by Ursula Kampmann
September 12, 2013 – Once more a priceless coin was discovered. This time it occurred in Bethsaida, a place on the coast of the Sea of Galilee. Flavius Josephus tells us that King Philipp changed the town’s name to Iulia Livia. The settlement existed in the Hellenistic-Roman period and so it comes as no surprise that a coin from the harbour town of Akko – called Ptolemais in antiquity – was discovered there. The piece was minted in 35/4 BCE and similar specimens – but in clearly better condition – were seen on the coin market before. The last time such a coin changed its owner was at a Heritage auction on March 8, 2012 for the sum of $3,250 (about 2,477 euros). Much higher was the price of another piece, though in plainly better condition, at a Numismatica Ars Classica sale on April 4, 2011. It was sold for 13,000 CHF or 9,902 euros.
That does not prevent the author of the aforementioned article written in an Indiana Jones style to speak of the piece as ‘priceless’, ‘lover’s coin’ (Marc Antony figures also on the coin – what a surprise) and of only three previously known specimens. The latter detail reportedly goes back to Dr Greg Jenks, an Australian theologian and archaeologist who probably took it from the RPC where, indeed, three specimens are cited. The fact that since the publication of this meritorious work in 1992 more specimens have appeared on the market, apparently did not come to the author’s or the researcher’s mind.
The real problem, though, is the point that this concoction of an article is not being commented on by numismatists or coin collectors even though the article may be directly commented on through Facebook. Do it! We at least, wrote on September 7, 2013 that these priceless coins do have a price. By the way, the author did not react neither after a personal e-mail nor the Facebook comment.
You can read the article – and comment on it – here.