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A Rare and Quasi-Autonomous AE


Sulla80
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"In contrast to Sidon, Tyre resumed its role as an important provider of bronze coinage, issuing all four of the denominations it had introduced in the reign of Antiochus IV.  Dated specimens of the largest denomination, marked by a galley's stern on the reverse, have been recorded for every year except S.E. 172 (141/0 B.C.). 

-Seleucid Coins by Houghton, Lorber, and Hoover, part II volume I, p.299

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This coin prompted me to consider rarity and pricing...."Rare" is often used to describe ancient coins.  From my view, it is used most by a sellers as a suggestion to "pay a lot for it".  It is also used buyers or owners who often ask:

  • what is it?
  •  is it rare?

The second question really meaning "will someone pay a lot for it"?

Fortunately - or perhaps disappointingly for those who ask the question: rare on its own doesn't mean that is is a valuable coin.  IMO the factors in price are (in rough order):

  • POPULAR: Is it a coin from a famous person that everyone is interested in? e.g. Julius Caesar, Augustus, Cleopatra...
  • BEAUTIFUL: Is it so beautiful (condition, style, composition) that no ones cares who issued it? e.g. a well struck Extra Fine (EF) or Fleur de Coin (FDC) tetradrachm from Syracuse
  • GOLD: Is it gold - in which case it must be valuable no matter who or what  is on it e.g. any coin made of gold

Rarity of type/issue is essentially meaningless for guessing price unless it is paired with one of more of the first three.  I added 40% to the cost of this coin with the $8 shipping fee.  It is an fun attribution puzzle and (with my initial misattribution) an excuse to learn about Antiochus VII and his siege of Jerusalem.  With a corrected attribution from @Celator (ΔHMHTPIOY on the reverse not ANTIOXOY),  it is an excuse to learn more about Demetrius II in his first reign.  This is considered "Quasi municipal" bronze because it is both "royal" in its portrait and inscription and "local" in its reference to Tyre - which leaves some ambiguity about the authority these were struck under and how they were used in circulation.

This coin appears to be somewhat scarce - about 19 in ACSearch, although auction listing may not be a fair gauge for these less valuable and sometimes quite ugly looking coins. 

  • The weight and diameter are in range for a Denomination B bronze (SC ). 
  • Tyre not in doubt as it is written on the coin - beneath the galley
  • Demetrius II readable on the second line with MHTPI fairly clear and O or Ω somewhat visible
  • Partial Date corresponding to [?] Ξ P the last two numerals of several possible dates date SE 167-169 (146-143 B.C.)

image.png.f8315abff25b12301abf1e0908321b93.png


image.png.a2679122177027307b66b7bf1a5b0a29.png

Seleucid Kings, Demetrios II Nikator, first reign, 146-138 BC, Æ (18.5mm, 6.37g, 12h), Tyre mint, dated SE 167-169 (146-143 BC)

Obv: Diademed head of Demetrios II right

Rev: Stern of galley left;  [BA]ΣIΛEΩ[Σ] / [ΔH]MHTPI[OY] / [?]ΞΡ (date) above, TYPIΩN  𐤍𐤑𐤓

Ref: SC 1968

Post your coins Seleucid bronzes in any denomination, Coins of Demetrios II, or anything else that you find interesting or entertaining.

Edited by Sulla80
corrected to reflect attribution from @Celator
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You might also add that it depends on the nature of the rareness. Legend variants on ancients are not often exciting, and as a whole are common, so what might be unique at one level is common at another. I might not need or want to buy every minor variation. I would also pay more for a coin with an interesting story or a provenance (better an interesting provenance).

You could go as far as to say they are all attributes of rarity e.g. beauty = 'conditional rarity'. So the combination of the number of that variety in existence, the number of acceptable substitutes in existence, beauty (absolute and relative to the others available), historical interest, provenance and intrinsic value - not all weighted the same - determines the rarity and desirability and so the price.

Here's a Seleucid bronze that doesn't count as rare on any measure.

Antiochos II Theos Æ18, 261-246BCimage.png.6eb5a691d26c645f0124f83d7fb157a8.pngSardis. Bronze, 18mm, 3.96g. Laureate head of Apollo right. Tripod of Delphi; to left, monogram of HAP; to right, ΜIΛ; in exergue, anchor; (Β)ΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ (Α)ΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ (SC 522.1).

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

You could go as far as to say they are all attributes of rarity e.g. beauty = 'conditional rarity'.

Hi @John Conduitt , I like your phrase "the number of acceptable substitutes in existence" - this covers many types of "conditional rarity" well - e.g. for some any Roman republic coin with a Dioscuri reverse is good enough to represent many specific issues.  One Seleucid bronze may be just as good as any other.   Even one Julius Caesar can be substituted for another especially for the popular goal of 12-caesars set..."Rare" requires quite a bit of qualification to answer the question: "would someone pay a lot for it". 

I tend to think of "absolute rarity" at the level at which catalog numbers are usually assigned in Seleucid Coins or RIC or Crawford RRC e.g. the Antiochus VII coin 2112 full galley coin only turns up 3 examples (any legend) in ACSearch.  Plenty of wiggle room in these types but they do group things that might be considered engraver added variations (spelling errors, minor legend deviations, et.c.)....and as much as the history is an important attraction for me - I would quickly pay more for a beautiful ("condition rare") Seleucid bronze.  Here are a couple from Antiochos III that I consider a bit higher on the "beautiful" scale.

812829968_AntiochosIIIMegasApollo.jpg.a855225d6d75602a1699f2b602cb9a2a.jpg930481723_AntiochusIIISC1240.jpg.fb675f70907242057cf98a018de2b736.jpg

 

Edited by Sulla80
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Your coin is Demetrius II SC 1968. Choices are LIΞΡ, LHΞΡ, LΘΞΡ, or ΘΞΡ for the year. I don't have a Demetrius II, but here is a Soter for comparison. 

 

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Demetrius I
Tyre
Year 159, 154/153 BC
Obvs: Diademed head of Demetrius right.
Revs: BAΣΙΛEΩΣ ΔHMHTPIOY TYPIΩN, Stern of war galley left with railing oar and aphlaston. Dotted border, Phoenician script lower right. Year LΘΝΡ
AE 20mm, 6.4g
BMC 4.48.47; SC 1672.2; HGC 9, 830(C-S)

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SELEUKID KINGS OF SYRIA. Antiochos VII Euergetes (Sidetes), 138-129 BC. AE (Bronze, 18.5 mm, 6.0 g, ), uncertain mint. Diademed head of Antiochos VII to right. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ / ANTIOXOY - ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ Isis headdress set on inverted crescent; below, sun or star. SC -, cf. 2125A . Apparently unpublished,

 

 

 

 

 

Magical_Snap_-_2022.06.29_11.43_-_047-removebg-preview.jpg

Edited by Topcat7
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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Celator said:

Your coin is Demetrius II SC 1968. Choices are LIΞΡ, LHΞΡ, LΘΞΡ, or ΘΞΡ for the year. I don't have a Demetrius II, but here is a Soter for comparison.

Thanks, @Celator, that's it! (about 19 in ACSearch)

image.png.cd9c691d786f724274ebb740b2970337.png

Seleucid Kings, Demetrios II Nikator, first reign, 146-138 BC, Æ (18.5mm, 6.37g, 12h), Tyre mint, dated SE 167-169 (146-143 BC)

Obv: Diademed head of Demetrios II right

Rev: Stern of galley left; [?]ΞΡ (date) above

Ref: SC 1968

Edited by Sulla80
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