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26 Centuries of Gold

Category:  World Coins
Owner:  deposito
Last Modified:  5/8/2021
Set Description
This collection contains coins struck first in electrum (a silver-gold alloy), then in gold. There is at least one coin for each of the last 26 centuries. The first coin is from the Kingdom of Lydia, believed to be among the first kind of coin ever struck, from the first half of the 500's B.C. This is contemporaneous with the fall of the Neo Assyrian Empire in 612 (victim of a Median and Neo Babylonian cooperative effort) and the sack of Jerusalem by the Neo Babylonian Empire in 587 B.C. The last coin is a Netherlands ducat from 2009, a representative of the longest-running extant type of coin minted in essentially the same form since at least 1586.

Set Goals
Primary Objective: Assemble a timeline of gold coins from the start of coinage through the present.
Ideally, this will be without more than 100 years between the examples for each century. I've still got a troubling gap between AD 237 and the 340's.

Secondary Objective: Illustrate the longest running issues used in long-distance trade between neighbors, enemies, and strangers. Once coinage was developed, major international trade almost always relied on gold coins. This is why Western Europe was draining out gold and silver to India and East Asia in the long run; a forerunner of today’s major trade deficits between the “West” and modern India and East Asian states. Except today, somehow we got those countries to accept our digital currency units instead of real money or products. Examples of “mini series” include the Netherlands gold ducats of 1586 to the present, Venetian ducats from the 1280’s to 1797, Islamic dinars and other gold units from about 700 to the present, Byzantine solidi from about 300 to 1000, etc.

Tertiary Objective: Get nice examples of gold coins from significant places or people in world history.

Slot Name
Item Description
Full Grade
Owner Comments
View Coin 610-546 BC Electrum Lydia third stater ANCIENT - GREEK EMPIRES (6th CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) LYDIA c.610-546 BC EL Third-Stater LYDIA rv bipartite incuse obv lion hd w/radiate sun NGC Ch XF Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 LYDIAN KINGDOM. Alyattes or Walwet (ca. 610-546 BC). EL third-stater or trite (13mm, 4.72 gm). NGC Choice XF 5/5 - 4/5. Uninscribed, Lydo-Milesian standard. Sardes mint. Head of lion right, mouth open, mane bristling, radiate globule above eye / Two square punches of different size, side by side, with irregular interior surfaces.

Linzalone 1090. Weidauer 86. Boston 1764. SNG von Aulock 2868. SNG Kayhan 1013.

I previously paid about 25% more for a worse example of this coin, and so when this came up I had to try to get it. This one is much more yellow and smooth than the other example I have removed from this collection, which was similarly graded by NGC.
View Coin 560-540 BC Electrum Phokaia sixth stater ANCIENT - GREEK CIVIC (7th CENT BC - 1st CENT AD) IONIA, PHOCAEA c.625-522 BC EL Hecte IONIA, PHOCAEA Quadripartite. Bod. Ph24. obv African hd,; seal NGC Ch XF Strike: 5/5 Surface: 2/5 IONIA, Phokaia. Circa 625/0-522 BC. EL Hekte – Sixth Stater (10mm, 2.57 g). Head of African left, wearing necklace; to right, seal downward / Rough incuse square. Bodenstedt Em. 24. Scratches, scrape on obverse. VF.

This is a rare coin of the ancient city of Phokaia in Ionia (modern Turkey) struck in electrum 560-545 BC. It depicts the head of a sub-Saharan African man facing left with a seal, (the seal is off the coin in this example, unfortunately), the civic badge of Phokaia behind the head.

To the Greeks, Africans were called Aethiopians and they appear regularly in Greek art. The Greeks were well acquainted with sub-Saharan Africans since they appear often in Greek literature as mythical characters and warriors.

Indeed, Africans south of the desert were known in the Greek world as early as the Minoan period. They were often mercenary soldiers – not slaves. There are records of them fighting for the Minoans as well as in the army of Memnon at Troy. Even the Persians hired black mercenary soldiers who appeared in the army of Xerxes in the battle of Marathon (see Frazer, J. G., 1913: Pausanias’ Description of Greece, II. Macmillan, London, p 434; and Graindor, P., 1908: Les Vases au Nègre. Musée Belge, p 29).

This same kind of head appears in incuse on the reverse of a silver half-stater which has only appeared at auction a couple of times, and is of an unknown mint. See NAC52, 177,

View Coin 550-500 BC Electrum Erythrae sixth stater ANCIENT - GREEK CIVIC (7th CENT BC - 1st CENT AD) IONIA, ERYTHRAE c.550-500 BC EL Hecte IONIA, ERYTHRAE rv quadripartite incuse obv Heracles NGC Ch AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 5/5 Erythrae was one of the twelve cities to form the Ionian League starting around the middle 7th century BC. It's widely believed, the City States of the Ionic League minted the world's first coinage to effect the efficient flow of commerce. Coinage of the time was struck from Electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, and is the first metal used in minting coinage. Early coins had simple obverse designs such as pellets or lines, with an incuse punch reverse. This one-sixth Stater was struck in Erythrae about a century later (550-500 BC) as obverse designs evolved to depict animals and people. In this case, both.

Head of Heracles left, wearing lion-skin headdress / Quadripartite incuse square with one shallow quadrant and one filled. This symbol, thought to represent the sun, was also associated with the goddess Athena, for whom the Erythrae built a temple of worship. SNG von Aulock 1942. SNG Kayhan 737-8.

This is an example of how the "grade" of a coin based on its preservation does not line up with its attractiveness. Here is a link to a MS 5/5 example of the same coin, which I think we can all agree looks far inferior:

Collector Kohaku has an example of this coin with an incuse swastika on the reverse, instead of the checkers on my coin.

Abour 50 years after this coin was struck, near 453 BC, Erythrae, refusing to pay tribute, seceded from Athens' Delian League. A garrison and a new government restored the union. It was freed from Persian rule by Alexander in 334, and after his death it supported the diadochos Antigonus I Monophthalmus (one eyed). A free city in the Roman province of Asia, Erythrae was noted for its wine, goats, timber, and millstones, as well as its prophetic sibyls, Herophile and Athenais.

NGC has certified 71 of these in all grades, with 7 in "higher" grades.
View Coin 521-478 BC Electrum Lesbos sixth stater ANCIENT - GREEK CIVIC (7th CENT BC - 1st CENT AD) ISL. OF LESBOS, MYTILENE c.521-478 BC EL Hecte ISL. OF LESBOS, MYTILENE calf hd. l. Bod.My12. obv lion hd. r. rv incuse NGC AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 5/5 Obverse: Predator
Reverse: Lunch

Head of roaring lion right / Incuse head of calf left; rectangular punch behind. HGC 6, 937. Bodenstedt 12.

Lesbos is the third-largest island in Greece, but was once connected to present-day Turkey. It is now only barely separated from Turkey by a narrow strait, since the end of the last Ice Age 11,700 years ago. In recent news, Lesbos has become a landing place for many of the migrants seeking entry into the European Union because of its proximity to Turkey. The largest city on the island, and the capital of the present-day Greek political administrative unit, is Myteline. That's where this coin was struck. Aristotle and Epicrus lived on the island for a while during their own lifetimes (after this coin was struck)

The name is from Ancient Greek: Λέσβος Lésbos "forested" or "woody", possibly a Hittite borrowing, as the original Hittite name for the island was Lazpa. An older name for the island that was maintained in Aeolic Greek was Ἴσσα Íssa.

According to later Greek writers, Mytilene was founded in the 11th century BC by the family Penthilidae, who arrived from Thessaly and ruled the city-state until a popular revolt (590–580 BC) led by Pittacus of Mytilene ended their rule. In fact the archaeological and linguistic record may indicate a late Iron Age arrival of Greek settlers although references in Late Bronze Age Hittite archives indicate a likely Greek presence then. The name Mytilene itself seems to be of Hittite origin. According to Homer's Iliad, Lesbos was part of the kingdom of Priam, which was based in Anatolia (present day Turkey). Keep in mind that Priam was the King of Troy during the legendary Trojan War.

We can laugh about how the inhabitants of the island are all Lesbians. They are. But with a capital "L" that just means they are from this island.

NGC has certified 226 of these.

Compared to the earlier coin from Erythrae, this coin has more than just an incuse punch on the reverse. The reverse is still incuse, but now features a detailed lamb's head. The irregular rectangular punch is still there, just squeezed in behind the lamb's head. I have seen other examples of the same issue where the lamb's head is facing right, instead of left. See NGC certification number 4281474-001. I do not know of any significance to this difference.
View Coin 420-380 BC "Daric" or "Stater" of the Persian Empire ANCIENT - GREEK EMPIRES (6th CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) ACHAEMENID EMPIRE 5th-4th Centuries BC AV Daric ACHAEMENID EMPIRE spear. rv incuse punch. obv hero-king w/bow & NGC AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 5/5 The Persians, time of Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II. Sardes, circa 420-375. From the time of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) and great stories by guys like Thucydides (History of the Peloponnesian War) and Xenophon (March of the Ten Thousand) and not long after Herodotus (The Histories) himself.

"The secret to happiness is freedom... And the secret to freedom is courage." --Thucydides

Gold helps with freedom too. NGC has certified 435 of these in all conditions.
View Coin 400-336 BC "Daric" or "Stater" of the Persian Empire ANCIENT - GREEK EMPIRES (6th CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) ACHAEMENID EMPIRE c.400-336 BC AV Daric ACHAEMENID EMPIRE rv incuse punch hero-king w/bow & spear NGC Ch VF Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 This is a later and less common gold daric, or stater, from the Achaemenid Persians, probably from deep inside the 300's B.C.

View Coin 350-320 BC Stater of Carthage ANCIENT - GREEK CIVIC (7th CENT BC - 1st CENT AD) ZEUGITANA, CARTHAGE c.350-320 BC AV Stater ZEUGITANA, CARTHAGE rv horse stg. obv Tanit NGC Ch XF Strike: 4/5 Surface: 4/5 Strike: 4/5 Surface: 4/5 ZEUGITANA. Carthage. Ca. 350-320 BC. AV stater (19mm, 9.15 gm, 1h). NGC Choice XF 4/5 - 4/5. Bust of Tanit left, hair wreathed in barley ears, wearing triple-pendant earring, and necklace with seven pendants; dotted border / Horse standing right on exergual line; three pellets to lower right, dotted border. SNG Copenhagen 129. Jenkins & Lewis 81. MAA 4.

"Elegant in its simplicity of design, the obverse of these early staters depicts Tanit, the highest and most important Carthaginian goddess, and whose Greek equivalent was Persephone. Tanit was the consort of Baal Hammon, the city's chief god. The reverse, depicting the majestic standing horse emphasizes that animal's importance to the city in battle. The overall political message of this type is that the great city of Carthage is protected by both the mightiest of the gods and goddesses and defended by the significant strength of its cavalry." I agree.

Carthage, a Phoenician colony on the coast of North Africa, became a maritime powerhouse in the fifth century BC and challenged the Greek cities of Sicily and Southern Italy for control of the western Mediterranean. By the early third century BC, most of central North Africa, Spain and much of Sicily had fallen under Carthaginian control and mints were established at diverse places to produce coins used to pay the largely mercenary army. The stage was now set for the collision with Rome, newly dominant in Italy. Starting in 265 BC, Carthage and Rome fought three titanic wars that produced more death and destruction than any other conflict before the 20th century. The first gold staters struck by Carthage between 350 and 320 BC were of a nearly pure alloy and weighed more than the ubiquitous gold staters of Philip II and Alexander the Great. As time went on, this coinage was debased with silver and reduced in weight, hence the much more numerous Carthage staters produced after circa 320 BC are now termed 'electrum'. This early stater, in pure gold, shows a delicacy of style that indicates the dies were created by a Greek engraver of consummate skill.

I have wanted one of these for four years, I am glad nobody clicked again after me. NGC has graded 97 of these so far, and this coin was part of a submission to NGC of almost three dozen of these ranging in grade from CH XF to MS, with several of fine style, and none with details grades. There may be a lot of these coming to market in the next year.
View Coin 325-320 BC Stater of Alexander III of Macedon "the Great" ANCIENT - GREEK EMPIRES (6th CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) KINGDOM OF MACEDON Alexander III, 336-323 BC AV Stater KINGDOM OF MACEDON The Morris Collection lifetime-early posthumous NGC AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 5/5 Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C. This is a late lifetime or early posthumous issue of the mint in 'Amphipolis', from about 325-319 B.C. Head of Athena right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet pushed back on head, the bowl decorated with coiled serpent / AΛEΞANΔPOY, Nike standing left, wreath in outstretched right hand, stylis cradled on left arm; cantharus in left field. Price 168. Müller 193

Where's Amphipolis? It's up round the bend on the way over to Asia Minor; almost to Macedon, halfway to the Dardanelles.

NGC has certified 1143 of these, of all varieties and conditions.

View Coin 295-289 BC 25 Litra of Agathocles, Tyrant of Syracuse ANCIENT - GREEK CIVIC (7th CENT BC - 1st CENT AD) SICILY, SYRACUSE Agathocles, 317-289 BC AV 25-Litrai SICILY, SYRACUSE ex Ars Classica XVII, 272 or pentadrachm or diobol NGC Ch VF Strike: 4/5 Surface: 3/5 Strike: 4/5 Surface: 3/5 SICILY. SYRACUSE. AGATHOCLES, ca. 317-289 BC. Gold 25 Litrai, 1.44 g., 9 mm., struck ca. 295-289 BC.
Ex Peus 376 (2003), 200 = Peus 372 (2002), 115 = Ars Classica XVII, (10/3/1934), 272.

Ex Naville & Cie XII (10/18/1926), 985, Hotel Schweizerhof in Lucerne, Switzerland; Collection of Juliusz Wertheim.
Juliusz Wertheim was a Polish pianist, composer, and conductor who had a substantial influence on Arthur Rubenstein and who died two years later of a heart attack while conducting Wagner's Meistersinger Prelude with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra in a broadcast concert, on 6 May 1928. This auction also included coins from the famous archaeologist Arthur Evans who is most famous for unearthing the palace of Knossos on the Greek island of Crete.

Obv. Wreathed head of Persephone left.
Rev. ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, bull left.
Bérend, l’or, pl. 9, 14; SNG ANS 707; SNG Lloyd 1475; Dewing 936

Agathocles, in the words of Polybius, "starting from a plebeian and humble position—having been, as Timaeus sneeringly remarks, a potter—came from the wheel, clay, and smoke, quite a young man to Syracuse." And became tyrant of Syracuse, a city that "had obtained at that time the greatest reputation and the greatest wealth of any in the world; and afterwards" was regarded as suzerain of all Sicily, and lord of certain districts in Italy. Agathocles "not only made an attempt upon Africa, but eventually died in possession of the greatness he had acquired. It is on this account that the story is told of Publius Scipio, the first conqueror of the Carthaginians, that being asked whom he considered to have been the most skilful administrators and most distinguished for boldness combined with prudence, he replied, 'the Sicilians Agathocles and Dionysius.'"

The head of Persephone with grain ears in her hair strongly resembles the head of Tanit, or at least her hairdo, featured on the gold (then later electrum) staters of Carthage preceding this coin and also contemporary with it. This may have to do with the close relationship, sometimes hostile, between Carthage and the various cities of Sicily, including Syracuse.

Scipio perhaps was influenced by Agathocles' own response to an invasion of his land by Carthaginian forces, which was to head down to Africa to bring the war to Carthage's hometown. Scipio would do the same almost 100 years later to force a favorable conclusion to the Second Punic War.
View Coin 219-217 BC Oktadrachm of Ptolemy IV Philopater bearing portrait of his father Ptolemy III Eugertes ANCIENT - GREEK EMPIRES (6th CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) PTOLEMAIC KINGDOM Ptolemy III, 246-222 BC AV Octodrachm 217 B.C. PTOLEMAIC KINGDOM rv diademed cornucopia posthumous under Ptol. IV NGC Ch XF Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5 "Fine Style" according to NGC. It has some surface marks which they were kind enough not to mention. It is a huge “Oktadrachm” , or mnaion (25mm, 27.76 g, 12h). It is perfectly aligned at 12h. NGC has certified 95 of these in all conditions. Bought Raw from a CNG auction.

Posthumous issue of Ptolemy III Eugertes, issued by his son and successor Ptolemy IV Philopater. Alexandreia mint. Struck circa 219-217 BC, the coin was probably struck at the time of the Fourth Syrian War, as payment to the victorious soldiers of Ptolemy IV's army on June 13, 217 B.C. where he defeated the Seleucid army of Antiochus III at Raphia with an army that consisted partly of native Egyptian soldiers.

Ptolemy IV had these gold coins struck in memory of his father, to commemorate the great victories over the Seleucids in the Third Syrian War. Previous to the battle at Raphia in order to promote victory, the Queen, Arsinoe III, promised two gold minae for each soldier if the Ptolemaic army was successful. Following the victory, as recorded in the Raphia Decree, one-mina coins of this type were given. They were struck from a combination of the treasure captured by Alexander the Great and the fresh supply of gold from the mines of Nubia.

One week later, not that anyone in Syria or Egypt cared, on June 21, 217 B.C., Hannibal destroyed a second Roman army after leading it into a trap in the mist along the wooded shores of Lake Trasimene. If not struck within a week of the Battle at lake Tresimine, this coin's mintage is still contemporaneous with the start of the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome, in the years of Hannibal's initial catastrophic victories at the river Trebia, Lake Trasimine, and Cannae (218, 217, 216 B.C.).

This huge coin features a bust of the deified Ptolemy III right, wearing radiate diadem and aegis; trident over left shoulder, middle prong ends in a lotus finial / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY, radiate and filleted cornucopia; ΔI below. CPE 888; Svoronos 1117; Olivier & Lorber dies 3/11, 112 (this coin); SNG Copenhagen 196; Noeske 137; Boston MFA 2283; Kraay & Hirmer 803 (same obv. die). Near EF, a couple tiny die breaks and usual light die rust on obverse.

From the PRB Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Group 93 (22 May 2013), lot 615 (hammer $8000); Triton XV (3 January 2012), lot 1317.

One of the greatest Macedonian rulers of Egypt, Ptolemy III's powerful portrait appears on gold mnaieions struck by his son, Ptolemy IV Philopator, who succeeded him in 221 BC. The great conqueror appears almost bloated; while likely an accurate portrait, his well-fed appearance is also visual shorthand for Egypt's bountiful abundance. Ptolemy III also sports an array of godly attributes, including the rayed crown of Helios, the trident of Poseidon, and the aegis of Zeus. The reverse depicts a cornucopia, again symbolizing the plenty of Egypt. An inscription called the "Canopus Decree," dated 238 BC, takes the form of a letter from the Egyptian priesthood praising Ptolemy III and his wife Berenice as "benefactor gods" for their support of Egyptian religion, as well as for their "good governance" and generosity.

The buying power of one gold mnaieion was enormous and unprecedented, more than $1,100 just in gold at today's price of gold around $1250 per troy ounce (31.14 grams compared to the 27.7 grams in this coin) (as of May 29, 2019). This is almost equivalent to a U.S. gold double eagle (the currency kind, not the modern bullion kind). No other kingdom or empire in the ancient world could produce such large gold coins, and this display of economic clout drew thousands of mercenary soldiers into Egypt's service. This large and powerful army was put to maximum use by the third king of the Ptolemaic dynasty, Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-222 BC). Shortly after inheriting the throne of the Pharaohs, he launched a massive invasion of the neighboring Seleucid Kingdom of Syria. Easily crushing all resistance, he even reached Babylon, where he proclaimed himself King of Kings.
View Coin 211 BC Second Punic War Gold of the Roman Republic ANCIENT - ROMAN REPUBLIC (4th CENT BC - 1st CENT BC) ROMAN REPUBLIC Anonymous, after c.211 BC AV 60 Asses ROMAN REPUBLIC ex Weber (Hirsch 1908)249 Mars/eagle on fulmen NGC AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5 Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5 Second Punic War issue, among the first gold coins of the Roman Republic. Anonymous. 211-207 BC. AV 60 As (3.36 gm / 14mm). Helmeted head of Mars right; LVX, behind / Eagle standing right on thunderbolt; ROMA below. Crawford 44/2; Sydenham 226. EF with scratch and scuffs.

Video at:

NGC has certified 16 of these, not including this one.

"Rome's capture and plundering of Syracuse in 212 BC and successes in Spain around this time provided the gold for the first large Roman coinage in that metal, circa 211 BC. Gold pieces in three denominations, with numerals setting their values at 60, 40 and 20 copper asses, were introduced alongside the silver denarius, quinarius, quadrigatus and sestertius. Although the overall coinage reform proved lasting, the gold denominations were only struck for two or three years and soon disappeared from circulation."

"When the Romans issued their second gold coinage in the war against Hannibal, they continued to make innovations to their monetary system that were borne of necessity. The first gold coinage had been issued c. 218-216 B.C., when Rome was pushed back on its heels after Hannibal’s initial successes on the battlefield. Though the Carthaginian army was still a menacing threat in Italy when this new coinage was struck c. 211-207 B.C., the tide of the war had shifted. This coinage was issued from a position of greater strength than the first.
It is comprised of coins denominated at 60, 40 and 20 asses, and its martial nature is made clear with the designs – the helmeted head of the war-god Mars, and the eagle of the supreme god Jupiter, standing upon his thunderbolt. Various resources had been tapped to issue these coins, including special levies and loot from Syracuse, which fell to the Romans in 212. Meanwhile, in 211 the Romans had forced Capua into submission, thus denying Hannibal his main supply depot in Southern Italy. In that same year the Romans finally abandoned the didrachm (‘quadrigatus’) as their silver coin in favour of the lighter denarius, which would serve as Rome’s principal coin for the next 450 years.
Unlike the first gold coinage, which would appear to have been struck in a single place, and perhaps on a single occasion, the second gold coinage was struck in much larger quantities and demonstrates a variety that suggests portions were struck at moving mints ranging as far afield as Etruria and Sicily. Beyond these final issues of the Second Punic War, the Romans struck no other gold until the Imperatorial period, beginning with aurei for Sulla in the late 80's B.C." Although, someone also struck a gold aureus of Titus Quinctius Flamininus after he "set Greece free" from Macedonian rule about 100 years before that aureus of Sulla.

The eagle on the thunderbolt on the reverse has been interpreted as an attempt to associate Rome with the Ptolemaic empire centered in Egypt. The eagle is somewhat reminiscent of the eagle that had consistently been a symbol on Ptolemaic coinage since the very beginning of the century, and it has been suggested that Ptolemy IV Philopator may have provided gold for this issue to act as a counterweight to the involvement of Philip V of Macedon on the side of Carthage. [Meadows 1998]. We know that in the First Punic War, Ptolemy II had declined to assist Carthage, because Ptolemy said he was a friend of both the Romans and the Carthaginians. An almost exactly-the-same style eagle on thunderbolt appears on a quarter-stater or triobol of Tarentum from 276-272 B.C., also facing right.

This is a coin I have been chasing for a long time. It has scars but is still more attractive than others I've seen lately within this price range. I was the second-highest bidder on both of the incredible examples of this issue that sold on Heritage in January and April this year, 2019. . I even made an offer through Heritage to the owner of the one that sold for less in January. No deal.

There was one in a Roma Numismatics auction that ended about a week before this one, but it was withdrawn as a counterfeit.

This coin is traced back to the collection of Consul Eduard Friedrich Weber, sold with the rest of his collection at Jacob Hirsch Auction XXI, November 16, 1908, lot 249. ;

It had a starting price of 81 Marks.

In 1908, a German Mark was a silver coin with an actual silver weight of 0.16 troy ounces. A US Dollar in 1908 contained 0.77 actual silver weight. That's 4.8 Marks per dollar, or, a starting price of just $16.87. I don't know what it sold for.

Weber's family was originally from Bielefeld. His father David Friedrich Weber (1786-1868) moved to Hamburg and founded a company that traded successfully with South America. Eduard himself was born in 1830 and in 1877 he was appointed consul for the Hawaiian Islands, an office he held until 1902. He died September 19, 1907 in Hamburg, and his coins were auctioned off in at least two auctions, this coin in November, 1908.

According to the Forward to the auction catalog by Jacob Hirsch, Weber: "created a collection of Greek and Roman coins of scientific significance not surpassed by any other private collection in the world." "Sometimes he showed me the pieces which he acquired as a schoolboy with the expenditure of his whole pocket money." "He was attended by teachers like Theodor Mommsen and Ernst Curtius who helped to develop his curiosity and enthusiasm for collecting, which kept his personality up to old age in an admirable juvenile freshness."

German Wikipedia says: "one of the greatest German art collectors of his time, Weber was the owner of the important art collection known as "Galerie Weber", which contained mainly Old German, Dutch and Italian paintings. He also had an excellent collection of coins (Greek, Roman and Hamburg coins). Among the approximately 370 works that were open to the public were works by Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, Andrea Mantegna, Hans Holbein the Elder, Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach."

The auctioneer Jacob Hirsch had galleries in Paris and Munich where he invited bidders from New York right up until World War One, when he moved to Geneva and got Swiss citizenship.
View Coin 221-201 BC Second Punic War Gold of Carthage ANCIENT - GREEK CIVIC (7th CENT BC - 1st CENT AD) ZEUGITANA, CARTHAGE c.221-201 BC AV Quarter-Shekel ZEUGITANA, CARTHAGE rv horse stg. obv Tanit-Demeter NGC Ch AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 2/5 Strike: 5/5 Surface: 2/5 This is a gold coin of Carthage from the time of the Second Punic War. Some electrum, and maybe even gold, was struck under Hannibal himself in South Italy while he occupied it. But this coin is attributed to the North African motherland itself, between 203 and 201. This range spans the year of Carthage's surrender in 201, and Hannibal's defeat in 202 at Zama, to Scipio Africanus.

Even on coinarchives and ancient coin search, I do not find more than five or six of these struck in the same style. NGC has encapsulated 5 of these, including this one, with this one being technically in the "best grade" but with graffiti on the reverse. Even looking close and turning it under light it is tough to notice the graffiti, which is above the horse's rear legs.

ZEUGITANA. Carthage. Ca. 221-201 BC. AV quarter-shekel (13mm, 1.78 gm, 12h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 2/5, graffito. Head of Tanit left, wreathed in two grain ears, hook shaped leaf in the hair, another leaf protruding above forehead, wearing pendant earring and plain necklace; dotted border / Horse standing right, head looking forward, near side front leg advanced in front of the off side leg; dotted border. Jenkins-Lewis Group XIV, 464-467.

North Africa, Carthage AV Fifth Stater. Second Punic War, circa 203-201 BC. Wreathed head of Tanit left, wearing single-pendant earring, and necklace / Horse standing right. Jenkins & Lewis Group XIV, 466 (same dies); MAA 76.
View Coin 123-119 BC Stater of Ephesus an Ionian island ANCIENT - GREEK CIVIC (7th CENT BC - 1st CENT AD) IONIA, EPHESUS c.133-88 BC AV Stater IONIA, EPHESUS rv cult statue of Artemis obv Artemis NGC Ch AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 The Auctioneer says: "IONIA. Ephesus. Ca. 133-88 BC. AV stater (21mm, 8.32 gm, 11h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5. First series, ca. 133-100 BC. Draped bust of Artemis right, hair drawn into knot at back of head, wearing stephane and drop earrings, bow and quiver over shoulder / Cult statue of the Artemis Ephesia facing, fillet hanging from each hand; Ε-Φ to either side of head, lighted torch (or thymiaterion) in inner right field between statue and fillet. Jenkins, Hellenistic, pl. B, 6 (dated 123-119 BC). Head p. 69, 4 variety. Old, light scratch behind the bust of Artemis noted for accuracy."

The cult-figurine on the reverse of the coin is from within the Temple of Artemis, which was in ancient times a wonder of the world. Herostratus in the 300's B.C. wanted to become famous, and because he was a nobody, he figured a good way to do that would be by burning down the second Temple of Artemis in Ephesus (which is almost in present-day Selçuk, Turkey). He did it. In response the government of Ephesus passed the "damnatio memoriae" law which forbid anyone to mention his name, orally or in writing. (See: mass shooters). Herostratus is the early incarnation of someone who commits a criminal act in order to become famous. Sadly, this usually works.

A source says "the Hellenistic gold coinage of Ephesus is uniformly very rare. Certain other issues such as the present example appear to be part of extraordinary issue of gold struck in conjunction with an extremely rare gold stater type of Magnesia in the mid-second century. The style and fabric of both issues seem consistent with an emergency issue struck to meet an immediate expense." NGC has certified 20 of these in all conditions.

This coin is struck from the same obverse die as two other staters that Jenkins was able to securely date to 122/1 BC and 121/0 BC, so he assumed that this issue, with thymiaterion must belong to the years adjacent to these (see Jenkins, Hellenistic, p. 184).

The reverse of this coin depicts the famous cult statue of Ephesian Artemis, housed in the great temple of Artemis that is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The original image of the goddess was a wooden xoanon that had represented a pre-Hellenic goddess who the Greeks later equated with Artemis. This first image, which was kept decorated with jewelry, was possibly lost in a flood in the 8th or 7th century which destroyed the temple; excavations have discovered the tear-shaped amber drops of elliptical cross-section which must have dressed it. In circa 550 BC, when reconstruction of the temple was begun (partly financed by Kroisos), it was undertaken in grand style and was supposedly the first Greek temple to be built of marble. The wooden xoanon was replaced by a new ebony or grapewood statue sculpted by Enoidos, which presumably survived until the temple was again destroyed, this time by an act of arson on the part of one Herostratos. The second destruction of the temple coincided with the birth of Alexander the Great; Plutarch later noted that Artemis was too preoccupied with Alexander's delivery to save her burning temple.

The form of the goddess is distinctly near-eastern in appearance; characteristics such as her legs being enclosed in a tapering pillar-like term are closely related to Egyptian and Hittite images, and the curious feature of the many protuberances on her chest (usually described as breasts or eggs) are decidedly non-Greek in origin, and indeed have defied explanation or identification for centuries, though an association with fertility seems implicit.

According to the auctioneer:

"IONIA. Ephesus. Ca. 133-88 BC. AV stater (21mm, 8.32 gm, 11h). First series, ca. 133-100 BC. Draped bust of Artemis right, hair drawn into knot at back of head, wearing stephane and drop earrings, bow and quiver over shoulder / Cult statue of the Artemis Ephesia facing, fillet hanging from each hand; Ε-Φ to either side of head, lighted torch (or thymiaterion) in inner right field between statue and fillet. Jenkins, Hellenistic, pl. B, 6 (dated 123-119 BC). Head p. 69, 4 variety. Old, light scratch behind the bust of Artemis noted for accuracy.

The rare Hellenistic gold staters of Ephesus have been the subject of long-running debate over when they were struck. In the 1880s, the eminent Barklay V. Head assigned them to the period of the Mithradatic Wars, circa 88-86 BC, when Ephesus briefly came under the control of the Pontic King Mithradates VI Eupator. However, as more varieties were discovered over the next century, it became clear they were struck over a much longer period of time. G.K. Jenkins, in a 1987 article, placed them in two groups starting in the later second century BC, after the Roman takeover of Asia Province in 133 BC, and linked the reverse symbols present on several varieties to similar symbols found on the common cistophoric tetradrachm coinage of the Roman era. Staters with a simpler two-letter ethnic, including the present example, belong to the earlier period, prior to 100 BC, while coins with a longer form come later in the series."

My own observation is that the portrait of Artemis on this coin resembles that of Artemis on a silver drachm of the Aitolian League from about 100 years earlier, 250-225 BC.

View Coin 88-86 BC Stater of Mithradates VI ANCIENT - GREEK EMPIRES (6th CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) PONTIC KINGDOM Mithradates VI, 120-63 BC AV Stater 88-86 BC PONTIC KINGDOM Alexander III/Athena std. Callatis. Lysimachus type NGC Ch AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 PONTIC KINGDOM. Mithradates VI (120-63 BC). AV stater (20mm, 8.28 gm, 1h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5. By this time, the source of the previous coin in this collection, Ephesus, and most of modern-day Turkey, were in the hands of Mithradates VI King of Pontus.

Types of Lysimachus of Thrace, Callatis, ca. 88-86 BC. Diademed head of deified Alexander III right, wearing horn of Ammon / ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ / ΛYΣΙΜΑΧΟY, Athena enthroned left, Nike crowning royal name in right hand, left arm leaning on grounded shield, transverse spear beyond; HPO monogram below right arm, KAΛ on throne, filleted trident left in exergue. Müller 265. There are more than 1,000 of these graded by NGC, many in this grade or finer. That said, many even in mint state are sloppily cut dies. This one is pretty good for this run. There is another series struck by Mithradates VI in gold also during his wars with Rome, but, it features a realistic portrait of himself and a different reverse. Those cost 8 times more than this kind.

Mithradates, in Greek, Μιθραδάτης, Μιθριδάτης, from Old Persian Miθradāta, "gift of Mithra") (135–63 BC), also known as Mithradates the Great (Megas) and Eupator Dionysius, was king of Pontus and Armenia Minor in northern Anatolia from about 120–63 BC. Mithridates is remembered as one of the Roman Republic’s most formidable and successful enemies, who engaged three of the prominent generals from the late Roman Republic in the Mithridatic Wars: Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Lucius Licinius Lucullus and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. He has been called the greatest ruler of the Kingdom of Pontus.

Mithridates presided over the massacre of Romans and Italians in Asia in May of 88 BC. In Bithynia Mithridates got advice from a prominent Greek philosopher at his court, Metrodoros of Skepsis, who was known as ho misoromaios (the Roman-hater). Metrodoros suggested that in order to bind the communities of the Roman province to the Pontic cause the king should arrange for the extermination of all Romans in the province without regard to age or sex and force the participation of all the Greek civic authorities, thus shaking off Roman rule permanently and irrevocably. Sort of a burn the ships on the beach move.

The massacre was carefully planned and co-ordinated to take the victims by surprise, in every community and all at once. In writing to all the civic authorities of the province, detailing the measures to be taken, the king stipulated that the killings were to be carried out exactly one month after the date of his letter. The date in question is not recorded but fell around early May 88 BC.

What took place on that day profoundly affected Roman/Hellenistic relations. Appian states that 80,000 Romans and Italians were killed in these "Asiatic Vespers", while Plutarch gives a much higher number. Not long after, Sulla would be at the walls of Athens, and not in a good way. This did not reflect well on Greeks, even though let's face it, Mithridates was just part Greek.

Mithridates VI was a prince of Persian and Greek ancestry. He claimed descent from Cyrus the Great, the family of Darius the Great, the Regent Antipater, the generals of Alexander the Great as well as the later kings Antigonus I Monophthalmus and Seleucus I Nicator.

He developed resistance to most poisons by regularly dosing himself with small amounts of them over his lifetime. This was inspired by the poisoning of his father. He is the subject of a good book called "The Poison King." At the end of his own life, he was not able to kill himself with poison as his enemies closed in. Frustrated, he needed his companion to stab him with a sword.
View Coin 46 BC Julius Caesar ANCIENT - ROMAN IMPERATORIAL (1st CENT BC) ROMAN IMPERATORIAL Julius Caesar, d.44 BC AV Aureus ROMAN IMPERATORIAL Pietas-Vesta/implements c46 BC. A.Hirtius praetor NGC Ch F Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5 Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5 Rome, struck by Aulus Hirtius, 46 BC. C • CAESAR-COS • TER, veiled female head (Vesta or Pietas?) right, (with features of Julius Caesar?) / A HIRTIVS P R (The "S" is barely evident; just a slanted line against an almost as compressed "P") lituus, capis and securis, all turned left (emblems of Caesar's augurate and pontificate. Caesar was the Pontifex Maximus since an early age, making him literally the Pope of Roman religion). Crawford 466/1. Sydenham 1017-1018. Hirtia 1 and Julia 22. Calicó 37c.

Aulus Hirtius was a key supporter of Caesar. He was an experienced soldier and served as one of Caesar's legates in Gaul from about 54 BC and was an envoy to Pompey in 50 BC. He served Caesar loyally during the Civil War against Pompey and his successors 48-45 BC and was appointed as Caesar's mintmaster in Rome in 46 BC, when he struck the first truly large issue of gold aurei from the spoils of Caesar's campaigns. These aurei, which bear a rather enigmatic veiled female head on the obverse, were used to pay Caesar's soldiers after the great triumphal parade. After Caesar's assassination, Hirtius initially supported Mark Antony but, after taking over as Consul in 43 BC, he raised an army against Antony at the instigation of Cicero and Octavian. His army defeated Antony at Mutina in April of 43 BC, but Hirtius was killed in the fighting; his consular colleague Pansa died days later, leaving Octavian and Antony masters of Rome. Modern historians owe Hirtius a debt of gratitude for preserving and editing Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic and Civil Wars.

NGC reports 204 Caesar Aureii graded, but, these include not just this type with Hirtius, but also other types including the slightly later issue under L. Munatius Plancus.
View Coin 43-42 BC Stater of Thrace, thought to be struck by or for Brutus and Cassius in their fight against Marc Antony and Octavian ANCIENT - GREEK EMPIRES (6th CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) THRACIAN OR SCYTHIAN Coson, after 54 BC AV Stater 43-42 BC THRACIAN OR SCYTHIAN rv eagle w/wreath+scepter obv procession, monogram NGC Ch MS Strike: 5/5 Surface: 5/5 The date offered by NGC, "After 54 B.C.," is the most conservative date range to assign this coin. These coins have been attributed for more than 180 years to Brutus, assassin of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.

Or, one source has it, these were minted for Brutus, by Coson, a King of Thrace, to whom Brutus granted permission to strike money in his own name shortly before the battle of Philippi, in 43-42 B.C, where Brutus and Cassius were defeated.

The earlier date of 54 B.C. is given as the earliest date because of the obverse depiction of the three figures proceeding in a line. They are "lictors" carrying axes. The monogram in the bottom left quadrant is to be read as "BR" or "LBR" for L. Brutus. Almost the same design appears on a silver denarius minted in Rome in 54 B.C. under supervision of Brutus as a moneyer for that year (Crawford 433/1). It is presumed that this gold coin is based on, or inspired by, that denarius obverse. The eagle on the reverse of this coin is said to be gripping a wreath and "scepter." From research of silver denarii, I believe the "sceptre" may actually be a measuring stick, or "decempeda." A decempeda is associated with the measurement of land, and symbolizes redistribution of land. Besides nice gold coins, armies of soldiers and officers need to be promised redistribution of land after their victory.

There is also a reference in Appian to gold and silver coins bearing the face of Brutus himself struck from the treasure entrusted to Brutus by Polemocratia, the widow of a Thracian king Sadalas. King Sadalas had been murdered by his enemies. Those coins bearing the portrait of Brutus and the words "eid mar" are of course a lot more valuable than this example.

These coins in mint state are extremely affordable, and according to one source, they are "at least 100 times more rare" than the gold staters of Alexander III "the Great," which are substantially more expensive. But, I can see that NGC has certified 1,365 of these! In "Choice Mint State" there are 211 of them. I only see 1,140 Alexander III "Lifetime - early posthumous" certified at NGC. I don't think that source is accurate.

I can find an example of one of these coins sold in 1913 in Chicago for $12.
View Coin 2 BC - 4 AD Augustus ANCIENT - ROMAN EMPIRE (1st CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) ROMAN EMPIRE Augustus, 27 BC-AD 14 AV Aureus 2 BC - 4 AD ROMAN EMPIRE rv Gaius & Lucius Caesars Lugdunum NGC VF Strike: 4/5 Surface: 3/5 Strike: 4/5 Surface: 3/5
View Coin 41-42 Claudius ANCIENT - ROMAN EMPIRE (1st CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) ROMAN EMPIRE Claudius, AD 41-54 AV Aureus 41-42 ROMAN EMPIRE caduceus over snake rv Pax-Nemesis hldg. NGC Ch F Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5 Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5 Claudius I (AD 41-54). AV aureus (19mm, 7.73 gm, 4h). NGC Choice Fine 5/5 - 3/5. Rome, AD 41-42. TI CLAVD•CAESAR•AVG•P•M•TR•P•, laureate head of Claudius I right; dotted border / PACI-AVGVSTAE, Pax-Nemesis advancing right, raising fold of drapery below chin with right hand, winged caduceus downward in left pointing at snake advancing right; dotted border. RIC I 9. Calicó 363.

According to the auctioneer: "This gold aureus bears a wonderful portrait of Claudius, fourth emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Son of the great general Drusus and Antonia, niece of the emperor Augustus, Tiberius Claudius Drusus seemed well-positioned when he was born in 10 BC. But, a serious childhood illness left him with a limp, a stammer, and other uncouth qualities that made him the black sheep of the family. While these problems barred him from a political career, such exclusion also granted him immunity from the family's murderous intrigues. Upon Caligula's assassination in January, AD 41, Claudius was the sole surviving Julio-Claudian male, and, when members of the Praetorian Guard found him cowering behind a curtain in the palace, they immediately acclaimed him as Emperor. Claudius astutely awarded the Praetorians a substantial bonus, and with 10,000 heavily armed soldiers backing him, he easily forced the Senate to accept him as the next princeps. Once installed, Claudius surprised everyone by ruling with intelligence and moderation. In AD 43, he ordered the invasion and annexation of Britain, the first major addition of territory to the Empire since the days of Augustus. He chose provincial governors carefully and managed foreign relations with considerable skill. He erred only in his obsession with detail, his reliance on freedmen and cronies, and his atrocious taste in women. Messalina, his promiscuous third wife, ran wild as Empress and nearly brought down his regime with a sex-crazed conspiracy in AD 48. His next wife, Agrippina the Younger, used her wiles to enhance her own power and advance Nero, her son by a previous marriage, in the succession arrangements. This done, she fed Claudius a dish of poisoned mushrooms in October, AD 54 and brought his 13-year reign to an end. Despite many missteps and his unsavory demise, Claudius had been a fairly successful ruler and his regime set a pattern for the Flavians and the reigns that followed."
View Coin 80-81 Domitian ANCIENT - ROMAN EMPIRE (1st CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) ROMAN EMPIRE Domitian, AD 81-96 AV Aureus 81 ROMAN EMPIRE Ex Henry Chapman Jr. (1859-1935) rv garland altar w/flame issued as Caesar NGC Ch F Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 Domitian, as Caesar, AV aureus (19mm, 7.13 gm, 7h). NGC Choice Fine 5/5 - 4/5. Rome, AD 80-81. CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head of Domitian right / PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, lit garlanded altar. RIC II.1 (under reign of Titus) 265. Calicó 918.

Ex Henry Chapman, Philadelphia (1859-1935), private sale with old dealer paper envelope marked #6 and includes paper tag
View Coin 155-156 Antoninus Pius ANCIENT - ROMAN EMPIRE (1st CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) ROMAN EMPIRE Antoninus Pius,AD 138-161 AV Aureus 155/156 A.D. ROMAN EMPIRE rv Victory advancing NGC Ch AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 5/5 From the peak of the "Pax Romana." Attributed to the year 155/156 A.D. Evidently a rare variety with the drapery on both shoulders of the emperor's bust.

Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161). AV aureus (19mm, 7.31 gm, 5h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 5/5. Rome, AD 155-156. ANTONINVS AVG-PIVS P P IMP II, bare bust of Antoninus Pius right, drapery across both shoulders / TR POT-XIX-COS IIII, Victory, draped, advancing left, wreath upward in right hand, cradling palm frond in left arm. RIC III 255 var. (bust type). Calicó 1671.

In 155, Pius started a new war against the Parthians who were led by Vologases IV. The war was brief and resulted in an inconclusive peace. Perhaps this is what the Victory on the Reverse is referring to. Also this year Rome took the position that while it would not be recognized as an official religion, Judaism must be tolerated. To restore peace between the Jews and Romans, Antoninus re-legalized circumcision. The Romans began to abandon Hadrian's Wall.

The aureus (pl. aurei, 'golden', used as a noun) was a gold coin of ancient Rome originally valued at 25 pure silver denarii. The aureus was regularly issued from the 1st century BC to the beginning of the 4th century AD, when it was replaced by the solidus. The aureus was about the same size as the denarius, but heavier due to the higher density of gold (as opposed to that of silver.)

Before the time of Julius Caesar the aureus was struck infrequently, probably because gold was seen as a mark of un-Roman luxury. (A token of those effeminate easterners, like Greeks). Caesar struck the coin more often, and standardized the weight at 1/40 of a Roman pound (about 8 grams). That is pretty close to, but a little lighter than, the gold staters struck for hundreds of years around the Greek world. Augustus (r. 29 BC – 14 AD) tariffed the value of the sestertius as 1/100 of an aureus.

The mass of the aureus was decreased to 1/45 of a pound (7.3 g) during the reign of Nero (r. 54–68). At about the same time the purity of the silver coinage was also slightly decreased. My understanding is that this coin adheres to the same standard set by Nero, which persisted until the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, who immediately followed Pius' reign. Marcus Aurelius further reduced the weight of these coins.

That all said, I have found examples of these coins from the reign of Pius which are neither clipped nor filed, but weigh ranging from 7.19 grams to 7.55 grams.

NGC would tell you they have certified 210 of these in all conditions, but that includes all the aurei of all years of Antoninus, and there are many different varieties. There are several on acsearch in poorer condition, no others have sold on Heritage of this variety. One of almost the same variety in duller AU condition did not sell on Heritage at an August 1, 2017 auction, lot 34068. That example was of a slightly different variety that appears just slightly more common (RIC 255(b)) which is distinguished by the emperor having NO drapery on the left (back) side of his bust, but only on the right (front) side. This example here has drapery on both shoulders, and, I find only one example of this on acsearch, which appears to be the same coin sold twice at Kuenker auctions in 2011 and 2016, as VF ex jewelry. There are also examples with the same reverse motif, attributed to the same date, but with no drapery on either side of the emperor's bust. I find more of those in the archives.

This is my first Roman Emperor, and certainly my last for a long time. This coin puts a dent in the 400-year gap I need to fill between about 42 B.C. and 393 A.D.

I won this coin sitting in the kitchen in Thailand on my phone using Heritage Live during the auction, just moments before my wife came down. Not a moment too late.
View Coin 239 Gordian III ANCIENT - ROMAN EMPIRE (1st CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) ROMAN EMPIRE Gordian III, AD 238-244 AV Aureus 239 ROMAN EMPIRE Ex Vicompte de Sartiges ex ArsClass.18 (1938),395 ex Magnaguti(10/1951),264 NGC AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 GORDIANUS III. 238-244, Aureus of late-end 239. IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG Laurel, draped and armored bust r. Rs: P M TR P II COS P P Virtus stands l. with shield and spear. C. 193. R.I.C. 25. Calico 3212a. 5.28g, nicely centered. Rare.

Ex Vicomte de Sartiges (1859-1924) Collection. Ex Ars Classica 18, October 10 1938, at Hotel Schweizerhof in Lucerne, Switzerland, Lot No. 395, cataloged by Jacob Hirsch, the same guy who presided over the 1908 auction of our Roman 60 asses coin of the Second Punic War. This 1938 sale was called "Very important collection of Roman coins formed by a long-deceased foreign diplomat, whose sale will take place at public auctions". The catalog has been scanned and is available at , showing this coin as "Superbe" and hammering at 125 Swiss Francs (just over $25 at the time, in the midst of the Great Depression). At this same auction was sold a giant rare gold 20 gram medallian of Honorius, which sold for 10,500 Francs, and is referred to in correspondence from American historian and art connoisseur Royall Tyler to American Diplomat Robert Woods Bliss, September 27, 1938, now part of the Dumbarton Oaks archive, at: . The same letter refers to the author taking some comfort in a letter of the same day from President Roosevelt to Adolf Hitler regarding the threat of war in Europe, on account of Hitler's threats to invade the Sudentenland of Czechoslovakia.

This coin later was also ex Magnaguti Collection (Santamaria 23/10/1951 Lot No. 264). Ex collection B.d.B. (NAC 49, 2008, lot no.348).

After the end of the Gordianii, the Senate elected Pupienus and Balbinus as emperors against Maximinus Thrax and provided them with the grandson of Gordianus I as Caesar. After a good three months, the two emperors were murdered by the Praetorians and the 13-year-old Gordianus III was proclaimed Augustus. In contrast to his older predecessors, he was able to hold the imperial throne for about 6 years. On a campaign against the Sassanids, he died of a wound or from a conspiracy by his Praetorian prefect and successor, Philip the Arab.
View Coin 347-355 Constantius II ANCIENT - ROMAN EMPIRE (1st CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) ROMAN EMPIRE Constantius II,AD 337-361 AV Solidus ROMAN EMPIRE Constantinopolis w/votive Antioch. rv Roma & NGC MS Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5 Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5 Constantius II AV Solidus. Antioch, AD 347-355. FL IVL CONSTANTIVS PERP AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right / GLORIA REIPVBLICAE, Roma, seated facing on left, and Constantinopolis, seated left on right, supporting round shield inscribed VOT XX MVLT XXX in four lines; SMANI in exergue. RIC 83; Depeyrot 6/3. 4.41g, 21mm, 12h.

Won live from Roma Numismatics auction 3-27-2020 when their live auction was cancelled due to the COVID19 pandemic gripping London and most of the developed world. Probably I paid about $1300 too much for this coin, after losing out on a Constantine II that I had been bidding on. Antioch solidii of this type are not rare, even in this pretty-good condition. But, I have only found a couple in the archives where the SMANI looks like SMANI instead of SMANT or SMANΓ
View Coin 380 Gratian ANCIENT - WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE (4th CENT AD - 5th CENT AD) WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE Gratian, AD 367-383 AV Solidus 380 WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE rv Constantinopolis std. Constantinople NGC MS Strike: 4/5 Surface: 3/5 Strike: 4/5 Surface: 3/5 Gratian, Western Roman Empire (AD 367-383). AV solidus (21mm, 4.46 gm, 12h). NGC MS 4/5 - 3/5. Constantinople, AD 379-383. Unlisted Bust Type for Issue. D N GRATIA-NVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Gratian right, viewed from front / CONCOR-DIA AVGGG, Constantinopolis seated facing on leonine throne, helmeted head right, scepter in right hand, globe in left, right foot on prow; CONOB in exergue. RIC IX -, cf. 44a (rosette-diademed).

Gratian (Γρατιανός) April 18, 359 – August 25, 383, was Roman emperor from 367 to 383. The eldest son of Valentinian I, Gratian accompanied, during his youth, his father on several campaigns along the Rhine and Danube frontiers. Upon the death of Valentinian in 375, Gratian's brother Valentinian II was declared emperor by his father's soldiers. Gratian went along with this, and let Valentinian II run his part of the empire. In 378, Gratian's generals won a decisive victory over the Lentienses, a branch of the Alamanni, at the Battle of Argentovaria. Gratian subsequently led a campaign across the Rhine, the last emperor to do so, and attacked the Lentienses, forcing the tribe to surrender. That same year, his uncle Valens was killed in the Battle of Adrianople against the Goths. Gratian removed the Altar of Victory from the Roman Senate.

For some years Gratian governed the Empire with energy and success, earning the esteem of the army and people by his personal courage and justice, but at length, being deprived by death of some of his abler counselors, the promising young emperor neglected public affairs, and occupied himself chiefly with the hunting. He alienated the army and German auxiliaries by his favoritism towards his Frankish general Merobaudes and a body of Scythian archers whom he made his body-guard and companions in the hunt.

By appearing in public in the dress of a Scythian warrior, after the disaster of the Battle of Adrianople, he finally exasperated his army. One of his generals, Magnus Maximus, took advantage of this feeling to raise the standard of revolt in Britain and invaded Gaul with a large army. From Paris, Gratian, having been deserted by his troops, fled to Lyon. There, through the treachery of the governor, Gratian was delivered over to one of the rebel generals, Andragathius, and assassinated on 25 August 383.
View Coin 393-423 Honorius ANCIENT - WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE (4th CENT AD - 5th CENT AD) WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE Honorius, AD 393-423 AV Solidus WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE foot on bound captive. Rome. rv emperor with NGC MS Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 Honorius was the emperor of the Western Roman Empire who presided over the sack of Rome on August 24, 410 by Visigoth barbarians. This makes the reverse on this coin ironic. It shows the emperor stepping on a bound captive barbarian as Victory crowns the emperor with the wreath of victory. At the time of the attack on Rome, Honorius was safe in Ravenna.

This was the first time in almost 800 years that Rome had fallen to an enemy. The previous sack of Rome had been accomplished by the Gauls under their leader Brennus in 387 BC, almost 800 years earlier. The sacking of 410 is seen as a major landmark in the fall of the Western Roman Empire. St. Jerome, living in Bethlehem at the time, wrote that "The City which had taken the whole world was itself taken."

This coin was purchased raw at a Bruun Rasmussen auction in 2017.
View Coin 450-457 Marcian ANCIENT - EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE (4th CENT AD - 5th CENT AD) EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE Marcian, AD 450-457 AV Solidus EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE rv Victory w/long cross obv facing military bust NGC Ch MS Strike: 4/5 Surface: 5/5 Flavius Marcianus Augustus; (Greek: Μαρκιανός); c. 392 – 26 January 457) was the Eastern Roman Emperor from 450 to 457. He was a domesticus (personal assistant) who served under Ardabur and his son Aspar (Germanic military mercenary commanders) for fifteen years. After the death of Emperor Theodosius II on 28 July 450, Marcian was made a candidate to the throne by Aspar, who held influence due to his military power. After a month of negotiations Pulcheria, the sister of Theodosius (the deceased former Emperor), agreed to marry Marcian, and Flavius Zeno, a military leader of similar influence to Aspar, agreed to help Marcian to become emperor in exchange for the rank of patrician. Marcian was elected and inaugurated on 25 August 450.

Marcian reversed many of the actions of his predecessor, Emperor Theodosius II, in religious matters and the Eastern Roman Empire's relationship with the Huns under Attila. Marcian almost immediately revoked all treaties with Attila, ending all subsidy payments to him. In 452, while Attila was raiding Italy, then a part of the Western Roman Empire, Marcian launched expeditions across the Danube into the Hungarian plain, defeating the Huns in their own heartland. This action, accompanied by the famine and plague that broke out in northern Italy, allowed Marcian to bribe Attila into retreating from the Italian peninsula.

After the death of Attila in 453, Marcian took advantage of the resulting fragmentation of the Hunnic confederation, settling numerous tribes within Eastern Roman lands as foederati (subject tribes which gave military service in exchange for various benefits). Marcian also convened the Council of Chalcedon, which reversed the outcome of the previous Second Council of Ephesus, and declared that Jesus had two natures, divine and human. Marcian died on 26 January 457, leaving the Eastern Roman Empire with a treasury surplus of seven million solidi. Maybe this coin is one of them. After his death, Aspar had Leo I elected as Eastern Roman Emperor.

This coin has a big fat rim. It's like a deep dish pizza. This preserved the high points of the portrait and reverse, which are still not quite as high as those towering rims.

This coin was sitting on Ebay for a long time at a high price. Then, it appeared on an auction that was not featured on Numisbids or Sixbid. I found out about the auction through Auctionzip, which my dad had recently let me know about. This auction was by some estate / jewelry business in Florida.

So I knew this coin was coming up, and it was in the old NGC holder with a grade "CH UNC" with no numbers. I won the coin at the "live" online auction while I was walking my kid back from the grocery store, for about half what it was listed for on Ebay. This was a case of a thinly attended poorly advertised auction for some lucky buyers. Once I got the coin I sent it in to NGC to be re-evaluated based on their current standards, and to be put in their current four-pronged holder, to let us see some of the rim. That has been accomplished, and they noted the slight "die shift". Marcian looks like Bert from Sesame Street.
View Coin 491-518 Anastasius I ANCIENT - BYZANTINE (5th CENT AD - 15th CENT AD) BYZANTINE EMPIRE Anastasius I, AD 491-518 AV Solidus BYZANTINE EMPIRE rv Victory hldg. P-cross obv facing military bust NGC MS Strike: 5/5 Surface: 5/5 Flavius Anastasius Augustus; (Greek: Ἀναστάσιος); (c. 431 – 9 July 518) was Byzantine Emperor from 491 to 518. He made his career as a government administrator. He came to the throne in his sixties after being chosen by the wife of his predecessor, Zeno. His religious tendencies caused tensions throughout his reign.

His reign was characterized by improvements in the government, economy, and bureaucracy in the Eastern Roman empire. He is noted for leaving the imperial government with a sizable budget surplus (including this coin) due to minimization of government corruption, reforms to the tax code, and the introduction of a new form of currency.
View Coin 527-565 Justinian I ANCIENT - BYZANTINE (5th CENT AD - 15th CENT AD) BYZANTINE EMPIRE Justinian I, AD 527-565 AV Solidus BYZANTINE EMPIRE and globus cruciger rv Angel hldg. long cross NGC MS Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 Justinian the Great and also Saint Justinian the Great in the Eastern Orthodox Church, was the Eastern Roman emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western-half of the historical Roman Empire. Justinian's rule constitutes a distinct epoch in the history of the Later Roman empire, and his reign is marked by the ambitious but only partly realized renovatio imperii, or "restoration of the Empire". During his reign the style of these solidus coins changed from showing the Emperor in a three-quarters profile, like this one, to a straight-on facing portrait, as seen in the next coin, from Maurice Tiberius, all the way to the fall of Constantinople 900 years later.

Because of his restoration activities, Justinian has sometimes been known as the "last Roman" in mid 20th century historiography. This ambition was expressed by the partial recovery of the territories of the defunct Western Roman Empire. His general, Belisarius, swiftly conquered the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa. Subsequently, Belisarius, Narses, and other generals conquered the Ostrogothic kingdom, restoring Dalmatia, Sicily, Italy, and Rome to the empire after more than half a century of rule by the Ostrogoths. The prefect Liberius reclaimed the south of the Iberian peninsula, establishing the province of Spania. These campaigns re-established Roman control over the western Mediterranean, increasing the Empire's annual revenue by over a million solidi. During his reign, Justinian also subdued the Tzani, a people on the east coast of the Black Sea that had never been under Roman rule before. He engaged the Sasanian Empire in the east during Kavad I's reign, and later again during Khosrow I's; this second conflict was partially initiated due to his ambitions in the west.

A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, which is still the basis of civil law in many modern states. His reign also marked a blossoming of Byzantine culture, and his building program yielded such masterpieces as the church of Hagia Sophia.
View Coin 582-602 Maurice Tiberius ANCIENT - BYZANTINE (5th CENT AD - 15th CENT AD) BYZANTINE EMPIRE Maur.Tiberius, AD 582-602 AV Solidus BYZANTINE EMPIRE rv Angel hldg. P-cross obv facing bust NGC Ch MS Strike: 5/5 Surface: 5/5 Maurice Tiberius, AV Solidus, 582-602, Constantinople, Officina 3, Pearl-diademed, helmeted with plume, draped, cuirassed bust facing, globus cruciger in right hand Angel standing facing, long staff surmounted by christogram in right hand, globus cruciger in left, CONOB in exergue. 4.48g. Bought Raw on Ebay in 2010.

Maurice fought with success against the Sasanian Empire. After he became Emperor, he brought the war with Sasanian Persia to a victorious conclusion. Under him the Empire's eastern border in the South Caucasus was vastly expanded and, for the first time in nearly two centuries, the Romans were no longer obliged to pay the Persians thousands of pounds of gold annually for peace.

Maurice campaigned extensively in the Balkans against the Avars – pushing them back across the Danube by 599. He also conducted campaigns across the Danube, the first Roman Emperor to do so in over two centuries. In the west, he established two large semi-autonomous provinces called exarchates, ruled by exarchs, or viceroys of the emperor. In Italy Maurice established the Exarchate of Italy in 584, the first real effort by the Empire to halt the advance of the Lombards. With the creation of the Exarchate of Africa in 590 he further solidified the power of Constantinople in the western Mediterranean.

His reign was troubled by financial difficulties and almost constant warfare. In 602 a dissatisfied general named Phocas usurped the throne, having Maurice and his six sons executed. This event would prove a disaster for the Empire, sparking a twenty-six year war with Sassanid Persia which would leave both empires devastated prior to the Muslim conquests. His reign is a relatively well documented era of late antiquity, in particular by the historian Theophylact Simocatta. The Strategikon, a manual of war which influenced European and Middle Eastern military traditions for well over a millennium, is traditionally attributed to Maurice.
View Coin 641-668 Constans II ANCIENT - BYZANTINE (5th CENT AD - 15th CENT AD) BYZANTINE EMPIRE Constans II, AD 641-668 AV Solidus BYZANTINE EMPIRE rv cross potent on steps obv facing bust NGC MS Strike: 4/5 Surface: 3/5 This is Constans the Bearded - before the beard. Look up later coins struck under this Emperor and you can see his beard grow from stubble to ZZ Topp.
View Coin 695-698 Leontius ANCIENT - BYZANTINE (5th CENT AD - 15th CENT AD) BYZANTINE EMPIRE Leontius, AD 695-698 AV Solidus BYZANTINE EMPIRE rv cross potent on steps obv facing consular bust NGC Ch MS Strike: 4/5 Surface: 5/5 Strike: 4/5 Surface: 5/5 The first usurper of Justinian II, who slit Justinian's nose and put him in a monastery. The Tiberius III Apsimar usurped Leontius, and slit his nose and put him in a monastery. Then Justinian came back from the monastery and used both Leontius and Tiberius as footstools then had them decapitated at the races.
View Coin 698-705 Tiberius III ANCIENT - BYZANTINE (5th CENT AD - 15th CENT AD) BYZANTINE EMPIRE Tiberius III, AD 698-705 AV Solidus BYZANTINE EMPIRE rv cross potent on steps obv facing military bust NGC MS Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5 Constantinople, 4th officina. D TIBЄRI-ЧS PЄ AV, crowned and cuirassed bust of Tiberius facing, holding spear in right hand and shield with horseman motif on left shoulder / VICTORIA AVΣЧ, cross potent set on three steps; Δ//CONOB. Sear 1360. DOC 1c. MIB 1. Faint hairlines in reverse fields, otherwise uncommonly well struck and lustrous. In hand, this coin is struck in really high relief, this guy's cheeks and nose pop off the coin.

Tiberius was a Germanic naval officer from the region of Pamphylia and originally named Apsimar (Αψίμαρος, Apsímaros), who participated in the failed campaign to regain Carthage in 698. As admiral John the Patrician retreated from Carthage to Crete, the fleet rebelled, deposed and murdered their commander, and chose Apsimaros as his replacement. Changing his name to Tiberius, Apsimaros sailed on Constantinople which was suffering from a plague and proceeded to besiege it. Basically, this guy was the pirate captain of a pirate fleet. Tiberius wasn't from Constantinople or really loyal to it, and neither was most of his crew.

His revolution attracted the support of the Green faction of Chariot racing fans, as well as detachments from the field army and the imperial guard, and officers loyal to him opened the gates of the city and proclaimed him emperor. Then his troops then proceeded to pillage the city! What an emperor.

When he was firmly established on the throne, he commanded that the nose of deposed Emperor Leontius be cut off, and ordered him to enter the monastery of Psamathion. Leontios had also mutilated his predecessor Justinian II in the same fashion three years earlier. Coins of Justinian II, from his first reign, are the first numismatic representation of Jesus that we know of. Justinian himself was not dead, but was also exiled in a monastery, really mad.

In 704 Justinian II escaped from exile seeking the aid of the Khazars and leading an army with them to Constantinople. For three days, Justinian tried to convince the citizens of Constantinople to open the gates, but to no avail. After opening the gates to the last guy, and getting pillaged, who could blame them? In the meantime, his troops had discovered a long abandoned water conduit beneath the city walls, through which Justinian and some of his supporters managed to enter the city on 21 August 705. Tiberius managed to escape the capital to Sozopolis, where he joined the army of his brother (who had been entrusted with military rule over a large territory). Their soldiers, however, began deserting them, and Tiberius and Heraclius were captured by Justinian's troops. Can't trust pirates.

Heraclius and many of his senior officers were then hanged from the city walls, while Tiberius and Leontius were paraded in chains through the capital before being presented before Justinian in the Hippodrome of Constantinople. There, before a jeering populace, Tiberius's nose was cut off. Justinian placed his feet on the necks of Tiberius and Leontios in a symbolic gesture of subjugation before they were brought to the Kynegion for their execution by beheading. This was kind of unfair, since both Leontius and Tiberius had just been nose slicers, not head choppers.
View Coin 707 UMAYYAD Dinar al Walid I ISLAMIC DYNASTIES 707-708 DINAR AH89(707) UMAYYAD AL-WALID I (4.25g) NGC MS 65 707-708 AD dinar of Umayyad caliph al Walid, on the warpath from North Africa to Iberia. Struck in Damascus, Syria.

This is the second caliph to issue these gold dinars, which were started by his predecessor Abd al Malik, starting in year 76 AH (695-696 AD). These coins are dated, and so they can be placed in history with precision. An example from the first year of issue (76 AH) sold recently at a Morton & Eden auction for $4 million.

These coins were "innovated" in order to compete with the circulating solidii of the Byzantine Empire, which, for the first time ever under Emperor Justinian II, featured a portrait of Jesus. Before this, Islamic coins had mimicked circulating solidii except they left the cross uncrossed.

As part of his policy to unify the various regions under Islamic rule, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (685-705CE) introduced the first Umayyad gold coins at a time of discord between the Umayyads and Byzantines over the merits of Islam and Christianity. The early coins were struck either in 691 or 692; the Byzantine emperor was angry and refused to accept the new Arab gold currency, renewing the war between the Arabs and the Byzantines.

Ibn al-Athir (a medieval Arab historian) recounts the first striking of Post-Reform Islamic coinage as follows:

"In this year 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan Struck Dinars and Dirhams and he was the first to innovate them in an Islamic manner and that benefited people. The reason for this innovation was that he ['Abd al-Malik] ordered that paper shipments to the Romans be stamped with [a Koranic Aya] "qul huwa Allahu Ahad" and that mention the Prophet PBUH be made with the date.

That displeased the Roman King [Emperor Justinian II] who wrote back: "You have made certain innovations which if you don't rescind, you will find our Dinars struck with a mention of your prophet that will displease you." That was a threat that 'Abd al-Malik would not accept. He sent for Khalid bin Yazid bin Muawiyah to consult him. Khalid's council was: "Forbid their Dinars and strike a new coinage which mentions Allah". And thus the Dinars and [silver] Dirhams were struck.

It was also said that Mis'ab bin Zubayr struck a few Islamic coins during the reign of his brother 'Abd Allah bin Zubayr and that these were taken out of circulation during the reign of 'Abd al-Malik, but the truth is that 'Abd al-Malik was the first to strike Islamic coins."
View Coin 722 UMAYYAD Dinar Yazid II ISLAMIC DYNASTIES 722-723 DINAR AH103(722) UMAYYAD YAZID II (4.23g) NGC MS 65 722-723 AD. al Yazid. Yazid bin Abd al-Malik or Yazid II (687 – 26 January 724) (Arabic: يزيد بن عبد الملك‎) was an Umayyad Caliph who ruled from 720 until his death in 724. Yazid was the son of the fifth Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik (r. 685–705) (the guy who first started minting these dinars) and his favorite wife Atika, a daughter of the third Umayyad caliph Yazid I.

Numerous civil wars began to break out in different parts of the empire, such as in Al-Andalus (the Iberian Peninsula), North Africa and in the east.

722 is one of the dates assigned to the Battle of Covadonga, where Visigothic nobleman Pelagius (Don Pelayo) defeated the Umayyad forces under Munuza, provincial governor of Asturias, at Picos de Europa (near Covadonga). This marks the beginning of the Reconquista, the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula (or it could have been in 718).

Anti-Umayyad groups began to gain power among the disaffected. Al-Tabari records that Abbasids were promoting their cause in A.H. 102 (720-721 CE). They were already building a power base that they would later use to topple the Umayyads in 750 CE.

An anecdote told of Yazid is that his wife Sudah, upon learning Yazid was pining for an expensive slave girl, purchased this slave girl and presented her to Yazid as a gift. This woman's name was Hababah and she predeceased Yazid. It is said that, while feasting with Hababah, Yazid threw a grape into her mouth, on which she choked and died in his arms. Yazid died the next week.

The Byzantine chronicler Theophanes the Confessor states that a wizard advised Yazid that he would reign for forty years if he opposed Christian icons. Yazid did so. But, he died the same year he issued his iconoclastic edict (724 CE). He didn't even have a chance to leave the wizard a one-star review.
View Coin 751 ABBASID Dinar al Saffah ISLAMIC DYNASTIES DINAR (AH132-136) ABBASID AL-SAFFAH (4.24g) AH134 NGC MS 64 Third year of the reign of the first Abbasid Caliph, al Saffah ( أبو العباس عبد الله بن محمد السفّاح‎‎ ), known as "the Blood-Shedder" السفّاح .

His Umayyad rival, caliph Marwan II, was defeated in February 750 at a battle on the (Great) Zab river north of Baghdad, effectively ending the Umayyad caliphate, which had ruled since 661 AD. Marwan II fled back to Damascus, which didn't welcome him, and was ultimately killed on the run in Egypt that August. All the other family members of the Umayyads were hunted down and killed except the only survivor, Abd al-Rahman ibn Mu'awiya, who escaped to the province of al-Andalus (Spain). There his remnant of the Umayyad caliphate would endure for three centuries in the Emirate of Córdoba.

Al-Saffāh established Kufa as the new capital of the caliphate, ending the dominance of Damascus in the Islamic political world, and Iraq would now become the seat of Abbasid power for many centuries.

This year was struck in 751, the year of the Battle of Talas or Battle of Artlakh between the Abbasid Caliphate along with their ally the Tibetan Empire against the Chinese Tang dynasty. In July 751 AD, Tang and Abbasid forces met in the valley of the Talas River to vie for control over the Syr Darya region of central Asia. After several days of stalemate, the Karluk Turks originally allied to the Tang defected to the Abbasids and tipped the balance of power, resulting in a Tang rout.

Historians debate whether or not Chinese prisoners captured in the aftermath of the battle brought paper-making technology to the Middle East, where it eventually spread to Europe.

How'd he get into this line of work? Well, he was the head of one branch of the Banu Hāshim from Arabia. That's a subclan of the Quraysh tribe. They might sound familiar, because they trace their lineage to Hāshim, a great-grandfather of Muhammad via 'Abbās, an uncle of Muhammad, hence the title "Abbasid" for his descendants' caliphate.

NGC has graded four of this Caliph's dinars including this coin. Two of them are in higher grades with the highest, in MS66, dated a year earlier (AH133) and being auctioned a day after this one was sold. This coin also spent time recently in the company of another AH134 dated dinar when they were submitted to NGC together. That other one is graded MS65+.
View Coin 765 ABBASID Dinar al Mansur ISLAMIC DYNASTIES DINAR (AH136-158) ABBASID AL-MANSUR (4.21g) AH148 NGC MS 61 Abbasid Caliphate. Al-Mansur. Baghdad. AH 148 (AD 765-766). AV Dinar (4.23g, 12h). Lowick 222. Lightly toned. Choice extremely fine. From Lansky Auction.
View Coin 777 ABBASID Dinar al Mahdi ISLAMIC DYNASTIES 777 DINAR (AH158-169) ABBASID AL-MAHDI (4.21g) AH161 NGC MS 65 Abbasid. al-Mahdi (AH 158-169 / AD 775-785) gold Dinar AH 161 (AD 777/8) AU, No mint (likely Madinat al-Salam (Baghdad)), A-214. 4.24gm

Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Abdallah al-Mansur (أبو عبد الله محمد بن عبد الله المنصور‎) 744 or 745 – 785, better known by his regnal name al-Mahdi (المهدي, "He who is guided by God"), was the third Abbasid Caliph who reigned from 775 to his death in 785. He succeeded his father, al-Mansur.

Al-Mahdi's father, Al-Mansur, died on the hajj to Mecca in 775. Al-Mahdi, whose nickname means "Rightly-guided" or "Redeemer", was proclaimed caliph when his father was on his deathbed. His peaceful reign continued the policies of his predecessors.

Al-Mahdi reigned for ten years. He imprisoned his most trusted vizier Ya'qub ibn Dawud. In the year 167 AH/ 783 AD, al-Mahdi instituted an official inquisition which led to the execution of alleged Zindiq (heretics). He was fond of music and poetry and during his caliphate many musicians and poets received his patronage and he supported musical expression and poetry across his dominion; accordingly, his son Ibrahim ibn al-Mahdi (779–839) and his daughter ‘Ulayya bint al-Mahdī (777-825) were both noted poets and musicians.

In 775, a Byzantine envoy, Tarath, travelled to Baghdad to convey the congratulations of the Byzantine emperor to Al-Mahdi on his accession to the throne. Tarath was so pleased with the hospitality he received that he offered to put his engineering knowledge to use and build a mill that would generate annual profits, of 500,000 dirhams (silver coins), equal to the cost of its construction. On completion, the envoy's forecast proved to be correct, and so, delighted, Al-Mahdi ordered that all profits should be given to the envoy, even after he left Baghdad. It is believed this continued to his death, in 780.

In the year this coin was struck, 777 AD (160 AH), al Mahdi put down the insurrection of Yusuf ibn Ibrahim in Khurasan. In the same year al-Mahdi deposed Isa ibn Musa as his successor and appointed his own son Musa al-Hadi in his place and took allegiance (bayah) for him from the nobles. In 778 AD (161 AH), he subdued the rebellion of Abdullah ibn Marwan ibn Muhammad, who was leading the Umayyad remnant in Syria. See the earlier entries in this collection for Umayyad dinars.

The cosmopolitan city of Baghdad blossomed during al-Mahdi's reign. The city attracted immigrants from Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Persia, and lands as far away as Afghanistan and Spain. Baghdad was home to Christians, Jews, Hindus and Zoroastrians, in addition to the growing Muslim population. It became the world's largest city.

The introduction of paper from China after the Battle of Talas in 751 had had a profound effect. Paper had not yet been used in the West, with the Arabs and Persians using papyrus and the Europeans using vellum. The paper-related industry boomed in Baghdad where an entire street in the city center became devoted to sale of paper and books. The cheapness and durability of paper was vital element in the efficient growth of the expanding Abbasid bureaucracy.

Al-Mahdi declared that the caliph had the ability, and indeed the responsibility, to define the orthodox theology of Muslims to protect the umma against heresy.

Al-Mahdi was poisoned by one of his concubines in 785 AD (169 AH).
View Coin 803-811 Nicephorus I ANCIENT - BYZANTINE (5th CENT AD - 15th CENT AD) BYZANTINE EMPIRE Nicephorus I & Stauracius AV Solidus BYZANTINE EMPIRE Nicephorus I/Stauracius AD 803-811 NGC MS Strike: 4/5 Surface: 4/5 Nicephorus I usurped rule from Irene, the one and only Empress of the Empire. Nicephorus had been a kind of finance minister to Irene, and a fellow iconophile (he wasn't into prohibiting icons... a big controversy of the time).

Nicephorus wound up going to battle with his son and heir, pictured on the reverse of the coin (Stauricius), against Krum, Khan of Bulgaria, who was harassing his northern frontiers and had just conquered Serdica (Sofia).

In 811 Nikephoros invaded Bulgaria, defeated Krum twice, and sacked the Bulgarian capital Pliska. The Chronicle of 12th-century patriarch of the Syrian Jacobites, Michael the Syrian, describes the brutalities and atrocities of Nikephoros: "Nikephoros, emperor of the Byzantine empire, walked into the Bulgarians' land: he was victorious and killed great number of them. He reached their capital, seized it and devastated it. His savagery went to the point that he ordered to bring their small children, got them tied down on earth and made thresh grain stones to smash them." During Nikephoros' retreat, the imperial army was ambushed and destroyed in Varbishki mountain passes on July 26 by Krum. Nikephoros was captured during the battle and sent to Pliska, where Krum ordered his decapitation. Krum is said to have made a drinking-cup of Nikephoros' skull.
View Coin 829-842 Theophilus ANCIENT - BYZANTINE (5th CENT AD - 15th CENT AD) BYZANTINE EMPIRE Theophilus, AD 829-842 AV Solidus BYZANTINE EMPIRE ex M&M XII (6/1953), 942 Mich.II+Const/Theophilus NGC Ch AU Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5 This coin was previously sold at a Münzen & Medaillen GmbH auction in Switzerland in 1953. According to the 1953 auction catalog, this was part of the "R.P." collection of Roman and Byzantine coins.

Theophilos (Greek: Θεόφιλος; sometimes Latinized or Anglicized as Theophilus; 800-805 – 20 January 842 AD) was the Byzantine Emperor from 829 until his death in 842. He was the second emperor of the Amorian dynasty and the last emperor to support iconoclasm. Iconoclasm was the movement to prohibit pictures of the saints and Jesus in religious services, and sometimes outright.

Theophilos personally led the armies in his lifelong war against the Arabs, beginning in 831. The Arabs got into Sicily and set up an Emirate, and were always pushing against him in the East.

Theophilos was succeeded by his son Michael, who would come to be known (probably unfairly) as Michael the Drunkard. Michael befriended an older wrestler, Basil the Macedonian, who would later kill Michael and take over as Emperor. Basil went on to be succeeded by a line of decent-to-good emperors known as the Macedonian dynasty.
View Coin 886 TULUNID Dinar EGYPT - 1595-1914 DINAR (AH270-282) TULUNID KHUMARAWAYH BIN AHMAD NGC MS 64 Abu 'l-Jaysh Khumārawayh ibn Aḥmad ibn Ṭūlūn (Arabic: أبو الجيش خمارويه بن أحمد بن طولون‎; 864 – 18 January 896) was a son of the founder of the Tulunid dynasty, Ahmad ibn Tulun. His father, the autonomous ruler of Egypt and Syria, designated him as his successor.

A more beat-up example of this same coinage from the same 885-886 AD date is featured on the Wikipedia page for this ruler. NGC has graded one other of these, at MS61.

When Ibn Tulun died in May 884, Khumarawayh succeeded him. After defeating an attempt to depose him, in 886 he managed to gain recognition of his rule over Egypt and Syria as a hereditary governor from the Abbasid Caliphate. In 893 the agreement was renewed with the new Abbasid Caliph, al-Mu'tadid, and sealed with the marriage of his daughter Qatr al-Nada to the Caliph.

At the height of his power, Khumarawayh's authority expanded from the Byzantine frontier in Cilicia and the Jazira to Nubia. Domestically, his reign was marked by a prodigal squandering of funds on extravagant displays of wealth, construction of palaces, and the patronage of artists and poets (all of whom probably got handfuls of these coins).

In combination with the need to maintain a sizeable professional army and guarantee its loyalty through rich gifts (like this coin), this emptied the treasury by the end of his reign. Khumarawayh was murdered by a palace servant in 896, and was succeeded by his son Jaysh, who was deposed after a few months in favour of another son, Harun ibn Khumarawayh (see the next coin in this set). The Tulunid state entered a period of turmoil and weakness, which culminated in its reconquest by the Abbasids in 904–905.
View Coin 900 TULUNID Dinar EGYPT - 1595-1914 AD 900; AH 288 AU DINAR (AH283-292) TULUNID HARUN BIN KHUMARAWAYH (4.17g) AH288(900) MISR NGC MS 64 Harun ibn Khumarawayh (Arabic: هارون بن خمارويه‎; died 30 December 904) was the fourth Tulunid ruler of Egypt (896–904). He succeed his elder brother Abu 'l-Asakir Jaysh, who had been murdered by army chiefs. He left state affairs to the vizier Abu Ja'far ibn Ali, preferring to live a life of dissolute luxury. This led to a growing crisis in the country, since state finances could not be regulated and the army leaders gradually accrued more power to themselves

The Abbasid Caliphate took advantage of this state of affairs and invaded Tulunid-controlled Syria in 904. The Tulunid troops deserted, and the forces of the Caliphate were able to enter the Nile valley. Harun was killed in an army mutiny. His successor was the last of the Tulunids, his uncle Shayban (904–905).

Won raw from Spink auction Jan 2019.
View Coin 953 IKHSHIDID Dinar EGYPT - 1595-1914 AU DINAR (AH334-349) IKHSHIDID ABU'L-QASIM (4.08g) AH342(953) MISR NGC MS 66 The Ikhshidid dynasty (Arabic: الإخشيديون‎) ruled Egypt from 935 to 969. Muhammad ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid, a Turkic slave soldier, was appointed governor by the Abbasid Caliph. The dynasty carried the Arabic title "Wāli" reflecting their position as governors on behalf of the Abbasids. The Ikhshidids came to an end when the Fatimid army conquered Fustat in 969.

This coin was struck in the name of Abu'l-Qasim Unujur ibn al-Ikhshid (أبو القاسم أنوجور بن الإخشيد), son of Tughj al-Ikhshid. Abu'l-Qasim ruled from 946 to 961, but actual power was held by the black eunuch Abu'l-Misk Kafur.

Abu'l-Misk Kafur was originally a black slave from Ethiopia, he was promoted as vizier of Egypt, becoming its de facto ruler from 946. After the death of his master, Muhammad bin Tughj, Kafur succeeded the latter to become the de jure ruler of the Ikshidid domains, Egypt and southern Syria (including Damascus), until his death in 968.

From a Baldwins of St. James auction, along with the Fatimid dinar from the 1100's appearing later in this collection.
View Coin 963-969 Pale Death of the Saracens ANCIENT - BYZANTINE (5th CENT AD - 15th CENT AD) BYZANTINE EMPIRE Nicephorus II, AD 963-969 AV Hist. Nomisma BYZANTINE EMPIRE Nicephorus II hold cross. obv Christ. rv Virgin & NGC XF Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 Nicephorus II Phocas was celibate, but it wasn't because he slept on the floor. He easily could have met chicks, if he wanted to. How couldn't he, with a nickname like "The Pale Death of the Saracens" ? Before he was Emperor he successfully led a sea invasion of Crete to take the island back from pirate Arabs. He only reigned six years before his nephew John and some other punk kids killed Nicephorus while he was sleeping on the floor in the palace.

According to the auctioneer: "Constantinople, AD 963-969. + IhS XIS RЄX' RЄΣNANTIhM, bust of Christ facing, wearing nimbus cruciger with two pellets in each arm, pallium and colobium, raising right hand in benediction, book of Gospels cradled in left arm / + ΘЄOTOC' Ь' HΘ' hICHF' dЄSP', half-length facing busts of the nimbate Virgin Mary (on left), wearing stola and maphorium, and Nicephorus II (on right), wearing crown with pendilia, and loros, jointly holding patriarchal cross with pellet on shaft between them; barred M-Θ flanking Virgin. Sear 1778."
View Coin 1044 KAKWAYHIDS Iran Dinar of Faramurz ISLAMIC DYNASTIES DINAR AH435(1044) KAKWAYHIDS FARAMURZ CITING SELJUQ TUGHRIL BEG NGC MS 63 Kakwayhid. Faramurz (AH 433-443 / AD 1041-1051) gold Dinar AH 435 (AD 1043/4)

According to the auctioneer: "Gem UNC, Isfahan mint, A-1592.2, ICV-1656. 28mm. 3.72gm. Citing the Seljuq Tughril Beg as overlord. Absolutely phenomenal condition for the issue, the central devices razor-sharp with just a bit of slight doubling to the peripheral script, no bent to the flan whatsoever, and fields completely choked with die polish lines." It came out MS63 at NGC.

I have read that "these are almost all from the same hoard of c.3,000 pieces from very few dies found in the 1960's, which must have been a wonderful sight to see in one place."

Obv: لا اله الا الله وحده لا شريك له السلطان المعظم طغرل بك ⫯ ∩ (There is no deity except (the one) God alone. He has no equal; Sultan Tughril Beg)

Obv Inner Margin: بسم الله ضرب هذا الدينار أصفهان سنة خمس وثلثين واربع مائة‎ (In the name of God, this dinar was struck at Isbahan in year 35 and four hundred)

Obv Outer Margin: لله الأمر من قبل ومن بعد ويومئذ يفرح المؤمنون بنصر الله (To God belongs the order before and after; and in that day the believers shall rejoice in the help of God) Rev: شمس محمد رسول الله القـائم بامـر الله الامـير فرامرز (shams, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, al-Qa'im bi-amri 'llah, Prince Faramurz)

Rev Margin: محمد رسول الله ارسله بالهدى ودين الحق ليظهره على الدين كله ولو كره المشركون (Muhammad is the messenger of God. He sent him with guidance and the true religion to reveal it to all religions even if the polytheists abhor it)
View Coin 1059 Fatimid dinar al Mustansir ISLAMIC DYNASTIES DINAR (AH427-487) FATIMID AL-MUSTANSIR (4.17g). AH449. MISR NGC MS 63 Abū Tamīm Ma‘ad al-Mustanṣir bi-llāh (Arabic: أبو تميم معد المستنصر بالله‎‎) was the eighth caliph of the Fatimid Caliphate from 1036 until 1094. He was one of the longest reigning Muslim rulers. Al-Mustansir was born in Cairo to Caliph Ali az-Zahir and a black slave from Nubia. So my collection is inclusive. Back off.

During his reign, Turkish mercenaries drained the treasury; many of the works of art and valuables of all sorts in the palace were sold to satisfy their demands---often they themselves were the purchasers, at merely nominal prices, and resold the articles thus gained at a profit. In one fortnight of the year 460/1068 (about 10 years after this coin), articles to the value of 30,000,000 dinars were sold off to provide pay for the Turks. Then some Turks took over Cairo outright.

Al-Mustansir lodged in rooms which had been stripped bare, waited on by only three slaves, and subsisting on two loaves which were sent him daily by the daughters of Ibn Babshand, the grammarian.

The victorious Turks dominated Cairo, held the successive viziers in subjection, treated al-Mustansir with contempt, and used their power to deplete the treasury by enhancing their pay to nearly twenty times its former figure. Nasir al-Dawla became so overbearing and tyrannical in his conduct that he provoked even his own followers, and so at length he was assassinated in 466/1074. Unfortunately, this left the city in a worse condition than ever, for it was now at the mercy of the various Turkish factions, who behaved no better than brigands. Conditions in Egypt continued to deteriorate, and unabated violence raged in the streets and countryside alike.

Sixty years? How'd this guy keep getting elected?

"Fatimid. al-Mustansir (AH 427-487 / AD 1036-1094) gold Dinar AH 449 (AD 1058/9) MS63 NGC, Misr mint, A-719A, ICV-837, SICA-691 (different date). 22mm. 4.17gm."

Kalima in inner margin around central pellet; "Ali is the most excellent of the executors and Vizier of the best of messengers" in middle margin; "Second Symbol" in outer margin / "al-Mustansir billah amir al-muminin" in inner margin around central pellet; "the Imam Ma'add bids to the unity of Allah the Everlasting" in middle margin; "Bismillah ("in the name of Allah") struck was this dinar in Misr in the year nine and forty and four hundred" in outer margin.
View Coin 1059-67 Constantine X ANCIENT - BYZANTINE (5th CENT AD - 15th CENT AD) BYZANTINE EMPIRE Constantine X, AD 1059-67 AV Hist. Nomisma BYZANTINE EMPIRE crowns Constantine X. obv Christ std. rv Virgin NGC Ch MS Strike: 4/5 Surface: 5/5
View Coin 1121 FATIMID Dinar al Amir ISLAMIC DYNASTIES AU DINAR (AH494-524) FATIMID AL-AMIR (4.24g) AH515(1121) MISR NGC MS 64 Abū ʿAlī Manṣūr al-Āmir bi'Aḥkāmi’l-Lāh (Arabic: منصور الآمر بأحكام الله)‎‎; 31 December 1096 – 7 October 1130 (Tuesday 3 Dhu'l-Qadah 524 AH) was the tenth Fatimid Caliph (1101–1130) and the 20th Isma'ili Imam of the Musta'li sect of Shia Islam.

Like his father al-Musta'li (1094–1101), al-Amir was controlled by the regent al-Afdal Shahanshah (1094–1121) and had little influence in political matters. However, after the assassination of al-Afdal in 1121 AD, the year of this coin, he managed to gain control of government.

His reign was marred by the loss of Tyre to the Crusaders. The Crusaders must have found some of these dinars, and liked them, because they struck rough counterfeits for the next fifty years. The next coin is one of those Crusader imitations. Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery, al-Amir.

Al Amir's reign also suffered from the continuation of the schism between the Nizari and the Mustaali. This conflict climaxed in the assassination of al-Amir on Tuesday, October 7, 1130 (3rd Dhu al-Qi'dah, 524 AH).
View Coin 1130-63 ALMOHAD Spain ISLAMIC DYNASTIES 1/2D (AH558-580) MUWAHHIDUN ABU YA'QUB YUSUF I (2.27g) NGC MS 62 Almohad. Abu Ya'qub Yusuf I (AH 558-580 / AD 1163-1184) 1/2 Dinar ND AU/UNC, No mint, A-483, Vives-2064, Hazard-491 (Dinar). 21.3mm. 2.29gm. Bought Raw.

Abū Ya‘qūb Yūsuf, أبو يعقوب يوسف‎ ; (1135 – 14 October 1184) was the second Almohad Amir or caliph. He reigned from 1163 until 1184 in Marrakesh. He had the Giralda in Seville built as well as Koutoubia in Marrakesh and Hassan Tower in Rabat.

Originally hailing from North Africa, Yusuf and his bloodline were descended from the Zenata Berbers. Like a number of Almohad rulers, Yusuf favored the Zahirite or literalist school of Muslim jurisprudence and was a religious scholar in his own right.

He was said to have memorized Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, two collections of the prophet Muhammad's statements considered canonical in Sunni Islam, by heart, and was a patron of the theologians of his era.

In 1170 he invaded Iberia, conquering al-Andalus and ravaging Valencia and Catalonia. The following year he established himself in Seville. He ordered the construction of numerous buildings, such as the Alcazar, the Buhaira palace and the fortress of Alcalá de Guadaíra.

Abu Ya'qub Yusuf was defeated by Afonso I of Portugal at the Siege of Santarém (1184), in which he died, his body was sent from Seville to Tinmel where he was buried.
View Coin 1148-87 Crusader State Imitation of Fatimid Dinar - Acre Mint ISLAMIC DYNASTIES BEZANT (c1150-1260) CRUSADER KINGDOM OF JERUSALEM ACRE (3.72g) NGC MS 63 The Crusaders struck this coin in imitation of the prevailing accepted gold currency of the times: the Fatimid dinar of al Amir. See the previous coin for an example. Western Europe hadn't had gold coinage of its own for a few hundred years, and in the middle east they didn't take junk silver.

Crusaders established kingdoms in Palestine, including the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and began minting gold coins. These coins were copies of Moslem Fatimid coins, down to the Kufic legends promoting Islam as the true religion. Woops - Wait till the Pope finds out!

Kufic was a form of Arabic writing used at the time. Most of the copies used the design of the Fatimid king al-Amir who ruled AD 1101-1130. The first coins were direct copies, as time went on the legends became less clear.

The First Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted from 1099 to 1187, when it was almost entirely overrun by Saladin. The "opening date" for the minting of these bezants is 1148, the year the Second Crusade arrived along with crusading kings Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany. The "closing date" is the fall of Acre to Saladin in 1187. Acre is where these are believed to have been struck.
View Coin 1148-87 Crusader State Imitation of Fatimid Dinar - Tyre Mint ISLAMIC DYNASTIES BEZANT (c1150-1260) CRUSADER KINGDOM OF JERUSALEM ACRE NGC MS 62 Imitating a dinar of the Ayyubid caliph al-Amir. Acre mint. Second Phase, struck 1148/59-1187. "al-Imam/al-Mansur in two lines across field, "Abu Ali al-Amir bi-Ahkam Allah commander of the Faithful" in inner margin; "Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim struck was this dinar in Egypt in the year" in outer margin / "'al/ghaya" in two lines across field, Kalima in inner margin, "Second Symbol" (Quran 9: 33) in outer margin.

Jerusalem. Crusaders: 1 Saracenic Bezant, ND Fr-1a; Malloy-9. Crusader Kings. Baldwin III, 1148-1187. ANACS thought this was struck at Tyre, but NGC just attributes it to Acre.
View Coin 1185-95 Isaac II ANCIENT - BYZANTINE (5th CENT AD - 15th CENT AD) BYZANTINE EMPIRE Isaac II, AD 1185-1195 AV Hyperpyron BYZANTINE EMPIRE & Archangel hold sword. obv Virgin Mary. rv Isaac NGC MS Strike: 4/5 Surface: 5/5 saac II Angelos (Greek: Ἰσαάκιος Β’ Ἄγγελος), Isaakios II Angelos; September 1156 – January 1204) was Byzantine Emperor from 1185 to 1195, and again from 1203 to 1204.

His father Andronikos Doukas Angelos was a military leader in Asia Minor (c. 1122 – aft. 1185) who married Euphrosyne Kastamonitissa (c. 1125 – aft. 1195). Andronikos Doukas Angelos was the son of Constantine Angelos and Theodora Komnene (b. 15 January 1096/1097), the youngest daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Irene Doukaina. Thus Isaac was a member of the extended imperial clan of the Komnenoi.

This is probably the latest date coin of the Byzantine Empire that will get into this collection. I could also get a hyperpyron of John Vatzatzes of Nicea, from the early 1200s, which sometimes turns out well. But not usually. This coin usually doesn't look any good either. I think the reverse strike is exceptional, and the obverse, although a little too north on the flan, is also excellent without any wear on the nose or cheeks of Mary that I can see. Her forehead got a little flattened, but I think that is just the strike. And keep in mind, this coin is concave, like the new Baseball and Lunar Landing coins coming out from the US Mint, so the obverse is a lot more exposed to wear than most coins. The reverse strike, on the other hand, is largely protected from wear because it is deep in the bottom of the cup-shaped reverse.

I bought this coin raw from a Künker auction where it was described as:

Isaakios II. Angelos, 1185-1195.
AV-Hyperpyron (Scyphat), Constantinopolis; 4,29 g. Maria thront v. v.//Kaiser mit Kreuzzepter und Erzengel Michael stehen v. v. und halten Schwert.
DOC 1 d; Sear 2001.
R Prägeschwäche, vorzüglich
ex Teutoburger Münzhandlung 62, Borgholzhausen 2011, Nr. 2507.

NGC reports having graded 9 others in MS, one more in MS with a star, and 2 in CH MS. It is unknown which of those have "problems" or strike/surface grades under 4 and 5.
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