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Ursus

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  1. Vespasian, Roman Empire, denarius, 77/78 AD, Rome mint. Obv: CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head of Vespasian right. Rev; ANNONA AVG, Annona seated left, holding corn ears. 19mm, 3.33g. Ref: RIC II Vespasian 964.
  2. Ursus

    Covid

    Get well soon, Donna!
  3. I'm not certain whether I count as real intelligence, but in German this object is simply known as the "Trierer Münzpokal" (Trier coin goblet). It was commisioned in 1732 by Karl Kaspar Emmerich von Quadt, the deacon of the Trier cathedral. The ensemble contains 41 ancient gold coins, eight golden casts imitating ancient coins and two 17th/18th century medals struck in gold. Here are some links to pages with additional pictures and information (in German): https://rlp.museum-digital.de/object/5721 https://www.muenzen-online.com/post/römermünzen-im-prunkgeschirr
  4. Can do that: Imperial City of Cologne, civic issue, AR bracteate heller, 1974–1493 AD, Cologne mint. Obv: civic coat of arms: three crowns above five flames. Rev: negative design (bracteate). 14.5mm, 0.31g. Ref: Noss 31. Ex Ernst Otto Horn Collection. Next: a coin that makes you laugh
  5. Roman Republic, moneyer: M. Sergius Silus, AR denarius, 116–115 BC, Rome mint. Obv: EX·S·C ROMA; helmeted head of Roma, r., denominational mark X. Rev: Q M·SERGI SILVS; one-armed horseman (Marcus Sergius Silus) l., holding sword and severed head in l. hand. 17mm, 2.84g. RRC RRC 286/1. Next: elephant
  6. Beautiful pictures, @Coinmaster! I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the museum. I visited it shortly before the pandemic hit in 2020 and was really impressed by their collection. The presentation of the coin hoards as big piles with a few chosen highlighted examples is not quite to my taste, but I get that there isn't enough exhibition space to show each coin on its own. In general, the Rheinisches Landesmuseum in my opinion does a fantastic job at keeping its exhibition both educational and accessible. I guess that lawyers were already expensive back then. (Not complaining: mine were usually worth every penny.) Also, I'll take the chance to show some of my coins from Trier. Note the fur-lined coat visible on Constanine's left shoulder on the first coin. This type of coat only appears on coins from Trier: Constantine II, Roman Empire, AE3, 326AD, Trier. Obv: CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C, bust of Constantine II, laureate, draped, cuirassed, l. Rev: PROVIDENTIAE CAESS, camp gate with two turrets, star above; in exergue, STR crescent. 19mm, 3.01g. Ref: RIC VII Treveri 479. On this coin, Helena is wearing an imperial mantle. This is very untypical for female busts. I wonder whether this way caused by an engraver's error or iconograpic choice: Helena, Roman Empire, AE3, 327–328 AD, Trier mint. Obv: FL HELENA AVGVSTA; bust of Helena, wearing necklace and mantle, r. Rev: SECVRITAS REIBUBLICE; Securitas, draped, standing l., raising robe with r. hand and lowering branch with l. hand, in exergue, PTRE. 19mm, 2.88g. Ref: RIC VII Treveri 508. Constans, Roman Empire, AE3, 348–350 AD, Trier mint. Obv: D N CONSTANS P F AVG; bust of Constans, pearl-diademed, draped, cuirassed, r. Rev: FEL•TEMP•REPARATIO; phoenix, radiate, standing r. on rocky mound; in exergue, TRP•. 16mm, 2.33g. Ref: RIC VIII Treveri 228. Valens, Roman Empire, AR siliqua, 367–378 AD, Trier mint. Obv: DN VALENS PF AVG; bust of Valens, draped, cuirassed, and pearl-diademed, r. Rev: VRBS ROMA; Roma seated l. on throne, holding Victory on globe and sceptre; in exergue TRPS•. 17mm, 1.71g. Ref: RIC IX Treveri 27E/45B.
  7. In this case: have a good time (and feel free to post some pictures of the Tried gold hoard afterwards)!
  8. Nice! If you still have a bit of time today, I can strongly recommend a visit to the Rheinisches Landesmuseum at Trier. Their Roman exhibition is outstanding.
  9. In Germany, we had a spree of museum burglaries recently. In 2017, a 100kg golden Big Maple Leaf was stolen from the Bode-Museum in Berlin. In 2019, the same criminal group stole the historic Saxon royal jewellery from the Green Vault in Dresden. In 2022, a large hoard of Celtic gold coins was stolen from a museum in Manching. In all cases, the culprits got rather minimal sentences while the stolen objects either remain missing or resurfaced only partly, having been damaged or melted down. I would love to see these criminals go on a long involuntary cruise to Australia, but I doubt the Australians want to have them...
  10. Not pretty but at least rare: I picked up this little bracteate from Mainz as part of a lot last November. It took me a while to take pictures and properly attribute it. Archbishopric of Mainz, under Dietrich I. von Erbach, AR bracteate (Hohlringheller), c. 1434–459 AD, Bingen mint. Obv: arms of Mainz and Erbach in shield Rev: incuse design (bracteate). 14mm, 0.24g. Ref: Link 87, Slg. Walther 139.
  11. Faustulus finding Romulus and Remus suckled by a she-wolf: Roman Republic, moneyer: Sex. Pompeius Fostlus, AR denarius, 137 BC, Rome mint. Obv: head of Roma, helmeted, r.; behind, jug; before, X. Rev: SEX·PO[M FOSTVLVS]; she-wolf suckling twins r.; behind, ficus Ruminalis with birds; in l. field, the shepherd Faustulus leaning on staff; in exergue, [RO]MA. 18mm, 3.87g. Rev: RRC 235/1c. Next: wolf
  12. Link: Faustina II Faustina II, Roman Empire, AR denarius, 145–161 AD, Rome mint. Obv: FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL; bust of Faustina the Younger, band of pearls round head, with hair waived and coiled on back of head, draped, r. Rev: VENUS; Venus, draped, standing l., holding apple in r. hand and rudder set on dolphin, which coils round it, in l. 18mm, 3.06g. Ref: RIC III Antoninus Pius 517C (denarius). Ex Secret Saturnalia 2021.
  13. Good idea for a thread! I'm looking forward to seeing the dragon coins others will show: Freiburg im Breisgau (?), civic issue, AR bracteate penny ("vierzipfliger Pfennig"), ca. 1250 AD. Obv: dragon ("Lindwurm") r. Rev: negative design. 18mm, 0.37g. Ref: Berger 2432–3; Slg. Wüthrich 54; Wielandt, Breisgau 44. County of Mansfeld-Eisleben, Johann Georg III, AR ⅓ Taler, 1669 AD, Eisleben mint. Obv: (anchor) IOHAN. GEORG. COM. IN. MANSFELT. NOB ; 1/3; St. George on horseback r., slaying dragon with lance; on horse’s saddle, arms of Mansfeld-Eisleben. Rev: (anchor) DOM. IN. H. S. ET. S. FORTITER. ET. CONSTANTER; 16-69; crowned coat of arms of Mansfeld-Eisleben; AB-K for moneyer Anton Bernhard Koburger. 32.5mm, 9.12g. Ref: Tornau 493; KM #118.
  14. Nice find, @expat! I only have the more common VICTORIAE GOTHIC type, albeit in pretty style and condition: Claudius II Gothicus, Roman Empire, BI antoninian, 268–270 AD, Kyzikos mint. Obv: IMP CLAVDIVS P F AVG; bust of Claudius Gothicus, radiate, draped, r. Rev: VICTORIAE GOTHIC; trophy between two seated captives; in exergue, SPQR. 20mm, 2,58g. Ref: RIC V Claudius Gothicus 252.
  15. Ursus

    Probus

    Probus is outside of my collecting focus but I have two coins struck for him: 1. This is part of the somewhat mysterious EQUITI-series. The mints of Rome and Ticinium struck two different coded series of coins with the letters AEQUIT or EQUITI as fieldmarks for the different officinae. More on this codeword can be found here on @Sulla80's blog and in this article by Gert Boersema. Also note the consular bust featuring the imperial mantle (or tunica palmata) and eagle sceptre. Probus, Roman Empire, AE/BI antoninianus, 281 AD, Ticinium mint. Obv: IMP C PROBVS AVG; radiate bust of Probus l., wearing imperial mantle, and holding eagle-tipped sceptre. Rev: MARTI PACIF; Mars walking l., holding olive-branch, spear and shield; in fields, I – *; in exergue, QXXI. 22mm, 3.38g. Ref: RIV V Probus 508. Ex AMCC 3, lot 571. 2. This one I bought years ago, shortly after I had started to collect. Back then, I was attracted to the portrait style and the unusual mint. Today, I'd probably be more picky and wait for a coin with better surfaces. The mint still makes me keep this coin in my collection, though: Tripolis only struck coins from c. 274 to 286 AD, and this is the only example from this mint that I have. @Valentinian has an educational website on the short-lived Tripolis mint. Probus, Roman Empire, AE/BI antoninianus, 276–282 AD, Tripolis mint. Obv: IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right. Rev: CLEMENTIA TEMP. Emperor standing right, holding eagle-tipped sceptre, receiving globe (or pileus?) from Jupiter, holding sceptre. Crescent in lower centre; mintmark KA. 23 mm, 4.13 g. Ref: RIC V Probus 928 (crescent).
  16. That's a nice one! At least in my eyes, your first sestertius gets serious bonus points for a clear and discernible depiction of Roman scale armour on the bust. That's a detail I look for in coins of Decius. Honestly, the portrait is above average imho, yet the reverse would have bothered me for two reasons. First, the die break on Dacia's face seriously impacts the overall appeareance of the coin. Secondly, the head of the dragon standard (draco) that Dacia holds is somewhat blurry. I consider this the most important detail of this reverse type. Personally, I would thus prefer a coin, even in lower grade, with a sharply struck standard. My Decius coins were all bought because of the provincial reverses. The first one is a Dacia-type antoninianus and features what I call the "wolf's head" standard. (I'm still searching for a nice "bearded dragon's head" standard.) The portrait is nothing to write home about but has scale armour: Trajan Decius, Roman Empire, AR antoninian, 249–251 AD, Rome mint. Obv: IMP C Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG; bust of Trajan Decius, draped, cuirassed, and laureate, r. Rev: DACIA: Dacia standing left, holding draco. 22mm, 3.66g. Ref: RIC IV Traian Decius 12. The second one shows the two Pannoniae. This one I actually bought for the fine portrait style. Look, for example, at the naturalistic depiction of Decius' receding hairline at the temples, or at his nasolabial grove. For the good style (and good provenance), I was willing to live with some reverse weaknesses and wear: Trajan Decius, Roman Empire, AR antoninianus, 249–251 AD, Rome mint. Obv: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, bust of Trajan Decius, draped and radiate, r. Rev: PANNONIAE, the two Pannoniae standing, holding standards. 23mm, 4.14g. Ref: RIC IV,3 Trajan Decius 21b. Ex Warren Esty; ex PMV Inc., "Late Summer List" 1982, lot 94; ex Dorset County Museum. The last one shows the genius of the Illyrian army. The portrait shows what I call the "barracks emperor style:" Decius' features are sharp, expressive and slightly overemphasized. (And again, the portrait gets extra points for scale armor.) I am quite bothered by the die break and flat strike on the reverse, though. This coin was a chance purchase and I'm not certain that I won't "upgrade" it at some point. Trajan Decius, Roman Empire, antoninian, 249–251 AD, Rome mint. Obv: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG; bust of Trajan Decius, radiate, draped and cuirassed, r. Obv: GENIUS EXERC ILLVRICIANI; Genius of the Illyrian army standing l., holding patera and cornucopia, modius on head, standard to r. 23mm, 4.67g. Ref: RIC IV Trajan Decius 16. Ex H. D. Rauch (Vienna), auction 50, lot 424.
  17. Ursus

    Md...

    Much of the Balkans was under Ottoman rule during the early modern period. Due to the Franco-Ottomon alliance (see here) and the resulting trade relations, it's not surprising that French coins have made their way there in some capacity.
  18. An attractive coin! I enjoyed reading your write-up on Baybars. He's a fascinating historical figure. I'll try to do that nonetheless, if you don't mind. My first coin is a dirham, the second one a fractional dirham. The weight especially of the fractions varies greatly. I read somewhere that these apparently were valued by weight rather than per coin. Mamluk Sultanate, under Baybars I, AR dirham, 1262–1278 AD (662–676 AH), al-Quahira (Cairo) mint. Obv: names and titles of Baybars: "al-salihi / al-sultan al-malik / al-zahir rukn al-dunya wa al-din / baybars qasim amir al-mu'minin;” below, lion l. Rev: central kalima: "la ilah illa allah / muhammad rasuluallah / arsalahu bi'l-huda;" marginal legend: “duriba al-quahira / sanat [date off-flan].” 20mm, 2.87g. Ref: Album 883. Mamluk Sultanate, under Baybars I, AR fractional dirham (struck from dies for full dirham), 1262–1278 AD (662–676 AH), al-Quahira (Cairo) mint. Obv: partial names and titles of Baybars: "al-salihi / al-sultan al-malik / al-zahir rukn al-dunya wa al-din / baybars qasim amir al-mu'minin;” below, lion l. Rev: partial central kalima: "la ilah illa allah / muhammad rasuluallah / arsalahu bi'l-huda;" marginal legend: “duriba al-quahira / [date off-flan].” 14mm, 1.04g. Ref: Album 884.
  19. I still think this is one of Santa's elves riding on Rudolph the Reindeer: "Tetricus I" or similar, Roman Empire, barbarous radiate, late 3rd century AD, unofficial mint in Gaul or Britain. Obv: [...] I II II, bearded, radiate head r. Rev: V I [...]; human figure riding on stag l.; 13–14mm, 1.38g.
  20. Gosh! They say "pecunia non olet" – but I guess that didn't apply to those 21 gold coins when they "resurfaced."
  21. There might be some imagination involved, but I see a three-headed hydra, at least if you turn the reverse 180° around.
  22. I am from Germany but have lived in the US from 2015–2020. In those years, I regularly travelled back and forth between the US and Europe, and I often bought some coins when I was I Europe and brought them back to the US with me. Customs never asked any questions. For good measure, I always had the respective invoices with me as proof of legal purchase.
  23. I think so, too, although I tend to be somewhat reluctant when it comes to adding coins with such provenances to my collection. Partly because I don't like their previous owners, partly because I don't want to buy what possibly has been Nazi plunder with all the legal and moral baggage attached to that. Nonetheless, I own, for example, several coins from the Hildebrecht Hommel (1899–1996) collection. Hommel was another German classicist who, although to a somewhat lesser extent than Taeger, furthered his academic career by offering his services as a professorial mouthpiece to the Nazi regime. This coin, on the other hand, was sold by Karl Kreß in 1942. Kreß had taken over the firm Helbing Nf. after the Jewish Hirsch family had been forced out of business by the Nazis. I did some research on Kreß a while ago and posted it elsewhere: Gordian III, Roman Empire, antoninianus, 238–239 AD, Rome mint. Obv: IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG; bust of Gordian III, radiate and draped, r. Rev: VIRTVS AVG; Virtus standing l., leaning on shield and holding spear. 22mm, 5.00g. Ref: RIC IV Gordian III 6. Ex Otto Helbing Nachf., München, Auction 86 (11/15/1942), lot 1757; ex AMCC 2, lot 464. Here are the old ticket and catalogue listing. I believe @Curtisimo owns a couple of coins from the same auction, which apparently was mostly a sale of stock that Kreß had taken over from the Hirsch family: A nice herd you have there! Also, this coin still has the olive leaves on Athena's helmet and thus is closer to the representation of the goddess on Athenian tetradrachms. There is a theory that replacing the olive leaves with a Scylla represents the city somewhat distancing itself from Athens. That's a phenomenal fish on your example, Peter. Much more naturalistic than mine. I wonder whether somebody more knowledgeable could discern what species is depicted. I should have guessed that you didn't miss that auction, Curtis. Regardless of everything else, Taeger had a good eye for coins. Judging from the catalogue, he didn't just collect coins by grade but carefully looked for examples that show good style, are well-centered, and look pretty overall. Your coin is a good example.
  24. The coin My first big purchase of 2024 is a lovely silver coin from Magna Graecia, showing all the artistic quality that classical pieces from this region are famous for. It has beautiful old cabinet toning that is a bit stronger on the obverse. Apparently, the coin was stored lying on the reverse for a long time. It is far from uncirculated: if I had to, I would grade it good fine. Nonetheless, it is an extremely attractive piece in hand: Lucania, Thourioi, AR nomos, c. 400–350 BC. Obv: head of Athena r., wearing helmet decorated with Skylla holding oar (?) and pointing. Rev: ΘΟΥΡΙΩΝ; bull butting r.; in exergue, fish r. 21mm, 7.63g. Ref: HN Italy 1800; SNG ANS 1002–14. Ex Rhenumis 11, lot 10005; ex Fritz Taeger collection. History and Iconography The city of Thourioi (latinized: Thurium) was founded in 444 BC on the southern coast of Italy, close to or even at the site of the city of Sybaris, which had been destroyed in 510 BC following a lost war against the city of Kroton. Its early population consisted partly of former Sybarites, partly of recently arrived Athenian and Peloponnesian colonists. These twofold roots are also visible in the iconography of Thourioi’s coins. Their obverse, on the one hand, shows Athena. This probably was a nod to the part of the population that had Athenian roots. The development of the Athena’s crest, which initially consisted of an olive wreath, deserves special attention. Towards the end of the 5th century BC, the wreath was replaced by a Scylla, a sea monster with a female upper body. The continuity with Sybaris, on the other hand, is illustrated by the reverse of Thourioi’s coins. Here, we see the bull that already had been the emblem of Sybaris. It is not clear whether this animal must be read as an agricultural reference or as the depiction of a river god. The standing or walking bull on the early coins of Thourioi changed into the butting animal visible on my coin around 400 BC. This change might be a visual pun on the city’s name, which is related to the Greek adjective “thouros” (θοῦρος) that translates as “impetuous”, “rushing”, or “warlike”. In Roman times, the city changed its name into Copia. In the Middle Ages, it was abandoned. Today, its ruins can be visited in the Sybaris Archaeological Park (picture from Wikipedia): Provenance My coin comes from the collection of the classicist Fritz Taeger (1894–1960) that contained over 1.400 pieces. The collection was sold as a whole in Rhenumis 11 in November 2013, my coin being lot 10005. Many of Taeger’s coins were grouped together in large lots and are currently offered by different dealers who appear to have acquired the respective lots. I bought this coin as well as two others (see here) from one of them. Fritz Taeger was a pupil of the German historian Wilhelm Weber. He served in the First World War and got his PhD from Tübingen in 1920 with a thesis on the influence of Polybius on later classical writers. In 1926, he acquired the venia legendi from Freiburg with a second book on Thucydides. In 1930, Taeger became professor for classical history in Gießen but changed to a more prestigious chair in Marburg in 1935. Already in the Weimar Republic, Taeger sided with the political right. After 1933, he was quick to join different Nazi organizations and carved out a career for himself as an academic supporter of Hitler’s regime. After the Second World War, Taeger was nonetheless allowed to continue teaching. He resumed his old position at Marburg in 1948. The fact that Taeger published a rather celebrative study of ruler cults in Greek and Roman antiquity as late as 1957 makes me doubt that his political convictions had changed much. I have mixed feelings about this provenance. On the one hand, Taeger is not a figure for whom I can muster much sympathy. On the other hand, he had good taste in coins and his collection was built before 1970, when the UNESCO treaty on the Ownership of Cultural Property was adopted. I guess I don’t have to tell anybody that the latter point is becoming more and more important. Feel free to post your bulls and other Greek coins from Italy!
  25. In my eyes, Becker forgeries are collectables in their own right. Fortunately enough, they are well-published. Otherwise, I at least would have a hard time to distinguish them from real ancient coins. Becker certainly had artistic talents and was meticulous in making his coins appear "right." Allegedly, he tied pouches containing fake coins and iron filings to the axles of his carriage to slowly give them the appeareance of having been circulated for ages... The Bode Museum in Berlin owns some of Becke's hand-engraved dies. He apparently struck his coins the same way the originals were produced, making it even harder to identify them as fake:
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