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Wondering if you'd like to reminisce about coins in your past collections that for one reason or another you let go of, lost, gave away, etc. Would like to see pics and, more importantly, read the stories behind the loss (guessing most everyone sells because they need the money).

For my part, I sold nearly my entire collection around when Covid hit for no real reason other than I had so little time to attend to it that I figured I was done and could move on past the point I felt I needed to possess coins (rather than simply study them). But I've since learned that I'm incorrigibly afflicted with this malediction. Or in any case still too young to have shaken the bug. So am presently rebuilding.

I miss many of my former coins, especially those hard to get usurpers or those that are outstanding for being rare for their condition. Here are a few.


This Aelius was special to me because of the beautiful bluish toning and the relatively high grade. I can't remember seeing a more desirable coin of his (beauty and the beholder disclaimer notwithstanding!)


This scraggly, broken siliqua would be worthless if its legend read DN ARCADIVS PF AVG or some similar emperor's name. But it belongs to one of the most ephemeral reigns of the late Roman period. Legit coins of Priscus Attalus are about as common as rocking horse poop.


Another major rarity, Regalianus, because... you know... when am I going to get a chance at another?


And I'll close out with this nothing-special coin that doesn't really even belong here but has an especially poignant place for me all the same. Although not ancient, my first "real old" coin was a gift from my grandma given to me on my 13th birthday with the only proviso being that I never sell it. "You have to promise me, Rasi" that's what she called me as she handed it over like some priceless heirloom "I won't" was my reply. And for the next two decades, through the depths of brokeness that was the entirety of my college years, through the even broker days following a divorce, I knew to lay off looking thataways whenever I sought for anything whatever I could list on ebay to make ends meet. Then came that day around the pandemic when I said, ah screw it, let's sell 'em all, and I thought I pulled it out (not like it was worth listing except maybe in a lot of a hundred other dregs) but evidently I didn't. And evidently it did wind up in some lot mixed in with dregs because the Prices Realized settlement has no mention of a Charles II crown. Or maybe I did pull it only to lose it somewhere in this house that has-way-too-many-things-so-it-might-as-well-be-forever-lost.

Grandma Elly, if you're reading this somewhere in another dimension, please know I am really really truly sorry I broke my promise :'-(




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Yeah letting go of coins is tough. I sold my first Nero coin. It was such a nice provincial and I miss it a lot because it was really my first big ancient coin purchase and I saved up for it when I didn't make as much as I do now. Even though it didn't really fit my collection at the time it fits in mine just fine rn because I started collecting provincials again. Be careful on what you let go. 

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Posted · Supporter

Heartbreaking stuff, and some serious showstoppers!!!🤩 I remember that Regalianus. A crazy rarity!

The year after my mom was diagnosed with dementia things were tough. So, for my dad's birthday, I gave him a coin that I new he'd go gaga over. My dad, the smartest man I've ever known and person who got me into ancients and coin collecting in general, loves Marcus Aurelius, the meditations yadda yadda. I'd landed this beauty for myself, but not shown it to him. He'd been through so much I really wanted to see him smile. And so, I gifted my dad this. The pics ok, but in hand that green patina sings:


Marcus Aurelius
(161-180 AD). AE Sestertius (32,4 mm, 23.08 g), Rome, 165/166 AD.
Obv. M AVREL ANTONINVS AVG ARMENIACVS P M, Laureate head to right.
Rev. TR POT XX IMP III COS III / S-C, Providentia standing left, pointing with wand at globe and holding scepter.
BMC 1279; RIC

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Posted (edited)

I haven't been collecting ancient coins for enough years (only about 6 1/2) to have disposed of any that I truly regret. But about 10 years ago, I sold the majority of my collection of British gold and silver coins and commemorative medals, originally acquired over a 30-year period, for financial reasons during a period of unemployment.  What makes it worse is that I sold them to a dealer (for only 30-40% of market value) rather than at auction, since I couldn't really wait for the proceeds. Although I've repurchased some of the types in recent years, there are quite a few I could never afford again, at least in comparable condition. I didn't save any photos -- it would be too painful for me to try to find any subsequent auction photos -- but they included some really nice examples of a Victoria Gothic crown (which generally sells for several thousand dollars these days); a Henry VIII groat; an Edward VI fine shilling; really nice silver crowns of Charles II, James II, William & Mary, Anne, and George I; gold coins of Elizabeth I, James I, Charles I, Charles II, James II, William & Mary, William III, and Anne; and two-pound gold coins of George IV and Victoria.  Plus a Charles II Peace of Breda silver medal, a 1732 George II "Royal Family" medal, and many others. It still hurts to think about them!

Edited by DonnaML
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Wow, this Regalian is fantastic. I had coins stolen from me in a burglary in London some 20 years ago. Some of them came back to me shortly thereafter and another group about 10 years later. This one never came back and I still miss it a lot. The coin resurfaced in an auction Boule Auction 23.06.2021 as lot 28. Despite warnings, the auction house sold the coin to an unknown buyer. At my request, M. Stéphane Boule informed the buyer about the fact that the coin was stolen and forwarded my contact details. The buyer has never contacted me. I have to add though that I don't really believe that Mr. Boule contacted him, because they tried to be as unhelpful as possible.



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Posted · Supporter

There is no suitable emoji - 'sad', for these stories. 
I feel grieving after losing bids in auctions, knowing that a second chance is unlikely anytime soon or ever. This is nothing compared to losing the coins we love, whatever force led to this. Some exceptional coins are shown/described above.

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The Gordian III Mars reverse antononianus MARTEM PROPVGNATOREM from 1979, my first coin that I procured for $30 in Pearl City, Hawaii of all places at the coin shop in the shopping mall (in the days when going to the mall was the thing to do).  When I sold my first collection before college I was sad to see it go. Don't know where, long term, it ended up. Here's one of similar reverse though not a die match. Gordian seemed to strike lots of these coins.



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16 hours ago, rasiel said:

For my part, I sold nearly my entire collection around when Covid hit

I bought this coin from you around that time so I’m guessing it was part of your collection purge. I particularly like it for the fact that it was originally (before it came into your possession) from the same auction as my Athens tetradrachm in 2019, and the Trajan-esque face.

Marcian, Eastern Roman Empire
AV solidus
Obv: D N MARCIA-NVS P F AVG, diademed, helmeted and cuirassed three-quarter facing bust, holding spear over shoulder and shield decorated with horseman
Rev: VICTORI-A AVGGG, Victory standing left, holding long jeweled cross, star in right field
Mint: Constantinople
Mintmark: CONOB
Date: 450-457 AD
Ref: RIC 510
Size: 4.46 gr., 21 mm


Edited by ValiantKnight
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Of the coins I sold so far, my avatar Sestertius is the one I miss most. Alas, I got good money for it, so I can´t complain...


Obverse: IMP CAES M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust of Macrinus right, with beard of intermediate length.
Reverse: PONTIF MAX TR P COS P [P] around, S — C in field, Felicitas standing left, holding long caduceus and cornucopiae.
Orichalcum Sestertius, Rome, 1.Oct.-31.Dec.217
20,51 grams / 33,10 mm
 obv. die 2, rev. die 42 (this coin cited), RIC 139; BMC 120, note; Cohen 66; Sear  7386.
ex collection of Friedrich Karl August, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont, 1763-1812 (Münzhandlung Basel Auction 3, 1935, lot 730)

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I've sold many coins while refining my taste, the intended goals of my collection, and when upgrading to nicer coins. I know many members here are staunchly against selling: I'd strongly recommend trying it from time to time. The cost of coins does add up and it's a good learning experience as you or your heirs will have to sell your coins eventually (or maybe practice burying them if you're not selling!)

I have no regrets from the coins I've sold as they've brought me to where I am now. In some cases, I've iterated three or four times to find the "final" coin of a given type for my collection. I like to think I'm patient but... it is fun to buy coins!


Here are a few"before and after" coins:


Kamarina tetradrachm:


v2: dramatically better eye appeal


Alexander the Great distater:

v1, no pedigree, an overall mushy appearance and unrefined reverse style


v2: Finer style, sharper, better struck, and with a 1960s pedigree



Claudius Imper Recept aureus:


v2, a much better pedigree, better centering, and sharper lettering - this one isn't as stark of an improvement but still enough to justify the upgrade


Nero "Colossus" aureus:

v1, with no pedigree, weak strike and flat points


v2, with a decent pedigree I found and an interesting portrait, albeit with some marks and a weak reverse


v3, more refined portrait, much better strike, with an 1890s pedigree and a light Boscoreale tone



Eid Mar:

v1, some porosity, slightly cut off legend, an inconsistent strike


v2: more of a pedigree, stronger metal, much better eye appeal, and sharper detail



Edited by AncientJoe
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9 hours ago, Tejas said:

Despite warnings, the auction house sold the coin to an unknown buyer.

I'm stunned to read this. I can't believe that this was handled this way. I'm no legal expert (I believe Donna is though! Please weigh in) and I also guess that you are not in the USA but here I think that if you can prove someone else has your property you can straight up call the police to intervene. I can't imagine an AH would so brazenly serve as a fencing operation.


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44 minutes ago, rasiel said:

I'm stunned to read this. I can't believe that this was handled this way. I'm no legal expert (I believe Donna is though! Please weigh in) and I also guess that you are not in the USA but here I think that if you can prove someone else has your property you can straight up call the police to intervene. I can't imagine an AH would so brazenly serve as a fencing operation.


I promise that I'm no expert on this issue! And it sounds like this all took place in Europe, with the dealer perhaps located in France.  I have no idea what the law there provides. But if this had been a USA dealer, and someone showed documentary proof that a particular unique item like an ancient coin had been stolen and had been reported as such, I would be amazed if any reputable dealer went ahead and sold the coin, thereby exposing itself to potential liability given the basic legal principle here that a thief cannot pass good title.

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The most hurtful loss and "open wound" in my collection is an aureus of Matidia that I won at Oslo Myntgalleri's Auction 28 in May 2022.  A rarity in any condition, it had an impressive provenance of 100+ years and in my opinion was an absolutely beauty.  I also think I got it at a great price!  What could go wrong?

Well, on its way to me from Norway it disappeared after arriving at the Fedex hub in Memphis TN.

The folks at Oslo Myntgalleri were very cooperative and did their best to follow up with Fedex to investigate and track it down.  However, it was all for naught and after a couple months of fruitless searching I was refunded the money for the purchase.

Although I didn't lose a dollar, I was heart-broken at the loss.  The only aureus I own is a Forum issue of Trajan and I viewed this coin of his favorite niece as an appropriate companion that would have been the centerpiece of my collection.  I always wonder where it is now.  


Matidia, Augusta, AD 112-119, AV aureus, 7.01 grams, struck under Trajan AD 112-117, Rome mint

Obverse:  MATIDIA AVG DIVAE MARCIANAE F, Draped bust of Matidia right, wearing stephane

Reverse:  PIETAS AVGVST, Matidia as Pietas, standing facing with head to left, placing hands on the heads of Sabina and Matidia the Younger

Reference:  RIC II 759 (Trajan);  Calico 1157a

Provenance:   NAC 34 (24-Nov-2006) lot 158; Aufhaeuser 17 (2003) lot 293; M&M XIX (1959) lot 211; Egger XXXIX (1912) lot 911 

Edited by Theoderic
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