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Focusing my collection


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  • Benefactor

Hello everyone,

This may be a bit of a ramble or even self-reflection, but I thought I'd share something I've recently noticed about my collection and how it's helped me focus my forward collecting.

I won't go through the details of my collections because I've already done so umpteen times, but suffice to say I collect coins from roughly the areas Alexander the Great controlled that were minted from 350-250 BCE. They include coins minted in the name of people and in the name of cities.

Lately, I've been making pretty good progress and I anticipate that, by the end of the year, my collection won't be complete but there will be many auctions I skip because there isn't anything I'm after. This has led me to think about my 'next play'.

Originally the idea was to build "bridges" between my Greek collection and my Roman collection. I admit that I haven't really focused on Roman coins, but I currently have 83 people in Roman Imperial. My original thought was to do the following:
- Collect one of each king for the following lines
     - Lagid
     - Antigonid
     - Ariarathid
     - Bithynian
     - Seleukid
- Next, build up a Roman Republican collection
- At that point I can continue building up my Roman Imperial collection
- I'll then have a 'story' from Philip II to the end of the Roman Empire

That seemed like a good idea at the time, but as I've been collecting more Greek cities, I've found that I'm less enticed by it. The below two coins illustrate a case that pulled me away.


Aegina, Islands off Attica
ca. 370-350 BCE
Ae 12.1mm 2.2g
Obv: Two dolphin swimming upward, stellate pattern between
Rev: Incuse square of skew pattern
SNG Cop. 533



Aegina, Islands of Attica
ca 360-350 BCE
AE 11.7mm 2.0g
Obv: Two dolphins swimming upward, A between
Rev: Skew pattern with five incluse sections, N-O within upper two sections
Sear 2611


These are both Aegina bronzes from roughly the same period, but one contains the letters 'N-O' and one does not. From research, there are other letters minted.

This may be a bit of a boring example, but in another case I added a coin from Argos that depicts the Palladion. I have another from Aspendos coming with the Triskeles. Both of these are cities I already have.

I've therefore amended my collection goals with the following
- Complete my Greek Alexander III collection as planned
- Complete the Bithynia and Ariarathid 'bridges' since I have all the difficult ones already
- Cease adding Roman Imperial coins (I would usually add them as 'extras' at auctions, though today I wind up spending too much well before then). I'll keep what I have in case I change my mind someday and most guests find the denarii more interesting than my Greek bronzes.
- Do not add any Seleukid, Lagid, or Roman Republican coins

This will allow me to focus on building out my collection from this period. There are tons of interesting parallels that become evident when I focus on building out more obscure issues from the Greek cities. For example, Neandria minted coinage very similar to the first from Alexandreia Troas. Kebren seems to have been renamed Antiocheia and my have existed in a Synoecism with Birtyis. There are a number of historic details that are suggested only by coins.

Perhaps by focusing my collection in this direction, eventually I'll discover a few myself.

Anyways, feel free to show any coins you feel are relevant. 🙂 

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  • Benefactor

I heartily approve of your decision, for entirely selfish reasons: more Roman Republican and Imperial coins left for the likes of me! And because I don't collect anything from your areas, that means we don't compete at all, and I don't have to be consumed by dark, bitter envy of your coins and can simply admire them! Perfect!

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It's funny how what types of coins "speak" to me can change, but the essentials stay. MSCs, Sicily, RRs etc will always give me a thrill.

Time period, context, artistry and personalities draw me in to unusual places though. And so, I will continue to buy coins outside of areas that I've designated my usual spaces. It's just too darn fun. 

Here's some silly "off brand" things I'll buy cause they "speak to me":



Rad designs and beasts:


Masterful artistry:


Herakles labors and other crazy shit he did, like strangling two snakes as a baby or cross dressing while his girlfriend wore his clothes:



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