Thoughts about value

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Valentinian, May 12, 2018.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    What do you think this coin is worth?


    Constantine, AD 307-337.
    My first thought was a low number, say, $5. After all, coins of Constantine are very common and often come in excellent condition, which this is not.

    However, I am working on an educational web site about vota coins and that process makes me temporarily a vota-coin collector so I can learn enough to write about them. Vota coins of Constantine and his sons are very common, so a regular "VOT XX" coin can be had as cheaply as any ancient coin. But this one is not exactly the normal VOT XX. It has an unusual fuller spelling VOTIS and legend break:
    with CONSTANTINI AVGVSTI around (with no wreath) and
    ASIS for Siscia in exergue.
    RIC VII 140 "r3, 320"

    RIC VII has very many varieties that are "r3" so citing a coin as "r3" does not mean it is unusual. Often there could be five or more officina listed separately, several similar issues from the mint, and a dozen mints, all producing what to most of us are the same type. An "r3" variety can be a very common type.

    But this one is a bit (only a bit) different. The legend break
    is only at Siscia, only this issue, and Constantine has only one officina. So, it really is rare, if (a big IF) you want a full representation of vota types. I knew one collector who did. But, everyone else (short of a major museum) does not. (Correct me if you do.)

    I have this legend break from Arles:
    RIC Arles 216.
    I think that one is scare, but more common than the first.

    So, what is the first one "worth"? Catch the right avid collector of vota coins on the right day and it might be worth far more because it fills a hard-to-fill hole. To me, only temporarily collecting vota coins, it is still a $5-10 coin, but now its mine and I won't be selling it for that anytime soon.

    Do you have any comments on the cost/value of coins that fill holes?
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  3. Ryro

    Ryro Change your thoughts. Change the world. Supporter

  4. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

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  5. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    I wish I know. When it comes to LRBs, IMHO, only super condition coupled with rarity can pay off, just like Morgan silver dollars. Good luck all the way.
  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I think value has more to do with demand than supply, when it comes to ancient coins. There are coins that are not rare by any means, but are in high demand and are therefore expensive. For example, on any given day, I could buy half a dozen denarii of Julius Caesar, Caligula or Otho. But demand for these is high and keeps the price elevated.

    On the other hand, we all have coins where finding even another example online in an auction archive or database is a hopeless undertaking, yet the cost is low because there are few collectors of Faustina Junior who must have a particular reverse type of dupondius or who are in search of all three varieties of Nerva denarii with the IVSTITIA AVGVST reverse type.

    And when you're in possession of a minor design variety, such as a variation in a bust type on an antoninianus of Gallienus or a denarius of Julia Domna where Vesta appears without a scepter or Juno doesn't have a peacock at her feet, there is usually little premium for having such an item--even if some catalog somewhere claims it's rare--because it's even more rare to find a buyer who cares enough to pay a premium for such things. Auctioneers point this stuff out (see the listings at Harlan Berk or CNG), and I enjoy owning such items, but I don't have any hope that I could sell the items for a premium when it comes time to dispose of my collection.

    So, as to this coin, I don't know what it's worth, but I suspect far, far less than its rarity would suggest. I don't have any interest in paying much more than the usual price for it.

    But you, of course, know all this.
  7. Sallent

    Sallent Well-Known Member

    I'll bid 50 cents...not a penny more.:rolleyes:
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  8. Caesar_Augustus

    Caesar_Augustus Well-Known Member

    A coin is worth how much someone is willing to pay for it.
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  9. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    You just need two completists vying for it at auction and suddenly it is worth a lot more. Whatever they put in as their I must have it bid.

    I have an Elis bronze from the BCD collection someone (maybe Basil?) paid 6000 DM for in 1990.
    Elis AE25a.jpg

    I got it for $100 in 2016 because no one else bid much for it.

  10. David@PCC

    David@PCC Well-Known Member

    $20 or more to the right collector. Out of 10k uncleaned late Romans I never came across one. Not particularly rare, but not one I see often either for cheap (<$10). I do like the second one.
    RAGNAROK and benhur767 like this.
  11. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I am wondering what thoughts will run through the modern collector's mind upon stumbling across this thread...
  12. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Well, maybe I’ll be labeled a fool. Wouldn’t be the first time. My initial response was $50. But I collect Constantine, and I recognized this coin as being somewhat unusual, though I couldn’t clearly tell you why until I read Valentinian’s explanation. So I’m probably the voice of “demand” here and would be more interested than most.
  13. benhur767

    benhur767 Sapere aude

    I love finding minor varieties. It's exciting! It's a discovery! There's a thrill to owning something you know may be the only one known, or super rare, even if there's little demand for it. But the question is, how much extra am I willing to pay for something that few people will care about? It depends. If it adds depth and interest to a specialist collection that I'm building, I'm sometimes willing to pay more than market demand would seem to warrant. :)

    I know that I probably won't recover the premium when it comes time to sell, but in these cases it's understood. It may generate interest in the collection as a whole, which may help to "raise all boats" so to speak. Probably wishful thinking, though.
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
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  14. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Redditor Lucis Aeternae

    I agree that the value is what you can sell it for and what someone is willing to pay. If you find someone trying to fill out a collection of Constantinian bronze, then perhaps you will get a premium.
    RAGNAROK likes this.
  15. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Nice find and great story!
    In a junk box, $1
    In a flip with attribution, $10
    With the information above, $20 plus or minus a bit
    At the right auction, what the 2nd highest bidder will pay
    I am not a good judge of ancient coin selling prices. I do buy a few, and have a feel for what I must pay for coins that interest me. Often I am the only one to bid on some of my interests:
    DrBP 2Kg cast bar 11.8.17.jpg
    I bought this 2 Kg bar as an unsold lot.

    I became interested in anchors on ancient coins when I bought an aes grave with an anchor. It is important to know which way is up, because most aes graves have a 12 orientation. I have two one with the "pointed end" up and one with it down. I started to look for other anchors on ancient coins and bought several I would not looked at twice otherwise (like the op coin).
    Seleukos I anchor on rev LAC.jpg
    I wanted this coin because the anchor points "up".

    rr denarius L.C.PISO anchor die mark obv AA.jpg rr denarius L.C.PISO anchor die mark rev AA.jpg
    I have a coin of Piso and normally do not duplicate moneyers. This coin is interesting only because it has an anchor. Note it points up.
    Piso anchor symbol DrBP 11.18.17.JPG
    same coin as above with slightly different anchor

    rr denarius anchor first series AA obv.jpg rr denarius anchor first series AA rev.jpg
    There are two different anonymous RR Roma / Dioscurii anchor coins. This one was interesting because of the anchor style.

    I am about done with my search for anchors on coins. The group is interesting, but I do not expect a premium for the group.
  16. Dillan

    Dillan The sky is the limit !

    Frankly I do not care what the value of the coins I find are ,if I like it I buy it , if I do not or its really expensive I leave those for the rich collectors. I only buy what I find that I instantly take a liking too_One problem is that there are so many I like I cannot afford them all. If a person was trying to put together an heirloom for a Grandchild, then I would be more particular on the purchases, and try and purchase coins that will increase in value over time. I think when a person becomes more concerned about value you lose some of the drive and fun of collecting. To each his own ,and keep on collecting!!
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  17. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    That's pretty much my view, and I think many of the Ancients collectors on this board. My addition to this thought is that I do have a budget, and I have to stay within if I can (I'm not always successful).
    benhur767, Theodosius, Ryro and 3 others like this.
  18. Bert Gedin

    Bert Gedin Well-Known Member

    As a non-expert, I would offer a greenback dollar. Speaking for myself, monetary value is secondary, if a coin has historical or, otherwise, personal value to the "owner", that is good enough. But, I have to admit, I've seen Constantine in better shape.
  19. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    I find that hard to believe. 6000 DM! Yes, the city is important, but BCD Olympia (Leu 90. lots 307-313) has seven examples, most better.
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  20. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    We got several good general answers, but this thread has (naturally) mostly focused about the coin I used to illustrate the philosophical issue. I would still like to hear what people do if they have some series they collect that "needs" some missing type.

    If such a coin appears, one option is to not pay more just because it is some variety and just waiting to get lucky and find the variety later (it might take years) if one comes along at a higher-than-desired price. Another option is to go higher than expected to get the coin.

    Personally, I have so many interests that I will rarely go higher when a coin is a variety I want. Maybe I'll find it later, and I am certain I can find something else interesting in a different series for the higher price I would have to pay.

    I don't want to return the discussion to the OP coin, but I agree with the posters who said it was not worth much--hardly more than any other Constantine-- even though it fills a hole (that almost no one would care about).

    Examples for this philosophical discussion about your approach to buying:

    A) Someone collects Byzantine anonymous bronzes and notes there are over 60 nimbus varieties of the common Class A. What if a variety he doesn't have is offered at twice the normal low price. Go for it? Wait?

    B) Denarii of L. Papius (79 BC) in the Roman Republican series have control marks below the leaping griffin. One of our members collects them and has quite a few varieties. Would/should a a new variety be worth more (to him) than a standard Papius coin?

    C) A FEL TEMP REPARATIO is offered from a mint you don't have after a few years of trying to complete the mint-set. How much more is it worth (to you) than a similar piece from a different mint would go for.
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  21. Caesar_Augustus

    Caesar_Augustus Well-Known Member

    I'm in a similar situation to A, actually. But I'm far from completing a set, so if it's too expensive, I just pass. If I'm really close to completing a set I'd consider bartering for it, to get it down to a price I can handle. But, this just might be that I'm a relatively poor uni student and I need to be tight with my budget. I always vote for, "if it's too pricey, then wait". Either for more funds, or for a cheaper example. I would never just pounce on a coin, unless it's something I really really want that I don't see that often, not really related to completing a set, or if it's a really good price.

    How would a coin be priced? I think it should be priced according to the seller's circumstance. For example, if you got that coin for $10 in a lot, or something like that, then you should price it perhaps based on the margin you would like to get from selling it. Maybe $20? Don't think it would sell very well if priced at $200, but it seems like you could definitely make the claim that it is worth that much. And if someone is looking to fill that hole, than he or she might pay for it if the funds are available. Im sort of echoing what has already been said here, but itiis also what im thinking. This is a very interesting discussion.
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
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