Coin Talk

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Origins of the English Penny With the news that production of 2 penny coins is being paused, it’s tempting to think the humble penny’s time might be up soon. Its purchasing power is half that of the halfpenny when it was withdrawn. But it would be hasty to condemn it – it’s been England’s most resilient and long-lived coin.The penny’s predecessorsThe story begins, as it often does, with the Romans. When they invaded Britain in 34AD they put a stop to British coin production and brought their own coins. They also brought the ‘pound’ with them, although as a weight standard rather than a coin. Indeed, the ‘£’ sign is based on the Latin word for pound – ‘libra’ – which also provided ‘lb’ for the pound weight. The abbreviations for shillings and pence were also Roman, so that ‘l. s. d.’ stood for ‘librae, solidi and denarii’. These were used in Britain all the way to decimalisation in 1971. China 1912 Szechuan $1 Coin, A Tale of Rejection Vindication In 2012 I decided to unload all my Chinese coins at auction, taking advantage of the surging prices at that time . I sent my coins to NGC to get encapsulated along with a group of ancient coins. Two of the Chinese coins came back in body bags ; one was an obvious FAKE (I posted that coin yesterday) the other was labeled AUTHENTICITY UNVERAFIABLE, see label below. My first impression was WHAT ? No explanation was given as to why they couldn t verify the authenticity of this coin . The coin looked like a solid AU to me with no problems, together NGC PCGS had slabbed over 1,700 of these coins in AU50. So why was my coin rejected ? Did the graders get gun shy after finding a fake Fat Man dollar in my submission ? Who knows. Time was drawing near to get my coins off to Heritage Auctions for their 2012 Signature Auction in Chicago. A Little History From 1892 Wanted to share a little bit:“Souvenir Coins: A very pretty as well as practical idea has been suggested by Commissioner M. H. DeYoung, of California, and Captain Porter, of the United States Secret Service. It is to the effect that the United States shall issue a number of silver half dollars with a design that shall make them souvenirs of the World’s Columbian Exposition. These coins are to be legal tender, and it is thought that many people, in fact all who visit the Exposition, will wish to keep at least one as a souvenir of the greatest peaceable event in the history of the United States. The United States Mint would, according to this plan, issue ten or twenty millions of these half dollars to be used as admission to the Exposition. But as most of them would, after the Exposition, be bought as keepsakes and withdrawn from circulation, the government would be a large sum ahead. For Director Leach, of the Mint, estimates that it will cost about thirty cents... The Beauty of Impermanence The ancient bronze and silver coins that we enjoy, with their colorful and often dramatic patinas, are the product of centuries, even millennia, of exposure to the elements, primarily air and water, but also other chemicals that might be present, especially if they are buried. Being the objects produced by humanity, they are, nonetheless, composed of naturally occurring elements, namely copper and silver.Here are two bronzes from my collection:Roman Empire, 238 ADSestertiusPupienusObverse: Laureate bust, draped and cuirassed bust right.Reverse: Victory standing left.RIC 23a, BMCRE 58, Cohen 38Deep green patina19.91 grams29.5 mm, 1 h.ex Harlan Berk Byzantine Empire, 539/40 ADFollisJustinian INicomediaYear 13Officina BObverse: Helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, holding globus cruciger and shield; cross to right.Reverse: Large M, ANNO to left, XIII (year 13) to right, cross above, NIK in exergue.DO-117bGreen/brown patina with... A Lifelong Numismatic Dream Fulfilled - A Santiago Mint Columnario This is a coin which I had almost given up hope of ever owning. However, it has finally happened and I am really happy to have found this example of a Santiago, Chile Mint 8 Reales Columnario.Collectors of Latin American Colonial coinage will recognise Santiago Columnarios as one of the scarcest types in all of Spanish Colonial Numismatics. While the New World Spanish mints at Mexico, Lima and Potosi produced the Dos Mundos coinage in very large numbers, production from Santiago was comparably tiny.Today, a total of only 53 Santiago 8 Reales Columnarios are documented to exist with dates ranging from 1751 to 1770, for a total of 12 Different dates. Only a handful more are possibly unaccounted for. For some dates, only one or two examples are known.The two most common dates, 1768 and 1758, account for half of all examples known.I was therefore excited when the opportunity to add this rare example from 1764 arose. Only Five coins are known for this date.This example is... An Illegal coin and exciting mystery - Lydia, Sardes for Diva Claudia Octavia My winnings from the Papillon Numismatic Auction 1 just arrived - quite pleased with this oneRoman ProvincialLydia, Sardes for Diva Claudia Octavia, (d. AD 62)AE19Minted under Mindios, Strategos for the second timeObv: ΘΕΑΝ ΟΚΤΑΟΙΑΝ, Head rightRev: CΑΡΔΙΑΝΩΝ / ΕΠΙ ΜΙΝΔΙΟΥ / ΣΤΡ ΤΟ Β, Demeter standing right, holding scepterRef: RPC I 3000 (Var? There seems to be multiple legend layouts, many of which are probably not documented) Born in about 39, Octavia was the middle child of Claudius, and his first child with Messalina, who was also the mother of Britannucus. Sadly always destined to be a pawn in the political games of her family, she was initially betrothed to the son of one of her father s political allies while still a young child, then finally married to her first cousin once removed, Nero.Their marriage was never happy, but ancient historians mention that Octavia was a virtuous wife, and well beloved by the people. Nero eventually... It arrived today, and it is very nice in hand, very pleasing silver color and some light toning as their description said. Valens. Circa 367-375 CE. Silver Siliqua. 15mm, 1.2g. Trier mint. Obverse: DN VALENS PF AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Valens right. Reverse: VRBS ROMA, figure of Roma seated left, holding Victory on globe and a scepter. RIC IX 27e.1.Heavily clipped in post-Roman Britain.From CNG Electronic Auction 477. Ex Todd Hansen Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Review XX.2 (Summer 1995), SP2125 (listed as “Time of King Arthur”).Seeing that CNG had previously sold this coin through their Summer 1995 print catalog, I also acquired the Summer 1995 Classical Numismatic Review for a small amount from an online bookseller.1995 was the year when Prodigy and AOL made the internet accessible to the general public, which... Aristotle s Library and a Coin of Troas It is somehow fitting that my post that eventually stumbles on an ancient library should start with a the vocabulary words that I ve failed to learn before today, perhaps i need more time in a library:Protomai or protome : προτομή, head and upper torso of a human or an animal as an ornament or adornmentGigantomachy : in Greek and Roman mythology, the epic battle struggle between the gods and the giants The gods won with the aid of Heracles the archer and the giants were killed. Giants buried can be responsible for volcanic fires, earthquakes, etc.Rhyton : an ancient Greek drinking cup formed in the shape of an animal s head or a horn with the hole for drinking in the bottom. Metope: a square space between tryglyps in a Doric friezeTryglyph : best described with a picture - the highlighted in red, square panel is a tryglyph: Severus Alexander: a mummy s boy. Severus Alexander, born OCTOBER 1st 208 AD in Phenicia and died in 235 near Mainz (present-day Germany), was Roman Emperor from 222 AD to 235. His complete name is Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander. He is the cousin of Emperor Elagabalus, whom he succeeded at the age of 13. He leaves the management of the business to his grandmother Julia Maesa and her advisers. Alexander is the last of the Severan dynasty. He is named Alexander because he was born in a temple dedicated to Alexander the Great. It was the army that would give him the name Severus. On the day he s born, let s examine the good and bad sides of his reign : Musée Le Louvre, Paris.Good points :the first nine years of Alexander’s reign were peaceful and free from foreign wars.His advisers were men like the senator and historian Cassius Dio and it is believed that he initiated a select board of sixteen senators. He also created a... Medieval heraldic horse pendants ...No, really! People have been posting artifacts on this forum for as long as I’ve been paying any attention. They’re unfailingly cool, not least in the Ciceronian sense. Meanwhile, for those of us who spend more time in the Middle Ages than Antiquity, the progression from coins to (sorry to get all bilingual --especially in contrast to what I can do with Cicero) ‘artefacts’ can be no less compelling and seamless. Heraldic harness furniture has to be one collective instance. The commonest examples, conspicuously from detector finds in England, are little shield-shaped decorations (pendants or studs), mostly made of bronze (‘latten’). They depict real, historic coats of arms, originally with their tinctures (colors) rendered in enamel. The run of them date from around the mid-13th century to the mid-14th, with “the peak period for the larger, shield-shaped pendants …[apparently] around 1280 to 1350.” (Baker p. 22; cf. pp. 6; 2 and note 5 regarding the earlier...

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