red_spork's top 10 of 2019

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by red_spork, Dec 15, 2019.

  1. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    2019 represents 5 years of collecting ancients for me and 4 years of focusing on the coinage of the Roman Republic. A lot has changed in that time for me personally, professionally and in terms of my numismatic pursuits. This year I really tried to focus on buying better coins. While I still can't help myself when I see an interesting rarity in horrid condition if, I have tried to use the lion's share of my budget buying attractive coins and continuously trying to increase the quality of my collection and not just the quantity, and I think this is reflected in the coins I've selected below. I'm reasonably confident I've purchased all the coins I'm going to buy this year at this point so I think it appropriate to start sharing my favorites. I've selected 10 coins that I think are particularly special and hope you enjoy them, though you'll have to wait a bit for coin #1 for reasons I'll explain below. I promise it'll be worth the wait...

    10. A group of aes rude
    The tenth "coin" on my list is actually 5 individual pieces, but I sort of treat them as a single coin in my collection and think they are more interesting as a group. I've wanted to add an aes rude to my collection for a very long time. Aes rude, literally "rough bronze", was one of the earliest methods by which the Romans and other italians could store wealth and settle debts. They're also commonly found in votive deposits. For all these reasons, aes rude made most logical "early" bookend for my collection, so I was very happy when I saw this group lot for sale at CNG. What really made me want to win it was the provenance: ex Andrew McCabe and ex RBW. You rarely find these pieces provenanced at all and I've seen several over the years that I suspect were never actually aes rude, so I was quite happy to find both a group that checked all the right boxes for me in terms of shape & patina and that had apparently "checked the right boxes" for two collectors I respect as well. I'm still on the hunt for a few more specific type sof aes rude, but these have mostly filled that void in my collection. You can read more about these here.
    Italy, anonymous, Æ Aes Rude(55.0g, 55.7g, 69.5g, 80.3g, 95.0g), before 4th century B.C.. Irregular cast bronze with no stamp or mark of value. Vecchi ICC 1
    Ex Andrew McCabe collection, ex RBW collection (before 2010)

    9. A Roman-on-Punic overstrike
    I love overstrikes where you can reliably determine the undertype. I especially like the various Second Punic War overstrikes of Rome over the captured coinage of its enemies. For those reasons, this sextans was high on my list when I saw it listed in the same CNG e-sale as the aes rude group above. This sextans is from a series of issues struck by the praetors of Sardinia of 211-209 BC and is overstruck on a Sardo-Punic Tanit/bull with star bronze. You can read more about it here if you'd like, and also see an illustration of the undertype
    Roman Republic Æ Sextans(18mm, 3.24 g, 1h). Publius Manlius Vulso, Praetor of Sardinia, 210 BC. Sardinian mint. Head of Mercury right; above, two pellets / Prow right; above, ROMA; (MA) vertical to right; two pellets below. Crawford 64/6a; Sydenham 160c; Russo RBW 269-270
    Overstruck on Sardinia, Punic Occupation Tanit/Bull with star, cf SNG Copenhagen 387-388. For sextans with MA overstruck on Tanit/bull with star, cf Hersh, Numismatic Chronicle 1953, 17; Crawford, overstrikes 49
    Ex Andrew McCabe Collection, AM#1316-32, CNG e-auction 452, 9/18/19, lot 665, ex RBW Collection, ex Fallani Collection, Vecchi 3, 9/13/1996, lot 175

    8. A different kind of anonymous denarius
    I've always been a fan of this anonymous type from circa 115/114 B.C.. It's a simple design referring to Rome's founding without any moneyer trying to use it to bolster his family's name, an interesting departure during a period where types were becoming more and more personal. It's also got an interesting provenance which you can read about here.
    Roman Republic AR denarius(19mm, 3.87 g, 9h), anonymous, circa 115 or 114 B.C., Rome mint. Helmeted head of Roma right with curl on left shoulder; below, ROMA; behind, X. Border of dots. / Roma, wearing Corinthian helmet, seated right on pile of shields, holding spear in left hand; at feet, beside pile of shields, helmet; before, she-wolf right, suckling twins; on either side, bird flying. Border of dots. Crawford 287/1

    Ex Andrew McCabe Collection, AM#13206-39, CNG e-Auction 443, 1 May 2019, lot 455, ex Roma V, 23 March 2013, lot 519, ex Mayflower (Herb Sukenik) Collection, Heritage 3019, 25 April 2012, lot 25924, ex George N. Polis M.D. Collection, Bowers & Merena, 10 June 1991, lot 74, ex Aurelia Collection, Owl, Ltd. & Thomas McKenna, November 1980, lot 72.

    7. My first peaked visor anonymous denarius
    This denarius is my first "peaked" visor Roma/Dioscuri anonymous denarius, and probably my favorite of all the anonymous denarii in my collection due to its style and wonderful dark toning. For those not fully up on the terminology, the early anonymous denarii come in "peaked" and "splayed" visor varieties and part of the story of the early development of the denarius system is the transition in style from the earliest "splayed" varieties to the slightly later "peaked" varieties. For that reason, and others, I've considered this type "essential" in my collection for quite some time, so I'm honestly surprised it's taken me 5 years to actually finally add one, but I'm very happy with the example I ended up with. It was well worth the wait.
    Roman Republic AR Denarius(4.30g, 20mm, 9h), anonymous, circa 206 B.C., Apulian or Campanian mint. Helmeted head of Roma right; behind, X / The Dioscuri galloping right; below, ROMA in linear frame. Crawford 53/2 and plate X, 17; Brinkman & Debernardi website 53/2 group 6 = Revue Numismatique 175(2018) group D2
    Ex Collection of Z.P., Austria, Roma Numismatics Auction XVIII, 29 September 2019, lot 794, ex Italo Vecchi auction 10, March 24-25 1998, lot 531

    6. A sans-L Luceria semuncia
    This semuncia is an interesting variety from the Luceria mint lacking the L mintmark that appears on the majority of their coinage. The variety is missing from Crawford but has been published in Andrew McCabe's arrangement of the anonymous bronzes from Essays Russo. While Andrew originally thought this was probably just an engraving error, his current thinking is that it is likely its own separate tiny series. Adding to the interest of this coin, the same reverse die was used on the uncia denomination. You can read a bit more about this coin here.
    Roman Republic Æ Semuncia(17 mm, 3.39g). Anonymous, style of first "L" series, Luceria mint, 214-212 B.C.. Head of Mercury right, wearing winged petasos; border of dots / Prow of galley right; above, ROMA. Line border. Crawford 43/6 var(no "L" mintmark); BMCRR 168(plate IX.10) = Ghey, Leins & Crawford 2010 43.6.3
    Ex Naville Numismatics live auction 49, 5 May 2019, lot 321, ex AK Collection, Triton XII, 6 January 2009, lot 463(part, ID #B053)

    5. Upgraded "pentagram" victoriatus
    The Pentagram victoriatus has always been one of my favorites of the victoriatus series, both because of the interesting numismatic debate around the "staff" and "pentagram" series and their mint locations(a debate still ongoing, I might add), and also because somewhat early in my collecting I wound up with an amazing example of the exceedingly rare "staff" victoriatus, the brother to the pentagram.
    I was very happy with my original worn example of the pentagram victoriatus until I managed to acquire that beautiful staff victoriatus and all of a sudden my pentagram felt out of place. This year I was finally offered the opportunity to upgrade the pentagram to an example much more in-line with it's brother. Thankfully, my old example found a good home with @akeady. Just like my staff victoriatus was initially, this pentagram V is uncleaned but unlike the staff, the patina wasn't too terribly obscuring so I initially decided to keep it uncleaned. After some encouragement from a few collections I'd consider mentors I've recently made the decision to send it off for cleaning to the same person who worked magic on the staff victoriatus, but we'll all probably have to wait for 2020 to see how it turns out. I'm pretty excited...
    Roman Republic AR Victoriatus(3.09g, 17mm, 10h), Anonymous("Pentagram" series). 209-208 B.C., Spanish mint. Laureate head of Jupiter right. Border of dots / Victory standing right, crowning trophy with wreath; Pentagram between. ROMA in exergue. Line border. Crawford 105/1; Sydenham 233a.

    4. Incuse ROMA victoriatus
    For those of us who collect the victoriati, the incuse legend victoriatus from Spain is, in many ways, an essential type. The incuse legend is unique to this issue of the victoriatus denomination and if that's not enough, it is associated historically with the campaigns of the Scipiones in Spain, so it's got a lot going fo rit. It's not the extreme rarity it used to be, but is still a type that requires some patience to acquire.
    Roman Republic AR Victoriatus(3.10g). Anonymous, ca. 211 B.C., military mint in Spain. Laureate head of Jupiter right. Border of dots / Victory standing right, crowning trophy with wreath. Below, ROMA incuse on tablet. Line border. Crawford 96/1

    3. Upgraded M Furius Philus denarius
    Yet another upgrade. I've always really liked the denarii of M Furius Philus but my old example left a lot to be desired. When I saw this this new one at a Roma auction earlier this year it really spoke to me: the obverse style was excellent, it's got full legends and the reverse is beautiful. Enough said. You can read more about the historical context and see my old example in this thread.
    Roman Republic AR Denarius(19mm, 3.86g). Marcus Furius Lucii filius Philus, moneyer, 119 BC, Rome mint. Laureate head of Janus;around, M·FOVRI·L·F, Border of dots. / Roma (wearing Corinthian helmet) standing left, holding sceptre in left hand and crowning trophy with right hand; above, star; behind, ROMA upwards; the trophy is surmounted by a helmet in the form of a boar's head and flanked by a carnyx and shield on each side; in exergue, (PHI)LI. Crawford 281/1, Sydenham 529; RSC Furia 18; BMCRR (Italy) 555; Russo RBW 1105.
    Ex Roma Numismatics Auction XVIII, 29 September 2019, lot 822, ex Numismatica Ars Classica Auction 114, 6 May 2019, lot 1283, ex RVP Collection, CNG e-Auction 309, 21 August 2013, lot 204.

    2. A tiny and beautiful 45/2 quinarius
    I really fell in love with this quinarius in the Triton sale earlier this year. I felt it was probably the best example I'd ever seen of the type and I just couldn't get over how crisp and beautiful it looked. On the morning of the auction I had an early morning meeting with the CEO of the startup I'd just joined and since it's always hard to tell when a lot will actually go across the block at a live auction I placed what I felt was a strong prebid, not knowing if I'd be able to actually bid live. To my surprise, my prebid barely moved the needle and it was still sitting pretty low when I went to sleep. The next morning I got up early, drove into work and sat in my car, anxiously watching the auction and the clock hoping to see my lot hammer before I went into my meeting. When it finally came across the block, the auctioneer tried for what seemed like an eternity to get another bid but none came in during the live auction. I was shocked and elated all at the same time. I later learned that a friend had attempted to bid but failed due to technical issues but I'm still shocked that he was apparently the only other interested bidder. I guess the coin gods smiled upon me that day. You can read more about this coin here.
    Roman Republic AR Quinarius(16mm, 2.28 g, 12h). Anonymous. After 211 B.C. Uncertain(perhaps Apulian?) mint. Head of Roma right, wearing winged helmet ornamented with griffin's head and three-piece visor, earring an necklace; behind, V. Border of dots / Dioscuri on horseback riding right, each holding couched spear and wearing chlamys, cuirass and pileus surmounted by star; in relief in linear frame, ROMA. Line border. Crawford 45/2; Russo RBW 180; Sydenham 169.

    Ex CNG Triton XXII, 1/9/2018, lot 787, ex Alan J Harlan collection, purchased from Spink & Son

    1. Coming soon
    Coin #1 is a new and unpublished variety, and one that the numismatic nerd within me finds exciting for reasons that will make more sense later, but surprisingly, I didn't actually make the discovery. In deference to those who initially discovered it and because I might not have even made this serendipitous purchase had they not supplied me with an early draft of the relevant paper, I am going to hold off on sharing this coin for now. This publication should be out relatively soon, at which point I'll come back and post the coin and some discussion. I hope you'll forgive me ending this list on a cliiffhanger until then.

    I'm interested in hearing what your favorites are of the list above, and as always, feel free to share anything relevant!
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  3. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    A great selection of coins. I love the way you have deliberately curated your collection.
    red_spork likes this.
  4. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Typically, my favorite on somebody else's list tends to be a type on my own want list that I haven't acquired yet. On this list, it would be that lovely Crawford 287/1 Anonymous issue. This time around, though, I simply can't take my eyes off your incredible M Furius Philus denarius. The reverse is beautifully composed and the obverse is in unmatched style. What a coin!
  5. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    A really well put together set of coins, excellent. My favourite from the perspective of pure eye appeal has the be no. 8, the anonymous denarius. Really well balanced design, and exactly the kind of overall image I think of when I think of RR coinage.
  6. TIF

    TIF Well that didn't last long :D Supporter

    Unsurprisingly, my favorites mirror @zumbly's, plus that 45/2 quinarius.

    Looking forward to revealing of #1!
  7. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    I completely agree on the M Furius Philus - it seems like even when you see them better condition wise you never see them better style wise. I don't think I'll ever be able to upgrade again.
    zumbly likes this.
  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Wow! I love the toning on that quinarius!
  9. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @red_spork Great line up!......
    My favourite is number 5!... A wonderfully detailed coin for the type....Your getting it cleaned!:nailbiting:......Can you give me a link to see the before and after of your previous staff victoriatus cleaning?....I love number 8 too! Congrats!
  10. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    Here's the thread on my staff victoriatus. It was a tough decision regarding getting the pentagram cleaned or not but I think the correct one. I think it will clean up very nicely and hopefully like the staff victoriatus will tone back down over time. I need to take a new picture of the staff as it had toned even more since I took this picture, but here's an update I took about one year after cleaning to show the toning progress.
  11. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @red_spork...Thanks for the link....Very interesting with that little bit of conflict!....
    Firstly they are both beautiful coins!.....I collect both modern (British Colonial) and ancients...I don't like shiny in either but I do like detail!....
    I must admit I preferred the obverse of the staff coin before cleaning but the reverse with the gunk and highlights showing through...hmm I can understand your decision...
    If I hadn't seen the original as bought I just would've said wow!....
    So completely agree with what @dougsmit said.....
    The above number 5 is in the same category, show me it when cleaned and for sure I'm gonna love it!....."From the find to the 2x2 flip, when is the coin at its best?....When the owner is happy with it!.......Congrats....Paul
    red_spork likes this.
  12. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Very nice selection of RR coinage, Red Spork:) Your excellent writeups compliment the beautifull coins. Congrats on a successfull 2019 coin year. I esp. like #7/4/3!
    rrdenarius and red_spork like this.
  13. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    @red_spork fantastic coins in my favorite category, 7, 9, and 3, would top my list (while waiting for #1). I enjoy reading your excellent threads and coins - best wishes for 2020!
    red_spork likes this.
  14. Alegandron

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

    OUT.STANDING, @red_spork ! ALL of them are fantastic! Completely in my collecting focus. If you ever need a babysitter for them, feel free to drop them off at my house. They will be well cared for!
    red_spork likes this.
  15. Carthago

    Carthago Does this look infected to you?

    Alegandron, rrdenarius and red_spork like this.
  16. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    RS - you have been successful in superior coins. You picked well on #2 & #3. My favorite is the Incuse ROMA victoriatus.
  17. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    In any previous year the incuse victoriatus probably would have been my favorite as well. I am extremely happy with it and to have been able to add the type to my collection at all.
  18. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    Thank you very much. I enjoy reading your posts as well, and you've picked up some really fantastic coins this year too.
    Sulla80 likes this.
  19. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    It looks like you had a great year. My favorite is the Janus denarius, what a wonderful appeal that coin has!
  20. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Amen-Ra-Hotep

    Great coins and congrats on your successful haul this year.
  21. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    The Furius has my preference too, still looking for a decent one for my own collection

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