Sunday, 28 July 2019

'Fake' gold coin sells for $2.16 million

Mistakenly believed by its owner to be fake, a historic gold coin was authenticated as 'the discovery of a lifetime' by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation last year. It is only the fourth known surviving example of a $5 denomination coin struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1854. It made $ 2.16m. Mint records indicate 268 of these coins were made in the San Francisco mint in 1854, the first year they were produced.

The other known coins have a history. One is located at the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian, and another was stolen from the DuPont family in 1967 and has never been seen since.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

New treasures from Heracleion

Heracleion off Egypt's north coast slumped into the sea some 1,200 years ago and was lost for centuries until divers rediscovered it in 2000.

Archaeologists have announced a series of new finds at the underwater site. A temple and shipwrecks with treasure has been discovered among the ruins of an ancient sunken city described as the "Egyptian Atlantis". Ancient columns, 2,000-year-old pottery and bronze coins from the reign of King Ptolemy II (283 to 246 BC) were also found.
Located at the entrance to the Nile, the city was Egypt's main international trading port, sporting statues, temples and a maze of canals.

Buried under centuries of silt, the ruins and artifacts are perfectly preserved thousands of years later.
See ----->Thonis-Heracleion

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Roman Emperor Nerva

Nerva was Roman emperor from 96 to 98. Nerva became emperor at age 66 after a lifetime of imperial service under Nero. On 18 September 96, Domitian was assassinated in a palace conspiracy involving the Praetorian Guard. On the same day, Nerva was declared emperor by the Roman Senate.

A gold aureus of Nerva reflects the delicate balance of power in ancient Rome at the time. The circa A.D. 97 gold coin features a portrait of Nerva on the obverse, with clasped hands holding a legionary eagle set upon a prow on the reverse.
Nerva’s reign was greatly assisted by his predecessor’s decision to increase wages for soldiers from 225 denarii to 300 denarii, annually. In addition, the coins used to pay the wages were of increased weight and purity compared to previous coins, so the payout was even better.

Nerva's reign was marred by financial difficulties and his inability to assert control over the Roman army. A revolt by the Praetorian Guard in October 97 forced him to adopt an heir. Nerva adopted Trajan, a young and popular general, as his successor. Nerva died of natural causes shortly after and was succeeded by Trajan.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Frank Frazetta - Egyptian Queen - $5.4m

Frank Frazetta. Egyptian Queen Painting, Original Art (1969). Frank Frazetta would continue to produce paintings for another 30 years, but this unforgettable image captured the hearts of legions and remains burned into the minds of generations. The Egyptian Queen first appeared in print as the cover for Eerie magazine #23 in mid-1969, and countless prints and posters were produced over subsequent decades.

This masterpiece has resided with the Frazetta family since its creation, it is the first time it has ever been offered on the market. It made $5.4m on 16th May, 2019.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Foo Fighters - Hitler's Stealth Fighter

The term 'Foo Fighter' was used by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II to describe various UFOs or mysterious aerial phenomena seen in the skies over both the European and Pacific theaters of operations.

Though "foo fighter" was named by the U.S. 415th Night Fighter Squadron, the term was also commonly used to mean any UFO sighting from that period.
Formally reported from November 1944 onwards, witnesses often assumed that the foo fighters were secret weapons employed by the enemy. The Robertson Panel explored possible explanations, for instance that they were electrostatic phenomena similar to St. Elmo's fire, electromagnetic phenomena, or simply reflections of light from ice crystals.
The Horten Ho 229 – “Hitler’s Stealth fighter” was the first “flying wing” aircraft with a jet engine. It was the first plane with design elements, which can be referred to as stealth technology, to hinder the effectiveness of radar to detect the plane.

In 1943, the head of the German Luftwaffe, Hermann Göring, presented what is known as the “3 X 1000” goal. Goring wanted a plane that could carry 1000 kg of bombs (2,200 lb), with a range of 1000 km (620 miles), at a speed of 1000 km/h (620 mph). Work on the next prototype version of the plane, the H.IX V3, ended when the American 3rd Army’s VII Corps on April 14, 1945 reached the Gotha plant in Friederichsroda.
The only remaining Horten Ho 229 known was restored at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

The H.IX’s wings were made from two carbon injected plywood panels adhered to each other with a charcoal and sawdust mixture. Engineers at Northrop tested a non-flying reproduction and found the design gave about a 20 percent reduction in radar range detection over a conventional fighter of the day.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

The Ides of March

The Ides of March is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to 15 March. It became notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. The death of Caesar made the Ides of March a turning point in Roman history, as it marked the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The Ides of March are come", implying that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied "Aye, Caesar; but not gone."
Caesar's death was a closing event in the crisis of the Roman Republic, and triggered the civil war that would result in the rise to sole power of adopted heir Octavian.
One of the most famous coins of all time is the EID MAR denarius issued by Brutus in 43/42 BC. Marcus Antonius took advantage and loudly condemned Brutus' actions. Brutus was forced to flee Rome. After several battles, Brutus's forces fell to Mark Antony and Octavian. Brutus committed suicide before he could be taken prisoner.
About 60 examples of Brutus's coin are estimated to exist in silver, with 3 in gold. Silver specimens in fine condition have sold at auction for $120,000. Lower grade silver coins occasionally come on the market for around $50,000.

In 2011 a exceptional example fetched a record-shattering $546,250.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Mysteries of the ancient Maltese

At 313 sq km, Malta is one of the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries. The Mediterranean island is also home to the world’s oldest freestanding structures and enduring mysteries.
Inhabited for over 7,000 years, Malta has been settled by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, the Muslim Emirate of Sicily, and Crusaders under the Holy Roman Empire.
The island people constructed elaborate sites, such as the Ġgantija temple complex, and their buildings are among the earliest free-standing buildings known. There is no skeletal evidence of violent death and no fortifications. Instead the society appears to have survived through cooperation and sharing. But, after 1,500 years, they were gone.
Malta’s megaliths are older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. These supersized temples date to between 5500 and 2500 BC.

Soil erosion and climate conditions worsened, as evidenced by the different types of pollen in the soil, the diminishing number of tree remains and the human bones wracked with dietary deficiencies.
In the final centuries, between 2600 BC and 2400 BC, half of those dying were children. An unknown catastrophic climate event that occurred around 2350 BC was the final blow.