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HomeAuctionsHarlan J. Berk Launches 195th Buy or Bid Sale. Video: 7:47

Harlan J. Berk Launches 195th Buy or Bid Sale. Video: 7:47

Harlan J. Berk….

Harlan J. Berk has announced their 195th Buy or Bid sale with 560 lots of ancient coins, 20 world coins, 38 antiquities & 10 antique maps. Many of the coins in the sale were acquired recently at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Illinois.

Harlan J. Berk: 195th Buy or Bid Sale Highlights:

  • Lot 2: Uncertain City in Ionia, Stater. Coinage as we know it began in the 7th century BC in the area of Western Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). No one really knows why coinage began when it did but it was likely introduced to meet a social or economic need. Aristotle wrote a few hundred years after the onset of coinage that “all things that are exchanged must be somehow comparable” and “it is for this end that coinage has been introduced”.  Lot 2 is an example of one of the earliest coins. This stater was likely considered a high value coinage, presumably for fiduciary purposes and not for casual buys. The imagery on coins from this time is both interesting and lovely. In this case a bridled horse with a flowing mane. The reverse is almost as beautiful despite the fact that it is simply punches in the metal. The decorative punches were already an advance from the rough incuses that came before on early coinage. This lovely piece provides a link to the past that is not available to most collectors.
  • Lot 8: Sicily, Camarina, AV Diobol. A delightful little piece (11mm) with amazing artistic detail. This coin was likely struck at a time when Sicily was being threatened by Carthage. Dionysios, the tyrant, decided to abandon the area, as he did with Gela, another Sicilian city. Coins of this type were likely created to support a siege where emergency gold coins would have been prudent. This rarity provides a snapshot in time of a volatile period in the Greek world.


  • Lot 9: Sicily, Syracuse; 400-370 BC, 100 Litrae. Obv: Head of Arethusa, the nymph Goddess of Water, with hair up in sphendone. Reverse: Herakles strangling the Nemean lion. Ex M&M Basel 52, 1975, lot 86. Ex Hess-Leu 31, 1966, lot 146. Ex Hess-Leu 3, 1956, lot 206. Ex Jameson Collection, no. 2432. Ex Ars Classica XIII, 1928, lot 310. Ex Sotheby’s London, 1908, lot 216 and from the O’Hagan Collection.
  • Lot 10: Sicily, Agathokles, AV Decadrachm or 50 Litrae. Another tyrant of Sicily, Agathokles, continued the battle against the Carthaginian intruders. Agathokles returned to Sicily in c. 317 BCE, after being twice banished for attempting to overthrow the oligarchic regime, with an army of mercenaries to take the city. Also, in c. 311 BCE he was pressured once again by Carthaginian forces. Coins such as this one were minted to support the large army that Agathokles certainly needed to maintain his power. A beautiful piece with lovely artistic detail and sharp strike.
  • Lot 12: Macedonia, Alexander III the Great, AV Distater. Alexander the Great was one of the most successful rulers of all time. He extended the Greek world further east than anyone previously. In order to extend and maintain his conquests, Alexander minted large quantities of coinage. This distater is the largest denomination that Alexander minted in gold. Less often seen on the market, our coin is pleasantly struck and reasonably priced.
  • Lot 16: Zeugitania, Carthage, EL Stater. In contrast to the coinage struck by the mainland Greeks, the coinage of their rivals, the Carthaginians, is reflective of the area of northern Africa. The obverse of our coin shows Tanit, the Punic goddess, wearing a wreath of wheat ears. The horse on the reverse is common to the coinage of Carthage and can be seen on the silver coinage from the area as well.  This piece is one of the finest specimens that we have ever handled. Its stunning strike and high relief makes it a fabulous piece.

    Lot 16. Zeugitania, Carthage, EL Stater.
  • Lot 18: Nero as Caesar, Aureus. Struck by Claudius after he married Agrippina II and adopted Nero, her son. The reverse shows an honorary shield and spear awarded by the equestrian order to Nero as Prince of the Youth.
  • Lot 44: Lucania, Velia, Didrachm. This coin has an incredibly lovely strike on the obverse. The elegant head of Athena, along with the very beautiful toning makes this a desirable offer.
  • Lot 47: Sicily, Siculo-Punic, Tetradrachm. This coin has run in previous sales and has surprisingly not sold. It remains however a favorite of the author. The coin was held in one of the more respected collections of the 20th century, the W. Niggeler Collection.  which was auctioned off through Leu and M&M in 1965. While this coin has some pitting on the surfaces it is unusually well-struck and extremely lovely in hand.
  • Lots 122-128: Various Coins from Crete. Despite a number of Cretan coins coming up in auction, Crete continues to be an unusually rare area for coinage. Cretan coinage is rich in mythology though difficult to find in perfect condition. Of course the most famous of all Cretan myths is the one involving the minotaur and labyrinth, which is depicted on lot 122. Cretan coins deserve a second look for their rarity and wonderful artistry.
  • Lot 194: Bar Kochba War. Undated Yr. 3 Sela. Of late Judaean coinage is difficult to find on the market. This coin is a lovely iridescent piece and shows the Temple facade in its glory. Moderately priced and extremely desirable.
  • Lot 240: Augustus, Denarius. The Aegypto Capta type celebrates Octavian’s victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 BC and his subsequent conquest of Egypt. A very popular type and pleasant piece.
  • Lot 519: Nero, Sestertius. This coin definitely has its share of wear but the reverse showing the Port of Ostia is nonetheless stunning. Normally this coin commands five-figure prices. This rather weathered example is available at a reasonable price.
  • Lot 563: German States, Augsburg, Box Taler. 1600’s,  Augsburg Ferdinand III Taler. Dav 5039. VF condition. 16 hand painted paper roundels (one in each coin half and 14 outside) in EF condition. This box Taler is one of the finest we have seen with its impressive vibrant colors and condition.
  • Lot 566-575. a nice selection of early British coinage from 927-1812.


  • Lot 620: Antique Map of China. This is an authentic, antique map of China, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Borneo, Korea, Japan, Java, and Beach by Jan Huygen Van Linschoten. The map was published out of Amsterdam as part of Linschoten’s Itinerario in 1596.


About Harlan J. Berk Buy or Bid Sales:

Harlan J. Berk, Ltd. is proud to present our innovative buy/bid sale method of selling ancient coins and antiquities.

Every two months, we produce a catalogue with 600-1000 lots of Ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine coins, classical antiquities as well Oriental pieces. Customers may purchase an item at the buy price at any time during the sale. We are proud to say we will ship any item immediately to established customers.

Clients who do not wish to pay the buy price may also place a bid on any item. When the sale closes, the highest acceptable bid will receive the item.

At the beginning of the sale there are no reserves set on any lot. This way clients have the freedom to bid what they like. Approximately 2-3 weeks before the closing we will go though every lot and determine if the bids we have are accepted.

If we accept the bid then we set the next acceptable bid 10% above this level. If we have no bid entered we will now set a reserve or if the bid entered is not accepted.

By announcement by email, clients with active bids in the sale can view whether they have been accepted by logging into ‘MYHJB’ under ‘MY BUY OR BID SALE’ using their user name and password registered with the site. Next to each lot it will simply state ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

Clients wishing to bid for the first time at this point, may view the next acceptable bid which is posted on the detail page (image page) of each lot. We will never sell an item for more than the estimate and we do not charge a buyer’s fee. The buy/bid sale allows our customers to have the greatest variety of choices when purchasing items from us.

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