Top 10 of 2018 (from FitzNigel)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by FitzNigel, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    I think I am ready to post my top 10, as any other coins I currently have my eye on will probably not break into these ranks. This was a bit of a strange year for me, as I don’t feel like I bought many coins. I actually bought loads (maybe around 75?), but most of those were for use in my classroom, or came in lots with coins I bought for class that I don’t have much intention of keeping. Only 21 coins will go in my permanent collection, which did make putting together a top ten a little easier.

    10. William I Follis
    Med-14-INSic-1155-William I-Fol-Messina-338.jpg
    Norman Italy - Sicily
    William I, r. 1154-1166 (1155-1156)
    Messina mint, AE Follaro, 14.15 mm x 1.27 grams
    Obv.: ΜΡ ΘΥ (Mother of God). Madonna with Christ Child
    Rev.: Cufic legend, “Minted in Messina the year fifty and five hundred.” surrounding REX / ●W●
    Ref.: NCKS 338, MEC 14.289A

    This coin is a pain to photograph. It is fairly dark, which makes it hard to see the details if not in hand. The tiny concave shape is intriguing, but what I found interesting about this coin was the design. This issue shows the Hodegetria; the Virgin Mary holds an infant Christ, pointing at him as an indication that he is the way to salvation. This image was copied by the Normans in one of their chapels, and this seems to have found its way to this coin.

    9. Manuel I Tetarteron
    Anc-11a-R5-k1143-Manuel I-T-1968.jpg
    Byzantine Empire
    Manuel I, r. 1143-1180 A.D.
    AE Tetarteron, 20.34 mm x 4 grams
    Obv.: MANȣHA ΔϵCΠOTHC. Manuel, bearded, stg. facing, wearing crown, division, locos and sagion, and holding cruciform scepter and akakia
    Rev.: M̅P̅, Θ̅V̅. The Virgin, nimbate, stg. r., with hands raised towards the hand of God in upper field to r. She wears pallium and maphorium
    Ref.: SBCV 1968

    Here is another coin with the Virgin Mary on it. The was not an intentional collecting focus, but the Virgin holding her hands in deesis seemed rather unique to me. I don’t know if there are other issues with a similar design, but I have not seen them.

    8. Caracalla Provincial AE26
    Provincial Rome - Macedon
    Caracalla, r. 198-217 A.D.
    Edessa AE26, 26 mm x 7.7 grams
    Obv.: AV K A]VPH AN TΩNINO[C], laureate and cuirassed bust right
    Rev.: Roma, holding Nike and parazonium, seated left on cuirass and shield, being crowned by Tyche with wreath; [Tyche also holds scepter]
    Ex. Belgica Collection. Ex Gorny & Mosch 229 (10 March 2015), lot 1509
    Note: Some Smoothing

    While I still have the goal of collecting a sharp portrait denarius of Caracalla for each year of his reign, this has begun to morph into a side collection of large and unique provincial bronzes. At 26mm, this isn’t the largest of coins, but it is still a decent size. This isn’t necessarily unique either, but the reverse is unusual and I like that there are multiple figures. I don’t yet have the coin in hand (I’m breaking one of my cardinal rules here...), but wanted to jump in on the end of the year bandwagon. The picture belongs to the seller (CNG), who has noted this coin has some smoothing. Unfortunate, but again, I liked the look of it.

    7. Fulk V Denarius
    Med-05a-FAnj-1109-Fulk V-D-375.jpg
    French Feudal, Anjou
    Fulk V or Geoffrey V, r. 1109-1129 or 1129-1151
    AR Denier, 18.92 mm x 0.9 grams
    Obv.: +FVLCO COMES starting at 3hr. cross pattée, omega in quadrant 3, alpha in quadrant 4
    Rev.: + VRBS AIDCCSV. Around Fulk’s monogram
    Ref.: Duplessy 375, Roberts 4114

    The reason behind this coin was that I wanted an issue from Henry II of England from his home county if Anjou. Unfortunately, the coins of Anjou had become immobilized with the reign of Fulk V. There may be some research that has been done to further date types, but I have not yet seen them. This particular coin was a chance find at a coin show, and for a reasonable price as well, so I thought it was worth snagging. Perhaps I can do more research in the future and grab another, but this will do for now.

    6. William II Large Follis
    Med-14-INSic-1166-William II LFol-Messina-372.jpg
    Norman Italy - Sicily
    William II, r. 1166-1189
    Messina Mint, Second Copper Large Follaro, 25.28 mm x 11.2 grams
    Obv.: Lion Head
    Rev.: Palm tree with dates
    Ref.: NCKS 372, MEC 14.425

    This was another chance find at a coin show. Perhaps a weaker strike than I would have liked, but the coin had been on my wishlist, and the price was reasonable. The imagery on these are interesting, as the obverse seems to harken back to the Ancient Greek coins of Bruttium which depict a lion’s scalp. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, and have been meaning to do more research, but the potential connection is intriguing.

    5. Norman Imitation of an Anonymous Follis
    Med-14-INAp-1085-Roger Borsa-Fol-xx.jpg
    Norman Italy - Apulia
    Roger Borsa, r. 1085-1111; AE Follis, 19.08 mm x 2.2 grams
    Obv.: Bust of Christ facing, cross behind, wearing pallium and Colvin, raising right hand in benediction, Gospels in left, crescent above, IC - XC flanking
    Rev.: Cross with globule and two pellets at each extremity, large crescent below, four globules around each surrounded by pellets
    Note: Imitative of a Byzantine Anonymous Follis, Class J. Found in Southern Italy. It cannot be earlier than 1085, but my attribution to Roger Borsa in Apulia is due to coins if a similar weight and size from this time and region

    Speaking of intrigue, this one contains loads of mysteries! I had been eyeing this coin which FORVM had for sale for some time, but decided to buy it after their appeal for aid following Hurricane Florence. There is no definitive proof that this was a Norman struck coin, but it was found in southern Italy, and is much thinner and lighter than Byzantine Folles (and thus more like a European coin). This imitates a type J Follis, and this could be no earlier than 1081, but that would put it in the final days of Robert Guiscard and possible the reign of Roger Borsa. I’ll never know for sure... but I suspect Borsa.

    4. Maille of Ghent
    Low Countries - Flanders
    City of Ghent, 4th Period, 1253-1300
    AR Mailles, 11.3 mm x 0.5 grams
    Obv.: Head left within circle of pellets, three rings in helmet, Lisa on top and cross behind
    Rev.: Open cross with bended limbs
    Ref.: DeWitt 1266

    The Mailles of Flanders were city issues which initially contained the name of the ruling count, but eventually became anonymous issues. This particular coin is one of the last issues for Ghent, minted sometime between 1253 and 1300. While the coin has no legend, it is the same design as earlier issues with legends that identify it as an issue of Ghent. Ultimately, though, the image is just fantastic! It’s wonderfully reminiscent of 12th Century knights, but it an unusual and unique style.

    3. Enrico Dandolo Denaro
    Med-12-IVen-1192-Enrico Dandolo-D-3625.jpg
    Italy - Venice
    Enrico Dandolo, r. 1192-1205
    AR Denaro, 13.66 mm x 0.4 grams
    Obv.: +S MARCVS around small cross
    Rev.: +ENRIC DVX around small cross
    Ref.: De Wit 3625

    Enrico Dandolo was the Doge of Venice at the time of the Fourth Crusade. In many of the accounts of the crusade, Dandolo was viewed as responsible for leading the crusade away from the Holy Land to sacking Constantinople. From a Numismatic perspective, payment for the crusade led to the minting of the Grosso: a new denomination which would spread throughout Europe. A Grosso of Dandolo would be one of my white whales - as would any coin by Dandolo! Hence my surprise and delight when this coin became available for a mere $20! The small Denaro (or piccolo as they would eventually be called) are more numerous than the Grosso of Dandolo’s, but I still have not seen any for sale before this one.

    2. Frederick II Denari
    Med-14-Sic-1243-Frederick II-D-Brindisi-555.jpg
    Kingdom of Sicily
    Frederick II, r. 1197-1250 (1243)
    Brindisi Mint, BL Denari, 18.64 mm x .07 grams
    Obv.: +F●ROM●IPR’●SeP●AVG. Bare head right.
    Rev.: +R●IERSL’●ET SICIL’. Eagle facing with head r.
    Ref.: MEC 14.555-7

    While Frederick II was Holy Roman Emperor, in many ways he was the last Norman king of Sicily. While technically a Hohenstaufen, his mother Constance was the daughter of Roger II, and Frederick seems to have had a greater affinity for his Sicilian possessions than his German ones. Frederick also had an affinity for birds, which is partly what attracted me to this coin, especially within the incredibly detailed plumage on the falcon on the reverse. I’m still looking into the design, and am curious how it matches up to Frederick’s depictions in the book he wrote on Falconry.

    1. Robert Curthose Denari
    Med-05a-FNor-1087-Robert Curthose-D-XXI-17.jpg
    French Feudal, Normandy
    Robert Curthose, r. 1087-1106
    AR Denier, 20 mm x 0.93 grams
    Obv.: +NOR[MAN]NA. Cross patted with pellets in angles
    Rev.: RI/AV in two lines
    Ref.: Dumas Group D XXI-17, Duplessy 32var., Roberts 3901-9var.
    Ex BRN Collection, purchased from Andy Singer June 2012

    I saved the ugliest coin for last. I have developed quite an interest in these crude deniers of Normandy post Richard the Fearless. The coins usually contain geometric designs on the reverse (which may be devolved depictions of a temple), but there is a group of these coins which instead have a series of initials. The initials are baffling, but the current theory is that they may have been issued during the reign of Robert Curthose. I haven’t seen one of these available before and wasn’t expecting to see one for some time. CNG had an auction with several Norman coins offered, and the inclusion of a rare, unrecorded type in that same auction probably deflected people from this issue (that and this one was probably the ugliest of all those on offer).

    All in all, a good year. Perhaps not my best, but I certainly got some top coins!
    Pavlos, Nap, Kasia and 29 others like this.
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  3. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    A wonderful top 10 @FitzNigel ! My favourites are the Fulk V and the "Stupor Mundi". I am still looking for a Fulk V.

    Of course I also love the Curthose and William I is on my list.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  4. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Cool coins!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  5. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Ah, Medieval niche! Love your collection and hope to start looking into this niche soon. My favorites are the Faulk and Frederick II. The Ghent coin is special since I've been there several times. Congrats on a good year.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  6. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Very nice, I especially like your Sicily coins and the Frederick outstanding quality.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  7. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Well, now that you completed your Legionaire Denarii, come join the Medieval fun!

    Edited to fix a grievous error caused by apple’s horrendous predictatext
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
    Bing likes this.
  8. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    A great year!! My favourites are the William I follaro and the William II trifollaro, the Norman imitation follis (how cool is that!?!), and the Enrico Dandolo (boy do I want one of those). #1 and #2 are great too, of course.

    Here's my Freddy II, which doesn't hold a candle to your awesome falcon/eagle:
    Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 5.10.17 PM.jpg
  9. Hookman

    Hookman Well-Known Member

    Cool Coins !!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  10. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    #8 COOL reverse on that Caracalla!

    #6 Lion head and palm combo are great!

    #2 is #1 for me, the style of the head and eagle is very cool!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  11. TheRed

    TheRed Supporter! Supporter

    Such great coins @FitzNigel I like them all. Congratulations on a year well done. The maille of Ghent is my favorite of the group, and a type I was completely unfamiliar with until you posted it. Your denaro of Dandolo and the denari of Stupor Mundi are also wonderful.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  12. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Great 2018 top ten, @FitzNigel!!! My favorite is your Enrico Dandol... I really like this small crosses in the middle. And of course the eagle in your Frederick II is killer too! Here's to an even better 2019!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  13. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I still buy MA Legionary denarii. I got one in the mail today. I can't seem to help myself!:wacky:
  14. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Very interesting reverse type on that Caracalla from Macedon!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  15. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Nice year @FitzNigel ! My favorites are #3, #7 and #9.

    Here is an Erico Dandolo grosso from the Carrer museum in Venice.

    Here is my Manuel I Tetarteron (needs a new photo).
    Byzantine Empire
    Manuel I Komnenos (AD 1118 – 1180)
    AE Tetarteron, Constantinople mint, struck ca. 1143-1180
    Obv.: St. George draped and cuirassed, bust facing, holding spear and shield.
    Rev.: Manuel I crowned, bust facing, holding labarum and globus cruciger.
    Ref.: SB 1970
    Ex Sallent Collection

    Write Up:
    A Tetarteron of Manuel I
  16. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Looks like a good year, Fitzy! I'm partial to the Caracalla but please don't make a habit of shopping in my department :p :D.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  17. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    I just dip my toes every now and then to see what all the fuss is about...
    TIF likes this.
  18. Aethelred

    Aethelred The Old Dead King

    Great list @FitzNigel I knew I'd like it before I even opened it.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  19. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    You're not taking the easy route, but all and everyone are interesting coins

    Chapeau !
    FitzNigel likes this.
  20. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Regarding Fulk, the latest research (Kool, 2013) seems to indicate that the billon coinage of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem might have started with him around the same time with the billon deniers of the neighboring Tripoli and Antioch, cca. 1140.


    (Pic comes from

    Previously (Malloy) it had been assigned to the 1240s City of Acre, while Metcalf suggested it might have been related to the Third Crusade. New research by the Hebrew Uni dates this type as early as 1140 and the links to the reign of Fulk do not end here. Notice that the A and W dangling from the arms of the cross, a common feature of the immobilized Angevin coinage of the mid 11th and the 12th centuries, is also common to the Jerusalem/Acre denier.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  21. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    I love story coins. Hard to beat that Enrico Dandolo denario. A piccolo coin with grosso significance.
    FitzNigel likes this.
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