Top 10 of 2019 (From FitzNigel)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by FitzNigel, Dec 31, 2019.

  1. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Well, I am a little late to the party, but I was waiting for some coins to arrive in the mail. And while this is a Top 10 (and maybe a little bit more), this actually represents all of my purchases for the year. It has been a slow one coin-wise, but I think I managed to grab a couple of gems.

    10. Huvishka Tetradrachm
    Kushan Empire
    Huvishka, r. 155-189 A.D.
    AE Tetradrachm, 25.48 mm x 13.8 grams
    Obv.: Huvishka seated facing cross-legged, holding ankuśa (elephant goad) and scepter; trace of clouds below
    Rev.: Solar deity Mithra standing left, extending hand in benediction and holding hilt of sword; tamgha to left

    This was an impulse buy at a coin show. I like the mixing of culture that was taking place in Central Asia, and while this coin does not feature the Buddha, the king sitting cross-legged sure seems inspired by a coin featuring the Buddha minted by his predecessor.

    9. Al-Radi Billah Dirhem
    Med-19a-Abb-0936-Al-Radi Billah-Dir-Marinate al Salam-255-1.jpg
    Abbasid Caliphate, Third Period
    Al-Radi Billah, r. 322-329 AH/934-940 A.D. (324 AH/936/7 A.D.)
    AR Dirhem, 27.08 mm x 3.0 grams
    Obv.: Outer Margin: لله الأمر من قبل و من بعد ويومئذ يفرح المؤمنون بنصر الله. Inner Margin: بسم الله ضرب هذا الدرهم بمدينة السلام سنة اربع و عشرين و ثلث مائة. Center: لا شريك له / الله وحده / لا الاه الا
    Rev.: Margin: محمد رسول الله ارسله بالهدى و دين الحق ليظهره على الدين كله ولو كره المشركون Center: د / الراضى بالله / الله / رسول / محمد / لله
    Ref.: Album 255.1 (Without Heir)

    I was interested in grabbing some coins related to the Viking age. The Vikings had trading contacts with the Abbasid Caliphate, and would use Dirhems such as this in trade, and as jewelry. While there is no way I can know if this coin was in the hands of the Vikings, the damage done to it is consistent with other dirhems found in Viking hoards.

    8. Caracalla Provincial from Stobi
    Provincial Rome - Macedon
    Caracalla, r. 198-217 A.D.
    Stobi AE24, 23.9 mm x 5.82 grams
    Obv.: [...] ANTONINV, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Rev.: MVNICI STOB, Victory advancing left, holding palm frond and wreath
    Ex. Zumbly collection

    I have slowly been amassing a small hoard of provincial bronzes minted during the reign of Caracalla. I’ve been trying to focus on examples with unusual or interesting reverses. While this one is perhaps not the most unique, it was in excellent condition, for a good price, and has the highly prestigious provenance of being an ex @zumbly coin!

    7. A Trio of Norman Deniers
    Trio of Norman Deniers.jpg
    Feudal France - Normandy
    William II-William Clito/Henry I, r. 1035-1135 (1075-1130)
    AR Denier, 19.65 mm x 0.8 grams
    Obv.: +NORMAN DVX. Cross pattee with pellets in angles
    Rev.: Degenerate chapel, pellet in pediment, two pellets and annulets to either side, pellet and greek cross underneath
    Ref.: Dumas XX-1, Roberts, 4833
    Note: Dumas group C et D according to Moesgaard

    Feudal France - Normandy
    William II-William Clito/Henry I, r. 1035-1135 (1075-1130)
    AR Denier, 16.70 mm x 0.5 grams
    Obv.: +NORMAN DVX. Cross pattee with pellets in angles
    Rev.: Cross around oval, crosslets on each arm, two pellets within
    Ref.: Dumas XX-19
    Note: Dumas group C et D according to Moesgaard

    Feudal France - Normandy
    William II-William Clito/Henry I, r. 1035-1135 (1075-1130)
    AR Denier, 16.62 mm x 0.6 grams
    Obv.: +NORMAN DVX. Cross pattee with pellets in angles
    Rev.: ROT’VM[AG?], around circle and V
    Ref.: Dumas XX-24
    Note: Dumas group C et D according to Moesgaard

    I bought the three of these deniers as a group from an eBay seller who could/did not identify them. And I don’t blame the seller! These late 10th/early 11th Century coins from Normandy tend to be in terrible condition, and not well documented. While I am confident I have correctly identified two of them, the third (on the right of this image) I am not as certain. (The William II under whom these coins might have been issued is William the Conqueror).

    6. Richard I of Normandy Denier
    Med-05a-FNor-943-Richard I-D-XV-23.jpg
    Feudal France - Normandy
    Richard I, r. 943-996
    AR Denier
    Obv.: +RICARDVS. Cross pattee with pellets in angles
    Rev.: +ROTOMAGVS. Lothaire monogram
    Ref.: Dumas XV-23, Duplessy 18

    I admittedly bought this coin to ease the pain of shipping another coin (#1 on this list), but it was a variety I wanted, and for a reasonable price. While the coin has Richard’s name on it, the reverse contains a monogram which is not Richard’s. CNG says this is a monogram of Lothaire’s, but I haven’t yet found the research which backs this (I have several sources I still need to wade through). Nonetheless, it is a fun little mystery that I will eventually delve into.

    5. Caracalla Provincial from Soloi-Pompeiopolis
    Provincial Rome - Cilicia
    Caracalla, r. 198-217 A.D.
    Soloi-Pompeiopolis mint, AE33, 32.91mm x 16.37 grams
    Obv.: Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Rev.: Bust of astronomer Aratos (?) right

    As with number 8, here is another Caracalla Provincial with an unusual reverse. This is presumably the bust of the poet Aratus who became famous for writing a poem describing the stars and constellations. A crater on the moon (near the Apollo 15 landing site) was named after him, and his tomb was discovered in Turkey earlier this year. There do not seem to be many issues of this coin that survive (mine was advertised as the second known, but I’ve found at least 4 just by looking online), but another factor which made it an attractive buy is because it is BIG (did I mention under #8 that big bronzes were also what I’m looking for?)

    4. Caracalla Provincial from Perinthus
    Provincial Rome - Thrace
    Caracalla, r. 198-217 A.D.
    Perinthus, AE 35 Medallion, 35.30 mm x 26.52 grams
    Obv.: [AVT K M AVP CЄ]OVHP ANTΩNINOC AVΓ, radiate head right
    Rev.: ΠЄPINΘIΩN NEΩKOPΩN, agonistic table surmounted by two prize urns, each containing palm; below, five balls and amphora

    Okay, another one. I had hoped to add one Caracalla this year, but three grabbed me. This is another big bronze with an interesting reverse. I’m thankful for @Dougsmith’s page explaining just what an agonistic table was. Unfortunately I do not know what this coin is meant to be commemorating - I believe it is written at the top in Greek, but I can’t quite make it out (nor do I know Greekwell enough to postulate). Regardless, this is a nice, large, and hefty bronze.

    3. Richard I of Normandy Denier
    Med-05a-FNor-943-Richard I-D-XV-11.jpg
    Feudal France - Normandy
    Richard I, r. 943-996
    AR Denier, 21.1 mm x 1.3 grams
    Obv.: +RICARDVS I. Cross pattee with pellets in angles
    Rev.: ROTOMAGVS. Stylized chapel made from St. Andrew’s cross, with a pellet in the pediment
    Ref.: Dumas XV-11, Duplessy 16

    The coins of Richard I are probably the most common type collectors find from Normandy. Of the numerous types minted by Richard, this ‘temple’ type with the Saint Andrews Cross in the Middle seems to be the most common on the market these days. The type itself has two varieties: one with a pellet in the pediment, and one without (I think there a few other varieties on the legend, but that is not uncommon). While my example is perhaps not the most pristine, it was a good price for the condition, and fills a glaring hole in my growing focus on the coins of Normandy.

    2. Æthelred II Penny
    Med-09a-Eng-997-Aethelred II-D-LC-Canterbury-Leofric-1151.jpg
    Athelred II, r. 978-1016 (997-1003)
    AR Penny, 19.65 mm x 1.8 grams
    Obv.: +ÆÐELREDREXANGLO[rum]. Bare-headed bust left
    Rev.: +LEO FRIC MΩO CENT. Voided long cross, each end terminating in three crescents
    Ref.: SCBC 1151
    Note: Peck marked and holed, likely by the Vikings

    Like #9, I had been on the lookout for a few coins related to the Vikings this year. I knew I wanted to grab an Æthelred that had peck-marks on it, but this one was also holed, much like the Abbasid coin (which also aided in keeping costs down). I will want to get a better example of this and another of Æthelred’s coins because of the interesting writing on it. Not only does it feature the Anglo-Saxon letter ‘Ð/ð’ it also has a combining abbreviation for the plural genitive ‘orum.’ The ‘o’ is visible, the ‘2’ that comes after the ‘o’ is an ‘r,’ and then the line through the ‘2’ (which makes it look like an ‘x’ as it is recorded in several Numismatic works) is the standard abbreviation for ‘um.’ When I have a better example, I’ll delve into the rabbit hole of Numismatic Palaeography...

    1. Bratislaus Denar
    Med-15-Boh-1050-Bretislaus I-D-B-8-15.jpg
    Bretislaus I, r. 1034-1055 (1050-55)
    Prague Mint, AR Denar
    Obv.: BRACIZLAVS DVX. Bust facing, a pellet to either side
    Rev.: SCS WENCEZLAVS. Bust right, cross to right
    Ref.: Frynas, B.8.15; De Wit 2719

    This is the coin I was waiting to arrive in the mail before posting my list (a full write-up is forthcoming). It is a type I had been wanting for a while, and while these coins are technically common, I haven’t found many for sale. I was happy to snatch one at the last minute, and was lucky it arrived before the end of the year!
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  3. TheRed

    TheRed Supporter! Supporter

    Congrats @FitzNigel on some wonderful coins in 2019. Both of the Richard I deniers are great coins and are a type I would love to add to my collection at some point. The denar of Bratislaus is a real standout and well deserves the top spot. While a full write-up is forthcoming, can you offer any insight about why the coin is so desirable to you without spoiling your future post?
    FitzNigel likes this.
  4. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Thanks for adopting one of mine, but I have to admit to liking the agonistic issue from Perinthus more. As usual, I am not appreciating the medievals enough... maybe in 2020, huh. :shame: Have a great year ahead!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  5. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I don't know much about medievals but really like your #1, in part because the devices are all so clear... something that seems unusual for a medieval coin.

    The Huvishka tetradrachm is eye-catching.

    Thanks for providing some diversity!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    What a variety of treasures! You had a great year of collecting!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  7. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    Interesting selection and I think my favourite is the Aethelred II penny. Good job.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  8. Orielensis

    Orielensis Supporter! Supporter

    What a wonderful group of medievals!

    Both the Bratislaus denár and the Aethelred II penny are true highlights, the latter also because of the traces of historical use.

    The two Richard I of Normandy deniers are great, too. In my eyes, #6 stands out for the interesting monogram.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  9. Nap

    Nap Well-Known Member

    Nice coins!

    The deniers of Richard the Fearless are an interesting set. Most of the known examples, particularly the high grade ones, are from the Fecamp hoard. Found in 1963, it included more than 5000 coins of Richard, duke of Normandy, some with that monogram that I have heard previously attributed to Bishop Hughes of Rouen.

    Most likely one or both of your coins are from that hoard. Most have lost their provenance.

    Other 10th century Norman coins are quite rare but this issue is common due to the hoard.

    Richard was reported to have been born and died in Fecamp, and presumably the town was important to him. I hope to visit there later this year when I go to Normandy!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  10. Nap

    Nap Well-Known Member

    Oh and here is my example of Richard I of Normandy richard-i-1.jpg
  11. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    To put it simply, I saw it in auction once and was simply taken by how interesting it looked!

    I had heard this too, but in doing some research I think that theory has fallen out of favor. I can’t remember why though - I think it was Dumas who dismissed it for reasons I can’t remember. I still don’t know where the Lothaire theory comes from, but CNG has that listed for all of their examples of this type. I still need to dig...
  12. Alegandron

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

    Very nice bunch of coins, @FitzNigel ! I really drawn to the Aethelred II and Richard I. Great coins.

    Happy New Year to you and your Family.

    FitzNigel likes this.
  13. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Some "difficult ones" but a nice selection all together
    I really like your #2

    FitzNigel likes this.
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