Kohaku

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About Kohaku

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  1. Welsh Dragon, Thank you for your kind comments. Indeed, I have invested quite a lot of time in this set. It has afforded my an enormous personal satisfaction, for the interesting things I have learned along the way. Having said that, any enjoyment that you or anyone else can gain out of perusing my collection, well, that is perhaps an even greater satisfaction to me! I am still a bit behind in keeping up to date on the collection, I have about a dozen coins that are still pending my Owner's Comments. This is taking me time since I am finding myself more and more strict about my research and generating an interesting essay on each coin, in particular to make sure I review a good sampling of the reasonable available sources. I am currently working on my Caligula essay, and this particular one I have been working on and off for a really long time. Also, I am currently awaiting my next set of grading to come back soon from NGC, another seven coins. When I get the results, I will post to this journal, and, when I finally finish the Owner's Comments for each one, I will post an update as I go along. I am also considering what is my "end game" for this collection. I am thinking about adding another 1 to 3 more "Pages". I might add at least another page for the late Empire, and I am also thinking about adding a "denouement" type Page (I already am accumulating some coins for that, including Goths, Vandals, etc.), and I am also thinking about adding a Page showing examples of "modern" coins, say even dating to 20th century, that use imagery hailing back to ancient Rome. In any case, if/when I decide to expand this collection a bit, I will post my thoughts here in this journal for anyone interested. Cheers, Kohaku
  2. I just added my latest Owner's Comments, in this case, the subject was my "3-sisters Caligula sestertius". In particular, I used this slot within the Roman Empire to represent Julia Drusilla, widely described as Caligula's favorite sister. There was a lot of interesting material to draw from for this essay, even if the ancient histories are rife with negative bias against Caligula. As a teaser, I will paste here the first paragraph of my Owner's Comments... This ancient bronze bears the obverse bust of Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known to history as Caligula, who, despite - or perhaps owing to – infamy remains a very popular Roman Emperor, at least among ancient coin hobbyists. This particular issue is noteworthy since the reverse features Caligula’s three sisters: Agrippina Sr. as the goddess Securitas, Julia Livilla as the goddess Fortuna, and Julia Drusilla (16 – 38 AD) as the goddess Concordia. Apocryphal or not, ancient histories describe Caligula’s incestuous escapades with his sistren. Given the combination of rarity, fascination, and historical significance, it is no wonder that this particular sestertius ranks among the most notorious of all Roman imperial issues. If you wish to read more, please check out the Roman Empire Custom Set... https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/coinview.aspx?sc=420963
  3. ancient coin

    Hello. Nice aureus - a highly important historical coin. There seem to be two extreme viewpoints on whether to encapsulate ancient coins in general. In my case, I really value to security of the holder, and the external validation of the coin and its condition. Some excoriate the practice, and lament that you can no longer directly touch the coin. For my Roman Empire collection, in my owner's comments regarding my Agrippina Sr sestertius, I including some of my own editorial comments on this. So, it is kinda up to you, but, if it were me, I would send it in to NGC to grade. You can always change your mind later, and take the coin out of the holder I suppose.
  4. There was not a lot to talk about for this coin, except that is bears the half-length (some employ the descriptor “heroic”) bust of about Marcus Aurelius Nigrinianus (died circa 284 AD), who was probably the son of Emperor Carinus. It is interesting to note that a review of electronically available information revealed eleven examples of this coin, comprising what appear to be only three, very similar and high-quality obverse die types (excluding slight variations presumably applied post-strike), but at least nine, relatively crude, and notably different reverse die types. It was probably the case that only master engravers cut obverse portraits, since their standardization was very important to the ancient Romans. The reverse, however, was more formulaic, and may have been delegated to less skilled engravers. These two dies were placed into a hinge, with the obverse die (i.e., more important image) placed in the anvil, and the punch was applied to the reverse die. As a result, reverse dies broke much more frequently, probably accounting for the discrepancy in reverse vs. obverse die types obverse. I decided not to include my die analysis in my Owner's Comments *yet*, until I can conduct more comprehensive research to confirm this finding, and maybe even get some more expert opinions on this.
  5. I just posted another Owner's Comments for a coin in my NGC Ancients Custom Set "The Roman Empire". This time, the comments are regarding an ancient bronze featuring Julius Marinus, father of Augustus Philip, a.k.a. Philip the Arab. Philip struck the coin to commemorate his father and advertse his father's apotheois, or transformation into a god. This coin is very rare, and comes in two reverse types. This coin features seated (rather than standing) Roma, and she holds two figures. This is the rarer variant. One detail I was curious about was researching the two figures on the coin's reverse. Who do they represent? Of course, we can't know for certain, but one can speculate. The list of candidates includes Julius Marinus, Philip's mother, Philip's brother, and Philip II (Philip's son). Another interesting detail about the coin is that it includes the inscription of the town of Philippopolis, even though it may have been struck at Antioch. We know very little about Julius Marinus, and he might have been entirely lost to history except for posthumous coins struck by his son.
  6. I just posted a new "Owners Comments" on Page 6 (Crisis) of my NGC ancients custom set "The Roman Empire." This new essay is for a denarius featuring Auqila Severa. My opening thesis is that Severa's reign was one of the most unusual among all Roman Empresses. This statement is largely based on the belief that she was a vestal virgin, and thus sworn to 30 years of celibacy (and not allowed to marry). Even though all the ancient histories mention she was a vestal virgin, there are no surviving artifacts to confirm this. Even if she wasn't a vestal, her reign was unusual in that she was the 2nd and 4th wife of Elagabalus, the Emperor who was a fanatical devotee of the Syrian sun god Elagabal. Indeed, the first wedding between Severa and Elagabalus was actually a double wedding - simultaneously, there was a diving wedding between Elagabal and Vesta. One of the points I pondered about this coin was that the reverse depiction of Concordia includes a star. Here is an excerpt of my thoughts on this..."Apparently, the pairing of Concordia with a star was unusual on Roman coins, and, interestingly, the exact same pairing can be found on the reverse of Roman denarii featuring Elagabalus’ previous wife, Julia Paula (for an example, see the preceding coin in this collection). It is reasonable to speculate that the star in this instance represents the eastern sun god. By extension, the message on this coin’s verso is to advertise not only the imperial couple’s concord, but also that between Elagabal and Vesta." I haven't seen anyone else speculate this, so I am wondering if this is a reasonable hypothesis or not. In any case, if you are interesting in learning more about Severa, please check out my Roman Empire Collection...https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=16365
  7. I recently finished and posted to my NGC Ancients Custom Set entitled "The Roman Empire" my Owner's Comments regarding my sestertius featuring Agrippina Sr. For this essay, I decided to take the opportunity to provide some of my own personal musings regarding "raw" vs. "slabbed" ancient coins. This topic has obviously garnered much discussion on both extreme viewpoints, so I wanted to provide my own perspective. Regarding Agrippina, she was quite a impressive woman for her time, and an important noblewomen of the Julio-Claudian dynasty: daughter of Agrippa and Julia, wife of Germanicus, and mother of Nero Julius Caesar, Drusus Julius Caesar, Gaius (better known and Caligula), Agrippina Jr., Julia Drusilla, and Julia Livilla. Sadly, her fate was to be defamed by Tiberius' infamous Praetorian Prefect Sejanus to the point that she was arrested and spent the last four years of her life confined to the island of Pandateria. Regarding the coin, it exhibits extremely fine craftsmanship as struck by Agrippina's brother-in-law Claudius, who emulated the arguably more impressive issue struck earlier by Agrippina's son Caligula. Notably, Vagi describes these Agrippina portrait sestertii as "a height in Julio-Claudian artistry." Regarding encapsulation of ancient coinage, I can't resist quoting the conclusion of my Owner's Comments wherein I opine about this sestertius' fine artistry: "Such artistry transcends clear plastic, even if some might draw parallels to the fate of this coin and its subject."
  8. Latest update is that I posted my Owner's Comments on an Apollonian bronze, struck during the time of the Antonine dynasty. Here are comments (for a picture of the obverse and reverse, please see the Roman Empire collection posted on the NGC Ancients, Custom Sets... Ancient Roman coins denoted as “pseudo-autonomous” are generally defined as issues struck by cities and provinces under the suzerainty of Rome, yet lacking an imperial obverse portrait. Such coins not only bear historical importance, but also provide for interesting and artistic numismatic designs. The current coin, dating from Rome’s golden age under the rule of the Antonine dynasty (138-192 AD) provides a noteworthy example. The strike occurred at the ancient Asia Minor city of Apollonis, whose eponym was wife to Attalus I, first of that dynasty to reign as King of Permagon around late 3rd century BC. Attalus I’s son and successor, Eumenes II, decreed the creation of Apollonis through a synoecism (a mechanism whereby the ancient Greeks amalgamated villages into city-states, similar to the modern concept of incorporation of a city). Succeeding Eumenes II was his son Attalus III, who, dying childless in 133 BC, bequeathed his lands to Rome. By the time this coin was struck, Apollonis was firmly under Rome’s suzerainty. Judging from this ancient bronze, the region held fast to its Hellenistic roots. The obverse features the helmeted bust of the pantheonic goddess Athena. To the ancient Greeks, Athena was one of the most powerful among all deities. She represented a goddess of war; appropriately, she appears on this coin wearing an aegis and brandishing a formidable spear over her shoulder. While a fearsome warrior, Athena only fought to repel outside enemies. As such, many metropolises, presumably including Apollonis, worshipped Athena as their city’s own divine protector. Athena’s talents didn’t stop there. She also was goddess of other concepts such as handicrafts and agriculture. Her impressive list of inventions included the bridle and yoke (facilitating domestication of animals), the pot, the rake, and even the ship and the chariot. Complementing Athena on the coin's reverse is Tyche, the Greek goddess representing fortune and destiny, particularly over a city. Tyche was thought to preside over prosperity as well as disasters; no wonder she had a faithful following. Many Greek cities, presumably including Apollonis, established their own local franchise for the goddess. Tyche’s attire provides clues to the goddess’ role in controlling the city’s fortunes. Her kismetic vestments include a polos (a cylindrical crown inviting parallels to city walls), a gubernaculum (a ship’s rudder), and, of course, a cornucopia. Pseudo-autonomous coinage was produced at Apollonis until at least late 2nd century AD, at which time - curiously- contemporaneous issues from that mint bore the busts of Roman Emperors and Empresses. The Roman provincial mint at Apollonis continued to strike coins until at least the reign of Augustus Severus Alexander. Apollonian coins are generally rare, since the mint was not particularly prolific. In the case of this particular civic issue, a seminal numismatic reference cites only three specimens. Coin Details: LYDIA, Apollonis, Pseudo-autonomous, circa 138-192 AD (Antonine dynasty), AE (3.12g, 18mm), NGC Grade: AU, Strike: 4/5, Surface: 3/5, Obverse: Helmeted bust of Athena right, wearing aegis and with spear over shoulder, Reverse: Tyche standing left, wearing polos, holding gubernaculum and cornucopia, ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝΙΔЄΩΝ, References: RPC IV online 2490 (only 3 examples cited); SNG von Aulock -; SNG Copenhagen -; BMC 12-3.
  9. Another update to "The Roman Empire" NGC Ancients Custom Set. I just posted my latest Owner's Comments for a Titus denarius that was issued for the Colosseum opening. Please take a look if you are interested in learning more. I found a lot of fascinating material for this essay. I used the opportunity to talk about the accomplishments of ancient Roman engineers. As an engineer myself, I find the these achievements rather remarkable. As testimony, consider that not only is much of the Colosseum still standing, its annual attendance rivals that of two millennia ago! Here is a link to that particular coin and the accompanying Owner's Comments... https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/coinview.aspx?sc=450513
  10. Another quick update on my NGC Ancients Custom Set "The Roman Empire". I have posted my Owner's Comments on my ancient bronze representing Matidia. Since we don't know very much about Matidia, my comments are pretty short for this coin, which may be one of as few as nine remaining.
  11. After a bit of a hiatus, I managed to finish another Owner's Comments (Note: I am trying to keep up, as I try *not* to add any more new coins until I post Comments for all the current ones!) This time, the essay is about my ancient bronze featuring Empress Plotina, wife to Emperor Hadrian. This coin is part of Page 6 = GOLDEN AGE I. This coin graded as XF, Strike = 4/5, Surface = 4/5, which is a very respectable grade for this issue. It was struck in Gordus-Julia around 112-117 AD. I have seen about a dozen or so examples illustrated, and I would say that this specimen could be among the finest. It has a very nice observe portrait, replete with imperial pompadour (about which I also provide some further commentary in my essay!) As I detail in my Owner's Comments, Plotina was a fascinating Empress. She should be considered a "good" Empress, complementing her "good" Emperor. As an indication of her virtue, she refused to be called Augusta when Trajan first became Augustus. Instead, she chose to earn the honor. She was also highly intelligent, in particular, I was fascinated by her devotion to the Epicurean "Garden" school of philosophy. In her old age, she even kept active correspondence with her husbands successor, Hadrian, regarding who should be leading the school. As an excerpt, here is my final paragraph on my Owner's Comments... Through her actions, Plotina played a critical role in sustaining Rome’s Golden Age. In 117 AD, she convinced her dying husband to officially name Hadrian as successor. Evidently, Trajan was too weak to execute the appropriate documents, so Plotina signed the will in his stead. An alternative, highly unlikely viewpoint is that Plotina forged the will to place Hadrian on Rome’s throne. Either way, Plotina, who did not bear Trajan any children, secured the Empire another good Emperor. .
  12. RMW Collection of England and Great Britain

    Mike, I am very sorry to read your post, and I am finding it difficult to put my thoughts to words (and, as you know, I can really say a lot when I put my mind to it). I have barely come to know you - of course - since I am a relative newcomer to the Registry and these Journals. Even so, I have come to look forward to seeing your presence here. I hope you don't mind my saying that I find your enthusiasm, numismatic and otherwise, contagious. Understandably, you need to focus now on what is most important. Best Wishes, -Rick
  13. NGC Registry Awards

    Thanks gherrmann44, I really appreciate your comments. I am not a teacher, but I was thinking it would be an interesting strategy for a class on ancient Roman or Greek culture to pass out ancient coins to the students and have them present an essay on their coin to their fellow students, say, as like an oral exam. The teacher could not only give a grade, but maybe even give accolades to best, most creative, inventive, etc., or even better, have the students vote.
  14. NGC Registry Awards

    I wanted to send out a particular congratulations to rmw, jackson64, and gherrmann44 for distinction on their excellent Collectors' Journals! Regarding this Journal Entry, I am pleased to see my own Roman Empire collection receive a second-time Best Ancients Set (my previous accolade was in 2014, so this ends a bit of a "dry spell" for me!). I wonder about what it would take to be acknowledged as Most Informative or Most Creative NGC Custom Set, and I always find myself amazed when I check out the winning sets in those categories (this year, it was Mohak's Avians and Siah's Colorado-based Collections). Again, congrats to all winners, and also thanks to everyone for participating. Having such an eclectic and interesting community is one many aspects that makes this hobby entertaining!
  15. RMW Collection of England and Great Britain

    Indeed a nice coin, and I truly appreciate the comments on being happy to "be in the game. Happy New Year everyone!