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  1. The latest update on my Roman Empire NGC Ancients Custom Set is that I finished and posted my Owner's Comments for my ancient bronze follis featuring Roman Empress Galeria Valeria. For this essay, I spent some time researching what appears to be the most widely cited primary source of information on Valeria, a book called De Mortibus Persecutorum written in 4th century AD by the imperial advisor Lactantius. Lactiantius' account is necessarily biased, yet even so provides some very interesting insights into Roman Empire history. Regarding the coin, I purchased this one raw at auction and was pleased to see it grade AU, Strike = 4/5, Surface = 3/5, a very respectable grade for an ancient bronze. One interesting aspect about this coin is that Valeria's obverse bust appears almost masculine; her features mimick the consistent depiction of tetrarchs on their coinage (you can see what I mean if you peruse Page 13 on my Roman Empire set.) Regarding Valeria, she was the daughter of Emperor Diocletian, who placed her into a an arranged marriage with his fellow and subordinate Tetrarch Galerius. Apparently the union was a rather unhappy one, but as a political pawn Valeria had no choice in the matter. After her husband's death, she was courted by his successor, whose advances she vehemently rejected. The enraged Daia proceeded to ruin Valeria, despite her attempts to enlist her retired father for assistance. For more details of Valeria's tragic tale, you can read my Owner's Comments here. Of course, if you are further interested about ancient Rome and its coinage, you can peruse the rest of the Roman Empire collection here.
  2. Kohaku

    Update on Roman Empire collection, Page 10 = Crisis III

    Mk123, I don't have any particular reason, but I do enjoy many benefits for grading and encapsulation of my ancient coins with NGC Ancients. The majority of my coins I purchased "raw" and submitted to NGC Ancients for grading and encapsulation. I also will say that I do have certain coins that I purchased and decided to keep "raw", since I enjoy the tactile sensation of holding in hand directly (even if their non-certified status precludes them from inclusion in my Roman Empire NGC Ancients Custom Set, darn!). The main reasons I like slabbing the vast majority of my coins is the assurance/second opinion from an expert (which I am not) regarding the identity and condition of my ancient coins. I understand the counter-argument, and, I admit that slabbing ancients is not for everyone. I especially agree that it can be risky in the sense that NGC's opinion might not come back as favorable as one would like, and/or certain flaws might be brought to light. For me, I prefer to know what an expert thinks, and with open eyes I can enjoy each coin, and, one day, presumably, sell or otherwise pass on each coin along with an open and honest description of its identity and condition. If you want to gain more insight into my perspective, I refer to my Owner's Comments for my Agrippina Sr. sestertius... https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=16365 I suppose it is a matter of personal preference, and the coin can always be "released from bondage" if its new owner prefers, so I don't see much downside.
  3. Just a quick note to say that I finally finished and posted Owner's Comments for my Alexandrian tetradrachm featuring Roman Emperor Gordian I. Gordian I was an interesting fellow, one of richest and most learned of all Rome's Emperors. Gordian I rose to power in March 238 AD, a year that is infamously known to history as the Year of the Six Emperors. He was eighty years old when he and his son took on the challenges to rule the Empire as co-Augusti. Their reign lasted only three weeks. Here is a link to the coin, you can read my Owners Comments and reflect upon Gordian I's rather apprehensive obverse portrayal on this coin... https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/coinview.aspx?sc=321772 And here is a link to the the larger Roman Empire collection... https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=16365
  4. Kohaku

    Update on Roman Empire collection, Page 10 = Crisis III

    Hunter's Gold, That's a very cool tetra, I especially love Zeus' pose on the reverse. And, indeed, it would be interesting if an ancient coin "could talk". You might be interested to read my Owner's Comments for my Emperor Arcadius' siliqua, where I took that concept, and I presented that particular coin's history from its own perspective as if the coin told its own story!... https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/coinview.aspx?sc=322609
  5. Kohaku

    It's World Snake Day!

    No one should be without (at least one) snake coin! Here is an example of one of mine, the famous Julius Caesar "elephant denarius" (which makes me think it should be called the "elephant and snake denarius"! https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/coinview.aspx?sc=339962
  6. This Journal Entry provides an overview/update on Page 10 of my “Roman Empire” NGC Ancients custom (I previously have presented an overview/update on the first nine pages). Like all the Pages of the collection, this one comprises 15 coins as presented in “Gallery Mode”. The title for this Page, since it is third Page covering the Crisis of the Third Century is Crisis III. The purpose of this overview/update is to not just to provide a brief description of each coin, but also some perspective on what it means to me (if you want to read more details, please read my Owner’s Comments). This Page is complete! 1. Gordian III denarius, graded MS, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5. Gordian III is remembered by history as a good-natured, youthful Emperor who met a tragic fate (you might have guess it, murdered by his troops). This coin is valued to me, even though it is very common, since it is one of the very first Roman imperial coins I purchased (as such, I have not “upgraded” even though I could readily do so). This coin was purchase already in an NGC slab, and at the time I wondered at the chance to obtain such an old coin in mint conditions (of course, since then I have acquired many other ancient Roman coins that earned similar, or even higher grades). 2. An ancient bronze featuring the obverse charming confronted busts of Gordian III and Tranquillina. The reverse features Apollo, who was a rather interesting god. This coin was struck in Mesembria, Trace, and is a relatively common and popular design. This is case where I purchase anther specimen, but kept this one, which earned a higher grade (XF, Strike 5/5, Surface 4/5). It is really tough to find ancient bronze coins in XF or higher grade since copper is a much more reactive metal compared to either silver or gold. 3. This very rare ancient bronze featuring Divus Julius Marinus, father of Emperor Philip the Arab. I added this “slot” and coin into the collection recently, since I found it interesting, particular for the blending of Roman, Greek, and Arabian elements on the coin. This one graded F, Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5, which is not particular impressive, but still very respectable for a bronze, especially such a rare one. 4. A fabulous Ch MS denarius, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5, representing Emperor Philip the Arab (you have to love it when your coin come back from grading as a Ch MS and 5 by 5!). Before Philips demise (which was probably at the hands of his own troops), he was best known for host Rome biggest party ever… 5. Rome 1000th birthday celebration denarius, this one graded a mind-boggling Gem MS, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5 (I purchased this one already graded). Please see my Owner’s Comments for more details regarding the impressive event. I also love this coin for its reverse featuring seated goddess Roma, with the inscription ROMA AETERNAE, a befitting message considering the coin’s amazing condition, nearly flawless with flashy, bright, semi-prooflike fields. How it survived in such pristine condition can only be imagined. Perhaps its original owner kept it safely out of circulation as a souvenir of Rome’s great millennium celebration. 6. Denarius featuring Philip II, co-Emperor along with his father, Philip I. This coin also graded an impressive Ch MS, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5. This coin is interesting since it feature Philip II on both obverse and reverse fields. Very little is known about his life and reign, and no wonder since it was brief and he had little, if anything, to do with governance. Before he would become a teenager, his father was killed as the legions revolted and named Trajan Decius their new Emperor. Philip II was not forgotten, however; when the news reached Rome, the Praetorian Guard killed the young co-Emperor as he clung to his Mother Severa. 7. Denarius featuring Empress Severa, wife of Philip the Arab. This coin graded MS, Strike 4/5, Surface 4/5. While she had a nice run as Augusta, her reign ended tragically with the death of the husband and her son (who was reportedly killed by the Praetorian Guard as her clung to her). Her final fate is uncertain, perhaps she was either allowed to live, or somehow managed to escape. She probably fled to Philippopolis, Philip’s Arabian hometown that was transformed into Rome’s image, one of many extravagances that led to disapproval and downfall. 8. Denarius featuring Emperor Trajan Decius, graded MS, Strike 5/5, Surface 4/5. One thing I discovered about this coin (not when I purchased it but only afterwards in my research) is that its inscription lacks the moniker of Trajan Such coins appear to be extremely rare, and so far I have not found any more information or explanation about this. In any case, unfortunately for Decius, his propaganda campaign did not suffice to restore Rome's glory days under Trajan. In addition to the threats from the Persians, Germanic barbarians, and Goths, a horrible plague spread through Rome. In a rather remarkable development, Decius ordered all Romans to sacrifice before the magistrates of their community “for the safety of the empire” and receive a certificate recording their loyalty to the ancestral gods. Those who refused, as did many Christians, including the Pope, risked torture and execution. Despite the oblations, Rome’s problems persisted, and ultimately Decius fell in battle against the Goths. Decius, so adamant about leading a traditional life, ended it in atypical fashion as the first Roman Emperors to die in battle against a foreign enemy. 9. This slot is a tetradrachm struck in Antioch, featuring Roman Emperor Herennius Etruscus. The tetradrachm is an impressive denomination, more striking to behold compared to a denarius than the slight different in size and weight would suggest. This was one of the first such of these denominations that I acquired, and afterwards, I eagerly sought and acquired more, including some “extras” that I am not including in the current Roman Empire collection. As for Herennius, he reigned for a couple years until meeting the same fate as his father, killed in battle against the Goths. 10. Denarius featuring Empress Herennia Etruscilla, wife of Emperor Trajan Decius. This coin graded Ch AU, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5. She is one of many Empresses, particularly during the turbulent Crisis of the 3rd Century, who might have been forgotten by history if it were not for coinage. Remarkably, she was allowed to retain the Augusta title even after her husband’s death in battle. 11. This coin is an ancient bronze featuring Emperor Hostillian, son of Trajan Decius. While it might not seem special at first – graded XF, Strike =5/5, Surface =4/5 – this is one of my coins that has far more value and special meaning for me personally than “book value”. For me, this coin spoke to me, in an eerie way…specifically, it spoke to me about the impact of plague on the Roman Empire’s history. It was struck in Mosia (Viminacium), and depicts on the reverse a fascinating lion and bull design. The patina on this coin is very dark, possibly consistent with exposure to high temperatures and calcium, haunting reminders of widespread funeral pyres at this time in history. Hostillian himself was one of many, many Romans who fell victim to plague. I won’t go into more details here, if you are interested in learning more, please go check out my Owner’s Comments. 12. This coin is an absolutely stunning tetradrachm featuring Emperor Trebonianus Gallus. It graded Ch MS *, Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5. The look and feel of this coin is so amazing, it is one of those specimens that I sometimes miss the chance of direct fondling now that I decided to have it graded an encapsulated within an NGC protective coin holder. If you want to learn more about Gallus, please see my Owner’s Comments – I will at least mention here that he met his end in similar fashion as many 3rd century AD Roman Emperors (yes, at the hands of disaffected troops!). 13. This slot features a denarius featuring Emperor Volusian. This coin graded MS, Strike 4/5, Surface 4/5. Volusian shared his fate with his co-Augustus and father, Trebonianus Gallus (see above). 14. This slot features a denarius struck in the name of Augustus Aemilian which graded MS, strike 4/5, surface 4/5. As for a synopsis of Aemilian, it is difficult to do better than Eutropius; “Aemilianus came from an extremely insignificant family, his reign was even more insignificant, and he was slain in the third month.” 15. Last, and certainly not least on this Page is a fascinating and extremely rare ancient bronze featuring Empress Cornelia Supera, wife of Emperor Aemilian. I choose this coin for its very interesting reverse, featuring the goddess Cybele, accompanied by her usual lions. I took the opportunity in my Owner’s Comments to discuss more about Cybele, the oldest Anatolian goddess, and her role as Rome’s protective goddess.
  7. RAM-VT - Another fascinating chapter in your story about your personal numismatic journey! Your description about filling in those holes in those little blue Whitman booklets certainly brings back the memories for me as well. And I also remember as a child going to the bank and trading in roll after roll of pennies (looking for old wheaties) and also half dollars (looking for those with some silver content). I look forward to your next Journal Entry!
  8. Kohaku

    My Latest Submission - the Results are In!

    World Coin Nut - thanks! I have been trying to acquire this coin for some time...and as soon as I did manage to acquire this coin it became one of my most favorite specimens!
  9. I finally received grading results for the my last submission of coins to NGC. Drum roll, please .. . . . . . . . NGC Ancients cert # 4282892-001. Here is a link to the cert... https://www.ngccoin.com/certlookup/4282892-001/NGCAncients/ This coin is a nummus struck by Odoacer, King of Italy from 476 to 493 AD. This coin graded Ch XF, and I was extremely satisfied (dare I say surprised on the upside) with the grade. The strike and surface both earned a 4/5 score. Beyond the grade, I am of course pleased with confirmation of the attribution, which depends in a large part on interpretation of the reverse monogram. Odoacer's coins are extremely rate and highly sought after. I was lucky to land this one, even if I don't yet have a space for this coin in my Roman Empire custom set. I plan on adding one or more new pages for the collection (maybe later this year), and I was specifically thinking about adding a kind of "denouement" page. Odoacer's rise to power marked the final fall of the Roman Empire in the West. Odoacer was an extremely interesting individual, and I am looking forward to researching this coin and posted my resulting Owner's Comments, but that is going to take some time, stay tuned! NGC Ancients cert # 4282892-002. Here is a link to the cert... https://www.ngccoin.com/certlookup/4282892-002/NGCAncients/ This coin is a denarius struck by Carausisus, founder and first Augustus of his own rouge state known as the Romano-British Empire (he ruled from 286 to 293 AD). This coin graded Ch XF, and once again I was extremely satisfied. The strike earned a 4/5, and the surface received a 2/5, with edge chips noted. In this case, I consider the grade very respectable considering this coin was found in the ground (near Kettering, Northamptonshire, in February 2016). I still need to conduct my research and post my Owner's Comments. This coin is particularly special and historically important for its reverse which bears RS[R]. This enigmatic inscription is now thought to be a reference to the 6th and 7th lines of the 4th Eclogue of Virgil which begins Redunt Saturna Regna, basically, Virgil's text described that Rome's Golden Age has returned. Carausius was apparently the only Augustus to make such a literary reference on coinage. It is very interesting that a rough-and-tumble ruler of a fringe realm would do so! I am looking forward to my research and finishing my Owner's Comments for this coin. NGC Ancients cert # 4282892-003. Here is a link to the cert... https://www.ngccoin.com/certlookup/4282892-003/NGCAncients/ This coin is a aurelianianus struck in the name of Augusta Magnia Urbica, wife of Roman Emperor Carus. Her reign lasted from 283 to 285 AD. The coin graded MS, strike 5/5, surface 3/5. While I might have hoped for a better surface grade for the remaining silvering on the coin's surface, I was overall very pleased. There is not much to say regarding Mania Urbica, so it will probably not take me much time to get my Owner's Comments posted (at least I hope so!). The fourth coin was re-assigned by NGC for World coin grading (as opposed to ancients grading). The cert # is 4679899. This is a link to the cert... https://www.ngccoin.com/certlookup/4679899-001/55/ This coin is a fabulous denier featuring Charlemagne, King of the Franks and his newly emerging Holy Roman Empire. I was extremely pleased to receive an AU for this exceedingly rare and very historically important coin (I admit my heart was pounding when I saw this grade!). I don't even have an entry for it in my Roman Empire set yet, but plan to add it later this year as I expand the collection to include that "denouement" page (I am still amassing coins for that page, so stayed tuned!). I am very excited to research and post my Owner's Comments for my Charlemagne coin, but that is going to take some time.
  10. Ram in VT I am sorry to see your outstanding collection no longer listed here. I wanted to communicate my thanks and appreciation for all the effort you have out into your ancient collections. Your Custom NGC ancients collection was a great inspiration to start and grow my own. Countless times I have perused your collection and read over your very astute comments. I see you as a pioneer in this regard, so, I wanted to give you a personal thanks for sharing your set for the time that you did, and I wish you well in any future endeavors, including those other journal topics! I love your last posted coin, and I am totally with you in that those provincial bronze in high condition are exceedingly rare. While there is certainly the urge to focus collecting "higher grade" ancient, for example AU or MS denarii, I am often actually much more satisfied in obtaining and seeing an ancient bronze achieve a "lower grade" like an XF. Given the reactivity of copper alloy vs. silver or gold, the achievement is even more special oftentimes. Cheers! P.S. I have to ask - since yous said you sold a portion, do you have any remaining ancients you might still be willing to sell? I would be extremely interested, as I am sure other here would be as well!
  11. Kohaku

    (Mint) Life during Wartime -- Part I

    Jack: A fascinating and well-written journal entry! Thanks for sharing the pic of that beautiful silver 8 reales coin and the history behind its production (and I may have to get me one of those!). I very much concur with the satisfaction provided by doing research on the history of the coin's in one's collection. I look forward to Part II and beyond...
  12. Kohaku

    May was a great month for coins

    Six Mile Rick - Funny you should mention May as a good month...I haven't been procuring coins for my Roman Empire collection at a fast rate lately...however...I did manage to procure two specimens in May auctions, both representing historical figures on my wish list for quite some time. I wont say more about them yet, until I confirm grading and can post at least some preliminary research!
  13. Kohaku

    President Lyndon B. Johnson Numismatic Gift

    I have to ask...is the coin still in that plastic stapled to that letter?! Wow, that is really quite special - an amazing treasure indeed - and thanks for sharing!
  14. Another update...I just posted my latest Owner's Comments. This time, the coin is an ancient Roman provincial bronze featuring the obverse bust of Empress Cornelia Supera, wife of Emperor Aemilian, who reigned only a few short months. As such, Cornelia's coins, including this one, are all rare, and represent the only source of information about her. The reverse features the goddess Cybele, and Anatolian goddess whose cult was adopted by Rome as a safeguard during the second Punic War. Cybele is perhaps one of mankind's earliest deities, and she represented the Mother Goddess, associated with nature, all aspects of flora and fauna, and she was considering mankind's teacher and guardian. Since there is not much known about Cornelia, I took the opportunity to also reflect on Cybele. Here is a link to the coin... https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/coinview.aspx?sc=536182 And here is a link to the Roman Empire Collection... https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=16365