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Gavin Richardson

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  1. These elegant prose descriptions are as lovely as the coins themselves.
  2. I suspect that collector was referring to this type, struck only at Ticinum. A control mark or a Christian cross? Scholars are divided. I’d like to think the latter.
  3. GAME ON! I really like that cape and whip variant. I thought I had seen them all! Here's a SOL ADVANCING with globe variant. Not in RIC. And another one from Lyon--SOL ADVANCING with whip. And a Ticinum variant with whip: If you see a thousand of these with Sol facing left holding a globe, and then you see an unusual variant, it's a little bit of a thrill.
  4. Hard to pass on the Starr Group Owl. I like the fat silver folds running away from the reverse strike.
  5. I voted for Contender #2. I seem drawn more to stories than condition, and the Philippi commemorative narrative is interesting.
  6. Yes! And if you look in that lot toward the bottom, there's a variant of Sol being crowned by Victory, which is also a bit scarce. Another reason I bought the lot. And I didn't have any Licinius SOL coins, so that boxed was checked off as well.
  7. I was drawn to the Marcus Aurelius sestertius reverse. It's as if part of the coin is in focus and part isn't--like the portrait function on an iPhone. That's aesthetically interesting to me.
  8. I didn't really buy enough coins to justify a proper Top 10 list this year, but here are 5 coins that have brought me a lot of pleasure. 5. CONSTANTINE / SOL FACING So I'm cheating a little bit with this one. This spring I bought a small lot of six coins. They feature a research interest of mine--the SOLI INVICTO COMITI reverse type for Constantine. Several factors attracted me to this lot, but I’ll mention only one here: Sol is facing forward, not to the left, on one of the coins from Ticinum (second row right). That's a scarce variant for people who care about these sorts of things. I now have a “Sol facing” example from all three Ticinum officinae that struck them. That alone was worth the price of the lot. 312-313 A.D. Æ nummus / follis 20.70 x 22.97 mm. 4.37 g. 180° CONSTANTINVS P F AVG; laureate and cuirassed bust right. SOLI INVI-C-TO COMITI; [[Dedicated] to [the emperor’s] companion, the unconquered Sun]. Sol radiate standing, head facing, chlamys draped over his left shoulder and hanging behind, raising his right hand and holding up globe with his left. TT; third officina of the Ticinum mint RIC VI Ticinum 133 4. DOMITIAN AS CAESAR I may be tempting fate since this coin has not arrived yet, but I thought I would go ahead and include it. To tell the truth, I really have no idea why I bought this coin. But anytime I see a large bronze Twelve Caesars coin at a budget price, it piques my interest. I think I liked the obverse legend engraving. And the portrait is distinctive enough for a younger Domitian just on the cusp of becoming Emperor. 77-78 A.D. Æ As 27 mm. 10.00 g. CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS V; laureate head right. Spes standing left holding flower & hem of skirt, SC in fields. RIC II PART 1 Second Edition Domitian 1290 3. CONSTANTINE VIRT EXERCIT GALL (MILVIAN BRIDGE) One of the most momentous events in history was Constantine’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 A.D., making Constantine the sole ruler in the West. Though Constantine’s sons would strike commemorative coinage, there is only one contemporary coin that celebrates that victory directly. After the battle, Constantine wished to honor the Gallic Army, whose military prowess was key to his victory, so he struck this half-follis ca. 312-313. The reverse legend of this coin, VIRT EXERCIT GALL, praises the “virtus,” or manly power, of the Gallic exercitus, or army, with a personification of Virtus leaning on a spear. The coin is unusual for depicting Constantine wearing a radiate crown, which might simply signify a distinctive value or denomination. This coin is scarce. 312-313 A.D.; Æ half follis; 19 mm.; 2.63 g.; 0° FL VAL CONSTANTINVS AVG; radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right seen from the rear. VIRT EXERCIT GALL; Virtus standing left, looking right, right leaning on spear, left holding parazonium; in left field X, in right field VI. RT; third officina of the Rome mint. RIC VI Rome 360 2. PTOLEMY III HOCKEY PUCK How large does a Ptolemaic bronze have to be before it qualifies as a “hockey puck”? I've always wanted one of these just for the sheer pleasure of showing one off. This was advertised at 42mm. Unfortunately, it actually comes in at about 40.5mm. Still, at 60 grams, a hefty coin. So I'm going to count it. I wanted to photograph this coin quite literally in hand so folks can have a better sense of scale. I have placed it next to the two largest coins I own--a large Byzantine follis (that green is stable verdigris) and a worn sestertius of Titus. That might give you a sense of how big this 40.5mm drachm is. And some of these big boys circulated at 46 to 48mm! The portrait of Zeus is powerful, and the reverse eagle looks pretty fierce. Interestingly, there's a Chi-Rho monogram between the eagle's feet. After the advent of Christianity, this symbol would be associated with Christ. But in pre-Christian times, it was already a common monogram standing for “chrestos,” or “excellent, pleasing, good.” The pre-Christian life of the symbol might explain how it could be readily transferred to Christ, with the same fortuitous opening letters as chrestos. PTOLEMAIC KINGDOM OF EGYPT, PTOLEMY III EUERGETES; “PTOLEMY THE BENEFACTOR” 246-232 BC; AE 41 drachm; 40.57 x 40.72 mm; 60.26 g.; 0° Head of Zeus Ammon, facing right. ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ; “Ptolemy King”; Eagle facing left, standing on thunderbolt; cornucopiae to left. XP monogram between eagle’s legs. 1. ATHENS OWL So as a man of modest means, I can't really have many “bucket list” coins. This coin was perhaps the last must-have on that list. It's an Athenian tetradrachm struck ca. 440-404 BC. Athenian owls pretty much became the de facto unit of exchange in the ancient Mediterranean. As such, they were often counterfeited, which accounts for the deep gash in between the eyes of the owl. The gash is a test cut. Some merchant, banker, or currency official in antiquity hacked into the coin to make sure that it was silver all the way through and not simply a bronze coin with a silver wash. Historically, this coin is a bit pricey due to high demand, but in about 2018, it was believed that a hoard containing some 25,000 staters and tetradrachms was found, resulting in thousands of new Athenian owls flooding the market. This fact, coupled with the test cut on the reverse, allowed me to acquire my specimen. Most collectors would prefer an uncut owl, but I actually would rather have the cut. Not only does it bring the price down, but it also enables the coin to tell a more complete story about the material economy of the ancient world. 440-404 B.C.; AR Tetradrachm; 24.64 x 24.10 mm irregular flan; 17.02 g.; 90° Helmeted head of Athena right, wearing earring. AΘE, owl standing right, head facing, olive sprig and crescent behind. SNG Copenhagen 31-40 HAPPY 2024 EVERYONE!
  9. Thanks everybody for these posts. They are helpful in developing my thinking and my bibliography.
  10. I have enjoyed reading various theories on the so-called Tribute Penny of Mark 12:15--opinions ranging from “It’s a denarius of Tiberius” to “a denarius of Augustus” to “an eastern drachm/tetradrachm,” along with opinions that the gospel writers are projecting coinage references at the time of their writing, and that depicted events are to be taken simply as didactic lessons, so looking for a specific coin is a fool’s errand. I can see value in many of these positions. I would like to read more scholarship on the Tribute Penny. I have David Hendin‘s book, which briefly discusses it, as well as a Celator article by Walter Holt and Rev Peter Dunstan, as well as Holt’s takedown of Peter Lewis’s suggestions: http://the-ans.com/Tribute%20Penny%20Lewis%20Deconstruction%201601.pdf I've seen references to this coin throughout this forum, but surprisingly not a dedicated thread, unless I'm missing something. I would be grateful for any other bibliographical references dedicated to scholarship surrounding the Tribute Penny.
  11. Very cool. I’m unfamiliar with that name. In Anglo-Saxon, Wigraed should translate to something like “war counselor.“ Or “counseled / prepared for battle.” Would like to learn more about this figure.
  12. So I was looking through my coins and ran across this denarius of Julia Domna. I noticed two G's in the PIETAS AVGG reverse legend. Typically an additional letter pluralizes, so I read the legend as “Pietas Augustorum,” or “The Pietas of the Augusti.” But who are the Augusti? Septimius Severus and Julia Domna? Septimius Severus and one or both of his sons? To whom does this second -G refer? The dating of reigns may be relevant but not dispositive in answering the question. Septimius Severus 193–198 —with Caracalla 198–209 —with Caracalla and Geta 209–211 Caracalla and Geta 211–211 Caracalla 211–217
  13. Is it reasonable to assume that die engravers and intaglio engravers were sometimes one and the same? Did they ply the same craft or have the same training? Any idle speculation on educated opinions on a Tuesday morning?
  14. “Down the drain is where British archaeologists recently discovered 36 artfully engraved semiprecious stones, in an ancient bathhouse at the site of a Roman fort near Hadrian’s Wall in Carlisle, England. The colorful intaglios — gems with incised carvings — likely fell out of signet rings worn by wealthy third-century bathers, and ended up trapped in the stone drains.…” Ancient Romans Dropped Their Bling Down the Drain, Too - The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/01/science/ancient-romans-coin-drains.html
  15. Even if you had understood that it was a stock photo that is meant to be representative of what you would receive, what you received is, in my opinion, at least a full grade below the coin in the stock photo, and possibly even 1.5 grades below. Even by the standards of their own fine print, you did not get what you paid for.
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