The discovery of an ancient coin hoard is among the most exciting encounters an archaeologist can hope for. More often than not, hidden caches of ancient coins come from the Roman Empire. This makes sense given the sprawling territorial reach of the Ancient Romans. However, those of us in the West sometimes overlook the rich […]
As strange as it may sound, artifacts from our distant past often challenge or completely overturn our understanding of the present. One such discovery in France has the potential to reshape our preconceptions about numismatic history.
Human beings have long domesticated and interacted with pigeons. They are actually genetically indistinguishable from doves. Although feral pigeons are sometimes dismissed as “rats with wings” by city dwellers, a treasure discovery in England shows that these birds can be both a nuisance and a blessing.
If you’ve had the privilege of owning a rare coin, the chances are good that the coin had an interesting ownership history. Tracing the chain of custody of a particular collectible coin is one of the pillars of the numismatic hobby.
Sometimes estate sales and liquidation sales by retirees can uncover fascinating cases of multi-generational coin collecting. From a numismatic perspective, this is especially interesting because it makes tracing the provenance—or “paper trail”—of the coins much easier. Provenance is important for authenticating particularly valuable antiques and collectibles. Knowing this backstory and chain of ownership adds to […]
On nearly a monthly basis, a metal detectorist or group of adventurous people with metal detectors somewhere in Great Britain uncovers a buried artifact that classifies as treasure under U.K. law. Any item containing at least 10% gold and dating more than 300 years old qualifies for the “treasure” designation, entitling the finder and land […]
S.S. Central America, an American steamer, sank in the Atlantic in 1857 carrying a significant quantity of gold bullion. Its original haul is estimated at more than a metric ton, and was perhaps as much as 20 tons, including thousands of what are now scarce $20 double eagle coins. Although the first coins and treasure from […]
In 2012, a pair of metal detectorists discovered what is considered the most immense hoard of ancient coins ever found. The site of the find was Grouville, located on the British island of Jersey.
Much of Europe’s earliest recorded history tends to begin with the conquest of the Roman Empire. Of course, archaeologists and historians know that a number of cultures were active on the continent during the Bronze Age. Nonetheless, the progress for civilization brought about by the expansion of Ancient Rome is so transformative that its total […]
This year, there’s been a great deal of construction and infrastructure improvement in the Russian capital of Moscow. Amid the building projects and renovations, a surprising side-effect has emerged on more than one occasion: Rare old coins are being recovered from the construction sites!
The silver denarius (plural: denarii) was one of the standards of Roman coinage during antiquity. These silver coins circulated around the empire for centuries, and are often one of the surest signs (as artifacts) of the presence of a marketplace during the time of Ancient Rome. In the small southern English town of Bridport, a […]
The Vikings, a clan of seafaring Norse raiders, thrived primarily between the 8th and 11th centuries. Therefore, it’s not altogether surprising that much of the centuries-old treasure and artifacts uncovered in Northern Europe and the British Isles are of Viking origin. In fact, “Viking” is roughly the Old English word for “pirate.” Just recently, on the […]
There are two interesting qualities about coins that have held true throughout history but are often overlooked: Coins have come in all sorts of interesting shapes and sizes—this is still true today—and, ultimately, what we do with our coins is in the hands of the beholder. For collectors and investors, this second fact may seem […]
One of the fascinating things about great archaeological finds or uncovered treasure is that it often occurs by accident or pure happenstance. (The chance discovery of the “Saddle Ridge Hoard” of gold coins, worth as much as $10 million collectively, by a couple walking their dog in the backyard is just one prime example.)
In the new North American colonies beginning to take shape in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, piracy at sea—our classic notion of a “pirate”—played a surprisingly important role in sustaining the New World economy. The period from the middle of the 17th century to 1730 is actually known as the Golden Age of […]
It’s not altogether uncommon for small amounts of medieval treasure to be found in the United Kingdom in general and the city of Lincoln (located in the county of Lincolnshire) in particular. For a jealous outside observer—the author is guilty as charged—it can seem like fields in Lincoln are littered with the stuff, beckoning from […]
On rare occasions, the most fantastic discoveries are made by pure accident. This is true not only throughout human history, but also applies to our daily lives. For one eight-year-old girl in Israel, this absolutely turned out to be the case!
One prominent numismatist and researcher is convinced he has successfully traced back and identified which rare post-colonial coin was the first ever struck under the official auspices of the U.S. government.
Ongoing efforts to salvage a shipwreck off the coast of Colombia from the 1700s are making painstaking progress. Moreover, historical records of what the San José was carrying on board suggest that a breakthrough in the recovery process could yield the richest haul of underwater treasure ever found.
It’s always exciting when a longtime collector of coins decides to bring their entire numismatic portfolio to auction. With the most legendary coin collections—such as the staggering Pogue or Newman ensembles of U.S. coins—the sale is not just broken into many separate lots for bidding. They must in fact be split into several separate days of auctions. […]