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Father's Byzantine / Ancient Coin Collection


Bonshaw

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A few years back I inherited my father's ancient / Byzantine coin collection. It consists of 83 coins. His passion was mainly Byzantine history, but he has some Roman and Greek coins mixed in. The coins came with an 1100 volume historical library. I've converted one of my kid's rooms into a library now that they are gone.

The coins are mostly AE, with some AG; he avoided gold coins for fear of counterfeits. I am going to gradually work through his collection, documenting it, and learning history along the way, doing no more than one coin a week (and probably slower than that). I thought I would try starting a topic on this process and my discoveries along the way. If there is interest, I will keep adding coins to this topic, and if interest flags, I'll take it offline (but still keep going).

I'm starting with this coin (#1/83). I believe it is Billon tetradrachm, Obv. bust of Nero right, Rx Eagle Standing Left. It was purchased from Dan Brown's Coin Shop, in Denver Colorado, on March 27, 1969 (my father kept receipts!) 

The obverse has a partial inscription NEPW KLAY KAIE (or something like that), I think that NEPW is Nero

Nero looks a bit younger and fitter than on most of the coins I've seen on this board.

Weight: 13.54 g

Diameter: 25 mm

 

40_Nero.jpg.c3e6362b7a0142a4b44d2441d3caf516.jpg

If anyone knows mint or origin details, I'd be most interested!


The coin is a lot more vibrant in hand; I apologize that I haven't mastered the dark art of numismatic photography.
 

Edited by Bonshaw
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  • Bonshaw changed the title to Father's Byzantine / Ancient Coin Collection
1 hour ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Your photographs are a lot better than mine.

It's a billon (debased silver) tetradrachm of Nero from Alexandria, Egypt, year 11 (IA).  Reference Sear RCV I 2003. 

It's good that he kept the paperwork.  Preserve that.

Thank you so much!

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Just a suggestion, if your dad kept old paperwork that came with buying the coin, you could also add pics of those old tags/receipts to the thread. It would be interesting to see the amount paid for the coins in the 60s for instance.

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1 hour ago, seth77 said:

Just a suggestion, if your dad kept old paperwork that came with buying the coin, you could also add pics of those old tags/receipts to the thread. It would be interesting to see the amount paid for the coins in the 60s for instance.

Great idea - here is the Alexandria Nero tetradrachm envelope:

19690327Env.DanBrownCoinsNeroTetradrachm.jpg.7eb1a3717e0b1ac66a8ec22af65b44ab.jpg

And receipt:

19690327DanBrownCoinsNeroTetradrachmcopy.jpg.fb5bde7ee8c8973356a98b8aa6704013.jpg

The three other coins on this receipt will feature later in this thread, if the interest keeps up. Thanks for your help tracking down information.

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31 minutes ago, Bonshaw said:

Great idea - here is the Alexandria Nero tetradrachm envelope:

19690327Env.DanBrownCoinsNeroTetradrachm.jpg.7eb1a3717e0b1ac66a8ec22af65b44ab.jpg

And receipt:

19690327DanBrownCoinsNeroTetradrachmcopy.jpg.fb5bde7ee8c8973356a98b8aa6704013.jpg

The three other coins on this receipt will feature later in this thread, if the interest keeps up. Thanks for your help tracking down information.

This would likely be a very interesting package deal: all 4 coins from this purchase with the full paperwork - envelope and invoice/receipt exactly as they were purchased in 1969.

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This is a great way to honor your father and his interest in Byzantine history. Really looking forward to seeing the progress of the thread. Great idea to take your time and enjoy the process.

John 

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16 hours ago, Bonshaw said:

A few years back I inherited my father's ancient / Byzantine coin collection. It consists of 81 coins. His passion was mainly Byzantine history, but he has some Roman and Greek coins mixed in. The coins came with an 1100 volume historical library. I've converted one of my kid's rooms into a library now that they are gone.

The coins are mostly AE, with some AG; he avoided gold coins for fear of counterfeits. I am going to gradually work through his collection, documenting it, and learning history along the way, doing no more than one coin a week (and probably slower than that). I thought I would try starting a topic on this process and my discoveries along the way. If there is interest, I will keep adding coins to this topic, and if interest flags, I'll take it offline (but still keep going).

I'm starting with this coin. I believe it is Billon tetradrachm, Obv. bust of Nero right, Rx Eagle Standing Left. It was purchased from Dan Brown's Coin Shop, in Denver Colorado, on March 27, 1969 (my father kept receipts!) 

The obverse has a partial inscription NEPW KLAY KAIE (or something like that), I think that NEPW is Nero

Nero looks a bit younger and fitter than on most of the coins I've seen on this board.

 

40_Nero.jpg.c3e6362b7a0142a4b44d2441d3caf516.jpg

If anyone knows mint or origin details, I'd be most interested!


The coin is a lot more vibrant in hand; I apologize that I haven't mastered the dark art of numismatic photography.
 

That's a beautiful coin. Well above the average condition for Roman Alexandrian billon tetradrachms of Nero.  (A coin is considered "billon" rather than silver once the percentage of silver gets below about 50%.)

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31 minutes ago, mc9 said:

Hi Bonshaw,

Can you provide the diameter and weight of the coins in question please?

These are also needed for identification.

With thanks,

 

MC9

Great idea - I have an accurate scale and a good set of calipers, so I'll add that when I get home tonight, as well as making it standard in future postings.

 

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That Nero Alexandrian tetradrachm is a real beauty!  Your father must have had a really good eye when selecting coins.

I'm looking forward to your photos of other coins in the collection.  

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4 hours ago, robinjojo said:

That Nero Alexandrian tetradrachm is a real beauty!  Your father must have had a really good eye when selecting coins.

I'm looking forward to your photos of other coins in the collection.  

I fear that I may have set the bar high - this is one of the more attractive coins in the collection.  My father focused more on the history behind them!  But thank you!

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, mc9 said:

Hi Bonshaw,

Can you provide the diameter and weight of the coins in question please?

These are also needed for identification.

With thanks,

 

MC9

Weight: 13.54 g

Diameter: 25 mm

I also edited the first post to include this information.

 

 

Edited by Bonshaw
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On 3/11/2024 at 11:37 PM, Bonshaw said:

ear that I may have set the bar high - this is one of the more attractive coins in the collection.  My father focused more on the history behind them!  But thank you!

Byzantine coins are for the most part, only something a mother could love, which is why we like them. So there could still been some great pieces, even tho they don’t meet the classical definitions of attractive

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8 hours ago, mayan said:

The first coin is not byzantine...

That is correct. Some Roman, Greek and others are mixed in, but my father's real passion was Byzantine history, and plenty of those are coming.

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Posted (edited)

Happy weekend! It is time for the next coin from my father's collection, #2/83.

I decided to do a quick survey and find the last coin that he purchased. I may have missed one (I haven't comprehensively catalogued), but this is the latest I found. It was purchased in 1979 at the San Jose Coin Club Show. At this point, everything that I know about this coin (and this emperor) are read straight off the envelope. Any information anyone has about this coin beyond this would be greatly appreciated. I'm enjoying the three-dimensional cupping of this trachy!

Coin: 2/83

Emperor: Manuel I (1143-1180)

Type: Aspron Trachy

Mint: Constantinople

Type: DOC 14.10

Other specs (I don't know what these are): S-1962, HCL 641, MNX (see envelope photo below).

Weight: 4.11 g

Width: 33.35 mm

Height: 30.25 mm

Depth (trachy cup): 6.2 mm

Thickness (flan): <~ 1 mm

Purchase date: Jan. 27, 1979

Purchase location: San Jose Coin Club Show

Vendor: Jesse Patrick (of the Patrick Mint).

Purchase price: $15.00

I'm starting with photos of the coin in hand to capture the trachy shape

 

ManuelIHand.jpg.0209285445c7a8ae679ba294079ac293.jpg

And here is the close-up view:

70.ManuelIpost.jpg.f142a85b8967d496e4fb6b89dcc4db5e.jpg

Is that Christ on the obverse, and Manuel I on the reverse?

Now the provenance information. I find it pretty interesting. First, the coin envelope (both sides, taken on a B&W scanner):

Envelope.jpg.596436e6ddf1fa951f6746af12f23527.jpg 

 

The handwriting on the envelope is not my father's, I assume it is the seller's.

Now, the receipt. This is interesting to me. With no receipt from the seller in this coin show cash transaction, my dad made his own in his distinctive handwriting. He recorded the seller as "Jess Patrick" and wrote the date and other information on the back of a flyer from the seller's table. Jess (I think it is actually Jesse) was the owner of the "Patrick Mint", which was having a "going out of business" sale on their tokens. Here is the note that my father wrote in his distinctive hand on one side of the flyer:

Receipt1.jpg.3d2df79d3e6ed658c66bc995c96541f5.jpg

 

And on the flip side of that paper is a "going out of business" sale flyer for the Patrick Mint token business:

PatrickMint.jpg.0610b08d0e4035dd51d035855bdca985.jpg

So apparently Jesse Patrick had a table both selling tokens from his personal mint, and this Byzantine coin (as well as, presumably, others). I looked up the Patrick Mint. It has a URL still today: http://www.patrickmint.com/ . Apparently it was founded in 1957 and struck silver rounds and fantasy coinage.  It had a token business that did indeed stop production in 1979, which was probably a good business decision, because they are still selling their pre-1979 inventory of hundreds of tokens on this website.

By writing the purchase information on the back of this (undated) flyer, my dad did time stamp it as a contemporaneous note (supporting the date he wrote).

 

I'm eager to hear what anyone has to say about this coin!  This week, I will be learning about Manuel I from my dad's library. Thanks everyone for joining me on this journey!

 

 

 

Edited by Bonshaw
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I don’t know much about the coin, although it is very cool. But the history and provenance would make these very special to me if they were from my father (as I’m sure they are to you!). He obviously loved these coins and they give you a window into who he was at the time. I hope that in the future, my kids find interest in my coins after I’m gone, rather than just selling them in bulk lots on eBay for a few dollars (which is my nightmare). Good for you for delving into them. I look forward to seeing more!

Edited by Orange Julius
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I really like the way your dad recorded everything with such attention to detail, like a professional historian. This period is not really in my focus, I am interested in mostly post-1204 -- breakaway Greek states after the 4th Crusade and Latin Empire + Palaiologan age. But I could add something on this coin: it's the first billon issue for Manuel c. 1143-1152.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, seth77 said:

I really like the way your dad recorded everything with such attention to detail, like a professional historian. This period is not really in my focus, I am interested in mostly post-1204 -- breakaway Greek states after the 4th Crusade and Latin Empire + Palaiologan age. But I could add something on this coin: it's the first billon issue for Manuel c. 1143-1152.

Thanks for the info about this being the first Manuel billon issue. I glanced through and noticed a denier, William of Villehardouin, Principality of Achaia, 1245-1278. Shall I do that next week?

Edited by Bonshaw
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1 minute ago, Bonshaw said:

Thanks for the info about this being the first Manuel billon issue. I glanced through and noticed a denier, William of Villehardouin, Principality of Achaia, 1245-1278. Shall I do that next week?

Ah, that really is promising.

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