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Are you ashamed of any of your coins?


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Posted (edited)

I've been collecting for 30 years, and while I have many decrepit coins, there's only a small handful of which I'm truly ashamed of.   I'm fully in the budget collector class, and I only had a small budget for a very long time.  My coin budget is larger than ever before, but with the price inflation of a Caesar portrait denarius, an example would be fairly tough to get; life gets in the way.  The bushes alone cost $1100 to trim.  It's almost impossible to get rid of brush; I had to spend $770 on a junk removal company.

Due to my lack of coin photography skills (which would probably be fixed if I could buy a pre-built stand for a cell phone), my pre-2008 collection (i.e. coins bought which featured a picture) are unphotographed, and given the massive amount of effort it would take to catalog and photograph them, probably never will be.

The Claudius Aureus is the first coin of shame.  Purchased circa 1997, ex-jewelry, it's VG and mushy.  I purchased an Aurelian double sestertius, honestly described as heavily tooled, from the same dealer, yet I don't really have any shame about that one.  It's my only known toolie, and as I don't participate in auctions, it's unlikely that one will ever show up in my price range at vcoins.

The second coin of shame is my only Julius Caesar portrait denarius.  I picked it up for $200-something in 2010 and while I was quite excited about my budget purchase at the time (it got me in the door of JC portraits), alas, it's probably one of the worst known.  The price was certainly not bad.  For the price, it should be one of the worst known.

julius92.jpg.4f9475235e4d7aec19fc58b672dee769.jpg

ULIUS CAESAR AR silver portrait denarius. Lifetime issue, struck Jan-Feb 44 BC. CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, Laureate head of Caesar right. Reverse - SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing right holding Victory and scepter. RSC 41, RCV 1414. 17mm, 3.1g. Very worn, several small surface scratches.

decius84.jpg.29395dd9a52e810e7df3ca6f3ea7c96a.jpg

TRAJAN DECIUS AE double sestertius. Rome, 250 AD. IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate, cuirassed bust right, drapery on far shoulder. Reverse - FELICITAS SAECVLI, Felicitas standing left with long caduceus & cornucopiae, SC in fields. Cohen 40, RIC 115c, RCV 9395 34.5mm, 21.3g. Reverse slightly double struck.

The Trajan Decius is the only coin I have which actually brings me a small level of distress.  While no one has ever definitively answered this point, it's my theory that the ghastly eye (or lack thereof) was due to corrosion removal.  One can see residual corrosion still left on the face.   I'm told that it was originally from France.  I'm still not sure if the residual hair left on the back of the head is tooled in or not.

A couple of recent coins from this seller are high on my joy list.  It was just coincidence that these two were not.

 

Edited by Nerosmyfavorite68
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I have a high shame threshold, so the only coins I'm ashamed of are a couple of fakes I bought in the first few months of my collecting. Sometimes you need to pay for your lessons. Look, wait, and above all learn before you buy is the lesson. I can only hope I learnt it well enough...

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

I've been collecting for 30 years, and while I have many decrepit coins, there's only a small handful of which I'm truly ashamed of.   I'm fully in the budget collector class, and I only had a small budget for a very long time.  My coin budget is larger than ever before, but with the price inflation of a Caesar portrait denarius, an example would be fairly tough to get; life gets in the way.  The bushes alone cost $1100 to trim.  It's almost impossible to get rid of brush; I had to spend $770 on a junk removal company.

Due to my lack of coin photography skills (which would probably be fixed if I could buy a pre-built stand for a cell phone), my pre-2008 collection (i.e. coins bought which featured a picture) are unphotographed, and given the massive amount of effort it would take to catalog and photograph them, probably never will be.

The Claudius Aureus is the first coin of shame.  Purchased circa 1997, ex-jewelry, it's VG and mushy.  I purchased an Aurelian double sestertius, honestly described as heavily tooled, from the same dealer, yet I don't really have any shame about that one.  It's my only known toolie, and as I don't participate in auctions, it's unlikely that one will ever show up in my price range at vcoins.

The second coin of shame is my only Julius Caesar portrait denarius.  I picked it up for $200-something in 2010 and while I was quite excited about my budget purchase at the time (it got me in the door of JC portraits), alas, it's probably one of the worst known.  The price was certainly not bad.  For the price, it should be one of the worst known.

julius92.jpg.4f9475235e4d7aec19fc58b672dee769.jpg

ULIUS CAESAR AR silver portrait denarius. Lifetime issue, struck Jan-Feb 44 BC. CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, Laureate head of Caesar right. Reverse - SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing right holding Victory and scepter. RSC 41, RCV 1414. 17mm, 3.1g. Very worn, several small surface scratches.

decius84.jpg.29395dd9a52e810e7df3ca6f3ea7c96a.jpg

TRAJAN DECIUS AE double sestertius. Rome, 250 AD. IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate, cuirassed bust right, drapery on far shoulder. Reverse - FELICITAS SAECVLI, Felicitas standing left with long caduceus & cornucopiae, SC in fields. Cohen 40, RIC 115c, RCV 9395 34.5mm, 21.3g. Reverse slightly double struck.

The Trajan Decius is the only coin I have which actually brings me a small level of distress.  While no one has ever definitively answered this point, it's my theory that the ghastly eye (or lack thereof) was due to corrosion removal.  One can see residual corrosion still left on the face.   I'm told that it was originally from France.  I'm still not sure if the residual hair left on the back of the head is tooled in or not.

A couple of recent coins from this seller are high on my joy list.  It was just coincidence that these two were not.

 

Remember that your Julius Caesar is a lifetime issue with his portrait, and as such, deserving of respect regardless of its grade or eye appeal (or partial lack thereof).

My first JC lifetime portrait denarius (and, as of this writing, still the only JC I’ve owned) was also no beauty contest winner.  But the portrait was clear (-ish) and most of Caesar’s name was visible.  I got it for slightly less than $500 USD around 2008.  (Slabbing it pushed my total investment to just above the $500 mark.)

Somebody on Collectors Universe called it a “Bart Simpson coin”.  Haha.  I guess there is a slight resemblance there.

IMG_8299.png.3f18d290a79a77712f06ddf186727b0f.png

I’ve seen similarly low-end examples priced over $1,000 nowadays.  So $200-something for yours in 2010 sounds pretty good.

Like you, I’ve long been under a fairly modest budget.  Working as a hotel clerk and being a dad and trying to keep a series of older cars on the road… well, I know about budgetary limitations.  If it weren’t for a little inheritance money a couple years ago, I’d never have joined the Aureus Club, for example.

You allude to those two coins being from the same seller.  Judging from the red background in the photos, I’m going to venture a guess that you’re talking about Steve McBride of Incitatus Coins?  He was my go-to dealer when I first started collecting Romans.  He offers some nice bargains on stuff you don’t see every day.

Edited by lordmarcovan
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Yes, the backgrounds were a giveaway of the seller's ID. I threw in that paragraph because I didn't want anyone to think that I was throwing shade on him.  I'm happy with the great majority of buys from him.  The $200-something was quite the bargain price, even then.

Yours is nicer than mine, and I agree per the observations about current prices. Thanks for the kind words concerning my JC.

I'm slightly ashamed of my recent broken Nero, but I have more anger than anything else, since it was never satisfactorily addressed.  It was my fault for not pressing the issue harder at the time. I'm only out $80-something on that.

I'm also ashamed that I lost the bag o' asses.  Purchased in bulk from the same seller as the Aureus, at $1.50 each, these certainly weren't bad for the price.  Happily, the 'best' were put in one of the bags I didn't lose.  When I was moving, I transferred the bag to here and hid it too well.  I looked everywhere, but to no avail. It could also be languishing in a box, I suppose.  I found the bag o'provincials.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, lordmarcovan said:

PS- where’s that Claudius aureus you mentioned?  I’d love to see it if you have a pic.

Like I mentioned, it's a pre-2008 buy and not photographed.  Until such time that macro photography improves to such a point that it's foolproof or I get a pre-made photography stand, there's not much point in cataloging them.

It was purchased in 1997 for around $500.  I remember being very pleased with myself.  I did manage to make a not terrible scan on my college's flatbed scanner, but that's long gone.  My current scanner doesn't scan coins well.

Edited by Nerosmyfavorite68
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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Like I mentioned, it's a pre-2008 buy and not photographed.  Until such time that macro photography improves to such a point that it's foolproof or I get a pre-made photography stand, there's not much point in cataloging them.

I feel your angst there.  That’s my dilemma with my metal detecting finds album, which contains all the stuff I dug from the early ‘90s to the early 2000s- in other words, my pre-photography era.  

I’d love to display that stuff online with my other collections (even though, as you might expect with dug stuff, some of it is wretched).  But until I pay someone to photograph all that for me, I lack photos of most of those finds.  Some of them are interesting.  Lots of them aren’t anything special.

Even if and when I do decide to hire a cheap photographer to do the job, merely editing and uploading all the photos and doing short writeups on the finds (even just the interesting ones) will be a daunting task.

Edited by lordmarcovan
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Posted (edited)

If a coin is rare enough I don't care about the condition. For instance, my first Julius Caesar portrait denarius is one such coin, despite being chipped and bent, I love this coin so much and have never felt/ feel ashamed to share it.

normal_Caesar.jpg.68ce97fae75e4c333aefa3b4c7f61fff.jpg

On the other hand, there have been occasions where I've purchased coins hastily or during a binge, occasionally overlooking their condition due to their lower cost, despite being common coins. Later on I ended up not really liking them much, so much so that I have moved them to the back of the coin album because their ugliness was distracting while I am admiring my coins. Couple of examples, both under $50:

This Vitellius denarius was covered in horn silver when I bought it. Mostly when I clean coins they end up really nice with clear surfaces, but not with this one. Maybe the only redeeming quality is his name being fully visible. 

vite.jpg.9a3c16fe5bccf91195d0103de6144ca8.jpg

This one was an impulse purchase, since a Commodus as Hercules was my bucket list coin. Although I should've waited for a better one!

commode.jpg.ba7d48662d7e3b41d42cfb0234573b72.jpg

Edited by JayAg47
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I don't have any ancient coins that I'm ashamed of, though I do possess some pretty crude examples. Over the past five years, I've become an excessively picky buyer, so I don't buy a lot and what ends up in my pile now seems to have staying power. Looking at my past purchases, I feel more regret (which others may interpret as shame) at the coins that I bought simply for the purpose of buying something. I would go to a coin show and just buy something, anything, just to not leave empty handed. Many of these are actually pretty decent coins, but I bought them for the wrong reasons. The regret comes from all of that wasted money that I could have spent on something that I truly enjoyed rather than just hoarded. In short, I'm ashamed of the coins that I bought on pure impulse, without thinking or deliberating enough. Lastly, I almost despise all of the purely collectible coins I bought, usually "special" mint products from various countries. That money could have gone to much better use. Lessons learned.

These are my crudest ancient coins, among the first ancients that I ever purchased. I'm not ashamed of them, but they are on the cruder side. I also didn't pay very much for them, maybe $10 - $20 a piece, if that?

276_to_282_Probus_01.png.7154cd8591390141469c6d513cfe6bad.png276_to_282_Probus_02.png.48846f2315ece3b08331cb5afe45cdf2.png
Probus AE Antoninianus. Antioch, 281 AD. IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, radiate draped bust right / CLEMENTIA TEMP, Probus standing right, holding sceptre, receiving Victory from Jupiter standing left, holding sceptre. Officina letter in lower centre. Mintmark XXI. Ric 921, Bust type C

 

330_to_334_ConstantiusII_AE3_01.png.bbd6a7bb3787d6d1df8d03ffa83b4c9d.png330_to_334_ConstantiusII_AE3_02.png.03e67e7771ec7db8c2f6c76c16efe8d2.png
Cyzicus RIC VII 69 Constantius II AE3. 330-334 AD. FL IVL CONSTANTIVS NOB C, laureate, draped & cuirassed bust right / GLORIA EXERCITVS, two soldiers, helmeted, standing with spears & shields, facing two standards between them, dot on banners. Mintmark SMKΓ dot.

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3 minutes ago, ewomack said:

I don't have any ancient coins that I'm ashamed of, though I do possess some pretty crude examples. Over the past five years, I've become an excessively picky buyer, so I don't buy a lot and what ends up in my pile now seems to have staying power. Looking at my past purchases, I feel more regret (which others may interpret as shame) at the coins that I bought simply for the purpose of buying something. I would go to a coin show and just buy something, anything, just to not leave empty handed. Many of these are actually pretty decent coins, but I bought them for the wrong reasons. The regret comes from all of that wasted money that I could have spent on something that I truly enjoyed rather than just hoarded. In short, I'm ashamed of the coins that I bought on pure impulse, without thinking or deliberating enough

I'm more or less in the same team, thus there is sometimes more to be ashamed of my behavior than of the coins themselves !

Q

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Due to my lack of coin photography skills (which would probably be fixed if I could buy a pre-built stand for a cell phone)

I bought the following copy stand, in August 2022. I bought it from Amazon, using the following link. It has really helped me, to take much better photos of individual coins. I use it, with my digital camera, but it seems to also have an adapter for a cell phone. It's totally rigid, unlike a camera tripod. Maybe something like this, would be helpful to you.

Here's a trick. When I take a photo of an individual coin, using the copy stand, I use my digital camera's timer. I set the timer for 10 seconds, and then I walk away, and I stand still, away from the camera, and it takes the photo. That way, my unsteady hands aren't anywhere near the camera, when the photo is taken.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084DJ7VHL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

 

image.png.7fd50c098759b08843a4cbdaa4a5f5ad.png

Edited by sand
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9 minutes ago, ewomack said:

I don't have any ancient coins that I'm ashamed of, though I do possess some pretty crude examples. Over the past five years, I've become an excessively picky buyer, so I don't buy a lot and what ends up in my pile now seems to have staying power. Looking at my past purchases, I feel more regret (which others may interpret as shame) at the coins that I bought simply for the purpose of buying something. I would go to a coin show and just buy something, anything, just to not leave empty handed. Many of these are actually pretty decent coins, but I bought them for the wrong reasons. The regret comes from all of that wasted money that I could have spent on something that I truly enjoyed rather than just hoarded. In short, I'm ashamed of the coins that I bought on pure impulse, without thinking or deliberating enough. Lastly, I almost despise all of the purely collectible coins I bought, usually "special" mint products from various countries. That money could have gone to much better use. Lessons learned.

These are my crudest ancient coins, among the first ancients that I ever purchased. I'm not ashamed of them, but they are on the cruder side. I also didn't pay very much for them, maybe $10 - $20 a piece, if that?

276_to_282_Probus_01.png.7154cd8591390141469c6d513cfe6bad.png276_to_282_Probus_02.png.48846f2315ece3b08331cb5afe45cdf2.png
Probus AE Antoninianus. Antioch, 281 AD. IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, radiate draped bust right / CLEMENTIA TEMP, Probus standing right, holding sceptre, receiving Victory from Jupiter standing left, holding sceptre. Officina letter in lower centre. Mintmark XXI. Ric 921, Bust type C

 

330_to_334_ConstantiusII_AE3_01.png.bbd6a7bb3787d6d1df8d03ffa83b4c9d.png330_to_334_ConstantiusII_AE3_02.png.03e67e7771ec7db8c2f6c76c16efe8d2.png
Cyzicus RIC VII 69 Constantius II AE3. 330-334 AD. FL IVL CONSTANTIVS NOB C, laureate, draped & cuirassed bust right / GLORIA EXERCITVS, two soldiers, helmeted, standing with spears & shields, facing two standards between them, dot on banners. Mintmark SMKΓ dot.

Those two aren't really anything to be ashamed of.  I have plenty cruddier than that.

I remember doing that at some coin shows, although it would usually be a bargain buy or a pick bin, as not to go away empty-handed.    When I first started, I would even buy LRB's, and not nice ones, at that.  It's been 20 years since I've knowingly bought (not counting group lots/blind pick bins) since I've bought a two soldiers or a Fel Temp.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, sand said:

I bought the following copy stand, in August 2022. It has really helped me, to take much better photos of individual coins. I use it, with my digital camera, but it seems to also have an adapter for a cell phone. It's totally rigid, unlike a camera tripod. Maybe something like this, would be helpful to you.

Here's a trick. When I take a photo of an individual coin, using the copy stand, I use my digital camera's timer. I set the timer for 10 seconds, and then I walk away, and I stand still, away from the camera, and it takes the photo. That way, my unsteady hands aren't anywhere near the camera, when the photo is taken.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084DJ7VHL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

Thank you!  I'll go look!  Maybe some lasting good will result from this thread.  * I just looked. Perhaps I'll buy that instead of a coin my next regular coin buy.

I've seen people on CT build shoebox lightboxes, using glass from a cheap photo holder for a reflector.  One even used a can of tomato soup as a cell phone stand.  I'll have to try the soup method sometime this weekend.

Edited by Nerosmyfavorite68
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I don't think I'd be ashamed of any coin that isn't a fake. I agree with ewomack that regret comes from buying the wrong coin, not an embarrassing coin.

Having said that, I have plenty I'm not eager to exhibit. I bought this after seeing it go unsold with another broken coin. But, it's my only coin with Tellus.

I have a photo of it because I decided to photograph everything new before it gets into my collection, so that I avoid having hundreds to do later.

Hadrian Denarius, 133-135
image.png.8c1bf5e5bb93f0de059f09f94c61862c.png
Rome. Silver, 18mm, 2.11g. Head of Hadrian, laureate, right; HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P. Tellus standing left, holding plough and usually hoe or rake; to right, growing corn; TELLVS STABIL (RIC II.3, 2052). Postwick Hoard 1986-1989.

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At least the Hadrian has a known pedigree and is interesting as such.  I have coins that are worse than that.

The Decius is the only one which brings me active angst.  At least with the Claudius I'm in the Aureus club, and I didn't pay too much for it.

It's a good thing that I was a poor college student and didn't have spare money for the even more ghastly Commodus Aureus, which was misshapen and looked like it had been run over by a truck.  At least mine was only worn and mushy. This was worn, ex-jewelry, and misshapen.

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Posted · Supporter

Lol. Good thread idea!

In my defense is just such a cool, pivotal and embarrassing time for Rome. Coins of Pertinax, Diddius Julianus and Pescennius N are a must, regardless of what they look like... but mine really look like chewed silver bubble gum

 

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image.png.93cd5c8e0ed7a1aeea41c15e6c7f4db2.png

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Posted (edited)

Those are expensive rulers.  There's nothing to be ashamed of there.  Concord on the Didius appears to be holding a severed alien head, which is kind of cool.  It's funny what tricks of the light can do.

My Pescennius, which is slightly better, was in the display window of HJB for $200, while my grandfather and I were visiting Chicago, circa 1998.  I ran in there and bought it.  I had intended to go inside anyway...

Edited by Nerosmyfavorite68
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25 minutes ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Thank you!  I'll go look!  Maybe some lasting good will result from this thread.  * I just looked. Perhaps I'll buy that instead of a coin my next regular coin buy.

I've seen people on CT build shoebox lightboxes, using glass from a cheap photo holder for a reflector.  One even used a can of tomato soup as a cell phone stand.  I'll have to try the soup method sometime this weekend.

For me, it's been worth every penny. The price has gone up, from $149.95 to $169.95, in the past 2 years. Still worth it, for me.

By the way. When using the copy stand. If I want to get the camera even closer to the coin, I simply put books or boxes or something like that, underneath the coin, to raise the coin up higher, closer to the camera.

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52 minutes ago, Ryro said:

Lol. Good thread idea!

In my defense is just such a cool, pivotal and embarrassing time for Rome. Coins of Pertinax, Diddius Julianus and Pescennius N are a must, regardless of what they look like... but mine really look like chewed silver bubble gum

 

1725993_1614761007.l.jpg

2554873_1644203765.l-removebg-preview.png.df654877a10fef6b38651682d9b1bf12.png

image.png.93cd5c8e0ed7a1aeea41c15e6c7f4db2.png


With guys like these, you either go for nice and extremely expensive, or chewed and much more affordable. Contrary to the usual advice ('buy the best you can afford') I often get a chewed version to see if I still want the high quality version. Sometimes, the desire subsides and I save the money. You can always sell a chewed version of a rare ruler pretty easily if that doesn't work.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ryro said:

Lol. Good thread idea!

In my defense is just such a cool, pivotal and embarrassing time for Rome. Coins of Pertinax, Diddius Julianus and Pescennius N are a must, regardless of what they look like... but mine really look like chewed silver bubble gum

 

1725993_1614761007.l.jpg

2554873_1644203765.l-removebg-preview.png.df654877a10fef6b38651682d9b1bf12.png

image.png.93cd5c8e0ed7a1aeea41c15e6c7f4db2.png

Definitely nothing to be ashamed of, with those guys!  All are rulers I have never owned, in any condition.

Edited by lordmarcovan
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Posted · Benefactor
Posted (edited)

Shame isn't the right word for me to use for any coin I've ever bought. I'm ashamed of the times I was mean to my older sister as a child, not of buying coins I'm not eager to show! Embarrassed, perhaps? But do I really need even to be embarrassed about, say, the handful of Roman coins I bought for less than a dollar apiece when I was about 8 years old, at an old-fashioned coin shop on Lexington Avenue around 70th Street, just a few blocks from my house? As lousy as they were, unquestionably the worst coins I've ever bought -- and still are, because I saved them! -- I remember being utterly fascinated by the idea of holding something 1,500 years old in my hands. And actually rather proud of myself for being able to identify the emperors, and look them up in our encyclopedia. As with this AE2 of Theodosius I, the only one of them I've tried to photograph:

image.png.ba61f974afbdc3fc8bcf8aa70002cf1b.png

Edited to add: for anyone wondering which type it is, this information is from Wildwinds: Theodosius I AE2, Aquileia. AD 379-395. DN THEODO-SIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right. / REPARATIO REIPVB, Theodosius standing left, holding Victory on globe and with right hand raising a kneeling female. Mintmark SMAQP. RIC IX, 30d; Cohen 27.  (I have not included the coin in my personal coin catalog!)

Edited by DonnaML
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