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Volume2, Issue 1
  Ancients in the News

Table of Contents:


Large hoard of Celtic Gold and Silver coins found in Netherlands
NGC to Launch Services for Ancient Coins
Happy Days Again for Ancient Roman Coin Hoard

A Constellation of Stars (Ancient Coins for Education prize winner)

Large Hoard of Celtic Gold and Silver Coins Found in Netherlands

The Associated Press is reporting a hoard of 39 gold and 70 silver Celtic staters found in a cornfield near Maastricht(Netherlands) by detectorist Paul Curfs.

Reporter Toby Sterling quoted Curfs as saying "It's exciting, like a little boy's dream". The coins were identified as belonging to the Eburones tribe. This seems to be a rare Germanic tribe; only three coins of the tribe appear in CoinArchives.com, of which only one is a gold stater.

The coins were identified by archaeologist Nico Roymans, author of Ethnic Identity and Imperial Power. Roymans' book includes several chapters on coinage attributed to the Eburones. The Eurbones were wiped out by Julius Caesar in 53 BC as revenge for a sneak attack which cost 6,000 Roman lives.

The coins are now on display at the Maastricht Centre Ceramique. The museum's web site says the hoard is the first Celtic gold hoard found on Dutch soil. The site speculates that the coins were originally together in a cloth or leather pouch. Most of the coins were densely packed together but the soil had 'been confused' by deep modern plowing and some coins were found away from the main cluster. No other traces of habitation were found in the area.


NGC to Launch Services for Ancient Coins

[Sarasota, FL] – Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the world’s leading coin certification service, has announced that it will be offering comprehensive services for ancient coins beginning January 1, 2009.

The new division, NGC Ancients, will be led by David Vagi, author of Coinage and History of the Roman Empire and an ancient coin specialist since 1990. NGC Ancients will grade most coins struck in the Western World through circa A.D. 500, as well as coins of the Byzantine Empire. Later world coins eligible for NGC services will continue to be graded by NGC under its world coin program.

“For more than a decade, we’ve been laying the foundations for this important new service,” says Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman. “A major part was finding the best person to guide the project. David’s expertise is perfectly balanced between academics and the marketplace, making him the ideal choice for this program, which demands both kinds of talent.”

“I’m thrilled to join NGC at a critical moment in the growth of the ancient coin market. The marketplace and third-party grading have both matured in such a way to make an ancients program not only possible, but necessary,” comments Vagi, Grading Finalizer and Director of NGC Ancients.

“NGC’s integrity, expertise and market leadership will be key ingredients in assuring the success of the third-party grading of ancient coins,” he says.

Comprehensive details will be reported on NGC’s Web site in the coming weeks, including terms and conditions, submission procedures and fees. Under this new program, coins will be fully attributed and graded using a system developed especially for NGC Ancients.

NGC Ancients will also introduce several innovative features that greatly improve the appeal of certified ancient coins. To assure that key diagnostics are not obscured by encapsulation, the weight of each coin to the hundredth of a gram will be included on the label. Additionally, NGC EdgeView® holders will be used whenever possible so most of the coin’s edge is plainly visible. Furthermore, double-thick holders have been developed to safely accommodate high-relief ancient coins.

The full range of products and services will be available by January 1, 2009. To request information updates please contact NGC at ancients@ngccoin.com.

Happy Days Again for Ancient Roman Hoard

By Richard Giedroyc, World Coin News
December 10, 2008

Well, the headline may be somewhat deceiving. Happy days are here again for the two individuals with metal detectors who discovered this fourth century AD Roman coin hoard in 2006. The legend on some of the coins translates roughly from Latin to read "Happy days are here again," likely an optimistic statement at a time the Romans were being besieged by barbarian hordes.

The coin hoard, according to MK News on Oct. 29, was recently declared treasure trove under the Treasure Act 1996.

The discovery of more than 1,400 ancient Roman bronze coins primarily dating from AD 348 during the reign of Constans was declared to be treasure by Buckinghamshire (England) Coroner Rodney Corner. The announcement comes at a good time since it can now be reported as an example of why consumer friendly antiquity discovery laws can work in favor of archaeologists, governments and the individuals who find these hoards.

Coin collectors in the United States and elsewhere have recently had reason to be concerned because of a 1970 UNESCO resolution through which antiquities and other artifacts including coins could be transferred between nations through government-imposed regulations and restrictions if the coins or other objects are declared to be cultural patrimony of the nation demanding the transfer. Although many collectors think such repatriation would only involve ancient coins, there are strong indications the demands could involve much more modern coinage as well.

Ownership of such items by both museums and individuals could be taken away in the name of these objects being considered cultural patrimony of their place of origin or place where they were found. Some of the other items on the resolution list include old books, property relating to the lives of national leaders, pictures, paintings, postage stamps, artwork, and other items of more than 100 years of age.

It is this UNESCO agreement and the rigid laws of such countries as Turkey, Greece and Italy that have driven many finds of antiquities onto the black market. The ridiculous part is that in Turkey, as an example, individuals have been found to have stolen repatriated items from where the items were stored and resold them onto the black market. Other repatriated items languish in storage where even researchers cannot gain access to them.

The Saba news reporting service announced Nov. 2 that an individual had been arrested following the seizure of a parcel of gold and silver Islamic coins at Sana'a Airport (El Rahaba Airport) in Yemen. The individual had an additional 310 "antique" bronze coins in his possession when he was arrested. The announcement was made by General Manager of Protecting Antiquities and Cultural Possessions in the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums Hisham al-Thawr. No details were given regarding if the coins were seized because of the whereabouts of where they were found or because it may be illegal to export them.

In Great Britain treasure trove laws allow many finders to either receive the find or the value of the find following an inquest by a local coroner to determine if the find was lost and can be repatriated to a rightful owner or if it was hidden on purpose with no clear ownership. In the latter situation the finder will receive either the find or its value.

Should the United States decide to comply with the UNESCO agreement there is nothing to stop even the United States or the individual states from claiming finds as local cultural patrimony, once again allowing such items including coins to be seized from collectors and museums.

The coins recently declared treasure trove in England were discovered by Dave Phillips and Barrie Plasom using metal detectors. The two men have previously found other significant hoards. They were scanning a field only 250 yards inside the border of Buckinghamshire north of Newport Pagnell with permission of the owner of the field. The only reason the yardage is mentioned here is that the two men initially declared their find to the Bedford Museum, not realizing the find was in the bordering jurisdiction.

According to a late October report by MK News, the coins are all composed of copper and "may be worth hundreds of thousands in sterling." No further description of the coins was immediately available, but from the rough translation of the reverse inscription it would appear the coins are likely bronze composition post-reform centenionalis denomination issues. The Buckinghamshire County Museum in Aylesbury wants to purchase the coins and the remains of the pot in which they were discovered once a fair market value is established. This is in compliance with the British Treasure Act 1996, a far cry from the laws in such countries as Turkey where the coins would be seized by the government without any compensation offered to the finders, likely encouraging the coins to be hidden and then clandestinely sold onto the black market.

In the United States the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild has been leading efforts to discourage the US government from complying with the UNESCO agreement. Anyone interested in more information should contact the ACCG at www.accg.us.

Reproduced with permission of Krause Publishing  


A Constellation of Stars -  courtesy of a Rocket Scientist 

The above picture required the coming together of several Stars in the Ancient Coin Educational World and was enabled by the amazingly generous ACE Donor, Charley Rhodes in New Mexico, who is – wait for it – a rocket scientist!   The image shows the gifted teacher, Kelly Kusch;  with dedicated ACCG Mentor, David Markgraf, who presented the prize; and last but certainly not least, Paul Vine,  a 16 year old from Kentucky who will be going far in the world of linguistics and classics.    And that is not even mentioning the coin prize :  Herakles representing Alexander the Great in a wonderful really heavy silver tetradrachm minted by Seleukos 1st, Alexander’s general, member of the Diadochi and founder of the Seleukid empire, which lasted until 64 BC… believe me this a coin I was almost sad to pass on ! – it is fantastic.
When ACE’s Scott Uhrick read the “ Alexander and his Legacy” contest, in which Paul Vine triumphed with 93% correct, he said “ Whew, this is hard” and indeed it was the hardest ACE contest I have ever compiled !  If you want to try your hand… go to the ACE Gallery Site at
and Scroll down to come to and click on the “ Alexander and his Legacy” contest.

Our heartfelt thanks to all who made this possible.
Souzana Steverding







Copyright 2008-2014 Alfredo De La Fé