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I’m not sure how we can qualify our member of the week; a skilled computer scientist, an athlete, an astronomer, a bibliophile or a numismatist ? I’ll let you decide for yourself, but one thing is for sure, he’s our favorite Irish collector here on Numisforums. So let’s talk with @akeady !


Can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you're from, your family, work...?

I'm from Ireland - Galway in the west, but I live near Dublin now. I design integrated circuits ("chips") - my first chip (1991) was on a 2.4um technology, nowadays they're on 55m and even 10nm.

This is one of my chips from the 1990s - a Sigma-Delta ADC with an interesting bandpass sampling arrangement at the input. I'd do it a bit differently now, but then I was young and knew everything.



Do you still run, like tropical fish, practice astronomy... ?

I still run, but 2023 was my slowest year in a long time - I was injured much of the time. I've taken a break since the Dublin Marathon (end of October), but will be back for 2024, hopefully faster. I played some sports as a kid (hurling, mostly - check the sport out on YouTube if you don't know it - I wasn't very good!), then very little for a long time until one evening in late September 2007 when out with a couple of friends and one of them said we should do the Dublin Marathon (end of October). I'll never understand why, but it seemed like a sound idea.

At that time the marathon never sold out, so I could still enter - the other two chickened out after trying a run the next day. I mentioned wanting to run at work and was met with some scepticism so I didn't say any more about it until the day after, when I hobbled in with my medal and some awful blisters.

This is after a Budapest half marathon in 2021 - I'd worked up an appetite at least.



I've got tropical fish - all the fish currently in my tank were given to me by people getting out of fish-keeping.

This is my main telescope - well, this was it in 2018. It's much the same now, but with a different Celestron powerpack. The 'scope is a Celestar 8 8" SCT that l've owned from new in the 1990s, mounted on a CG-5 GEM mount (it was originally on a fork mount). I haven't had the telescope outside for a long time now, but my intention is to build a remote controlled observatory someday.



I have another 80mm Skywatcher 'scope which is "upstairs somewhere".

I haven't been skiing recently, but this is how I looked one time.



Aidan, how did you get interested in ancient coinage ?

What was the first coin you ever bought ?

I used to trade coins and stamps with a neighbour as a kid in the 1970s and bought a few fairly cheap coins in the early 1980s on occasional trips to Dublin. Mostly Irish and UK farthings and the likes of an 1805 halfpenny. My late aunt gave me the remnants of her collection around 1980/'81 - she mostly had accumulated pre-decimal and foreign coins from circulation in the 1970s. I still have all of those and they're still mostly in the bags she stored them in! Then I collected nothing for years until in 2001 in Madrid I picked up a denarius of Marcus Aurelius at the weekly Rastro market. I bought a couple of coins from Spink a bit later (early 2002) - a Roman Republican denarius and an Istros drachm. Not long after, I discovered eBay and it's been downhill ever since. The Marcus Aurelius coin was stolen in a burglary in 2004, along with several other Roman Imperial coins, but I still have the Republican denarius and Istros coin.


I've never sold a coin but have given away a handful to young collectors - we've got to keep people interested in the hobby, so someone will buy our collections :D


Can you tell us an anecdote about a coin you own ? Your best bargain ? Your rarest coin ? The specimen you’ll never sell ? The one you dream of acquiring ?

My favourite coin for a long time (since 2007) has been this Syracuse tetradrachm:



At that time, Spink had some coins for sale on their website. I spotted this there and liked it. I went to the London Coin Fair in November 2007 and there she was at their table. I ran out, got some cash and came back and bought her. While it's a worn example, in-hand it still looks a lot better than the photograph and was my first Sicilian tetradrachm. If my house were on fire, l'd run back to save Arethusa (actually, she's in a safety deposit box, so I probably wouldn't have to run back).

I'm not going to go into the journey this coin had to me, but I bought it in January 2022 and it arrived in August of that year... Entella tetradrachm.



I can't think what my best bargain is and right now I would only sell some duplicates. Of course, l'd like a Herakleidas tetradrachm of Katane, a Kimon tet of Syracuse and Euainetos decadrachm of Syracuse :D The decadrachm is maybe achievable if I bought nothing else for a year or two and/or sold some other coins.

What do you collect exactly ? What is the size of your collection ?

I have a few different collecting areas:

  •   Roman Republican coins - this has been the main focus of my collection for several years and includes some imitative coins from the Eravisci and others.
  •   Irish coins.
  •   Ancient Greek coins - I have a vague aim to make a collection of the major cities and their iconic coins - Owl from Athens, Pegasus from Corinth, Turtle from Aigina and so on.
  •   Papal medals - these are good value for a chunky piece of silver or bronze.
  •   Anything else that takes my fancy - if I won the lottery, l'd have lots of Sicilian coins.


I posted recently that l'd just reached 1000 Roman Republican coins.

On the Tantalus database, I currently have 2351 coins entered - mostly, but also modern - Irish and World. I have more to enter - if I ever enter all my modern coins, it will be thousands more, but they're more of an accumulation than a collection.

I started collecting RR coins in earnest to make an entry for a display competition at the Numismatic Society of Ireland and later in order to illustrate a talk. I became hooked :)

This is most of my Roman Republican collection - housed in two Abafil Marmotta cases - the upper one holds 20 trays and the lower was a special order which holds 10 (or 11?) double depth trays - needed for the very thick aes grave coins. I have only two double depth trays, but the regular trays fit too.



I store things by Crawford number and keep the bronze and silver coins apart - because the bronze coins are typically much larger than the denarii and other silver coins. Denarii and smaller coins fit in the 77-compartment trays and most of the bronzes fit in the 40-compartment trays. The largest coins are in 12- and 6-compartment trays.

This is one tray I pulled out at random - it has a 14 Cr. 340/1 coins, but all different, in that they have different symbols, etc. (direction of horseman and Apollo varies too!). I will probably store some duplicates in paper envelopes at some stage and reserve the trays for one example of each type.



Another tray - I try to leave gaps in each tray to allow for future additions without having to move too many coins.



Some bronzes...



And some aes grave - not the biggest, but too thick for a regular tray,

so this is an extra-deep one.



And that's about it - I have a few RR coins in slabs which I haven't broken out, plus a chunk of a currency bar that's too big to fit into a tray. The rest of the coins are in a safety deposit box (large - it takes Abafil trays, but I may switch to putting coins into paper envelopes there to save space), three other coin cabinets - a nice Zecchi cabinet in a photo' below, a Peter Nichols cabinet (the trays are not deep enough for large coins) and a small Swann cabinet I got at auction a few years back.

What did you write about ?

I haven't written anything coin-related. I am working (very slowly) on an online database for my coins, but I need some time off to make much progress.


In what part of history are you interested in ?

The history of the Roman Republic and Irish history, mostly. I've got an Aer Lingus credit card that gives me a couple of free return flights within Europe each year - I've just booked long weekends in Athens in May and Rome in June. Rome is one of my favourite cities - my profile background is a photo' I took in 2022 from the Capitoline Museums looking over the Forum. I've only been in Athens once - in 1989 on a great inter-rail trip - so I hope to take lots of photos and visit the coin museum. In 2015, I drove around Sicily for a few days to see where the greatest coins come from - Palermo, Segesta, Selinus, Agrigento, Syracuse and Catania - to be revisited someday. The Paolo Orsi Museum in Syracuse has a great coin collection in the basement with more than 30 decadrachms in one display cabinet alone, if memory serves me.


Do you have a numismatic goal for the next year ?

I'd like to fill some more gaps in the RR field - maybe a Caesar aureus, but probably I'll be distracted by other things.

What numismatic books do you own / consult most often ?

(I took far too many photos here).

I like books - this shelf has the standard RR reference - Crawford - two copies, for good measure, but volume Il of the second set is just a collection of photocopies of the plates of the real volume I| (Spink sold it to me like that!). Plus Sydenham and the Kestner catalogue and the RBW collection and other things.



Of course, anyone collecting RR coins needs Italian Cast Coinage and

Historia Numorum Italy:



And the Red Banti:



And History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators (and the Green




And Fides & Kairos:



And a few other festschrifts:



And Babelon:



Arma et Nummi, Warsaw Collection, RSC and a couple of interesting books on Roman History and coinage:



Oh, and Grueber's BMCRR, with Admiral Smyth's catalogue of the

Northumberland collection:



I also collect Roman Imperial coins and Greek coins to some extent, so have picked up a good few other books - BMCRE & Sear's RCV:



RIC - not including the new RIC V.4:



And the nice Handbooks of Greek Coinage:



Byzantine and more Greek:


And more:



And there's a lot more, but that gives some idea of the clutter. I've ended up with books in several languages, some of which I don't understand. I've got books in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Catalan. I survived a few months in France back in 1991 and did a few courses at the Instituto Cervantes here in Dublin so can manage to read Spanish too. German, not so much; Italian and Catalan, where they're similar to Spanish and/or French.

The last book l've got is the new RIC volume V part 4, covering the Gallic Empire. I have fewer than half a dozen coins of this period, but it's nice to keep the set complete.


Many thanks Aidan for your time and generosity. I’m looking forward to read the comments of other members about your fantastic collection. In the meantime, please take a look here to see it in detail:


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Thanks so much to both of you for a wonderful interview!

@akeady, I comment as a fellow collector and particular admirer of Roman Republican coins -- albeit with only 93 of them at the moment (all silver, no bronze), all fitting in a single tray, so less than 10% of the size of your collection -- with a library of books on Republican and other ancient coins that takes up less than two full bookshelves, since I rely more on online resources:


As such, I can only bow in your direction! I am in awe. Never mind all your other talents.

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What I find most fascinating about these interviews is seeing how we're alike in so many ways. I've also run marathons (though I'm currently out of shape), am interested in astronomy, and am involved in computers. I don't keep fish myself, but my father has a 360 gallon saltwater reef aquarium I enjoy photographing. 

We differ in having 1000 RR coins vs 0 on my side and it's debatable whether we speak the same language. 🙂

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