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Old Dec 16, 2008, 03:50 PM   #1
Phoenix21
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Cool Yo all...

My name is Tyler, and I am relatively new to collecting Ancients (been about it for about 2-3 months I believe?) However, I've been seriously collecting coins for 2 years, so I have some knowledge, lol. I have recently given up US coins temporarily to collect Ancients. My interests are Roman Coinage, and Gorgona Medusa. (A new member here also, a good friend of mine, stainless got me interested in both, and I have been trying to collect as I can). I'm trying to assemble a set of Roman coins depicting a Phoenix (mainly the Fel Temps), and I am putting together a Gorgon set also. I'm trying to get all the types I can of both, I have 2 Gorgons at the moment. I look forward to posting here, and learning what I can on the Ancient side of the hobby!!

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Old Dec 16, 2008, 03:59 PM   #2
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Hello Phoenix,

Cool name. As you probably have already seen, the Phoenix is well known from the Fel Temp series, but the style varies greatly between mints. Here is the nicest style example I've handled



Constantius II, AE Half Centenionalis, 348-350, Second Group, Antioch, Officina 7
D N CONSTAN_TIVS P F AVG
Pearl-diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right
FEL TEMP REPARATIO
Phoenix, radiate, standing right on globe
* in right field
ANZ in exergue
16mm x 18mm, 1.82g
RIC VIII, 129

Note: This phenomenally attractive coin has been in my personal Roman animals collection for years. One look at it and you can see why.

And here is another example from Antioch, but far less dramatic, but a really nice globe:



And an example where the Phoenix is standing on rocks:



Constantius II, AE Half Centenionalis, 348-350, Second Group, First Series, Siscia, Officina 3
D N CONSTAN_TIVS P F AVG
Pearl-diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right
FEL TEMP REPARATIO
Phoenix, radiate, standing right on rocky mound
ASIS(symbol) in exergue
18mm x 20mm, 2.08g
RIC VIII, 240

Note: The unusual symbol in the exergue is part of a series of five unexplained marks, apparently representing the numbers 1-5 and only used during the period of 348-350.

As far as that wacky gorgon, she can appear anywhere - so look out lest ye be turned to stone!



Carinus, Antoninianus, 282-283, Lugdunum, Officina 3
CARINVS NOBIL CAES
Radiate, cuirassed bust left, spear in right hand over shoulder, shield decorated with Medusa in left
PRINCIPI IV_VENTVT
Prince standing left, globe in right hand, reversed spear in left
C in left field
21mm, 3.71g
RIC V, Part II, 150 (C); Bastien 484
Ex Classical Numismatic Group



L. Plautius Plancus, AR Denarius, 47 BC, Rome
Facing mask of Medusa with dishevelled hair, serpents at the sides of face, L. PLAVTIVS below
Winged Aurora flying right, conducting the four horses of the Sun, PLANCVS below
17mm x 20mm, 3.81g
Plautia 15; Cr 453/1a; Sydenham 959
Ex Stack's, November 6, 1996, Lot 380

Note: In Roman Silver Coins, Vol 1, Seaby notes "This moneyer was a brother of L. Munatius but was adopted into the Plautia gens. Ovid relates that during the censorship of C. Plautius and Ap. Claudius Caecus in 312 BC, the latter quarrelled with the tibicenes, who retired to Tibur. As the people resented their loss, Plautius caused them to be placed in wagons and conveyed back to Rome early in the morning, in order that they should not be recognized their faces were covered with masks. The chariot of Aurora is an allusion to their early arrival and the mask to the concealment of their faces. In commemoration of this event the fetes called Quinquatrus Minusculae were celebrated yearly at Rome on June 13th, at which those that took part in them wore masks."

Welcome

--Beast
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Old Dec 17, 2008, 10:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeastCoins View Post


L. Plautius Plancus, AR Denarius, 47 BC, Rome
Facing mask of Medusa with dishevelled hair, serpents at the sides of face, L. PLAVTIVS below
Winged Aurora flying right, conducting the four horses of the Sun, PLANCVS below
17mm x 20mm, 3.81g
Plautia 15; Cr 453/1a; Sydenham 959
Ex Stack's, November 6, 1996, Lot 380

Note: In Roman Silver Coins, Vol 1, Seaby notes "This moneyer was a brother of L. Munatius but was adopted into the Plautia gens. Ovid relates that during the censorship of C. Plautius and Ap. Claudius Caecus in 312 BC, the latter quarrelled with the tibicenes, who retired to Tibur. As the people resented their loss, Plautius caused them to be placed in wagons and conveyed back to Rome early in the morning, in order that they should not be recognized their faces were covered with masks. The chariot of Aurora is an allusion to their early arrival and the mask to the concealment of their faces. In commemoration of this event the fetes called Quinquatrus Minusculae were celebrated yearly at Rome on June 13th, at which those that took part in them wore masks."

Welcome

--Beast

That is a beautiful coin.

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Old Dec 17, 2008, 10:42 AM   #4
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Welcome Tyler. I think we will love it here. Looks like a great site so far


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Old Dec 17, 2008, 11:53 AM   #5
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Lanz has several gorgons on ebay auction now.

Don't know what your quality and cost criteria are. These are inexpensive and of moderate quality.

http://muenzen.shop.ebay.de/items/Gr....c0.m14&_pgn=2

If you are looking for higher end coins in the $500-$1,500 range. Check sixbid.

Triton has an especially nice Plancus coming up in January

http://www.sixbid.com/nav.php?p=viewlot&sid=96&lot=500

The obverse is wonderful. The reverse is average. I think the estimate is too high (but I always do)

For comparisons sake, Tkalec had a very nice Plancus in September that I placed a bid on too late.

http://www.sixbid.com/nav.php?p=viewlot&sid=55&lot=169

BR

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Old Dec 17, 2008, 12:15 PM   #6
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Great to have you both--Stainless and Phoenix. I've been on other discussion boards but this is my personal preference. A good combination of helpful discussion with the occasional twist of the enjoyably bizarre thrown in for good mix. Communicating questions and opinions seems especially enjoyable here, so I suspect you will both feel right at home.

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Old Dec 17, 2008, 12:24 PM   #7
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Mark,

I'm beginning to think Roman Republican coins must be the most difficult thing for dealers to grade. Let's look at this for a moment.

The Triton example you mention is graded as EF and estimated at $1500:



L. Plautius Plancus. 47 BC. AR Denarius (3.97 g, 4h). Rome mint. Facing mask of Medusa with disheveled hair, coiled serpents at either side of face; L • PLAVTIVS below / Aurora, draped and winged, flying right, head facing slightly left, holding reins in each hand, conducting four rearing horses of the sun; PLANCVS below. Crawford 453/1a; CRI 29; Sydenham 959; Kestner 3561-2; BMCRR Rome 4004-7; Plautia 15. EF, toned.

The Tkalec specimen is graded as FDC (!) and sold for 950 Swiss francs:



A COLLECTION OF ROMAN REPUBLICAN DENARII. Part II
L PLAUTIUS PLANCUS

AR-Denarius, 4.05 g.
Rome, 47 BC.
Obv.: L PLAVTIVS
Head of Medusa.
Rev.: PLANCVS
Victory facing, leading four horses.
Cr. 453/1a; RSC Plautia 15; BMC 4004.
FDC

Now let's compare those to this specimen currently available from Perry Siegel of Herakles on VCoins:



Date: 47 B.C.
Denomination: AR Denarius.
Diameter: 19 mm.
Weight: 3.89 grams.
Mint: Struck in Rome.
Obverse: L. PLAVTIVS. Head of Medusa facing, with coiled snake on either side
Reverse: PLANCVS. Aurora with horses of the sun.
Reference: Crawford 453/1a. Sydenham 959.
Grade: Extremely Fine.
Note: Excellent metal quality.

Overall, if these were mine, I would grade them:

Triton example as "Attractive gVF with some flatness"
Tkalec example as "Nice EF with some striking flatness"
Herakles example "Nice gEF with some striking flatness"

This series is plagued with striking flatness, but I think there is wear on the Triton example and not all attributable to strike. Europeans will argue FDC means "uncirculated", but here in the US FDC means a perfect coin, which it isn't. Actually, many Republican coins in European auctions this year were graded FDC. I had a cow about it, but Barry Murphy explained to me why they were using that designation. I still don't agree with it, but no one really cares what I think anyway.

Still, in my opinion, Perry's coin is by far the nicest example of the three above.

--Beast
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Old Dec 17, 2008, 12:41 PM   #8
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Zach

Gotta agree with you on the grading.

The Tkalec shows obvious signs of wear (notably the hair of Medusa). Although the reverse on this coin is especially nice. I would say EF maybe gEF

The Triton coin has an artistically crafted medusa without dings or dents. The reverse is maybe gVF. The obverse an gVF but I give the coin an EF because so many of these are messed up on at least one side and this has two pretty nice sides.

The Vcoins has a nice balance between the obverse and reverse. I would say EF. I don't like the flat field on the reverse between 6 and 9 o'clock but the rest of the reverse is nicely detailed. I am guessing he deliberately mentions the excellent metal quality because the photo definitely gives the impression that the metal is porous.


Now that I have been doing this for over 3 years, I have learned to disregard the grading by auction houses.

I will say that Gemini has quite a few Mint coins this year, and they certainly look mint to me. Hoping the prices are not mint.

BR

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Old Dec 17, 2008, 12:57 PM   #9
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For Tkalec, any EF coin is FDC, and sometimes even coins I'd only grade as gVF. But I think Tkalec is the only one to make extensive use of the FDC grade, at least I do not recall any other European auction house doing so. Gorny, Rauch, Künker, Lanz, NAC, UBS, LHS, none of them follows Tkalec's example.

Just to make sure again that the European coin dealers are not blamed in general for the actions of a single auction house

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Old Dec 17, 2008, 01:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Pscipio View Post
I think Tkalec is the only one to make extensive use of the FDC grade, at least I do not recall any other European auction house doing so. Just to make sure again that the European coin dealers are not blamed in general for the mistakes of a single auction house

Lars
Lars,

Sorry if my comment was too generalized. I think you are right about Tkalec being the main auction house to use FDC in Europe. There are a number of dealers in Europe and the US who are also increasingly using FDC to describe their inventory, which I think is wrong. But, since some are fellow VCoins dealers, I can't say anything about it as it might violate the VCoins Dealer Code of Ethics #2:

"I will conduct my business in a professional and ethical manner, and will exercise common sense and courtesy in my professional dealings, to ensure that no discredit is brought to VCoins or other VCoins dealers."

Giving my opinion about the grading in the above examples I think is o.k. though as I'm just stating my opinion and showing comparisons. Just covering my backside.

I would much rather see a dealer or auction house use "mint state" and describe any striking detractions (uneven strength, off-center, flan porosity, die breaks, etc.) instead of grading a coin as FDC (fleur-de-coin = perfect, as in unimprovable).

Does anyone even care what a dealer grades a coin any more if the photos are good?

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Old Dec 17, 2008, 01:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pscipio View Post
For Tkalec, any EF coin is FDC, and sometimes even coins I'd only grade as gVF. But I think Tkalec is the only one to make extensive use of the FDC grade, at least I do not recall any other European auction house doing so. Gorny, Rauch, Künker, Lanz, NAC, UBS, LHS, none of them follows Tkalec's example.

Just to make sure again that the European coin dealers are not blamed in general for the actions of a single auction house

Lars
Lars,

Now that I took a moment, NAC has been using FDC this year as well:



Image courtesy NAC Auction 49, Lot 315, October 2008

An interesting selection of Roman Gold Coins from the B.d.B Collection
The Roman Empire
Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus

Aureus 196-211, 7.34 g. IVLIA – AVGVSTA Draped bust r. Rev. DIANA – LVCIFERA Diana standing l., holding torch in both hands. C 31. RIC S. Severus 548 var. (no crescent). BMC S. Severus 14. Calicó 2610 (this coin). Biaggi 1135.
Virtually as struck and FDC

Privately purchased from Jacob Hirsch in 1951.

As has Maison Palombo:



Image courtesy Maison Palombo, Auction 6, Lot 18, October 2008

18-Titus (79-81) - Denier - Rome (80) - Av. : tête laurée de Titus à droite. - Rev. : Protomés de capricornes, entre eux, un bouclier et un globe. - Rare dans cette qualité. - 3.45g - C. 497 - S. 2569 - Superbe à FDC

And UBS Gold & Numismatics:



Image courtesy UBS Gold & Numismatics, Auction 77, Lot 634, September 2008

Koson, 50-25 v. Chr. Goldstater 50/25v. Chr., Olbia. Magistrat schreitet nach l. zwischen zwei Liktoren, l. ein Monogramm, im Abschnitt KOSON. Rv. Adler steht l. auf Zepter mit l. Bein, in der r. Kralle ein Kranz. 8,45 g. RPC 1701A. SNG Cop. 123. Gut zentriertes Prachtexemplar. FDC.
Erworben auf der Numismata, München, 2003.

Disturbingly, a generic search for FDC at Coin Archives yields over 1000 results!

So, the current trend is starting to use FDC more. Not that we don't have a situation with "gradeflation" in the US as well....

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Old Dec 17, 2008, 01:17 PM   #12
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Zach,

Technically, FDC does not say a coin is perfect but describes the mint lustre. Its equivalent in English is "uncirculated" or "mint lustre", in German it is "Stempelglanz". I agree with you, though, that Tkalec massively exaggerates with his FDC gradings and his gradings in general, as some other dealers do as well.

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Old Dec 17, 2008, 01:28 PM   #13
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Folks, here is an example to show how much more strict grading used to be:



Image courtesy Leu Numismatik, Auction 93, Lot 68, May 2005

Aureus (Gold, 7.38 g 12), Rome, 207.Obverse: ANTONINVS PIVS AVG Laureate head of Caracalla to right.Reverse: COS II Hercules, seated left on a rock before a low table, resting his left hand on his club, propped on the ground, and extending his right; on his right, togate figure of Potitus, standing left with his right arm raised; to the left, six figures, Pinarius, seated right on a pillow, and five slaves, kneeling or standing to right or left, of whom one offers Hercules a plate of food; behind on left, crater on column with a large wine amphora at its base; on far left and right, tree with branches extending over the assembly; above and behind, at the center, a great, garlanded basin, very probably a wine vat or a grape press.Rarity: Unique.References: Biaggi –. BMC –. Calicó –. C. –. Hill –. S. Hurter, Ein neuer Aureus des Caracalla, SM 30, 18 (May 1980), pp. 39-41, fig. 1 (this coin). LIMC V, sv. Herakles Pinarii/Potitii p. 180, 3503 (this coin cited). RIC –. Sear II –.Condition: Lustrous and brilliant, with a superb portrait and a spectacular reverse. Virtually as struck.Estimate:45000 – Provenance: Privately purchased in 1979.Note: With one of the most remarkable reverses ever to appear on a Roman gold coin, this iconographically distinctive aureus is special in every way. It must have been produced in very small numbers, as a special presentation donative to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of Severus and the tenth of Caracalla along with two other exceptionally rare aurei that share the same obverse die: one with Iovi Sospitatori (BMC 507 note = Biaggi 1176 = Calicó 2682 = Hill 799 = Hurter 3 = RIC 156, all the same coin) and the other with the temple of Eshmun (BMC 558 = Calicó 2775 = Hill 885 = Hurter 2 = RIC 99). The scene on the reverse is taken from an ancient Roman myth and exactly parallels a medallion of Antoninus Pius known in three examples (Gnecchi 91, but see Dressel 26 for an illustration of the best preserved piece, from the Windischgrätz collection but now in Berlin). Hercules had visited Evander, an Arcadian who had been forced to flee his native country and who had settled on a hill overlooking the Tiber, which he had named Pallanteum after his grandfather (and which later came to be known as the Palatine). While there Hercules killed the monster Cacus who had stolen Evander’s cattle. To celebrate this event Evander then established a cult in Hercules’ honor at the Ara Maxima with the help of the Pinarii and the Potitii, two of the oldest Roman families. An important part of the cult was a festive banquet, precisely what is depicted on the coin. Within a shady arbor Hercules and two other guests (presumably Pinarius and Potitius, but since Pinarius is said to have come late one may be Evander himself) are enjoying food and wine (not only is there a mixing bowl and an amphora, there seems to be a huge vat behind them as well) served by a bevy of slaves who are carefully watching to see that all is going well (one seems to be leaning over the amphora to check whether it needs filling). The choice of this reverse must have been made because Hercules was Caracalla’s patron god (Bacchus was Geta’s, as seen on the extremely rare parallel issue: see Leu 87, 66).

Leu describes this stunning beauty as "virtually as struck". Although I didn't see the coin in hand, this is one of the extremely rare instances where I think FDC would actually be warranted. The coin sold for 155,000 CHF (~$129,113) and I can only imagine what it would bring now if one of the large US auction houses got their mitts on it and marketed it to the US investor community...

--Beast (see, I'm not completely unreasonable!)
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Old Dec 17, 2008, 01:31 PM   #14
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Zach,

Technically, FDC does not say a coin is perfect but describes the mint lustre. Its equivalent in English is "uncirculated" or "mint lustre", in German it is "Stempelglanz". I agree with you, though, that Tkalec massively exaggerates with his FDC gradings and his gradings in general, as some other dealers do as well.

Lars
Lars,

That's my whole point . When I was growing up, FDC meant a "perfect coin". Now, it is reduced to a more generic meaning and is applied to uncirculated coins. I just don't think that's a good direction for the hobby. Personally, I think there should be a grade of "Mint State" or "As Struck" or "Uncirculated" between EF and FDC.

But that's just because I turned 40 this year and now I'm just an old curmudgeon (or so my wife says...)

--Beast
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Old Dec 17, 2008, 01:35 PM   #15
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Zach,

FDC is just the French version of Stempelglanz/uncirculated/mint state. It really is not intended to mean more. If someone uses it as a higher grade than mint state, then he simply got the meaning wrong. FDC means fleur de coin, the blossom of a coin, referring to the mint lustre.

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