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    Levon Crusader Hoard

    Quick Overview

    This 3.1KG hoard is potentially the most important and interesting hoard that we have ever offered for sale. This hoard was originally assumed to be an Islamic mainly Silver and Bronze coins from the Middle Ages. However because of the levels of crust on the coins I cleaned a completely random sample of 19 coins to check they were in fact Silver and was absolutely gobsmacked by the results. When we purchased this hoard they were photographed in two lots (large coins and small ones) and we were told that they were “found in the same location”. Originally I misunderstood and assumed they were two different hoards found in close proximity to each other. But in fact I asked for clarification after a couple of the larger round coins were stuck to the small ones with exactly the same patina, and in fact it turns out they were in fact all found together in Jerusalem. I really don’t think you will ever see anything else quite like this come for sale from this period because of the coins in it.

    Availability: Out of stock

    More Information

    Why is this hoard so important?

    After cleaning a random sample of 19 coins to photograph they all in fact turned out to be Silver. But more importantly from that small sample I was completely astonished and absolutely taken back by the results. Just under a quarter of these sample coins were in fact “Levon Crusader Coins from Armenia, “I believe them to be 12th Century”. During the middle ages the Christian European Crusaders were engaged in a Holy war to re capture Jerusalem from the Muslims. In the name of Christianity these “Holy Crusaders” were often adorned with large crosses on horseback and often minted their own currency with wonderful pictures of horses and lions on, as well as crosses that represented Christianity. Today these coins are extremely collectable, can often be very valuable and are historically very important. From the small sample I cleaned after some basic research all the Crusader coins were “Levon” ones. Broadly speaking these coins seem to sell from anywhere between about £50 / $80 each to as much as over £575 / $950 each. I have not specifically attributed the cleaned examples but the pictures are here for anyone who want’s to do initial research before purchasing from this hoard. To this day there are still several thousand Armenian residents living in Jerusalem.

    In the remainder of the cleaned coins (as far as I can work out) there are Mongol silver coins from the same period. The Crusaders with the British prince Edward formed an alliance with the Mongol leader to attack their mutual enemy the Mamluks in the name of the Crusades. I’m not 100% sure but someone said to me that they thought the Mongol Coins were probably Genghis Khan ones. But that was just some basic research using a website, so I would not like to attempt to put even a rough value on these.

    Among the remaining coins there are Mamluk coins, again I have not specifically attributed and am certainly no expert in this field but the silver ones on ebay range between £15- $25 each and go up to around £245-$400 each. It also contains Ayyubid coins from exactly the same period, that seem to start at about £10-$15 each and go upwards. This hoard is definitely a Crusader hoard, it shows the crusade coins, the alliance with the Mongols and the wars with the Mamluks. It will be an absolutely unparalleled voyage of discovery as you clean these coins up. I really don’t have the attribution experience or knowledge of the crusades to give all the answers here. I don’t know if it ended up being the property of a Crusader before he died or the property of a Muslim. But it has remained untouched by time for 800 years and will surely tell a very interesting story as well as an excellent research project. I don’t think there will ever be another opportunity to purchase Silver coins from another hoard like this. There are probably in excess of 1700 coins here and only 19 have been cleaned, so these coins that you can see tell just 1% of the hidden history here.

    Doing the very rough Maths on just the 19 coins I cleaned up for the pictures. I estimate conservatively that those 19 would probably retail at well over £500-$830. All these coins will need specific attribution, research and grading if you really plan to use them for investment purposes. But assuming we went along with the conservative figures I have put forward (and please check for yourself, and do your own research based on the sample of cleaned coins in the pictures). That would give this hoard a minimum potential value of around £44,000-$73,000 cleaned and attributed based just on the seen 1%. Uncleaned this hoard will sell for well under a third of those figures, depending on volume. I can honestly say I have never seen a hoard with so much potential upside after cleaning.

    Have a look at the pictures of the cleaned coins, do your own attribution and research and you will see what I mean. I don’t think these will take long to sell. Please keep us posted on what you find, along with the values of the coins. It would be great to display some of the information on the website.

    Cleaning these coins

    From the 19 sample coins I cleaned, I have pictured them all here. None have been removed whatsoever; warts and all they are all pictured here. They all cleaned up very well and show a good amount of detail except for one coin. That coin is pretty smooth both sides except for some detail on one corner of one side. Also I cleaned them using the Sulphuric Acid method that is detailed with a video on this site, and then used liver of Sulphur and the tin foil method that is also videoed and on this site to obtain the final finish. It only took me a few hours from start to finish, but it should be noted that the reason that these coins initially look bronze is probably because there has been some kind of reaction in the ground or water where they have been together for the last 800 years. It is possible they were in some kind of metal or copper based vessel that degraded over time staining them. This chemical reaction has left some of the coins with a copper wash on them in places almost like part of the coin has been copper plated. Most of it comes off when you use the Sulphuric acid and tin foil method. But some of them do have some stubborn patches. I have looked on the Internet and it would appear that ammonia or hydrogen peroxide should remove any remaining copper wash from the coins but I have not tried it. So you will see in the pictures some areas on a few of the coins look copper in places. It is definitely on top of the Silver as I polished it off on one of the coins just to make sure. But I just left it on any affected coins after using the Sulphuric Acid and foil method, and then burnished them as normal. But I would suggest taking your time and doing each coin methodically for best results. Even the quick results I obtained in a few hours here are very pleasing and show a lot of detail, but doing some basic research on how to remove any copper wash on the coins will improve results further. But the great thing is with Silver coins is that you can always start to clean and patina them again if you are not happy with the results.

    We've estimated that a typical 1/16 KG order would have between 25-30 coins.

    Happy Hunting!

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