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What were you thinking?!

Roman Collector

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I get a lot of enjoyment from my coins and sometimes I'll just flip through the albums to revisit my old friends. Most of them I recognize fondly, but occasionally, I'll come across one I had forgotten about. I'll say to myself sometimes, "I had forgotten about that one! What was I thinking when I bought it? What was it about this coin that made me acquire it in the first place?"

That's not to say I have buyer's remorse. It's to say that I often start projects that become abandoned when other projects grab my attention. It's kind of like how I felt when I was 12 and forgot about my crush on Tatum O'Neal when Charlie's Angels debuted. It's not that Tatum didn't make my adolescent heart go pitter-patter, it's just, well ... you know.

I came across one of these forgotten coins recently and I examined it again, remembering what I thought was compelling enough about it to buy it. I'm sure you have similar stories about some of your coins. I'd love to hear about your forgotten and unappreciated acquisitions.

Septimius Severus, AD 193-211.
Roman provincial diassarion, AE 21.2 mm, 6.30 g, 7 h.
Moesia Inferior, Tomis.
Obv: ΑY Κ Λ CΕ CΕΥΗΡΟC Π, laureate head, right.
Rev: ΜΗΤΡ ΠΟΝ ΤΟΜЄΩC, Asklepios standing facing, head left, holding serpent-entwined staff and with left hand on hip, B in left field.
Refs: AMNG 2781-85 var.; BMC 3.56,18 var.; Varbanov 4826 var.; Sear 2125 var.
Why did I buy this coin? Several reasons:
  • The Roman provincial coins of Tomis in Moesia Inferior often have their denominations written in the fields on the reverse. @dougsmit first brought this to my attention years ago when he was writing his series of educational pages on ancient coins. I already had examples of coins from Tomis marked with gamma (for 3 assaria) and delta < (for 4-1/2 assaria) and I noticed this coin was marked with a beta (for 2 assaria). I thought I'd eventually like to have a complete set of denominations from the city.
  • Another thing I thought was interesting was the paleography on the coin. I'm sure the inscription on the obverse was engraved by a different die-engraver than that on the reverse. The obverse uses angular forms of C and E, whereas the reverse uses the rounded forms of these letters. This demonstrates that there was no single "official style" of handwriting in the mint at Tomis at the time.
  • The coin illustrates the technical aspects of coin production in the region -- note the lathe dimple below Severus's ear on the obverse and the little lip created by the edge of the die on the reverse, visible at the 1:00 position only by virtue of the coin being struck off-center. One could -- were one so inclined -- calculate the diameter of the die itself, not just the diameter of the coin. Such "defects" allow me to envision what the die looked like and imagine the minting process a little more easily.
  • I like Asklepios, though I never entertained any notion of collecting Asklepios coins per se.
  • It has a nice, smooth green patina and good "eye appeal."
And now, putting my reasons into words, I have rediscovered the fascination with this coin that attracted me in the first place. It's kind of like those marriage retreats to "rekindle the passion."


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For me the good news is that I keep all the records of each and every coin I buy. With the auction house name, date, price. My collection is not large (335 coins) but without the organizing system I use, it would be difficult to remember exactly if a coin was bought in March 2021 or November 2020. So I keep them chronologically (after the date I acquired them, not after their chronology) and I have separate Word documents for all the auctions.

Here is one of the coins I bought almost exactly 1 year ago (11th of September 2021)



- a very nice example of Greek artistry

- one of my favorite criteria (small coins, even if at 11 mm and 0.9 g this is not exactly the tiniest in the world)

- well, of course, because I liked it.

Everytime I browse my album I take a long look at it. For me, it is a beautiful coin.

Edited by ambr0zie
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Sometimes you have to laugh when you think back to your first purchases.

This is the second or third coin I have ever bought, more than 20 years ago now.

And why did I buy it?  Very clear.

The obverse shows Cleopatra.

I was thrilled.

Later I learned that there are several Cleopatras and this coin shows "only" Cleopatra the First as Isis or possibly even only Isis .

Disappointment. :classic_huh:

I have since gotten over it, the coin is still in my collection, and I have a C7 in the meantime as well.




Ptolemy VI Philometor. First reign, 180-164 BC

Æ Tetrobol, Alexandreia mint

Struck under Cleopatra I Thea as regent, 180-176 BC.

Av: Head of Cleopatra I  (?) as Isis

Rv: ΠTOΛEMAIOΥ BAΣIΛEΩΣ / Eagle standing left on thunderbolt with wings displayed; monogram to left.

Svoronos 1384; Weiser 147; SNG Copenhagen 286.

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This was an early-ish pickup in my Philip II, Alexander III, and the Age of the Diadochi collection.

I was super-excited since it was attributed to Peithon, a major player in the diadochi.


Alexander III
Babylon mint 317-311 BCE by Peithon son of Agenor
Hemiobol .46g
Head of Heracles right wearing a lion skin
Club, bow and quiver. Monogram to right
Price 3729

Later, after more research, I realized this was a different Peithon - Peithon son of Agenor. He was a far less famous player, though I suspect he played a big part in numismatics, since he traveled from Babylon to Gaza with an army and died there. My belief is a number of the Babylon tets from this age that were found in that area originated from that move.

I kept the coin because this was still another person in the era. It's also my smallest names-and-types-of-Alexander coin. I kept the earlier Peithon on my list until recent research suggested that the Ecbatana tets cannot be attributed to him.

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Cool thread idea, Roman Collector 

Ummm, I had a few coins in my collection that I liked, but that I always cringed a tad when I'd flip-through my stuff and see them 

=> this Augustus-crocodile type is always a pleasure to see, but whenever I'd see my example, I always wished that I'd waited for an example with a head!! ... sure, I know why I pulled the trigger, for my example was a nice strike and it had cool patina, but again => it didn't have a good head-shot (and honestly, the crocodile's  head and teeth are really the money-shot, right?)

Oh well, I still always liked the coin, but I just wish I'd waited for an even nicer, more-complete example (sigh)

augustus ax.jpg

augustus bx.jpg

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2 hours ago, Roman Collector said:

I noticed this coin was marked with a beta (for 2 assaria). I thought I'd eventually like to have a complete set of denominations from the city.

As you know, I am a fan of the denominationally marked coins.  Beta is less common and this is a fine example. There are other cities with denominations marked (but the halves make Tomis the best). My oddball offering here is a Commodus AE19 from Dionysopolis with B reversed serving double duty as Herakles' bow. 


Of Tomis, the hard one will be the 1 1/2 assarion (>A) of Philip II.  



While not rare, the 4 1/2 denomination needs to be shown with the half (<) as a separate character


and ligate with the delta. 



Finally my favorite Tomis is the Gordian reverse die with the denomination erased I would really love to see a coin of this die before the denomination was dug out leaving this raised bump on the coin.  I have seen two from this die.


I'd like to show coins I have forgotten but I am afraid I have forgotten what I have forgotten. 

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Once upon a time, I saw this coin listed by Pagane Coins on Yahoo, let's just say a few years ago, when the Yahoo Ancients market was a thing. What I saw in the photo was a desirable type at a relatively modest price, with little wear and rather good detail, but badly in need of additional cleaning. What I got was this horror: 2007511470_Phil(134).JPG.4f312f19a174a148c866e689a86ac6f2.JPGI suspect the owner wanted to do me a favor by cleaning it before shipping and badly botched the job (although who knows, maybe it was always beyond rescue.) The seller ran a mostly reputable online store, not an auction, so it absolutely could've been returned without argument. I've never understood why I didn't do exactly that. (I sort of understand why I keep it now; it's a valuable object lesson, although I've never quite decided just what the moral really is.) Ironically, I could sell it now pretty easily and make a few bucks; partly because the overall market has gone up in the intervening decades, but also because, astonishingly, (ridiculously!), it's a plate coin in the 1st Edition of Harlan Berk's 100 Greatest Ancient Coins! Harlan insisted on including the type in the book, although I tried to tell him that neither we nor anyone else had a sufficiently high res image of a sufficiently excellent example to warrant inclusion in the book. It came down to the final deadline to submit material and we still had an empty space where "Sulla's Dream" was supposed to slot in, so I grudgingly raced to the el, rode it home, got my car and safe deposit key, raced to the bank, got the coin and did the whole transit process in reverse. The rest I guess is history. (Or was history for awhile anyway. Thankfully, Harlan won a much much better example in a Toni Tkalec auction a few years later. That coin deservedly graces the 2nd Edition.)

On second thought, I'm not sure why I keep it now either, since I really dislike this coin. I guess so I can tell this story from time to time.

Edited by Phil Davis
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I bought this in 2017 from the UK (the golden days pre-Brexit) although it's a horribly ugly coin. And very light too. These late first reign Bohemond IV coppers are usually horrid and nobody in their right mind would take a second look at them. But me, not being in the said mind, saw in it a three-legged kitten in need of a home, so I just went ahead and bought it.


Certainly being:

1. ex-FORVM

2. possibly ex-Malloy

had no bearing on why, I just found out about it later on.

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@Roman Collector...You got me checking out my collection and came across my very first purchase of my Kashmir series. Nothing spectacular in fact pretty run of the mill but it started me looking into the differences of these, at the time common coins and also helped me to learn how to read the  Nagari script also those closely associated. It cost me 3 bucks and I remember now buying it through curiosity....This actually led to my obsession of this type which still continues to this day...

Here she is.....🥰1811258694_DTOGETHER(3).jpg.29463b7576113b0646df491904bea35e.jpg

Diddarani 980-1003 AD
Copper Kaserah or Punchshi 18mm (5.62gr)
Obverse- Goddess Ardochsho/Lakshmi seated facing in half lotus position, with Nagari legend 'Sri to left 'didda' to right
Reverse- Queen standing facing and sacrificing at altar holding trident, with Nagari legend 'Diva' bottom right

Edited by Spaniard
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I was drawn to this 3 assaria coin from Chios because it's big (30mm), the denomination is spelled out on the obverse, and though it was struck during the time of Trajan or Hadrian, the pseudo-autonymous issue has a very Greek feeling. On the obverse, a sphinx, the longtime symbol of Chios since the 6th century BC, holds it's paw over the prow of a ship. Chios was a prolific builder of ships. Five centuries before this coin was struck, Chios, as a member of the Delian league under Athenian hegemony, paid its dues with ships, where most members paid in the form of tribute. Before that, when the Asian Greeks revolted against the Persian empire, Chios provided 100 warships to the navy.

Also contributing to my decision to buy it, I liked how the well-worn devices are framed by the dark patina.


Islands off Ionia, Chios, Pseudo-autonomous issue, time of Trajan to Hadrian, 3 assaria 

98-138 AD
Obverse: ΤΡΙΑ / ΑCCΑΡΙΑ; Sphinx seated right on plain exergual line, lifting right forepaw over prow of galley. 
Reverse: Χ-Ι/Ω-Ν; Apollo and Dionysos standing facing on either side of altar on plain exergual line. Apollo, on left, holding phiale in right hand and resting left hand on hip, and Dionysos, on right, pouring libation from kantharos in right hand.
References: Mavrogordato 106; RPC III 1901 .
30mm; 14.80g

Edited by Jeremy
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