Berk
    (Skip down to catalog contents).  Long ago I took notes on themes I noted in Berk catalogs up to #81. I have put them here (below, on this page) If you have the old Berk catalogs and want to find the issues with strong runs of, say, Byzantine copper, you can find them quickly here. You can "search" newer catalogs with "control-F" or just skim the list by eye -- it is not long.

Harlan J. Berk catalogs are glossy  8 1/2" by 11" size with many coins well-photographed in black and white, with recent catalogs having some or many pages in color. Gold is listed first, and most have a large number of gold coins -- some Greek gold, some Roman gold, and lots of Byzantine gold. (Berk is an expert on Byzantine coins, and has far more interesting gold, silver, and copper than most other dealers.)  Then Greek silver and Roman silver are listed, followed by a limited selection of AE, which may include Roman provincial coins. There are usually a substantial number of very expensive and even extremely expensive pieces. Berk carries some of the very best coins.   
    Berk catalogues contain much otherwise unavailable information about the true rarity and correct chronology of Roman imperial coins, and the correct description and interpretation of their types, based on Curtis Clay's largely unpublished researches. Berk also lists more academic Roman rarities than most other dealers.
        If you are intested in Byzantine coins, his lists may have the best selection of coins, including rare AE. Considering his catalogs are so inexpensive on the secondary market, I would expect Berk catalogs to be on the shelves of any serious collector of Byzantine coins.
    Berk also carries numerous antiquities, some of which cost tens of thousands of dollars, but I will not review them.

About prices.  Berk catalogs do not come with "Prices Realized." They are "buy-or-bid" catalogs and the "buy" level of common coins is consistently above the regular best price you could expect to find, so the prices listed are not a good reflection of actual sale prices. Occasional bidding updates show that about 10% (perhaps more) of the coins actually sell at that level. I imagine a substantial percentage do not sell even at the opening level, which is about 60% of the buy level. But, you cannot tell, so the value of these as price guides is very much less than most other auction catalogs.
    The Roman Coin Price Yearbook 2003 and 2005 editions published by Morten Eske Mortensen include Berk PRs for Roman coins. They are not available any other way.

    I have gone through some of the catalogs looking for groups that might interest specialists. My "eye" is not tuned to all specialties, so I will not necessarily catch what is of interest to you, but here is what I saw that distguishes the catalogs from his usual. When a group of interesting types appears, it usually does not sell out (either those don't all sell, or there were more where they came from) and the more of the same types appear again a few catalogs later.
    If  a catalog has, say, a dozen of some type, there probably will be at least a few in following catalogs.

Expect:  Greek gold, Roman gold, Byzantine gold, many Greek silver, some very high value, quite a few Roman Republican, a long run of high-grade imperial denarii through antoniniani, usually few tetrarchal pieces and later, some, but not much, Greek AE and Roman AE, and some Roman provincial, followed by more pieces of unusual Byzantine copper, and sometimes silver, than other dealers.

Old catalogs by theme (only through Berk #81):
sestertii  48, 61, 80; 3rd C. sestertii: 50
folles:  73, 46, 75
Gallienus: 46, 81
Byzantine AE: 48, 57, 65, 77
Byzantine gold, AV: 50, 57, 58, 59, 60, 68, 76, 79, 81
Byzantine Constantine XI: 80
Byzantine anonymous bronze: 80
Roman gold, AV: 50, 81
Philip: 52, 56, 61, 68, 78, 81
late ants:  46, 52, 59, 62, 65
Roman Republican:  54, 55, 56, 58, 60, 61
Syrian tetradrachms: 59, 60
Severans: 61, 66
Roman Egypt, Alexandria: 65, 66, 68, 78, 79
Roman provincial, Greek imperial: 65, 76, 77
Lower Moesia, Roman provincial: 70, 74, 79
as, dupondius: 77
Postumus 47
Gallienus-folles: 46
Ptolomaic tetradrachms: 49, 78
Alexander drachms and tetradrachms: 78, 79, 80
Croesus: 49
Ushabaties: 64, 68, 62
Scarabs: 62, 80



Berk catalog number / date / emphasis beyond the usual expectation

70  (3/92)  802 ancients. Roman provincial Lower Moesia (111), Roman Egypt (109)
71  (5/92)  379 ancients
72  (8/920  394 ancients
73  (9/92)  275 folles of the tetrarchy (only), high grade, mostly common
74  (11/92)  487 ancients. Justinian silver (8), Roman provincial Lower Moesia (62), Roman Egypt (56)
75  (1/93)  461 ancients. 5 color E. folles of tetrarchy (55)
76  (4/93)  568 ancients. 3 color E.  Aegina sea turtles (16)
77  (6/93)  572 ancients. 3 color ppl. Alexander staters (5), quadrans (48), scrabs (99)
78  (9/93)  611 ancients. 2 color ppl. Alexander drachms (117), tetradrachms (14), Rhodes (12), Ptolemaic tetradrachms Ptolemy VIII-Cleopatra VII (44), Roman Egypt 1st - 2nd C. tetradrachms (73)
79  (11/93)  634 ancients. 2 color ppl. Alexander drahms (54), Parthia Vologases tetradrachms (11), quadrans (39), Roman Egypt (50, including 20 drachms)
80  (1/94)  717 ancients. 2 color ppl. Alexander drachms (20), Byzantine Constantine XI (15), anonymous class A2 folles (15)
81  (3/94)  750 ancients. 2 color ppl, 1 E.
82  (7/94)  942 ancients. 4 color ppl. Alexander drachms (64), Tarentum boy on dolphin (55), Metapontum (17), Corinth Pegasus (46), Parthian (21), Ptolemy I-III (132), quadrans (18), Byzantine Cherson (10)
83  (10/94)  926 ancients. 4 color ppl. Rhodes (10), Aspendus wrestlers (15), Indo-Greek tetradrachms (16), Ptolemaic tetradrachms (29), Aurleian-Maximian radiates (293)
84  (1/95)  994 ancients. 2 color ppl. Tarentum (21), Alexander drachms (35), Corinth-style Pegasus (13), Ptolemica tetradrachms (22), Byzantine Constantine XI (13), Syrian tetradrachms, Caracalla-Macrinus (22), folles of tetrarchy (49), Julian II bull (9), Chaghanian (30)
85  (3/95)  583 ancients. no color. Julian II AE3 (6), medieval hungarian denar (38)
85 1/2  Berk's CICF sale of 3/95 -- a real auction. 268 ancients. 4 color ppl. HV. MQP. 53 G, 106 Parthian, 42 RR, 67 RI.
86  (7/95)  1191 ancients. 2 color ppl. Ephesus diobols (34), Corinth-style pegasus (20), Baktrian and Indo-Greek drachms (112), Claudius-Hadrian tetradrachms of Asia Minor (24), Julian II bull (9) and AE3's (9), Roman Egypt (67)
87  (9/95)  738 ancients. no color. Athens Owls of 3rd C. (28), Carthage large billon (12), sestertii (70), Coinstantinian AE (94), Vespasian IVDAEA (16), medieval Hungarian denar (27)
88  (11/95)  820 ancients. 3 color E. Parthian tetradrachms (28) and drachms (17), Carthage large billon (31), Syrian tetradrachms (45)
89  (2/96)  834 ancients.  3 color ppl. early Lycian portraits (on a small single-sheet insert) (8), Claudius-Hadrian tetradrahms of Asia Minor (15), worn sestertii (c. 120), folles of the tetrarchy (47), Byzantine Constantine XI (12)
90  (4/96)  523 ancients. 3 color ppl. posthumous Alexander tetradrachms (32), tetrarchy abdication folles (16 among 62 folles)
91  (6/96)  810 ancients. 2 color ppl. Carthage large billon (15), Alexander tetradrachms (9) and drachms (13) and posthumous (12), Parthian tetradrachms (28)
92  (9/96)  611 ancients. 2 color ppl.  Arabic gold of the 1500's (26), a variety of Athens owls (14), Constantinian AE3's (67), Roman Republican Janus struck AE (36), tetrarchy abdication folles (11 among 37)
93  (11/96)  631 ancients. 2 color ppl. Tarentum boy on dolphin (43), Bisaltae octodrachm (3), Alesxander posthumous (11), Athens New Style (10), Miletos 1/12 stater (10)
94  (1/97)  734 ancients. 3 color ppl. Tarentum (12), Metapontum (7), Philip II tetradrachms (10), Alexander tetradrahms (13) and posthumous (6) and drachms (8), various Athens owls (16), Sasasanian (18), Vetranio (3 -- the tip of a large hoard), KOSON (7), Byzantine Constantine XI (5)
95  (3/97)  640 ancients. 3 color ppl. Constantinian AE3's (147, among which 91 are of London)
96  (6/97)  988 ancients. 3 color ppl.
97  (8/97)  675. 3 color ppl.
98  (6/97)  365 ancients. 2 color ppl. Seleucid (31), coins of the mines (5), Roman Egypt (61)
99  (11/97)  825 ancients. 2 color ppl.  Athens New Style (10), Roman Republican Janus struck asses (16), Pescennius Niger (4), tetrarchal folles-Constantine (108), Roman Egypt (62), Roman Intaglios (6)



100  Maxentius rare AE (24), DIVO of tetrarachs (23), Romulus (12)  [The best coins from what I call the "Maxentius hoard"]
101  --
102  Biblos, Arzbaal (14)
103  Selinus (12), Aegina turtles (27), Maxentius (19)
104  Larissa (24), Aegina turtles (13)
105  Maxentius (27)
106  Larissa (10), Aegina turtles (18), Aspendus wrestlers (11), Byzantine Palaeologan (10), large diameter Roman provincial (c. 60)
107  Acanthus tetrobol (11), Byzantine Palaeologan (18)
108  [? Was this an unnumbered autograph catalog, not coins?]
109  --
110  early Roman Republican Crawford type 44/5 (22 varieties) and anonymous denarii (31)
111  the controversial Brutus or Mithradates VI gold coins of Lysimachus type (22)
112  the controversial Brutus or Mithradates VI gold coins of Lysimachus type (32)
113  Greek gold (21), Brutus/Mithradates VI (7)   [this catalog is has all photos in color]
114  Phokaia and Mylilene electrum (16)
115  Phokaia and Mylilene electrum (28), Brutus/Mithradates VI (6), Attic Lekythos (pots) 10
116  Brutus/Mithradates VI (13)
117  Greek gold of Asia Minor (11), Byzantine Palaeologan (27)
118  Maxentius (19)
119  Croesus (complete type collection - 30 different types in one lot!)
120  Persis (59)  [the largest group I've seen published in one catalog]
121  Greek Asia Minor gold (11)
122  Byzantine gold collection (112)    [Berk usually has many Byzantine gold coins, but this is a real collection with major rarities]
123  Roman Republican silver (340)
124  Maxentius (14)
125  Maxentius (9)
126  Nerva denarii (24)
127  (6/02)  Greek AE of Sicily, a collection (65)
128  Maxentius (13), Byzantine AE (63, of which Palaeologan are 36)
129  --
130  Maxentius (12)
131  --
132 --
133  --
134  Rhodes AE35 (12), Byzantine Palaeologan (34)
135  --
136  Byzantine Palaeologan AE (26)
137  decorated oil lamps (32)
138  --
139  (8/04)  525 ancients. 2 color E.  Brutus EID MAR aureus.


After 149 catalogs with natural-sized photos they put out a catalog with images enlarged 6-8% or so. 32 mm coins are reproduced at 34 mm. A nice 18 mm denarius is 19 or 20 mm. This is not enough to be an obvious enlargement, but enough to please the eye. If you think the Berk coins look especially good in catalogs 150ff, keep in mind the slight increase in image size.


Return to the main page.