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Rare Coin Market Update

Rare Coin Market Update #10 (Archives)

Ancient Greek Rare Coins

by James DiGeorgia 2012-05-22 11:48:11

Earlier in the month I attended an International Coin Show in Chicago that yielded several ancient coins that were simply too amazing to be ignored. I'm talking about "wonder coins". Ancient coins that remain in literally pristine condition that date back approximately 2000 years.

I consider these coins, the most undervalued area of the entire numismatic market. My reasons for this are simple. The vast majority of Greek, Roman and Ancient world coins that exist in the world wide marketplace survive in extra fine circulated condition. With exception of a few hoards that have been unearthed in archeological discovers in Europe featured mint state condition coins, its' extremely difficult to find legitimately rare coins in such pristine condition.

Case in point...

I was floored at the International coin show when I was offered a magnificent Ancient Greek Silver Stater stuck between 375 BC and 300 BC approximately 2300 years ago. The word Stater means soldier and true to its name these coins were primarily used by the State to pay its soldiers. This amazing coin features one of my all time favorite designs a portrait of a Pegasus flying left on the coins obverse and a portrait of Athena facing left wearing a Corinthian helmet pushed back on head. It's simply breathtaking. The helmet and design of the Athena portrait reminds me of the design used for both Pan Pacific $50 Gold coins (Octagon and Round) struck by the United States in 1915 at the San Francisco mint. (See the NGC MS 65 1915-S Round we have available in our inventory)

Coins like this Greek Stater most commonly survive in very fine circulated condition. Finding one grade Choice Mint State condition being perfectly centered and with a perfect planchet is virtually impossible. I would estimate there may be no more than one or two of these coins in this amazing condition outside of museum collections world-wide. NGC graded this coin Ch MS* 5/5 Surface 5/5 Centering which I think is extremely conservative - the coin is clearly a GEM.

If this amazing Greek coin were instead a 1796 Quarter the coin would grade MS66+ by either NGC or PCGS. Such a coin would sell for almost $2 million today. Yet, this amazing Ancient Greek Gem which may well be as rare in this condition is available for just $15,500. To me it's the kind of coin I would expect to be worth many times that price in the years to come as investors and collectors begin to recognize just how rare pristine Ancient wonder coins like this really are. Keep in mind NGC has only started grading Ancient coins in the past 3 years, and the true rarity picture is only starting to be revealed.

This magnificent silver Greek Stater was struck in Corinthia, Corinth, in the 4th Century before the birth of Jesus Christ. There are many references in ancient history and in religious texts to the Corinthians.

Corinth was ancient and illustrious city on the isthmus between Peloponnesus and the mainland of Hellas. It was a meeting-point of the great Ancient trading routes of commerce between the Eastern and the Western most traveled in the world at that time.

The weight of coinage was critically important in the Ancient world. Corinth derived her standard for weighing precious metals from Asia Minor, the unit of weight being the light Babylonic Stater. The monetary system used by the Corinthians used of division by 3 and 6 which sufficiently attests its Asiatic origin.

These Pegasus silver Staters of Corinth, were the principal medium of exchange along all the coasts of the Corinthian Gulf, and even beyond the seas in Italy and Sicily. So in many ways this coin is the Ancient forerunner of Spanish Doubloons, British and United States Trade dollars that facilitated commerce century's later. The divisional system of the Corinthian coinage possessed a practical advantage over both the Attic and the Aeginetic coins that competed as an exchange coinage at the time. As a result of their wide use in trade they found their way in trade throughout the known world.

The historical significance of these coins and in particular this amazing Wonder Coin cannot be understated. It may well be the nicest example available on the world market and would make a prized center piece of any rare coin collection.

Simply so amazing, all I can do is suggest to anyone interested to buy the coin immediately, as it will not last very long.

By the way, new reports today are featuring auction results from a major sports auction held last week that included the earliest known Yankees jersey worn by Ruth, circa 1920, brought more than $4.42 million. While one of Babe Ruth's caps from 1935 set a record by bringing in $537,278. The point of me pointing this out is to show what happens when people recognize rarity and history. Here's a cloth cap and baseball jersey are worth together over $5 million while a Wonder Quality coin almost 2300 year old is only worth $15,500. What am I missing? Rare coins are cheap compared to prices realized for other tangible and collectible assets.

Constantine I or Saint Constantine was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337AD. He is best known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity.

Best Wishes

James DiGeorgia

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