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Box of 20 that people actually care about

SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited February 8, 2023 12:11AM in World & Ancient Coins Forum

Most people don’t care much about coins (gasp!) When you start talking to them about what you do, their eyes glaze over and they start thinking about anything else. How many people care about a million dollar coin other than the fact that is valuable? Usually not many. The coins I collect are interesting…well, ONE of them is, but after you talk about that one Spanish pillar dollar, they don’t care to see the other hundred.

Enter “THE set of twenty.”

Coins that are truly entertaining. Have you ever seen a pirate doubloon? A coin that Dracula could have held? Maybe THE coin of Athena, ya know, Ancient Athens Greece??? What about a coin from last Egyptian pharaoh? One of the silver pieces that betrayed Jesus? You get the idea.

I’ve been slowly working on a set that will do just that. Pieces that are at least two hundred years old, I’ve been focusing on the old world, not but necessarily limited to that.

Here are my ideas so far, what else can you suggest? No limit too high, no monetary amount too low!

—-HISTORIC COINS—-

-Vlad Tepes, grandfather. They didn't mint coins when vlad or his father ruled, the grandfather coins are the ones that circulated

-Alexander the Great, Alexander III of Macedonia, 356BC-323BC

-Constantine, guy that brought together the known world and started the Catholic Church bringing Christian and pagan to the same table.

-Pirate gold

-Shipwreck

-Martin Luther, Eisleben Germany, 1483-1546, the reformation

-Attica (have) Greek 440-404BC, 438 Parthenon and Athena statue completed and dedicated. Owl is the patron of Athens. Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) (Sparta). (Have an example already)

-Pompeii, buried in ash

-Bubonic Plague, Italy

-Egyptian the latest pharaoh (I think these are attainable, no?)

-Nero

-Lydian electrum, first coin ever made!

-King Herod, the guy why killed all the babies trying to off Jesus (have an example already)

-Pilate, the guy who crucified Christ (have an example already.)

What more should be here? What would you remove? Anything goes as long as it’s interesting. Something that would make a teenager excited and a grandma gasp!

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Comments

  • ExbritExbrit Posts: 1,232 ✭✭✭✭

    Teenager? Good luck with finding anything for that. Neat idea though. How about something a little more recent - maybe a token or medal to add to your collection. What is the teenager interested in? Maybe something to do with your and the teenager’s heritage? Old world is great, but is that going to interest the teenager that you are trying to interest?

  • John ConduittJohn Conduitt Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    Nice list. I've found it hard to predict what people find interesting. My nephew gets interested in very old coins, or anything found near where he's from (like a hoard coin). He's fascinated with cut pennies - the idea that you cut your coins up for change. I think Olbia dolphin money would go down well.

    I'm not sure how much history a lot of people know - even Constantine I is obscure, which I think is why Biblical coins always sell well (and you have those already). A few options:

    • Julius Caesar. (Or an Eid Mar, if you're a billionaire).
    • Hannibal/elephant from Carthage.
    • Genghis Khan, although he didn't strike many coins, being a nomad.
    • Qin Shi Huang, who I thought I hadn't heard of, but he built the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Army. He has great coins given they're Chinese ban liang (huge and often with a nice green patina).
    • Nabatean coins, with jugate busts. For anyone who has ever been to (or heard of) Petra in Jordan.
    • Shah Jahan - who built the Taj Mahal, and has handsome coins given they're Islamic and don't have images.
    • Bohemond III denier - the stereotypical crusader coin.
    • Henry VIII.
    • Napoleon.

    Rather than pirate gold or a shipwreck coin, you can combine the two with a 'piece of eight' from a shipwreck. Not that many/any of these are actually pirate coins, just coins lost at sea.

    Pharoah coins are probably not pharoah coins. They're not very interesting coins either. There are some with Egyptian iconography, like Hadrian with a mummy on the reverse.

    The 'Pompeii' coins are all gold and very expensive, and often not even certainly from the Vesuvius eruption - the colour of the gold is thought only possible at high temperatures.

    I think the Bubonic Plague was most famous under Justinian in Byzantium, where there are coins dated to the year.

  • OnwardOnward Posts: 23 ✭✭
    edited February 4, 2023 12:34PM

    What a neat idea!

    Many possibilities for coins and their relevance to history. You are off to a good start- Constantine a nice choice. Fully concur with @JohnConduitt.

    Making the Herod connection might be a challenge for some groups you hope to reach. Octavian could be a better fit, with a fascinating impact that is still in play today.

    Looking forward to seeing where this goes, please keep us posted.

    Pursuing Charles & Joanna, especially Early Series

  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for the responses and ideas!

    I'm BACK!!! Used to be Billet7 on the old forum.

  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Keep ‘em coming!

    I'm BACK!!! Used to be Billet7 on the old forum.

  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 6, 2023 1:12PM

    First addition to the set, Tetradrachm -Attica, Greek 440-404 BC

    The quintessential Greek coin, I feel like it represents everything Greek during the pinnacle of Greek rule.

    Obverse is Athena, Greek goddess of Battle and Wisdom, dressed for battle. Reverse is an Owl, the patron of Athens. Even back then an owl was seen as wise.

    During the minting of this coin, in 438 BC, the Parthenon and the Athena statue completed and dedicated. Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) (Sparta.)

    NGC XF


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  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 6, 2023 1:13PM

    Second Addition to the set:

    Martin Luther, Eisleben Germany, 1483-1546, the reformation. Luther is the guy who inadvertently started the Protestant movement. He was a clergyman that was interested in rectifying some things he saw as incorrect within the Catholic Church, so he wrote them down in what became the 95 thesies. The story goes that he nailed them to the door of the Whittenburg Castle. Protestantism was born.

    This coin comes from one of the German states, minted during the lifetime of Martin Luther. Ideally I’ll be able to upgrade this to a piece from Eisleben or Whittenburg someday (not sure if they exist,) possibly something larger, but I like this one well enough if they never show up.

    NGC AU55 1504-1508, 1P

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  • coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,662 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Best Wishes with the hunt

    Experience the World through Numismatics...it's more than you can imagine.

  • CladiatorCladiator Posts: 17,917 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Something with King George III, pre-revolution but not by much. For Americans, pretty meaningful.

  • ExbritExbrit Posts: 1,232 ✭✭✭✭

    @Cladiator said:
    Something with King George III, pre-revolution but not by much. For Americans, pretty meaningful.

    Virginia half cent? Can’t get much closer to the revolution that these British (George III) authorized legal tender.

  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I’ve been thinking about a fugio cent, it’s got a good story. Maybe something in George III is a good move, thanks for the tip.

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  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,558 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great coins so far! Have fun with this! :)

  • GrandsLacsGrandsLacs Posts: 6
    edited February 8, 2023 9:44AM

    Martin Luther, Eisleben Germany, 1483-1546, the reformation. Luther is the guy who inadvertently started the Protestant movement. He was a clergyman that was interested in rectifying some things he saw as incorrect within the Catholic Church, so he wrote them down in what became the 95 theses.

    There's an interesting numismatic undercurrent to Luther and the 95 Theses that is often not discussed. Luther's father was involved with the mining and smelting industry in Mansfeld and so Martin likely had a much better understanding of the intrinsic value of metal and coinage than the average 15th century German. So when Johann Tetzel was going around selling indulgences (i.e. get to heaven quicker cards), Luther not only had beef with the fact that he found indulgences to be a theologically tenuous practice, but also that people were paying for what he considered to be worthless indulgences with coinage that he knew had significant economic value.

    How does this work again?

  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @GrandsLacs said:

    Martin Luther, Eisleben Germany, 1483-1546, the reformation. Luther is the guy who inadvertently started the Protestant movement. He was a clergyman that was interested in rectifying some things he saw as incorrect within the Catholic Church, so he wrote them down in what became the 95 theses.

    There's an interesting numismatic undercurrent to Luther and the 95 Theses that is often not discussed. Luther's father was involved with the mining and smelting industry in Mansfeld and so Martin likely had a much better understanding of the intrinsic value of metal and coinage than the average 15th century German. So when Johann Tetzel was going around selling indulgences (i.e. get to heaven quicker cards), Luther not only had beef with the fact that he found indulgences to be a theologically tenuous practice, but also that people were paying for what he considered to be worthless indulgences with coinage that he knew had significant economic value.

    That’s interesting! Thanks for the tidbit. I’d like to research more.

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  • I think in general they would like larger coins like crowns. The general public doesn't care about if a coin is ms-67 or 68, in fact most most will expect an older coin to look old. Silver and gold are also a plus, that will get a lot of peoples attention.

    Successful BST deals with mustangt and jesbroken. Now EVERYTHING is for sale.

  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Icollecteverything said:
    I think in general they would like larger coins like crowns. The general public doesn't care about if a coin is ms-67 or 68, in fact most most will expect an older coin to look old. Silver and gold are also a plus, that will get a lot of peoples attention.

    For sure! Some things you can’t get big, but for anything I can find larger, that’s the way I’m leaning. I’d like at least one gold piece too.

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  • Sergey74Sergey74 Posts: 151 ✭✭✭

    SimonW, if you have interest, one day many years ago i decided that i collect what it's interesting for me and only, not for anyone another and i shouldn't think about myself like museum's worker like "look at this!.. and this!... Interesting?" - phh it's like stone on neck. If you have interest about pirates - collect the coins with this story. Dracula? Buy it. Will you lose interest to Dracula tomorrow? Sell it and forget, buy something else. Changes in life and collecting is normal. The main thing is your interest. Sorry for bad English.

    Peace.

  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Sergey74 said:
    SimonW, if you have interest, one day many years ago i decided that i collect what it's interesting for me and only, not for anyone another and i shouldn't think about myself like museum's worker like "look at this!.. and this!... Interesting?" - phh it's like stone on neck. If you have interest about pirates - collect the coins with this story. Dracula? Buy it. Will you lose interest to Dracula tomorrow? Sell it and forget, buy something else. Changes in life and collecting is normal. The main thing is your interest. Sorry for bad English.

    Valid point, but I always only buy what I’m interested in…pretty sure most collectors do it that way. Otherwise it’s not a hobby and not enjoyable. It’s my way of putting together genuinely interesting coins but also being able to show them to ANYONE and they’d think so too.

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  • MattTheRileyMattTheRiley Posts: 806 ✭✭✭✭

    How about a cartwheel two pence? The idea of carrying around these absurdly large and heavy coins as pocket change is quite funny to me!

  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MattTheRiley said:
    How about a cartwheel two pence? The idea of carrying around these absurdly large and heavy coins as pocket change is quite funny to me!

    Those are pretty cool! I have a Russian 5kopeks for exactly the same reason. They’re HUGE! Like, seriously, you could easily bludgeon an attacker with simple pocket change. Talk about “financial security!”

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  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 43,194 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 11, 2023 11:20AM

    You think along the same lines as I do! I love stuff with a bit of history to it. Particularly the kind of stuff that anyone (not just a coin collector) can find interesting, if they've got just the right amount of smarts and curiosity. I love it when I talk to a noncollector who understands the appeal.

    And "Box of 20" freestyle is great. But personally, I eventually had to expand from my original "Eclectic Box of 20". Limiting my whole collection to that relatively small number of coins just got too tough for me after a while. But in the time that I was sticking with Box of 20 rules (one in, one out), it was good discipline, and taught me to focus on quality over quantity.

    Now my collection, though still small by many folks' standards, is big enough that I felt the need to split it into separate World and US categories. It has grown to well over 100 slabbed pieces, and is about to expand even more. But like the original Box of 20, it's still eclectic and freestyle: whatever catches my fancy. That's a great way to collect. It's liberating not being a "slave to the set".

    https://www.colleconline.com/en/collections/4508/lordmarcovan

    With all the new stuff I've got coming back from show purchases and TPG submissions, I'm thinking of splitting it again, into three categories. My new categories will be:

    Ancient & Medieval Coins (to 1600 AD)
    World Coins & Tokens (1601-present)
    US Coins & Tokens


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  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 43,194 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree about the Cartwheel twopence. Those are not only neat looking, but they're also some of the first coins struck with steam power.


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  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 43,194 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For Pompeii, if you can afford one, you could pick up a Roman coin from the Boscoreale Hoard:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boscoreale_Treasure

    @SmEagle1795 has an exceptional example here:

    https://www.colosseocollection.com/p443726947/hcd9ad7c#hcd9ad7c

    And here's a Boscoreale aureus for sale, though as usual, it isn't cheap!

    https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/wessex_coins/290/product/vespasian_gold_aureus_boscoreale_hoard/1492968/Default.aspx

    (And I don't know what proof they have of the provenance on that one, aside from the characteristic toning).

    I do not have- and will likely never have- a Boscoreale aureus. In fact, I thought I would never own ANY aureus. But that changed last year. I actually do own one now. It doesn't have a Boscoreale pedigree, but it's a Nero, which I see is another item on your list.

    But you don't of course have to go with gold for Nero. There are plenty more coins of his in silver and bronze, and with more interesting designs, as you well know.


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  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 43,194 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @SimonW said:
    I always only buy what I’m interested in…pretty sure most collectors do it that way. Otherwise it’s not a hobby and not enjoyable. It’s my way of putting together genuinely interesting coins but also being able to show them to ANYONE and they’d think so too.

    I 100% agree with this. Buy what interests you, and only what interests you. But if you also focus on coins that will appeal to a wider audience (not just collectors), I think that will serve you well in the long run. It will get your collection more appreciation and attention from others, at least. And that counts for me... a lot. And it might inspire others to take up the hobby.


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  • BailathaclBailathacl Posts: 1,009 ✭✭✭

    @lordmarcovan said:

    And "Box of 20" freestyle is great. But personally, I eventually had to expand from my original "Eclectic Box of 20". Limiting my whole collection that relatively small number of coins just got too tough for me after a while. …

    With all the new stuff I've got coming back from show purchases and TPG submissions, I'm thinking of splitting it again, into three categories. My new categories will be:

    Ancient & Medieval Coins (to 1600 AD)
    World Coins & Tokens (1601-present)
    US Coins & Tokens

    This approach is beginning to look very appealing to me. My concern is my own collecting tendencies will push me to quickly split Ancient and Medieval into separate boxes of 20. And then I will want to divide ancient Greek from Roman pieces into separate boxes of 20. Hmm, maybe Islamic dynasty coins deserve their own box. How about dividing modern World coins into separate boxes for each century? How disciplined will I be?

    Don’t get me wrong, I still see this approach as very valuable. And even if I do keep subdividing into additional boxes of 20 on this slippery slope, I will still be focusing and consolidating and improving theoverall quality of the pieces that remain. I need to think about this some more!

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  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @lordmarcovan

    I’m pretty sure I remember when you started your eclectic box of twenty. That’s actually one of my motivations for doing this. I was never really interested in ancients or world coins until I saw what you were doing with your set. I was known by a different handle back then, (most people know me as the guy who started the Doily holder census) and paused collecting for a little while for personal reasons, but I always remembered your set.

    Your set has grown by giant leaps since then! It’s impressive in its scope and quality and level of “interestingness.”

    I would LOVE to add a boscoreale hoard and a gold Nero! That would be amazing! It’s unlikely to happen anytime soon, but one can dream.

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  • Glen2022Glen2022 Posts: 832 ✭✭✭✭

    Magna Carta: I don't know for sure, but I suspect there are probably English coins from that timeframe.

    Columbus: 1492, Spanish coins

    French Revolution

    American Revolution

    War of 1812 (more than 200 years old)

    The Renaissance, I'm sure there are Italian, French, and other coins as well don't know whether or not they depict anything that might describe the Renaissance.

    Just some thoughts. Good luck.

  • 1984worldcoins1984worldcoins Posts: 595 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The box of twenty is an interesting collecting idea, I would go for a niche, something, otherwise seems hard to chose the coins.

    Coinsof1984@martinb6830 on twitter

  • Steve27Steve27 Posts: 13,256 ✭✭✭

    If you want to get someones interest, the coin needs to be large, old, and have a lot of eye appeal.
    For example:

    "It's far easier to fight for principles, than to live up to them." Adlai Stevenson
  • Steve27Steve27 Posts: 13,256 ✭✭✭

    "It's far easier to fight for principles, than to live up to them." Adlai Stevenson
  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 18, 2023 7:30PM

    Totally agree @Steve27 and that’s a great coin! It has to have a great story though too! What story does this coin have? Something people can identify with?

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  • TiborTibor Posts: 3,144 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thru my years of collecting, non collectors ask only two questions. How much is the coin worth
    and how old is it? I can't show them 5 and 6 figure coins, but I can show them coins that are dateable
    to a specific year. For Ancient coins, the year 69 A.D. with 2 emperors, Otho and Vitellius comes to mind.
    The year 238 A.D. is another with 4 emperors for that specific year. For coins with actual dates from the
    earliest times of dating coinage, you'll have to move to the 15th century. Coins will run $75 and up. A wide
    variety to choose from, but with an actual date. For both of these groups you should be able to find
    them in TPG plastic.

  • kruegerkrueger Posts: 792 ✭✭✭

    "The best, most desirable coin is often not the highest graded."

    "John Agre"

    I grew into this perspective. My box of 20 (specials) follows this idea. A coin that strikes me as super nice irregardless of grade. I enjoy looking at it. Personal eye appeaI or historical appeal, Full strikes. I just put a details coin in the box.
    Says cleaned, but nicest I have ever seen of type full strike and luster. A beauty. Can't tell the cleaning.
    This an enjoyable way to collect and does not lock you in to any type us or world or medals, tokens , errors etc.
    Any dealer would love to buy hand selected "A" quality coins.
    Jeff Garrett has a nice write up on this concept on the NGC site.
    One more thought - look at alot of coins on the Bourse floor, some times a coin will stand out amongs the rest.
    But unrecognized. It may be one for you. Like the details coin I just put in my box.
    KRUEGER
    collector since 1975

  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @krueger said:
    "The best, most desirable coin is often not the highest graded."

    "John Agre"

    I grew into this perspective. My box of 20 (specials) follows this idea. A coin that strikes me as super nice irregardless of grade. I enjoy looking at it. Personal eye appeaI or historical appeal, Full strikes. I just put a details coin in the box.
    Says cleaned, but nicest I have ever seen of type full strike and luster. A beauty. Can't tell the cleaning.
    This an enjoyable way to collect and does not lock you in to any type us or world or medals, tokens , errors etc.
    Any dealer would love to buy hand selected "A" quality coins.
    Jeff Garrett has a nice write up on this concept on the NGC site.
    One more thought - look at alot of coins on the Bourse floor, some times a coin will stand out amongs the rest.
    But unrecognized. It may be one for you. Like the details coin I just put in my box.
    KRUEGER
    collector since 1975

    Thanks for the input, I’d really like to see your set, especially the one you just added.

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  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 9,502 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thankfully, I've never thought about a box of 20 someone else might like.

  • SimonWSimonW Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @TwoKopeiki said:
    Thankfully, I've never thought about a box of 20 someone else might like.

    What about a box that YOU like that might also spur conversation with the non-collector?

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