Reverse: ANΔPO/NIKOC E/ XΩ T C/IΛIΠ/TICO IC/XC Andronicus on left, nimbate and kneeling right blessed by Christ standing facing on right, with decorated nimbus, holding Book of Gospels; between them fleur-de-lis; to right, C/N.
    Reference: DOC 225 var (sigla). PCPC 91B Sigla 77 var. SB 2326.
    25mm, 4.28g

    Lately I am getting a bit more into Byzantine coinage, especially from the Komnenoi. TThis is my first gold coin and very affordable compared to the Greek gold coins. This one is not entirely into the Komnenoi focus but I really like the reverse with the emperor kneeling to Christ and the obverse is quite fine as well for this issue as well.

    Thrace, Maroneia. AR Tetradrachm, struck circa 189/8-49/5 B.C.
    Head of youthful Dionysos to right, wearing ivy wreath.
    Reverse: ΔΙΟΝΥΣΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΜΑΡΩΝΙΤΩΝ Dionysos, nude but for chlamys draped over his left arm, standing left, holding grape bunch in his right hand, two narthex stalks in his left; flanking his feet, two monograms.
    Reference: HGC 3.2, 1556. Cf. Schönert-Geiss 1347-9 (dies not recorded).
    13,55g; 31.5mm
    From the Vineyard Collection, ex I. Vecchi FPL 7, October 1997, 260.

    I really like the style of this tetradrachm, it is late Hellenic and kind of 'barbaric'. Schönert-Geiss notes that this style is one of the last of the series, placing the mintage of this coin definitely in the early to mid 1st century BC. The same type minted in the 2nd century BC has a more artistic style compared to this coin. This type is similar to the late tetradrachms of Thasos island but this coin celebrates Dionysos as saviour rather than Herakles. Dionysos is widely visible on the coinage of Maroneia and is definitely an important, if not, the most important deity of the city.

    Islands of Caria, Rhodos. Rhodes. Circa 250-229 BC. AR Didrachm. Mnasimachos, magistrate
    Radiate head of Helios facing slightly right.
    Reverse: Rose with bud to right; MNAΣIMAXOΣ above, P-O flanking stem; to left, Athena Nikephoros standing left.
    Reference: Ashton 208; HN Online 395; HGC 6, 1439.

    I always wanted a bigger coin from a Greek island, but often they are quite expensive. I haven't come across a tetradrachm yet that was in my budget but was also the condition I liked. I therefore had to downscale a bit, but I think a didrachm is still a nice size. For the coinage of Rhodos I think the most important is Helios and how he looks. This coin checked my list, a clear face of nice style without a worn nose, and besides that a nice reverse as well, I had to have it in my collection!

    Antiochos III Megas (223 - 187 B.C.). AR Tetradrachm. Antioch mint. Series 3, circa 204–197 B.C.
    Diademed head of Antiochos III to right.
    Reverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ANTIOXOY. Apollo seated left on omphalos, holding arrow in his right hand and resting his left on grounded bow; to outer left, bow in bowcase.
    Reference: SC 1044.5a; Le Rider series 3-4, obv. A12; BMC 27; HGC 9, 447u.

    Choosing my number one was a bit difficult and even now I am doubting since the other coins are also very nice! This coin is not as artistic as some other coins, but the portrait definitely shows authority and him being a 'Megas' with a lot of power.
    Too often he is remembered only as the man who lost to the Romans at the battle of Magnesia, Antiochos however, was one of the most powerful and capable rulers at the time and when he died in 187 BC the empire was still one of the most powerful states in the world.
    In my opinion, a great example and it looks and feels very 'powerful 'in my hand.

    Thank you for reading and I hope 2021 will be a better year for everybody!
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I find #2 particularly appealing in style.
    Pavlos and rrdenarius like this.
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Beautiful coins, many I would love to own. I tend to like #6 best. I have yet to find one I would be happy with. You have one I would be.
    Pavlos likes this.
  5. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Beautifull ten Pavlos:happy:
    I really find #1 and 2 outstanding/ I am so glad that you had a great coin collecting year!
    Pavlos likes this.
  6. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coins! #1, 2 and 6 are especially nice. :)
    Pavlos likes this.
  7. FrizzyAntoine

    FrizzyAntoine Active Member

    Wonderful selection, I especially love 2, 1, and 10. Lovely styles and interesting types all around.
    Pavlos likes this.
  8. Alegandron

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

    Pavlos likes this.
  9. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    10,8,7,3,1...awww, heck! They are all stunning:artist:
    So glad to enjoy your posts for another year:)
    Pavlos likes this.
  10. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I like 'em all, but the Amisos reverse is awesome.
    Pavlos likes this.
  11. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Wonderful coins. My favorites, I think, are #'s 6 (you can't go wrong with a decapitated Medusa!), 2, and 1.
    Pavlos likes this.
  12. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    Great collection for the year. I find myself really drawn to number 6.
    Pavlos likes this.
  13. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    The Rhodes didrachm is a standout for me. I still haven't found one with my name on it, but I'd be more than happy with one with the qualities that yours has. I really like #6 and #7 as well.
    Pavlos likes this.
  14. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    Fantastic coins! As many others suggested, 6 and 2 are the most striking :happy:
    Pavlos likes this.
  15. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Lovely group!...I wouldn't know how to order these!...All are really appealing, #6 and #7 I do like though!....Congrats on a good year.
    Pavlos likes this.
  16. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    #8, #6 and #2 have my votes

    Great collecting year. At least it's a consolation :)

    Pavlos likes this.
  17. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    Despite not collecting Greek coins, I find myself very much attracted to Nr.6. .
    Reminds me of a nice tan patinated Roman Sestertius I guess :). Show-stopping reverse design definitely!
    Great selection!
    Pavlos likes this.
  18. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Pavlos, You added some real beauties this year :D! The didrachm of Rhodes #2 is a wonderful example of high Hellenistic numismatic art :jawdrop:. The Tet of Antiochos III, #1 has a stunning portrait too. The Tet of Philip I, #9 has the finest die work I've seen on this coin type :happy:, & the coin appears to be in FDC condition :cool:.
    Pavlos likes this.
  19. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Very nice, @Pavlos !
    I agree with you, number one is a fantastic piece!
    Here is one of mine of Antiochus III that was struck a bit earlier.
    Pavlos, Bing and Johndakerftw like this.
  20. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    #6 just jumps out at me as my clear favorite. They are all great.
    Pavlos likes this.
  21. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Number 6 is definitely my favorite...very hard to find one of this type that is centered that well. Most have all of Perseus or almost all of Medusa, but very hard to find one with all of both. Beautiful example.
    Pavlos likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page