Jump to content

Happy Collector’s Top 10 Greek & Roman Coins of 2023 (+ 2 contenders)

Happy Collector’s Top 10 Greek & Roman Coins of 2023 (+ 2 contenders)  

29 members have voted

  1. 1. Pick Your Favorites!

    • 12. Julius Caesar Fourree Denarius
    • 11. Plotina bronze Hemiassarion
    • 10. Antiochos VII Tetradrahm
    • 9. Otacilia Severa Antioch Tetradrachm
    • 8. Left-facing Faustina Senior Sestertius
    • 7. Agrippina Junior/Nero Antioch Tetradrachm
    • 6. Agrippina Senior Sestertius
    • 5. Left-facing Marcus Aurelius Sestertius
    • 4. Faustina Senior Lifetime Sestertius
    • 3. Thrace Dionysos Tetradrachm
    • 2. Himera Tetradrachm, Signed MAI
    • 1. Syracuse Tetradrachm, Signed Eumenes / Eukleidas

Recommended Posts

Happy Holidays! It is nice to read about the 2023 Top10 lists by Numis Forum members, which tempted me to compile mine. I did not buy too many coins this year, as I saved a portion of budget onto my family’s European trip this early summer (it’s really so warm in Rome). My hope was to locate an affordable signed Syracuse tetradrachm, which was at the top of my wish-list. I ended up finding 2. These are my top favorite coins of the year, plus 2 close contenders that barely missed the top 10 mark. 

10. Antiochos VII tetradrachm. Although a common design, I like this coin because it has a good portrait. An off-centered obverse helps to bring down my purchase price. 

Antiochos VII Euergetes (Sidetes). 138-129 BC. AR Tetradrachm 
Antioch on the Orontes mint. 
Obv: Diademed head right. 
Rev: Athena Nikephoros standing left, resting hand on shield, and propping spear on her arm; to outer left, monogram above A; monogram to inner right; within wreath. 
27mm, 16.46 g, 12h
SC 2061.4e; Lorber, Die, Phase 3, Group 12, 974 (obv. die A109); HGC 9, 1067d. 
CNG e-Auctions, Feb 2023.

09. I am branching out my coin collecting interests to Antioch tetradrachm. This coin is a good start to me. I like Otacilia Severa’s determined look portrait in this coin. 

SELEUCIS & PIERIA. Antioch. Otacilia Severa. 244-249 AD. Tetradrachm.
Obv: ΜΑΡ ΩΤΑΚΙΛ ϹЄΟΥΗΡΑΝ ϹЄΒ. Draped bust left, wearing stephane and set upon crescent.
Rev: ΔHMAPX ЄΞ OYCIAC VΠA TO Γ / ANTIOXIA S C. Eagle, with wreath in beak and wings spread, standing left, head right.
McAlee 1092; Prieur 391. RPC VIII online - (unassigned; ID 29008).
26mm, 11.88 g.
Numismatik Naumann. August 2023. 

08. A scarce left-facing Faustina coin has been on my watchlist. I am glad to find a sestertius (large coin) with a good left-facing portrait. Having a coin of the empress wearing stephane is a plus to me. 
Diva Faustina Senior. Æ sestertius Rome, under Antoninus Pius, A.D. 141. 
Obv: DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA, veiled and draped bust of Diva Faustina Senior left wearing stephane 
Rev: PIET-AS AVG, S C across field, Pietas standing facing, head left, sprinkling incense on lighted, candelabrum-altar and holding box of perfumes
31mm, 24.94 g.
N&N London, Ltd. March 2023

07. Another coin type in my watchlist is an Agrippina Junior coin. I am glad to find an affordable example with a good-sized portrait. 
SELEUCIS and PIERIA, Antioch. Nero, with Agrippina Junior. AR Tetradrachm.
Dated CY3: 56-57 AD. 
Obv: Head of Nero right, wearing oak wreath 
Rev: Draped bust of Agrippina Junior right; Γ EP (date) to right.
McAlee 253; RPC I 4175; Prieur 74. 
25mm, 14.30 g, 12h.
CNG Auction. Nov 2023.

06. I picked up this Agrippina Senior sestertius mainly because of the Empress’s portrait on the coin. Need to make sacrifice on the reverse design though, plus smoothing. It is a nice coin to pair up with the #8 Agrippina Junior tetradrachm above. 
AGRIPPINA I (Died 33). Sestertius. Rome. Struck under Caligula.
Rev: S P Q R / MEMORIAE / AGRIPPINAE. Ornamented carpentum drawn left by two mules.
RIC² 55 (Caligula).
35mm. 27.41 g.
Ex: Numismatik Naumann Auction. 

05. I am actively looking for a Marcus Aurelius coin with a young portrait. I am glad to locate a large example (sestertius), with an interesting left-facing portrait.  
Marcus Aurelius. As Caesar, AD 140-144. Æ Sestertius. Rome mint. 
Obv: Bare headed and cuirassed bust left 
Rev: Emblems of the pontificate: sescepita, aspergillum, capis, lituus, and simpulum.
31mm, 24.79 g.
N&N London Ltd. January 2023.

04. This coin is quite special to me. I have been looking for an upgrade to my very first sestertius coin, a Diva Faustina sestertius. This one fit well, adding that the coin is a scarcer lifetime sestertius. However, It took me seven months to receive the coin. The auction house got my shipping address wrong, so the coin spent months flying between US and London. Finally, I decided to pay extra for a FedEx in order to get it before the year-end.  
Faustina Senior Lifetime Sestertius. 139 AD. 
Obv: FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII P P. Draped Faustina Senior bust to right. 
Rev: VENERI VSVGTAE. Venus standing to right holding apple, drawing up robe from shoulder. S C across field. 
32mm, 23.5 grams 
N&N London Ltd. April 2023.

03. This Thrace tetradrachm has such a large sized flan, and I especially like the Dionysos portrait. 
Thrace, Thasos. Tetradrachm. 148-90 BC
Obv: Head of Dionysos right, wearing ivy wreath.
Rev: ΗΡΑΚΛΕΟΥΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΘΑΣΙΩΝ, Hercules naked standing left, holding club and lion skin. Control: monogram. 
34mm, 16.35g
Numismatik Naumann, May 2023

02. A signed Syracuse tetradrachm is an item high on my wish-list. Thus, I am happy to see a signed Himera tetradrachm that fits my bill in the January Nomos NYINC fixed price list. It is struck on a tight flan, but the signature “MAI” is quite clear. 
Sicily, Himera. Silver Tetradrachm. 409-407 BC. Obverse die signed by artist Mai. 
Obv: Nymph Himera driving quadriga galloping to right, beginning to slow down at finish of the race; above, Nike flying to left, bearing a wreath for the driver in her right hand and holding a tablet inscribed MAI in her left; in the exergue, hippocamp swimming left.  
Rev: [IMEPAION], Nymph Himera standing facing, head left, pouring libation over altar from patera; to right, satyr standing to right in a fountain basin, showering under a stream of water emanating from a lion's head spout. 
24mm, 17.65g, 3h.
Nomos Fixed Price List 15. January 2023. 

01. What I like about this Syracuse tetradrachm is that it has clear signatures on both obverse and reverse. It does not have the best surface condition, thus an affordable and good price for me. 
SICILY, Syracuse. Second Democracy. 415-409 BC. AR Tetradrachm. 
Obverse die signed by Eu(menes), reverse die signed by Eu(kleidas). 
Obv: Charioteer, holding kentron and reins, driving fast quadriga left; above, Nike flying right, crowning charioteer with wreath; EV below; in exergue, dolphin and tunny right
Rev: Head of Arethousa left; EV below, four dolphins swimming around. 
24.5mm, 16.85 g, 1h.
Fischer-Bossert, Coins 31 (V11/R21); Tudeer 31; HGC 2, 1328; SNG ANS 262 (same dies); SNG Lloyd 1372 (same dies); BMC 147 (same dies); Gillet 616 (same dies); McClean 2708 (same dies). 
CNG Auction. July 2023. From the David Welsh Collection. Ex Heritage 351 (3 June 2004), lot 12008; Seventko Collection (Heritage 296, 30 July 2002), lot 11018; Superior (10 December 1988), lot 1781.

Here are the two honorable mentions that didn't get a spot in my top 10, but I do like them. The first is a Plotina hemiassarion. I like the portrait quite a lot. The second one is an interesting Julius Caesar fourree denarius. Is Caesar’s troops run out of silver?
11. LYDIA. Philadelphia. Plotina, 105-122. Hemiassarion (Bronze, 20 mm, 5.12 g,), struck under her husband Trajan. 
Obv: ΠΛΩΤΕΙΝΑ CΕΒΑCΤΗ Draped bust of Plotina to right. 
Rev: ΦΙ/ΛΑΔΕ/ΛΦΕ/ΩΝ in four lines within laurel wreath. BMC 68-70. RPC III 2384. SNG Copenhagen 382
Savoca. Dec 2022 (arrived Jan 2023)


12. Julius Caesar. Fourree Denarius 49-48 BC. Military mint traveling with Caesar.
Obv: CAESAR in exergue, elephant advancing right, confronting horned serpent. 
Rev: Pontifical implements: simpulum, sprinkler, axe and priest's hat. 
Crawford 443/1; HCRI 9; Sydenham 1006; RSC 49.
17 mm. 2.4 gm.
Praefectus Coins. Nov 2023.

Do you have a favorite coin on this list? If yes, please mark on the poll. 

Wishing you all a great collecting year in 2024. 


Edited by happy_collector
typo in weight
  • Like 15
  • Yes 1
  • Mind blown 1
  • Heart Eyes 14
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

An incredibly fantastic group! It was very difficult to choose only one, but I voted for the Thrace tetradrachm with Dionysus. I also loved the two Sicily tetradrachms, and the sestertius of young Marcus Aurelius. Among others!

Edited by DonnaML
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What an extraordinary group of coins. I certainly like them all, but what was surprising even for me was that I think I said 7 times when scrolling down - this HAS to be the winner. In the end, my favorite is the Himera tetradrachm because I have never seen this reverse scene before. Not even mentioning the obverse, where we don't see just the "classic" quadriga depiction. The signature is the cherry on the cake. 

Congratulations on a great year!

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Yes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Numbers 1 & 2 are the obvious choices for favourite. I particularly like the dolphin chasing the fish on the Syracuse tetradrachm.

However, even as a non Roman collector, I voted for number 6. I really like the portrait and the reverse design. Though you have the weight as 7.41 g - is that correct?

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Di Nomos said:

Numbers 1 & 2 are the obvious choices for favourite. I particularly like the dolphin chasing the fish on the Syracuse tetradrachm.

However, even as a non Roman collector, I voted for number 6. I really like the portrait and the reverse design. Though you have the weight as 7.41 g - is that correct?

Thanks for noticing, @Di Nomos. It is a typo, weight should be 27.41 g. I'll make change. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Syracusan tetradrachms are justifiably high on the list and I could not fail to be impressed by them.

However, since the poll only allowed one option, I voted for the Agrippina Senior sestertius because I was mesmerized by the portrait.

It's ALL good stuff.

Edited by lordmarcovan
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wonderful coins! I'm really impressed. For me this set has a clear winner: #2. Sicily, Himera. Silver Tetradrachm. 409-407 BC. The reverse is amazing; such a clear depiction of the nymph pouring a libation over an altar. And what's up with the the satyr taking bath on this coin? I think this artist had a sense of humor. Not to mention the obverse ... if I'm correct this if the only depiction of Nike carrying her bougie Mai purse! Well done!

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very impressive coins, had a hard time picking one favorite. I decided to go for the Himera tetradrachm, but I also really like the portraits of the Marcus Aurelius sestertius and the Agrippina Senior. Glad to also read that your Faustina sestertius arrived safe and sound after all those months. Have a great 2024!

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...