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High Grade Ancient Coins

When first introduced to ancient coins, most people are shocked to learn that some coins remain in mint state and even more surprised to learn that they are not all in musuems. Ancient people did not have stocks, bonds mutual funds, or bank accounts. The primary implement for holding wealth was coins, often buried, and often buried in uncirculated or mint state condition. If an owner died without recovering their coins or telling an heir where to find them, they were lost. Millions of ancient coins have been recovered, and thousands have been found in superb condition.


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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Augustus' sun sign was Libra. We don't know why he selected the Capricorn as his emblem. Perhaps Capricorn was either his rising sign or his Moon sign. Popular astrology, of the newspaper kind, is sun sign astrology. The ancients tended to attach more importance to the Moon sign and rising signs. Perhaps Augustus selected the Capricorn because it is associated with stern moral authority.
SH84736. Silver denarius, BnF I 1271 (same dies, attributed to auxiliary workshop, Colonia Patricia), RIC I 126 (R2), RSC I 21, BMCRE I 346, Hunter I 145, SRCV I 1592, Choice aMS, nearly as struck, mint luster, well centered and bold strike, a few light marks, obverse die wear, weight 3.809 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Spanish (Colonia Patricia?) mint, 16 B.C.; obverse bare head right, dot border, anepigraphic; reverse capricorn right, filleted cornucopia overflowing with grain and fruit on its back, celestial globe and rudder with tiller held between hooves, AVGVSTVS below; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; scarce; $3500.00 (3115.00)


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C., Portrait of Queen Philistis

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Hieron II placed his wife and son on coins during his long reign. Those of Queen Philistis are eagerly sought after by collectors.
SH84601. Silver 5 litrae, CCO Syracuse 221 (D2/R2), SNG ANS 893, SNG Lloyd 1546, SNG Cop 827, Dewing 959, McClean 2918, Weber 1708, HGC 2 1557 (R2) (all from the same dies), Choice aEF/gVF, toned, light marks, weight 4.441 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, c. 218 - 215 B.C.; obverse veiled and diademed head of Queen Philistis left, palm frond behind; reverse Nike galloping biga left, holding reins with both hands, E in front of horses' legs, BAΣIΛIΣΣAΣ above, ΦIΛIΣTI∆OΣ exergue; from the Lawrence Woolslayer Collection; Numismatica Ars Classica auction 27 (12 May 2004), lot 129; ex A.D.M. Collection; ex Ratto Collection, 1929 sale, lot 213; rare; $3000.00 (2670.00)


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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"The Julian Star" appeared in the sky during the funeral games for Julius Caesar in July 44 B.C. It was a comet and the Romans believed it was a divine manifestation of the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.
SH84740. Silver denarius, RIC I 37a (S), BMCRE I 323, RSC I 98, BnF I 1293, Hunter I 139, SRCV I 1607 var. (head left), Choice near Mint State, mint luster, well centered, excellent portrait, slightest die wear, some legend a little weak, weight 3.723 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, probably Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza, Spain) mint, 19 - 18 B.C.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, head of Augustus left, wearing oak wreath (corona civitas); reverse comet of eight rays, a central dot and flaming tail upwards, DIVVS - IVLIVS horizontal divided flanking across the field at center; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; scarce; $3000.00 (2670.00)


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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The reverse legend refers to sacrifices Augustus made to Jupiter prior to his departure for Gaul in 16 B.C. The reverse legend abbreviates, "Vota Publica Suscepta Pro Salute et Reditu Iovi Optimo Maximo Sacrata," which means, "public sacrifices have been made to holy Jupiter, the best and greatest, for the well-being and the [safe] return [of the Emperor]."
SH84730. Silver denarius, RIC I 150b (R4), RSC I 326, BMCRE I 438, BnF I 1242, Hunter I 187 var. (obv. head right), SRCV I 1641 var. (same), Nice EF, light toning with luster in recesses, nice portrait, reverse slightly off center, some obverse die wear, weight 3.922 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, Colonia Patricia (Cordoba, Spain) mint, c. Jul 17 - 16 B.C.; obverse S P Q R CAESARI AVGVSTO, bare head left, linear border; reverse VOT P SVSC PRO SAL ET RED I O M SACR, Mars standing left, helmeted, nude but for cloak on shoulders and left arm, vexillum vertical before him in right hand, parazonium sloped over left shoulder in left hand, linear border; this is the first ever example of this rare type handled by Forum, from the Marcelo Leal Collection; very rare; $2500.00 (2225.00) ON RESERVE


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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This type commemorates the naval victory at Actium in which Octavian won a decisive victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra on 2 September 31 B.C. Augustus paid special honors to Apollo Actius, whose temple at Actium commanded a view of the bay where the combat took place. After his victory, he enlarged both this sanctuary and the town of Actium. Across the straight from Actium, on the site of his campsite prior to the naval engagement, Octavian founded the city of Nicopolis. At Nicopolis, to honor his victory, he erected a war memorial and established games known as Actia or Ludi Actiaci. The Actiaca Aera was established as new local era with dates computed from the time of the battle.
SH84728. Silver denarius, BnF I 1401, RIC I 171a, RSC I 144, BMCRE I 461, Hunter I 201, SRCV I 1611, Choice Mint State, fantastic mint luster, attractive portrait, excellent centering, some die wear, reverse slightly double struck, weight 3.878 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTVS DIVI F, bare head right; reverse Apollo standing slightly left, head left, plectrum in right hand pointed at feet, Cithara in left hand, IMP - X divided low across field, ACT in exergue; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $2000.00 (1780.00)


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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A legatus Augusti pro praetore (literally: "envoy of the emperor - acting praetor") was the official title of the governor of some imperial provinces of the Roman Empire during the Principate era, normally the larger ones or those where legions were based. Provinces were denoted imperial if their governor was selected by the emperor, in contrast to senatorial provinces, whose governors (called proconsuls) were elected by the Roman Senate.
SH84737. Silver denarius, RIC I 2b (S), RSC I 401, BMCRE I 279, BMCRR Spain 112, BnF I 1033, Hunter I -, SRCV I -, Choice gVF, well centered on a very broad flan, light toning with luster in recesses, weight 3.867 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 135o, Emerita Augusta (Merida, Spain) mint, P. Carisius, c. 25 - 23 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR AVGVSTVS, bare head left, linear border; reverse P CARISIVS LEG PRO PR (P. Carisius Legatus [Augusti] pro Praetore), round shield with central boss within eight pointed star ornamentation with studs, spearhead with short shaft right above, machaira (curved short sword) right below, linear border; this is the first ever example of this rare type handled by Forum, from the Marcelo Leal Collection; rare; $2000.00 (1780.00) ON RESERVE


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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ANCIENT COINS, ROMAN EMPIRE, Augustus. Silver Denarius (3.82 g), 27 BC-AD 14. Emerita(?), Head of Augustus right, wreathed with oak-leaves. Rev. CAESAR AVGVSTVS, two laurel branches. (). An outstanding example. Well struck with underlying lustrous surfaces and lightly toned. Superb extremely fine. When Octavian was awarded the honorary title of Augustus in 27 BC investing him with supreme power, he was also given the right to decorate his door posts with laurel branches, a sign of martial victory, and the corona civica, an oak-wreath symbolizing the saving of a Roman life. In the case of Augustus, the laurel branches signified his victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at Actium, and the corona civica was awarded for saving the life of not one citizen but of many thousands when he successfully ended the civil wars. On this coin Augustus is portrayed wearing the oak wreath crown - something that occurs only occasionally on Roman coins - which by law he was required to do at every public gathering.Recent scholarship indicates that the two mints identified in RIC (i.e., Caesaraugusta and Colonia Patricia) are unlikely for several reasons (see the summary in Triton XI, 723). RIC assigns this coin to a possible mint located at Caesaraugusta, but here we follow the recent scholarship and assign it to Emerita.
SH84729. Silver denarius, RIC I 33a (R2), BnF I 1283, Hunter I 134, BMCRE I 318 var. (head left), SRCV I 1600 var. (same), Choice gVF, light toning with luster in recesses, weight 3.830 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, probably Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza, Spain) mint, c. 19 - 18 BC.; obverse head of Augustus right, wearing oak wreath (Corona Civitas), anepigraphic; reverse two laurel branches upright, CAESAR / AVGVSTVS in two lines above and below; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $1800.00 (1602.00) ON RESERVE


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Emerita, Hispania Lusitania

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Mrida, Spain was founded by P. Carisius in 25 B.C., as Emerita Augusta, the name referring to the discharged soldiers who populated the city, by order of Augustus to protect a pass and a bridge over the Guadiana river. The city became an important city in the Roman empire and the capital of Lusitania province. Mrida preserves more important ancient Roman monuments than any other city in Spain (including a triumphal arch of the age of Trajan).
SH84707. Silver denarius, RIC I 9b, RSC I 398, BMCRE I 291, BMCRR Spain 128, BnF I 1039, Hunter I 124, SRCV I 1627 var. (head right), gVF, full circle centering on a broad flan, mint luster, weak strike areas, die wear, small edge cracks, weight 3.775 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 90o, Emerita Augusta (Merida, Spain) mint, P. Carisius, c. 25 - 23 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR AVGVST, bare head left; reverse P CARISIVS LEG PRO PR (P. Carisius Legatus [Augusti] pro Praetore), bird's-eye view of town with walls around, EMERITA inscribed above gateway in front with three battlements over two arched entrances; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $1600.00 (1424.00) ON RESERVE


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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Strabo wrote, "The Romans possess Lugdunum, founded below a ridge at the confluence of the Arar and the Rhone. It is the most populous of all the other cities except Narbo; for it is a center of commerce, and the Roman emperors strike their silver and gold coinage there." (4.3.2)

SH84739. Silver denarius, RIC I 167a, BMCRE I 451, RSC I 137, BnF I 1373, Hunter I 197, SRCV I 1610, gEF, lustrous, nice portrait, fantastic bull, well centered, slight die wear, very light marks, weight 3.975 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 225o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTVS DIVIF, bare head right, border of dots; reverse bull butting right, left foreleg raised, lashing tail, IMPX in exergue, linear border; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $1500.00 (1335.00) ON RESERVE


Byzantine Empire, Nicephorus I and Stauracius, December 803 - 25 July 811 A.D.

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Nicephorus, the logothete (lord high treasurer) under Empress Irene, gained rule in a palace coup. At the Battle of Pliska, the Bulgarian Khan, Krum, surprised and slew Nicephorus along with a large portion of the Byzantine army. Krum is said to have made a drinking-cup of Nicephorus' skull. Stauracius escaped the battle to Constantinople but was mortally wounded. He surrendered his throne to his brother-in-law, retired to a monastery, and died soon after.
SH83915. Gold solidus, DOC III, part 1, 2c.2; Wroth BMC 8; Tolstoi 9; Ratto 1786; Berk Gold 238; Sommer 27.1; SBCV 1604, EF, lustrous, well centered on a tight flan, weight 4.349 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 180o, 10th officina, Constantinople mint, 803 - 811 A.D.; obverse hICI-FOROS bASILE', bearded facing bust of Nicephorus, wearing chlamys and cross with crown, cross potent on base in right hand, akakia in left hand, no pellet left; reverse STAVRA-CIS dESPO' X, unbearded facing bust of Stauracius, wearing chlamys and cross with crown, globus cruciger in right hand, akakia in left hand; from the Robert Watcher Collection, ex Heritage CICF auction (Chicago, Apr 2013), lot 3024 ($940 plus fees); scarce; $1260.00 (1121.40)




  



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High Grade Ancient Coins