Plate coin or better coin?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Valentinian, May 20, 2022.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Well-Known Member

    Which would you prefer, in general, a plate coin from a major reference or a slightly better example? My question is prompted by this recent acquisition, which seems a tiny bit better than the Sear Byzantine Coins plate coin:



    It is Sear 1260, a Byzantine coin of Justinian II's first reign, 685-695. Apparently they never come in nice condition. Mine has a much clearer cross at 9:30 on the obverse and more lettering (..TI-NIAN). Also, on the reverse the
    for year 2 to the right of the M is clearer. I don't claim the coin is great, but I think it is very slightly better than the Sear plate coin. It would be special to own a plate coin, and that would add to its appeal. But would it add enough to make it more desirable than an example in slightly better condition?

    I don't intend for you to judge these two coins in particular. Rather, I wonder how you feel in general. If, in your collecting area, you had a choice of a plate coin from a major reference work or a slightly better example with no pedigree, which would you prefer?
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  3. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Plate coin definitely has superior resale value, but if you like the coin for its aesthetics that’s all that really matters at the end of the day
    Broucheion, JPD3, DonnaML and 3 others like this.
  4. BenSi

    BenSi Well-Known Member

    Personally I would go for the better example, but as with all collectables, a provenance of a published coin, it would make it an easier resell.
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  5. nerosmyfavorite68

    nerosmyfavorite68 Well-Known Member

    Sear 805. I purchased it when trying to find the best 805 on vcoins. The plate coin has a better reverse, but look at the faces.

    I've always liked coins of Justinian II. Mine isn't better than the plate coin.
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  6. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    It depends on the reference. A RIC, RPC, Dattari-Savio plate coin definitely ... anything else would be on a case by case basis.
    Curtis and Silphium Addict like this.
  7. Carl Wilmont

    Carl Wilmont Well-Known Member

    Nice addition of a better example than the plate coin, @Valentinian! That's an attribute which also gives it an attractive distinction. It's also nice to have the plate coin itself in one's collection as a special provenance. Zuzzim were produced by overstriking Roman denarii or drachmas, and the one below was a satisfactory example for me that has a special significance as being the plate coin for Hendin 1430 in his Guide to BIBLICAL COINS (5th Edition). It's unlikely that I would exchange this one for a slightly better example with no pedigree.


    Judaea, Bar Kokhba Revolt. Silver Zuz (3.25 g), 132-135 AD. Undated, attributed to year 3 (134/5 AD). 'Simon' (Paleo-Hebrew), bunch of grapes with leaf and tendril. / 'For the freedom of Jerusalem' (Paleo-Hebrew), upright palm branch. Hendin 1430; David Hendin Guide to BIBLICAL COINS, Fifth Edition, plate 40, (this coin illus.); Mildenberg 150 (O11/R103), 7 cited, this being #5. Portions of the undertype legend visible on obverse from the obverse of a Drachm, probably of Trajan and probably of Caesaria. The letters AYTOK can be discerned, these being part of the title AYTOKRATΩR - autocrat, dictator, tyrant, despot. Ex David Hendin Collection.
  8. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Depends on the price. But for me, slightly better.

    I part with coins sometimes and some of the dealers I have used could care less about Wild Winds published coins, reference plate coins and so on. Maybe the big auction houses do though.
  9. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    In most cases I would take the plate coin unless there was a huge disparity in condition where the detail lost made the coin less historically interesting (Example: an Elagabalus with “horn” coin that was missing the horn).

    After all, plate coins were used as plate coins for a reason... usually because they show something especially interesting.

    For instance I would never trade my Dattari-Savio plate coin for any other example no matter how perfectly preserved.
    Last edited: May 20, 2022
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  10. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Well-Known Member

    That is a very difficult question. On the whole I would under normal circumstances pick the coin that has the better pedigree,I have done so many times in the past. However I will buy coins that I consider to be such an outstanding examples that that it is simply impossible to resist. However over the years I have had this happen....
    Antiochos IX Ar Tetradrachm 113-112 BC Obv. Head right diademed Rv. Athena standing left holding Nike in outstretched right hand, Seleucid Coins 2363a This Coin illustrated HGC 1228i This Coin illustrated. 16.71 grms 29 mm Photo by W Hansen SkantiochosVIIII-1.jpeg I bought this coin back in 2003 After purchasing it the coin has since appeared in two references of Seleukid coins. I have had this happen with a few other coins in my collection.
  11. Factor

    Factor Well-Known Member

    My answer is take the better coin, publish it and it becomes a plate coin . I published two papers that include (among other) my coins, another one is already accepted for publication and few more papers in preparation.
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  12. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

    It's very interesting to see the different opinions posted.

    I consider my "bibliographic collection of ancient coins" to cover two topics: (1) coins in the ancient world, and (2) the modern history of ancient coin collecting & literature. So I always prefer a coin with an interesting modern "object biography." (Same for books & auction catalogs.)

    I just won the Sear Byzantine 882 "plate coin" from CNG. (I wanted this type anyway, so I was happy to pay a significant premium.)

    Heraclius Follis overstruck on Anastasius (33.5mm, 16.57g), struck in Sicily, maybe Catania (I've seen Syracuse suggested). Pretty good one, good undertype, and well oriented, but common & definitely not among the best available:
    Heraclius Anastasius Follis SB 882 Sear Plate Coin CNG 549.jpg
    Sear Byzantine SB 882 Plate Coin Heraclius Follis Anastasius Sicily.png

    My specimen of the undertype, Anstansius Follis, Constantinople, SB 19 (NOT a plate coin or old collection as far as I know):
    Anastasius Follis CON (NAC 46, 1184).jpg

    Incidentally: There have been a bunch of other Sear "plate coins" at CNG recently (a couple sold quite cheaply). Mostly with no further provenance given whatsoever. (One or two also Hanh MIB plate coins and/or Cermak Collection -- I haven't checked for SB 882 in MIB. There's overlap, but usually for rarities.)

    At least some were Ian Roper Collection (or maybe "inventory"; a UK coin dealer). Who has had them all this time? Many were sold by the 1990s by American firms.​

    I prefer to find the publication history myself, but that's very tough for major references like Sear's Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (There were about 600 photos, some of which might be museum coins.)

    I was able to get an "un-advertised" plate coin from Goodacre's Handbook of Coinage in the Byzantine Empire. CNG just had this one as "reportedly ex Goodacre":

    Goodacre Collage.jpg

    Also two of his 1930s Numismatic Chronicle articles; possibly also one of Leon Dardel's models in Sabatier 1862, originally from a line drawing in de Saulcy's 1842 Revue Numismatique article (left image).

    To round out my Byzantine "plate coins" from well-known books, one that I post all the time:

    Tied for my favorite coin, Constantine IV AV Solidus. ERIC II cover coin, as noted by CNG. With a bunch of excellent provenance paraphernalia, incl. signed copy:
    ERIC II Constantive IV Solidus Collage Blue.jpg

    For another Sear "plate coin" -- this one I got lucky on, zero provenance whatsoever from Agora auctions in 2015. The Roman Coins and Their Values, vol. III 8963 "plate coin." (It was in NFA's fall 1990 MBS, cataloged by Sear, and from which he drew a bunch of his images. Also, for others with Dattari coins, he cites a lot of them in the Alexandria section for each ruler.)

    Sear RCV3 8963 Philip Plate Coin 2.jpg

    To accompany it, I have an RCV set, all volumes signed & inscribed to collector of Roman London, Paul DiMarzio.

    (I like numismatic-literature-coin-provenance combinations.)

    Sear RCV x5 collage.jpg

    There are also lots of Roman Silver Coins and Their Values plate coins out there in commerce, too. Not sure whether there are any Greek Imperial... or Greek Coins..., since Sear took most of those images from the British Museum.

    I also recently completed my BCD "plate coins" set (at least one from each of the 10 major catalogs, still need his anonymous Athens & Salamis). My surely-unattainable long-term goal: One from every Naville Ars Classica catalog. (I think I'm only at 4 or 5 [EDIT: actually 3 (catalogs) or 4 (coins)].)
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2023
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