Richard's top 10

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by RichardT, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Here's my top 10 coins of the year to share with everyone. It wasn't the best collecting year for me as prices and competition seem to have strengthened a lot, but there were still a few hits to go along with the numerous misses.

    10 to 6: Autonomous civic tetradrachms. In order: Myrina, Kyme, Smyrna, Magnesia.

    The treaty of Apamea (188 BCE) forced the Seleucid ruler Antiochus III (241-187 BCE) to surrender all of Asia west of the Taurus mountains, which resulted in the cessation of Seleucid authority in Asia Minor (modern Anatolia). The inland area of Asia Minor was split between Pergamum and Rhodes. The coastal Greek cities were also split, with some granted also to Pergamum. The remaining cities were granted their independence.

    As many as 18 cities in Asia Minor were expressly granted autonomy and these nominally independent city states subsequently struck civic tetradrachms, abandoning the old royal types. All of these coins were struck on the reduced Attic standard, and were struck on broad, thin flans that were influenced by the Athenian New Style coinage. These series also copied a feature on their reverses, a large laurel wreath that formed the border encompassing the entire reverse type.

    The types appearing on the coins clearly indicated their civic nature, depicting the city's patron deity on the obverse, and various aspects of the city's culture on the reverse. There are 14 civic types known from CNG sale records, although apparently as many as 17 are known. The issues of Myrina, Kyme, Magnesia, and Herakleia constitute almost 75% of CNG sold examples. Nicholas F. Jones (The autonomous wreathed tetradrachms of Magnesia-on-Maeander) suggests that the introduction of the Cistophoric tetradrachm in the kingdom of Pergamon (and the abandonment of royal types) may have given impetus to the city states to strike their own autonomous civic tetradrachms again. However in reality the reason for the striking of these civic tetradrachms is unknown.

    myrina.jpg kyme.jpg



    5. Tetradrachm of Athens. I've always wanted one where the owl is engraved well, and this one ticks the box.


    4. Denarius of Brutus. This denarius was probably struck in honour of Brutus and Cassius's meeting at Smyrna, as there are several issues which share the same reverse. These coins struck by the tyrannicides were likely funded by extortion from the rich cities of Asia Minor.

    A curious feature of this series of coins is the rough fields that may have been caused by failing to smoothen the die surfaces before striking. This feature can be clearly seen on the reverse of this denarius.

    3 and 2: tremissi of the sons of Theodosius, Arcadius and Honorius. I've always liked late Roman gold, although the reverse designs soon became practically immobilised, except for the rare consular or marriage issues. These early tremissi were actually struck pretty rarely and are not that common. The first was struck in Mediolanum (Milan) and the second in Ravenna, both of which were located in the Western Roman Empire. Honorius was the ruler of the Western Empire, so why does one tremissis show the bust of Arcadius? I understand it's because there was the practice of striking coins in each other's names.

    Also interesting is that Mediolanum used the formula COM, while Ravenna used COMOB. Full standardisation across the mints was yet to come. Arcadius tremissis.jpg honorius.jpg

    1. 1.5 scripulum of Valens. The 1.5 scripulum was a denomination was an odd coin of about 1.7g which stood in awkward relationship to the Solidus, which weighed 4.5g.

    It ceased to be struck with the introduction of the tremissis, which weighed a convenient 1.5g (one third of a solidus). The denomination itself was not rare, but apparently individual issues were quite small and are consequently scarce. I find them interesting because of their reverse designs which can be quite different.

    I hope everyone has a good collecting year ahead in 2020.
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  3. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    Wow amazing. I liked #2 horse and face.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  4. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    Some beautiful quality there. I love the Seleukid Tets, and I don't think I've seen those types before. Everything is historically and aesthetically appealing from your ten.
  5. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    All fantastic, I am drooling over most of them hard to pick a favorite as all great but I love the Brutus followed by the first five Tets, congrats.
  6. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Love those tets!
  7. TIF

    TIF Well that didn't last long :D Supporter

    Wow!! What a great year! Thanks for the lesson on autonomous civic tetradrachms :).

    The Kyme and Magnesia tets are my favorites from your year.
    Roman Collector likes this.
  8. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Interesting and very individual selection of coins! The late Roman gold pieces are intriguing and certainly not run of the mill, and the Civic tets are all lovely and very appealing. Overall my favorites are the Brutus denarius, the Kyme and the Magnesia.
  9. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coins, my favorite is Brutus.
  10. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Some beautiful coins @RichardT, but the most beautiful is number 2, the tet from Kyme. Nice detail and toning. I'll take one of each of 1-8. How's that for being wishy-washy?
  11. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    Great tetradrachms and I'd like that denarius of Brutus :D
  12. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Eye-popping! Those civic tetradrachms are AMAZING!
  13. Deacon Ray

    Deacon Ray Smiles, everyone! Supporter

    Beautiful coins! The Seleucids employed some very skilled artists.
  14. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    All of them are exceptional! Very nice:) I love the first four, but they are all beautifull.

  15. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    A wonderful and eclectic selection.=! My favourites include the Kyme (wow!) and Brutus (both well liked by previous commenters) but also the Honorius Ravenna.
  16. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Amen-Ra-Hotep

    Nice lrg's - late Roman golds...
    Severus Alexander likes this.
  17. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    Beauties ,every single one.
  18. Alegandron

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

    Nice stuff. @RichardT ! I like the Brutus Denarius the Rebels.
  19. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    Wow. I get excited finding a coin from a city that I do not have for Septimius Severus. This line up is sick with the quality and range of issues. I was hoping to buy my first gold coin and it be a Severus issue. I’ve been avoiding the siren song of the tremissi but I am not sure how much longer I can hold out.
  20. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone for your kind remarks. Looks like the Kyme, Magnesia tetradrachms and the Brutus denarius are the top three.

    Personally I think the Magnesia tetradrachm is my favourite coin of the year, even over the Kyme because it's toned a little dark. And it has a beautifully detailed reverse of Apollo.
  21. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Not the best year, huh ?
    The autonomous cities series's awesome. Hope you can put the 18 together !

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