Top 10 of 2017 (From FitzNigel)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by FitzNigel, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    I’ve been debating for a while whether I was ready to post my top ten or not. I haven't really made a purchase since July, due to my increased work schedule, and I thought I might buy something in December. However, after compiling an initial top ten, I don't think the coin I'm looking at would make it into this group (and I'm shocked one of my more expensive purchases didn't either - pricey doesn't always mean valued!). So here we are, FitzNigel’s top ten, in order:

    10. Roger II Tari
    Med-14-ISic-1140-Roger II-Tar-Palermo-203 R1.jpg
    Norman Italy - Sicily
    Roger II, r. 1130-1154 (1140-1154)
    Palermo mint, AV Taris, 12.66 mm x 1.1 grams
    Obv.: Outer Cufic legend denoting date and mint, inner Cufic legend al-malik Rujar al-mu’tazz bi-llah, pellet in center of dotted circle
    Rev.: Outer cufic legend denoting date and mint, in center, cross potent on shaft with pellet between IC XC NI KA
    Ref.: NCKS 240, [MEC 14.202]; De Wit 3796

    This is actually the first gold coin I bought for myself, and my first medieval gold. The Norman Taris are a fascinating little series, particularly since they are dated. As of right now, the date on my coin is illegible, but I suspect with enough research I could probably figure it out (and this will probably be my next avenue of study once I find the time).

    9. Plautilla Denarius
    Imperial Rome
    Plautilla, r. 202-205 A.D.
    Rome Mint, AR Denarius, 18.82 mm x 3.15 grams
    Obv.: PLAVTILLAE AVGVSTAE. Draped bust right, hair coiled in vertical ridges and fastened in bun on back
    Rev.: CONCORDIAE AETERNAE. Caracalla standing left, clasping hands with Plautilla standing right
    Ref.: RIC IV-1 Caracalla 361, p. 269

    I have slowly been working on a portrait series of denarii for each year of Caracalla’s reign (with crisp portraits, and preferably interesting reverses). I hadn't considered adding one of his wife, but this came up in one of Ken Dorney’s auctions for an excellent price, and I had to nab it. While Caracalla is technically on the back, it’s really the striking portrait which attracted me to this coin.

    8. Sabinus Denarius
    Republican Rome
    L Titurius Lf Sabinus, 89 B.C.
    AR Denarius, 17.86 mm x 3.9 grams
    Obv.: Bare head of King Tatius, SABIN behind, palm branch below chin
    Rev.: Tarpeia facing, buried to waist in shields, with raised hands she tries to fend off two soldiers who are about to crash their shields onto her, star and crescent above, L TITVRI in exergue

    This would be my first Roman Republican coin. I’ve admired Republican coins for some time, and was always fascinated by the story of the Sabine women (which probably stems from my love of the artist David…), so naturally this coin appealed to me. I would love to have its friend with the Sabine women being stolen away on the reverse, but this one came up first for a good price and detail.

    7. al-Ḥasan b. Sulaymān Fals
    Med-19b-Kil-1310-Hasan Sulayman-Fal-615.jpg
    East Africa - Kilwa Sultanate
    al-Ḥasan b. Sulaymān, r. 1310-1333
    Kisiwani mint, AE Fals, 19.01 mm x 1.7 grams
    Obv.: احسن بن / سليمان / عزذصز (al-Hasan ibn / Sulaiman / yathiku (May his victory be glorious!)). Inscription in three lines
    Rev.: يتق / بالواحل / النان (trusts / in the One (God) / the Bountiful). Inscription in three lines
    Ref.: SICA 10, #615, Freeman-Grenville 1954, pg. 223 no. xv, Walker obv: XVII, Rev.: XXIII, Album 1183, Zeno 112574
    Note: found on Kilwa island in 1982

    I managed to snag three of these ugly but fascinating coins in February. They are one of the very few sub-Saharan coins in Africa from the Middle Ages. The city of Kilwa may have also been a spot visited by Marco Polo during his journeys, but it is hard to say for certain due to the vagueness of Polo’s description. I spent quite a bit of time researching these coins, and will hopefully get to share more in an upcoming article.
    6. English Henry I Penny
    Med-09a-Eng-1125-Henry I-D-15-Bury St. Edmunds-Gilebert-871.jpg
    Henry I, r. 1100-1135 (1125-1135)
    Bury St. Edmunds AR Penny, 17.16 mm x 0.8 grams
    Obv.: +hEN[R]I[CVS]. Bust facing crowned and diademed, head three-quarters left, sceptre in right hand
    Rev.: [+]G[ILEBE]RT[:ON]:E[DM]N. Quadrilateral with incurved sides and lis at each angle over cross fleury
    Ref.: North 871, SCBC 1276, De Wit 3186

    I snagged this penny right at the beginning of the year. Good Henry I pennies are hard to come by at affordable prices, but this one was u dear $200, has a clear portrait, and had just enough detail left on the reverse to fully attribute the mint and moneyer. That was enough for me! Maybe in the future I will upgrade this coin with something nicer and pricier, but I'm pleased to have this example.

    5. Tancred Follis
    Crusader - Antioch
    Tancred, Regent, r. 1101-1103, 1104-1112
    AE Type 2 Follis, 20.3 mm x 3.3 grams
    Obv.: Bust of Tancred facing, wearing turban, holding sword
    Rev.: Cross pommetée, fleuronnée at base; IC XC NI KA in quarters
    Ref.: De Wit 4079
    Note: Overstruck on a First type follis of Tancred

    I haven't delved too much into crusader coins (I don't even own a book on them! Gonna need to fix that…), but I have admired these issues of Tancred from Antioch which show him wears my middle eastern dress. I love the little mixing of cultures (similarly with the Roger II Tari).

    4. Norman Henry I Denier
    Med-05a-FNor-1106-Henry I-D-XX-13.jpg
    French Feudal, Normandy
    Henry I, r. 1106-1135; AR Denier, 19.53 mm x 0.9 grams
    Obv.: +NOR[M]MANIA. Short Cross with pellets in each quarter
    Rev.: Short cross with annulets and bars on either side, triangle above and below
    Ref.: Dumas XX-13, Roberts, 4837 reverse

    I bought this denier of Henry I not long after acquiring the penny from England. There are not many Norman coins available after the reign of Richard I, and these coins begin a very interesting devolution in style following the reign of Richard II. While the ‘crude’ types such as this are nearly impossible to peg down to a particular ruler (see my post on this and the penny here), the inclusion of the ‘I’ in ‘NORMMANIA’ makes this a particularly interesting issue.

    3. Durotriges Starter
    Celtic Britannia
    The Durotriges (58 B.C.-43 A.D.)
    Cranborne Chase Type AR Stater, 19mm x 5.95 grams
    Obv.: Wreath, cloak and crescents
    Rev.: Disjointed horse left, rectangular head, body of crescents, four vertical legs, three roughly horizontal lines for tail, pellet below, twelve pellets above
    Ref.: SCBC 366, SGCV 172

    This was one of my pricier purchases of the year, but I really wanted one of these coins after a trip my wife and I took to England in the summer of 2016 (See post here). There was a lovely museum in Salisbury that had a nice little hoard and my interest was piqued. I’m not sure I’ll collect any other Celtic coins, but I like having such an iconic one in my collection (at last I think it’s iconic - these are what come to my mind when I think ‘Celtic coin’).

    2. Roger I Trifollaro
    Med-14-INCal-1098-Roger I-TFol-Mileto-3789.jpg
    Norman Italy - Calabria
    Roger I, r. 1072-1101 (1098-1101)
    Mileto Mint AE Trifollaro, 28.04 mm x 8.3 grams
    Obv.: ROG [ERVS] COME +S. Roger, mounted left wearing Norman helm, holding kite shield and striped banner
    Rev.: + MARIA [MATE]R DNI (’N’ retrograde). Enthroned nimbate Virgin Mary holding on lap Christ child, nimbate and in swaddling clothes right
    Ref.: NCKS 131var., De Wit 3789, [MEC 14, 93]

    These are probably one of the most iconic coins of the Normans in Southern Italy. I had been looking for reasonable examples of these for a while, and was completely surprised to see this lovely example show up in JA’s auction! I’ll admit I still feel bad about outbidding my competition on this one, but if I’m placing it this high in my tops ten, you can tell how much I wanted one of these things!

    1. Caracalla Provincial AE30
    Anc-10-R4-k0198-Caracalla-Phrygia-AE30-Hieropolos-NGC 3598775-015.jpg
    Provincial Rome - Phrygia
    Caracalla, r. 198-217 A.D.
    Hieropolis, AE30, 30 mm x 12.36 grams
    Obv.: AV K M AVP ANTΩNΕINO/C. Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right
    Rev.: ΙΕ POΠ ΛEITΩN. Nemesis, wearing polos, standing facing, head right, holding rein or halter. To right Serapis, enthroned left with Cerberus at feet.
    Ex Group CEM

    This was an unexpected purchase. I put in the minimum bid, and instantly regretted it just because the cost was a little high for my normal tastes. However, I loved the portrait and the fascinating reverse with so many figures. Once it was in hand, I did not regret the purchase - I felt like the coin was worth the cost.

    All and all, I think I had a stellar year; I’m just sad it cut off at the midway point! Oh well, work will calm down in time, and I’ll get back into the swing of things I’m sure.

    EDIT: fixed a spelling error and included links I forgot to put in.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Love that Plautilla!
  4. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Great coins @FitzNigel

    My favourite is the English penny followed by the Norman Henry I and then the Tari. I have been looking for a decent Henry I for a while. I thought I had one a few weeks ago, but the coin was already sold. Imho you got that English penny for a steal.

    I hope 2018 is a great another great collecting year for you.
    TheRed, GerardV and FitzNigel like this.
  5. Daniel_R6

    Daniel_R6 Well-Known Member

    Seconded! I really like the detail on the portrait.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  6. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    It wouldn't be a Fitznigel list of it wasn't eclectic and interesting, would it? :)

    That Caracalla provincial at #1 is awesome!

    I also really like the lovely Plautilla and one of them is on my list to pair with my Caracalla, preferably one with a youthful portrait like yours to better match the one on mine.

    chrsmat71, Andres2, TheRed and 11 others like this.
  7. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I'm also attracted to the mixing of cultures, so love the tari (I picked one up also at the beginning of the year), the Tancred (still chasing!), and am very intrigued to hear more about the Kilwa Sultanate. I'm sure that will go on my list. Thanks for your help earlier in the year on my own trifollaro, and I look forward to learning more from you about medievals. I'm envious of the two Henries!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  8. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Yeah, Plautilla is beauty! Great coins
    panzerman and FitzNigel like this.
  9. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    thanks all! I'm actually a little surprised at the number of ancients I bought this year - including my first non-Alexander Greek. I suspect I'll be getting right back on the Medieval bandwagon this year though
    GerardV and Theodosius like this.
  10. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    That Plautilla portrait. Wow.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  11. Kasia

    Kasia Got my learning hat on

    That Plautilla is amazing. Also I like the others.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  12. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago

    What an interesting and wonderfully appealing mix!!

    Naturally, I can't help but LOVE all three of the 'Roman' coins:D
    FitzNigel likes this.
  13. Alegandron

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

    WOW @FitzNigel very nice Hoard for the year! I REALLY like them. Although I do not truly delve into the Medieval period, there are some really great ones that I would go after myself! @Orfew has shown me that I can extend my collecting beyond ancients as I collect cool coins from Historical Junctures in Human History. Your Medievals are great... super GOLD capture! It is jjust FUN to have and hold that metal. And your FIRST Roman Republic is a great choice! I really like the Sabine stories. Celtic? I want that coin also. I have Danubian Pulip II imitations and one Iceni. This is a whole new area that I am beginning to look into. I have always enjoyed the Kelts!

    I will toss a Sabine on to honor your first Roman Republic! For "just" a half-year, WELL DON FITZ!!!

    And, I miss W-S dearly...

    RR Titurius Sabinus 89 BCE AR Den Tatius Sabine rape S 249 Cr 344-1a.jpg
    RR Titurius Sabinus 89 BCE AR Den Tatius Sabine rape S 249 Cr 344-1a
    chrsmat71, Andres2, TheRed and 8 others like this.
  14. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    Nice eclectic mix of coins. That Caracalla is indeed pretty special!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  15. TJC

    TJC Well-Known Member

    Great coins!! I really like that Plautilla and the RR Sabinus is rather nice too! I do not know a lot about medieval coins but appreciate them. The celtic coin is a type that I would like someday. Great top ten!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  16. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Nice coins, particularly like the Roger coin.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  17. ValpoBeginner

    ValpoBeginner Well Known Supporter

    I really like your number 2 but that may be the Christmas Spirit talking. I like them all, very nice finds.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  18. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Thanks all! I'm torn about sharing my love of medieval stuff - sure it's more fun to talk about, but now I'm going to get more competition!

    W-S misses you too @Alegandron
  19. Milesofwho

    Milesofwho Omnivorous collector

    You have a very interesting top ten! I also enjoy seeing your trifollaro, but I also really like your Kilwa sultanate coin. I didn't know they issued coins. Neil MacGregor (director of the British Museum) did a very interesting chapter about Kilwa and its trade links in the History of the World in 100 Objects series. It is the pot shards chapter if anyone wants to listen to it. I like medieval too! My main series is Byzantine, so the Tancred and Roger II also are cool.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  20. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    @FitzNigel Very nice and historically interesting group of coins. I particularly like the Caracalla provincial. Nice detail, big bronze, great portrait and any coin that features Nemesis is a winner in my book. The Plautilla also sports a very nice portrait and the Sabinus is a pretty interesting and good looking coin.

    Nice work this year.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  21. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Nice coin pickups! Esp. the Plautilla/Sabinus/Caracalla examples:happy: I am still looking for Roger AV Tari....
    FitzNigel likes this.
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