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ambr0zie's Top 10 (+3 contenders) NON Roman Imperial coins in 2023


Please choose your favorites  

21 members have voted

  1. 1. Please choose your favorites

    • 1. Mylasa drachm, imitating Rhodes, Helios/rose
    • 2. Lucius Julius Caesar RR denarius, biga of Cupids
    • 3. Alexandria, Claudius/hippopotamus diobol
    • 4. Cimmerian Bosporos Pan/griffin
    • 5. Kolophon tetatermorion Apollo/stork
    • 6. Emesa, Caracalla tetradrachm
    • 7. Thasos drachm, satyr and nymph
    • 8. Antioch, Trajan tridrachm
    • 9. L Marcius Philippus RR denarius, Ancus Marcius/Equestrian statue on aqueduct
    • 10. Corinth stater, Pegasos/Athena
    • Contender 1, Leeuwendaalder 1648
    • Contender 2, Philippi, Claudius/statues of Octavian and Julius Caesar
    • Contender 3, Mark Antony quinarius

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As promised, I created a second (and last) top 10 for the current year, containing coins that are not Roman Imperial. My Roman Imperial category can be seen here
I had to relegate some coins I liked, but it was impossible to limit to 10 coins, so I have also added 3 special mentions. 

My style of collecting usually implies budget coins, but I want them to be interesting/intriguing/historically important/the reverses to show imagination and symbolistics. You will see Greek, Republican, Provincial and a coin from 17th century. 

The order is how they arrived in my collection. These are my selections:


16,7 mm, 1,95 g.
Caria, Mylasa. Imitating Rhodes coinage. AR drachm. Circa 170-130 BC.
Facing head of Helios; to left, eagle standing right, superimposed on cheek / Rose with bud to right.
Ashton, Mylasa 69d; SNG Copenhagen 721; SNG Kayhan I 833-4.

I am sure many collectors will agree that the Rhodos coins with Helios and a reverse depicting a rose are very pleasant. I already had an example of a type, but my first thought when seeing this coin in the auction was - "what is on the obverse? damage?  a weird error? a Rhodes coin I've never seen?" 
And nope, it's not Rhodes, it's another city in Caria that inspired from Rhodos coinage. I find this very interesting, and the most attractive part is the eagle and how they decided to illustrate the obverse. 


15,8 mm, 3,51 g.
L. Julius L.f. Caesar. AR denarius. Rome. 103 BC. CAESAR, helmeted head of Mars left, [S (retrograde) above] / [L IVLI L F], Venus driving biga of Cupids left, holding reins and sceptre; [lyre to left], S (retrograde) above. RSC Julia 4a; Crawford 320/1; BMC 1406; Syd. 593a.

The reverse of this coin is enough to make it one of my all time favorites. But there's more. This is the first coin where the name CAESAR appears (if we don't count the coin issued by another member of the Caesar gens, Sextus Julius Caesar - Crawford 258 - but the spelling is CAISAR). Interesting fact - this Lucius Julius Caesar is much closer to Mark Antony (being his grandfather) than to Gaius Julius Caesar. 


25,5 mm, 11,22 g.
Egypt, Alexandria. Claudius 41-54. Æ diobol. Year 3 - 42-43.
ΤΙ ΚΛΑV ΚΑΙ ϹƐΒΑϹ ΓƐΡΜΑ, laureate head r.; star before / ΑVΤΟΚΡΑ, hippopotamus standing r.; L Γ (date) in exergue.
Köln 79; Dattari 166; Milne 90; Emmett 82; RPC I 5140.

In my opinion, Alexandrian coins are amongst the most interesting provincials. And there is a chance I will develop in this area, especially for 1st-2nd centuries, I like these the most. I like the artistry on the coins, the portrait styles (in many occasions, one can recognize an Alexandrian portrait directly) and the reverse themes. 
As I try to gather a mini-zoo, adding a hippopotamus was very good news. This coin was very difficult to photograph because of the surface. 

21 mm, 7,17 g.
Cimmerian Bosporos, Pantikapaion. Ӕ tetrachalkon. Circa 325-310 BC.
Head of Pan right / Π-A-N, forepart of griffin crouching left, right front paw raised, sturgeon swimming left below.
Anokhin 111; SNG BM Black Sea 869-871; SNG Munich 19; MacDonald 69; SNG Cop 30.

One of the iconic Greek bronzes in my opinion. And a type I tried to acquire for a long time but always had the same dilemma - a very good condition (expensive) vs a modest coin (cheap). It was quite difficult to find one in this condition. I like the patina. The details are there, the centering is good, the portrait and the reverse characters are there. Sure, it has chipped patina but this does not take the pleasure to look at this coin, at least for me. And again, a coin with animals - a real one and a fantastic one. It doesn't get much better than this. 

6 mm, 0,23 g.
Ionia, Kolophon. AR tetartemorion. Circa 450-410 BC.
Laureate head of Apollo right / TE monogram (mark of value) in incuse square; stork in left field.
Milne, Colophon, 36; SNG Kayhan 360.

Did I mention I like coins with animals? A stork  was not present in my zoo and it's very welcome. I also enjoy small coins, especially when the designs are elaborate and artistic. 

25 mm, 12,22 g.
Syria, Seleucis and Pieria, Emesa. Caracalla 198-217. AR tetradrachm. 215-217.
AΥ•T K M ANTΩNEINOC CE•B•, laureate bust right / ΔΗΜΑΡX ΕΞ VΠΑΤOC TO Δ, eagle standing facing, head left, with wreath in beak; H under beak; radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Shamash left between legs.
Prieur 983.

I know that Caracalla tetradrachms are not rare and this coin does not have anything very special, but I was very glad to get it. I like Caracalla coins where his portrait shows how calm, loving and joyful he was. Also this was a personal victory - a while ago I was outbid on a similar example (perhaps a little better preserved) but the obverse dies were very similar. Even if I usually forget about the coins I don't win, that one remained in my head and getting this example for 1/3 of the other's price was very satisfying. 
16 mm, 4g.
Islands of Thrace, Thasos. AR drachm. Circa 500-480 BC.
Ithyphallic satyr advancing right, carrying off protesting nymph / Quadripartite incuse square.
Le Rider, Thasiennes 3; HGC 6, 332.

For me, this was one of the major targets. All time targets. Prices for good examples (staters but also drachms) are discouraging and from what I noticed they are usually offered by some houses where prices in general are already high. I noticed a very recent auction that offered 7 Thasos coins. This is probably the most modest one and I regret a little that I didn't get an even better example, but I am super happy to add what I consider one of the most representative Greek coins. 


24 mm, 10,98 g.
Syria, Seleucia Pieria, Antioch. Trajan 98-117. AR tridrachm. 100 AD.
AVTOKP KAIC NEP TPAIANOC CEB ΓEPM, laureate head right / ΔΗMAPX EΞ YΠAT Γ, Roma seated left on pile of arms, holding Nike on her extended right hand, parazonium in left leaning on round shield.
RPC III 3578; S 179 (Caesarea); McAlee 478, Ganschow X11a.

I actively correct Trajan coinage as there is a multitude of designs to choose from, for all the tastes, both Imperial and Provincial, but I usually concentrate on later coinage, where the portraits are more "Trajan specific" (on earlier coinage I sometimes feel the engravers had Nerva in mind) and the reverses show many different themes. This early Trajan coin attracted me mostly because of the denomination, much less popular than the tetradrachm. Note - there are 3 similar entries in RPC Online, difference being the portrait  (laureate/laureate and draped/laureate with aegis). This is listed as a tetradrachm, the other 2 as tridrachms, but they all have similar weights so this is also a tridrachm. I submitted a correction to RPC staff. Also in RPC the reverse character is described as Roma. In other sources - Athena. I suspect Athena too. 

19 mm, 3,82 g.
L. Marcius Philippus. AR denarius. Rome. 57 BC.
ANCVS, diademed head of Ancus Marcius right; lituus behind / PHILIPPVS on left, equestrian statue standing right on top of aqueduct (five arches), inscribed AQVA MAR (last three letters ligate); flower below horse (or splash of water?).
Crawford 425/1; Sydenham 919; BMC 3890; RSC 28.

It's pretty obvious why I like this coin. Interesting obverse character (Ancus Marcius, the fourth king of Rome). Interesting reverse. Very pleasant aspect. This was another RR target I had in mind for a while. 

20 mm, 7,85 g.
Corinthia, Corinth. AR stater. Circa 478-458 BC.
Pegasos, with curled wing, flying right, koppa below / Head of Athena right, wearing Corinthian helmet and necklace.
Ravel 217; BMC 72; Calciati, Pegasi 70/1.

The last coin  arriving in my collection in 2023 is another iconic Greek coin. Condition wise it might not be much, but this is no reason for me to have any doubts about its place in the Top 10. The elegance of the design and the archaic flavor made me like it a lot. 

Now here are 3 coins that almost made the top. 

Contender 1

41,7 mm, 27,1 g
Dutch Republic (Netherlands). AR 1 Leeuwendaalder (lily, knight facing left). Kampen. 1648.
MO ARG CIV IM P BELG CAMPEN, knight standing behind shield facing left / CONFIDENS DNO NON MOVETVR 1648 (He who trusts in the Lord shall not waver), rampant lion to the left. Mint mark – lily - dividing year. KM# 42.2; Delmonte S# 862; Ver# 163.3.

Perhaps the most popular coin from 16th-17th centuries, this is the ancestor of all the currencies named "lion" - and there are lot, including my country's currency. But another theory says that the name "dollar"  also comes from this coin type. 
I was a little surprised to find out that on my example, the circulation wear is nowhere as heavy as it seems - these are usually poorly struck and this example is above average. 

It is also the biggest coin I have ever seen and the heaviest (yep, I don't have a heavier sestertius). To understand the size here it is in a battle with another coin with a lion from my collection. 



Contender 2.
26 mm, 10,95 g.
Macedon, Philippi. Claudius 41-54. Ӕ.
TI CLAVDIVS CAES AVG IMP P M TR P P P, bare head of Claudius, l. / COL IVL AVG PHILIP, DIVVS AVG (on base); statue of Augustus in military dress crowned by statue of Divus Julius Caesar wearing toga on central base; altar, l. and r.
RPC I 1654 var. (reverse legend COL IVL AVG instead of COL AVG IVL); SNG Copenhagen 307-8 var.; Varbanov 3774 var.

Technically, a Julius Caesar coin, right? Another bucket list coin, because it commemorates the battle of Philippi, a crucial battle for the course of history, where the armies of Octavian and Mark Antony defeated Cassius and Brutus. 
I think this coin is an unlisted variety, as the reverse legend is COL IVL AVG... instead of the "normal" COL AVG IVL...
I submitted it to RPC online. Not sure if it should have an entry. I haven't found a similar example. 

Contender 3.

11 mm, 1,70 g.
Mark Antony, triumvir 43-33 BC. AR quinarius. Military mint traveling with Antony and Lepidus in Transalpine Gaul. 43 BC.
Victory standing right, crowning trophy / M ANT (ligate) IMP, lituus, ewer and raven standing left.
Crawford 489/4; Sydenham 1159; RSC 82; BMC Gaul 36.

I always wanted a Mark Antony coin. I can't explain why, but I am not a fan of legionary denarii - there is a chance I will buy one, but not as a priority. This was exactly the type I wanted. Another type with an uncommon animal on coins. Pontifical elements (another plus) but what made this coin fail before the Top 10 line is the bad centering. Usually I am not bothered by this, but I would have preferred a Victory with her head attached to her body. Who knows, perhaps the coin is even more interesting this way, as in the end this is the type of ... victory that Mark Antony obtained. 
Anyway this coin shows that the military mints did not have the same standards as normal mints. 

I would be delighted to see comments, votes, and, like I advised on the Imperial topic, bribes, presents....

Edited by ambr0zie
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Once again a great list of coins, while my favourites are the Caracalla tetradrachm, Aqueduct denarius and the Thasos drachm. I thank you for introducing me to the Leeuwendaalder, one more chunky silver to look for!

Edited by JayAg47
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2 minutes ago, JayAg47 said:

I thank you for introducing me to the Leeuwendaalder, one more chunky silver to look for!

Good luck in finding the perfect example for you! these are certainly not rare (there is a huge variety of cities issuing these and they had a long life span) - but if you want a well struck example, they tend to get very expensive. 

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Another nice list of coins, @ambr0zie. My favorites are your #1, 2 and 10. The obverse design of your Caria drachm is very special. I haven't seen another example before. Cupid biga is also one of my all-time favorite ancient coin designs. The archaic element of your Corinthian drachm is very nice. Thanks for sharing!  🙂

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