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Rare Coin Market Update

Rare Coin Market Update #26 (Archives)

Ancient Coins - Our Past is the Gateway through Which We Can See the Future

by Staff 2015-03-23 17:12:21

Believe it or not, you can legally buy and invest in genuine Greek and Roman gold and silver coins that are over 2000 years old and remain in Choice and Gem condition. I'm talking about gold coins that are in the same condition they day they were struck. These are amazingly rare coins that many multimillionaires and billionaires are now buying. They're buying these amazing examples of Ancient history because they know what I know – these coins could easily jump 300%, 500% or even 1000% in the next ten years – and I think I am being conservative. Compared to other Antiquities like statues, canvases, tile art, goblets, weapons, military helmets and ancient jewelry these ancient coins are selling for pennies on the dollar – even though they are in Museum quality condition.

Compared to U.S. Gold and Silver rare coins – these Choice and Gem Ancient Gold and Silver coins are 10, 20 even 100 times rarer. Some are 1000 times rarer. The comparative value is just plain silly.  Best of all you can buy these 2000 year old Ancient Greek and Roman coins independently examined and graded by one of the two largest grading and certification services in world Numismatic Guarantee Group (NGC).

Why these Ancient gold and silver rarities are so undervalued … one reason and one reason only...EDUCATION. The truth is most people from London to Shanghai, from Moscow to Chicago are so poorly educated on world history that they have now real understanding of Ancient history. The average coin collector and investor – and virtually all rare coin dealers in the United States have no understanding of Ancient rare coins much less Ancient history --- but the Internet and the explosion of higher education in China, Europe and the America's including here in the United State is going to change this FAST!!!

The coins of Alexander the Great, like other ancient coins, are history in your hand. They're tangible, and tactile, documentation of Alexander's life and times, a way to hold a part of the man, his power, and his legacy. Alexander's coins, like all ancient coins, are a portal into the past, to a time when we as a civilization were beginning. The past isn't dead. It informs the present, providing a deep perspective on what's happening today and may happen tomorrow, helping us understand more clearly hopefully to make better decisions.

Open that Doorway in our Past...........



AV STATER, NGC Graded Gem Mint State,

Strike 4/5, Surface is a Perfect 5/5



Alexander the Great lived from 336-323 BC Alexander III “the Great” was one of the most historically significant human beings in history. Having a chance to own an original tangible piece of history could be the investment opportunity of a life time.

More than any other world conqueror, Alexander III of Macedon, deserves to be called the Great. Although he died before the age of 33 in the year 323 BC, he conquered almost all the then known world and gave a new direction to man’s history.

Unlike many conquerors, he didn't plunge the conquered into chaos, wholesale murder, and slavery. Instead, he showed respect for their religion, customs, and ways of life and spread the Hellenic culture by giving the people a choice to accept or reject it. Many accepted it, probably because it was their choice to make, not mandated at the point of a sword. Alexander, it would appear, felt that persuasion usually works much better than coercion.

In order to pay his vast armies, civil servants and promote commerce a number of mints for gold, silver and bronze coins were established in more than a dozen key trading cities in his expanding Kingdom. The coins were struck during his lifetime and for at least a decade after his death. Among my favorite are the gold “Staters” which means soldier.

Rare coin collectors and dealers classify these as MACEDON KINGDOM, ALEXANDER III, AV STATER, 336-323-BC and the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC) certifies them by naming the mint if possible and whether they are “Life time,”- “Life Time – Early Posthumous, “ or “Posthumous”. The AV in the description means gold. These coins are VERY rare in Gem and Choice Mint State Condition. They can be bought in just Mint State condition and there are usually a few examples on the market on any given day if you know where to look.

Pictured here is Kingdom of Macedon. Alexander III, the Great, 336-323 BC. Gold AV Stater (8.60 gm) graded Gem Mint State Condition Strike 4 out of 5 and Surface 5 out of 5. Like many of these coins that come on the market the exact Macedonian mint it was struck from is unknown. This is not unusual because some mints were mobile and actually followed different armies.

Like all of these coins the obverse features the Head of Athena facing right and wearing a triple-crested Corinthian helmet, adorned with coiled serpent. Athena is also wearing an earring and necklace.

The reverse of the coin features Alexander's name in great (ΑΛΕΞΑΝ ΔΡΟΥ) and Nike standing left, holding wreath in extended hand, stylis in other; vertical thunderbolt at left.

In Nike's right hand, Nike holds a laurel wreath, which is a symbol of victory. In her left hand, she holds what some scholars interpret as a stylis (part of the stern of a Greek ship), others a ship's mast. The stylis alludes to Greece's great naval victory over Persia at the Battle of Salamis, allowing Greece, Western civilization, to continue its embryonic experimentation with democracy, individualism, rationalism, and the separation between political and religious authority.

The coin is an extraordinary specimen, perfectly centered, fully struck in very high relief, and extremely radiant. Imagine this is an Ancient Greet coin that is over 2300 year old in such an amazing condition.

The stater depicts two symbols of strength. Instead of two male gods they're adorned with two female gods. The obverse depicts a strong and beautiful Athena, goddess of wisdom and warfare, who would eventually morph into Roma, the patron goddess of Rome. The reverse depicts Nike, goddess of victory, with spectacular body length wings, who would eventually morph into a Christian angel.




AV AUREUS, NGC Graded Gem Mint State,

Perfect Strike 5/5, Surface is a Perfect 5/5 - Fine Style


Roman Empire, Lucius Verus, AD 161-169 AV Gold Aureus (7.29 gm). Obverse: VERVS AVG - ARMENIACVS Lucius Verus bare head facing right with curly hair and beard. Reverse: TR P IIII - IMP II COS II - REX ARMEN - DAT On platform, Emperor, in military attire and cloak, seated left between two officers, pointing with his right hand towards Armenian king, standing left on ground, wearing short tunica, his right hand up to head.

The “fine style” means the coin was struck with exceptional detail. Perhaps, struck for a dignitary, general or politician. Extra work was clearly done on the die that was used to hammer this coin. This coin defines spectacular with a pristine portrait and a coin of extraordinary quality that meets every criteria of being a superior "Fine Style" masterpiece.

Ancient coins often portray an event in time. The present piece being in remarkable Gem preservation leaps from time in true Finest Known condition after 1800 years to present the historical Roman event of imminent battle. In 162 the Parthians had invaded the Roman East, conquering Armenia and putting a son of one of their generals on the throne, and marching into Syria. Lucius Verus was sent to drive back. Verus succeeded beyond all expectations. The Parthians were driven out of Syria, Armenia was taken under Roman protection and given a king chosen by the Romans, and the Roman army then moved into Parthia and destroyed the great capital of Ctesiphon in 165.

While in control of the armies, Lucius Verus is known to have been a worthy commander who was not to proud to delegate tasks to generals more competent than he. The morale of the armies, while under his rule, was high. Going through the motions, he followed his war generals who did the dirty work while it was noted he enjoyed a hedonistic lifestyle on the road complete with a traveling theater and frequent banquets to entertain him. Lucius is described as having been extremely self-indulgent.



ROMAN EMPIRE, MAXIMIAN (Maximianus Herculius) AD 286-

310, AV AUREUS, NGC Graded Mint State* Star,

Perfect Strike 5/5, Surface 4/5.


Roman Empire, Maximian (Maximianus Herculius), AD 286-305 AV Gold Aureus (5.18 gm) MS* Star, circa 294, Obverse: MAXIMIA NVS P F AVG Maximianus Herculius Laureate head facing right. Reverse: HERCVLI DEBELLAT Hercules standing right, fighting Hydra with club in right hand; in exergue, PROM.

The Romans like other ancient cultures symbolized mores and folkways, told stories, and presents on coins realtime events as they were occurring. The struggles countries incurred made Hercules made the perfect visual picture to tell an idea and used by both the Greeks and Romans. The experience of virtuous struggle and suffering which would lead to fame and, in Hercules' mythology, made his image and struggle a perfect platform to tell what the mood or struggles were occurring during the time.

The HYDRA LERNAIA was a gigantic, nine-headed water-serpent, which haunted the swamps of Lerna. Hercules was sent to destroy her as one of his twelve labors, but for each of her heads that he decapitated, two more sprang forth. So with the help of Iolaos (He was famed for being Hercules's nephew and for helping with some of his Labors, and also for being one of the Argonauts.), he applied burning brands to the severed stumps, cauterizing the wounds and preventing regeneration. He used the hydra's blood to make his own arrows poisonous. The symbolism here depicts survival. Hercules was adored as a hero and incorporated into the legends of Rome's founding. The Romans adapted Greek myths and the imagery of Heracles into their own literature and art, but the hero developed distinctly Roman characteristics.

When Emperor Diocletian chose Maximian to join him in ruling the Roman Empire, he took the name Jovius for himself and chose the name Herculius for Maximian. Thus, the patron gods of the pair, Jupiter and Hercules, signified the one as supreme ruler and Maximian as strongman.

By early 285 Diocletian had circumvented all opposition and determined to take immediate steps to bring to an end the 50 years of military anarchy (235-284) that had seen 26 emperors gain the throne, and scores of unsuccessful pretenders. He therefore decided to appoint as his Caesar (successor-designate) a man of his own age, his old fellow soldier Maximian. The wisdom of this policy was immediately demonstrated by Maximian's military successes in Gaul, Germany, and North Africa.

Although long viewed by Christians as a persecutor of their religion, Maximian seems to have done no more than obediently execute in his part of the empire the first edict of Diocletian, which ordered the burning of the Scriptures and the closing of the churches.

Not often do we see such a rare piece in this exceptional state of preservation. An interesting and fascinating reverse type depicting the struggle of surviving against the many confrontations.



AR TETRADRACHM, NGC Graded Choice Uncirculated* Star,

Perfect Strike 5/5 - Perfect Surface 5/5


Sicily (Sicilia), Siculo-Punic Coinage, c. 320-300 BC. AR Silver Tetradrachm (17.09 gm). Obverse: Head of Arethusa facing to left, wearing a wreath of grain-ears, a triple-pendant earring and a necklace, surrounded by dolphins swimming around. Reverse: Horse's head facing to left, a palm-tree behind, In exergue Punic legend "MMHNT" (people of the camp) in Punic lettering. Well-struck in high relief, a scarce die combination.

The reverse is a Carthaginian type. The horse's head probably refers to a foundation legend of Carthage, in which the future site of the city was determined by the discovery of a horse's head. It may also refer to the military use of the coinage. The palm tree is a punning type that would permit Greeks to identify the coin as Phoenician. There can be no doubt that the artist had a deep understanding of horses, for the nuances of form and movement is clearly rendered. For the Siculo-Punic coins, the Carthaginians adopted a combination of Greek and Carthaginian types, with Punic inscriptions like the one on this tetradrachm, indicating the minting authority, "the people of the camp." The Arethusa type of the early fourth century was used as a model for the obverse. The head is very close in all its details to the original, but the thick chin and lack of definition in the dolphins identify it as an imitation. The close copying of this type suggests that the Carthaginians wanted these coins to circulate freely among the Greek coins of Sicily.

Arethusa means "the waterer". In Greek mythology, she was a nymph and daughter of Nereus and later became a fountain on the island of Ortygia in Syracuse, Sicily. The river god Alpheus fell in love with Arethusa, who was in the retinue of Artemis. Arethusa fled to Ortygia, where she was changed into a spring. Alpheus, however, made his way beneath the sea and united his waters with those of the spring. While bathing in the Alpheus River was seen and pursued by the river god in human form. Artemis changed her into a spring that, flowing underground, emerged at Ortygia.



NGC Graded Mint State, Perfect Strike 5/5 - Surface 4/5