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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
Gloss to Cave Hirsuitus Canem
In Order of Appearance in "Cave Hirsuitus Canem"
Baetica A Roman province in southwest Spain, in the valley of the Guadalquivir River. One of the richest of the western provinces, Baetica was mainly known for three things: wine, olives and emperors. Trajan was born in Baetica, and though Hadrian was born in Rome, his family was from the same Spanish province. Another reason for the region's success no one had invented the art of painting bullfighters on black velvet yet.
Hispania Tarraconensis This was a fancy name for Farther Spain, which, paradoxically enough, was nearer to Rome than the rest.
Cyrene A province on the shore of North Africa, immediately west of Egypt. In Roman times it was full of Greeks. Today it is a parking lot for the fleet of unmarked cars used to chauffer Muammar Gaddafi from the palace to his golf club.
Pannonia A province of the Roman world at the upper end of t
SweepAs soon as he stepped into the open field, he slung the minesweeper from his shoulder and pointed its nose to the ground. It was old, worn and heavy, and old and rough, calloused and breaking, and old. The metal between his hands was cold and chilled his fingers. If he was not careful he could step on the very mines he was trying to find. They would have to pick up the pieces of his body and to send the tags home where his wife would cry and hold his son and daughter close with nothing to show them of their father but a piece of metal engraved with "Ajeet Singh".
One sweep, than another.
This war had taught him to never trust open spaces. Open spaces were where the mines were planted, where Prets lay in wait. France was green and damp just like the uniform he wore. It had been days since he was separated from his unit, and now the Allies were breathing on his neck, searching for POW’s, searching for the enemy of which he was one. &
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Bluefley has a gallery filled with artwork that whisks you off in to a Sci-fi daydream, and keeps you captivated for hours. Marc has been a member of our community for over a decade and has achieved nothing but success with his astounding commitment to interacting with the community, sharing a prolific amount of video tutorials and generally being an all round rockstar deviant. It is no joke that we are absolutely delighted to award the Deviousness Award for April 2014 to ... Read More