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Not Always the CharmAs I write, I'm waiting for a coin in the mail. I've been waiting for a couple of weeks, and looked in my mailbox only yesterday. The coin wasn't there. Trivial as it sounds, there's a bit of a funny story behind this.
I've been serious about collecting ancient coins since some time in the 1980s, when I bought my first Roman piece. It wasn't much an irregular disk about the size of a dime, heavily patinated with brown that was almost black. I could barely make out some of the letters, which seemed to spell "Claudius." Claudius! I thought it was the famous first-century Emperor Claudius from Robert Graves' books.
Actually, it was Claudius II, also named Gothicus. He lived over 200 years later, and today I would have known instantly that the design was not first-century.
Having paid off my last purchase a little while ago, I was in the mood to go "shopping" again.
On the Face of ItThis is a coin with two sides like any other, and more than one reverse...
One side was my discovery of the coin in early June. The other side is the story of it's importance in Jewish history. As for the reverses let's take those one at a time.
To begin with, there's a small inconsequential coin & stamp shop called Avi's in my neighborhood. ("Avi" of course, is not its real name.) The store rarely has much of interest to me, but on the last visit the owner showed me some new acquisitions. There were a few Sassanid drachms worth $30 or $40 each maybe, some Elizabethan silver in the same price range, a large Hellenistic bronze I could make nothing of, and another bronze coin about the size of an Eisenhower dollar that caught my eye immediately. It was obviously a Roman sestertius, always of interest, but the face was a familiar and exciting one. There is no mistaking Vespasian's bulldog portrait, nor his son's. The two are difficult to distinguish in fact, t
A few nights ago I had out a pile of old Mercury head, and Canadian, dimes. Around 115 of them.
The thought occurred to me (as it had before) that this was about half what a common legionary was paid annually. (In early Imperial times it was 225 denarii, paid in three 75 denarii instalments). 115 dimes was quite a handful of silver, but you know... it was just a handful. It didn't seem much to risk your life for, let alone put up with the unspeakably harsh conditions and a 50/50 chance of surviving your 25 years of service.
Then I wondered if a familiar dime was really the equal of an Augustan or Flavian denarius. I looked at some books and discovered that the Mercury dime weighed 2.5 grams, and a Canadian dime just over 2.3 grams. The average first century denarius seems to have weighed around 3.4 grams, so was respectably heavier.
Then again, the Mercury dime was 90% silver (the rest copper), and Canadian dimes were for more than 60 years 92.5% silver, in 1920 falling to 8
Views on a Solidus
Yesterday I went to a coin show. I go three times a year with a friend named Simon. Nobody in fandom would know him, but he's the Significant Other living with Victoria. I'm still in touch with Victoria, but have made friends with Simon as well. In fact, I'm to blame for getting him into collecting ancient coins. (He has a special interest in British history, having been born there, though raised in Bolivia and Panama, and has lived most of his life in Canada.)
In any case, we went to the show Saturday afternoon. I picked up some odd things on Simon's tab. He spends so much at these affairs that he gives me the nod to throw a couple hundred more on his bill. It always astonishes me that there are so many rats in the world, and then you meet someone who is actually generous... I found a worn old sestertius of Antoninus Pius, and a fairly modestly priced silver siliqua of Julian
When in Rome
The coins illustrated in the short written pieces to follow are all from my collection. I've scanned each one, and drawn on my own knowledge to descrbie the coin, the emperors, and the times. Certain statements are my opinions only, even guesswork, but that's alright. After more than 2,000 years in some cases, there's nobody around to sue!
I've been to a coin show! I can never acquire new coins without working up an enthusiasm that has nothing to do with *value*, but everything to do with the challenge of new things to uncover, and new things to learn! Take this rather plain bronze coin called a As. (It's pronounced Oz, not Ass, by the way.) Four of these things about the size of a quarter, but thicker, made up a heavier bronze coin called a Sestertius. Four Sestertii made up one silver coin the size of a dime called a Denarius. So you might say this item was 1/16 of a dime, or about 2/3 of a cent. I had seen plenty of Asses in my time, but none quite so early, be
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Endorell-Taelos is very well known within the community for her selfless giving and gracious community spirit. Since joining DeviantART over seven years ago, Alicia has continued to make a positive impact on many deviants. Her helpful and thoughtful approach was one of her finest attributes when serving as a Community Volunteer, and this has continued throughout the many contests which Alicia provides on a regular basis. As we approach our Birthday celebrations, we can't... Read More