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Ancient Coins in Our August 2014 ANA Sale

By Greg Cohen, Professional Numismatist & Consignment Director, U.S. & World Coins

Author: Greg Cohen / Wednesday, July 30, 2014 / Categories: Crossing the Block

On the morning of August 5, 2014, Stack’s Bowers Galleries will begin its Official ANA of the ANA World’s Fair of Money with Session A of the world sale. Leading off the session are 135 lots of world paper currency — a diverse selection and a fast growing specialty. Lot 201 begins our offering of ancient coins, featuring a wonderful selection of Greek and Roman coins for the collector to enjoy. There are a number of highlights in this impressive offering; some of which have been already been written about in depth by Kent Ponterio and Chris Chatigny. As you read through this article, you may wish to click the links to refer to these blogs, and I hope that you do.

Starting the session is a Silver Didrachm of Neopolis in Campania — a popular and affordable type, and a coin that has resided in a collection since it was purchased from us in 1981. Ancient Greek coins have always been considered wonderful works of art  and some of the finest artists in the classical age designed and engraved the dies, particularly so for the coins struck in Syracuse, and our ANA sale has a very strong selection of coins of Syracuse. Lot 227 is a great example — a silver Tetradrachm of Syracuse from the period of the Second Democracy. Although unsigned, this piece is attributed to the artist Sosion. (For more, read Chris Chatigny’s blog Classical Sosion Artistic Work.) A classical theme in Greek mythology, the Labors of Hercules are depicted on the reverse of the gold 100 Litrae issued during the reign of Dionysios I featured on the reverse of lot 230. An old friend, a beautiful Syracuse Decadrachm, was a featured highlight of our January 2008 sale of The Lawrence R. Stack Collection of Ancient Greek Coins. Perhaps one of the most famous and iconic of the ancient Greek silver coins, this coin has a wonderful strike and is a jewel to behold (lot 234). A lovely Electrum Agathocles 100 Litrae ca 317-289 BC is another rarity of Syracuse that will cross the block as lot 235.

Macedon, made famous by King Philip II and his son Alexander III (the Great), also issued many important coins. Among the highlights of our ANA sale is lot 254— a Bisaltae Octodrachm struck ca 470 BC. This early rarity, which shows a dismounted rider standing behind his horse, is struck on a good quality planchet and is in outstanding condition. A rare Double Stater of Alexander the Great will cross the block as lot 258, and a beautiful Choice EF Tetradrachm struck at the Memphis mint will delight specialists in lot 263. Always a popular type, the Athenian “Owl” Tetradrachm is presented in a fine selection of a dozen or so lots. A lovely Electrum Lampsacus Stater in EF is presented as lot 312, and is a great representative of the type. A trio of attractive silver Shekels of the First Jewish War highlight the small selection of Judean coins, and five gold Octodrachms of Ptolemaic Egypt will entice strong bidder participation and round out the Greek section.

Roman coins, a favorite of many collectors, are represented by a small but intriguing selection of items. The most interesting is lot 385, a bronze Tessera (Erotic Spintrae) issued during the time of Tiberius. These interesting tokens were allegedly struck to be used as payment in brothels, and as such, are quite interesting to collectors. A popular Nero, as Caesar silver Denarius, which was once a part of the famous John Whitney Walter “Men of Rome” Collection that we sold in November 1990, will reappear as lot 386. A lovely Severus Alexander Aureus will be sold as lot 400, and is a nice NGC AU-certified example.

Further selections of ancient coins will be offered in our Internet Session D, which closes at 3 p.m. PT on Tuesday, August 12. A great and varied selection includes over 250 lots, with some Roman coins from The Bareford Family Collection — an old collection that we have had the pleasure of being a part of for many years. (See Harvey Stack’s blog on The Bareford Collection here: Bareford 1, Bareford 2.) Most of the coins are wholesome collector quality coins in affordable condition, and should not be overlooked during lot viewing in Room 1 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, beginning Sunday, August 2 at 9 a.m. CT. If you have any questions about any of the ancient coins, or any coin or banknote in our ANA sale, do not hesitate to contact a member of our staff for assistance.