BYZANTINE/Heraclius CE 610-641 & Heraclius Constantine CE 613-641

AE Follis 28 mm, 8h, 10.49 g, Nicomedia mint Regnal year IIII=CE 613-614
Sear 834 (undertype Sear 533)
O:  fragmentary legend, though legend of the undertype is easily discernable and mostly clear as δN MAЧГI CN P AЧT from 12 o’clock down to nearly 6 o’clock.  Portrait of host coin is mostly obscured, but is clearly Maurice Tiberius CE 582-602. The host coin was minted approximately 1,000 km from Nicomedia in Theopolis formerly known as Antioch and a portion of the host mint name is visible on the reverse at approximately 11-12 o’clock upside down.
R: Large M between A/N/N/O on the left and II/II on the right with B for the officina beneath the M and in the ex NIK for the mint.
It is interesting that a coin that was minted in Antioch between CE 590-602 circulated for perhaps 10-20 years as a coin of Maurice before being restruck to continue service as a coin of Heraclius and his son and that is how it has come down to us.
ex: W. Esty



ROMAN/Gallic Empire CE 259-274; Tetricus c. CE 271-274

AE Antoninianus, 16 mm, 11h, 2.62 g, Cologne mint c. CE 272-273

RCV 11255

O: [IMP C TETRI]CVS P [F A] VG, radiate cuir bust right.

R: [VICT]O[RI]AA[VG] Victory adv l. holding wreath and palm.

ROMAN/Divus Constantine CE 342-348

AE 16mm, 11h, 1.87 g, Alexandria mint c. CE 342-348

RCV 17473 or 17475

O: veiled bust of "deified" Constantine right [DV CONST]ANTINVS PT AVG

R: Constantine stg rt. VN--MR on either side of standing figure and SMAL[--]


SPAIN/Catalunya; Jaume II of Aragon CE 1291-1327

Billon Dinero (Diner) 0.7g. 16mm. Barcelona mint

Adolfo & Cayon 1723

O: Crowned bust, l., +IACOBVS REX

R: Long cross quartered with pellets and annulets. B'A/QI/NO/NA


BYZANTINE/Constantine V Copronymus CE 741-775 & Leo IV, the Khazar from CE 751

AE Follis 1.96g, 18mm, 6h, Mint of Syracuse CE 751-775

SB 1569

O: Constantine V facing bearded on l and Leo IV beardless on r each wearing a crown and chlamys nad holding akakia, bet their hds a cross. No inscription visible on this example.

R:  Leo III stg bearded facing wearing crown and chlamys and holding a cross potent, only visible inscription is Δ/ϵ on right.

Ex: Massachusetts Historical Society Collection/John Quincy Adams & Descendants Collection sold by Stacks March 5 & 6, 1971, portion of lot 971.


ROMAN/ Hadrian CE 117-138 from the Travel Series

AR Denarius,  3.27 g, 18 mm, 6h, Roma mint, c. CE 136

RSC 842a

O: Hadrian bareheaded r. HADRIANVS/AVGCOSIIIPP

R: personification of Hispania reclining to the left holding olive branches in her right hand,

ROMAN/Vabalathus & Aurelian CE 270-272

AE Antoninianus, 20 mm, 2.51g, 12h, Antioch mint

RCV 11718
RIC 381

O: Laur, dr bust of Vabalathus right, VABALATHVS VCRIMDR
R: Rad cuir bust r of Aurelian, IMPCAVRELIANVSAVG, in ex. officina indicated by S

Ex: Schulman Auction (12/2-4/1974) lot 1696 (see below)

Ex. W. Esty Collection


ROMAN/Gratian CE 367-383

AE 2  5.66g, 22 mm, 12h, Cyzicus mint CE 383

RIC Cyzicus 14a
RCV 19999

O: helmeted dr, cuir bust r holding spear and shield, DNGRATIA--NVSPFAVG
R: Gratian helmeted and in military attire stg l on galley hd r his r hand raised, Victory seated at helm, mint mark SMKA in ex, with wreath in field to left of Gratian. GLORIARO--MANORVM

Ex: W. Esty
Ex: Berk



ROMAN EGYPT/Antoninus Pius CE 138-161

AE Drachm, 33 mm, 25.68 g, 12h, Alexandria mint, Regnal Year 8/CE 144-145

Emmett 1668 var.
Köln 1468 var.

O: laur draped bust right, AVTKTAIΛAΔP/ANTωNINOC
R: Serapis std l inside a temple, L H

Ex: CNG 418 (11 April 2018) portion of lot 662

ROMAN EGYPT/Antoninus Pius CE 138-161

AE Drachm, 34 mm, 20.64 g, 11h, Alexandria mint, Regnal Year 13/CE 149-150

Milne 2054 var.
Emmett 1621 var.

O: laur draped bust right, AVTKTAIΛAΔP/ANTωNINOCCEBE/VC
R: Serapis std l inside a temple, TPICKAIIς

The Greek "16" after the date is supposed to have recorded the number of Cubits the Nile rose that year, 16 cubits being 7.315 meters or 24 feet which appears to be about average for lower Egypt.  

Ex: CNG 418 (11 April 2018) portion of lot 662


Greece/Seleucid; Seleucus II Callinicus BCE 246-225

AR Tetradrachm,  30 x 27 mm, 17.09 g., 11h, Uncertain Mint 40 probably in Commagene,

SC C727.5 (control below arrow) (R1 according to Hoover but more like R2 based upon census).

O: diad hd of Seleucus II r. dotted border.

R:  BAΣIΛEΩΣ on r., ΣEΛEYKOY on l., Apollo stg l., testing arrow and resting l. elbow on tripod. Control on outer left NA below arrow.  Reverse is double struck and obverse depicts die abnormalities that are discussed in SC.

Likely Ex: Commerce "Seleucus III" Hoard 2002, as 10 of this variety were part of that hoard with die axes the same as this example. Hoard consisted of approximately 6,500 AR pieces and had a closure around BCE 225/4.
Ex: VAuctions/Triskeles Auctions, Sale 315, Lot 73 (closed 23 April 2015)

A similar example from the same dies was recently sold by CNG:

Auction 421 lot 282 (closed 30 May 2018)
AR Tetradrachm 29.8 mm, 16.78 g and 12h.
Ex: the MNL Collection. & Freeman & Sear Inventory, no. G4043

Greece/Seleucid; Alexander I Balas BCE 152-145

AE 21 mm, 7.47 g., 12h Apamea on Orontes mint, SE 163 (BCE 150-149) without countermark

SC 1804a (control is similar to symbol for Phoenician deity Tanit) (R2)

O: diad hd of Balas r.

R: AΠΑΜΕΩΝ, Zeus stg l holding a Corinthian helmet and resting on a scepter,  helmet above date ΓΞΡ, see above re control.


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)