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Do you have coins that you consider irreplaceable for some reasons? Such as their condition, story, etc. It also doesn’t have to be expensive or even be the only or one of few known examples. 
I don’t have any that I consider irreplaceable, although there are couple of coins that I could never buy it for the price I once bought them for! 

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All of my coins that I got from my father when he passed away (I was 10 years old back then) are irreplaceable and are more valuable than my collection combined, in sentimental value. I should start taking pictures of it as it has stayed dormant for over 40 years, but I did take one of them out and photographed it a while ago...


Dominican Republic: 1976 1/2 Peso (KM# 52)





Edited by quant.geek
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My very first ancient coin, many years ago!

Had no idea what I was buying, just liked the look of it...And as luck would have it...


Licinius I (RIC VII#155 Arles)-Unlisted-

Licinius I AE Follis 20mm/3.43gr (Emperors name Misspelled)

Obverse-IMP LICINVS PF AVG- laureate, cuirassed bust right

Reverse-REV SOLI INVICTO COMITI- Sol standing right, looking left, chlamys across chest and over his left arm, holding globe and raising right hand. C-S across fields

Exergue-PARL- minted 313-318AD Arles

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An interesting question! I prefer coins with an interesting "object biography" (or "provenance"), in part because I find the easiest way to understand a topic is by studying its "history of knowledge." My favorite are coins with several links in the chain-of-custody between collectors, or multiple entries in scholarly debates. Each one is unique (some more than others, if that's possible). For me, irreplaceability is in the interestingness of the network of collections and/or ideas about the coin.

A small Æ chalkous (10mm, 1.16g, 7h) from Caria, Mylasa (?). Zeus (or Poseidon?) and dolphin over trident. A not-so-expensive but irreplaceable example specifically for its biography (below):


It was part of several scholarly collections (Karl, Franke, Vogl), where they and/or auction catalogs attributed it to several different mints over the past 30+ years. The city has been debated for generations but finally seems to be settling on Mylasa (in addition to the 4 cities below, others have suggested Myndos, Myrina, and Nisyros):

Myndos in Kölner Münzkabinett Auktion 49 [30 Oct 1989], Lot 27, where it was acq. by Erich Karl;
Mygissos, Karl 246 in Lanz 131, [Munzen von Karien, Sammlung Erich Karl, 27 Nov 2006], 246;
Mylasa in Grün 64-1 [Sammlung Prof. Dr. Peter Robert Franke - Griechische Münzen, 20 Nov 2014], 1046;
Mylasa in 
Leu WA 16 [22 May 2021], 1055 (Dr. Peter Vogl Collection, acq. after the Helios 5 sale in 2010);
Mylasa in Historia Numorum Caria Online Temp N. 1883, example 1 (this coin);
Mylasa (this coin cited & illustrated, table 41.ε) in 
Dimakopoulos, Stavros. 2009. Sanctuaries and Cult of Zeus in Caria. [in Greek] Thessaloniki: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki;
Myous or Mygissos (this coin cited on p. 282, n8) in Lenger, Dinçer Savaş. 2016. “A New Myrinan (Aeolis) Bronze Coin?” AIIN, 62: pp. 281–286;
I haven't had a chance to see Koray Konuk's new (2022) chapter in Presbeus (the Festchrift for R. Ashton), “MY Stands for Mylasa.” I’m curious to see if he discusses this type (and example), since it sounds like it's about the related series of bronze coins w/ MY ethnic (the source of the debate; e.g., HNO 735). (Konuk figures prominently in my "reattributions & debates" sub-collection, since he's always reattributing Carian coins to different cities... sometimes overruling his own prior judgments!)


And an Æ Hemiassarion (18mm, 3.84g, 12h) of Domitian (looking like Caligula) from Cilicia, Anazarbus. (I included it on another thread recently). It was published w/ at least four different attributions (3 mints + "uncertain" & 2 rulers, Domitian or Caligula). 

It's the only coin I've found in two different Lindgren volumes (of 3), and two different RPC volumes (the first now retracted, plus RPC supplements & online) because Ziegler pointed out both were wrong at just the right time to make corrections:


1985 (Caesara Paneas, Domitian; AND Irenopolis, Domitian): Lindgren & Kovacs 2192, as Caesarea Paneas, Domitian on page 116, then “corrected” to Irenopolis in Errata on p. 187;
1992 (Uncertain mint, Caligula): RPC I 5456;
1993a (Anazarbus, Domitian): Ziegler 73.3;
(From here on out, Anazarbus, Domitian.)

1993b: Lindgren III 773 on page 43 (and Errata Supplement, p. ii);
1998a: RPC Supplement 1, p. 50, “Delete:…” the entry for RPC I 5456, citing Ziegler (but not Lindgren III) and correcting to Anazarbus, Domitian;
[Also included in RPC Consolidated Supplement 1-3, 2015: p. 180];

1998b: RPC II 1750, Anazarbus, Domitian [cited in RPC Online II 1750, example 4 as Lindgren & Kovacs 2192 (corr.) but without mention of the Lindgren III 773].
Isegrim 23043, example 3 (corr.) ["ZIEGLER KAISER 073(1-6)" = "SLG LINDGREN I 2192(3)<KOR>"];
2022: CNG 510, 419, ex MDA Collection.

Edited by Curtis JJ
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Good topic. I guess maybe my first ancient, a pretty emerald green Larissa bronze, or such items I lucked into like a XF Alexander tet with a Bowers and Ruddy flip. I bought a whole collection of Greek bronzes from Stacks that were all bought in the 60s and 70s, still listing the dealer lot numbers. That is pretty cool.

Then, there is the literal definition of irreplaceable. I own a few items identified as unique. I guess that is the other answer.

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Mine has to be my exceptionally rare VICT GAL AVG antoninianus of Gallienus, with the bust wearing a lion skin on the obverse. Bust type unpublished by MIR (and everywhere else, for that matter).


I have only seen one other come up for sale (by CNG), that was in worse condition, and in bronze rather than silver.



Proof that good things do turn up on eBay once in a while 😄

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14 minutes ago, Harry G said:

I have only seen one other come up for sale (by CNG), that was in worse condition, and in bronze rather than silver.

A rare coin !! Another nice example in the Reinhardt collection, page 54 and 55 (MIR: 369cc (0ex))



Edited by shanxi
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10 minutes ago, shanxi said:

A rare coin !! Another nice example in the Reinhardt collection, page 54 and 55 (MIR: 369cc (0ex))



Woah, thanks for that! I was not aware there was an example in that collection (and all the other VICT GAL AVG obverse types!). I've just added the one with the military bust on my bucket list for when I win the lottery lol

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A coin can be irreplaceable for a range of reasons: condition + pedigree + style, absolute type rarity, and personal significance. 

Here are a few examples from my collection:


This Clazomenae drachm is Ex. Kunstfreund, Ex. Pozzi, and of superb condition and style. A replacement could theoretically exist but no comparable examples have ever hit the market.



Absolute Type Rarity

I've posted this recently but this Athens diobol is one of two available to private collectors (the other is in a friend's collection and won't ever be back on the market). I consider it entirely irreplaceable. This coin was minted from the melted down statues of Nike on the Akropolis to fund the creation of a navy against Sparta in the Peloponnesian War.



Personal Significance

This aureus of Antoninus Pius marked a transition in my collecting journey to shift from US coinage to solely into ancients. I fell in love with its art and it has since been my avatar icon for the last 10+ years. It also sparked my interest in pedigree hunting: I've tracked it to several major sales as well as the Biaggi collection which makes it all the more appealing.



I'll also add this Colosseum sestertius to the "Personal Significance" category. I first saw it at an ANA show pre-lot viewing, held it in-hand, and said to myself: "now THAT is a piece of history". It's not the finest known of the type but it's an incredibly important type and a difficult coin to find in any condition. I've since tracked down a 1910 pedigree and consider it a permanent resident in my list of favorite coins.



Edited by AncientJoe
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