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  1. Once again, after some deliberation, I clicked "buy" on a coin that I saw online. It should appear in the next few weeks. Given that, and until it arrives, this Justinian II Byzantine qualifies as "my latest ancient." Those of you who don't find Byzantines attractive will really not enjoy examples from the turn of the 8th century to the turn of the 9th. The quality decreases considerably overall and decent examples seem very difficult to procure. Even "okay" pieces demand higher prices. This Justinian II at least had a coherent portrait and a legible monogram on the reverse. For those who don't know, Justinian II remains quite a fascinating emperor since he served two non-consecutive reigns. After the first, the usurper, Leontius, had Justinian's nose and tongue slit before sending him into exile. This gave him the morbid moniker "Rhinotmetus" or "slit nose." A decade later, after a few captures and escapes, Justinian II returned, supposedly wearing a false gold nose, reclaimed the throne for the second time, and successfully overthrew those who overthrew him. It sounds like his vengeance utilized plenty of the usual Byzantine gruesomeness. A series of short-reigning emperors preceded and followed the carnage, making 8th century Byzantine coins some of the more difficult to navigate. My incoming purchase delves a little deeper into that murky numismatic century. Justinian II (685 - 695), first reign, Æ Follis, Syracuse, Obv: Justinian II standing facing holding spear and globus cruciger, branch to right; Rev: Large M, monogram (Sear #38) above, C/VP/A to left, K/OV/CI to right, SCL in exergue; 25.34mm, 5.44g; Sear 1301
  2. This is my small coin thread coin: Pisidia; Selge; c. 250 - 190 BCE; AR Obol; 0.89 grams; Obv: Facing gorgeoneion; Rev: Helmented head of Athena right, astragalos to left; SNG Ashmolean 1546 - 50, SNG BN 1948-54 But sometimes I also throw in my James I Half Penny, because it isn't too much larger than the Obol above. And, lastly, this picture for scale (for those who haven't experienced such tiny coins). I was absolutely shocked when I first saw these.
  3. A recent coin that I purchased was considerably less expensive on the dealer's site than on VCoins (I don't think I ever searched MAShops for it). Though I do like buying on VCoins, in this instance the price difference almost necessitated buying it directly from the dealer. As others have already said, fees probably differ between sites and could account for the price difference.
  4. During our recent eclipse travels, we passed through Louisville, Kentucky. There we discovered the Speed Art Museum, which had a fantastic exhibit of Indian paintings on display. After the exhibit, we walked through the galleries and saw some amazing, and a little unexpected, Greek and Roman items. The museum, though on the smaller side, also had a nice collection of medieval and Native American art (including an entire 15th century illuminated Book of Hours on display). If you find yourself in Louisville, as we did, the museum is worth a visit. This room began with a 3rd century Roman sarcophagus and behind it funerary tablets and urns awaited. There was a small section of Greek items as well.
  5. Very interesting coin, @robinjojo. After a brief look, I couldn't find a reference to a countermark on a Maurice Follis for Theodore in Sear, but Theodore wasn't an emperor, so perhaps Sear didn't include a reference intentionally. So that's probably not a very common overstamp. It appears that Heraclius, and apparently his family, seemed to use countermarks extensively. I have only one Heraclius coin and it also happens to use countermarks on an Anastasius follis. Heraclius (610-641), Æ Follis (30/32mm, 16,54g); Sicily, undetermined mint, 616-622; Obv: coin of Anastasius I from Constantinople countermarked by crowned and bearded bust of Heraclius facing forward wearing chlamys, with Monogram to right; Rev: SCL topped by a line within small oval, stamped below the "M" of the original coin; MIB Km 4, Sommer 11.113. Ex Rauch 86 (2010) lot 1380, Sear 882
  6. I generally agree with this viewpoint. Giving a dealer business is likely thanks enough. Many dealers do send handwritten "thanks" on invoices (such as the last few coins I've purchased). If a dealer does go above and beyond, such as fulfilling a request, or handles a mistake or an exchange extremely well, I would probably reach out and thank them. But for the vast majority of transactions, I don't say "thank you" explicitly.
  7. Nice examples, @Postvmvs, @ela126, and @sand, thanks for sharing. @ela126, you have a nice variety there, including samples from both the first and second reigns. I have nothing from the second reign at this time. @sand - thanks for the stats on the posts here. I'm surprised to see Byzantines slightly above medievals, though Byzantines and medievals may have some overlap as well. I often don't know where to put a 9th - 10th century Byzantine - is it an ancient or a medieval? The portrait thread was fantastic, and you may be right that it gave Byzantines a significant boost here. Like you, I appreciate the "strangeness" of Byzantine coins. They are like nothing else. I agree and this is one reason I really enjoy Byzantines. They have a "transitional" flavor to them and their aesthetics are harder to get a grasp on. I'm also a huge fan of medieval coins and Byzantines utilize some of the abstractions found on medieval coins. Byzantines feel less penetrable than Greek or Roman coins as well, so I find them more challenging in some respects. I agree that Greek and Roman remain more generally "beautiful" overall in both aesthetics and quality, but I find a deeper mystery in Byzantines that just pulls me in. Perhaps I'm also attracted to things that seem strange or less popular as well. Maybe it's the "road less traveled" syndrome. I do enjoy Greek and Roman coins immensely as well (and I have some), but everyone seems to collect them.
  8. This coin greeted me when I returned from my eclipse travels. As with other Byzantine emperors, examples of Justinian II's coins often qualify for "good enough for the type" status. This one intrigued me with its mostly coherent portrait, various preserved details, mostly legible text, and for its location within his first reign. For those who don't know, Justinian II found himself deposed by Leontius in 695, then had his nose and tongue split before an exile of ten years to Cherson. He would return to seek revenge, supposedly wearing a fake nose made of gold. This gruesome, but very Byzantine, disfigurement led to his moniker of "Rhinotmetus" or "slit-nosed." I've sought a "good enough for the type" coin of Justinian II for a while now. With this coin, my Byzantine pile now contains 25 examples, running through each emperor from Anastasius I through to Justinian II (491 - 695), then it picks up in the 9th century and ends in the 12th century (813 - 1183). The timescale, varieties, and difficult to obtain pieces make Byzantine collecting challenging and often time consuming. Not everyone appreciates the rather abstract numismatic aesthetics of Byzantine coins, though I can't seem to get enough of them. Starting with the coins of Justinian II, 8th century Byzantine coins seem to become quite challenging, including many short reigning emperors whose coins seem pricey and hard to obtain. I'm still waiting for a decent, and decently priced, example for the empress Irene. I'm not sure how far I'll make it into that murky century. Justinian II (685 - 695), first reign, Æ Follis, Syracuse, Obv: Justinian II standing facing holding spear and globus cruciger, branch to right; Rev: Large M, monogram (Sear #38) above, C/VP/A to left, K/OV/CI to right, SCL in exergue; 25.34mm, 5.44g; Sear 1301 Please post your coins of Justinian II!
  9. I traveled to Indianapolis for the eclipse. The skies ended up fairly clear, or at least clear enough, to see everything fine. The experience of totality was amazing. I looked up, finally without glasses, and saw the sun's corona, with the moon perfectly overlapping the sun, making what looked like a fiery hole in the sky. It remains a somewhat indescribable experience. This all happened on the track of the Indy 500 speedway. According to one of the racetrack employees, letting the general public onto the track rarely, if ever, happens. So I also saw the bricks at the finish line and found it interesting that many people stooped over to kiss them. One parent told a teenager "just pretend! Just pretend!" but I think some adults were literally joining lips with them. I know nothing about racing, so I'm guess this has some great significance? All I had along was a cellphone, so I attempted a shot - this was the best I could do:
  10. I'm glad someone shares my collecting interests. This is one of my proudest specimens. It was actually in a box inherited from a now deceased relative. They apparently had some free time for mauling.
  11. Now that's hilarious! 😁
  12. Having lived on both sides of the modern/ancient fence, I can attest that plenty of stereotypes exist on both sides, some fair, some not fair. It really all comes down to personal preference. I will admit that I did become bored with moderns, except for early coppers (half cents), and 20th century Japanese coins (dragon Yens). But I became highly interested in a sometimes maligned genre on both sides: Byzantines. So no one likes me. 😁 When in modern mode, I didn't buy slabs because I thought that they were fantastic inventions, but mostly because I've had a much easier time selling slabbed modern coins than raw coins. For better or worse, they became a standard for moderns. It's very hard to avoid them. I can't say I love them, but I do understand them to a degree. Some modern collectors find ancient collectors "snooty." And, well, some are. But some modern collectors are also snooty. Some modern collectors think that only PhDs and academics collect ancient coins because so much knowledge of history is required. We know that isn't true, but a knowledge of history certainly doesn't hurt. I can understand both ways of collecting. Both have their ups and downs, neither is perfect. But both types of collectors have far more in common with each other than with the general public at large, the majority of who don't collect coins.
  13. Though I have mixed feelings about this thread, as largely a Byzantine collector, I do come across quite a few coins depicting Jesus. They are often aesthetically appealing, numismatically fascinating, and historically revealing. Iconography played a huge role in the history of Byzantium, so depictions of religious figures on their coins remain an important historical, and arguably political, topic. The three Anonymous types below are from my personal pile. My interest in them remains mostly historical. Class A3 Constantine VIII & Basil II (Circa 1025); Æ Anonymous Follis, class A3, Obv: "+EMMA-NOVHA," Facing bust of Christ, left hand holding the book of Gospels, right hand making blessing gesture; Rev: "+IhSUS XRISTUS BASILEU BASILE" in 4 lines; 27mm x 29mm, 10.41g; DOC A2.41, Sommer 40.3.6, Sear 1818 Class B Romanus III (1028-1034); Constantinople; Æ Anonymous Follis, Class B, Obv: IC to left, XC to right, to bust of Christ, nimbate, facing, holding book of Gospels; Rev: IS XS / BAS ILE / BAS ILE to left and right above and below cross on three steps; 29 mm. 10.2 gm.; Sear 1823 Class G Romanus IV Diogenes AD (1068-1071); Constantinople; Æ Anonymous Follis, Class G, Obv: IC-XC to left and right of bust of Christ, nimbate, facing, right hand raised, scroll in left, all within border of large dots; Rev: MP-ΘV to left and right of Mary, nimbate, ands raised, all inside border of large dots; 26-28 mm. 10.2 gm.; Sear 1867
  14. That's actually not a bad Constantine VII. Yes, it's worn, but it has a mostly full portrait and some legible letters. From what I can tell, it's still a Sear 1761, and Sommer would probably classify it as a 36.17.2, which is more of a "close up" variation of the one I posted, 36.17.1. The Romanus has a fascinating overstrike. From some of the features I can make out, it looks like an overstrike onto a follis of Leo VI, probably Sear 1729. Sear's book says that this was a common overstrike. The lines of the reverse seem to correspond to the lines on Leo's chlamys. So that's a pretty cool coin. I did get really lucky with the Romanus. I had searched for a decent example for a while and this one just appeared randomly in an online store one day. I bought it on sight. Pure luck. It's still one of my favorites. That Constantine VII does have a decent portrait. Details of what the eyes and beard should look like appear more distinct. And the nose does look slightly curved, just like on the one I posted. I don't know if that was intentional or just a vestige of wear. Byzantine coins don't usually go into excessive detail, but the similarity almost makes me think the Emperor had a broken nose. This one also looks like a Sear 1761, Sommer 36.17.2. These are actually better than a lot of the examples I've seen on my coin hunts. Though the portraits look pretty obliterated, the loros and globus crucigers stick out on all of them. And lots of legible letters. The leftmost one has a nice patina. I've seen far worse than those. I have yet to find, or even see, a "wow" example of this type. Even the samples shown in Sear and Sommer don't look fantastic (the one shown in Sommer doesn't even have a face). Thanks for sharing these. I don't have a Constantine VII and Zoe example. I really like that type because of the composition and it's one of the few Byzantine coins that depicts a woman. The other coin looks like a gold Solidus. I didn't notice that at first. The photograph makes the coin look a little greenish, so I initially thought it was another follis. Nice coin! So many other Byzantine coins have this same "good enough for the type" issue, at least for the bronzes. It seems like very few even semi-pristine examples of various types survived. Decent portraits of Tiberius II Constantine, Maurice Tiberius, Heraclius, Constantine IV, Justinian II, etc., seem very difficult to find. After searching Byzantines for going on almost two years now, I've started to accept the "good enough for the type" standard. It makes searching more challenging, but also more time consuming. I did get extremely lucky with the Romanus above (and it wasn't really that expensive), so it can happen. Thanks everyone for sharing! Keep them coming! It's great to see more Byzantine action on this forum.
  15. This might qualify as another "good enough for the type" acquisition. Most of the Constantine VII folles of this or similar types that I've seen look sandblasted or worn almost beyond recognition. This one, though again far from perfect, preserves some details, especially in the crown, the loros, and the text. Small remnants of the fingers even remain on the enormous globus cruciger, and he has some semblance of a face. On the bottom, the wear on the hand and the akakia makes it looks like the Emperor may break out into karaoke. The reverse looks fairly chopped around the edges, but the letters themselves look fairly detailed overall. It has a pretty decent consistent green patina and, again, it seemed "good enough" compared to other samples I've seen so far. This one seems to match Sommer 36.17.1. Constantine VII (913-959);Constantinople; Æ Follis; Obv: CONST bASIL ROM, crowned bust of Constantine facing, with short beard and wearing vertical loros, holding akakia and cross on globe; Rev: CONST-EN QEO bA-SILEVS R-OMEON, legend in four lines; 25mm.,5.05g; Sommer 36.17.1, DOC 26, SB 1761 This coin also overlaps, sometimes literally, with another coin I posted recently. Constantine VII had a long, fascinating reign, mostly because he didn't rule in his own name for a large chunk of it. From 920 - 944, the "gentle usurper," Romanus I Lecapenus, ruled outright while denying Constantine VII any power. He left him alone, at least, hence the "gentle." Most usurped Byzantine Emperors fared far worse. The coin above, Sear 1761, often appears overstruck on the coin below, Sear 1760, probably because Constantine VII could finally rule on his own once Romanus I found himself deposed by his own sons (oh, those crazy Byzantines). So why not go nuts and literally stamp out the previous competition? Romanus I Lacapenus (920 - 944); Constantinople Æ Follis; Obv: +RwMAN bAS-ILEVS Rwm’ Facing bust of Romanus I, bearded, wearing crown and jeweled chlamys, and holding labarum and globus cruciger; Rev: +RwMA/N’ENΘEwbA/SILEVSRw/MAIwN; 27mm, 8.09g, 6h; R.1886-8, Sear 1760 Please post any Constantine VII or Romanus I coins you have!
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