A collector sees a lot of coins during his collecting life. Yet there are only a few who leave a lasting impression. What have these coins that others haven’t?
First of all the attraction of a certain coin has ofcourse to do with the subject of interest the collector has. But leaving this out of account, there are a few additional criteria who can make a coin stand out from the rest.
- Historical significance. Some coins have been struck at an important moment in history and draw their attraction from this. There are for instance the gold litrae of Akragas, struck in 406 BC during the siege of the city by the Carthaginians. . In the books of Diodorus Siculus you can read that the mercenaries, hired to defend the city, chose this specific moment to demand more money. The citizens of Akragas could only agree to these demands and the women had to hand in their jewellery so the gold litrae could be struck to pay the mercenaries.
Every timehen I see one of these coins, I’m fascinated at how close I’am to an important moment in history.
- This is something that becomes increasingly important because of the American import restrictions and the hunt for illegally dug up artefacts.
The fact that a coin once was a part of an important collection gives the coin an added charm. Also the fact that an important collector chose precisely this coin to be a part of his collection, makes that I look at the coin with greater attention. In this way the coins of the Kunstfreund and Hunt collection always have an added value for me.
This added value is proven time and again. Whenever one of these coins comes up for auction, a premium of sometimes dozens of percents is being paid above the price of a similar coin coin without such a provenance.
- The image.There are coins of which the image is so striking and beautiful that it immediately grabs you. In these cases it is clear that a great artist has been working on the dies who managed to go beyond the standards of his time. Sometimes it is the image, sometimes the execution, but mostly it is a combination of the two.
A good example is the gold stater of Tarentum on which the child Taras asks his father Zeus for help. This image is not only of great beauty and shows the craftmanship f the celator, but the way the image is rendered is also beautiful. The pose of Taras begging for help and the Zeus who sits, slightly bent over to listen to his child, on his throne. A story full of emotions captured in an image.
- Of some issues only one or a few remain. To imagine that the piece in front of you is all that is left from a complete emission.
When I come across such a coin and realise that this is probably the only time I will be able to hold it, unintentionally my heart starts beating faster and in my head I explore the possibilities not to let it be the only time. In other words: How can I buy this coin?
And the most beautiful coin? I don’t know, but it meets all of criteria above.
Oh, and the emercency emission of Akragas didn’t help the inhabitants. The mercenaries left, despite the payment and the Carthaginians took the city of Akragas. Most inhabitants were able to flee to neighbouring cities. Akragas was never repopulated.