Blog has been moved

Dear reader, fellow collector or follower,

I’m proud to announce that “AlexanderCoins” is moved to a domain of my own. This gives me the opportunity to manage and control things better.
You can find the new blog here:


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The unlisted: Price 2605 var.

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My second shield/helmet coin! I was attracted by the beautiful rose on the obverse, together with all the other monograms I wanted to learn more about. In my opinion this coin is in acceptable condition for any collection. The obverse is better in real but the kerykeion in the boss of the shield is not very clear. The reverse has some wide scratches, maybe from cleaning, maybe from usage, I don’t know.


Modern image of a kerykeion

I bought it from a German coindealer who had listed it as a coin of Lysimachos, king of Thrace after the deadth of Alexander the great. Inexperenciend as I was, I didn’t know this was absolutely wrong. It was Dane from who pointed it out to me and analysed this coin step by step for me.

Most can be learned from the reverse: the royal title of BA, the kerykeion, a rose and FIΛ (FIL). The royal title needs no further explanation (see my previous post ). The rose is quite simple as well: it’s a clear indication that this coin is from Sardis (a town in Asia-Minor, present Turkey). Not that the rose is the symbol of Sardes (the rose is a symbol for the island of Rhodos) but it’s more likely the symbol of the magistrate. Roses on this type of bronze coins are always indications that is was minted in Sardis. The kerykeion, left of the helmet, is no big surprise too: most coins with a kerykeion on the shield have a kerykeion somewhere on the reverse. The last one is the most difficult: FIΛ.

Sardis on Map

It’s not hard to imagine that FIΛ refers to one of the many Philips (Philippus). First question that arises: which one ? But, oddly enough, according to Price FIΛ was also used for Alexander the great. As I mentioned before, it was Dane from the website who dug in his huge library of books about the coinage of the Macedonian empire to help me out. Too make a long story short: nowhere this coin is listed. Nor in Mionnet, nor in BMC, nor in SNG Cop and nor in Gaebler II. Conclusion: I’m the proud owner of an unlisted coin! This is far from “history changing” and not that really special but still I’m proud of it. If it shows one thing: even with thousands of pages describing coins we do not know everything!


Macedonian Kingdom
Unknown ruler

Obv.: Macedonian shield; kerykeion
Rev.: B-A across upper fields; Macedonian helmet; Kerykeion
to left; FIL at lower left; Rose at lower right.

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My first love: Price 401A

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After I had bought a Thracian and a Corinth coin (which has changed hands of a few famous coindealers, but that’s another story) I fell in love with this coin. It is not “very fine” or an extreme scarce type, but this coin immediately took my attention. (If you are a passionate collector you must know what I mean.) My fascination for this type of bronze coins of Alexander the great started with this one!

I still like the high-relief shield on the obverse, however it is smaller then most other coins of this type. The condition of the reverse is only “good” to “very good” but you can clearly see the BA below the helmet. In my experience this place is less common because most times it’s B / helmet / A. The term ‘BA’ stands for BASILEUS ALEXANDROU (“of king Alexander”). Strange as it may seem,  his successors kept using this term on their own coins long after Alexander’s death.

The goldish color of this coin is typical for bronze and very attractive, in my opinion.

Alexander the great, price 401A

Macedonian Kingdom
Alexander The Great
336 – 323 BC
(Price 401A)

Obv.: Macedonian shield; thunderbolt
Rev.: Macedonian helmet; Πo (?) monogram right; BA below

Bronze 1/2 unit

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Collecting Ancient Coins

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First I want to tell something about “collecting ancient coins” in general. Later I will blog about my favourite type: bronze coins of Alexander “the great” III, and successors, the “helmet & shield type”.

When speaking about “ancient” coins it can mean a lot: everything from the first coins in Lydia to the byzantine coins in the 14th century and medieval coins. It can also refer to so called “Judeaen & biblical coins”, which are coins that are mentioned in the bible or from the region of Judea in Israël. Offcourse it could also refer to other ancient nations as the many chinese dynasties.

When I speak to people about my passion there is always one question that arise: Isn’t that very expensive?

Well, if you want to have a museum-quality gold stater you’ll pay most likely a few thousands of dollars. But most ancient coins, especially bronze coins, are sold for around $20 to $200. Silver coins usually cost more as they have a higher intrinsic value. On ebay you can find ancient coins for as low as $10, but the chance on couterfeits is more likely. (Hint: only buy from professional antiquity/coin dealers and always google the name of the buyer to check for counterfeits! There is a huge “black list” on ‘FAC fake report’)

Yet another fact is that the value of a coin, ancient or modern, depends on several things. ‘The age’ is one of the least important. What truly matters is his “scarcity”! In ancient times there was no internet, news paper or other mass-communication so coins were an important way to spread a message, for example to show how wealthy or powerfull your city-state was. Because of this some coins were minted for 200 years, without major changes in ‘images’, at, in some cases, a ratio of 10000 a day. And as there were no banks, people buried their money in order to protect it. When someone died, in battle for example, and he hadn’t told someone where he had put his money… A lot of coins survived to modern times and are not as scarce as some modern coins. A nice example is this story: Alexander coins found in northern Syria

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Categories: general | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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