GREEK/Nabataean; Aretas IV, with Shaqilat. 9 BCE-CE 40.

AR Drachm (12mm, 3.49 g, 12h). Petra mint. Dated RY?
Cf. Meshorer, Nabataea 111
DCA 975

O: Laureate head of Aretas right Aramaic inscription "Aretas, King of the Nabataeans, lover of his people"
R: Jugate busts of Aretas, laureate, and Shaqilat, draped, Aramaic inscription and RY off flan. "Shaqilat Queen of the Nabateans, Year---"


TIBET; Copper Sho from 16th Cycle 1st year (1927)

AE Sho (5.38 g/24 mm/7h)

Y# 21.2

O: Lion stg left, looking back
R: central legend horizontal


JAPAN/ Kan’ei Tsūhō bun-sen 17th-19th Centuries

25 mm, 1 mm thick. Kameido, Edo, Musashi province, CE 1668-1683

Harthill 4.100

O: 寛永通寳

ISLAMIC/Zanzibar Sultanate; Sultan Barghash ibn Sa'id 1870-1888

AE Pysa, AH 1304/CE 1886

KM# 7  18,680,000 minted

O: زنجبار

R: Scales with the AH year inscribed ١٣٠٤


Theodore V. Buttrey (1929-2018)

We were saddened to learn that Ted Buttrey passed away earlier this month. He had freely offered assistance to us in the past when we were in search of information for our minor research projects and he was extremely helpful and we greatly appreciated the generous time he gave to that information and our questions, particularly when it appeared no one else would come forward to assist.

We are grateful for the opportunity to correspond with him about these topics and will miss his assistance on those nagging questions that will arise in the future.


Theodore V. Buttrey (1929-2018)

by Ursula Kampmann
translated by Christina Schlögl

January 25, 2018 – On 9 January 2018, the numismatist Theodore (Ted) V. Buttrey died, only 11 days after his 88th birthday. We have thus lost a committed coin enthusiast, who never retreated to an ivory tower. He was most likely the only numismatist whose research made it to all major American newspapers and whose TV shows were broadcast at over 75 TV stations. And since he was also a kind person who dedicated a lot of time to young researchers, he had a lasting impact on many of today's numismatists.
Ted Buttrey at his last domain: The coin cabinet of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Photo: UK.
Ted Buttrey at his last domain: The coin cabinet of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Photo: UK.

Ted Buttrey and the first Summer Seminar of the ANS

Theodore V. Buttrey was born on 29 December 1929 in Havre, Montana with a silver spoon in his mouth. His grandfather Frank A. Buttrey had created a little family empire with his department store chain “Buttrey Food and Drug”. But Ted Buttrey decided to study something he was passionate about from very early on: In 1946 he completed his Classical Studies degree with magna cum laude at Phillips Exeter Academy. Afterwards he went to Princeton. In 1952, he took part in the first numismatic Summer Seminar the ANS ever organized. This event has sparked young people’s passion for numismatics for more than half a century. Ted Buttrey was one of them. He earned his PhD in 1953 with his dissertation “Studies in the Coinage of Mark Anthony”, which was published in the ANS Museum Notes of 1954 in an abridged version.

Academic career

After his graduation, Ted went to Yale, and did not just climb the academic ladder but also curated the numismatic collection between 1962 and 1964. He switched to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1964, where he was promoted to tenured professor in 1967 and served as director of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology from 1969-1971.

Academic interests

Ted Buttrey published more than 100 books and articles, with the ancient world as his main focus. His first comprehensive monograph was dedicated to the “Triumviral Portrait Gold of the Quattuorviri Monetales of 42 B. C.”. He might be best known for the second volume of the RIC, newly edited in 2007, in which he and Ian Carradice created a catalogue of the coinage of the Flavian dynasty.
Buttrey also worked on numerous excavations and, among other things, published the coin finds of Sardes and Morgantina.
In addition, Buttrey was also a great expert on Mexican coinage. He published the “Guidebook of Mexican Coins” at Krause Publications in 1969.

The scholar and his greatest debate

Ted Buttrey got in the public eye when he declared that the Mexican gold ingots, which had been given to the Smithonian Institution as part of the Josiah K. Lilly Jr. collection in exchange for tax incentives in 1966, were in fact fakes. In 2000, their value would have amounted to roughly $ 75 Mio, if they had been real. Buttrey was able to provide academic proof that the counter marks on the dated ingots – a fact that itself was quite unusual for gold ingots from this period – did not match the denoted date.
Unfortunately this debate was not limited to an academic struggle for the truth. Buttrey publically accused the dealers who had been involved in the sale of knowingly deceiving their customers. Their answer to his accusations was a libel suit with $ 6 Mio as amount in dispute. The names of the involved parties did not just appear in the numismatic specialised press; many American media picked up on this spectacular dispute.
Buttrey was acquitted of all charges and the ingots were removed from the exhibition of the Smithonian, but the harsh tone o the debate split the American numismatic world for al long time.
Theodore Buttrey also read CoinsWeekly. We last met him in 2015 on occasion of the International Numismatic Congress in Taormina. He posed for the photo wall of CoinsWeekly, together with Lucia Travaini. Photo: Björn Schöpe.
Theodore Buttrey also read CoinsWeekly. We last met him in 2015 on occasion of the International Numismatic Congress in Taormina. He posed for the photo wall of CoinsWeekly, together with Lucia Travaini. Photo: Björn Schöpe.

Buttrey as a TV star

Theodore Buttrey knew how to spark the public's interest in an academic subject. He used this talent in cooperation with the Television Center of the University of Michigan to shoot a number of TV series, mostly about the ancient world. This included 10 half-hour episodes about the Iliad, just to name one example. Part of the material was broadcast in over 75 TV stations.

Buttrey in Cambridge

After his retirement in 1985, Ted Buttrey moved his main place of residence to Cambridge. From 1988 until 1991 he worked there as curator of the Fitzwilliam Museum. Starting in 2008, he filled the position on a voluntary basis. In this capacity, among other things, he created the probably largest collection of auction catalogues world-wide.

The author of this obituary was able to meet him in person at this domain. He did not just proudly show her the enormous library of auction catalogues, but also the mailing list of the huge network he had built in order to give any occurring duplicates to other academic institutions. The renowned scholar personally packed all the parcels with catalogues, which were sent as part of this exchange and most of the time he himself also paid for postal charges.
Both his modesty and his unbroken interest in the academic work of others deeply impressed me. In conversation, he would always seem like a dearly beloved grandfather, eagerly listening to his grandchild, but only until he would find an error in reasoning. There was no alternative then: He had to explicitly reveal the error.

Ted Buttrey is survived by four children from his first marriage and by his third wife, whom he married in October 2017. We are in mourning for a man who did not just love numismatics but who also loved people.

I was fortunate enough to meet Ted Buttrey for the first time in 2011 during my visit at the Fitzwilliam Museum. If you would like to have a look at his last domain, please click here.

In 2012, CoinsWeekly reported on Ted Buttrey receiving the Wolfgang Hahn-Medal of the Vienna Institute of Numismatics and Monetary History. You can read the article here, though only in German.

You can find the extensive article on the gold ingots debate of the New York Times here.

Theodore Buttrey was always a keen thinker, who reviewed and disproved centuries-old prejudices, just like in his article about the Spintria that were wrongly claimed to be brothel tokens, which was the base of this article.


ISLAMIC/Palembang; Muhammad Badruddin II CE 1776-1804

Tin Piti, 0.69 g, 18mm. AH "1023" (misalignment should read 1203)/CE 1789
Robinson #9.33 (R2)

Inscription reads:
السلطان في بلد فلمبنغ سنة ١٠٢٣
Photo from PALEMBANG COINS by Frank S. Robinson, page 11


ARMENIA; Cilician Armenia; Levon I (Լեւոն Ա Մեծագործ) CE 1198-1219

AR Tram, 22 mm, 3.03 g, 1h.

CCA 132 type

O: king std facing on throne, Levon King of the Armenians in Armenian around.
R: two lions rampant back to back with patriarchal cross between "by the will of god" in Armenian around.

GREECE/Thrace; Chersonesos c. BCE 386-338

AR Hemidrachm, 13 mm, 2.48g.

BMC Thrace p. 183, 8,9
McClean 4056
Deming 1301
SNG Cop 824-826
SG 1602

O: forepart of lion right with head left
R: quartripartite incuse pattern, with raised and sunken quarters, sunken quarters each contain a pellet.

GREECE/SELEUCID; Antiochos VII Sidetes BCE 138-129


AR Drachm, 18mm, 4.1 g, 12h, Tarsus mint
SC 2058.1a
SNG Lockett 3163

O: Diademed bust right

R: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY on right, EYEΡΓETOY on left, Sandan standing atop winged lion; monograms ΛY, with ME below, to outer left

Ex: Akropolis (Peter Burbules)


ROMAN/Crispus as Caesar CE 316-326

Bi Reduced Follis, 3.19 g, 20 mm, 12h, London mint CE 318

RCV 16720 variety

RIC VII London 143 variety

Cloke/Toone 8.11.033 (RR)

O: laureate, draped, cuir bust r. FL IVL CRISPVS NOB CAE

R: Sol stg left raising right hand and holding orb in left with drapery falling over left shoulder.
SOLI INVIC-TO COMITI. PLN in ex and crescent in left field.

with thanks to Lee Toone for the Cloke/Toone info.


ROMAN PROVINCIAL/Paphlagonia; Sinope/Geta as Augustus CE 209-212

AE 19 mm, 5.3 g, 6 h, dated 255 corresponding to CE 210.

Lindgren III, 165

O: laur., draped bust right [IMP CAES P SEP] GETA AV
R: Temple front of two columns, with female deity Nemesis (?) stg in center, [C I F  SIN]O ANN
CC[LV] or as Lindgren described the coin "distyle shrine within which Nemesis stg l, r. (hand?) at mouth, l., holding cubit rule" (Lindgren III, page 10, the latter description is from ISEGRIM).

Lindgren also notes NISC "not in sources consulted and perhaps unpublished". Though it is now published in Lindgren (1993) though not found in any other sources nor recent auction records that have been consulted and therefore, possibly a rare or scarce piece.

with thanks to Pekka K and Mark Fox for the information related to the identification of this coin.


GREEK/Seleucid; Demetrios II (First Reign) BCE 144-138

AR Drachm 18 mm, 3.67 g, 1h, ΣI mint perhaps in Cilicia Pedias c. BCE 142-139

SC 1904 (this coin, also SC plate coin)
CSE 875 (this coin)

O: diad hd right, fillet border.
R: BAΣIΛEΩ[Σ]/ΔHMHTPI[OY] in two lines on right.
ΘEOY/ΦIΛAΔEΛΦ[OY]/NIKATOPO[Σ] in three lines on the left.

Date would appear on inner right beneath control, it is possibly present but obscured by an area of flatness.

Control, inner right:  ΣI

Ex: Arthur Houghton (1940-) Collection, CSE 875 “from Lebanon/Beirut”

Plate coin from SC II vol II (plate 26). Noted as “unique” in SC.

Ex: CNG MBS 69 lot 571 (8 June 2005) unsold at close of auction.


ROMAN/Maximianus CE 286-310

AE Post Reform Radiate, 3.18 g, 21 mm, 11h, Cyzicus Mint c. CE 295-299
RCV 13315

O: rad cuir draped bust r IMP C M A MAXIMIANVS PF AVG
R: Maximianus on left receiving victory from Jupiter on right CONCORDIA MI-LITVM with
Kϵ in field between figs above ex.


GREECE/Seleucid; Antiochus IX Kyzicenus BCE 114-95

AR Drachm, 3.82 g, 17 mm, 12h, Tarsus mint , c. BCE 96/5

SC 2356

O: diademed hd of Antiochus IX r, clean shaven, diadem ends falling straight behind, fillet border.

R: [Β]ΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two lines on r., ΦΙΛΟΠATPOPOΣ on l., Sandan mounted on back of panther/griffin., holding ax. Controls outer l., field.

GREECE/Seleucid; Alexander I Balas BCE 152-145

AE 14 mm, 3.67g 12h  Antioch mint

SC 1791.1a

O: hd of Dionysus r. dotted border

R: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ above AΛΕΞANΔPOY below, elephant, monograms.

PORTUGAL; Pedro II O Pacifico 1683-1706

AR 40 Reis (2 Vintens) 1.57g., 16-mm, 6h, minted Lisbon c. 1683

KM 134
Gomes 21.01

Ex: Morton & Eden (13-11-2012) "The Huntington Collection of Portuguese & Portuguese Colonial Coins" portion of lot 104
Ex: Hispanic Society of America Collection #25987
Ex: Archer M. Huntington (1870-1955) Collection


GREECE/Armenia; Tigranes II BCE 95-56

Æ Chalkous  (5.24 g, 17 mm, 11h). Tigranakert mint. Struck c. 80-68 BC.

 CAA 93 corr.; AC 48

O:Draped bust right, wearing five-pointed Armenian tiara decorated with star between two eagles

R: [BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ] BAΣΙΛΕΩN TIΓPANOY, Tyche of Antioch seated right, holding palm with Orontes at her feet; TP monogram across inner right field  A below.

ex: Warren Esty


Pocket Change

 Pocket change from a trip to Italy Fall 2017
Austria 20c 2016

Some friends who are not collectors recently returned from a two week trip to Italy and brought back (at my request) their pocket change from the trip that ended up being about
€7,00 or 23 coins in denominations from 1c to €1,00 (2c coins were missing from this sample).
My interest in their pocket change was out of a curiosity based upon my interest in Roman coins and knowing a little about how Roman coins of different mints, some far afield from where they were eventually found in hoards circulated freely in the "common market" of the Roman Empire.
No hard and fast conclusions can be gathered from this small sample, but I find it interesting that for the first time since the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe has a standard currency that circulates as its Roman predecessors did 18 centuries ago.
This sample of 23 coins can be broken down as follows with coins originating in:

Austria 1   4.3%
Spain    5    21.7%
Germany 5  21.7%
Italy 10   43.4%
Greece 1  4.3%
France 1   4.3%

The 56.6% of the sample originates from outside Italy, but the largest single contingent is Italian in origin, followed by Spain and Germany.

By denomination, the breakdown is as follows:

1-1c (Italian origin and not found in change but picked up randomly from the ground)

2-5c (1-France, 1-Italy)

7-10c (3-Italy, 3-Spain, 1-Greece)

6-20c (1-Italy, 2-Germany, 1-Austria, 2-Spain)

4-50c (2-Italy, 2-Germany)

3-€1,00 (2-Italy, 1-Germany)

Mints and Dates:

1c Italy 2013

5c Italy 2002, France 2007

10c  Greece 2002, Italy 2007 & 2011, Spain 1999 & 2005

20c Italy 2002, Austia 2016, Germany 2002F & 2002J, Spain 1999, 2007

50c Italy 2002, Germany 2002D

€1,00 Italy 2009 & 2010, Germany 2002G


The coins from Spain traveled approximately 1,200 miles East  from Madrid to their destination in Rome which was the furthest any of the coins traveled with one of the German coins traveling from Hamburg (mint) South to Rome at about 1,030 miles. The Greek coin traveled approximately 836 miles west from Athens to Rome.