The Most Beautiful Coins of Antiquity:

Nominations of collectors - a 2005 update
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3





Bill Puetz submitted the coin of the Chalkidian League from the Vcoin pages of John Lavender.
Kelly Ramage was partial to the sensitive portrayal of Julia Mamaea and lovely patina on this coin. It also depicts the Tyche of Antioch one of the most celebrated sculptures of antiquity.
Dave Welsh states, "Most Beautiful" is a very hard thing to define. "Greatest Artistic Achievement" is a bit easier, especially if one considers how the celature stands out against contemporary works. Here is one that I think is a very serious contender for that title, arguably the apogee of late Archaic numismatic art: (the British Museum specimen)
Andrew Thall selects a remarkable Philip I denarius RIC IVc 075 from Antioch in pristine condition
An amazingly sensitive portrait on a small golden coin was submitted by Joseph Daniele. The portrait is of Attis wearing phrygian cap which in the future became associated with liberty. This coin was offered by Pars Coins at Vcoins.
Brett Telford chose the famous coin minted after the annexation of Egypt, depicting the two friends Augstus and Agrippa. Amazing portraits!
Within two hours of each other, James Lomiento and Glenn Terry submitted the same coin type. James states that the illusion of the hair of Arethusa floating in water is stylistically pleasing, while Glenn, an established artist, thought both obverse and reverse were remarkable works of art. This is James' choice.
And Glenn's choice.
And from Patricia Lawrence, who probably know more about the art of ancient coins than anyone, this AE 27 of Septimius Severus from Nicopolis ad Istrum. A wondrous obverse portrait with Tyche on the reverse with kalathos and cornucopiae in her left hand and in her right a rudder on globe - quite the arms full. I think this image loses a lot of detail so I am linking to the full size version.
Here is my prize possession - "my preciousss". A Tetradrachm from Kyme depicting the Amazon Kyme. There is great variation in how kyme is depicted from bull-necked warrior to sensitive warrior. When I saw this one at Pars coins, I fell in love immediately.
And, taking advantage of that love segue, this is my wife's choice. Last Xmas for my present she searched the Vcoins site for the most beautiful coin for under $100. She found this extremely happy Artemis of Syracuse. She even tied in the lightning bolt on the reverse to my love of weather.
Bruce Antonelli votes for his Max II Daza Billon Argenteus and states, "despite the softer strike of these billon pieces the detail is superb, consular robe w/globe portrait stylistically distinctive, but mainly, one of the last (if not the last) of the great pagan quadriga reverses." magnificent Sol with whip in left hand.
Aaron Emigh states, "This tetradrachm of Ainos, in Thrace, is neither the most valuable coin in my collection, nor in the best condition, but itŐs the one I look at most often, and with the most profound artistic impact. The sculptural effect is, to my eye and hands, magnificent." What hypnotic eyes!
A beautiful coin in many respects submitted by Mike Summers" "Attached is one of my favorite Nero bronzes. A congarium sestertius with nice detail, patina, historical significance, and pedigree, ex Niggler and Hall collections." Great portrait and reverse scene. The detail on the figures is staggering.
And another Roman Bronze. This one from Harry Stewart: "For a change of pace, here's one of my favorite Roman sestertii, Maximinus: IMP MAXIMINVS PIVS AVG / PM TRP II COS PP S C; RIC 648, 23.15 g., 29 mm. What attracts me most, of course, is that spectacular blue-green patina!"
And finally an Indian coin! Rodolfo del Moral who gives the following description: "a gold stater from kidara. Self proclaimed Kushan ruler (in obverse it says "Kapan Kidara Kushana" in brahmi characters). But apparently he might have been from a hunnic tribe. Anyway, it is from Taxila in Pakistan, and can be catalogued as Mitchiner 3618 (mitchiner gives a date of 360-380 A.D.). ... probably about 7 grams." - Now someone must send in an Islamic coin.
Back to a classic Greek coin. Pete Burbules submitted this tetradrachm of Lysimachos. A coin type that has received more than one nomination.
And, another classic submitted by Merrill Gibson: A Larissa drachma with Larissa facing and on the reverse, the horse about to roll. Merrill believes his coin is much nicer than the Larissa didrachm on the preceding page which magnifies the skill necessary for the celator. Merrill states, "I love this coin because of the celator's amazing job of portraying a frontal human face, as well as his equally amazing job of portraying a perfectly proportioned horse, with all the subtle curves which make up it's musculature. The silver is beautiful in and of itself, as well." I'll let Jim and Merrill have at it to decide the most beautiful Larissa coin.
Sorry for being so late with this one. I lost track of the email, Doug. But here it is. What many consider to be the pinnacle of the celator's art, submitted by Doug Rohrman. Doug's comments: The Euainetos dekadrachm, my favorite is a very large coin of about 42 g., has a high relief reverse with the head of the Syracusan fresh water nymph, Arethusa, executed in the finest detail; the obverse, one of the greatest action scenes in Greek art, is a quadriga, Nike crowning the charioteer, and arms--cuirass, shield, helmet, and greaves--in the exergue. The coin was struck about 400 BC. Originally, it was thought that these coins were struck to commemorate the Syracusan victory over Athens in 413, but they are now attributed to slightly later, perhaps into the very late 5th century-early 4th century. There is continuing debate whether the victory commemorated pertains to warfare, or simply to the passion of the Syracusans, horse racing. They were struck probably in payment of mercenaries hired by Syracuse.
I will include a second version because of the hair net. A recent Roman find of a similar net indicated that it was made of gold wrapped around a single thread of silk. The thread was one micron in diameter, the total diameter of each strand was 3 microns. Hard to imagine. Doug's comments on this coin: The second coin is from about 405 BC and may actually pertain to the defeat of the Carthaginians by the Syracusans in 413. One can always tell the difference between Kimon and Euainetos coins: Kimon's Arethusa wears an ampyx, or hairband--generally bearing his signature.
Please contribute your favorite via email.
E-mail: tom.buggey@siskin.org
To see a dream collection of Greek coins, visit Leo Mildenberg's Dream Collection page

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