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A Caesar Denarius with 14th Century Provenance: Heritage Europe and a rare Medieval Wallachian Ownsership


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The coin below actually has an unlabeled provenance back to the 15th century aristocracy of Lithuania and Walachia! The Grand Dukes of this period collected and displayed ancient coins as a means to portray legitimacy to the more prestigious courts of Europe (France, Naples, Venice, etc). Especially favored were the great men of the past such as Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar (seen below). 


C1B00B42-6715-40BB-997C-37BE3433B35A.jpeg.4ec66fb4ab17bd6a4e647db8d8fc3631.jpeg

Map of medieval Walachia

807B38DD-6C69-4368-99DE-B730B6FB50DC.jpeg.d5967c5c7682323b9b3fa7d112ac9317.jpeg

Famed Walachian king and coin collector Stanislav “Viztaborhan (The Philhellene)” Gorbanostov III. It is suspected that he began the practice of ancient coin collecting at the Wallachian court in the early 14th century. Stanislav is perhaps best know for his quote which roughly translates as “If you can find [the virtues] of the greatest men in what they left behind, you [will not] find them in the men of the future”. 

300C860E-423E-4ED9-8709-E80FEA8F97A0.jpeg.f06ac132cd944ee13af790304b718e3e.jpeg
15th century Wallachian infantry man. Notice the Persian inspired weapon and Phrygian styled helmet  

00D74047-482F-49A2-A98C-A753B8A95FB3.jpeg.8d64cf0fabcf35446d6b8bb70f962b0f.jpeg

Phrygian helmet on an Ancient Macedonian coin…perhaps a piece like inspired the Wallachian kings?

 
In the same effort to express sophistication and pan philhellenism on the international stage, these dukes even used ancient coins as diplomatic gifts. The WRL you see stamped on either side of the coin actually stands for “W(alachia) R(egnum) L(ithuaniam)”. This signifier was used not only to remind the recipient of who donated the gift but also for future generations to remember which classical-loving society once owned it! Today such stamps are seen as barbaric but in the middle ages it was (relatively) common practice. Below you see a caesar coin with one such WRL stamp.

E232A63C-790E-49B9-B516-33B849B5F848.jpeg.a34aa1d0ea2093ad722b9bfcbe0754f1.jpeg

https://ha-europe.com/en/browse/Coins_Currency_and_Medals_November_2022/3179

I am amazed that Heritage Europe has offered such a spectacular piece, even more so without catching this “amazing” backstory! You could even say I am flabbergasted this entered the auction

Edited by TheTrachyEnjoyer
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The last "Great" king of Makedon, Perseus son of Philip V and the last of the Antigonid line, this is an image of the Hero, not the King, Perseus, with his winged cap:

2732570_1649689857.l-removebg-preview.png.808802735aca9689871ea2111008f4da.png

Dracula's grandpa king of Wallachia 

IMG_0813.JPG.4c91cccf1a79fd665cb806c0caab5b53.JPG

And an elephant and serpent in the name of Julius Caesar:

IMG_0617(1).PNG.f7f5b00b1fca783e6d6caf0f73017558.PNG

Edited by Ryro
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I wonder if any coins from the cabinet of famed 18th-century collector Colonel Oliver Peterson Yardley are on offer? The colonel is known to have marked his most prized pieces in similar fashion with his initials.

COPYyardley.jpg

Edited by DLTcoins
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11 hours ago, TheTrachyEnjoyer said:

The coin below actually has an unlabeled provenance back to the 15th century aristocracy of Lithuania and Walachia! The Grand Dukes of this period collected and displayed ancient coins as a means to portray legitimacy to the more prestigious courts of Europe (France, Naples, Venice, etc). Especially favored were the great men of the past such as Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar (seen below). 


C1B00B42-6715-40BB-997C-37BE3433B35A.jpeg.4ec66fb4ab17bd6a4e647db8d8fc3631.jpeg

Map of medieval Walachia

807B38DD-6C69-4368-99DE-B730B6FB50DC.jpeg.d5967c5c7682323b9b3fa7d112ac9317.jpeg

Famed Walachian king and coin collector Stanislav “Viztaborhan (The Philhellene)” Gorbanostov III. It is suspected that he began the practice of ancient coin collecting at the Wallachian court in the early 14th century. Stanislav is perhaps best know for his quote which roughly translates as “If you can find [the virtues] of the greatest men in what they left behind, you [will not] find them in the men of the future”. 

300C860E-423E-4ED9-8709-E80FEA8F97A0.jpeg.f06ac132cd944ee13af790304b718e3e.jpeg
15th century Wallachian infantry man. Notice the Persian inspired weapon and Phrygian styled helmet  

00D74047-482F-49A2-A98C-A753B8A95FB3.jpeg.8d64cf0fabcf35446d6b8bb70f962b0f.jpeg

Phrygian helmet on an Ancient Macedonian coin…perhaps a piece like inspired the Wallachian kings?

 
In the same effort to express sophistication and pan philhellenism on the international stage, these dukes even used ancient coins as diplomatic gifts. The WRL you see stamped on either side of the coin actually stands for “W(alachia) R(egnum) L(ithuaniam)”. This signifier was used not only to remind the recipient of who donated the gift but also for future generations to remember which classical-loving society once owned it! Today such stamps are seen as barbaric but in the middle ages it was (relatively) common practice. Below you see a caesar coin with one such WRL stamp.

E232A63C-790E-49B9-B516-33B849B5F848.jpeg.a34aa1d0ea2093ad722b9bfcbe0754f1.jpeg

https://ha-europe.com/en/browse/Coins_Currency_and_Medals_November_2022/3179

I am amazed that Heritage Europe has offered such a spectacular piece, even more so without catching this “amazing” backstory! You could even say I am flabbergasted this entered the auction

It's been withdrawn. Presumably they recognised its extreme rarity and will relist it in a more prestigious venue.

Wallachian specialists await breathlessly. 

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As a student of epigraphy, I must say I am amazed at the almost modern appearance of the medieval Wallachian counterstamp on that denarius. Clearly, our modern letter forms owe more to Walachia than is generally appreciated.  I suspect these letter forms ultimately derive from the Carolingian uncials used by the scribes of Henry the Fowler on letters of reprimand sent to marauding Magyars, from them to Romano-Dacians on the lower Danube basin, and ultimately to the Vlachs.  Truly remarkable!

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On 10/20/2022 at 5:06 AM, TheTrachyEnjoyer said:

The coin below actually has an unlabeled provenance back to the 15th century aristocracy of Lithuania and Walachia! The Grand Dukes of this period collected and displayed ancient coins as a means to portray legitimacy to the more prestigious courts of Europe (France, Naples, Venice, etc). Especially favored were the great men of the past such as Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar (seen below). 


C1B00B42-6715-40BB-997C-37BE3433B35A.jpeg.4ec66fb4ab17bd6a4e647db8d8fc3631.jpeg

Map of medieval Walachia

807B38DD-6C69-4368-99DE-B730B6FB50DC.jpeg.d5967c5c7682323b9b3fa7d112ac9317.jpeg

Famed Walachian king and coin collector Stanislav “Viztaborhan (The Philhellene)” Gorbanostov III. It is suspected that he began the practice of ancient coin collecting at the Wallachian court in the early 14th century. Stanislav is perhaps best know for his quote which roughly translates as “If you can find [the virtues] of the greatest men in what they left behind, you [will not] find them in the men of the future”. 

300C860E-423E-4ED9-8709-E80FEA8F97A0.jpeg.f06ac132cd944ee13af790304b718e3e.jpeg
15th century Wallachian infantry man. Notice the Persian inspired weapon and Phrygian styled helmet  

00D74047-482F-49A2-A98C-A753B8A95FB3.jpeg.8d64cf0fabcf35446d6b8bb70f962b0f.jpeg

Phrygian helmet on an Ancient Macedonian coin…perhaps a piece like inspired the Wallachian kings?

 
In the same effort to express sophistication and pan philhellenism on the international stage, these dukes even used ancient coins as diplomatic gifts. The WRL you see stamped on either side of the coin actually stands for “W(alachia) R(egnum) L(ithuaniam)”. This signifier was used not only to remind the recipient of who donated the gift but also for future generations to remember which classical-loving society once owned it! Today such stamps are seen as barbaric but in the middle ages it was (relatively) common practice. Below you see a caesar coin with one such WRL stamp.

E232A63C-790E-49B9-B516-33B849B5F848.jpeg.a34aa1d0ea2093ad722b9bfcbe0754f1.jpeg

https://ha-europe.com/en/browse/Coins_Currency_and_Medals_November_2022/3179

I am amazed that Heritage Europe has offered such a spectacular piece, even more so without catching this “amazing” backstory! You could even say I am flabbergasted this entered the auction

This is really a good joke. The WRL on this coin stands for "Westair Reproduction Limited" 🙂

 

Edited by Tejas
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Heritage Europe used to be another auction house, until Heritage bought them out.  As usual, I would use caution when bidding. The older auction house was known to accidentally peddle fakes..

Edited by quant.geek
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This thread and the fantastic coin (clearly withdrawn because the owner realized it needs a richer audience) reminds me about another fantastic piece. I once saw it in a numismatic show. It was the only ancient coin the seller had, but boy, what a coin.

He didn't allow me to take photos of it but I found a similar example

image.png.ce6d534c9c5bfa92e4da63e2dec53290.png

 

Just a plain Nero coin, right?

No, my friends, it was a coin minted by Christians!!!! And I think there are only 2 examples known - one I just found and the one that gentleman had.

This is the first example where the Christian years are used on a coin. The seller from the show confirmed me it's clearly genuine (not that was any doubt). Of course I wanted it, but my offers were declined. I wanted to trade it for 100 of my coins, even 200, but he sure knew his stuff.

I admit and confess I wanted to trick him and get it, initially, as a modern souvenir, but you can't argue with a specialist and I was deeply ashamed. He also recommended me to stop the nonsense and study more! I left, completely humiliated and I still hear the crowd booing.

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On 10/19/2022 at 11:06 PM, TheTrachyEnjoyer said:

I am amazed that Heritage Europe has offered such a spectacular piece, even more so without catching this “amazing” backstory! You could even say I am flabbergasted this entered the auction

What it is that drives those of you to patronize experts who would list this is beyond my understanding.  Heritage?  Was it slabbed? Please tell me it was not.  We all make mistakes but WRL is pretty bad.  

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20 hours ago, dougsmit said:

What it is that drives those of you to patronize experts who would list this is beyond my understanding.  Heritage?  Was it slabbed? Please tell me it was not.  We all make mistakes but WRL is pretty bad.  

Sometimes "experts" like this have coins I want. I'm not going to forgo getting a rare type or a good deal because I don't want to "patronise" incompetent dealers

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1 hour ago, zadie said:

Sometimes "experts" like this have coins I want. I'm not going to forgo getting a rare type or a good deal because I don't want to "patronise" incompetent dealers

Ditto. I would buy coins from Satan, as long as his offerings were neither fake nor stolen.

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1 hour ago, Phil Davis said:

Ditto. I would buy coins from Satan, as long as his offerings were neither fake nor stolen.

Yes I have bought from Satan before, too, but I'm not proud of it.  I see patronizing the wrong kind of seller the reason that we have so many fewer of the 'right' kind today.  After all, why should dealers train competent people and provide full service when it pays better to take the other road.  When I was first interested in the hobby I benefitted greatly from help received from some fine gentlemen who took time to answer my questions and explain to me why I needed to have questions rather than just spending my quarters in their shops.  (Beginner coins were cheaper then.)  Later, we could go to shows and trade education with gentlemen who valued their long term reputations.  We had bad actors but those were the tables we passed by.  I never had enough money to buy everything so it never bothered me that I could not afford a WRL at four digits.  The hobby is what you make it.  Be proud. 

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1 hour ago, dougsmit said:

Yes I have bought from Satan before, too, but I'm not proud of it.  I see patronizing the wrong kind of seller the reason that we have so many fewer of the 'right' kind today.  After all, why should dealers train competent people and provide full service when it pays better to take the other road.  When I was first interested in the hobby I benefitted greatly from help received from some fine gentlemen who took time to answer my questions and explain to me why I needed to have questions rather than just spending my quarters in their shops.  (Beginner coins were cheaper then.)  Later, we could go to shows and trade education with gentlemen who valued their long term reputations.  We had bad actors but those were the tables we passed by.  I never had enough money to buy everything so it never bothered me that I could not afford a WRL at four digits.  The hobby is what you make it.  Be proud. 

I think most collectors probably do modulate their behaviour depending on the seller, it's just that there's relatively few black and white examples of good vs bad sellers that collectors don't often entirely stop buying from a particular seller, rather they factor it into their decision to bid.

There's a number of auction houses and dealers where I wouldn't buy coin X for Y amount but I would from a more reputable auction house. If an auction house has a coin I really want and I can mitigate the risk through extra due diligence, then I'll probably bid on it. If they have a coin I only sort of want, or a coin I can't be confident in its authenticity, then I'd be more likely to skip it than if it were a more reputable auction house (or dealer).

I'm sure there are some sellers that people here have decided to never buy from but perhaps that number would decrease in the hypothetical situation where the seller had a coin that this person really really wanted, it was priced very reasonably, and came with a fantastic provenance or other assurances that it were genuine (e.g. slabbed by NGC). So in instances like this I wouldn't close the door completely but they would otherwise fall into the group of sellers where I very much would prefer it if I never had a reason to buy from them.

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2 hours ago, dougsmit said:

Yes I have bought from Satan before, too, but I'm not proud of it.  I see patronizing the wrong kind of seller the reason that we have so many fewer of the 'right' kind today.  After all, why should dealers train competent people and provide full service when it pays better to take the other road.  When I was first interested in the hobby I benefitted greatly from help received from some fine gentlemen who took time to answer my questions and explain to me why I needed to have questions rather than just spending my quarters in their shops.  (Beginner coins were cheaper then.)  Later, we could go to shows and trade education with gentlemen who valued their long term reputations.  We had bad actors but those were the tables we passed by.  I never had enough money to buy everything so it never bothered me that I could not afford a WRL at four digits.  The hobby is what you make it.  Be proud. 

While I agree, I think we can distinguish sellers who make occasional bad mistakes and rectify them and sellers who don’t rectify them, or who deliberately sell fakes or provide incorrect descriptions.

If we don’t give some leeway to suppliers, we wouldn’t be able to buy any coins, as there isn’t a courier who hasn’t regularly made a hash of deliveries.

(I also know big auction houses that sell coins incorrectly described even when it’s pointed out to them - minor transgressions, maybe, but which still affect the value to some extent).

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10 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

(I also know big auction houses that sell coins incorrectly described even when it’s pointed out to them - minor transgressions, maybe, but which still affect the value to some extent).

Even the most reliable auction houses describe coins incorrectly now and then. CNG assigned the Valens solidus I just purchased to the incorrect Depeyrot type -- one that's about twice as common as the type it actually is. But I very much doubt that this obviously inadvertent mistake had any real effect on the price, since it seems unlikely to me that there are a lot of people who care whether the emperor is rosette-diademed or wears a double strand of pearls on his head, or who would bid more for one rather than the other. These kinds of minor errors happen all the time. 

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