HoodedHawk

Preston and I had a great day at the Baltimore Coin Show on Saturday. Preston got a few dozen coins (he scoured almost every bargain bin on the floor to find gems) and some interesting paper “fractional currency”. I spent the time looking at and trying to narrow down the ancient coin choices.

I didn’t have a “want list”, and I haven’t specialized yet (and probably never will), other than “Greek and Roman”. So, I just walked around and looked at the (ancient) coins on offer. I started with the returning dealers I had purchased from previously. I noted which coins were possibilities, and continued the circuit before buying anything. Sure, in doing things that way there is always the chance that a coin you like is sold before you get back, but I would rather that happen vs. paying too much or getting a lesser specimen. I ended up only getting 6 coins. Opted for quality vs. quantity. And, luckily, none of the coins were sold out from under me :)

Athens. Ar tetradrachm. 353-294 BC. Rev. Owl standing, olive sprig. AOEThe Athens owl is my first owl. Great example of the type, though it is a more “modern” example (from around 300 BC) than the typical Athens owl (from ~450 BC). You can also tell it is more recent as the obverse with the head of Athena is looking straight ahead. More “archaic” styles have Athena looking “out”. Regardless, still a nice piece. It is thick and heavy (~17g). Additional history: it is from the lifetime of Aristotle. Cool!

Macedon (Roman Occupation) Ar Tetradrachm, 158-150 BC.. Obv. Head of Artemis at center of Macedonian shield. Amphipolis mint.
The Macedonian tetradrachm immediately caught my eye; it is a large coin (~30mm) with a beautiful portrait of Artemis (Diana). It still amazes me that you can hold a piece of art 2150 years old. Compare it with the Peace dollar (only 90 years old).

Tiberius, 14-37 AD. Ar Denarius. "Tribute Penny" of the Bible. Obv. Laureate head right.

The Tiberius is hard to find (at a reasonable price), as this is most likely the “Tribute Penny” from the New Testament, where Jesus asks to be shown a “penny” (“denarion” in Greek, so most historians assume “denarius” as this is) and then after asking who is portrayed (Tiberius as Caesar), says, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”.

Persia, Artabanus II, Parthian Kingdom, 10-38 AD.. Obv. King's bust left square cut beard, straight, earring visible

I didn’t have any ancient Persian coins, and these looked interesting. There was a sign on a box: “any coin, $25.00”. Persia, Phraates IV, Parthian Kingdom, 38-2 BC.. Obv. Diademed bust left

So, naturally, I dug in and found some 2000 year old pieces of history. They are a bit scratched up, but: 2000 years old. Someday I will lookup who kings Artabanus and Phraates were.

1926-S Peace DollarThe Peace dollar was a last minute grab to fill a hole in my set.

I also picked up a few more volumes (there are 10 to date) of the Handbook of Greek Coinage.

Already looking forward to the next Baltimore show (in June, I believe). This show (it goes on 3 times a year) is basically the only venue I have within a reasonable distance for seeing/acquiring ancient coins. I can (and do) buy online, but it is much more satisfying to find coins in person. At such shows you also get to discus the coins (and the hobby in general) with the dealers. You learn quite a lot about the various coins, and even more history.

Plus, I can spend the day doing it with Preston, and then go have dinner together. Bonus.


Leave a Reply

Alexander the Great. Silver Drachm. ~324-323 B.C. Lifetime issue.

Alexander the Great.  Lifetime issue silver drachm.

Alexander the Great. Lifetime issue (~324-323 B.C.) silver drachm.

Alexander the Great.  Lifetime issue silver drachm.

Alexander the Great. Lifetime issue (~324-323 B.C.) silver drachm. Reverse

Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, 370-340 B.C. Silver hemidrachm. VF. superb classical style, centered on a tight flan, marks, porosity, etched reverse, 2.886g, 16.3 mm, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, 370-340 B.C. Head of Athena right, wearing pendant earring and crested Altic helmet with raised cheek flaps, adorned with scrolls, hair out from under the neck guard. T (the master engraver Telephantos) over IIL (his apprentice?) behind neck. Reverse: Horse’s head and neck right, concave field.

Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, 370-340 B.C.  Silver hemidrachm.  VF.  superb classical style, centered on a tight flan, marks, porosity, etched reverse, 2.886g, 16.3 mm, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, 370-340 B.C.  Head of Athena right, wearing pendant earring and crested Altic helmet with raised cheek flaps, adorned with scrolls, hair out from under the neck guard. T (the master engraver Telephantos) over IIL (his apprentice?) behind neck.

Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, 370-340 B.C. Silver hemidrachm.

Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, 370-340 B.C.  Silver hemidrachm.  VF.  superb classical style, centered on a tight flan, marks, porosity, etched reverse, 2.886g, 16.3 mm, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, 370-340 B.C.  Reverse:  Horses head and neck right, concave field

Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, 370-340 B.C. Silver hemidrachm. Reverse.

Leave a Reply

On Saturday I attended Prof. Bob Brier’s talk at the Smithsonian Ripley Center ( A Smithsonian Resident Associates talk):

Temples, Monuments, and Tombs: Exploring Egypt’s Ancient Treasures

egypt-treasuresThis was a great day of archaeology lectures!

I had planned to take the Metro into Washington, D.C., but was running late (shocker!), so drove in. No spots on Jefferson Ave in front of the S. Dillon Ripley Center (sometimes I get lucky), so I parked at a meter at the end of the Mall (on 7th). That was actually convenient, as you can use an app on your phone to pay the meter, so I just renewed my spot every 2 hours on my phone without having to go back to feed the meter. Nice.

I arrived just a few minutes after it started. I assumed walking in that I would have a crappy seat (it was a sold out event), but there were some free chairs along the side of the upper balcony in the auditorium – unobstructed view, and no one crowding. Nice! I had been to a previous lecture of Prof. Brier’s, about 6 years ago, for the release of his book, “The Secrets of the Great Pyramid”, so I knew I would like the presentation. He is a great lecturer; dynamic speaker and he keeps your interest.

In anticipation of this seminar I have also started watching his Great Courses series, The History of Ancient Egypt. Wow. Wonderful course. I’m going to have Preston watch a lecture or two with me; I think he will enjoy this.

Normally in these day-long Smithsonian symposiums you get a break for lunch and have to fend for yourself. This time, however, they included a catered, box lunch. I chose the smoked turkey sandwich (lettuce and bacon too!). Quite yummy, with a nice side of rustic red potato salad and also fresh fruit cup. I saved the brownie. I hope this box lunch is a new trend – much better than having to run around and find lunch. I found an empty classroom and had a relaxing lunch and read a few articles in the latest Nature.

After the symposium, it was only a little after 4 and I had time on the meter – so I went to the National Gallery of Art (West) for an hour. Heck, I had parked almost right in front of it! That was a nice little tour. Wish I had more time, but they close at 5. My iPhone takes some surprisingly good pictures of the artwork; lots of new wallpaper for my phone now. :)

Not much traffic on way home, so just a great day. Would have been perfect if it hadn’t been 23 degrees out. Dusting of snow made it look nice, though. :)

Anyway, below is the syllabus from the website. He followed this pretty closely.


All-Day Program
Saturday, January 7, 2017 – 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Ancient Egypt was a major Mediterranean civilization, existing for almost 30 centuries. Its culture was one of architectural innovation and artistic beauty, governed by rich religious traditions. Egyptologist Bob Brier, an expert in pyramids, tombs, and mummies, explores its timeless heritage in a day-long examination of Egypt’s spectacular historic sites, from the Giza Plateau to the Philae Temple.

9:30–10:45 a.m. Pyramids

Among the largest structures on earth, pyramids served as royal funerary structures filled with riches for the afterlife. Examine the Great Pyramid and those in Cairo, the Giza plateau, and locations in Saqqara and Dahshur.

11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. From Karnak to the Ramesseum

Karnak is the world’s second-largest religious site with more than 30 pharaohs contributing to its complex of temples. The Luxor Temples are known as the site where kings might have been crowned. Mortuary temples on the west bank include those of Hatshepsut (Deir el Bahri), Ramses the Great (the Ramesseum), and Ramses III (Medinet Habu).

12:15­­–1:15 p.m. Lunch (box lunch provided)

1:15–2:30 p.m. The West Bank of the Nile

The Valley of the Kings is the mortuary area where many pharaohs, their families, and powerful nobles are buried. The most famous is Tutankhamen’s tomb, and a recent theory suggesting that Queen Nefertiti is buried behind one of its walls sparked new searches for secret chambers.

2:45–4 p.m. The Jewel of the Nile and Abu Simbel

Philae Temple, known as the “Jewel of the Nile” was built by Greek rulers of Egypt. Abu Simbel, the massive temple of Ramses II carved into a mountain, was an inspiration for Mount Rushmore.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit

Leave a Reply

“Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” -Albert Einstein

I had never heard this quote before.  I just read it, of all places, in the book, “Before the Fall” by Noah Hawley.

I like it.

Leave a Reply

The first two, silver denarii, I picked up last month at the Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo. The second two coins I picked up at the Catonsville Coin Club meeting this week with Preston. He snagged a number of Indian Head cents. :)

I already had a Constantine I coin, but this one was very reasonably priced ($20.00) and from a different mint, Lugdunum (current day Lyon).

So, working on getting a coin representing each Roman emperor. Will take some time.

Leave a Reply

Next Page »