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Kirispupis top 10 coins of the year


Coin poll  

38 members have voted

  1. 1. Which do you like the most?

    • Nikokles of Paphos Tetradrachm
      7
    • Lykkeios Tetradrachm
      10
    • Polyrhenion Bronze
      7
    • Kamnaskires III Tetradrachm
      20
    • Nikomedes III Tetradrachm
      6
    • Artake Bronze
      0
    • Ptolemy IV Drachm
      3
    • Hyspaosines Tetradrachm
      7
    • Ptolemy I Satrap Memphis Tetradrachm
      4
    • Bambyke-Manbog Obol
      2


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I could not have predicted how much my collection grew this year. It's been a tremendously successful (albeit) year in which my collection grew to something respectful. I added roughly 300 coins this year, many of them rare, so picking a top 10 is challenging. 

Unfortunately, most of those coins aren't the most attractive, despite how rare they are. Therefore, in a blatant attempt to gather more likes, I've skewed the results more towards the "pretty" coins. 🙂 Here they are in no particular order.

1) Tetradrachm from Nikokles of Paphos

This is no ordinary "names and types of Alexander" tet. In what was likely a highly controversial act at the time, Nikokles had engraved his name within the lion's mane. In my copy, small traces of the letters are still visible. I had been wanting an example for some time, but with recent ones going into the stratosphere, I instead chose a bronze to represent Nikokles.

You therefore could understand my joy to see this one listed. Nikokles only included his name for a short time, since both Seleukos and Antigonos could not have been pleased once the hidden name was discovered.

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Nikokles of Cyprus
AR silver tetradrachm
Struck at Paphos, Cyprus, 325-317 BCE
Head of Herakles right, wearing lion's skin headdress; on lion's mane, faint letters NIKOKΛEOYΣ at the highest points (and as such worn nearly illegible).
Reverse - BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞANΔPOY Zeus seated left; holding eagle in right hand and sceptre in left; ΠΑΦ monogram for Paphos in left field, and below the throne, a laurel spring.
Price 3123. May, Paphos 7, pl. 1, 9. Tziambazis 11. Very rare. 26mm, 17.0g

 

2) Lykkeios tetradrachm
This concluded my Illyrian kings collection and was thus probably my biggest pickup in terms of filling a gap this year. Lykkeios had the misfortune of being king when another guy named Philip II was head of Macedon. The two tangled and Lykkeios got the worse of it. Lykkeios was succeeded by Patraos, whose coins with a rider running over a Macedonian soldier are common. Patraos was succeeded by his son Audoleon, who in turn was succeeded by Leon.

This coin doubles as having an awesome reverse with Herakles wrestling the Nemean lion.

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Kings of Paeonia, Lykkeios
circa 359-335 BCE
AR Tetradrachm 22 mm, 13.19 g, 6 h
Astibos or Damastion
Laureate head of Apollo to right.
Rev. ΛYKK-EIOY Herakles standing left, strangling the Nemean lion; to right, bow and quiver.
Paeonian Hoard 72. Peykov E1030

 

3) Polyrhenion Bronze

We can't have silver all the time. Besides coming from Crete, where nearly every city is difficult to obtain, this one has as classic a design as it gets. The bull with the shield has made it one of my favorite bronzes and it won a close battle with some other favorite bronzes from this year.

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Crete, Polyrhenion
circa 330-280 BCE
AE 11mm, 1.14g
Round shield; in center, bull's head facing
Π-O/Λ-V; spear point
SNG Copenhagen 534
Ex Chistopher Morcom collection
Ex Edward P. Warren collection
Ex CNG 2007

 

4) Kamnaskires III Tetradrachm

Elymais was an important kingdom for my "Kingdoms After Alexander" collection, which I got to within one coin this year. I was very happy that a hoard seems to have flooded the market and made this coin possible for me to obtain. Although no longer rare, it has a great look and is a beautiful coin to behold.

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Kings of Elymais, Kamnaskires III, with Anzaze
Seleukeia on the Hedyphon
dated SE 233 = 80/79 BCE
AR Tetradrachm 15.89g, 27mm, 12h
Conjoined busts of Kamnaskires and Queen Anzaze to left; Seleukid anchor terminating in monogram behind
Zeus seated to left, holding sceptre and Nike, who crowns him; IΛCIΛEΩ[C] [KΛ]MNΛCKIIOY [...]IΛCIΛHHIH ANZAZH around, [MAK]EΔ[ΩN] to inner left, ГΛΣ (sic, date) in exergue.
Van't Haaff Type 7.1.1-1-2 (date unlisted); Alram 454 (date unlisted); Roma E-103, 597 (same dies); Sunrise -; DCA 518. 

 

5) Nikomedes III Tetradrachm

This year I added tets of Nikomedes II, III, and IV. My IV example has a very rare control, but my III has the largest flan of any silver coin in my collection.  I definitely need to improve my photographic setup, because this is an absolute stunner in hand. It never fails to receive an "oh, wow!" reaction when I show it. This was also the last coin missing for my Bithynian collection.

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Kings of Bithynia. Nikomedeia. Nikomedes III Euergetes
Dated BE 172 = 126/5 BCE
AR Tetradrachm 36 mm, 15,94 g
Obv: Diademed head of Nikomedes III
Rev: BAΣIΛEΩΣ / EΠIΦANOΥΣ / NIKOMHΔOΥ Zeus Stephanophoros standing left; to inner left, eagle standing left on thunderbolt above monogram and BOP monogram
SNG von Aulock 6894

 

6) Artake Bronze

This is from the acclaimed Plankenhorn Collection, from which I acquired several other pieces this year. This is the only known coin from Artake and I was absolutely thrilled to add it. While I'm sure a bunch will reach the market tomorrow, for now I'm very proud to own the only example from this city. It may be my favorite bronze coin.

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Mysia, Artake
4th century BCE
AE 8 mm, 0.65 g, 12 h
Head of Artemis to right, wearing stephane and with bow and quiver over her shoulder.
Rev. A-P-T-A within the four spokes of a wheel.
Plankenhorn, Mysien, p. 26, 1 (this coin). Apparently unique.
Ex collection of G. Plankenhorn

 

7) Ptolemy IV Drachm

I admit there are many Ptolemy drachms that outshine this one. However, what I like even more is a bargain. When I saw this piece below a hundred bucks, I grabbed it immediately. It's also a great looking coin in hand and doesn't appear to be tooled like many other examples. It's one of my favorite coins to show off.

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Ptolemy IV Philopator
222-205/4 BCE
AE Drachm 41.4mm 66.2g
Alexandreia Mint
Obv: Head of Zeus-Ammon right, wearing tainia
Rev: Eagle standing left on thunderbolt, filleted cornucopia to left; LI between legs
Ref: Svoronos 1126

 

😎 Hyspaosines Tetradrachm

Characenes was another kingdom in my "Kingdoms After Alexander" collection, and my general rule is to purchase the first ruler unless he didn't mint coins or is prohibitively expensive. Luckily, there was a "mini-glut" of Hyspaosines tets that reached the market and I managed to snag one. These kingdoms certainly had a knack for impressive coins. The only thing is the eyes of whoever is on the obverse make him look like a zombie.

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Kings of Characene. Hyspaosines
Charax-Spasinu mint
Dated SE 189 (124/3 BCE)
AR Tetradrachm 31mm, 16.20 g, 12h
Diademed head right /
Herakles seated left on rock, holding club on knee; monogram to outer left, ΘΠP (date) in exergue.
Assar fig. 13; Alram 491 var. (date); Sunrise 463; cf. DCA 479 (for type; date unlisted)

 

9) Ptolemy I Satrap Memphis Tetradrachm

The Alexander types from Memphis are often considered to be the most beautiful of his coinage. When I compare it with my other tets, I'm not sure about that, but the marketing has definitely made this type tough to obtain. Lucky for me, but unlucky for the coin, Ptolemy had this coin in his pocket as he was walking up the Pharos and it fell out and hit the rocks below (that's the story I'm sticking to). Luckily, the major parts of the coin weren't damaged, but it fell to a price where mortals like I could buy it. I particularly like the head of Amun-Ra (and entire papers have been written about this). This is one of the most fascinating Alexander tets I now own.

331A3639-Edit.jpg.fe96bd2252d579b4216e38026fb32642.jpg

Egypt, Ptolemy I as satrap
with name and types of Alexander III
Memphis, c. 323/2 BCE
AR Tetradrachm, 16.09g
bv: Head of young Herakles r. wearing lionskin headdress.
Rx: AΛEΞANΔPoY Zeus seated l. holding eagle and scepter, in l. field, head of Amun-Ra (as ram) r., wearing double-plume crown, monogram under throne
CPE-4, Price-3964
Ex NFA

 

10) Bambyke-Manbog Obol

This year, I purchased several "puzzle" coins to learn a bit. The idea is to pick up with enough hints that an eventual guess at an attribution is possible. All but one of these coins I (usually with a lot of help from others here) managed to attribute. This is one of them. For some time I continuously posted on this thread my latest findings. Eventually, it was a tip from @Kamnaskiresthat provided the answer, that the symbol on the obverse was heavily associated with Bambyke-Manbog. I followed that up with more investigation until I felt satisfied that the attribution was correct.

Not long before this I'd been admiring the coinage of Bambyke-Manbog, but felt I would never own one due to the prices. Therefore, to pick this one "out of the blue" was more than exciting. I don't think I've ever put more work into a coin, but it was so worth it.

331A4206-Edit.jpg.c2a2eadfdcbef168c8cbed147b7014c7.jpg

Cyrrhestica, Bambyke-Manbog
Circa 330 BCE
AR Obol .51g, 9mm
Obv: Unknown portrait facing left. U monogram of Manbog right.
Rev: Artagatis enthroned left, wearing long dress tied by a belt; scepter in left hand, wreath in outstretched right
unpublished

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Nice coins @kirispupis, I am quick to go for a coin with a good story - so your #1 is my #1 Nikokles of Paphos, and I didn't stray far from your top 3 for my favorites: second pick was: Crete, Polyrhenion, in great condition and I liked the design, 3rd pick was also easy: Kamnaskires III, with Anzaze has been on my wishlist for a while.  Congrats on a tremendously successful year! and best wishes for a great 2024 🙂

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Outstanding group of coins from an outstanding year of collecting!

That Herakles wrestling the Nemean lion is a beauty, as is the Cretan shield (very peanut butter and jealous over that one) but that Ptolemy with the Amen-Ram is something else!

Thanks for sharing and here's to many more years as successful as this one😀

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A great top ten! My number 1 favorite is easy - that little bronze bull from Crete. The others are all great, but I think I might pick Hyspaosines tetradrachm (that is one striking portrait!), and the Ptolemy I Memphis tetradrachm (because I've also compromised on a popular type Ptolemy I tetradrachm.) Also, I think it's pretty cool that Ptolemy himself had that coin in his pocket while going up the Lighthouse. 😁

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A list that really shows your area of expertise. My favourite is the  Hyspaosines Tetradrachm, simply for it's portrait. 

By the way, because of this post I now found the attribution to this coin below, (NOT MINE). I have this unattributed tetradrachm on my watch list for a while, but didn't pull the trigger yet as I'm unsure of who issued it. On PELLA, I see bee, rose, and a palm leaf as the control marks, but the coins with ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ in between the sceptre and throne only has the palm. But, with this particular coin, I'm not sure what the control mark looks like? Do you have any opinion? also would you mind sharing the cost/the seller from whom you bought your coin?

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...But, Nope, from here, it was beyond my modest capacitities not to home in on that Amazing tetradrachm of Elymais.  Wow.  Never saw one of these, even for sale.  After your encouraging remarks, now I have to get some clue about the current market.

...Too long ago to even have dealers' pics of them, I wound up with a funly disparate, largish handful of the AEs.  But until today, I had exactly zero clue that the series included anything else, never mind a tet.  ...With such a get-up-in-your-face neo-Parthian reverse.  The diversity of motifs that the AEs imitate (right, running from Ptolemaic to Hasmonean and Seleucid) was already coolly evocative of Petra's ridiculously favorable, central place on the inland trade routes.  But along with the (Yow) denomination, I've never seen this level of Parthian influence.  ...I don't even think this is especially early, relative to the AEs I'm (relatively) familiar with.  --Just, Zounds, Majorly Cool.  I'm just Really Needing this.  :<}

Edited by JeandAcre
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6 hours ago, JayAg47 said:

A list that really shows your area of expertise. My favourite is the  Hyspaosines Tetradrachm, simply for it's portrait. 

By the way, because of this post I now found the attribution to this coin below, (NOT MINE). I have this unattributed tetradrachm on my watch list for a while, but didn't pull the trigger yet as I'm unsure of who issued it. On PELLA, I see bee, rose, and a palm leaf as the control marks, but the coins with ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ in between the sceptre and throne only has the palm. But, with this particular coin, I'm not sure what the control mark looks like? Do you have any opinion? also would you mind sharing the cost/the seller from whom you bought your coin?

 

I bought mine from Incitatus on VCoins. The coin you're looking at also appears to be Nikokles - Price 3122 or 3123. You won't see the "Nikokles" text from the photo because it's very tiny. I needed a 10x loop to see the remnants of mine. The mane on the coin you're looking at appears even more worn out.

Edited by kirispupis
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13 hours ago, CPK said:

Also, I think it's pretty cool that Ptolemy himself had that coin in his pocket while going up the Lighthouse. 😁

Sadly, I realized the impossibility of my statement a few hours after posting it. As everyone learned in elementary school, Ptolemy I only started the Pharos. It was completed under Ptolemy II.

However, there's a good chance these coins were still in circulation under Ptolemy II, so it must have been he who dropped it while ascending the Pharos, unless Ptolemy I was examining the construction progress...

An alternate story is the coin was obtained by a member of Perdikkas' army when invading Egypt as a result of Ptolemy I seizing Alexander's body. That soldier was part of the unfortunate Nile crossing and the top portion of the coin was bitten off by a crocodile.

Clearly one of those stories must be the case...

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7 hours ago, kirispupis said:

Sadly, I realized the impossibility of my statement a few hours after posting it. As everyone learned in elementary school, Ptolemy I only started the Pharos. It was completed under Ptolemy II.

However, there's a good chance these coins were still in circulation under Ptolemy II, so it must have been he who dropped it while ascending the Pharos, unless Ptolemy I was examining the construction progress...

An alternate story is the coin was obtained by a member of Perdikkas' army when invading Egypt as a result of Ptolemy I seizing Alexander's body. That soldier was part of the unfortunate Nile crossing and the top portion of the coin was bitten off by a crocodile.

Clearly one of those stories must be the case...

Makes sense - I don't really see how else it could have happened. 🤔😄

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Excellent coins, but ultimately 9, 3 & 1 got my votes.

I really love the Alexander coins minted in Memphis, that ancient Egyptian symbol on the reverse is fantastic!

I don't have any coins from Crete, so jealous of that one.

And knew nothing of your first coin, but having the rulers name inscribed in the lions mane is fascinating. 

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On 12/3/2023 at 9:15 PM, Ryro said:

*missed opportunity. I should've called it your Ptolemy Ptetradrachm 

Sir Pterry would approve.  (IYKYK.)

A very nice group of coins @kirispupis.  Naturally my favorites are the Kamnaskires III/Anzaze and the Hyspaosines, both of them being Parthian vassals.  I also like the Nikomedes for its excellent Hellenistic portrait and overall style.

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Had to read this a couple of times... to fully grasp the amount of coins you've added to your collection in one year

On 12/4/2023 at 2:17 AM, kirispupis said:

I added roughly 300 coins this year

That's almost 6 coins a week. The mailman must be a good acquaintance by now, lol! 

Even though your collecting preferences are completely different than mine, and I don't know much about your top 10, it is interesting to look at them and read about them. I was drawn to your Lykkeios Tetradrachm and ended up voting for this one. The reverse is quite neat, a bit crude, but nevertheless appealing. Overall a great coin. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Limes said:

Had to read this a couple of times... to fully grasp the amount of coins you've added to your collection in one year

That's almost 6 coins a week. The mailman must be a good acquaintance by now, lol! 

Even though your collecting preferences are completely different than mine, and I don't know much about your top 10, it is interesting to look at them and read about them. I was drawn to your Lykkeios Tetradrachm and ended up voting for this one. The reverse is quite neat, a bit crude, but nevertheless appealing. Overall a great coin. 

Keep in mind most of my pickups were small, ugly, bronzes - though many were rare. I just looked at my spreadsheet and I've added 307 this year. I have 10 more on the way and the season isn't done yet. 🙂 Next year, though, I hope to add far fewer coins.

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