An Important Philatelic Aside...for 2015

            175th Anniversary of the Penny Black, first adhesive postage stamp

In the coming year, philatelists and perhaps others (such as myself) will be marking the 175th anniversary of the first adhesive postage stamp, issued in the UK on 6 May 1840. The above example is from my personal collection and is the second example that I've owned in 45 years of collecting stamps. Though I don't collect stamps as actively as I used to, I did hang on to this example after selling the majority of the collection a number of years ago. 

Classics such as the Penny Black and other issues from the 19th and early 20th centuries will always be in demand from collectors. The dwindling nature of letter writing, general correspondence and the mails themselves have changed so much in the last twenty years the necessity of stamp usage and the collecting of these items have decreased dramatically. It's sad to think that such a great hobby that entertained and educated so many generations of all classes of people over the years prior to the late twentieth century has fallen on difficult times. Perhaps stamp collecting will experience a renaissance someday, maybe even before the bicentennial in 2040. I thought it would be nice to step away from my other collectible interest for a moment to pay homage to what in historical terms is the recent past and present a hope for the future of another great hobby. 


CHINA; Later Zhou (后周) Dynasty (Five Dynasties Period) CE 951-960

Shizong CE 954-959
AE Cash after CE 955

O: Zhou Yuan tong bao
R: plain

Sch. 414
H. 15.12

According to Hartill, these coins were cast from melted-down bronze statues from Buddhist temples. "When reproached for this, the Emperor uttered a gnomic saying to the effect that the Buddha would not mind this sacrifice. It is said that the Emperor himself supervised the casting at the many large furnaces at the back of the palace. The coins have amuletic properties because they were made from Buddhist statues, and are particularly effective in midwifery--hence the many later-made imitations." (Hartill, Cast Chinese Coins, p. 114)

CHINA; A Small Selection of Northern Song (北宋) Dynasty Cash CE 960-1127

Zhenzong CE 998-1022 

O: Xien Ping yuan bao  CE 998-1003
R: plain

Sch. 469
H. 16.43

Renzong CE 1022-1063

O: Huang Song tong bao CE 1039-1054
R: plain

H. 16.103

Yingzong CE 1064-1067

O: Zhi Ping yuan bao (clockwise Seal Script) CE 1064-1067
R: plain

H. 16.156

Shenzong CE 1068-1085

O: Yuan Feng tong bao (clockwise Running Script) CE 1078-1085
R: plain

H. 16.235

Zhezong CE 1086-1101

O: Yuan You tong bao (clockwise Seal Script) CE 1086-1093
R: plain

H. 16.261


CHINA/Yuan Dynasty (元朝) CE 1279-1368

Wuzong (Khaishan) CE 1308-1311
Zhi Da tong bao 1310-1311  
AE cash 3.58g, 23mm
H-19.39, S-1098, FD 1723 

Ex: Arthur Hummel Sr (1884-1975) Collection
Amb Arthur Hummel Jr (1920-2001) Collection

Find a quick bio re Khaishan here


ISLAMIC/Ilkhanid; Arghun AH 683-690 / CE1284-1291

AR Dirham, 22 mm, 2.43g, Tabriz mint, AH 684/CE 1285-1286.

Album 2146

O: shahada in square, mint above.
R: Uighur inscription, with Arghun in Arabic at the bottom field.

image obtained from: http://altaycoins.com/makaledetay.asp?dil=Mg==&id=MjI=
This site provides an excellent intro to Ilkhan coins and how to read them if you don't already know how.

The Uighur inscription indicates that this coin has been struck under the authority of Arghun Khan. The Great Khan at this time who is unnamed here is Kublai Khan CE 1260-1294.

IRAN/Sassanian; Shapur II CE 309-379

AR Drachm, 24 mm, 3.28 g, nd nm legible Gobl 102

O: bust right in merlon crown Pahlavi inscription around.
R: fire altar surmounted by bust of Ahura Mazda in flames with attendants on either side.
inscription on altar and to either side of attendants.

Ex: FSR MBS 84 lot 424 (April 2012)


China/Northern Song (北宋) Dynasty; Zhezong CE 1086-1100

AE large Cash, Yuan Fu era CE 1098-1100 seal script

H. 16.335, FD 1010, S 604

O: Yuan Fu tong bao
R: plain

purchased at the LanSu Chinese Garden, Portland OR in 2013

CHINA/Ming (明) Dynasty; Emperor Sizong (Chongzhen) CE 1628-1644

AE Cash
Hartill 20.292
S. 1226-1229 v

O: Chong Zhen tong bao

R: plain

Purchased at China Treasury Antique Gallery, 61, Shamian Main St., Guangzhou, PRC for RMB 10 (USD 1.22) in 2002.

Greece/Seleucid; Antiochus IX Philopator c. BCE 114/3-96/5

AR Hemidrachm, 1.82 g, 13 mm, 12h, Antioch mint, c. BCE 96/5

SC 2371,  Hoover 1241 (R2)

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

R: [ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ AN]TIOXOY in two lines on r., [ΦΙ]ΛΟΠATPOPOΣ on l., Nike advancing l., holding wreath. Controls E/A/Π outer l., field.


Germany; DDR 1949-1990 (25h Mauerfall)

German Democratic Republic 1969, 5 mark Commemorative for 20th anniv of the DDR
29 mm, mintage 50,222,000, Nickel Bronze (10% Ni 90% Cu)


ISLAMIC/’Abbasid Governors; al-‘Abbas b. Muhammad c. AH 130's-140's

AE Fals 20 mm, 5.19 g, 3h, al-Jazira (modern Iraq) mint, c.AH 143 (c. CE 760-761) undated

Album 304

O: Within circle, la ilah / illa Allah / wahdahu(“There is no god but Allah alone”); in margin, amara al-amir al-‘Abbas bin Muhammad ‘azz Allah nasrahu(“Ordered by the amir al-‘Abbas bin Muhammad, may his victories be the glory of Allah”); outer circle.

R: Within circle, Muhammad / rasul / Allah (“Muhammad is the apostle of Allah”); pellet above first line; in margin, bismillah duriba hadhal-fils bi’l-Jazira (“In the name of Allah was struck this fals of al-Jazira”).

al-'Abbas b. Muhammad was appointed Governor of al-Jazira by Caliph al-Mansur


Greece/Seleucid; Antiochus VII BCE 138-129

AE 20 mm, 5.6 g, 12h, Sidon mint, SE 180/BCE 133-132

SC 2105.1 v

O: diad and draped bust of Antiochus VII r., diad ends falling straight behind, dotted border.

R: [ΣΙΔΩΝΟΣ]/ΘEA[Σ] in two lines on l., L’Sidonim in Phoenician curving on r., Astarte stg l., on prow, l., holding aphlaston and naval trophy, dotted border.

Date on r., ΠΡ

Obv. Controls behind head not visible on this example. 

Greece/Seleucid; Demetrius II (First Reign) BCE 146-138

AE 18 mm, 5.33 g, 10h, Tyre mint, SE 
SC 1968.4

O: diad hd of Demetrius II r, diad ends falling straight behind, dotted border.

R: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΔHMHTPIOY in two lines in upper field, TYPIΩΝ L’Tsur (Of Tyre in Phoenician) in two lines in ex., stern of galley l., date LOP above, No controls.


Greece/Seleucid; Demetrius II (First Reign) BCE 146-138

AE 20 mm, 5.91 g, 12h, Tyre mint, SE 168/BCE 145-144

SC 1968.2
Newell Tyre, 100

O: diad hd of Demetrius II r, diad ends falling straight behind, dotted border.

R: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΔHMHTPIOY in two lines in upper field, TYPIΩΝ L’Tsur (Of Tyre in Phoenician) in two lines in ex., stern of galley l., date LHΞP above, No controls.

Greece/Seleucid; Antiochus III BCE 223-187

AE 13 mm, 3,86 g, 12h, Sardes mint possibly after BCE 197

SC 983.6
WSM 1438, plt. lix, 15

O: laur hd of Apollo r, with corkscrew curls. 
R: [BΑ]ΣΙΛΕΩΣ on r and [A]NTIOXOY on l., Apollo stg l., testing arrow and resting elbow on tall tripod.

No controls. 

Ex: "D.Alighieri" Collection

Greece/Seleucid; Antiochus III BCE 223-187

AE 12 x 14 mm, 2.15 g, 12h, ΔΕ/Λ mint associated with Antioch, possibly before BCE 211

SC 1064B
WSM 1195

O: laur hd of Apollo r, dotted border.
R: [BΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ] on r and ANTIOXOY on l., Apollo stg l., testing arrow and resting l. hand on grounded bow. ΔΕ/Λ Primary control outer l., above.

Ι(long serifs) secondary control outer l., below.


Islamic/Ayyubid; Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi "Saladin" CE 1169-1193

AE Fals, 4.27g, Damascus mint AH 587/CE 1191-1192

Balog 147

O: al-Malik/an-Nasir with fleur de lis above al-Malik and a crescent above an-Nasir
around the date of which only "500" can be clearly read.

based on the ornaments, this is clearly Balog 147

R: Yusuf/bin Ayyub in center and around duriba bi-Dimashq "struck at Damascus" 

England/Plantagenet; John Lackland CE 1199-1216

AR Cut Short Cross Penny c. CE 1207-1216

O: [HEN]RICVS RE[X]  5b type
R: short cross ILGER O[N LVNDE]

SCBC 1351
North 976/1 var.


The long awaited last volume of RCV will be available from mid-December 2014

Roman Coins & Their Values Vol. 5

The eagerly and long anticipated fifth volume in David Sear’s Roman Coins and their Values series will be available from mid December 2014.

This fifth volume contains a comprehensive listing of the Roman coinage of the period CE 337—491 together with background information on the history of each reign and the principal characteristic of its coinage. The catalogue is organised primarily by ruler with the issues then subdivided by denomination and by reverse legend and type.
Contains clear black and white photographs and up to date values for VF and EF coins, in both UK sterling and US dollars. An excellent addition to the series, and a valuable reference for any collector of this period.

Please click on the link to be taken to the source of this text and a recommended dealer who is selling the text pre-publication.


Online Addenda to SELEUCID COINS Vol I & II Now Available.



ISLAMIC/Ghaznavid; Mahmud CE 998-1030

AV Dinar, 5.02 g, 25 mm, Nishapur (Iran) mint, AH 390/CE 999-1000


O: inner circle of inscription Bismillah duriba hadha dinar bi-Nishapur sanah tis'ayin wa thalathami'ah
(In the name of Allah, this dinar was struck at Nishapur in the year 390). Naming Abbasid Caliph al-Qadir billahi AH 381/CE 991-AH 422/CE 1031.

R: usual inscriptions and titles among them Wali Amir al-Mu'minin (viceroy of the Commander of the Faithful).


ISLAMIC/Umayyad Governors; Anonymous c. AH 90's/CE 710s Jund Filastin

AE fals (16mm, 2.21gm, 2h), Filastin (naming the jund or military 

district Filastin [Palestine] rather than the city Iliya [Jerusalem]), undated. 

O: Within circle, la ilah / illa Allah / wahdahu ("There is no god but Allah alone"); in 

margin, lillah al-mulk falsan waf("To Allah [belongs] the kingdom, [one] falsan, full 


R: Within circle, Muhammad / rasul / Allah("Muhammad is the apostle of Allah"); in 

margin, darb bi-Filastin ("was struck in Filastin") and palm branch. 

SNAT-IVa, 22 (Jerusalem); Bone Iliya 5d; cf. Walker 911; Album 175 (R).  


ISLAMIC/Umayyad Governors c AH 120+/CE 738+ Tabariyya

AE Fals (2.38 g, 18 mm, 10h), Tabariyya (Tverya, Israel mint) 

O: stylized Ram's head inside circle of dots, surrounded by the Shahada
R: Tabar/iyyah inside circle surrounded by Muhammad Rasulillahi.

SNAT IVa 360-363
Walker  p. 267 P137
Album 188 variety, but of the two examples listed by Album on his website both are listed as Rare despite the Common rating for the majority of A-188 varieties. It appears to be a generic description.

references: Dr. Busso Peus Nachfolger Auktion 407/8 lot 1336 (7 Nov 2012) estimate € 150 realized € 480

Excavation of Herodian Jericho Cat of Islamic Coins by Geo. Miles (1951)
p. 37 #44 and plate 62 #8.

also cf. zeno.ru #95839, 95840 and 42902


Egypt; Ptolemaic Dynasty in the name of Alexander III; Ptolemy I Soter as Satrap BCE 323-305

AR Obol, 9 mm 0.67 g, 10h, Arados mint c. BCE 320/19-305

cf. Price 3424 (Tetradrachm)

mint mark monogram in left field AP

All other inscriptions are not visible or off flan.

Tsarist Russia; Romanov Dyn 1613-1917

Nicholas II 1894-1917
AV 5 Rubles, St Petersburg mint, moneyer AG, 1898
4.3 g 18 mm

Y. 62


ISRAEL 1970/5730 1/2 IL.

Israel CN Half Lira 1970 dated 5730 uncirculated with very attractive irridescent blue toning in hand

KM #36.1  6.8 g, 24.5 mm  1,000,999 minted (this example is uncirculated and was part of a tourist packet from 1970 that had remained unopened for 44 years).


SAMARIA, c. BCE 375-333

AR Obol (8 mm, 0.70 g)

Meshorer & Qedar, Samaria 27 var.

O: Bridled horse right; Aramaic inscription not legible but usually “RY” (cleaning scratches)

R: Winged sphinx with hd of Persian King, Aramaic “R” (barely legible) all within dotted incuse square.


Greece/Seleucid; Demetrius III BCE 97/6-88/7

AR Tetradrachm, 27 mm, 15.82 g, 12h,  Damascus mint, SE 218/BCE 95/4

SC 2450.7

O: diad hd of king r with fringe of curly beard at jawline diad ends falling straight behind, fillet border

R: BACIΛEΩC ΔHMHTPIOY θEOY in three lines on r, ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ CΩTHPOΣ in two lines on l, cult image of Atargatis stg facing with arms extended, holding flower, barley stalk rising from each shoulder, laurel wreath border.

Date in ex HIΣ

Controls N above monogram A/omega on outer left and monogram ΔH in ex on r.


Georges Le Rider 1928-2014

Notice rec'd via the Seleucids Group on Yahoo:

Sent: Friday, July 04, 2014 11:07 AM

SAD NEWS: Georges Le Rider (1928-2014)

From Jean-Christophe Couvenhes

: came this very sad

Nous apprenons avec beaucoup de tristesse le décès de Georges Le

Rider, le 3 juillet 2014 à l'âge de 86 ans. Les obsèques auront lieu
dans l'intimité familiale. Ni fleurs ni couronnes.

Georges Le Rider, né en 1928, élève de l'École normale supérieure,

agrégé des Lettres, membre de l'École française d'Athènes puis de
l'Institut français d'archéologie de Beyrouth, a exercé les fonctions
de directeur d'études à l'École pratique des Hautes Études (IVe
section), conservateur puis conservateur en chef du Cabinet des
Médailles, administrateur général de la Bibliothèque nationale,
directeur de l'Institut français d'études anatoliennes d'Istanbul,
professeur d'histoire grecque à l'Université
Paris IV-Sorbonne, professeur d'histoire économique et monétaire de
l'Orient hellénistique au Collège de France. Il était membre de
l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres depuis 1989.

Spécialiste de numismatique grecque, Georges Le Rider a joué par son

enseignement et ses écrits un rôle fondamental dans le développement
de cette discipline comme branche à part entière des sciences
historiques. Ses travaux les plus importants ont porté sur les
royaumes de l'Orient hellénistique, tout particulièrement le royaume
séleucide auquel il avait consacré son doctorat d'État (Suse sous les
Séleucides et les Parthes : les trouvailles monétaires et l'histoire
de la ville [1965]), et sur le monnayage de Philippe II de Macédoine
(Le monnayage d'argent et d'or de Philippe II frappé en Macédoine de
359 à 294 [1977] ; Monnayage et finances de Philippe II : un état de
la question [1996]). Ses articles ont été rassemblés dans trois
volumes imposants, pourvus de riches index publiés par la Société
hellénique de numismatique : Études d'histoire monétaire et financière
du mone grec. Écrits 1958-1998 (1999). Ses derniers livres constituent
des synthèses très précieuses sur l'histoire monétaire du monde
hellénistique : Alexandre le Grand. Monnaie, finances et politique
(2003, traduit en anglais en 2007), Les Séleucides et les Ptolémées.
L'héritage monétaire et financier d'Alexandre le Grand (2006, avec
François de Callataÿ).

[A notice about Georges Le Rider is posted on the French Wiki, at



Three Medieval Hungarian Denars

"Saracen Head" Denar of Lajos I CE 1342-1382
AR Denar
Huszar 547 v


Matyas Hunyadi  CE 1458-1490
AR Denar c. 1468-84

Ferdinand CE 1526-1564
AR Denar 1540, Kremnitz mint, 0.41 g



INDIA/Princely States; Junagadh; Nawab Mahabat Khan II 1851-1882

AR Kori, 4.6 g, AH 1280/CE 1863


ROMAN/Theodosius I CE 379-395

AE 2, 23mm, 5.26g, Antioch mint, c. CE 379-383

O: DN THEODO-SIVSPFAVG, helm cuir bust r with spear
R: GLORIARO-MANORVM/ANTB with wreath in left field and cross in upper right., Emperor stg on galley being guided by victory.

RIC IX 40d (C), RCV 20484


ISLAMIC/Ghaznavid; Mas'ud I CE 1030-1042

AR Dirham, 3.33 g, Balkh mint, AH 425/CE 1033-1034

Album 1621

ISLAMIC/Iran; Ilkhanid; Ghazan Mahmud CE 1295-1304

AR Dirham, 3.98 g (slightly bent) Maragheh mint, ND.

Album 2172 variety.

ISLAMIC/Iran; Buyid Dynasty; 'Adud ad-Dawla CE 949-983

AR Dirham 28 mm, 4.63g, Arrajan mint (likely though only "Ar" slightly visible) AH 357/CE 967-968

Album 1550.1 variety.


ISLAMIC/Ghaznavid; Mahmud CE 997-1030

AR Yamini Dirham, 2.88 g, Ghazna mint  AH 395/CE 1004-1005

Album 1609

EX: William F. Spengler Collection


FRANCE, Provincial. Angoulême. Time of Guillaume V-Hugues I. c. CE 1170-1245.

 BI Denier (18mm, 0.81 g, 6h). La Marche mint. Struck in the name of Louis VII, VIII, or IX.

Poey d'Avant 2663
Duplessy,Féodales 947
Roberts 4361

O: + LODOICVS (S horizontal), cross pattée
R: + EGOLISSIME (Ss horizontal), cross, three arms ending in circles, fourth ending in crescent.

EX: CIVRAC HOARD (2000)  deposition sometime in the first half of the 13th century CE.

Greece/Seleucid; Antiochus VIII Grypos BCE 121-96

AE   mm,   g, Antioch mint, c. BCE 121-120
O: radiate hd of Antiochus r
R: eagle stg l sceptre in bkgd BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ ANTIOXOY on r, on l. [EΠ]ΙΦΑΝ[ΟΥΣ]
control off flan, beneath eagle S.E. Date off flan

ISLAMIC/Abbasid; al-Mansur CE 754-775

AV Dinar 4.24 g, 18 mm, 7h, possibly Madinat as-Salam (Baghdad) mint, AH 157/CE 773-4

Album 212

Ex: Stephen Album Auction 2 (2 Dec 2007) lot 1102 


ISLAMIC/Umayyad; Hisham CE 724-743

AR Dirham, 2.63 g (clipped), Ifriqiyya mint AH 118/CE 736-737

Album 137 (scarce)

O: Shahada, Bismillah duriba hadhad-Dirham b-Ifriqiyya sanah thaman ashr wa mi'ya

ROMAN/Constantius I, as Caesar CE 293-305

AE Follis, 27 mm, 8.53 g, London mint, c. CE 300

RIC 22
RCV 14034 var.

O: CONSTANTIVSNOBC, laur cuir bust of Constantius r.

R: GENIOPOPV-LIROMANI, Genius stg facing with hd left, holding patera in right hand and cornucopia in left.

A Century Old Italian Coin with Classical Pretensions

Italy 20 Centesimi, 1914-R KM#44
series ran from 1908-1935, mintage in 1914 was 14,308,000

It's sad that nothing in our pockets these days resembles a work of art even one with pretensions.


Recuerdos de Espana; Examples of the portraiture of Juan Carlos 1975-2014

the top two coins were acquired in Irun, Spain in 1990 during a visit from the Pays Basque in France.
KM 808, 831 & 1046