The latest Heritage Auctions showcase of ancient coins features the collection of Robert S. Sloan, with a focus on Roman Imperial issues. These offerings are open for bidding now exclusively at Coins.HA.com, with the concluding live session scheduled for Sunday, May 14, at 7 PM CT (8 PM ET).
Robert Smullyan Sloan (1915-2013) was an American artist whose works are represented in the collections of several museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum. Born and bred in the Bronx, he earned his bachelor’s degree at City College of New York and a master’s in art history at New York University, specializing in connoisseurship. In the 1940s and ’50s, he worked as a commercial artist and portrait painter. During the 1960s and ’70s, he owned two art galleries in Manhattan. He also did art restoration and appraisal. He lived for many years in Mamaroneck, NY, and wintered in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. When he wasn’t sitting at his easel, coin collecting was his fond hobby for some three decades. He had a particular love of the ancients; with his connoisseur’s eye, he savored the design and color of each coin, its detail, its heft and finish, and its history.
A coin that has attracted a lot of attention in this auction is the gold aureus of Augustus (27 BC-AD 14), NGC Choice XF 4/5 – 3/5. Part of a larger series of Actium issues, this reverse type references the temple of Apollo at Actium, which overlooked the sea where Octavian defeated the combined naval forces of Marc Antony and Cleopatra VII. The Actium series of coins was one of several tools used by Octavian to solidify his political legacy and celebrate his ‘divinely’ won victory over the Antonian-Ptolemaic fleet. Soon after, he installed a monument dedicated to Mars, Neptune, and Apollo on the very spot his tent previously rested; renovated the temple of Apollo; established a new city, Nicopolis, which connected several regional communities; and eventually founded the Actian Games to take place in this new city.
Some of the other notable coins included in the sale of the Sloan Collection are:
- SICULO-PUNIC. Sicily. Ca. 300-289 BC. AR tetradrachm (25mm, 16.04 gm, 10h). NGC XF 4/5 – 3/5
- Julius Caesar, as Dictator (49-44 BC). AR denarius (19mm, 3.92 gm, 6h). NGC AU 4/5 – 4/5. Military mint traveling with Caesar in northern Italy, ca. 49-48 BC
- Nero, as Augustus (AD 54-68). AV aureus (17mm, 7.27 gm, 4h). NGC Choice XF 4/5 – 3/5. Rome, ca. AD 64-65
- Galba (AD 68-69). AE sestertius (35mm, 29.16 gm, 7h). NGC XF 5/5 – 3/5, Fine Style. Rome, July AD 68-January AD 69
- Domitian, as Caesar (AD 81-96). AV aureus (21mm, 7.23 gm, 6h). NGC Choice XF 4/5 – 2/5, Fine Style, light marks. Rome, AD 75
- Gordian II Africanus (March-April AD 238). AE sestertius (31mm, 21.17 gm, 12h). NGC VF 5/5 – 3/5, light scratches. Rome
- Theodosius II, Eastern Roman Empire (AD 402-450). AR light miliarense (24mm, 4.20 gm, 12h). NGC MS 5/5 – 4/5. Constantinople, AD 408-420
- Romanus III Argyrus (AD 1028-1034). AV histamenon nomisma (25mm, 4.42 gm, 7h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 – 5/5. Constantinople
Place your bids on these fascinating ancient treasures now at Coins.HA.com.