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Rare Twelve Caesar: Julius Caesar Gold Aureus “Winged Victory” NGC

Coin History.
Gold Aureus, 8.02g., 21 mm, struck by L. Munatius Plancus, Praefectus Urbis (Urban Prefect), ca. 45 BC.
Obv. C CAES DIC TER, draped and winged youthful bust of Victoria (Victory) right.
Rev. L PLANC PRAEF VRB, sacrificial jug.
NGC graded XF, Strike 4/5, Surface 4/5, this rare artistic style was minted 6 months before he was murdered.

This coin was minted in Rome just prior to the murder and death of Julius Caesar on March 15th of 44 BC. Produced especially for Caesar’s Spanish Triumph in October of 45. The Winged Victory on the obverse in some way showing his prowess and military success- letting his enemies know that he was the greatest military commander of his day. The sacrificial jug on the reverse representing his dedication to the gods and republic. 

L. Munatius Plancus (Master moneyer) aurei were circulated after Caesar’s triumph in October 45 BC. in commemoration of the final defeat over the Pompeians at Munda in 44 BC. This triumph raised eyebrows in that it was the first time a triumph was celebrated for a victory over fellow Romans. This event along with other actions of Caesar probably lead to his assassination several months later by his Senators.

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California Fractional Gold

California Fractional Gold The origins of the fractional gold coins from California came about in 1848 with the discovery of gold in California. Once this discovery became known the rush was on to California to strike it rich. It is estimated that over 300,000 people traveled to California to begin their careers as gold miners. Some were successful and many were not. With this sudden influx of people there was a boom in demand for the necessities of life, such as, a place to eat, sleep, and have some fun.   

Early in the gold boom, a pinch of gold was used to purchase a beer at the local saloon; this method of payment didn’t work all that well. Until modern times, the US had been plagued with a chronic lack of coinage to take care of day to day transactions in the community. The California of the 1840’s and 1850’s was no exception.

Out of this shortage of small currency, the California Fractional gold coins were born, but little is known on how much they impacted the economic community. They are one of the most overlooked numismatic collectables on the market today. Primed to move, only to be slowed down by a small supply. Most savvy collectors put together “short sets” that include- one- 25c denomination, one- 50c denomination, and one- $1 Dollar denomination. California Fractional gold or Cal gold coins were minted by private individuals, primarily by the Jewelers in San Francisco to meet the commercial needs, and they were legal up until 1864. As time progressed from the early days of the 1850’s up until the early 1900’s the purpose and style of the coins changed. Denominations included 25c, 50c, and $1 Dollar.

Most if the fractional coins were made by the hammer method. This was a process of striking where the bottom die was placed on a block, a coin blank was laid upon it, and the top die was then struck by a sledgehammer. Strikes of varying intensity would produce coins that were well or weakly struck.

Visit our dedicated site where you can buy this California Gold.

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Electrum coin – Lydia “Walwet” lion stater

Electrum coin from 610-550 BC Lydia “Walwet” NGC AU 5×5

Coinage, as we know it, originated in western Asia Minor around the middle of the seventh century.

The first coins were almost certainly minted in the Lydian capital Sardis in western Asia Minor. Coinage was quickly adopted and struck in neighbouring areas, the Lydians who seem to have nurtured a particular disposition for commerce and, according to Herodotus, were the first people to engage in retail trade. Under King Alyattes, Lydia prospered and became the most powerful state in the region. An important feature of these first coins is that they were all made of electrum, an alloy of gold, silver, and a few other trace amounts of metal.

The Lion Head Electrum coins from Lydia with the inscription “Walwet” are among the first made. Struck from obverse dies that had far too much detail to fit on this size coin, probably intended for a larger Stater. Most coins are found with varying degrees of inscription in front of the lions head. According to many scholars, “Walwet” was written in the Lydian alphabet, but when translated into Greek- it spelled Alyattes, the great King of Lydia. These Electrum coins were understood to be the royal coinage of the Lydian monarchy and backed by their royal treasury. Forever changing how business would be done. This coin is now sold.

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Caligula silver Denarius – Roman History of this ancient coin

Caligula the 4th of the Twelve Caesars was a cruel emperor who was feared and hated by most Romans at the end of his short reign – only three years and 10 months.  He reportedly took special delight in having people tortured to death slowly in his presence. He lived in a lavish but increasingly bizarre lifestyle that emptied the Roman treasury. He had wealthy Romans executed in order to seize their assets. This created many enemies. He would be murdered by one of his bodyguards, a Praetorian officer as he was leaving from a theatrical performance.

Caligula’s laurel-crowned portrait appears on the obverse of his gold aurei and silver denarii surrounded by his titles.

Agrippina the Elder, mother of Caligula, was honored on the reverse.

Gold and silver issues of Caligula are scarce, and in high demand from collectors, especially those determined to complete a set of the “Twelve Caesars” – all the Roman rulers from Julius Caesar to Domitian.

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SS Central America shipwreck gold coins from the second recovery

We are excited to showcase the new SS Central America gold coins that have been salvaged from the second recovery.  Only a few coin dealers had the opportunity to pre-launch the second recovery campaign; Capstone Coins is one of those companies.  We have sold close to a quarter-million dollars of these beautiful SSCA shipwreck coins and have several more to sell.  When you chose SS Central America coins from Capstone Coins you have complete confidence with your purchase as we are A+ rated with the BBB and are a proud member of the PNG (Professional Numismatists Guild). Take a look at the many 1856 and 1857 S.S. Central America coins in all grades.  They all come with a pinch of gold dust, a certificate of authenticity and exquisite packaging from the second recovery.  If you would like to learn more about these SSCA coins you can reach us at 512-692-0744.

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Oldest Coin In The World

The Ionia Mint Electrum Stater is considered to be the first actual coin with a picture ever struck in human history.  Capstone Acquisitions had the extraordinary privilege of acquiring this coin in Fall of 2016.  Referred to as the “Striated” Stater because it represented “ripples” of water from a nearby river where the electrum was harvested. It is estimated that only twelve exist in the world today. We were able to help place it into a collection to complete a set of Ionian Striated Staters,  a feat that is estimated to have been done only three times.

Minted nearly three thousand years ago in modern-day Turkey,  the coin is made from electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver that was found in streams and riverbeds.  The striated lines on the front of the coin are believed to represent flowing water which is where electrum was found.

The coin was assigned the grade of About Uncirculated condition with a star for outstanding eye appeal.


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Welcome to China in 2016- the shadow banking system black hole

February 11, 2016
Austin, Texas

Being a Texas based rare coin and precious metals company, we support any information genuine to Texans, and their friends. As a devout follower of precious metals hawk and fellow Texan, Kyle Bass, we felt the strong need to pimp the Hayman Capital Management 2-10-16 letter to investors. Capstone is merely a sheepdog, we don’t support any doom and gloom scenario’s to date, but research like this needs to be read and out there. You can’t hide from global ramifications…..
Article From –
Texas hedge fund manager J. Kyle Bass, the founder of Hayman Capital, has sent his first letter to investors on a global scale in two years.

The letter, posted on the internet, warns that China has a problem- much bigger than the subprime crisis in 2008.

Kyle Bass was one of the hedge fund managers who correctly predicted and profited from the mortgage crisis in 2008.

The problem in China, according to Bass, is the banking system and its coming losses.

“We have been vigorously studying China over the last year, with the view that the rapid credit expansion in the Chinese banking system will result in significant credit losses that will require the recapitalization of Chinese banks and materially pressure the Chinese currency,” Bass wrote in a letter to investors dated February 10.

“This outcome will have many near-term and long-term effects on countries and markets around the world. In other words, what happens in China will not stay in China.”

In the investor letter, titled “The $34 Trillion Experiment: China’s Banking System and the World’s Largest Macro Imbalance,” Bass says China’s banking system has similarities to the US banking system before the most recent financial crisis — excessive leverage, regulatory arbitrage, and irresponsible risk-taking.

Bass said he had met with Wall Street firms, consultants, and China experts and they all had the view that China would get through the recent turbulence without an economic reset.

That’s not how Bass sees it. He wrote:

What we have come to realize through these discussions is that many have come to their conclusion without fully appreciating the size of the Chinese banking system and the composition of assets at individual banks. More importantly, banking system losses — which could exceed 400% of the US banking losses incurred during the subprime crisis — are starting to accelerate. 

Put simply: China has an enormous debt problem and the rapidly decelerating economy means that the country’s banks will only be able to paper over the soaring NPLs for so long. If Beijing wants to eliminate the acute overcapacity problem that’s contributed mightily to the global deflationary supply glut, it will mean allowing the market to purge misallocated capital. And that means bankruptcies and a wave of defaults. “The unwavering faith that the Chinese will somehow be able to successfully avoid anything more severe than a moderate economic slowdown by continuing to rely on the perpetual expansion of credit reminds us of the belief in 2006 that US home prices would never decline,” Bass begins.

Bass is among a handful of hedge fund managers betting against China’s currency, the yuan. Much of Hayman Capital’s fund right now is devoted to the yuan short.

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The Spanish Milled Dollar – America’s money

America’s first silver dollar was actually Spanish…….

In early colonial times and even before the American Revolution, there was a chronic shortage of circulating coinage in the colonies. England forbade the early colonists to mint their own coins, forcing the settlers to barter or use foreign money to conduct business. It was commonplace during this time to use French, Dutch, German, English and Spanish currencies to conduct business.

1754MO MF MEXICO 8R KM-104.1 MS61

From 1600 to 1792, the Spanish Milled Dollar or Pillar Dollar, became the most utilized money of the era and set the standard for future US coins.  It is dubbed “America’s First Silver Dollar.” Minted in the silver-rich Spanish colonies of Mexico and Peru, these large, one ounce silver coins had a patterned edge to prevent dishonest merchants from “shaving” the edges. “Milled” refers to the fact that the coin blanks, or planchets, were made on a milling machine and were of consistent weight and size, perfect for the new economy. Merchants would either take the whole coin as tender or cut the coin into halves, quarters or eighths to “make change.”

It is believed the origins of the “$” symbol came from the column and stripes on the obverse of the coins.  The obverse portrays the Pillars of Hercules surrounding crowned, conjoined globes and ocean waves below, hence the name “Pillar Dollar” and was valued at 8 reales or “Piece of eight.”  1753MO MF MEXICO 8R MS 61 006

Thomas Jefferson even recommended to the Continental Congress on September 2, 1776 that the new country adopt the Spanish Pillar as a monetary unit of value. Years later in 1792, the coinage act created the

United States Mint. Ironically, our first U.S. dollars were not as popular as the Spanish dollars, which were heavier and made of finer silver. The Spanish Dollar was THE standard coinage in America and it remained legal tender in the United States until the Coinage Act of 1857.

1754MO MM Mexico 8R MS 62   1754MO MM Mexico 8R MS62 REV

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Information gathered in part by:
The Official Red Book. A Guide Book of United States Coins 2015.

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Athenian Owl silver tetradrachm coin

Athenian Owl silver tetradrachm is considered to be one of the most recognizable coins in history because they were the first widely used coins in international trade. For this reason, the classical Owl silver tetradrachm was trusted from kingdom to kingdom and were used by noted individuals such as Pythagoras, Democritus, Hippocrates, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes.

The first generation style tetradrachm is famous for its portrayal of Athena, with her almond shaped eye, archaic smile as well as for the charming owl reverse produced around 6th century. Around 480 B.C. a wreath of olive leaves and a decorative scroll were added to Athena’s helmet. On the reverse a crescent moon was added. During the period 449 – 413 B.C. enormous quantities of tetradrachms were minted to finance expansive wonders and building projects such as the Parthenon and to cover the costs of the Peloponnesian War.

Attica-Athens-Tetra-Owl-MS-5-5-Holder 9-17-15


Early in the fifth century BC Athens became the foremost naval power in the Greek world. This was partly due to the discovery of silver in her territory. According to the historian Herodotus (ca. 484-425 BC), there was a debate about what to do with the newfound wealth: ‘…Build? Expand? Party like the Romans? The revenues from the mines at Laurium had brought huge sums of money into the Athenians’ treasury. The hero Themistocles persuaded them not to distribute it, but rather to use the money to build two hundred war-ships.’ (Herodotus, Book 7, Chapter 144) Themistocles advice turned out to be spot on–It was largely due to the Athenian fleet that the Greeks won their war at this time against the Xerxes and the Persian Empire, they secured the mainland of classical Greece from Persian invasion

In ancient times, the story goes, Athens had no patron, but both Poseidon and Athena wished to take the city under their protection. To settle matters, Zeus proposed a contest – whichever of the two could give the most precious gift to the city would be allowed to be its patron. On the day appointed by Zeus, Poseidon and Athena met on the plain outside the city. Poseidon presented his gift first – he struck his trident into the ground, and from the trench it made a well of water sprang up. The water, unfortunately, was salt, and not much good for drinking or irrigating.Attica-Athens-Tetra-Owl-MS-5-5-BS 9-17-15

When it was Athena’s turn, she knelt and dug a small hole in which she planted an olive branch. The branch began to grow, and within moments, it was a towering tree bearing rip fruit. Her gift was judged far more useful, and indeed it was. Though the olive is widely seen now as a symbol of peace, at the time it meant survival. The olive tree provided food, oil, shelter and fuel for fires. Thus, Athena became the patron goddess of Athens and took the city under her protection.


On the Athens Owl, she is most often depicted wearing a warrior’s helmet. In the earliest version of the coin, her face has few distinguishable features, and the helmet is more suggested than drawn. As time went on, her visage became far more detailed, and the helmet drawn in all its glory. One mark of the latest period of Ancient Grecian coins is the shape and orientation of Athena’s eyes – open corners, giving the face a more lifelike appearance.

The ancient slang names for the coins of Athens were “owls” and “ladies” (in Greek). “Owls” were so popular as a “work-horse” currency of the ancient world that the design remained essentially unchanged and somewhat archaic long after other cities began to produce coins of a more refined artistic style. The Athenian Owl is still very popular many people consider the Athenian owl to be “the” ancient coin–the most important, the most beautiful, the most historic, the one you need to own.

What made the Athenian silver tetradrachm popular and long lasted status as trusted money? The people on the street, that’s who. They hustled from town to town, selling goods in the Greek world. They knew that they could trust the Athenian silver tetradrachm as payment because it contained full weight of the best silver. Athens was the strongest economic force in the Greek world. Their mines provided the Athenians with an abundance of fine silver for coin production.

The Owl tetradrachm belongs to a large group of issues of the 480s-440’sBC, the period of the construction of the Athenian fleet. The two designs on the Athenian coins both allude to the patronage of the city by the goddess Athena. On the front of the coin is the head of the goddess herself, and on the reverse is her bird, the owl. These design remained unchanged on Athenian coinage for over three hundred years. Athens carefully regulated the manufacture of its silver tetradrachm. In fact, the penalty for counterfeiting the Athens Owl was death, but that didn’t stop counterfeiters from trying.

The coin’s reverse is equally intriguing, portraying Athena’s symbol, the owl, now an international symbol of wisdom. The letters ‘AOE’–or more precisely, “Alpha Theta Epsilon” or “Athe”–form an abbreviation of “Athens”.

Stories have been said that President Theodore Roosevelt loved the Athenian Owl and kept one in his pocket for inspiration. His love of the Owl coin was primarily responsible for the Golden Age of American coins during the early part of 20th century. Working with the talented Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the most renowned American sculptor at the time. They ushered in the $20 Saint-Gaudens double eagle gold piece. Many American and Europeans consider the coin, which features classical Greek design elements, to be the most attractive ever minted in the U.S.

A little history for the day.
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Happy Halloween!

Halloween History & Origin – from Wikipedia

Halloween is the one of the oldest holidays still celebrated today. It’s one of the most popular holidays, second only to Christmas. While millions of people celebrate Halloween without knowing its origins and myths, the history and facts of Halloween make the holiday more fascinating.

Some people view Halloween as a time for fun, putting on costumes, trick-or-treating, and having theme parties. Others view it as a time of superstitions, ghosts, goblins and evil spirits that should be avoided at all costs.

As the Christian debate goes on, celebrating Halloween is a preference that is not always viewed as participating in an evil holiday. Halloween is often celebrated with no reference to pagan rituals or the occult.

Halloween History

Halloween is on October 31st, the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday, honoring the dead. Halloween was referred to as

All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago.

All Hallows Eve is the evening before All Saints Day, which was created by Christians to convert pagans, and is celebrated on November 1st. The Catholic church honored saints on this designated day.


Origin of Halloween

While there are many versions of the origins and old customs of Halloween, some remain consistent by all accounts. Different cultures view Halloween somewhat differently but traditional Halloween practices remain the same.

Halloween culture can be tr aced back to the Druids, a Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe. Roots lay in the feast of Samhain, which was annually on October 31st to honor the dead.

Samhain signifies “summers end” or November. Samhain was a harvest festival with huge sacred bonfires, marking the end of the Celtic year and beginning of a new one. Many of the practices involved in this celebration were fed on superstition.

The Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night. Since not all spirits were thought to be friendly, gifts and treats were left out to pacify the evil and ensure next years crops would be plentiful. This custom evolved into trick-or-treating.

Austin, TX- 6th Street on Halloween – from Capstone Acquisitions

6th Street, Austin’s most famous entertainment district, is busy on regular evenings, particularly on the weekend. Halloween, as you can imagine, is usually off the charts and barely containable.

It’s hard to believe that after all the hassle it takes to get down there, so many people still go – including myself or used to in my younger days. Depending on where you live in Austin, it usually takes 20-30 minutes to get to 6th, followed by several minutes of bobbing and weaving through one-way streets, pedicabs and jaywalkers. The amount of time it takes to find a cheap parking spot or valet, close to the club you want, is just ridiculous if you don’t know your way around.

Austin Halloween

To be completely honest, it’s not for everyone. I would compare it to the insanity and pure ridiculousness of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, just on a smaller scale. 6th street is blocked off for blocks in each direction, and there are people absolutely everywhere.

There are costumes of all shapes and sizes. The thought and creativity that is put into some of the costumes you will see down there is unmatched. From what I remember, these are not kid friendly costumes. So prepare yourself for lots of cleavage, ass cracks, exposed boobs, fake penises, 6 packs, party balls, and 300 lb people in thongs. You will laugh so hard you might cry. People watching from a vantage point with a cold beverage does not get much better than on Halloween night. Come early and stay late is the mantra.

Here is a great documentary that a fellow Austinite made on the madness and craziness of Halloween on 6th Street:

At the end of every night on 6th Street, the street itself is cram-packed with people heading to their cars, stragglers trying to find their friends, people sitting on the curb eating pizza, drunk kids stumbling, and cops lined up and down the streets to scout for future jailbirds. (Word to the wise: Make sure you have a designated driver or be a hipster and use Uber.)

Have a safe and fun Halloween evening where ever you are. I’ll be relaxing in North Austin Suburbia. On my driveway handing out candy with my brothers, drinking a cold one as our kids run around with their friends. Let the holiday season begin.

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Alexander The Great Coins

Perhaps no other ruler throughout history was as influential in the design of coins and money as Alexander the Great. The coins minted during his reign influenced the future of coinage on three continents, and incorporated symbols that are still widely used in coins today. Of course, coinage was only one of the facets of history affected by Alexander.

Widely acknowledged as one of the greatest generals that ever lived, Alexander was only 20 years old when he became the king of Macedonia. In just thirteen short years, he changed the face of the world. By the time of his death in 323 B.C., he brought the entirety of the Persian Empire under Greek rule. From the borders of India to the Adriatic Sea, from Egypt to the Black Sea, Alexander’s victories expanded the Greek empire across three continents. And across those three continents and that vast empire, the coinage approved by Alexander became the standard on which currency would be based for centuries to come.

The most common of those coins, and those most commonly referred to as an Alexander, were silver coins bearing the head of Heracles on the front and a seated Zeus on the reverse, along with the king’s name. These were minted during Alexander’s life, and continued to be minted in the twenty years following his death by Macedonian generals who divided his kingdom, and for another two centuries by independent cities as international coinage. Thus, there are thousands of Alexanders still in existence. Like the Constantines of Imperial Rome, though, there are so many types and designs that a coin collector could easily specialize in AlexaAlexanderIII-336-323-AV-Slander’s alone. Unlike the Constantine’s however, the differences among Alexanders exist in mint marks and minute differences that makes dating silver Alexander tetradrachms challenging, at best.

Of course, the silver tetradrachms that are most commonly referred to were only one of the denominations of coins minted under Alexander and in his wake. The following were the most common types:


Alexander gold stater
Standardized at 8.67 grams, the gold stater was one of the highest denomination coins. It showed the helmeted head of Athena on the front, and the standing figure of Nike, the goddess of victory, on the reverse. Nike holds a wreath in her extended left hand and a naval standard in the left. The word ALEXANDROU is imprinted vertically behind Nike.

Alexander silver Tetradrachm and Drachm
Silver tetradrachms (four drachmas) and drachmas bore the head of Heracles wearing a lion skin facing right on the front. On the rear, Zeus is seated on a throne, facing left, holding a scepter in one hand and an eagle in the other. The word ALEXANDROU is vertically imprinted behind Zeus.Alex-III-Drachm-Lifetime-CH-MS-5x4 Holder 10-6-15

click to enlarge

Alexander bronze coins
The bronze Alexander coins represent the widest variations in both denominations and design. The most commonly found bronze Alexanders feature the head of Heracles on the front, and a quiver and club on the back. The variations of other denominations differ in back design, and include a horseman and Macedonian shield designs.

Alexander’s legacy
Alexander’s lasting legacy was not his reign, but the cultural diffusion his conquests afforded. His establishment of Greek colonies and culture in the conquered lands resulted in a new Hellenistic culture. The evidence can be seen in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire until the mid 15th century. Alexander became the measure against which generals to this day compare themselves, and military academies throughout the world teach his military genius.
In later years the famous Julius Caesar wept upon seeing a statue of Alexander, since he himself had achieved so little at the same age.
Napolean Bonapart of France encouraged the comparisons with Alexander, whose fame as a commander and conqueror was unequaled.