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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.


Israel, 1949, 25 Pruta SPECIMEN

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The 1949 Israeli pruta specimen coins were struck by Imperial Chemical Industries of Birmingham, England. Ten specimens of this aluminum 25 pruta type are known. Eight coins are graded by PCGS: one graded SP-58 and attributed to "Ex Kagan Maremba," one coin is graded SP-62 (this coin), and six coins are graded SP-64. Some, including this coin are attributed "Ex Kings Norton Mint," but all are very likely from that origin. Photos of a circulated specimen have been posted online; it is probably a pocket piece that was carried by a ICI Birmingham employee.
SL89428. Aluminum 25 Pruta, Isranumis SP4, cf. Krause KM12, PCGS SP62 (530399 62/83977976), sharply detailed with flashy white fields, ICI Birmingham mint, 1949; obverse bunch of grapes on vine with two tendrils, Hebrew: Israel above, Arabic: Israel below; reverse 25 / Hebrew: prutah / SPECIMEN / Hebrew: 5709 (1949) in four lines, all withing wreath; ex Heritage, NYINC Signature Sale 3071 (6-7 Jan 2019), lot 30769; ex Kings Norton Mint Collection; 10 specimens known; $3700.00 (€3256.00)
 


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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This coin may have been struck to appeal to Pax to deliver peace at the time the First Jewish Revolt was coming to its end. On 14 April 70 A.D. Titus surrounded Jerusalem. He allowed pilgrims to enter to celebrate Passover but this was a trap to put pressure on supplies of food and water; he refused to allow them to leave. On 10 May he began his assault on the walls. The third wall fell on 25 May. The second wall fell on 30 May. On 20 July Titus stormed the Temple Mount. On 4 August 70 A.D. Titus destroyed the Temple. The Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av mourns the Fall of Jerusalem annually on this date.
SL89734. Gold aureus, Hunter I 83 (same dies), RIC II-1 770, Calicó I 662, BnF I 251, BMCRE II 280, Cohen I 319, SRCV I -, NGC XF, strike 5/5, surface 2/5, edge marks (4632896-002), weight 7.31 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 75 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG (counterclockwise from lower right), laureate head right; reverse PAX AVGVST, Pax enthroned left, extending olive branch downward in right hand, transverse long scepter in left hand; $3500.00 (€3080.00)
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia

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See this type online:
RPC Online VI
Asia Minor Coins
ANS Mantis (No photo on ANS, but photo of this specimen is available on RPC Online.)
SH87621. Bronze AE 36, Karwiese MvE 5.2 p. 164, 750b (O3/R3, only 1 spec. of this variety); RPC Online VI T4956 (5 spec.); ANS Mantis 1972.185.5, Choice EF, excellent centering, olive green patina, some legend weak, small flaw/punch on reverse, porous, weight 25.344 g, maximum diameter 36.3 mm, die axis 180o, Ephesos mint, obverse AYT K M AYP CEB AΛEΞAN∆POC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse M-ONΩN - ΠPΩTΩN - ACIAC, on left: cult statue of Artemis standing facing, wearing ornate kalathos, flanked on each side by a stag, arms with supports; on right: Demeter enthroned left, wreathed in grain, two stalks of grain in right hand, long torch vertical in left hand; EΦECIΩN in exergue; only the second known of this variety with stags flanking Artemis, fantastic HUGE 36mm provincial bronze!; $3300.00 (€2904.00)
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Darios I to Xerxes II, c. 485 - 420 B.C.

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This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire

SL89829. Gold daric, Carradice Type IIIb, Group A/B (pl. XIII, 27); Meadows Administration 321; BMC Arabia pl. XXIV, 26; Sunrise 24; Lydo-Milesian standard, NGC AU, strike 4/5, surface 4/5 (4252956-013), weight 8.36 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 485 - 420 B.C.; obverse kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, bearded, crowned, wearing kidaris and kandys, quiver on shoulder, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand; reverse oblong irregular rectangular incuse punch; $2500.00 (€2200.00)
 


Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia

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The obverse legend abbreviates Consul Designatus, Iterum et Tertium, meaning Consul Elect for the second and third time. The reverse legend abbreviates Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, the title adopted in November of 43 B.C. by the three Caesarian leaders (Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus) when they formed the Second Triumvirate to oppose the tyrannicides Brutus and Cassius.
SH86609. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RPC I 2202, Sydenham 1198, Crawford 263, RSC Octavia and M. Antony 3, Sear CRI 263, BMCRR East 135, SRCV I 1513, Choice gVF, toned, well centered, some die wear and rust, scratches, weight 11.723 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT (Consul Elect for the 2nd and 3rd time), conjoined head of Antony and bust of Octavia right, Antony nearer and wreathed in ivy, Octavia draped; reverse Dionysus standing half left on cista mystica, in his right hand, thyrsus in his left hand, flanked by two interlaced snakes with heads erect, III VIR (triumvir) downward on left, R P C (Reipublicae Constituendae) upward on right; $2430.00 (€2138.40)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

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SH86312. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XIVb, 489 (V258/R351); SNG ANS 156 (same dies); Weber 1583 (same obv. die); BMC Sicily, p. 156, 80; Jameson 762; HGC 2 1312, EF, mint luster in recesses, light tone, obverse die wear, uneven strike, reverse off center, weight 17.391 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 466 - 460 B.C.; obverse charioteer driving slow quadriga right, holding reins in both hands, goad in right hand, Nike above flying left crowning driver with wreath, Ketos (sea serpent) right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, head of Arethusa right, wearing pearl or bead necklace and earring with loop and finial pendant, thin band wound once around her head and tying back hair in queue, four dolphins around swimming clockwise; ex CNG auction 102 (18 May 2016), lot 135; ex Colin E. Pitchfork Collection; ex Dr. Neil Geddes (20 Nov 2002); ex Noble auction 54 (22 July 1997), lot 1640; ex Stack’s sale, 6 Dec 1995, lot 65; $2040.00 (€1795.20)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

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The old-style tetradrachm of Athens is famous for its almond shaped eye, archaic smile, and charming owl reverse. Around 480 B.C. a wreath of olive leaves and a decorative scroll were added to Athena's helmet. On the reverse, a crescent moon was added.

During the period 449 - 413 B.C. huge quantities of tetradrachms were minted to finance grandiose building projects such as the Parthenon and to cover the costs of the Peloponnesian War.
SH91292. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, VF, well centered, bold strike, high relief, light tone, flow lines, light marks, weight 17.196 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 90o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; ex Numismatic Lanz; $1700.00 (€1496.00)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

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The old-style tetradrachm of Athens is famous for its almond shaped eye, archaic smile, and charming owl reverse. Around 480 B.C. a wreath of olive leaves and a decorative scroll were added to Athena's helmet. On the reverse, a crescent moon was added.

During the period 449 - 413 B.C. huge quantities of tetradrachms were minted to finance grandiose building projects such as the Parthenon and to cover the costs of the Peloponnesian War.
SH89851. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, Choice EF, well centered with much of the crest on flan, some light bumps and marks, weight 17.210 g, maximum diameter 25.67 mm, die axis 285o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; $1600.00 (€1408.00)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

Click for a larger photo
The old-style tetradrachm of Athens is famous for its almond shaped eye, archaic smile, and charming owl reverse. Around 480 B.C. a wreath of olive leaves and a decorative scroll were added to Athena's helmet. On the reverse, a crescent moon was added.

During the period 449 - 413 B.C. huge quantities of tetradrachms were minted to finance grandiose building projects such as the Parthenon and to cover the costs of the Peloponnesian War.
SH91268. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, Choice gVF, well centered, light marks, weight 17.193 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 315o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; $1300.00 (€1144.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander The Great, 336 - 323 B.C., Lifetime Issue

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Alexander the Great lifetime issue, struck by his Satrap in Lydia, Menander. Menander, the commander of a force of mercenaries in Alexander's army, was appointed by Alexander as the satrap in Lydia in 331. In 323 B.C., he was commissioned to conduct a reinforcement of troops to Alexander at Babylon, where he arrived there just before Alexander's death. In the division of the provinces after the death of Alexander, Menander received his former government of Lydia. He appears soon to have attached himself to the party of Antigonus. In the new distribution of the provinces at Triparadisus in 321 B.C., he lost the government of Lydia, which was given to Cleitus; but this was probably a promotion by Antigonus, as he commanded part of Antigonus' army in the first campaign against Eumenes in 320 B.C. The following year, Menander learned of the escape of Eumenes from Nora, and advanced with an army into Cappadocia to attack him, forcing him to take refuge in Cilicia. After this, no further mention of Menander is found in history.
SL89736. Silver drachm, Price 2559; ADM I Sardes Series X, 103; HGC 914e; Müller Alexander -; SNG Alpha Bank -; SNG München -; SNG Cop -, NGC Ch AU*, strike 5/5, surface 5/5 (4282832-003), weight 4.26 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, struck under Menander, c. 324 - 223 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, feet on footstool, left leg drawn back, head of Mithras with Phrygian cap left, IΘP below throne, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward behind; ex CNG auction 108 (16 May 2018), lot 70 (realized $1300 plus fees); scarce; $1000.00 (€880.00) ON RESERVE




  



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High Grade Ancient Coins