The Good Ole Days

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Al Kowsky, Aug 3, 2020.

  1. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Over the weekend I was able to locate the 1st Republican denarius I bought in 1966 at a coin show in Rochester, NY, for $15.00, pictured below. The following year I joined the U.S. Army and forgot about the coin until many years later. It's one of the few coins I've managed to hang onto for over 50 years :).

    IMG_0260 (7).JPG Sydenham 252, close-up (2).jpg

    When I got home I showed the coin to my father who was reading his favorite paper, the New York Times. My father who pretended to have an interest in old coins asked me "What did you pay for it o_O?" I told him $15.00 and he said "You paid too much" and went back to his paper :mad:. Ironically he was right :(. I went upstairs to my room and pulled out one of my books on Roman coins, pictured below, and found a similar coin on page 42 that listed for 3 Pounds and 10 Shillings ($8.99 in 1969 U.S.dollars) :sour:. Never the less I was still happy with the coin :D.

    IMG_0273 (2).JPG IMG_0281 (2).JPG

    The coin market was a different world in 1969, and I wish I had overpaid for many other coins I saw in those days :rolleyes:. Notice the famous Ides of March denarius on the cover, it listed for 1,000 Pounds ($2,577.00 in 1969 U.S. dollars) :jawdrop:! If we could only go back in time :smuggrin:.... The back of the dust jacket on the book has some interesting info too. My book listed for 40 Shillings (a little over $5.00), that I paid $6.00 for :happy:. David Sear's book Roman Coins and Their Values listed for 30 Shillings ($3.86 :hilarious:).

    IMG_0277.JPG

    The coin pictured below sold at CNG E-Auction 471 for $224.00.

    CNG 471, image00200.jpg
    L. Pomponius Cn f. 118 BC. AR Serrate Denarius: 19 mm, 3.95 gm, 5 h. Crawford 282/4 var. (reverse legend), Sydenham 522 var. (same). VF.

    These coins are not rare but they're very popular with collectors and there are many varieties to choose from. Do any other CT members have this coin type o_O?
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
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  3. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    Don't feel too bad about that. Inflation has done the same to most prices. My father bought a house in 1969 for £2,500. Today it would be worth £400,000. So even then the Ides of March denarius was the equivalent of half a house.
     
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  4. Broucheion

    Broucheion Supporter! Supporter

  5. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Wonderful story on a beautiful coin!
    Here is my much more humble version, from the same time, minted under the founder of the modern Costco stores:
    20190331_145500_2231AFA6-5346-44DD-A4C7-B320C2A06772-187-0000005B8D65902E.png
    L. Cosconius M.f.
    118 BCE. AR Serrate Denarius (17 MM, 3.53g, 6h). Narbo mint. Helmeted head of Roma right; X (mark of value) to left / Gallic warrior (Bituitus, king of the Averni?)driving galloping biga right, hurling spear and holding shield and carnyx. Crawford 282/2; Sydenham 521; Cosconia 1.
     
  6. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    Fascinating calculator! So the value of one dollar of 69 years ago is exactly ten times (give or take a cent) as much as the 2020 dollar.
     
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  7. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    The rough equivalent of 1pound sterling ($2.50) in 1946/1947 England just after the end of WWII would buy you a nice Julio-Claudian As or dupondius (but only at one of the few provincial coin shops if you didn’t live in London - sparse mail order and no computers of course). The dollar was king then!

    A friendly reminder for all: Please become a Coin Talk Supporter in order to help preserve and sustain this great hobby!
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
  8. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Excellent post @Al Kowsky! That reproduction of the old Seaby catalog brought back memories. In 1963 my father died and after the funeral I was in London for a couple of days waiting for my outbound flight. I took a taxi and made my usual rounds of the prominent coin shops - Spink’s, Baldwin’s, Seaby et al. When I got to Seaby there was a new counter clerk manning the shop. He was a very pleasant and helpful young man whose name was David Sear! (Edit: On reflection that might have been on another occasion). The list of books also brought back memories: Stevenson’s Dictionary was a popular quick reference then and Gilbert Askew’s “The Coinage of Roman Britain” was my go to reference. He was still alive back then - I admired the pen and ink coin drawings in his book and wanted to tell him that, but never did meet him.

    Those are some of my recollections of that time - there may be some errors in dates, etc. but it was many years ago and my memory is fading fast.

    A friendly reminder for all: Please become a Coin Talk Supporter in order to help preserve and sustain this great hobby!
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
  9. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    It was September. When I originally landed in London there wasn’t a taxi to be had. I asked an Airport Bobby the reason. “Ha”, he replied, “you can’t get one because there are so many out of towner’s coming in to hear the Beatles at the Palladium this weekend”.
    “Who the heck are the Beetles” I asked. All the Bobbies laughed. I found out why when I watched the Telly later.

    As a WWII Big Band fanatic I wasn’t impressed.
     
  10. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    Very funny, Jamesicus! I never connected it, but yes: for me also, the Beatles took over the musical world at the same moment that I started collected coins. I was nine years old at the time.

    And yes: coins were relatively cheap in the 1950s and early 60s. But you didn't have money... Even if a coin cost 10 dollars and it is worth 300 now, you might have 300 dollars in your pocket now - much easier than $10 in your 1960s piggybank.
     
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  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Things that we hang on to for a long time (50 years definitely qualifies) really become a member of the family, in a manner of speaking. Not only do they provide us with an appreciation of what they are, but they also serve as time markers, and in that way bring associations with past events to the fore.

    That's a beautiful denarius, a top grade coin well worth the $15 expenditure in 1969. It is always important to remember that often times catalog prices are outdated. Prices for similar coins on the current market are a much better indicator. While reference book prices are outdated, they can still serve as indicators or relative scarcity or rarity, albeit within the context of the time the reference was published.

    So, congratulations on keeping your long-time friend, and may you enjoy it for another 50 years!

    Now, I need to wind my Gruen wristwatch, which I purchased in NYC in 1975...
     
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  12. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    jamesicus, That's an interesting flashback on encountering David Sear behind the counter :D. I managed to buy a reprint copy of A Dictionary of Roman Coins by S.W. Stevenson about 35 years ago too. The book contains a wealth of information that was especially valuable before the days of computers. I still use that book today because it has so many obscure facts that you won't find anywhere else. I also enjoy seeing line drawings that are often easier to visualize than photos ;). I'm not a big fan of the early Beetle's music but I do like their White Album. I'm a big fan of George & Ira Gershwin :).
     
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  13. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    robinjojo, You make some excellent points :D! Often the coins or art objects we acquire are less important than the circumstances around them. As with the Republican denarius, I'll never forget how elated I was finding it :happy:, & how uninterested my father was seeing it, & getting rebuffed for buying it :(. The son always seeks the approval of the father & rarely gets it :smuggrin:.
    Sometimes collectors get carried away buying this type coin :woot:. The coin pictured below is a good example. It was sold last May in CNG Auction 468, lot 31 for $700.00 on an estimate of $100.00 :jawdrop:!
    CNG 468, image00231.jpg
     
  14. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Like I said I am not sure that was the occasion now - I get events and dates mixed up these days. I am a big fan of Cole Porter (and Broadway show music).
     
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