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Rare Ancient Coins

Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 449 B.C., Very Early "Old Style" Tetradrachm

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On this coin and all classic "old style" tetradrachms struck c. 454 - 404 B.C., the owl's tail feathers are represented by a single prong. On Athens' earlier issues, the owl's tail is composed of three separate feathers. Other than the single prong tail, this coin closely resembles the preceding issues of Starr Group V, in particular the palmette and olive leaves on Athena's helmet, and the narrow, deep incuse of the reverse. It is very likely this coin was among the earliest of the classical "old style" tetradrachms of the c. 545 - 404 B.C. issues.
SH87206. Silver tetradrachm, some characteristics of Starr Group V, but a single prong tail; cf. Svoronos Athens pl. 10, 16 - 18; Starr pl. XXII, 1 - 3; SNG Munchen 46, Choice aEF, bold high relief, flow lines, light toning, bumps and marks, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 17.143 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 449 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral palmette scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse robust owl standing right, head facing, tail of one long prong, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; rare style variant; $3800.00 (3230.00)


Western Anatolia, c. 620 - 600 B.C., Plain Globular Type

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Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

Unpublished! The majority of the earliest electrum issues were struck on the lighter Milesian weight standard, with hectes weighing approximately 2.35 grams. This example, however is on the heavier Phocaic standard that was used at mints such as Cyzicus, Mysia and Phocaea, Ionia.
SH85577. Electrum hekte, Phokaic standard 1/6 stater; unpublished, EF, flan cracks, weight 2.721 g, maximum diameter 8.96 mm, uncertain western Anatolia mint, c. 620 - 600 B.C.; obverse plain globular surface; reverse one small incuse square punch; extremely rare; $3250.00 (2762.50)


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 449 B.C., Very Early "Old Style" Tetradrachm

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On this coin and all classic "old style" tetradrachms struck c. 454 - 404 B.C., the owl's tail feathers are represented by a single prong. On Athens' earlier issues, the owl's tail is composed of three separate feathers. Other than the single prong tail, this coin closely resembles the preceding issues of Starr Group V, in particular the palmette and olive heaves on Athena's helmet, and the robust owl. It is very likely this coin was among the earliest of the classical "old style" tetradrachms of the c. 545 - 404 B.C. issues.
GS87208. Silver tetradrachm, some characteristics of Starr Group V, but a single prong tail; cf. Svoronos Athens pl. 10, 16 - 18; Starr pl. XXII, 1 - 3; SNG Munchen 46, aEF, bold high relief, flow lines, light toning, bumps and marks, tight flan, mild die wear, slight double strike on obverse, tiny edge cracks, weight 17.175 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 75o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 449 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral palmette scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse robust owl standing right, head facing, tail of one long prong, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; rare style variant; $3000.00 (2550.00)


Sextus Pompey, Imperator and Prefect of the Fleet, Executed 35 B.C.

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In Greek mythology, Scylla was a monster that lived on one side of Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily, opposite her counterpart Charybdis. The two sides of the strait were within an arrow's range of each other - so close that sailors attempting to avoid Charybdis would pass dangerously close to Scylla and vice versa. Scylla made her first appearance in Homer's Odyssey, where Odysseus and his crew encounter her and Charybdis on their travels. Later myth gave her an origin story as a beautiful nymph who gets turned into a monster. The idiom "between Scylla and Charybdis" has come to mean being forced to choose between two similarly dangerous situations.
SH87414. Silver denarius, RSC I Pompeia 3a (same ligatures), Crawford 511/4d, Sydenham 1348, BMCRR Sicily 20, Sear CRI 335b, SRCV I 1393, gVF, beautifully toned, edge cracks, legends not fully struck, weight 3.566 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 225o, uncertain Sicilian mint, 40 - 39 B.C.; obverse MAGPIVSIMPITER, pharos (lighthouse) of Messana, topped with stature of Neptune standing right holding trident and rudder, his left foot on a galley ram; quinquereme (war galley) sailing left in foreground below adorned with aquila on prow and scepter at the stern; reverse PRAEF ORAEMARITETCLAS SC (AEs and MAR ligate), the sea monster Skylla, her upper body a nude human female torso, lower body of two fish tails and three dog foreparts, attacking to left with a rudder wielded as a club in both hands raised overhead; ex Nomos Obolos 10, lot 349; rare; $2100.00 (1785.00)


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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Gaius Licinius Mucianus (named on this coin) was governor of Syria. When he failed to put down the Jewish revolt, Vespasian was sent to replace him. After the death of Galba, Mucianus and Vespasian both swore allegiance to Otho. Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the throne. They agreed Vespasian would settle affairs in the East, while Mucianus made would attack Vitellius. On his way to Rome, Mucianus defeated a Dacian invasion of Moesia. Mucianus reached Rome the day after Vitellius' death. Mucianus never wavered in his allegiance to Vespasian and was appointed consul for the third time in 72. As no mention is made of Mucianus during the reigns of Titus or Domitian, he probably died during the reign of Vespasian.
RP85562. Bronze AE 28, McAlee 319 (ex. rare, same dies), cf. RPC 4316 (not specifying obverse legend direction), aVF, nice portrait, dark patina with buff earthen highlighting, spots of light corrosion, obverse legend mostly weak or off flan, weight 11.757 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse [IMP M OT]-HO - [CAE AVG] (counterclockwise from upper left), head laureate right, dot in field behind; reverse EΠI / MOYKIA/NOY AN/TIOXEΩ/N ET ZIP (legate Mucianus, of Antioch, year 117) in five lines within a linear circle in a laurel wreath; this variant with a counterclockwise obverse legend is extremely rare; ex Gemini auction XIII (6 Apr 2017), lot 158, ex Jyrki Muona Collection; $1810.00 (1538.50)


Roman Civil War, Vitellius, c. 69 A.D.

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This coin is M71 in Butcher, K. & M. Pointing, The Metallurgy of Roman Silver Coinage: From the Reform of Nero to the Reform of Trajan (Cambridge, 2015). There is a tiny drill hole on the edge where silver was extracted for testing. This was an important coin in the study, with test results indicating 93.9% silver bullion and Gallic isotope ratios strongly suggesting similarity with other Vitellius coins from Gallia, not coins minted for Galba.
RS86684. Silver denarius, Butcher-Pointing M71 (this coin), RIC I Civil Wars 121, BMCRE I 65, RSC I Galba 363, BnF I 75, Martin 7, EF, toned, tight flan, light corrosion, test drill hole on edge, weight 3.127 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Southern Gaul(?) mint, c. 69 A.D.; obverse clasped hands, FIDES above, EXERCITVVM below; reverse clasped hands, FIDES above, PRAETORIANORVM curving along the edge below; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Helios, auction 4 (Munich, 14 Oct 2009), lot 270; ex Coll. A. Lynn collection; ex Classical Numismatic Group, auction 54 (14 June 2000), lot 1484; ex P. DeVicci collection; rare; $1800.00 (1530.00)


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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In Feb 44 B.C. the senate named Julius Caesar dictator for life. Fearing that he wished to become king, on the 15th of Mar, 63 senators assassinated him with their knives. His assassination plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire.
SH82705. Silver denarius, Alfldi Caesar, type III, 115 (this coin); BMCRR Rome 4147 (also I); Crawford 480/3; RSC I 34; Sydenham 1056; Sear Imperators 100; RBW 1678 (H) , gVF, toned, bankers mark on obverse, areas of flat strike, attractive deep old cabinet toning, with hints of iridescence around the devices, weight 3.607 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 30o, Rome mint, moneyer M. Mettius, Jan - Feb 44 B.C.; obverse CAESARIMP, wreathed head of Caesar right, cymbium (boat shaped cup used as a wine ladle) and lituus (augural wand) behind; reverse M METTIVS, Venus standing left, Victory in her extended right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand, resting left elbow on shield which rests on globe, I (control letter) in lower left field; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 23 (9 Jan 2016), lot 376; ex Andrew McCabe Collection; ex CNG e-auction 237 (21 July 2010), lot 344; ex Professor L Fontana Collection; rare; $1800.00 (1530.00)


Maximus of Barcelona, Usurper in Hispania, 410 - 411 A.D.

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At the same time Honorius was clashing with the Visigothic King Alaric (who would sack Rome in 410), Picts invaded Britain, and Vandals, Alans and Suebi devastated Gaul. Honorius, in Ravenna, no longer even ruled the city of Rome; Visigoths had forced the Senate to appoint Priscus Attalus emperor. Out of desperation, the remnants of legions in the Britain elevated Constantine III and his son Constans II to the purple. Although Iberia was initially spared, in 409 Vandals and other barbarians laid waste to that land too. Constans II, who had been in Hispania, fled back to join his father in Gaul. Their general, Gerontius, remained in Spain, allied with the Vandals, and appointed Maximus as his own puppet emperor. Maximus was probably a senior staff officer, and may have also been a relative, possibly his son. Maximus was one of six men claiming to be Emperor in 410: Honorius (in Ravenna, the legitimate emperor of the West), Theodosius II (in Constantinople, the legitimate emperor of the East), Priscus Attalus (in Rome), Constantine III (in Arelatum), Constans II (in Vienne), and Maximus (in Barcino). Gerontius besieged, defeated and executed Constans II at Vienne. The general then besieged Constantine III at Arles, but the forces of Honorius joined the fight and defeated him. Gerontius was trapped and committed suicide. Maximus fled to his barbarian allies in Hispania who protected him until he was pardoned by Honorius. In 420, Maximus Tryannus rebelled in Hispania (it's uncertain that this was the same Maximus), but was quickly captured, taken to Ravenna, and executed by Honorius 422.
SL87405. Silver siliqua, RIC X 1601, RSC V 1b, Balaguer 1-37, King Fifth p. 291, Villaronga-Benages 4437, SRCV V 21081, NGC VG, strike 3/5, surface 2/5, clipped (4372590-001), weight 0.82 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 180o, Barcino (Barcelona, Spain) mint, 410 - 411 A.D.; obverse D N MAXIMVS P F AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTOR-IA AVGGG, Roma seated left on cuirass, Victory offering wreath, holding palm and standing on globe in Roma's right hand, inverted spear in her left hand, SMBA in exergue; ex Ira & Larry Goldberg auction 103 (20 Feb 2018), lot 2225; ex Edgar L. Owen; ex Gerhard Hirsch auction 284/285 (26 - 29 Sep 2012), lot 3076; very rare - only about 50 coins known of this emperor!; $1600.00 (1360.00)


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.

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The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars.
SH86121. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 37, BMCRE I 38, Cohen I 24, BnF II 50, Hunter I 15, SRCV I -, Choice VF, Tiber patina, centered and struck, attractive young portrait, some marks and corrosion, weight 26.709 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, laureate head left; reverse S P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS in four lines within Corona Civica oak wreath; rare; $1560.00 (1326.00)


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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A decursio was a military exercise, by which Roman soldiers were taught to make long marches in a given time, under arms and without quitting their ranks. They sometimes consisted of a mock fight between two divisions. Augustus and subsequently Hadrian ordered that the infantry and cavalry were to march out three times a month ten miles from the camp and ten miles back, fully armed and equipped. The decursio this coin probably refers Nero's participation in mock military maneuvers in the circus.
SH87193. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 397 (R2); Cohen I 84; Mac Dowall WCN 413; BnF II 82; BMCRE I -, SRCV I -, VF, excellent portrait, smoothing, weight 26.053 g, maximum diameter 35.8 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head left, globe at point of bust; reverse Nero and officer companion on horseback prancing right, Nero holds a couched lance, his companion holds a vexillum, S - C flanking high across field, DECVRSIO in exergue; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 253, lot 499; rare; $1500.00 (1275.00)




  



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