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Michael K. Davis Collection

Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D.

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This is the rarest Otho denarius type and one of the rarest 1st century Roman denarii. Only two museums, Paris and ANS, hold examples. A further specimen was found in archeological context in Denmark in 1990s. Besides these, four additional specimens are known. This coin has the best portrait and is clearly the most attractive of the seven known. Jyrki Muona obtained it in 2002 at the NYINC from Glenn Woods.

Otho minted three separate issues. The first and second issues followed Galba's standard of 90% silver. Otho's third issue was debased to 80% silver. All coins of the third issue share the reverse legend PONT MAX, perhaps to make it easy to distinguish the debased coins. One might think our rare coin is a reverse legend error for Otho's third issue, PONT MAX Ceres type. However, as Butcher et al. have shown, this is not the case. If CERES AVG was a simple reverse legend error, the flan would be 80% silver. This CERES AVG type was struck in a second issue of 90% silver flans, probably during planning for the third issue, and perhaps only for testing. The type was apparently not distributed, and was withdrawn, and melted when it was decided to debase the coinage and use the PONT MAX legend. It appears a small number were released, most likely by mistake.
RS85563. Silver denarius, Muona Otho 10b; Butcher-Ponting-Muona 6; ANSCD 1958.217.1; BnF III 1; RIC I 1 (R3, 7 spec. known, all minted with the same die-pair), Nice VF, the best portrait and most attractive of the seven known specimens, light rose toning, a few light marks and spots of porosity, weight 3.272 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 9 Mar - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TRP, bare head right; reverse CERES AVG, Ceres standing left, grain-ears raised in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; rarest Otho denarius type; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Glenn Woods (NYINC, 2002); $4050.00 (3442.50)

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)

Paeonian Kingdom, Lykkeios, c. 358 - 335 B.C.

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"There is no particular historical record preserved on king Lycceius, the heir of Agis. It is known that after the death of Agis in 359/8 BC, Paeonia had to recognize the Macedonian sovereignty, after it was defeated by the newly enthroned Macedonian king Phillip II (359336 BC) (Diod. XVI. 4.2); at that time, Lycceius was probably already ruling in Paeonia. Still, it seems that at the time of Lycceius, Paeonia had not completely lost its independence, but it rather had a subordinate status to Macedonia (Merker 1965, 44). His monetary production testifies for the existence of a separate state identity, and it of course confirms his factual reign of the Paeonian Kingdom. Actually, it was Lycceius who was the first Paeonian king who issued coins with his own name. These are specimens that are very rare, and they are not often discovered, especially not as hoarded wealth." -- Eftimija Pavlovska in "A Coin Hoard of the Paeonian King Lycceius"
SH86518. Silver tetradrachm, Pavlovska, type I, 1 (O(I)1/R2); Paeonian Hoard 63; SNG ANS 1019; AMNG III/2, p. 200, 8; Babylon IV 1253; HGC 3.1 142 (S), aEF, attractive style, toned, obverse off center, light scratches, edge cracks, weight 13.154 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 90o, Astibos or Damastion mint, c. 358/356 - 335 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse ΛYKK-EIOY, Herakles crouching left, nude, strangling Nemean lion with left arm, club in raised right hand, bow and quiver on ground lower right; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins, ex Harlan Berk; rare; $1450.00 (1232.50)

Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Otho ruled for just a few months. The mint of Alexandria struck coins with his name, though the portrait bears little resemblance to those of the other mints. It is possible that Alexandria produced coins without having an image of the new emperor.
RP84745. Bronze hemidrachm, RPC I 5364 (3 spec.); Geissen 257; Dattari 336; BMC Alexandria 217; Milne 376; SNG BnF 710; Kampmann-Ganschow 18.13; Emmett 189 (R4); SNG Milan -, F, attractive brown tone, flan crack, light scratches, smoothing, weight 16.768 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, beveled edge; reverse bust of Nilus right, wearing papyrus diadem, cornucopia behind right shoulder, date LA (year 1) before; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $1170.00 (994.50)

Tyre, Phoenicia, 80 - 79 B.C., The Temple Tax Coin

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Half Shekel - the currency of the Jerusalem Temple.

At the Great Temple in Jerusalem the annual tax levied on Jews was 1/2 shekel per male. The 1/2 shekel and shekel were not always used in everyday commerce, but were the only coins accepted by the temple. Many taxpayers required a currency exchange, so money changers set up in the Temple court. Jesus found this business and their shouting (advertising rates) offensive, so he threw over their tables.
SH86530. Silver half shekel, HGC 10 358; Cohen DCA 921 (S); BMC Phoenicia p. 251, 226 var. (different monogram right); cf. Rouvier 2131 (this year and monogram, shekel), aVF, centered, toned, scrapes, edge chips and lamination defects, corrosion, rough, weight 5.430 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Phoenicia, Tyre mint, 80 - 79 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle standing left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond behind, ZM (year 47) over club left, ΦIΛ monogram right, Aramaic letter bet between legs; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; $950.00 (807.50)

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

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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.
SH86507. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, VF, well centered on a tight flan, nice toning, banker's marks, light marks, die wear and cracks, small edge cracks, weight 17.07 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 270o, 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; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; $900.00 (765.00)

Pergamene Kingdom, Attalos I, 241 - 197 B.C.

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Attalus, a capable general, champion of the Greeks, and loyal ally of Rome, made Pergamon a powerful kingdom. He earned the name "Soter" (savior) by defeating the Galatians, who had plundered and exacted tribute for more than a generation. In the Macedonian Wars he allied with Rome against Philip V of Macedon.
GS86503. Silver tetradrachm, BMC Mysia p. 117, 43 (same tiny die break on monogram); SNGvA 1360; SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNG Tub -, SNG Delepierre -, SNG Hunt -, Meydancikkale -, VF/F, superb portrait, light toning, bumps, marks, porosity, small test cut from edge, weight 16.393 g, maximum diameter 29.6 mm, die axis 0o, Mysia, Pergamum (Bergama, Turkey) mint, 215 - 197 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Philetaerus right in taenia; reverse ΦIΛETAIPOY downward on left, Athena enthroned left, crowning dynastic name with wreath in right hand, left arm resting on shield at side ornamented with a gorgoneion, transverse spear on her far side, ME monogram inner right under arm, star over bee outer left, strung bow right; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; very rare variant; $625.00 (531.25)

Kos, Carian Islands, c. 345 - 340 B.C.

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Herakles was traveling by sea when Hera, who hated him, sent a storm, sinking his boats. Hercules and only a few friends survived, swimming to Kos. Once ashore they asked a shepherd for food and shelter. The shepherd refused and insulted Hercules and they fought. People from nearby Antimachia joined the fight against Hercules. Hercules and his friends slipped into a house, disguised as women, and escaped. Another town welcomed Hercules and declared war on Antimachia. Hercules killed the king of Antimachia and married the newly elected king's sister, Halkiopi. Their son, Thessalos, would later be the king of Kos and Nisyros.
GS86516. Silver didrachm, Pixodarus p. 234, 13 (A2/P7); SNG Cop 619; Weber 6629; HGC 6 1305 (R1); BMC Caria p. 195, 18 ff. var. (magistrate); SNG Keckman 287 var. (same), gVF, attractive style, bold strike, toned, tight flan cutting off ethnic, corrosion, edge cracks, weight 6.369 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 0o, Kos mint, Ma[...], magistrate, c. 345 - 340 B.C.; obverse bearded head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse veiled female (Halkiopi?) head left, MA (magistrate) behind, KΩION below; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; rare; $600.00 (510.00)

The First Jewish Revolt, 66 - 70 A.D.

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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.
JD86547. Bronze 1/8 shekel, Kadman III 37, Hendin 1369, Meshorer TJC 214, VF, well centered, highlighting earthen deposits, weight 5.778 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, year 4, 69 - 70 A.D.; obverse Omer cup with pearled rim; reverse bundle of lulav flanked by two ethrogs; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; $580.00 (493.00)

Knidos, Caria, c. 210 - 185 B.C.

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The ancient Carian city of Knidos, near modern Tekir, Turkey, was described by Strabo as "built for the most beautiful of goddesses, Aphrodite, on the most beautiful of peninsulas." The legendary Aphrodite of Praxiteles, one of the most beautiful sculptures of antiquity, once graced her temple at Knidos. It has perished, but late copies exist, of which the most faithful is in the Vatican Museums. A fine seated statue of Demeter and a colossal figure of a lion found there are in the British Museum.
GS86557. Silver didrachm, SNG Cop 318, Imhoof-Blumer Karische 32, Waddington 2312, SNG Keckman -, SNGvA -, SNG Kayhan -, SNG Mn -, SNG Tb -, SNG Mugla -, BMC Caria -, aEF, toned, tight flan typical for the type, encrustations, light corrosion, edge cracks, weight 5.531 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Knidos (near Tekir, Turkey) mint, magistrate Agephon..., c. 210 - 185 B.C.; obverse head of Helios facing slightly right; reverse forepart of roaring lion right, club to left, KNI∆ION above, AΓEΦΩN (magistrate) below; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; rare; $580.00 (493.00)


Catalog current as of Monday, March 19, 2018.
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M.K. Davis Collection