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I really should have read the coin description...


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Recently, I had one major target at an auction. I felt pretty confident. The coin, though rare, was in rough shape and the same auction house had listed it twice before with no bites. I was feeling so confident that the night before the auction I perused the Greek listings and low-balled a bunch of coins. I figured I wouldn't win many or all, but it was worth picking up a few snacks.

Of course, you can predict what happened. I won two of the snacks, but missed out on the primary target. This left me with a relatively high shipping cost, so I perused the Roman offerings. That's when I came across this coin.


Vabalathus BI Antoninianus
Antioch, 272 CE
2.47g, 21mm, 11h
IM C VHABALATHVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust to right /
AEQVITAS AVG, Aequitas standing facing, head to left, holding scales and cornucopiae; star in left field.
RIC V.1 1; C. 1; BN 1263; MER-RIC 3144 (temporary); Bland, Coinage - (O17/RAeq iv [unlisted die combination])


I had to get to work, but the bid was really low for it and, though I'm not very familiar with Roman coinage, I was aware that his individual issues (without Aurelian) are pricy. "Why not?" I figured and put a bid just higher than the current one. I then bid on a couple of other coins I felt were more realistic and went to work.

After a few meetings, I checked the results and to my amazement I'd won! That's when I decided to read the full listing and noticed this text.

Very Fine; broken and repaired with glue.

Ohhh....So that's why it was so cheap! There was really nothing I could do. The seller had properly disclosed the defect and I was the moron who didn't read it. Then I started thinking and realized that, even though the coin is glued together, it still doesn't look bad and an unglued example would cost way more - easy 4x-5x what I paid.

So, it turned out well in the end. Vabalathus was of high interest to me after reading Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I found the history of the Palmyrene kingdom fascinating. For those unaware, Vabalathus was the son of Zenobia, who definitely needs her own movie someday. Although he was proclaimed as the Augustus, it was really Zenobia who held power. Scholars are unsure how old he was at the time, but it's clear he was only a child.

It's unsure what exactly happened to Vabalathus. One theory was that he died on the way to Rome, but another is that Aurelian allowed he and Zenobia to live after marching them through Rome.

Someday it's a dream of mine to add a Zenobia coin, but I'm not ready yet to spend that amount for a Roman coin. Perhaps somewhere out there's a glued Zenobia waiting for me. 🙂 

Feel free to show your Palmyrene coins or coins where you didn't read the full description!

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You need to zoom in on the coin to see the crack where it had broken, at least on phone. Otherwise it's a good coin: the name is fully there, the emperor's effigy is clear and the reverse type is fully attributable. I hope it survives the shipping.

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7 hours ago, seth77 said:

You need to zoom in on the coin to see the crack where it had broken, at least on phone. Otherwise it's a good coin: the name is fully there, the emperor's effigy is clear and the reverse type is fully attributable. I hope it survives the shipping.

Thanks! This is my photo, so it survived the shipping. 🙂 On the dealer's photo the crack is much tougher to see, but they did disclose it plainly in the description. 

The auction sent it in one of those "capsules" that holds it still. I'm thinking to keep it in there and not put it in my album, where it would be vulnerable.

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That is the first time I have ever seen a "coin glued together". I once had a dream coin (Naumann-Gitbud) auction "a AV 4 Dukaten Ferdinand I. Usually these are holed/ repaired. This coin looked MS and unaltared. Then when I enlarged image on computer I noticed slight evidence of expertly repaired hole. I e-mailed Naumann and they withdrew it. You have to wonder what kind of a bimbo would punch a hole thru such a beautifull coin! Here is a Künker ex. repaired hole. I am still hopeing to one day get a perfect MS "unholed" example.


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10 hours ago, kirispupis said:

or coins where you didn't read the full description!


I didn't read the description correctly for this coin from a ROMA auction. I read the text far too quickly because I thought the coin was so pretty - and when I read it quickly my brain wanted to read "Electron", but in reality it was a modern Electrotype.

The greed was too high to quickly press the buy button. Because this coin was available for around 35 GBP in the after-sale. What, 35 GBP for a Hieron II coin? Fast! Fast! Press buy quickly!

Later I saw that it was a modern Electrotype and not Electron. But it was too late. Of course it was my own mistake.




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Yesterday at the NYINC from what felt like all the way across the crowded room my eyes fell on a Syracuse Demareteion, supposedly (ie not) struck in honour of Gelon's queen's magnanimity to the barbarian Carthaginians in ~480. The room parted before me as I elbowed my way through and stood drooling over it, only moments later to actual read the flipping description (a Robert Ready electrotype copy.) Though that probably saved me  from a failed attempt to escape with the entire display case out into the streets.

(Incidentally the Beach stall has quite a few RR's.)

One of these -



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