In our time, many individuals of great personal wealth prefer to keep a low profile. The identity of some of the greatest collectors is often a closely held secret. When these collections come to market, they appear under whimsical code names like “Sunrise Collection ” or “Prospero Collection .”This photo essay depicts some coins from the “Tyrants of the Tigris and Euphrates” Collection. Among them are an Achaemenid gold daric from Persia, a gold stater of Antiochus I, and Parthian and Sassanian coins. They are of some indirect background interest to ancient Judaism.
The Tyrant Collection is billed as “The World’s Most Valuable Coin Collection.” It will be rolled out to the public in handsomely staged displays at major coin shows over the course of several years.
“Tyrants have been the primary shapers of history for thousands of years. One of the first things tyrants do upon obtaining power is strike coins with their name and likeness, announcing their claim to their territory… Everyday coinage is the primary means by which tyrants notify their subjects and rivals of their tyranny,” the collector said.
“Coins still exist for nearly every tyrant of the last two thousand years who ever ruled a substantial country for more than a few weeks. The objective of The Tyrant Collection is to obtain a coin of every tyrant who ruled every major territory or country, preferably a large gold coin boldly displaying the tyrant’s name, likeness and titles,” he added.
This collector is evidently a person of immense wealth and exquisite taste, advised by top numismatic experts. The collection consists of parts grouped by geographic area. “Tyrants of the Thames,” covering Britain, was exhibited last year. “Tyrants of the Tigris and Euphrates” covering the Middle East appeared this year at the Long Beach, California coin show. In future years we will see ancient Egyptian (“Tyrants of the Nile”) Greek (“Tyrants of the Aegean,”) Roman (“Tyrants of the Tiber,”) French (“Tyrants of the Seine”) and other parts.
I commend the anonymous collector for setting a good example by making the collection available for public viewing and scholarly study.
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