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What do you collect and why?


ambr0zie

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Last week I did something I wanted for a long time - managed to print my collection as even if I keep a good record of all my coins, having a hard copy is better. 
It was cheaper than I expected, but when I decide to stop collecting (which is unlikely but not impossible), I want to have a "real" book, with hard covers and color not B&W, this would be a little more expensive but not very, so I will do it.

image.png.743dd9c77ba7c5b8f87d19e80f4e7832.png

A random sample of "my book". I checked my collection again to see my trends. 

Looking at these 2 pages, these are in fact bad examples of what I like to collect. 
Being active on this forum and in the past on CT, I have quite a clear idea about what the active posters collect. I know on Fridays I will see an interesting Faustina I or II coin with an in-depth explanation about the features of the coin, the city, the symbolistic. Also I am eager to read new topics about RR denarii, with excellent write-ups. And I'm always in for a good laugh (because of the humor, not laugh at the coin) when I see a new topic and I know it will be about a MCS coin or an interesting historical character - and I usually learn new things. 

So most of us, if not all, have a certain area of collecting. Some of us have a small niche, others have broader, general areas. I tend to be in the 2nd category, as I actively collect Greek, Provincial, Imperial. Just bought 2 Byzantine silver coins and a coin from Hungary, 1522. These are not in my main area of collecting but I found them interesting and clearly collectable. 

I said that the Vespasian and Nerva coins shown in the picture are bad examples of what I like to collect. OK, not bad, I would say not the most representative. Here are another 2 pages that illustrate a little better what I prefer 

image.png.e2b9aa6b944a55a0b554c6eb12e03ed9.png

When I started collecting, I had a rough idea about what I want. The tastes remain mainly the same. This is very subjective, but I want a coin to be original (as in original idea), to have a story, to mean SOMETHING. Yep, this is ambiguous, but to provide a clear example - if I need to chose between a Commodus denarius with a random deity sitting/standing, the coin being in excellent condition; versus a worn, even damaged Commodus denarius depicting him as Hercules and with the reverse HERCVLI ROMANO AVG I would pick the second without doubts. Even if the worn coin has the same price.

The examples can continue - I am not very interested in rare or very rare rulers. I do not have coins from Galba, Otho, Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger (just some random examples). The price from a bad condition coin from these rulers is high (price for a poor example would be the same as 3-4-5 good coins for common rulers, for my standards). 

So what I like collecting
- coins with interesting mythological characters/ interesting stories, events or places. Perseus and Medusa. Ulysses coming home greeted by Argos. Herakles and the Nemean lion. Sabine women. Countless examples, the options are unlimited, unfortunately after a while they are getting harder to find. One of my targets would be an Alexandrian Pharos. 
- coins with architectural reverses 
- animals - this is probably my favorite theme. The more exotic, the better
- (this is my niche) coins related to Dacia and Dacian wars. This is why Trajan is well represented in my collection (Column, Dacian soldiers, Danube), and also coins from mints that were in Dacia at some point
- small Greek fractions. I am glad the fractions are not popular and usually they are affordable. I love small coins with lots of artistry on them. 

What I don't particularly like
- I noticed that my interest decreases after I acquire a few coins from a ruler. For the common rulers, I initially wanted at least 1 denarius, 1 imperial bronze and 1 provincial coin. But I quickly realized it's overkill. Sure, some rulers are better represented than others, but this usually means I liked some coins a lot and/or the prices could not be refused 
- rare rulers who do not mean too much to me. I will probably never own an Otho denarius. Paying 300 euros for a modest example is not something I want to. Just because the only interesting thing about that coin is that it has Otho's name (and for that price, most likely not visible). I paid 70 euros + fees for a modest Vitellius denarius, this is probably a good deal but I do not consider that among my favorite coins.
- coins with common reverses - to explain what I consider a common reverse - Providentia, Fortuna, Venus with shield, Victory and many others. The type of reverses used in almost all Roman Empire coinage - sometimes I think the engravers were lacking inspiration and just repeated the same themes. This is the reason I do not actively collect LRBs. 
- common but expensive coins. Tiberius tribute penny, Augustus denarius with Caius and Lucius, Athenian tetradrachms. These are found in almost every auction and I could afford examples of them in average conditions without massive financial efforts, but seeing them too often made my interest completely decrease. 
- although I recently bought, as I mentioned, 2 Byzantine coins and an 1522 Hungary coin, I don't like branching out. Although I tried, I can't acquire the taste for medieval coinage to develop a collection. Same situation for Indian coins or other cultures except Greece and Rome. 

 

What are your preferences? What makes you want to buy a coin (except impulse)? What makes you skip a coin even if theoretically it would be a good addition?

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Interesting post. I'm also very slowly working towards organizing my collection into a printable "book". I like what you've done with yours.

My collection is all over the place historically - Greek, Roman, Chinese, a few Byzantine, and a smattering of world coins from the 16th to the 20th centuries. But I would say my main interest is in Roman imperial coins. They comprise the bulk of my collection. I've also read far more Roman history than Greek or any other.

Also like you @ambr0zie I have become less interested in some types simply because of their commonality, which is why I've recently been drawn to collecting Roman imperial coins with interesting, unusual, or rare reverse types. At the same time, I've lost interest in pursuing or maintaining any sort of "emperor set" which I had started earlier (getting as far as Commodus). There are so many lovely coins I'd rather spend $500 on than a decrepit Didius Julianus.

With world coins, my interest mainly lies in coins of the British Empire, European colonies in general, and coins of the Soviet Union, but I don't pursue these themes with great dedication, mainly buying what I find appealing historically or numismatically.

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I have a few collecting themes but in reality this takes shape in two major sub-collections. My other coins have been bought as part of my education in collecting.

If I had to order them into order then my primary collection would be the denarii of the eastern mints of Septimius Severus from A.D. 193 to A.D. 197. I stumbled across this area of collecting in my early days in dealing with Ancients and realised that it is under published in the major references out there (RIC, BMCRE for example) and that there was a lot that is not understood about this coinage. 

My secondary collection is the Antoniniani of Probus from Lugdunum. This area of collecting has been heavily studied and published (Bastien being the most thorough) and is quite a contrast to my primary collection. There are still types to find and theories to be proposed about this coinage but it is generally very well understood. I drifted into this collecting area due to the proliferation of Mars types, which was a collecting theme of mine in the early days. 

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That's actually wonderful, making your own 'plate' coins. 

In terms of my numismatic interests, it's two pronged- both east (south Indian Tamil kingdoms), and west (mostly Roman and Greek).

The below map depict coins from various Tamil kingdoms, I made this 3 years ago and needs an update. 

COINMAP.png.d593823416f84e803c6e0c69d0b75328.png

The problem with them is they're extremely niche and hard to acquire, mostly Indian auction houses offer them, but won't ship overseas. So I'm only at the mercy of eBay dealers offering them for cheap or unattributed. 

With Romans, I'm interested in collecting coins for Augustus and Trajan, FELICIOR AVGVSTO, MELIOR TRAIANO. Two of my favourite emperors, although the latter one is much more easy to acquire. 

With Greek, I like to collect coins of Alexander, all lifetime and posthumous issues.

tets(1).jpg.5d8bcd88699b88c6f97318ba594a8b04.jpg

Lately I've got interested in the world of owls, but unlike issues of Alexander's these can get really expensive, so I'm not going to be actively looking for them. Below are classic, intermediate and imitative tetradrachms. 

IMG-5850(1).jpg.d5fcf9ad6b8f3202476f5b37de9f3e94.jpg

Regarding least favorite coins- I gotta go with LRBs as well, they're just ancient Lincoln pennies, unassuming cookie-cutter mass produced copper issues. Also i'm a sucker for high relief 3d portraits, which the later Roman coins severely lack. 

Before I got into ancients, I was collecting modern issues and bullion, 

I collected coins issued by European powers in India:

c.jpg.1eb6b1f21e5918d3861a22b13123d94f.jpg

From left to right: 1.British East India Company half Anna. 2.(top) French Indian Fleur de lis type, Puducherry mint( city name in Tamil on the reverse. Circa 1700s (bottom) Rooster type with the same reverse, 1836 3. Danish-Norwegian, minted by the Danish East Indian Company in the city Tranquebar under king Christian V in the late 1600s. 4.(top) Dutch East Indian Company minted ‘duit’ coin, 1766. (bottom) a 1695 Dutch Indian duit coin minted in the city of Negapatnam, written in Tamil on the reverse with the Hindu god Kali on the obverse! 

Australian type set:

aussietypeset.jpg.02cd57a5429c9ac4b355460e47b232ed.jpg

And American 20th century type set:

rcrh6vq9cgj41.webp.114b6b11fa62385b992c6dd712debd7a.webp

 

Edited by JayAg47
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3 hours ago, ambr0zie said:

Last week I did something I wanted for a long time - managed to print my collection as even if I keep a good record of all my coins, having a hard copy is better. 
It was cheaper than I expected, but when I decide to stop collecting (which is unlikely but not impossible), I want to have a "real" book, with hard covers and color not B&W, this would be a little more expensive but not very, so I will do it.

image.png.743dd9c77ba7c5b8f87d19e80f4e7832.png

A random sample of "my book". I checked my collection again to see my trends. 

Looking at these 2 pages, these are in fact bad examples of what I like to collect. 
Being active on this forum and in the past on CT, I have quite a clear idea about what the active posters collect. I know on Fridays I will see an interesting Faustina I or II coin with an in-depth explanation about the features of the coin, the city, the symbolistic. Also I am eager to read new topics about RR denarii, with excellent write-ups. And I'm always in for a good laugh (because of the humor, not laugh at the coin) when I see a new topic and I know it will be about a MCS coin or an interesting historical character - and I usually learn new things. 

So most of us, if not all, have a certain area of collecting. Some of us have a small niche, others have broader, general areas. I tend to be in the 2nd category, as I actively collect Greek, Provincial, Imperial. Just bought 2 Byzantine silver coins and a coin from Hungary, 1522. These are not in my main area of collecting but I found them interesting and clearly collectable. 

I said that the Vespasian and Nerva coins shown in the picture are bad examples of what I like to collect. OK, not bad, I would say not the most representative. Here are another 2 pages that illustrate a little better what I prefer 

image.png.e2b9aa6b944a55a0b554c6eb12e03ed9.png

When I started collecting, I had a rough idea about what I want. The tastes remain mainly the same. This is very subjective, but I want a coin to be original (as in original idea), to have a story, to mean SOMETHING. Yep, this is ambiguous, but to provide a clear example - if I need to chose between a Commodus denarius with a random deity sitting/standing, the coin being in excellent condition; versus a worn, even damaged Commodus denarius depicting him as Hercules and with the reverse HERCVLI ROMANO AVG I would pick the second without doubts. Even if the worn coin has the same price.

The examples can continue - I am not very interested in rare or very rare rulers. I do not have coins from Galba, Otho, Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger (just some random examples). The price from a bad condition coin from these rulers is high (price for a poor example would be the same as 3-4-5 good coins for common rulers, for my standards). 

So what I like collecting
- coins with interesting mythological characters/ interesting stories, events or places. Perseus and Medusa. Ulysses coming home greeted by Argos. Herakles and the Nemean lion. Sabine women. Countless examples, the options are unlimited, unfortunately after a while they are getting harder to find. One of my targets would be an Alexandrian Pharos. 
- coins with architectural reverses 
- animals - this is probably my favorite theme. The more exotic, the better
- (this is my niche) coins related to Dacia and Dacian wars. This is why Trajan is well represented in my collection (Column, Dacian soldiers, Danube), and also coins from mints that were in Dacia at some point
- small Greek fractions. I am glad the fractions are not popular and usually they are affordable. I love small coins with lots of artistry on them. 

What I don't particularly like
- I noticed that my interest decreases after I acquire a few coins from a ruler. For the common rulers, I initially wanted at least 1 denarius, 1 imperial bronze and 1 provincial coin. But I quickly realized it's overkill. Sure, some rulers are better represented than others, but this usually means I liked some coins a lot and/or the prices could not be refused 
- rare rulers who do not mean too much to me. I will probably never own an Otho denarius. Paying 300 euros for a modest example is not something I want to. Just because the only interesting thing about that coin is that it has Otho's name (and for that price, most likely not visible). I paid 70 euros + fees for a modest Vitellius denarius, this is probably a good deal but I do not consider that among my favorite coins.
- coins with common reverses - to explain what I consider a common reverse - Providentia, Fortuna, Venus with shield, Victory and many others. The type of reverses used in almost all Roman Empire coinage - sometimes I think the engravers were lacking inspiration and just repeated the same themes. This is the reason I do not actively collect LRBs. 
- common but expensive coins. Tiberius tribute penny, Augustus denarius with Caius and Lucius, Athenian tetradrachms. These are found in almost every auction and I could afford examples of them in average conditions without massive financial efforts, but seeing them too often made my interest completely decrease. 
- although I recently bought, as I mentioned, 2 Byzantine coins and an 1522 Hungary coin, I don't like branching out. Although I tried, I can't acquire the taste for medieval coinage to develop a collection. Same situation for Indian coins or other cultures except Greece and Rome. 

 

What are your preferences? What makes you want to buy a coin (except impulse)? What makes you skip a coin even if theoretically it would be a good addition?

Ozie, I think the idea of recording your collection in book form is a great idea ☺️, & will be an important document to leave to your heirs. I wish I had started doing the same thing years ago 🙁. What I personally collect has changed over the years, but the last decade I've stuck with Roman provincial tetradrachms & Diocletian era folles.

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My overarching collecting interest is in the coinage of Rome, from its inception to the fifth century CE. Now, that's not to say that all aspects of Roman numismatics are represented equally. I have more coins of the second and third century CE than anything, primarily because of budgetary constraints. But these budgetary constraints forced me to study these coins in depth. There is just a HUGE variety of them to choose from. One could spend a lifetime collecting Trajan or Hadrian alone, like Tom Buggy and Okidoki did. Same with any of the Antonine or Severan Emperors. I am a "one of each emperor" collector, yes, but I tend to delve deep into a narrow field. I find one subspecialty, collect it for a while, and move on to another after a while, often returning to previous subspecialties a few years later. I have a variety of subcollections. The one I've been collecting off and on for the longest period of time, and particularly over the past three years, is my Antonine women collection, particularly Faustina the Younger.

Her coinage is well-catalogued but not necessarily well-understood. There are some rare die-varieties and an assortment of bust and inscription varieties that are of interest to the specialist because they help with dating the coinage, which is otherwise undated. I find it fascinating.

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I collect Imperial Rome from the time of Vespasian to the time of Julian II. This is the period of history I find the most interesting, and I know the most about! Furthermore, I think these coins are the most beautiful and are often important pieces of evidence regarding historical events due to the fact they communicate the messages of the Imperial apparatus. They are also quite affordable!

The reason for not collecting the Julio Claudians, is that I didn't really become engrossed in them until very recently. I always found the Third Century Crisis and the Christianization periods the most interesting previously. My interest in the Julio-Claudians has substantially increased in the last year, however the price of the coins (and in my opinion the lack of historically relevant reverses that aren't eye-wateringly expensive) has resulted in me keeping my original time boundary in place.

Edited by Steppenfool
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I have two active interests.

First and often foremost, I was somehow gripped with the allure of Indo-Sassanian coinage - the fading ripples left by a single moment in history when Shah Peroz was forced to empty his Treasury to ransom himself from Hephthalite captivity. I collected a few, then stumbled on a type I had not seen published before, and then went down the rabbit hole of trying to rework the entire series with a fresh perspective. I'm planning to eventually publish my findings as a website, with perhaps a book coming eventually, if I ever get around to it. My avatar coin was the "tipping point" coin that sent me down this path, it was just so utterly captivating for reasons I couldn't articulate.imgonline-com-ua-twotoone-7Nn0ZZlJ8BEsfAd.jpg.2488743212ddae3cf9a63d1050bfa335.jpg

Some of my favorite types that are still as of yet formally unpublished

Zombodroid_27102022060851.jpg.6740dc41e48dffddec6608fdafb5c8b6.jpgZombodroid_22122022125702.jpg.c3c2f59c9ed02f9940af850b0a4e0e96.jpgZomboDroid31122020131808.jpg.514bbb0bdd8446f49578686ef2266ad7.jpgIndosassanianunusualnosemoon.jpg.92bd8b9ae7f990023f830b6f7faeece1.jpgZomboDroid17022022112556.jpg.5347f73f2f5d10c6988ae2822e2e5850.jpgZomboDroid22022022111542.jpg.05b65b138cd4c74beac88e46ae04087a.jpgZomboDroid24022022111520.jpg.12e1b8b151638e681bd5d33ec539caac.jpgZomboDroid07032022221755.jpg.89926dd74ad3212b0b1d11abeab9a5b9.jpgZombodroid_09062023124829.jpg.c30c9030ecb2d5c1eaaf29faf503539c.jpgZomboDroid29072022160333.jpg.fac1df13a946c5e7c89818e50b3383be.jpg

 

My other primary focus is attempting to collect every member of all Roman Imperial families, in every title they held, e.g. 

As Caesar under a living emperor

Marcusaureliuscaesarcosdesii.jpg.3b9692a2920e0a5a182963965c4c72e1.jpgFaustinaiipiafelixconcordia.jpg.39ebd12730b0304b85eb16a81da7e71d.jpg

As emperor/empress

MarcusAureliusjupiterric381.jpg.e43d8c70af81f1db74d03df597b66780.jpgFaustinaIISAECVLIFELICIT.jpg.64252cbb46850cf18d088b90a7acd6bc.jpg

And posthumous

Divusmarcusaureliuseagle.jpg.d0d2aeac3849b9b3256d89ce4e4f9f13.jpgDivafaustinaiiaeternitas.jpg.4c07394f2b11b2f45519ff58b9f718a1.jpg

I eventually intend to make my binder into a sort of "hard copy" with each album page separated by a 1-2 page bio of each person, as well as detailed descriptions of the coins themselves. It's still a long ways off...

 

Edited by Finn235
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Roman and now Byzantine.........I just heard back from an old Professor of Byzantine history from Berkeley - Warren Treadgold whose course I took back in the late 80's. I emailed him a short note. He said it was "very gratifying to hear from one of his former students". I've read of a few of his books, including "A Concise History of Byzantium" and "Byzantium and Its Army: 284-1081" anyway I 've been getting a bit more into Byzantine coins.

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i mostly collect bactrian coins and turkoman figural bronzes. the designs are really nice on both, and the mystique of bactria is super interesting to me. 

 

image.png.02676f9e03fbeec4a83098c6c47b725f.png

Greco-Baktrian Kingdom. Demetrios I, circa 200-185 BC. Tetradrachm
(Silver, 32 mm, 16.71 g, 12 h)

image.png.5bcaa55ef798282ed32833b6df54d809.png

Artuqids of Mardin. Husam al-Din Timurtash, AD 1122-1152. Dirham
(Bronze, 29 mm, 12.21 g, 7 h), Mardin

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I started by collecting English coins of any sort. That's very broad, but it means if I get bored of, say, Roman, I can go into Celtic, Saxon, medieval, Civil War or milled. I aim to have one per ruler (roughly) but there are some areas where I've expanded, like Charles I or George III, because of the history.

Saenu Icenian L Unit, AD35-43
image.png.de889e13b6b45bd1767328410b9bab93.png
Iceni Tribe, East Anglia, England. Silver, 1.23g. Back-to-back crescents, three lines behind. Stylised horse with linear head right, four-pellet daisy above, six pellets on horse's shoulder; SAENV below (ABC 1699; VA 770-1; S 446). One of each ruler gets tricky when you're not sure who the ruler is.

I then got interested in the non-British coins people were using - the Celts used coins from Massalia, the Romano-British used coins from all over the empire, and in medieval Britain they used such things as soldinos, Brabantinis and esterlings. Even George III issued countermarked reales. So I collect coins found in Britain. This also allows me to get interested in findspots and hoards, and tokens and contemporary counterfeits.

Count Henri II of Champagne and Brie Denier with Alpha and Omega, 1181-1197
image.png.9f043b77a788f02bbb9690408f6a820c.png
Provins. Billon, 0.94g. Potent cross, pellet in 1st and 4th quarters, omega in 2nd quarter, alpha in 3rd quarter; + HENRI COMES (Count Henri). Champenois comb surmounted by a T between two inverted crescents; PRVVINS CASTRI (of the Castle of Provins). Prograde S (Poey d'Avant 5972). Found in Billingsgate spoil from the Thames foreshore in the 1980s.

I also collect coins from Russia and the Golden Horde, which is again a geographical focus. On top of that, I have a bit of a who's who of coins, one or two from each - Attica, Olbia, Alexander the Great, Judean, Nabatean, Sasanian, Pathian, Justinian, Indian, feudal France, Leeuwendaalders etc.

Ban Liang from the time of Qin Shi Huangdi, 1st Emperor of China, 221-210BC
image.png.53cf14c559af9c2b2d13f4605fae622d.png
China. Bronze, 33mm, 9.40g. Ban / Liang (Half an ounce); square hole, no rims. Uniface (Hartill 7.7).

As far as uninteresting reverses go, I find that if I get involved in something, it becomes interesting. For example, all Henry III pennies look the same and are not visually interesting. They have a dodgy generic portrait on the front and a cross and pellets on the back. Very little changes from one to the next - the biggest thing was when the cross on the back got a bit longer. But having spent some time researching and identifying them, I suddenly find myself going, ooh, that's a Class 6c2...

Henry III 7c3 Short Cross Penny, 1242
image.png.faf5029a7d3bb3199984f2d5d16b4197.png
Canterbury. Silver, 18mm, 1.34g. Crowned facing bust with tiny pellets in curls; HENRICV[S REX]. Voided short cross with quatrefoil in each angle, large initial cross; WILLEM ON CAN (North 980C; S 1356C; Mass - 2084, this coin). Ex J Sazama; JP Mass; WJ Conte; JJ North (bought from Baldwin in 1987); from the Naxos (Greece) Hoard 1969.

Edited by John Conduitt
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When I first saw, years ago, an example of a Panama coin, for some reason I thought that is a portrait of Don Quijote. 

Apparently he is depicted on Cuban coins. This is a modern coin I would like. 

image.png.2bd68de7f820f2289af32e0fc61b6712.png

5 minutes ago, AETHER said:

I love the book and been meaning to start one for a while now. You just gave me a bit more inspiration. 

 

It was not easy as the style had to be uniformized. I am still not 100% happy - some descriptions still have non uniform style. 
I have a habit of creating Word documents for all the auctions I participate in. Not sure why I did this for the first auction and the habit remained. 
After a while I decided to create a master document with all the coins but I realized than in my almost 3 years of collecting my description styles changed so I had to uniformize it somehow. Different fonts, different phrasing. Plus I wanted personal pictures of all my coins as about 150 of them had only auction pics / or my pics but bad. This was NOT a pleasant activity for me - take all pics, remove background when needed, add to file. 

If I needed to create a document from the scratch, I wouldn't have done it for 408 coins. 

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5 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

When I first saw, years ago, an example of a Panama coin, for some reason I thought that is a portrait of Don Quijote. 

Apparently he is depicted on Cuban coins. This is a modern coin I would like. 

image.png.2bd68de7f820f2289af32e0fc61b6712.png

It was not easy as the style had to be uniformized. I am still not 100% happy - some descriptions still have non uniform style. 
I have a habit of creating Word documents for all the auctions I participate in. Not sure why I did this for the first auction and the habit remained. 
After a while I decided to create a master document with all the coins but I realized than in my almost 3 years of collecting my description styles changed so I had to uniformize it somehow. Different fonts, different phrasing. Plus I wanted personal pictures of all my coins as about 150 of them had only auction pics / or my pics but bad. This was NOT a pleasant activity for me - take all pics, remove background when needed, add to file. 

If I needed to create a document from the scratch, I wouldn't have done it for 408 coins. 

I look forward to creating it, another reason to take coins out and re-engage. But I don't have nearly what you have.

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Great looking book, my dude! You've always had a knack for organization and it shows in the pages you've shared. I hope to see the digital version when it's completed. My MSC book keeps stopping and starting. I will complete it, but its a lot!

I do aim to entertain when writing up a coin. So many thanks for the laugh love😁

MSCs will remain my main focus of interest with no end in sight.

4051528_1682061973.l-removebg-preview.png.09c3cd64ef8bf1b084b80a61eb890377.png.087e3308529b8f52027f576e9123bfb1.png

Though, I still have my side chicks😉 ie, RRs,

2610239-removebg-preview.png.f5fa11bd7b6391f060ee05fcbf6c97ad.png.c92937b599170fa4fefa1c251a8b280d.png

coins with nudity,

Collage_2021-01-21_11_39_41_2-removebg-preview.png.87d7acdcfa296bb2b38e8eabc459a837.png.032a23f25c31795b77f743d8bd0868c0.png

Herakles doing his thing,

1000003283-removebg-preview.png.ee8de8c399965550940d27828d1ed58f.png.5abe3767c5c1eae3cc170c1841d1f8e5.png

and coins that are just so beautiful that they scream at me that I must buy them!

Screenshot_20220508-123435_PicCollage-removebg-preview.png.1be01b3ebee2f3fe95165b63979f9019.png.44b4fd26e188a5e4ac88784b3bac8a45.png

I will never understand those that run out of types that they like. It would be impossible for me to ever run out of ancients that I desire and chase. 

Guess you could say that I've got an addiction with my lust for ancients:

 

 

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I'm a generalist. But, I have some areas, where I've gone off the deep end. I have my favorite coins, 211 coins, which I currently keep in 5 Abafil velvet 1 compartment trays. I also have my lesser coins, which I keep in trays, albums, and other containers. I also have my Lincoln cent collection, which I keep in albums. My favorite coins are in the following 5 trays.

Greek And Nonclassical   51   (51 Ancient, 25 Greek, 26 Nonclassical)
Roman                               46   (46 Ancient)
Byzantine                          32   (32 Ancient)
China, Vietnam, Japan     38   (12 Ancient, 21 Medieval, 5 Modern, 31 Chinese, 6 Vietnamese, 1 Japanese)
Medieval And Modern      44   (11 Medieval, 33 Modern)


TOTAL ANCIENT              141
TOTAL MEDIEVAL              32
TOTAL MODERN                38
TOTAL                               211

I just collect coins, which are interesting to me. I like the history, and the mystery. Deep end areas are as follows.

Ancient early Greek electrum. I only have 2 of these, but I've spent a lot of time researching this area.

Ancient Greek in general. All eras. All areas.

Ancient Judaean.

Ancient Celtic. Mostly in the area of France.

Roman Republic. Mostly bronze. Mostly early Roman Republic.

Roman Empire. All eras.

Byzantine. All eras. Especially 500 AD to 800 AD, and 1000 AD to 1453 AD.

Chinese. Ancient and medieval.

Vietnamese. Medieval and early modern. My earliest is from circa 984 AD. My latest is from circa 1516 AD.

Early medieval Europe and Crusader coins.

Spanish colonial pieces of eight. 1536 AD to 1800 AD. I would also collect gold doubloons, if I could afford them. My earliest piece of eight is from circa 1590 AD.

English large copper pennies.

US coins. Early US coins. Lincoln cents. Bullion coins.

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Spain. Philip II. Silver 8 Reales "Piece Of Eight". 1589 AD To 1591 AD. Potosi Mint (In What Is Now Bolivia). Assayer RL. Diameter 37.7 mm. Weight 27.20 grams. Paoletti 97. Sedwick P13. KM 5.1.

Edited by sand
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What do I collect and why? 

My nascent interest in classical coins was somewhat repressed at an early age as I was one of those sods whose  Latin and Greek masters at school wore gowns and the old style  mortar  boards,  only called you by your last  name and threw heavy wooden chalkboard dusters at  you if you got  it wrong. (I'm not even THAT old!) That made me veer more modern and after university  I went to the US to work as a barman  in Old Town Alexandria  Virginia, which had several sellers of colonial paper currency.  I ploughed a lot of my limited earnings  into that before the market took off. The reason for  doing  it was much of  my degree involved  revolutionary period  history and there was  product available on my doorstep.

I managed to get a fairly good collection over  some time - a couple of examples here :

 

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However the market became expensive for me, I had a decent collection, there was limited  interaction with others  interested,  the literature was  to me quite turgid etc so I then moved on to Byzantine coins as the older world kept nagging at me, via a mentor at Forum Ancient, 20 years ago -

 

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 - but "on the sly" was  building up a Sicilian collection based on some knowledge of the classics and the languages,  holidays there (it's  like a inexpensive bus service from London and Sicily - being so poor -  is an inexpensive destination if you book carefully...) , the coins' beauty and related attractions. I found the depth and breadth  of the available literature a huge  bonus, and rightly  or  wrongly the main museums  I knew  had far more interesting  and more varied  exhibits on  ancient Greece than  say Revolutionary America or even  Constantinople etc. So  it developed into self-feeding loop which continues to this day. I suppose it was an easier  interest (addiction!) to feed,  in terms of availability of relevant stimuli. I have inexplicable resentments at Carthage and  Rome that largely prevent me from collecting coins from there though  I am hugely interested in both.  (The resentments are ones of mint/city/culture destruction, though I am  fully aware of the many similar crimes of certain Greek poleis! I cannot  justify  my prejudice.)

No regrets though yet, and when I stray it  is to Magna Graecia and sometimes  old Greece.  

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I began my collection without a well-defined plan, but one of my first significant purchases was a Byzantine coin of Constantine VIII, and the second was a coin of his brother Basil II.  I also acquired an imitative ducat of Andrea Dandolo which was attributed at the time to the duchy of Achaea, thus a relic of the consequences of the Fourth Crusade.  That was about 40 years ago.  

Since then my collection has grown like coral, slowly, with occasional branches off the main structure.  The focus is on late Roman and Byzantine gold, with some imitative and Barbarian coins.  I have some LRB’s, some Carolingian coins, and some Crusader pieces, but without any attempt at a comprehensive collection of these.  I also have some French feudal coins of Provins, Lyon, and Toulouse, some coins of the Crusaders’ opponents, and a few choice Anglo-Saxon coins.  


Of the following I have none, or almost none:  Greek, Roman before Constantine, Parthian, Sassanian or points East, Anglo-Saxon thrymsas, Merovingian of almost any kind.  My reasons for not buying these are multiple, but chief among them is this saying my family uses:  “You can’t buy everything.”    It is also difficult to be an expert in everything.

 Thrymsas and Merovingian coins would be a great fit for my collection, but they are too pricey.  

Of my purchases over the past 3 years, about half are in the core area of late Roman and Byzantine gold.  I’ve picked up 8 Carolingian coins, which are a new interest.  There are a few Anglo-Saxon pennies, an Eraviscan denarius, and a few other odds and ends.  
 

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@ambr0zie, your collection catalog looks excellent.  I have enjoyed putting together my digital notes on "coins of interest" at http://www.sullacoins.com. A browse of the coins there shows how my interests have wandered.  For me the coins give me an anchor to explore ancient history and art and to learn the characters of both individuals and their societies.  "How do we know what we know" is a key question that I keep asking....drawing me into the evolving views from contemporary to modern sources and technical tools such as die links, hoard evidence, metal composition, epigraphic evidence, overstrikes, et.c. My starting point was ancient Rome and a local coin shop that I passed each day on my walk to elementary school, and one day wandered inside. 

Some coins that draw me in are well preserved works of art, as this one from one of Julius Caesar's assassins, Brutus, telling of his tyrannicidal ancestry in 54 BC:

BrutusAhala2.jpg.15f8fcd599040fc45d77beb32017d851.jpg
more often they are weathered by history and environment, as with this coin:PeriklesLyciaAe.jpg.65b037c1f0325df75ead4f8607ea0e0a.jpg

Lycia, unknown mint, 2.08g, 13mm, AE coin of Perikles (Päriklä), Lycian dynast - a quasi-autonomous king of Lycia connected to the Achaemenid empire.  Pan on the obverse and 𐊓𐊁 𐊕𐊆 𐊋𐊍 (Lycian script) on the reverse between arms of the triskeles.  Pan known for his support of Athens over Persia in the Battle at Marathon seems a defiant choice for a quasi-autonomous king....my notes on this coin, along with the connection to the first modern marathon, are here:

https://www.sullacoins.com/post/perikles-lycian-dynast

Edited by Sulla80
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I collect one Roman coin per ruler (occasionally I will have 2-3 examples for a ruler where I find truly fabulous coins… sometimes I have a sestertius as a companion to a denarius/antoninianus of a particular ruler). I have most of the rulers that I can afford (I think around 155 rulers last time I counted), so now I look to upgrade to better coins.

I also collect coins of British rulers from the Tudors onwards (it’s only after Henry VII that the British series really gets interesting). 

I also have a few magnificent 18th century Russian roubles & a few Ancient Greek tetradrachma and gold staters. Sometimes I can’t resist amazing coins outside my usual collecting themes.

 

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I collect Anastasian gold coins, as I might have mentioned before. Many collectors would find the period boring and coins monotonous… I do not complain.

Focusing on gold coins is not because of snobbishness - bronze and silver often bring higher prices than average Anastasian gold. Gold coins of the period are far more suitable for die studies, though.

I like the historical mysteries of the period with few historical records, vast gaps of knowledge, and many people who produced gold coins with the Anastasian name.

In fact, there were hardly any other gold coins in the world produced during the Anastasian period. Parisian and Axumite Emprires were not producing gold coins at scale; those few we know could be outside the Anastasia reign. I came across some coins from an Indian state that may be called electrum but appear more like silver.

Anastasius solidus may be seen as a truly global currency found all over Eurasia, including India and China plus Africa. So if I wanted to see myself as more of a generalist, I could say I collect all gold coins produced from 491 to 518 (and some later coins that used the Anastasian name). I would still collect the same coins.

 It may be hard to prepare an accurate write-up about an Anastasian coin because of the scarcity of reference literature. The history books and numismatic publications on the topic are few, and academics disagree on important matters. So what I cannot find in publications and I try to puzzle out myself… the best I can. Following the coins, it is sometimes tempting to disagree with what the literature says. 

I do like these coins themselves, beyond the collector’s hunt.  

I do not intend to produce a book of my own collection. I can do this within minutes with the software I used for the database, but it would be a miserable story with many ‘blank pages’ of coins I do not have. I hope to prepare a book of Anastasian coins if I can in the future, featuring my coins but not necessarily identifying them as such. To make such a book, I need to master photography, travel museums, commissioning photography when needed, get permissions to publish other coins… I am on the way to applying some analytical methods to my coins.

Scores of coins can be considered unique or only in private hands, but I am more excited about finding duplicates and die links.

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Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. Triton XX. 10/01/2017

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- Medieval, with a special focus on the denier tournois denomination; Crusader realms and Levantine colonial from the maritime city states (Venice, Genova)

- Late roman, but starting not with the Diocletian reform but rather with the third century crisis

- Provincial Roman, with a special focus on Balkan-Black Sea area and an even more special focus on Glykon

- Late Byzantine, mainly trachea/stamena starting with the 4th Crusade and the Palaiologoi but also assaria and tornesi

- Odds and ends -- the general Greek world, 'Celtic' imitations, Crimea

 

As for why, this is even a mystery to myself. It just happened that way in my evolving interests, from the cheap late Roman bronzes that were so easily available on ebay to the complex and rich history behind the feudal and royal coinages of Western Europe and to the melting pot between West and East that was the Balkans, the Black Sea and the overall Levant area. Since my main interest is as a historian, I am unapologetically accepting lesser grade coins if I find something in them that attracts my interest. With the late Roman era I also go for the shift in aesthetics as well as ideology that is encapsulated in the 3rd to 4th century, moving away from the naturalistic portrait of the specific emperor to a more standardized effigy that would eventually reign supreme in Byzantine coinage. Since this period is known for the overabundance of coins, it is also easier to get higher grade material. Provincial Roman offers an interesting fusion between the centralized power of the emperor and the particularities of local religion and politics. These coins have a sense of identity that is more specific and their smaller patterns of circulation and lower emission outputs make it very easy to find great rarities which in turn make great identification and attribution projects. To an extent, this is also true for late Byzantine coinage, which is a field that still needs a lot of research and systematization and where collectors have a more pronounced importance due to us being relatively fewer. The billon denier tournois is a staple of the medieval world, being at one time or another in circulation between north-western Europe and the Eastern Levant. There were dozens of minting places and the quality and material variation is amazing and so is the array of polities that minted them. This focus overlaps partially with the late Byzantine focus as the Palaiologoi tornesion is a direct response of Constantinople to the 'denarization' of Eastern Europe under the influence of post-1204 Frankish, Venetian and Genoese expansion. Inside the medieval focus there are also sub-focuses that haven't fully developed: monastical coinage, Italian pre-Renaissance, colonial coinage of the maritime powers, medieval Netherlands, the denier parisis, etc. There are also some questions that I am trying to address with my collection - like for instance regarding the possible tournois and parisii of Louis X and Philippe V of France, the 'war money' from the Congiura dei Baroni in southern Italy, the series of tournois imitations from the Balkan-Greek-Aegean area, the elusive separation line between late Carolingian and early feudal issues and who actually minted them, etc.

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1 hour ago, Hrefn said:

@Rand, I thought had an obverse die match for you, but they are merely very similar.    

Thank you @Hrefn. I appreciate and keep your coins in my records - I particularly like the Merovingian one.

A beautiful coin - I only have the reverse die link for it (not as nice as yours).

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Solidus Numismatik. Auction 13. 25/03/2017

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