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.