Thrace influenced by Greece?

Was Thrace influenced by Greece & the Macedonian Empire? It is a fact, Thrace was conquered by Philip II, king of Macedonia. This occurred in the 4th century BC. Once Philip the II died Thrace became a part of the great kingdom of Alexander the Great. Following Alexander’s death, his empire was divided among his generals, who established independent kingdoms including Thrace.

Lysimachus, who reigned from 323 to 281 BCE, was the general who succeeded Alexander as the ruler of Thrace. According to Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, Thrace was highly influenced by Greece and the Macedonian Empire’s culture. But, were they?

Yes, Thracian coinage gave homage to the once great leader of the Macedonian Empire. The Thracians under the leadership of Lysimachus used Alexander’s portrait on the front of their coins. However, on the back “Lysimachus named himself “king” and pictured the goddesses Athena and Nike (Victory) crowning his name with laurels, which symbolized victory or honor.” 

Thracian Gold Stater with Alexander the Great’s Image

Thracian’s Barbaric Ways

Many Thracians spoke Greek but that didn’t mean they acted like Greeks. Even though they were controlled by the Macedonian Empire, they wouldn’t change their Thracians ways. They were still considered “barbaric” to the Greeks. For example, “Herodotus mentions that the Thracians had a habit of selling their children into slavery.” It is no wonder that during that period many Thracians could be seen in the service of Greek households.

Thracians also had an unorthodox belief in immortality and very curious sexual and marital customs. It was ok for Thracian men to have several wives. The more the merrier. Furthermore, when the husband died his wives would fight over who was his favorite. The winner was given the privilege of being killed. This was so she could be laid by his side in the grave.

So, was Thrace influenced by Greece? Maybe a little, but the Thracian people remained being a conquered people. In 279 BC Celts advanced into Thrace. Later Rome invaded Thrace and in 168 the governing of Thrace passed to Rome. As a result Thrace became a client state until 46 AD. After that, it officially became a Roman province.

Failed Mint at Cuzco

Gold Cob collectors didn’t learn the true story of the failed gold mint at Cuzco (1698-99) until 1964. For years, the truth was hidden in the Mint archives of Spain and Peru.

Prior to 1964 only one 1698 C M Peru 2 Escudos was known to exist. Hence, the 2 Escudo was under extreme scrutiny and reputed as being a fake. Consequently, after the recovery of the 1715 Fleet, everything changed. Most importantly, a small quantity of 1698 C M Peru 2 Escudos were discovered. This totally vindicated the one 1698 coin previously found. In conclusion, it was indeed very real and not a fake. In fact, it was a one year type only struck in Cuzco, Peru. 

The truth revealed that the Cuzco authorities obtained authorization in 1697 to build a small mint. Subsequently, they used dies that were shipped from Lima in May of 1698 for production. By August Cuzco produced Gold Cobs in the denomination of 1 Escudos and 2 Escudos.

After only one year the Cuzco mint was abruptly shut down. This was due to continuous rioting and worries about the security of the mint. The small amount of gold on hand was hastily used to strike the coins. Soon thereafter, the mint was closed and the building sold off. 

Gold 2 Escudos from 1715 Fleet Shipwreck

We’ve recently acquired an extremely rare 1698 C M Cuzco Peru Charles II Gold 2 Escudos certified by NGC. It is from the 1715 Fleet Shipwreck and in Mint State 62 condition. This one year only type is the first that Austin Rare Coins has ever handled. It is a pretty exciting!

If you are a Gold Cob collector, this extremely rare cob should be in your collection! It is important to note these coins were individually hand struck. The paltry amount produced make them unique to all other Escudos ever minted in Peru.

If you have and questions regarding the failed mint at Cuzco or other Gold Escudos, give us a call. You can talk to an actual Rare Coins Advisor at 1-800-928-6468.

Tiberius II was a good emperor

As far as the history of rulers of the Byzantine Empire, Tiberius II was a good emperor. Tiberius II ruled as an Eastern Roman emperor from 574 to 582. He ruled Byzantine Empire under the Justinian dynasty and proved himself to be a capable administrator that was well loved by his people.

During the Justinian Dynasty Tiberius II rose to power in 574 when Justin II started to have a mental breakdown. Justin the II had adopted Tiberius as his own son and proclaimed him Caesar. In fact, in 578 the dying Justin II gave Tiberius the title of Augustus and becoming co-emperor alongside him. Tiberius became sole ruler less than two weeks later. Subsequently, Tiberius took the regnal name of “Constantine” under which he reigned until his death.  

Why the Byzantine Empire?

The Eastern Roman Empire was also referred to as the Byzantine Empire because of Constantine the Great. He was the first Christian emperor, who rebuilt the city of Byzantium as an imperial capital. Byzantium soon became known as Constantinople.

It took hundreds of years before the term Byzantine was the accepted name for this surviving Eastern Roman Empire. Historian believed that the Byzantine civilization was a blend of Roman political institutions, Greek culture, and Orthodox Christian religion.

Tiberius II fondly remembered

Before Tiberius became emperor there was terrible plague that started throughout the Byzantine Empire. It began in 541 and was the first recorded world pandemic. The devastating plague tore through the Byzantine Empire, which was ruled by Emperor Justinian. It also lasted through most of Justin II’s rule. The plague was referred to as Justinianic Plague.

Luckily for Tiberius, the plague abated when he began his rule, which gave him more freedom of movement than Justin II. Tiberius decided that unlike his predecessor who saved and saved during the pandemic, he would spend the saved money. Consequently, he gave generous donations to the poor in order to win over the populace. Tiberius also removed taxes on wine and bread instituted by Justinian I.

Above all, Tiberius proved himself to be a capable administrator and avoided unnecessary wars. He strengthened the administration of the Roman Empire and continued the policies of Augustus. All in all, the Byzantine Empire enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity during Tiberius’s reign.

Tiberius Constantin Gold Solidus

Tiberius II was a good emperor and collectors enjoy owning a piece of history minted during his reign. Below is a video of a gorgeous Tiberius II gold solidus. Above all, it is a certified coin and not a counterfeit one. In short, it is certified by NGC Ancients in Choice Mint State Condition with a perfect 5/5 strike and surface grade. NGC Ancients is the only trustworthy organization to certify rare ancient coins.

It is a beautiful coin that is centered on both sides with the likeness of emperor Tiberius Constantine on the obverse. Holding a piece of history in your hands that could have even been touched by Tiberius himself is an amazing opportunity.

As always, call to talk to an Ancient Coin Advisor at Austin Rare Coins & Bullion. They are there to help you with any questions about this coin or other ancient coins. Call 1-800-928-6468

Last Province of Canada

Many people today are not aware that Newfoundland was independent and its own Dominion. Today, Newfoundland is the last province of Canada. This means it was the 10th and last province added. However, it was formerly known as the Newfoundland Colony. It wasn’t until after World War II that it became a province of Canada. In fact, on March 31, 1949, it was easternmost, the tenth, and last province to be added to Canada.

Before it became a Canadian province, Newfoundland was called the “Dominion of Newfoundland.” Back in 1907 Newfoundland along with its neighbor Labrador enjoyed the constitutional status like other dominions of the time. This was confirmed by the Balfour Declaration of 1926 along with the Statute of Westminster of 1931.

Newfoundland’s independence only survived for 79 years. This was because of severe economic hardship during the Great Depression. Apparently, Newfoundland accumulated a significant amount of debt due to the building of a railway across the island. Consequently, in 1934, Newfoundland had to surrender its independence to the British Empire. They decided to give up self-government and suspend their own constitution. This allowed the United Kingdom to take over guardianship.

World War II

The persistent worldwide Great Depression lasted until World War II broke out in 1939. Newfoundland became a strategic World War II location. Above all, it was important for the Battle of the Atlantic. Once the United States entered the war, they found the strategic need to deploy military bases on Newfoundland. In fact, the U.S. rapidly injected a lot of American money and influence to quickly build American military, naval, and air bases. 

The new found support from the U.S. led to close ties, which led to a new Economic Union Party. This close union was a short-lived because Canada and the British Allies denounced the union. Nevertheless, Newfoundland seemed too small to be independent and needed financial help. It only had a population of 313,000 not counting the 5,200 on Labrador.

London realized that something needed to be done. A union and annexation with the United States seemed like a distinct possibility. So in 1945, Britain decided to allow Newfoundlanders to make their own decision by giving them the choice to vote on their future by referendum. Canada assisted and cooperated with Britain to help prevent America from getting any closer.

It was a tough decision for Newfoundlanders to choose between confederation or Dominion status. In short, after a close vote of 52 to 48 percent Newfoundland decided to band together with Canada. Therefore, Newfoundland is the tenth and last province of Canada.

1865 $2 Newfoundland Gold Piece

Below is a video that has a two-dollar gold coin that was struck in Newfoundland in 1865 when it was its own dominion. Today, Newfoundland is the last province of Canada. However, this coin was from an extremely low mintage of only 10,000 coins—way before it became united with Canada.

It’s the first year of issue of the series that issued sporadically from 1865 to 1888. In addition, it has been graded by PCGS in one grade shy of mint state. Above all, it is a wonderful coin and seemingly undervalued in the current marketplace.

The Cruelest Roman Emperor

Roman Emperor Caligula is remembered as being the cruelest roman emperor. No one can say exactly why he was so cruel. Some speculate, that it was because he fell ill of syphilis 6 month into his reign. Whatever the reason, he never recovered mentally and became a ruthless leader.

Caligula’s cruelty lasted during his four-year reign from 37-41 AD. In fact, he became so ruthless that no one was safe, including his family. Some even refer to Caligula as the mad emperor. In short, his cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversion was nothing short of the actions of an insane tyrant. For instance, he made his horse a member of the senate and slept with or killed every member of his own family.

There are others who believe Caligula’s excessive cruelty is exaggerated by myth. They also think that Caligula only threatened to make his horse consul. Moreover, they think it was only said because of Caligula’s very low opinion of the Senate. Nevertheless, Caligula was so despised as a ruler that he was eventually executed by his own royal guard. As a result, the Cruelest Roman Emperor title seems appropriate.

Caligula Silver Denarius

This silver denarius of Roman Emperor Caligula is one of the key coins in the Twelve Caesars silver series. Furthermore, it is the finest example we have handled in many years. However, we did own ONE coin certified finer, a Mint State coin we placed several years ago.

Caligula’s image on the front of the coin is an eerie testament to his legacy of being the Cruelest Roman Emperor. The reverse of the coin depicts his predecessor, Augustus, in lifelike form. This coin is wonderfully preserved with mark-free surfaces on both sides. In conclusion, it is a wonderful coin in all regards. (Check out the video below!)

US gold coin redesign

US President Theodore Roosevelt was tired of minting the same old gold eagle and double eagle coins. To paraphrase President Roosevelt, the country needed a US gold coin redesign. In short, he had long been complaining that US coins lacked artistic quality. In fact, he decided to hire a private sculptor to create a new design. Augustus Saint-Gaudens was chosen to redesign five denominations of US coinage that could be changed without an Act of Congress.

Roosevelt’s broad overhaul of the United States gold coins led to a new Lady Liberty. One wearing a traditional Native American Indian Headdress. In 1907, the new $10 coin with the new Lady Liberty wearing the Indian Headdress was unveiled. The coin became a huge success.

The $5 and $2 1/2 dollar gold coins were also revamped. They depicted an Indian Chief that also employed a fancy new design feature. These coins employed an “incuse” design. To clarify, the details were carved into the surface of the coin. This meant, the lines of the design, the figures, and the letters were depressed or incused. This was instead of using the common practice of being raised or in relief.

Roosevelt’s introduction a US gold coin redesign was such a novel idea in coinage, that it seemed to please everyone. It was artistically accepted and was well adaptable to business needs at hand.

1907 $10 Indian Gold Coin

The 1907 $10 Indian Gold Coin is magnificent in all regards. Like a miniature sculpture, it commands attention. Certainly, it is a reminder of the greatness of the United States. The US gold coin redesign by Augustus St. Gaudens under the authority of Theodore Roosevelt nailed it. Moreover, it is a show stopper.

The example we have in the video below is in the very high grade of Mint State 66. Only 41 coins are known finer than this one.

The First International Currency

The world’s first coins were minted in ancient Lydia. Lydia’s King Croesus became the first ruler to separate gold from other metals. He issued the world’s first pure gold and pure silver coins. The Persian Empire, also known as the Achaemenid Empire, took up the idea of coinage upon defeating King Croesus in 547 B.C.. However, it wasn’t until Alexander the Great of the Macedonian Empire, who conquered the Persian Empire, that the first international currency evolved. In fact, some believe that Alexander was the father of the first international currency.

Alexander ascended to the throne in 336 BC following the assassination of his father Philip II. He became king at the very young age of 20. In addition, Alexander adopted the Attic coinage standard. Unfortunately, Alexander spent his ruling years conducting lengthy military campaigns and really didn’t get to enjoy his conquest much. He was always too busy conquering more lands throughout Western Asia and Egypt.

Alexander’s importance to the history of coinage must be noted. After he became ruler of such a vast empire, he realize the necessity of successfully trading currency throughout his lands. Most importantly, once Alexander conquer an area he issued and circulated his own coins. Gradually, his huge empire became uniformed in its currency. However, some stylistic variations due to the hundreds of mints throughout Europe and Asia. Of course this was inevitable due to the vast region of his empire. It stretched from the borders of India and inner Afganistan in the east to the Adriatic Sea in the west and from Egypt in the south to the coasts of the Black Sea in the north.

Alexander The Great's Empire
Alexander the Great’s Empire

Coinage as Politcal Propaganda

Coinage as political propaganda became an integral part to warfare in the ancient world. Alexander became the inventor of mass-marketing his face or the faces of the gods he believed in. He realized the importance of someone coming into power needed to reach everyone in his empire. Just like today’s television, radio, and billboards, Alexander’s coinage was in everyone’s hands and had a far reaching impact. ( Check out this beautiful coin during Alexander’s reign in the video below)

Even after Alexander’s death his generals launched perhaps the greatest and most widespread use of coinage as propaganda. They divided Alexander’s Empire, but still used coins with Alexander’s image. In fact, they pictured him as a good-looking, divine, powerful ruler. Not only were Alexander’s coins minted during his lifetime, but his image adorned coins for two decades following his death. As a result, Macedonian generals who divided the empire into separate Hellenistic kingdoms, continued to identify the great ruler Alexander.

As time went by, new kings came into power and minted their own coinage. However, Alexander coinage lived on for two centuries. For the very first time his coins were issued by independent cities as the first international currency.   

King Croesus Renowned Wealth

King Croesus renowned wealth became synonymous with his own name. The saying “rich as Croesus” originated in reference to his absurd affluence. Subsequently, Croesus reign became associated with the invention of coins as currency. Before Croesus became King, his father Alyattes had already started to mint various types of non-standardized coins. However, Croesus took it one step further. By developing an innovative refining process and standardizing the specific sizes as well as the purity for general circulation, King Croesus advanced both silver and gold.

In other words, Croesus created intrinsic value deriving from a certain quantity of gold or silver of which it is made. Ironically, Croesus’ gold and silver funded construction of the great Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. This temple was so grand its tremendous size doubled the dimensions of other Greek temples. In fact it is know as one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Unfortunately, today only the foundations and a solitary column stand as a reminder of the site where once greatest temple stood. It is still a testament to King Croesus renowned wealth.

Very first gold coin

Croesus’ first gold coins around 550 BC were true works of art! He first depicted the head the lion representing strength and the bull for fertility on the world’s very first gold coin—THE STATER (Seen in the video below). Even after the Persians invaded and conquered the Lydian territories in 546 BC, Croesus’ legacy would live on. In short, the Persians adopted and used the idea of coinage as they passed it along to other empires.

If you have any questions about King Croesus Renowned Wealth, please call an Ancient Coin Advisor at Austin Rare Coins & Bullion. We are the industry leaders in the ancient coin marketplace. In conclusion, we would be more than happy to help you find the exact ancient coin you’re looking for.

Who owns the gold from the S.S. Central America?

There is no easy answer regarding who owns the gold from the S.S. Central America. The S.S. Central America, also know as the “Ship of Gold,” sank in a hurricane off the cost of the Carolinas with tons of gold from the San Francisco mint. In addition, there were gold coins, ingots, gold dust, and various bullion coins from the California Gold Rush that went down with the ship. In fact, the enormous loss of gold has been described as the greatest economic catastrophe in all of U.S. maritime history.

I took over a 150 years to find the Ship of Gold sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was located by the Columbus-America Discovery Group of Ohio, led by Tommy Gregory Thompson on September 11, 1988. However, the expedition was funded by several investors who had provided $12.5 million in financing. These investors believed they had the right to the treasure. Meanwhile, thirty-nine insurance companies also filed suit believing the gold belonged to them. They claimed that because they paid damages in the 19th century for the lost gold, they had the right to it.

It seemed like everyone wanted a piece of the action. Thompson was sued in 2005 by several of the investors. However, Tommy Thompson disappeared and went into hiding in 2012. A dilemma unfolded as to who owns the gold from the S.S. Central America. The courts made a decision In March 2014. In short, a contract was awarded to Odyssey Marine Exploration to conduct archeological recovery and conservation of what remained on the S.S. Central America.

Subsequently, in 2015 Thompson was finally found by US Marshals agents and was extradited to Ohio. HIs treasure was divvied up to the investors.

Shipwreck U.S. Gold Coins can belong to you

Remarkably, the condition of the coins recovered in the 1857 shipwreck of the S.S. Central America were preserved in pristine condition. This after 150 years under the ocean. Scientists believe that special environmental conditions combined to preserve the treasures from the shipwreck, because of frigid temperatures and a nonexistent current at 8,500 feet below the ocean.

We actually have some coins for sale from the second recovery of the Ship of Gold. Each coin from this exclusive release comes sealed in a specially-designed PCGS holder to protect the intricate details of the coin. In addition, each holder contains a pinch of gold dust recovered from the shipwreck.

Bob Evans, the Chief Scientist and curator of the find, has hand-signed the PCGS grading certificate. Most importantly, each coins is certified that it was indeed an authentic artifact from the recovery effort. Finally, each S.S. Central America Shipwreck $20 Liberty comes in a unique presentation box.

So when someone asks you, “Who owns the gold from the S.S. Central America?” You can say, “I do,” by purchasing a coin that survived and was recovered from this famous ship. You like other gold buyers, investors, and history buffs can own a piece of this fascinating history.

Countermarked Silver Cobb 8 Reales

We are absolutely thrilled to share a very rare Countermarked Silver Cobb 8 Reales coin with you today. In fact, up to this point in time very few people knew coins like this even existed. This coin isn’t even known to many historians or the rare coin industry alike. It is quite literally the oldest known official United States Silver Dollar. In particular, it is the only one in private hands with the countermark of PS. 

It’s an absolute wonderful find and a priceless piece of American History. Surprisingly, not many people knew how business was done before the US Mint opened. From the 1600’s up to 1792 Spanish colonial silver Reales and gold Escudos were the primary currency used in the colonies. Of course, this changed once the US started minting their own coins.

US regulators confiscate countermark Spanish coins

Once the US mint started minting their own coins in 1792, all stamped coins were rounded up and melted down. Only a handful of stamped regulated coins exist today. Above all, we have in our possession the only known silver Cobb 8 Reales with the prominent PS regulators initials. However, there is a Countermarked Silver Cobb 8 Reales with a PS in the Williamsburg Museum.

By comparison, there are hundreds of other types of regulated gold coins known to exist. Many of these coins can easily eclipse six figures. But, we possess the only known example with the PS stamp that doesn’t reside in a museum.

This is such a massive hidden gem… important and historically relevant. Prominent regulators like Philip Syng were responsible in regulating the first foreign currency. In other words, making sure all coins circulating in the US had to measure up to real and verified standards of weight and purity.  

A couple of the most well-known US silversmiths and regulators in the early days were Paul Revere (PR punch) from Boston, Ephraim Brasher (EB punch), from New York. Equally important and harder to find today, was Philip Syng, Jr. (PS Punch), of Philadelphia. In addition, Mr. Syng, was very close personal friends with Benjamin Franklin.  

Austin Rare Coins sold the Countermarked Silver Cobb 8 Reales in the video below to a private collector. However, this Summer it will be going to public auction at Stacks Bowers—a prominent auction house. As a matter of fact, we believe bidding is sure to be fierce for this absolutely incredible, unique, piece of early American history.