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So at last we arrive at December, so named because it was
originally the 10th month of the Roman calendar, and with it, the
final 2013 edition of Heritage's Classical Coin News.
New York International Signature Auction,
|Our lineup for this
marquee auction, at the
world-famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, is
now set. The overall auction is truly loaded with amazing material
- more than 5,000 lots with a combined estimate of more than $12.5
million. The Signature auction starts Sunday, January 5, at 6:00 PM
ET. The Ancients section, with more than 350 lots of outstanding
Ancient Greek, Roman, Judean, Oriental and Byzantine coins, goes on
the block in Session 2, scheduled for Monday, January 6, at 10:00
AM ET. The entire auction can now be viewed online and includes the
If you are not on our mailing list for print catalogs and would
like to receive a copy of this historic auction, please contact
David Michaels at DMichaels@HA.com /
(310) 492-8615 or Sam
Spiegel at SamS@HA.com / (214)
409-1524. We'll make sure a set of
catalogs is sent to you immediately.
NYINC Internet Only Session, January 20-21
On top of the Signature offering, another 296 Ancient lots will be
offered in our NYINC Non-Floor Session,
slated for January 20-21. Highlighting the internet-only session is
an amazing run of
Roman Republican coinage, comprising 104 silver denarii ranging
from Good Very Fine to Choice Mint State.
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December 14 All-Ancients Auction
Historical Bourse, December 13-14 (Friday-Saturday)
Dave Michaels and Sam Spiegel will represent Heritage at this
intimate, friendly gathering of dealers and collectors held at the
Holiday Inn Golden Gateway Hotel, 1500 Van
Ness Avenue, San Francisco 94109, in the Gold Rush Ballroom
downstairs. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. We will have
select highlights from our New York International offering on hand
for viewing, as well as inventory for sale. Our table is
immediately to the right of the entrance. Stop by and stay for a
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Pompeia's Pick: Hercules wrestles the Cretan
|By Lorie Ann
This month's pick, the pentassarion of Moesia
Inferior, Nicopolis ad Istrum minted by its governor Aurelius
Gallus sometime in his term between the years of A.D. 201 and 204,
depicts on the obverse the laureate Emperor Septimius Severus and
on the reverse the Seventh Labor of Hercules, wrestling the
marauding bull of Crete originally sent by Poseidon to punish King
Minos of Crete for some earlier transgression. The
Hercules/Heracles-Cretan Bull motif on the reverse as a symbolic
representation of (the character and career of) Septimius Severus
on the obverse is a golden nugget of historical, political and
mythological implications, neatly conceptualized by a brilliant,
unknown artist, and packaged in this provincial bronze coin.
The Hercules/Heracles reverse type is well-represented for both
imperial and provincial coinage, appearing in variations in both
the Severan Dynasty and the later "Herculian" dynasty of the early
4th century AD, a theme that strongly suggests the patronage of the
mythological hero over the Imperial family. In the case of the
Septimius Severus, the mythological hero was one of the principal
deities of his birth city Leptis Magna; however, the representation
had darker connotations in the preceding reign of Emperor Commodus
stemming from the apparent megalomania that led to the illusion of
being the reincarnate Hercules and producing images of him even on
the obverses of certain coins.
The mythological bull is the Cretan bull that
King Eurytheus of the Mycenaean city of Tiryns demanded that
Heracles capture and bring to him, one of the twelve labors imposed
upon him as punishment for killing his family in a fit of madness.
The historical bull is one of the traditional symbols of the Roman
legions. In A.D. 197, Septimius Severus levied three legions — I,
II and III Parthica — which he would use in his campaign against
the Parthians, a military victory for the Emperor in A.D. 198 which
culminated in the complete sack of the Parthian capital at
Ctesiphon. The III Parthica, based at Raesena in Syria, led the
campaign and had as its symbol, the bull. Heracles/Hercules
wrestling the bull might also be seen as the symbolic
representation of Septimius Severus successfully wresting control
of the Roman Empire during the Year of the Five Emperors from
claimants Pertinax, Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger and Clodius
The Severan dynasty, as well as that of the earlier Flavian
dynasty, were both duly enamored with the Nilotic cults. Roman
writer Aelius Spartianus, remarked that the emperor "enjoyed his
trip to Alexandria all the more because of the religion of Sarapis"
the protector of the city of Alexandria and the conservator
imperii. The worship of Sarapis was not deserted by his
successors Caracalla and Alexander either. The Sarapis of Septimius
Severus was a Greco-Egyptian deity, an offspring of Ptolemy Soter's
fusion of Hellenistic culture and Egyptian religion, a
reconciliation of the anthropomorphic statuary of the Greeks with
the cult of the Apis bull.
The portrait of Septimius Severus on the obverse appears as if to
suggest the physical likeness between the Emperor and Sarapis; the
Arch of Severus at Lepcis Magna shows an image of the seated
Severus, most probably patterned on the cult statue of Sarapis in
the Alexandrian Sarapeum. The portrait on the obverse depicts a
corkscrew-curled Septimius that bears an uncanny likeness to that
at the Sarapeum.
It is interesting to note that there are no known coins issued with
an obvious Septimius-Sarapis motif; although Septimius Severus most
certainly thought of himself as a cosmocrator by the image
on the Arch, a bit of propaganda politically enforced by the
political and ideological system of divi filius created by
Augustus, the coin artist granted him more: A pedigree with a
Classical patina that emphasizes his relation to the mythical hero
Unlike the major mythological figures of Graeco-Roman religion,
such as Jupiter and Hercules, no ancient source preserves the
mythology of the god Mithras, symbolized by the bull because of the
religion's tauroctonic character. The Cult of Mithras was
popularized and practiced by Roman legionaries as a result of their
contact with the Cult whilst in the East. During the 2nd
and 3rd centuries AD, the archaeological record includes
an impressive number of Mithraea. There is a powerful connection
between the Danubian provinces, where the Mithras cult was
widespread and the military movements of Septimius Severus;
soldiers moved in legions, the legions moved on the order of their
commanders and religious ideas, like the Cult of Mithras moved with
the army. The Moesian governor Aurelius Gallus was undoubtedly
aware of this pattern. There exists an inscription from Andros that
suggests how military service led to initiation; during the
occupation of this island in A.D. 197 by troops of Septimius
Severus preparing for transport to the East for the Parthian
Campaign, one Praetorian Aurelius Rufinus dedicated a cave to
Mithras. In this context, the Mithraic connection to the bull might
reflect the religious ideology popular in the province of the
governor who minted the coin as well as a belief system highly
popular amongst the Roman army at the time of Septimius
Whilst many Roman political figures minted coins that
newsmismatically recount or record a particular familial
trait, military success or some other biographical bonus, little is
known aside from the coinage and scant few inscriptions about
Aurelius Gallus; it can be said that his tenure is prosopographic
rather than biographic. Historically, a three-year stint in a
Danubian province in the years between Trajan's success in the
Second Dacian War-A.D. 106 and Aurelian's abandonment of Roman
Dacia in the mid-third century AD might well have yielded a huge
political crop of 'nothing to write home about.' Tucked away in
such a province, military successes like the Parthian Campaign were
almost mythical and the men who achieved them, of heroic
proportion. Like the character of the dark Danubian provinces,
this small denomination
coin is an invaluable reference to myth, men and monsters.
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What Happened In Ancient December?
Festival of the Bona Dea ("Good Goddess").
December 3, A.D. 313: Former Emperor Diocletian, retired
since AD 305, dies at his villa in Spoleto.
December 4: Festival of Pallas Athena in Greece.
December 7, 43 BC: Cicero executed on orders of the
Triumvirs, chiefly Mark Antony.
December 8, 65 BC: Poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)
December 9, AD 536: Belisarius recaptures Rome from the
Ostrogoths. The Eternal City will switch hands thrice more before
the Gothic War finally ends in AD 554.
December 15: Consualia. Traditionally remembered as the day
on which Romulus abducted the Sabine women, this was a holiday
observed to commemorate the importance of the God Consus, god of
December 15, 337 BC: Death of Timoleon, benevolent tyrant of
December 15, 214 BC: Assassination of Hieronymous,
not-so-benevolent tyrant of Syracuse.
December 15, AD 37: Future Emperor Nero born (as Lucius
Domitius Ahenobarbus), to Agrippina the Younger, granddaughter of
Augustus, and her then-husband Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus.
December 15, AD 130: Birth of future co-Emperor Lucius
Verus, to Lucius Caeonius Commodus (later renamed Lucius Aelius
Caesar, heir to Hadrian) and Avidia Plautia.
December 17: Saturnalia. Roman midwinter celebration of the
Solstice and greatest of all Roman annual holidays. It was
traditional to deck the halls with boughs of laurel and green trees
as well as candles and lamps to dispel the darkness. Also
traditional for friends to exchange gifts.
December 18, AD 69: Emperor Vitellius attempts to abdicate
as army loyal to his rival Vespasian nears Rome; however, the
Praetorians refuse to let him step down.
December 18, AD 324: Emperor Licinius abdicates after losing
a civil war to Constantine I the Great.
December 20, 44 BC: Cicero delivers the third of his
Phillipic orations against Mark Antony.
December 20, AD 69: Emperor Vitellius murdered by soldiers
loyal to rival Emperor Vespasian.
December 22, AD 245: Future Emperor Diocletian born (as
Diocles), parents unknown to history.
December 23: Larentalia. A holiday in honor of Jupiter and
Larenta (Larunda) also called Lupa for her loose morals. It became
a day of licentiousness.
December 23, AD 363: Emperor Julian dies during his Persian
campaign after being struck by a javelin hurled by an unknown
December 24, 3 BC: Future Emperor Servius Sulpicius Galba
born to his similarly named father and Mummia Achaica.
December 25: Festival of the New Sun. Originally not an
official festival, but celebrated by adherents to Mithraism as the
birth of the new sun. The Emperor Aurelian (AD 270-275) makes it a
December 25, AD 1: Traditional date for the birth of Jesus
December 26: Feast day of St. Stephen, the first Christian
martyr, stoned to death in AD 33.
December 30, AD 39: Future Emperor Flavius Titus Vespasianus
born, to Vespasian and Flavia Domitilla.
December 31, AD 192: Emperor Commodus assassinated by
(failed) poisoning and strangulation.
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Website Tips: Bid Protect (exclusive to Heritage
|Tired of losing lots
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As you can see from our recent track record,
Heritage Ancients is really starting to achieve some amazing
results! If you have any thought of selling your collection, there
is no better time than the present and no better venue than
Heritage! Our rates are highly competitive and we offer top-notch
cataloguing, exceptional photography and production values, an
incomparable database of more than 800,000 potential buyers, and a
matchless promotions/PR department that will make sure
everyone knows about your collection. Please contact Dave
Michaels, Director of Ancient Coins, via email at DMichaels@HA.com or phone at (310)
Until next month!
Veritas et vita,
David S. Michaels
Director of Ancient Coins
1-800-872-6467 ext. 1606
Consign to a Heritage
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Reduced Auction Commissions
When You Resell Your Winnings!
When you win any lot worth with a hammer price of $1,000 or more
(or $2,500 for Art and Nature & Science lots), you will receive
a coupon that entitles you (or your heirs) to re-consign that lot
to Heritage at a reduced seller's commission. Selling through
Heritage is a convenient and hassle free way to maximize your
out why). Maybe you'll need to make room in your collection for
something better, perhaps your collecting tastes will change, or
maybe it will be your heirs that benefit; but be sure to save the
coupon, which could be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.
- Coins: 0% Seller's Commission for all items $1K or
- Comics: 50% of the usual Seller's Commission for all
items between $1K & $10K, and 0% for items $10K and over.
- All Other Categories: 50% of the usual Seller's
Commission for everything else over $1K ($2,500 for Art &
As the fastest growing American-based
auction house, financially rock-solid Heritage Auctions continues
to grow and seek the best talent in the industry. If you are a
specialist or have strong general collectibles knowledge, we want
to hear from you. These specialists will, in some cases, head new
departments and in others will enhance existing department
expertise. We have positions open at our headquarters in Dallas as
well as at our new state-of-the-art galleries in prime locations in
both Midtown Manhattan and Beverly Hills.
Heritage is seeking to hire the world's best specialists in the
If you are interested and feel you have the qualifications we
seek, please email your resume and salary history to
- Asian Art Specialist
- Classic Cars Specialist
- Coin Buyer
- Decorative Arts & Design Specialist
- European Art Specialist
- Modern & Contemporary Art Specialist: (New York,
- World Coins Director: Hong Kong
We are also seeking to fill the following corporate positions:
If you are interested in applying for one of these Corporate
- Client Data Specialist part-time
- Client Services Representative
- Currency Cataloger
- Currency Consignment Director
- e-Publishing Expert
- Graphic Designer
- Maintenance Assistant
- Shipping Associate
- Web Marketing Specialist
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Diamond Sapphire Platinum Ring May Bring
An exquisite Diamond, Sapphire
Platinum Ring, its smooth, sweeping lines featuring a
cushion-cut diamond weighing 3.86 carats and a cushion-cut sapphire
weighing 5.03 carats, is expected to sell for $175,000+ in Heritage
Auctions' Dec. 9 Fine Jewelry Signature
Auction in Dallas. The auction offers more than 1,800 lots of
diamond and gemstone jewelry from several private collections
including Farrah Fawcett, Mrs. Walter Matthau and pieces formerly
in the collection of Elizabeth Taylor.
"We think collectors will appreciate the large variety of
fresh-to-market pieces in this auction," said Jill Burgum, Senior
Director of Fine Jewelry at Heritage. "From coast to coast, our
staff has worked with several important collectors and estates to
cultivate an irresistible selection."
A selection of high carat diamonds and gemstones is led by a 36.22
carat Burma Sapphire, Diamond
Platinum Ring, enhanced by full-cut diamonds weighing an total
of approximately 2.70 carats, is expected to sell for $300,000+. A
Necklace, featuring a round brilliant-cut diamond weighing
22.11 carats, is expected to hammer for $175,000+. A Fancy Intense
Yellow Diamond, Diamond,
Platinum Gold Ring, set with a cushion-shaped diamond weighing
10.01 carats, is offered with a $150,000+ estimate, and a Burma Ruby, Diamond
Platinum Ring, featuring an oval-shaped ruby weighing 5.76
carats and enhanced by a marquise-shaped diamonds weighing a total
of approximately 1.60 carats, is expected to cross the block for
A romantic Diamond, Platinum
Necklace weighing a total of approximately 66.25 carats and
decorated with delicate icicles of diamonds giving way into lively,
full-cut diamonds as designed by Fred Leighton, is expected to sell
Leading the auction's numerous private collections is a selection
of 40 pieces of jewelry from the personal property of actress
Farrah Fawcett, including a Diamond, Platinum
Ring, with a 10.95 carat marquise-cut diamond, which is
expected to sell for $100,000+, a Diamond, Platinum
Bracelet, featuring square-cut diamonds weighing a total of
approximately 11 carats, which is expected to bring $10,000+, and a
set of three Diamond, Gold
Bracelets, expected to sell for $5,000+. Likely to generate
significant collector interest is Fawcett's Diamond, White Gold
'Faucet' Pendant, upon which she based her line of designer
costume jewelry. The iconic, personally-owned pendant is
conservatively estimated to bring $2,000+.
A rare and unusual Black Opal Necklace
by Tiffany & Co., circa 1900, appears at auction from the
estate of Charlotte Bishop Williams Kip (1864-1926), a portrait of
whom is included in the lot. Kip and her husband, Frederick
Ellsworth Kipp (1862-1938), made their fortune in the textile
business. They built an exquisite, turn-of-the-century mansion in
Montclair, N.J., popularly referred to as Kypsburg, or Kip's
Castle, which is now owned by Essex County. Mrs. Kipp's necklace, a
delicately crafted masterpiece featuring an oval-shaped black opal
cabochon and framed by round-cut blue and yellow sapphires, is
estimated to bring $30,000+.
Additional luxury designer pieces include works by Bvlgari,
including a classic Diamond, Emerald
Platinum Ring, enhanced with a 2.53 carat European-cut diamond
and a 2.49 carat round-cut emerald, estimated to bring
More information about fine jewelry auctions.
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December 19 Heritage Charity Holiday
Charity Auctions allows nonprofits and their supporters to
raise money, goodwill and awareness for their cause. Bid to support
their mission and make a difference during the holiday season!
The December 19 Heritage Charity
Holiday Auction is now open for bidding and closes December 19,
2013 10:00 PM CT.
For further information, contact Jeri Carroll, JeriC@HA.com or
There is no entry fee to play in the tournament, but players are
encouraged to raise $100 by asking their friends and families to
sponsor them. Building on the tremendous success of the original
KidSwing-Dallas, two more tournaments were created —
KidSwing-McKinney in 2008 and KidSwing-Trophy Club in 2011. More
than 300 players participated in the Dallas, McKinney, and Trophy
Club tournaments in 2012. Since its inception, KidSwing has raised
an astounding $1.4 million for TSRHC.
Click here to view the lots »
More information about Charity auctions.
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