TIF's Top Ten of 2019

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by TIF, Dec 17, 2019.

  1. TIF

    TIF Always learning.

    Cheers, fellow CoinTalkers :)

    Life has been a constant challenge since the back-to-back category 5 hurricanes of 2017 which caused so much destruction in the Virgin Islands. Not long before the hurricanes I began thinking about moving back to Texas. The hurricanes delayed that plan by a couple of years. I had make repairs to my condo (interior; still waiting on exterior repairs!) and get a number of things in order for the move. To say it was difficult would be a tremendous understatement.

    The last months of this year were particularly busy with preparing my place for sale, selling it, working, packing, and the myriad of other things that go along with a major move.

    I finally made it back to Texas last week. Of course there is still much to do in getting settled, and my mom’s house requires a ton of repairs, some of which are urgent-- I'm still much busier than I want to be right now.

    Keeping up with the huge number of new threads on CoinTalk has been impossible but I hope to catch up soon, at least for all of the year-end list. Thanks again, @Curtisimo, for the handy list!!

    I’ve been so busy that some of the coins in this list have not yet been written up or posted, and I gave up trying to do so before writing this year-end post.

    The order is subject to change on a whim :D.

    10. Banquet scene. This is a type of coin I've wanted for a while. They aren't plentiful and in higher grade can get pretty pricey. Perhaps I was impatient to have bought this lower grade coin but I'd been outbid on a better one. This will do for now but I would very much like a higher grade example, so expect me to bid against you when the next one comes up :D.

    THRACE, Bizya. Hadrian
    117-138 CE
    Æ 24 mm, 9.5 gm
    Obv: [AVTO TPAIAN] ΑΔPI ANOC KA[ICPA CЄB]; laureate bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder, thin strip of drapery on near shoulder
    Rev: [BIZ]YH[NΩN]; banquet scene: man reclining left on klinè; at his feet is seated a female figure, with right foot on stool, extending left hand toward (or feeding?) a coiled serpent erect before a second stool; to left, youth standing facing, head right; to right, forepart of horse left
    Ref: Jurukova 8 var.; RPC III 732.7 corr. (from a similar CNG coin). Rare.

    The popular story of the reverse is probably fiction or wishful thinking, but I'll copy a CNG blurb about it here for your lurid pleasure :D:

    "This coin depicts an interesting scene that was repeated by two other emperors and was obviously of great local significance. While sometimes thought to depict the local myth of King Tereus being served the corpse of his son in revenge for his crimes against his sister-in-law, the serpent or serpent-entwined staff beneath the couch has led others to identify the central figures as Asclepius and Hygeia. A fuller understanding of this scene unfortunately eludes us."

    9. Apollo Didymeus. @Jochen1 provided a dizzying writeup of the statue of Apollo holding a moveable stag, and that seems to be the same Apollo on this coin.

    EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius
    regnal year 11 (147/8 CE)
    billon tetradrachm, 23 mm, 14 gm
    Obv: ANTωNEINOCCEB EVCEB; laureate draped bust right, seen from behind
    Rev: Apollo Didymeus standing facing, holding quiver and stag; LENΔEKATOV around
    Ref: Emmett 1358.11; RPC Online 14267; Dattari-Savio Pl. 108, 8084.


    8. Chicken and waffles :D. Another rather unattractive coin but one that was intriguing because of the reverse design. We speculated about the possible reason for the “waffle” reverse in this thread.

    TROAS, Dardanos
    c. 450-420 BCE
    AR obol; 9 mm, 0.56 gm
    Obv: cock standing left
    Rev: cross-hatch pattern
    Ref: Nomismata 3, 303; Demeester 98; SNG Ashmolean 1119 (all references unverified; I do not have copies of these reference books/catalogs)

    7. An apparently unpublished Alexandrian obol. Roman Egypt is a specialty interest of mine so naturally a coin not in Emmett is satisfying. Saying it is unpublished is a little bit flyspecky though because there are a few known with Agathodaemon right instead of left, but not with the reverse date of RY 4. There is certainly a lot we don't know about these rare bustless Alexandrian bronzes. It looks like I may not have shown this before on CT even though I bought it early in the year.

    EGYPT, Alexandria. Anonymous bronze obol
    c. 1st - 3rd century CE; time of Caligula per some sources)
    Æ obol, 19mm, 4.18 g, 12h. Dated RY 4 (AD 39/40, if issued during Caligula's reign)
    Obv: Agathodaemon serpent erect left; star(?) to right
    Rev: Uraeus serpent erect left; L ∆ (date) across field
    Ref: Unpublished, but cf. RPC I 5110 (uraeus right; date); cf. Emmett 4248 (Agathodaemon right; date)

    6. Athens owl tet from the classical "mass emission" period. With tens of thousands of examples on the market it is difficult to pick one but for various reasons the time and price were right for this one. Sure, I could have waiting for a better one— maybe even at a similar price— but this was a very reasonable deal and ticked all my requirements for the type. As feared though it makes me want more-- an archaic owl tet, a transitional owl tet ("Starr type"), other denominations...

    ATTICA, Athens
    c. 454-404 BCE
    AR tetradrachm; 17.21 gm, ~25 mm
    Obv: head of Athena right, with frontal eye
    Rev: owl standing right, head facing, closed tail feathers; olive sprig and crescent to left; AΘE downward in right field; all within incuse square
    Removed from an NGC slab; AU 5/5 strike, 3/5 surfaces, "Parliament Collection"
    Ref: I really don't know. There are so many catalogs and types and I have no idea how nitpicky various catalogers are. Reid Goldsborough noted that David Sear said there were so many owl tets that in all his years he's never seen a die matched pair! Suffice it to say that this coin is authentic and it is from the "mass emission" period... a "classical owl tet".

    5. Egyptian iconography 1000 miles removed: Melita (Malta), with a distinctly Egyptian reverse. When I saw these types I fell in love with the mystery. Yes, it is not high grade but it is in the upper tier of examples, strike/surfaces/grade-wise. They’re all mostly awful :D. Two of these rare coins appeared in quick succession. I bought both and show both here because they each have their plusses and minuses. Which of the two I prefer is a toss-up. https://www.cointalk.com/threads/ancient-coins-of-melita.342722/

    c. 218-175 BCE. Æ 29 mm, 10.82 gm
    Obv: Veiled and diademed female head right
    Rev: Mummy of Osiris standing facing, head left, between winged figures of Isis and Nephtys, each holding a palm frond; Punic ‘NN above
    Ref: SNG Copenhagen (Vol. 8) 458-9

    c. 218-175 BCE. Æ 29 mm, 10.84 gm
    Obv: Veiled and diademed female head right
    Rev: Mummy of Osiris standing facing, head left, between winged figures of Isis and Nephtys, each holding a palm frond; Punic ‘NN above
    Ref: SNG Copenhagen (Vol. 8) 458-9

    4. Another coin of Melita. One of the best examples out there and I had to pay accordingly.

    c. 160 BCE. Æ 27 mm, 11.88 gm
    Obv: Head of Isis (?) left; Tanit symbol with Kerykeion to left; MEΛΙΤΑΙΩΝ around right
    Rev: Winged male deity (Osiris?) wearing the double crown of Egypt, kneeling left and holding a crook (or sceptre) and a flail
    Ref: CNP 949; Coleiro in NC 1971, 3; SNRIS 2.15 (this coin)
    ex David Freedman collection; Triton V, New York 2002, no. 292

    I tried a video presentation for these Melitan coins and it turned out fairly well and was fun to do, although personally I'd rather read about a coin than watch a video. Unless it's a Kevin Butcher coin video :D.

    3. Taras dolphin rider. I love these coins. The issue is so vast and there are so many variations… it would make for a wonderful specialty. For now this is my only example but in the future I’d love to have more examples from different time periods.

    CALABRIA, Tarentum
    circa 344-340 BCE per CNG's cataloger; 380-345 BCE per Cote/Ratto;
    AR nomos (didrachm); 21 mm, 7.72 gm, 9h
    Obv: Warrior, holding small shield in left hand, dismounting from horse galloping left; horizontal T below
    Rev: Phalanthos (Taras?), holding helmet in right hand, riding dolphin left; TAPAΣ to upper right, I and waves below
    Ref: Fischer-Bossert group 47, 657 (V252/R509); Vlasto 437 (same dies); HN Italy 876; Côte 152
    Ex Dr. Spencer Paterson Collection of Ancient Coins, Sept 2019
    Slabbed prior to its most recent sale to me and quickly de-slabbed upon arrival; NGC XF, 5/5, 4/5, Fine Style.
    Prior sales: CNG's Coin shop (date unknown); Roma Auction 6 lot 327 (Sept 2013)

    2. A rare type of a rare usurper. This coin was brought to my attention by @Cucumbor, who owns one of the finest Egyptian “octodrachms" of Domitius Domitianus. Those octodrachms are fantastic, showing Serapis walking right. The coin below is a smaller denomination and I'm not certain how this was valued at the time or what the denomination was called. Tetradrachm? Hexadrachm? It's larger than Egyptian tetradrachms of that era. There is only one other of this type in ACsearch. It's good to have coinfriends :). Thanks, Cuke!!

    EGYPT, Alexandria. Domitius Domitianus
    RY 2 (297-8 CE)
    potin tetradrachm/hexagram/othergram; 9.56 gm, 23 mm
    Obv: ΔOMITIANOCCEB; laureate head right
    Rev: draped bust of Serapis to right, LB left and palm to right
    Ref: Datt. 6186; Emmett 4242

    Showing the coin in this thread may be tempting the postal demons because it has not yet arrived from France; images are edited seller pictures. If the reverse bottom looks a bit fuzzy it’s because I had to recreate parts of the coin that were covered by the cgbfr URL. Looking forward to having it in hand!

    1. Eumenes I tetradrachm. My favorite of the year, bought several months ago but I've been too busy to write up it up ... a tetradrachm of Eumenes I with an utterly magnificent portrait of Philetairos! It looks great in pcitures and even better in person. The artistry! The relief! I’ve admired these tets of Eumenes I but never thought I’d get one because I wanted specific dies (these) in high grade and simply wasn’t willing to pay a few thousand for a high grade example. The coin gods smiled upon me that day and I won this coin for far less than expected (three and a half times less than this coin sold for in 2012 :wideyed:). There's more to wanting this than just desiring a pretty coin, but that can wait for a real writeup/video :).

    KINGS of PERGAMON, Eumenes I
    263-241 BCE
    AR tetradrachm 29 mm, 16.94 gm
    Obv: head of Philetairos right, wearing laurel wreath
    Rev: ΦIΛETAIPOY; Athena enthroned left, right hand resting on shield set at her feet, gorgon on shield; left elbow resting on small sphinx seated right; transverse spear in background, ivy leaf above knee, monogram on throne, bow to right
    Ref: BMC Greek (Mysia) 31, p.115; SNG France 1606–9
    Formerly slabbed, NGC Ch AU 5/5 3/5, Fine Style

    Ex Dr. Spencer Paterson Collection of Ancient coins, Great Collections 15 Sept 2019


    The coin was one of seven or so singled out for print advertising of this collection's sale, which is another reason I was shocked to have acquired it for such a good price.


    At least two more of the coins in the above advertisement were picked up by CT members.


    I bought fewer coins this year-- some high-dollar, some middle-range, and a bunch of "snacks" :D. Most were provincial; some were Greek. Only one was Roman imperial and it is a fourree. I haven't given many of the years' coins the attention they deserve in terms of research and writeups. The coming year will likely see a continued trend towards buyer fewer coins and hopefully I'll spend more time organizing and reading about the coins I have. That's certainly a big part of the fun anyway :).

    Feedback on my list and ranking is welcome.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  3. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    Very nice! I especially like #1 (of course!), #3 & #6. They're all interesting :)
    TIF likes this.
  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Well-Known Member

    Stunning, as usual, @TIF ! I like them all, but I'm particularly intrigued by the coins of Melita with the Egyptian iconography. And, of course, the chicken and waffles! How delightful!
    TIF and Orfew like this.
  5. Nvb

    Nvb Well-Known Member

    Wonderful and eclectic selection - as expected.
    Your collection has a lot of personality @TIF! I like it a lot.
    #1 and #4 are both incredible coins I'd be thrilled to have in my own collection.

    Honorable mention to chicken and waffles, which I hear is delicious but have yet to try =)
    TIF likes this.
  6. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Amazing selection! After having just found your website and seeing your other coins, these will definitely be great additions!
    #4 is my favorite design...but #8, Chicken and Waffles wins top spot for me. :) Thanks for sharing and welcome back to the Mainland!
    TIF and rrdenarius like this.
  7. Alegandron

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

    Awesome. (I posit this word in its truest sense, and not as the overused idiom.) I really enjoyed all of them. No need to rank. Each has their own unique impact.

    Not that they are any better than the others, but I find the Melita/Malta coins fascinating. They come from an ancient area stretching back several thousands of years, steeped in historical mystery. I gotta have one, someday! You already know this of me.

    I hope your move was successful, and deeply hope your new journey in life is happy for you.

    Still a friend from Afar,
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
    TIF and rrdenarius like this.
  8. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Well-Known Member

    Wow !
    What a year !

    I'm blown away by the Philetairos portrait even though I had already seen it (I was prepared...)

    The Malta (#4) is something I've never seen before and it's a marvelous coin, I simply love it !

    Of course, I'm somewhat a bit proud for having contributed (very small but decisive contribution) to your purchase of the Domitius Domitianus.

    To finish with what to say about a selection where one of the most delightful and pristine athenian tetradrachm cannot make it to the first place ?

    Congrats @TIF, you're among the greatest coin collectors I know of

    Chris B, TIF and Deacon Ray like this.
  9. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    Nice coins. Do you have a Texas accent?
    TIF likes this.
  10. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Absolutely fantastic TIF, I love them all and your video is so professional. I also think your number one is stunning with that high relief, I'm green with envy looking at your Malta collection such interesting coins. I think you have done really well especially with all the obstacles thrown in your path and hope you settle into your new home quickly and happily.
    TIF likes this.
  11. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Beautiful and interesting coins as usual @TIF. Your favorite coin is also the one I would pick out, but I also really like the coin with the head of Isis from Melita. As always, you have superb tastes!
    TIF likes this.
  12. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Superb lineup! All the coins are excellent in their own way, but I think I have to say that Eumenes is special. How does the face look from the side-on?

    I do also have to admit, that Domitius is also very special - one of the last-ever Roman Provincial coins, as Diocletian forbade Alexandria from ever minting Greek-style provincial coins again as punishment for acknowledging his rebellion as legitimate.
    TIF likes this.
  13. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Great coins and write-up. I like them all, but think your Chicken & Waffles coin is special.
    It is nice to have uncommon coins. Unpublished and / or unique is better. Your coin is now published in cointalk.com. My unpublished coin is like yours only the dolphin is swimming left and not right.
    18D.jpg 18R.jpg
    Welcome back to Texas. Hope to see at a coin show next year.
    PS - I will take your crack-em-out shirt to NYINC in Jan.
    panzerman, TIF, zumbly and 3 others like this.
  14. Nemo

    Nemo Well-Known Member

    Awesome year Tif. All of them are amazing but that Eumenes I is just breathtaking!
    TIF likes this.
  15. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    All of these are excellent, especially your Malta collection, but WOW, that Eumenes tet is just jaw-dropping, what a spectacular coin.
    TIF likes this.
  16. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Beautifull coins! The ones from Malta are amazing:) But your AR Tetradrachm/ Eumenes I is a stunner, love the high relief. You had supberb additions for 2019. Thanks for sharing!
    TIF likes this.
  17. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    ..o wow TIF...very nice coins...and welcome back state side..tell mamie i said howdy..:D..
    TIF likes this.
  18. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Well-Known Member

    Some great coins in this group. I really like the portrait of Phlietairos, as well as the Taras and the Owl. All very nice coins. After the trouble you have been having over the last couple of years I hope next year will be a lot better for you.
    TIF and Valentinian like this.
  19. Sulla80

    Sulla80 Supporter! Supporter

    Interesting and beautiful coins and your writeups (and video) are always good reading. The side view of the Eumenes I is monstrous. The Melita Isis and octodrachm are next in my list of favorites. Best wishes for a bit less busy in 2020 - and, of course, great coins!
    TIF likes this.
  20. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Wonderful coins!
    TIF likes this.
  21. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    The tetradrachm of Athena is so..... appealing. All the remaining coins deserve great appreciation as well. Hope you settle well in your new house. Cheers.
    TIF likes this.
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