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From a brick-and-mortar store


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I used to live in a town with a US-coin store. He very occasionally got an ancient or two in and he always called me. Usually he accepted my offer. I lived in silver-dollar country and most of his customers had nothing to do with ancients. Yes, he now has a significant internet presence, but he simply doesn't do ancients; he doesn't see enough of them to bother.

I moved far away, but our relationship has continued. Two or three times a year he sends me a photo, expecting an offer. A bit ago I was surprised that he simply sent me a coin, unannounced. It was this one:


Hadrian denarius. 17.8-17.3 mm. 3.11 grams.
around Pietas with VOT PVB across the field
I like the VOT PVB because I have a website on Vota coins:
When I find the time I'll add it to those pages.
I also like the 
in the legend. Consul designate! That means he was COS II and chosen to be COS III in the coming year. So, it was struck in late 118, shortly before he became COS III in 119.

I made him and offer and he didn't refuse.

I recommend you strike up a relationship with your local US-coin dealer. Maybe he will call you when something comes in. 

Tell a story about your local brick-and-mortar store!


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Way back when I was in grad school (1980s), there was a brick-and-mortar coin and stamp store that had a selection of ancient coins. It was owned by an older man and a woman who was a generation younger worked there, too. The woman was the ancient coin and artifact expert at the store, while the man was the stamp and US coin expert. I collected stamps at the time and frequented the store from time to time to purchase items for my collection. As one is wont to do, I was looking through the coin cases waiting for the stamp guy to get back from lunch and the woman struck up a conversation with me. I was surprised that ancient coins were affordable, but they were! She showed me a tribute penny and told me a little about them -- being honest with me that nobody really knows what exact coin Jesus referred to in his parable -- and sold it to me at a discounted price (which, in retrospect, was still no bargain). I still have it -- my first ancient coin -- and you've seen it thousands of times, because it's my avatar.


I've been hooked ever since. I bought a few other coins at the shop before I moved out of town to further my education in an entirely different field at a different university.

Among these other early purchases:





Edited by Roman Collector
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The problem with me participating is my lack of coin photography skills (or, the lack of a proper lightbox).  Very few are photographed.  They range from nice to crap.

My first two coins were purchased when I was under 10, at a coin store whose name and location I forget.  They were two junk box pieces, andboy, were they junky.  It took me years to figure out what they were.  One is an MSC, worn but somewhat pleasing.  I always wondered about the MSC. The black patina was awfully thick. Maybe it was painted on.  The other is a super-decrepit Nero, seated figure as/dupondius.  Fast forward a few years and I started my permanent collection. The main coin store in town always had quite a nice array of coins, presumably supplied by Jon Kern, but I don't know for sure.  I'll always remember the colorful ID tags - they'd be written in different colors using colorful markers.  There were always quite a few nice coins.  I stupidly threw most of the tags out when I made computerized ID tags. It's been 30 years, but it would be something like this, the name would be written in red?, another portion of the tag would be another color, etc.

The owner eventually passed and there weren't any decent local options.  Some years later, I started getting birthday/Christmas presents, purchased from the local coin chain which specializes in American coins.  At least some of the raw ancients (usually the ones I like) are supplied by Jon Kern.  starting around 2014, slabs started showing up and there's a depressing tendency for more and more slabs.  All of my favorite coins from here have been of the raw variety.

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7 minutes ago, Valentinian said:

I put the OP coin my pages abut VOTA coins:
and made a few other minor changes.

If you have any VOTA coins, you might find that website interesting.

I love this page - very informative. I suggest everyone read it.

As far as B&M stores go, the one in my town will not sell me any ancient coins! He knows I'm a dealer on vcoins, and I guess he assumes I know something he doesn't (which is true), He doesn't get many ancient coins, but I've made fair offers for the ones he does occasionally have, and I guess he assumes they must be worth much more than my offers. Tells me he's going to sell them on eBay for twice as much. Okey Dokey.

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Posted (edited)

The fact that this guy assumes you would use your superior knowledge of ancients to cheat him wouldn't give me a lot of confidence in his own honesty, or in the fairness of his prices for other kinds of coins. 

Edited by DonnaML
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