Monday, 29 September 2014

Gold of the Achaemenid Empire

The Achaemenid Empire (c. 550–330 BCE), was an empire in Western and Central Asia, founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great.

The dynasty draws its name from king Achaemenes, who ruled Persis between 705 BCE and 675 BCE. The empire expanded to eventually rule over much of the ancient world which at around 500 BCE stretched from the Indus Valley in the east, to Thrace and Macedon on the northeastern border of Greece, making it the biggest empire the world had yet seen. The Achaemenid Empire would eventually control Egypt as well.

Panoramic view of the Naqsh-e Rustam. This site contains the tombs of four Achaemenid kings, including those of Darius I and Xerxes.
In 480 BCE, it is estimated that 50 million people lived in the Achaemenid Empire or about 44% of the world's population at the time, making it by population the largest empire.

Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) defeated the Persian armies at Granicus (334 BCE), followed by Issus (333 BCE), and lastly at Gaugamela (331 BCE).

Afterwards, he marched on Susa and Persepolis which surrendered in early 330 BCE.

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Saturday, 27 September 2014

The HMS Sussex

The HMS Sussex was an 80-gun ship of the English Royal Navy, lost in a severe storm on 1 March 1694 off Gibraltar.

Pride of the Royal Navy, the flagship of Admiral Sir Francis Wheler was built in April 1693 and sailed from Portsmouth on December 27, 1693, escorting a fleet of 48 warships and 166 merchant ships to the Mediterranean.

Suspected to be on board were 10 tons of gold coins.
A violent storm hit the flotilla near the Strait of Gibraltar and in the early morning of March 1, 1694 the HMS Sussex sank, joining the fate of 12 other ships of the fleet. Only two survived of the 500 crew on board. Admiral Wheler's body was found on the eastern shore of the rock of Gibraltar two days later 'much mangled'.

There were approximately 1,200 casualties in total, in what remains one of the worst disasters in the history of the Royal Navy.
The sinking of the Sussex was observed by several eyewitnesses who later testified at a hearing held by the Royal Navy. Two vessels also witnessed her sinking and reported the loss in their logs.

Historical records suggest that a shipment of money equal to a million pounds sterling was destined for Savoy, shipped aboard HMS Sussex. The secret funds never reached Savoy. Compelling evidence suggests that the enormous payment went down with the ship.
Between 1998 and 2001, Odyssey Marine Exploration searched for the HMS Sussex and announced that it had located the shipwreck at a depth of 800 metres.

Due to various conflicted interests Odyessey has "postponed further work on the project to allow diplomatic issues to be resolved."

Friday, 19 September 2014

Rare Golden Coins

A 1610 Saxon 20 ducat Prince-Elector Christian II gold coin sold for $ 324,000. The very rare and well preserved gold coin has broken the record for the Most Expensive Czech Republic coin.

A Yuan Shi-kai proof gold 1914 Giorgi dollar. It displays Chinese leader Yuan Shi-kai (1859-1916), a pivotal figure in the nation's history who led the transition from monarchy to republic. Estimated at $300,000-500,000.

The first purely Islamic coin ever created. The Umayyad 77h dinar was created in AD 696 under 'Abd al-Malik, who abandoned all iconography from coins and focused solely on religious text. $ 308,000

A Gold Ku'ping pattern tael. Coin was struck in 1906 under the Guangxu emperor and is one of only a handful of Chinese imperial coins produced at the official Mint. $ 85,000

Edward III gold coin, minted in 1343, is one of 3 known -$ 6.8m

A gold aurei medallion of ancient Rome. One of two known. It depicts Roman emperor Maxentius and sold for $1,407,550 U.S.

The 1933 Double Eagle. Nearly half a million of the 20-dollar gold coins were minted in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression but only 13 are known to exist today.

The rest were melted down before they left the United States Mint, sacrificed as part of a strategy to remove the United States from the gold standard and stabilize the American economy. $ 7.6m