Featured Two Coins from the East Harptree Hoard

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Al Kowsky, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    I recently won two small silver coins from the famous East Harptree Hoard, see photos below. The Harptree Hoard was found in 1887 in a small village about 16 miles southwest of Bath, England. The hoard consisted of 1,496 silver coins, 5 silver ingots, and a ring set with a carnelian intaglio of Mars, all stored in a pewter or lead jar about 6 inches in diameter, and buried about 6 inches underground. The coins were all silver miliarense or siliqua dating from the 4th century CE, and issued under 10 different emperors from Constantine I to Gratian. Only 1 example was found from Constantine I, Decentius, and Magnus Maximus, while coins from Julian II numbered 718, coins from Constantius II numbered 340, and coins from Valens numbered 199. The coins were made from 11 different mints mostly located in Gaul. The British Museum took 25 of the best coins, and about 250 coins along with the storage jar were placed on display at the local church where they were later stolen and never recovered :jawdrop:. On September 27, 2016 the heirs of the hoard had Spink & Son, of London, auction what remained of the hoard. Since then many dealers and auction houses have resold coins from the hoard. CNG 106 offered a nice selection of these coins that ranged in price from $180 - $600. My two coins came from a GC weekly auction slabbed and cost $119.25 (including buyers premium) for both coins :smuggrin:. I wouldn't run a Marathon for these two coins but couldn't resist them at that price :shame:. I didn't have any coins of Valens in my collection or any coins from a known hoard, so that provided the impetus to bid on them. Both coins are the same type but the 1st one is lighter in weight and has a better looking reverse, while the 2nd coin is heavier and has a better looking portrait.
    Emperor Valens is best known for engineering the Battle of Adrianople, one of the worst military defeats in Roman history :eek:. Valens died in that battle along with thousands of Roman legionaries from 16 divisions fighting angry Goths led by Fritigern.

    763548-1 insert.jpg 4529920-030 obv..jpg 4529920-030 rev..jpg 763549-1 insert.jpg 4529920-031 obv..jpg 4529920-031 rev..jpg
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  3. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I have a Julian from that hoard. Whatever it is about the circumstances of that hoard I have found that the silver comes out so dark that at first glance some of them appear to be copper pieces.
    Alegandron, benhur767 and rrdenarius like this.
  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    kevin, That''s a good point ;). When the jar was discovered it was in pieces & ground contamination had an effect on most of the coins. Some of the better coins were professionally cleaned as were most of the coins CNG offered.
    DonnaML likes this.
  5. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Amen-Ra-Hotep

    Very interesting and nice to have such a provenance.
    NOS likes this.
  6. Caesar_Augustus

    Caesar_Augustus Well-Known Member

    Constantius II
    AE Siliqua
    [​IMG]353 - 355 A.D., Arelate Mint, 2nd Officina
    2.18g, 19.0mm, 11H

    Obverse: D N CONSTAN-TIVS P F AVG,
    Bust of Constantius II, pearl-diademed, draped, cuirassed, right

    Reverse: VOTIS/XXX/MVLTIS/XXXX within a wreath, -

    Exergue: -/-//SCON

    Provenance: Ex. CNG eAuction 440, Lot 521, Ex. 1887 East Harptree, Somerset Hoard (IRBCH 1424)

    Reference: RIC VIII Arelate 207
  7. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    When I first started looking into buying some ancient coins, and before I knew about VCoins and reliable eBay sellers, etc, I did some searching for smaller UK coin sellers and had a pretty poor experience looking for reasonably priced Nerva-Antonines. Recently, however, i've been reading more and more history about Roman Britain, after having become interested in the Britannia types of Hadrian and Antoninus, and I've been flirting with making a side collection of British coins across the ages.

    Looking back at the sites I dismissed over the last few weeks I've discovered that a number of sites I dismissed for my main collection area are a treasure trove for small numbers of coins from the Tetrarchy that can be traced directly back to the hoard that contained them.

    That didn't really mean anything to me this time last year when I was getting started, but I am seriously considering delving into a small London Mint side collection made entirely of coins with hoard provenance or with a direct reference to the PAS.

    It really is fascinating tracking down papers published about the hoard and the history associated with it.

    Good aquisitions!
  8. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Interesting thread. I don't have any hoard coins, although I hope someday to score something like that.

    Did you see this thread about Roman Coins of British Association (and the related article by Sam Moorhead)? There appears to be some Roman coins that do not have British iconography but were minted specifically for circulation in Britain.

    Spaniard, Roman Collector and thejewk like this.
  9. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    @Marsyas Mike I have a list of the types from that article on my PC desktop so I can keep an eye out for them. I got the article from that thread a while back and have been referring to it regularly.

    I hope to grab any that crop up for a decent price, and I've been meaning to cross reference it with the PAS site to see how widespread they are in finds over the last two decades.
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  10. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Please keep me (us) posted - this is an interesting topic, I think. Getting a copy of the Bath excavations results would be nice too, although I suspect the price would be forbidding.
    thejewk likes this.
  11. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    C.A., That's a lovely coin & you got it at a nice price :D.
    Caesar_Augustus likes this.
  12. Voulgaroktonou

    Voulgaroktonou Well-Known Member

    Here are my coins from the East Harptree Hoard. In the 1888 Numismatic Chronicle publication, only a few specimens were illustrated.

    Valentinian I. Lyons, 364-367. Siliqua, 2.11 gr. 18.4 mm. 6 hr. RIC IX, 6c. Per the NC article, there were 29 specimens of this coin in the hoard.

    Valens. Trier, 367-75. Siliqua, 1.84 gr. 17.2 mm. 12 hr. RIC IX. 27b. Per the NC article, there were 66 specimens of this coin in the hoard.

    Julian II, Arles, 361-3. Siliqua, 2.62gr. 17.9 mm. 12 hr. RIC VIII, 310. Triton XXI, lot 1587 (part). I have not yet checked the frequency of this issue in the NC article.

    Julian II, Arles, 361-3. Siliqua, 2.05gr. 17 mm. 7 hr. RIC VIII, 310. CNG 109, lot 731. I have not yet checked the frequency of this issue in the NC article.
  13. JROMA

    JROMA Active Member

    Here is my Harptree coin, just purchased last month:


    Valens AR Siliqua 364-367 AD (18.5mm, 1.95g) Lugdunum mint. D N VALENS P F AVG, Bust of Valens, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed, right / RESTITV-TOR REIP: Emperor, head right, standing facing, holding labarum (but hook on shaft) and Victory on globe. PLVG● in exergue.

    RIC IX 6f, PLVG●

    Ex. Harptree Hoard
  14. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Voulgaroktonou, You've got a beautiful run of fine quality siliquae :D!
  15. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    JROMA, You've got a fine quality siliqua :D, much finer than the two I scored ;).
  16. JROMA

    JROMA Active Member

    Considering what you paid for the two you got at auction you found a way better bargain than I had haha! The flatness on the upper portion of the Emperor is similar on both of our Valens'. I love the amount of small varieties in the coins from this era, mintmarks and especially on the Restitvtor Reip type siliqua the Labarum varieties are a cool little extra. Also the toning/patina on the Harptree coins are unbeatable.
    Spaniard likes this.
  17. Caesar_Augustus

    Caesar_Augustus Well-Known Member

    Thanks Al Kowsky! Yes, I am very happy with that purchase. Its a great 'student-budget' siliqua. Appears very dark in hand though like a copper coin as some have mentioned.
  18. Voulgaroktonou

    Voulgaroktonou Well-Known Member

    You're very kind. Thank you. I love late Roman and especially Byzantine silver.
    Theodosius likes this.
  19. meme18

    meme18 Member

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  20. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    meme18, Thanks for the link ;). Seeing all the examples listed were priced at $290 each makes me feel grateful my two coins cost only $60 each :D.
  21. meme18

    meme18 Member

    This is not my primary collecting area but it seems to me that the examples listed for $290 are not the same type you posted. A quick check on Vcoins shows a similar price range. But again this is not my area of expertise.
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