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Curtis JJ

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  1. Ancient Greek (Hellenistic). Baktria. Euktratides I AR Obol (10.5 mm, 0.66 g, 12 h), struck c. 169-159 BCE. Obv: Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Eukratides I right, wearing crested Boeotian helmet adorned with bull's horn and ear. Rev: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΕΥΚΡΑΤΙΔΟΥ. Two pilei with stars, palms to right of each; monogram below. Ref: SNG Cop 275; Sear 7578; Bopearachchi 9C; ANS-BIGR: https://numismatics.org/bigr/id/bigr.eucratides_i.9 Prov: Ex Colección A.M. de Guadán (1912-1993), No. 2696; Jesus Vico Subasta 160 (14 Dec 2021), Lot 317 Next: Small Ancient Silver Coin
  2. I went to graduate school not far from the Getty and drove past often... but regrettably never visited. Nor did I ever visit the local ancient coin club... Not long ago I bought this copy of Margarete Bieber's (1879-1978) little 1968 book on The Statue of Cybele in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Several coins are illustrated with Cybele reverses. Bieber was a famous classicist/historian, one of the first women to become a professor in her field. She also had a coin collection (acq. by Harvard in 2005). Interestingly, this copy is signed/inscribed to the numismatist and ANS curator, Margaret Thompson (1911-1992). (Her name is misspelled -- in the acknowledgements too!) Here she is on the website, but what happened to her nose? It's in the book photos, but apparently it's actually missing. Need to re-read for any clues.... https://www.getty.edu/art/collection/object/103SPE Also, if anyone has one of the Jonathan P. Rosen Collection coins in the little orange ANS volume by Nancy Waggoner (1983), your coin was on loan to the Getty Museum in the early 80s. Only about 100 of the coins were actually put on public exhibition, of which 50 are included in slim exhibition volume (which can be bought pretty cheaply). But the rest were apparently there too, somewhere on the grounds. I highly doubt mine was among those exhibited (certainly not in the 50 from Getty's publication on it), but is No. 548 in Waggoner's Rosen Sylloge:
  3. That thing looks pretty spectacular. I'd love to see it. I've never seen the original giant head and other fragments, but hope it do at some point. Here's a favorite Constantine, and my only one from London: Constantine I Æ Follis (22mm, 3.66 g, 6h), struck at Londinium (London) mint, 311-312 CE. Obv: CONSTANTINVS PF AVG. Laureate, helmeted, and cuirassed bust left, holding spear forward in right hand, shield on left arm. Rev: ADVENTVS AVG / * / PLN. Constantine riding left, right hand raised, holding spear in left hand, on horse pawing seated captive to left. Ref: RIC VI 136 corr. (bust left, not right); C&T 7.01.007 (this coin cited and illustrated); Stepniewski “Not in RIC” CV6, p. 134, Lond. 136 (this coin illustrated); cf. Huvelin 16 (ADVENTVS AVG N). Prov: Paul DiMarzio Collection (CNG 525, 19 Oct 2022, 1389); Ex CT Collections [Lee Toone] (Hookmoor FPL 1, February 2016, 12); acq. Clive Eyre, Oct 2010. But here is my specimen whose portrait most reminds of the Colossus [Wiki]: Ex Ken Bressett Collection & "Lincoln Higgie Hoard" (Turkey, 1967)
  4. Great little Tetartemorion! I'm sure it's wonderful in hand. I have a special fondness for the tiny Greek AR fractions. They're really amazing coins. But very hard to capture in photos how charming coins they are. I don't have any from Naxos -- or from the Cyclades at all, I don't think. But I have other coins that small. Here's one with almost the same measurements (also weighing under 1/8 of a gram). And it fits your prompt of coins "you had to acquire": Caria, Hekatomnos (?) AR Hemitetartemorion (Milesian standard; 4mm, 0.12g). Uncertain mint, c. 392-377 BCE. Obv: Head of ram right. Rev: Bare head of young male right; in right field, ΕΚ (for Hekatomnos?). Ref: One of four examples cited in HNO Caria (K. Konuk, editor). HN Online 1922.3 [this coin, id = 6188]. Prov: Ex Elvira Clain-Stefanelli (1914-2001) Collection; ex Naville Auction 34 (16 September 2017), Lot 70 [unsold, and subsequent sales].
  5. I don't know enough to give a confident opinion, but it's funny that we're all thinking the same thing! They poisoned that part of the market and became a cautionary tale... I was going to say, check the old listings of Emporium Hamburg in ACSearch and see if that's where any of these came from. I've seen their little AE4 ultra-rarities get filtered into other auctions without the E.H. provenance recorded, mixed in with a collector's other stuff. E.H. has very distinctive photography, so they become less recognizable sometimes when photographed elsewhere, unless you look for it. The new seller may not even know.
  6. What a great coin and great provenance! I'd feel confident that there is more to find, in terms of intermediate collections/sales and/or publications referencing/illustrating the coin. It's always such a pleasure to have a coin that was included in one of Jacob Hirsch's Ars Classica auctions! One of my first "old collection" discoveries was from the prior sale, Ars Classica I (Pozzi). It's a coin I show all the time, as it has a lot of sentimental value, being one of my first coins, bought it in the early 1990s when I was 12. I only found the provenance years later when I started reviewing the Ars Classica catalogs: All 18 of Ars Classica sales (held 1921-1938) can be found online. @rNumis gives links for all of them: https://www.rnumis.com/house_auctions.php?house=ARS I think a lot of people see them as the most important series of auction catalogs ever produced. They were the first to fully photograph and (people forget about this part) give weights and diameters for virtually every coin. And give detailed references and, in many cases, prior provenance info and biographical intros. One of my longest-term collecting goals (only a little bit unrealistic) would be to have one coin from all 17 Ars Classica sales of ancient coins. (Ars Classica IX was de Sartiges' Swiss coins, no ancient.) So far I have 3 catalogs checked off (Ars Classica I - Pozzi [x2], VII - Bement, and XV - Warren). Four coins. All Greek so far. (And I've got a few of the actual physical catalogs -- VII, VIII, XV; no Ars Classica I, but the 1979 S. Boutin catalog of Pozzi's European coins.) I'd love to have anything from Vautier-Collignon, especially such a lovely Sestertius! I've reviewed the plates of that catalog many times. While that's plausible, I also wouldn't be surprised if those were just flaws in the plaster cast used for the photos. (Since the Naville Ars Classica catalogs didn't photograph the coins directly, which didn't become the custom in Europe until much later in the 20th century.) Usually the casts were pretty faithful to the actual appearance, but I have several coins for which there were visible flaws in the plaster casts.
  7. As @seth77 noted above, Thessaly was removed from Achaia and became part of the Macedonian province in the mid 2nd cent. CE. Interestingly, Thessaly had also previously been part of the Province of Macedonia, between 146 and 27 BCE! That's when this coin was struck: Thessalian League AE27, struck in Larissa c. 146-27 BCE. Mnesimachos and Polyxenos, magistrates. Obv: Laureate head of Apollo right. Rev: ΘEΣΣA-ΛΩN // above spear: MN-HCI // exergue: ΠOΛYΞE. Athena Itonia striding right, hurling spear held in her right hand, shield on her left arm. Ref: BCD Thessaly II 900.9 (different dies, same magistrate/inscriptions), "Scarce....Not found in the consulted references"; cf. G&N Pecunem 16 (4 May 2004), 200 for a unique specimen w/ full names inscribed. Prov: Ex VAuctions 292 (6 Dec 2012), Lot 283 (part of 10 Grk AE). So, that coin is Thessalian (and Roman Provincial in the loose sense), but not from the Province of Achaea (strictly speaking). I find it interesting how long the same Athena Itonia reverse type was used in Thessaly. (As I mentioned above w/ reference to my Hadrian above and also the Septimius Severus specimen shared by @AncientOne.) Again, for comparison: In total, that reverse design was used for 300 - 400 years, from the Republican-era Thessalian League (2nd BCE) through Gallienus (260s CE). (I don't have a Gallienus yet, but see: BCD Thessaly 1425 and BCD Thessaly II 991 and 992.) In 27 BCE Augustus established the Province of Achaea (split off from the Province of Macedonia). Thessaly was its northernmost holding on the Achaean border with Macedonia. There are bronze coins with Augustus' portrait and Athena Itonia on the reverse, but I don't have any yet. I do have an Augustan era Thessalian bronze with Athena & Artemis-Ennodia: Thessaly, Koinon (League) Æ Assarion (15mm, 3.77 g, 6h). Megalokes, magistrate, temp. Augustus. Obv: ΣΕΒΑΣΤΗ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΩ. Helmeted head of Athena r. Rev: ΜΕΓΑΛΟΚΛ ΚΑΛΙΤ. Artemis Ennodia with torches r. Ref/Prov: This coin = RPC I (Online) 1429B.3 = CNG EA 325, 20 (ex BCD Coll.). Ref: BCD Thessaly I 1400; Burrer Emission 2, Series 5 (obv. legend var., unlisted dies). Thessaly remained in Achaia from 27 BCE for another 175-190 years until Antoninus Pius reincorporated it into Macedonia. (Thessaly finally became a distinct province in 300 [BCD Thess. II: page 11], though too late to strike coins.) Since the timeline gets confusing, here are some key dates -- with specific ref. to Thessaly (please correct me if mistaken): 196 BCE: At the end of the Second Macedonian War, Philip V reaches a treaty with Rome, allowing it to become the hegemon in Greece and Macedonia. 148-146 BCE: At the end of the Achaean and Fourth Macedonian Wars, Rome establishes the Province of Macedonia (which includes Thessaly & rest of Achaea). 27 BCE: Augustus establishes Province of Achaea, removing it (incl. Thessaly) from the Prov. of Macedonia. 138-161 CE (?): Thessaly returned to the Province of Macedonia during the reign of Antoninus Pius. 300 CE: Thessalia becomes a separate province (first under the new Diocese of the Moesias, then under the even-newer Diocese of the Macedonia).
  8. Nice addition! Did you notice that there are a couple of other left-facing Vespasian variants in addition to 1402? Also 1405A & 1406. It looks like they may vary only in one or two letters on the legends -- unfortunately, I suspect it may be the part where your obverse legend is off-flan. (This is the problem with RPC's extremely fine differentiation between types for some of the volumes!) Might be possible to match the obv. die to one of the specimens shown. I've got only one coin of Cotiaeum -- but struck about 180 years later, under the reign of Valerian. When RPC X came out, I was surprised to learn how common this type is. They had 40 specimens as soon as it went live (18 from core collections). On the plus side, it does have a tiny little Telesphorus on the reverse standing there wearing his trademark hoodie between Asclepius & Hygeia. Phrygia, Cotiaeum. Valerian AE (24mm, 7.75g, 2h), c. 253-260. Obv: ΑΥΤ Κ Π ΛΙΚ ΟΥΑΛΕΡΙΑΝΟΝ. Radiate, draped, cuirassed bust from rear. Rev: ΕΠΙ Π ΑΙΛ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΑΝΟΥ ΙΠΠ(Ι)(Κ) / ΑΡ/Χ / ΚΟΤΙΑΕΩΝ. Asclepius & Hygeia, with Telesphorus between. Ref: For type, see: RPC X (Temp) 63217; Plant 37. Prov: CNG EA 548 (18 Oct 2023) lot 1115 (part of), ex M. Slavin coll., ex H.C. Lindgren (1914-2005) coll. (unpublished) w/ his envelope. Just for fun, here's how Rev. Richard J. Plant illustrated this particular type in his 1979 Greek Coin Types book. (His model was very likely Weber 7078 = RPC spec. 39, since he usually Weber when he didn't have a specimen of his own.)
  9. All this interesting history about Samos -- but I only have the one relevant coin to share! Can anyone else share relevant illustrations about, say, Augustus or Samos or Peacocks or the lost Standards of Crassus' Legions in Parthia or Emissaries from India or other wild incidents of Asian-Roman cultural exchange or Augustus v. Antony/Cleopatra and all the other relevant stuff? There is so much to say about the historical context of just this one city & just this one moment. Below, I've mentioned several favorite historical episodes relating to Augustus in Samos. (And all of that is without even mentioning the coin's >80 year collection history -- from Lord Grantley to R.C. Lockett to Cornelius Vermeule!) Ionia, Samos. Augustus Æ (18mm, 5.43g), c. 20 BCE. Obv: Laureate head right / Rev: Peacock standing right on caduceus, scepter behind. Ref: RPC I 2681, ex. 30 (this coin). Prov: Cornelius Vermeule (1925-2008) Collection, Triton III (30 Nov 1999), Lot 1709 (part), sold for the benefit of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Richard Cyrill Lockett (1873-1950) Collection, Part XII, Glendining's (23 February 1961), Lot 2894 (part) [see: BNS digitized Lockett Notebook 20, p 18]; John Richard-Brinsley Norton, 5th Baron Grantley (1855-1943) Collection, Glendining (29 June 1944), Lot 2309 (part). For a decade and change, the little island of Samos was at center of everything important in the Greco-Roman world. Being one of their favorite retreats, Antony and Cleopatra "sailed to Samos and there made merry" in 32 BCE while marshalling their forces in the buildup to Actium. Plutarch described their last big blowout: a single island for many days resounded with flutes and stringed instruments; theatres there were filled, and choral bands were competing with one another.... kings vied with one another in their mutual entertainments and gifts. (Plutarch, Parallel Lives 56) As much as the famous lovers enjoyed Samos, Augustus seems to have favored it even more strongly. Having defeated Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium, he wintered in Samos for the first time. He returned again in 22/21 and, finally, in 20/19. This coin was probably struck around 20/19 BCE to honor Augustus and celebrate his decision to grant Samos independence (which it retained until Vespasian rescinded it in 72/3 CE). The peacock on the reverse is for Hera, a patron deity of the island. Samos had an important Temple of Hera (Heraion of Samos), which dates to the 6th cent. BCE. (Mentioned again below for Myron's statues.) Acts of Repatriation: During Augustus' final visit, he prepared for war with Parthia (where both Crassus and Antony had failed). Fortunately, though, in one of his greatest "victories," Augustus negotiated a settlement with Parthia instead. Most importantly, he achieved the repatriation of the famous lost Legionary Standards -- the golden Aquiliae -- that Persia had captured from Crassus in 53 BCE at the calamitous Battle of Carrhae. And, lest we think cultural property disputes over antiquities are something new: Augustus also repatriated to Samos a pair of famous colossal statues that Marc Antony had removed to Rome: the bronze Herakles and Athena by the famous 5th cent. BCE sculptor Myron, which belonged in the great Heraion of Samos. However, as Strabo reported, Augustus kept the third statue in the group, a great Zeus, placing it in the Captolium! Like most Greek bronze statues, only Roman marble copies survive. The same applies to Myron's greatest masterpiece, his Diskobólos: small bronze and full-size marble Roman replicas show us how it looked. Gold & Silver struck at Samos (c. 20 BCE) by Augustus. Myron's sculptures of cattle probably also inspired Augustus' bull Aureus and Denarius below, though they were located elsewhere (and also were subject to the requisitions of both Antony and Augustus). NOT MINE! Denarius from the ANS Collection. ANS 1937.158.451 Sadly, major museums seem not to have the Aureus. But Leo Benz had one (Lanz 94, Lot 1) The Envoys from India: Marc Antony and Cleopatra and their outrageous behavior had come to end a decade earlier. But, once again, Samos would witness the strange rituals of Roman royals and their princely peers from distant lands. I will let Eck describe the scene, as Augustus received emissaries from an Indian King Poros (or Pandion): Eight slaves accompanied the envoys, clothed in nothing but scented loincloths, charged with conveying the king's gifts: tigers, a human "herm" born without arms, a number of large snakes, including a python, an enormous river-turtle, and a partridge larger than a vulture. There was also with them a Brahman called Zarmanochegas from Barygaza - from the class whom the Greeks called naked philosophers... (Wiley, 2nd ed., trans. by D Schneider) Writing a couple hundred years later, Cassius Dio marveled that the "boy who had no shoulders or arms" could nonetheless "use his feet for everything ... stretch a bow, shoot missiles, and put a trumpet to his lips. How he did this I do not know; I merely state what is recorded." (This, apparently, was the kind of astounding observation that needed to be recorded for the ages!) The "naked philosopher" was also remarkable enough for comment: One of the Indians, Zarmarus, for some reason wished to die, — either because, being of the caste of sages, he was on this account moved by ambition, or, in accordance with the traditional custom of the Indians, because of old age, or because he wished to make a display for the benefit of Augustus and the Athenians (for Augustus had reached Athens);— he was therefore initiated into the mysteries of the two goddesses, which were held out of season on account, they say, of Augustus, who also was an initiate, and he then threw himself alive into the fire. (Dio, Roman History, LIV) Clearly, Dio was rather mystified. But those who were present seem to have appreciated the religious devotion and cultural exchange. As Eck wrote, "The Athenians showed due respect and gave the ashes a tomb with a commemorative inscription saying that he had committed suicide according to his ancestral tradition."
  10. That would be the Finn Johannessen Collection! I try to collect at least one coin from single-ruler specialist collectors. For Probus, there's P. Gysen; Gordian III, G. His; Otho, J. Muona; Hadrian, E. ten Brink; Trajan Decius, W. Behnen... I'm sure there are others, but I've collected at least one from each of those. The logic being, "If you're gonna have just one Probus, make it an ex-Gysen coin." I've got more than one Claudius II, but still need to add an F. Johannessen coin. His article, ""Just my Claudius II Ant’s worth," appeared in the Oct 2002 issue of The Celator (Vol. 16, No. 10). https://social.vcoins.com/files/file/187-vol-16-no-10-october-2002/ Here is CNG's writeup: CNG is proud to present the first installation of the Finn Johannessen Collection of coins of Claudius II Gothicus. This specialized collection was formed over the last two decades, with the collector carefully and patiently seeking out choice and rare specimens (bidders should take note of the large number of extraordinarily rare and seemingly unique types). The majority of coins being offered are cited in RIC V Online (http://www.ric.mom.fr) – the groundwork for the much-needed revision of Mattingly and Sydenham's now ninety-year old publication of RIC V.I – with the Johannessen collection forming an important supplement to the coins housed in the principal institutional collections. Dr. Jerome Mairat, co-author of the forthcoming revision of RIC V.I, has also published a number of specimens from the collection. Of the numerous emperors that ruled during the "crisis of the 3rd century," the Ilyrian-born Claudius Gothicus was one of the most remarkable (as well as one of a small number that did not meet a violent death). Claudius climbed the ranks of the Roman army, eventually becoming deputy during the tumultuous reign of Gallienus, when Rome was forced to wage war on a dizzying number of fronts. In the summer of AD 268, Gallienus was besieging Milan, seat of Aureolus, a supporter of the Gallic emperor Postumus, when a contingent of Gallienus' troops murdered the emperor. Ancient historical accounts of the plot differ, with some implicating Claudius and others expressly denying his involvement. Regardless of who was the mastermind behind the coup, troops quickly declared Claudius emperor. During this time of intense crisis, Claudius' tough, no-nonsense approach to military affairs and enormous physical stature made him popular with both soldiers and civilians. His defeat of the Goths at the Battle of Naïssus (modern Niš, Serbia), however, elevated him to legendary status. While very little is known about the details of the battle, it was a resounding victory for the Romans, with perhaps as many as 50,000 Goths either killed or taken captive. Claudius received the title "Gothicus" as a result of this decisive victory and, shortly thereafter, the title "Germanicus Maximus" for his victory over the Alamanni and Juthungi at the Battle of Lake Benacus. With two resounding victories under his belt, the emperor next set his sights on Vandal tribes that were plundering Pannonia. Poised to restore the Empire to its former glory, Claudius fell victim to plaque, possibly smallpox, and died in January of AD 270.
  11. I'm jealous of your Manville set! I've been planning especially to add the Manville & Harrington bibliography of British numismatic auction catalogs. It's available -- I just haven't gotten around to picking it up. (I've been sort of hoping I would find a signed copy but that's not working out.) Once I have that, I feel my auction-catalogs-biblio will be in healthy shape. I don't have any of the Dekesel bibliographies -- those are a "some day" purchase for me, although I greatly admire his accomplishment with all of those. Here is my collection of numismatic bibliographies. The vertical ones in the center are all signed and/or inscribed. (That's my most specialized sub-collection!) The ones on the right are from noted numismatic libraries w/ bookplates and/or useful annotations. signed/inscribed bibliographies:
  12. By the way -- in case anyone doesn't know about it -- for years now Ras Suarez has been doing the great work of archiving eBay ancient coin sales (since maybe 2012 or so). And including many other dealers and scanning some print auction catalogs that can't be found elsewhere. Used to be called COINVAC, then changed to Coryssa a few years ago. One of the great unsung contributions to ancient coin provenance research: https://www.coryssa.org/index.php Over 3 million records at present, which is comparable to ACSearch. Takes a little bit of practice getting used to, and become efficient at searching, but I've found quite a few lost provenances in there. (Mainly for coins I knew had appeared on eBay but not when or from whom. A few that were total "cold" cases.) Whatever the limitations, I'm amazed that he's been doing all that himself all this time.
  13. Good coin! Here's mine with the legend, VICTORIAE GOTHIC. These ones are his namesake Gothic captives (he was given the title Gothicus after defeating them in the Battle of Naissus) (I still need the GERMAN type like yours, which I believe reference his victories over the Alemanni in the Battle of Lake Benacus, shortly after Naissus.)
  14. Aha! I see my own favorite: John Spring's Ancient Coin Auction Catalogs, 1880-1980. And at least half of the major BCD catalogs. The important stuff! Edit: looking more closely, either 9 or all 10 of the primary BCD catalogs!
  15. Here's an example. In 2020 (Web Auctions 11 & 13) Leu sold 5 AR Drachms of the Koson types (2 made repeat appearances in 2021) described as "From a European collection, formed before 2005." It's only slightly possible, since all known specimens of the Koson Silver coinage were found in a single hoard in 2004, and the first specimens were publicly sold in December 2004 and January 2005. (Which Romania claims are all its stolen property; they've gotten some back; H.J. Berk Ltd. went to court and won their case.) This would would have to have been the first collector to buy them. Not impossible, but raises questions. Add to that, at least one of those coins had appeared at a German auction 4 months earlier, where it hammered at 520 EUR on three bids. Even if it was unpaid, that would be a quick turnaround for the collector to get it back and then send it to the other firm. https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=6938187 It's certainly possible that Leu is relying on consignor information to come up with "Collection formed before 2005." In all probability, that is what is going on. And, in many cases, of course, the info is true and there's lots of old history behind the coin. But in cases like this, it's hard to believe that they genuinely believe it's true. That's why people view it through the lens of "don't ask, don't tell" or "plausible deniability."
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