Tory Failmezger has been an avid collector of Ancient Roman Coins since March 1970. It was on that fateful day that a Royal Navy friend, Peter Knight, took him to the Ancient Roman Marketplace at Laternum (modern Lago di Patria) north of Naples, Italy. Three steps from the car, he found his first Roman Coin, a Constantine II AE3 with a watchtower reverse.
Thirty-three years later he published a book on the bronze coins of the period, Roman Bronze Coins, From Paganism to Christianity 294-364 AD with that little coin on the front cover. In the intervening years, his professional life as a US Naval Officer took him all over the world. He was stationed twice in Italy (Naples and Rome), Munich (Germany), Japan and the Philippines. During these assignments, he and his wife, Patricia, were able to travel extensively while raising two children. Tory was able to combine coin collecting with visiting the ancient historical sites.
After retiring from the Navy, Tory spent 15 years as a consultant to the federal government and international private sector firms. This provided an excellent opportunity to continue to travel, visit ancient sites, museums and collect coins. As part of his work he was a frequent guest lecturer on environmental issues and satellite remote sensing.
In 2003, Tory and Patricia started work on their home, a reproduction of Thomas Jefferson’s private house called Poplar Forest. This federal style house proved to be a real challenge as they combined period architectural elements (doors, windows, flooring hardware, etc.) with modern building techniques (insulated concrete forms, recycled car tire roofing tiles, and radiant floor heating). Roman coin collectors will note that the dining room has a copy of the mural from Empress Livia’s house contributing to the ancient roman feel of the house.
During the summer of 2006, Tory was one of the organizers of Coins of Constantine Symposium in York, England. He has also lectured and acted as a site numismatic consultant for the University of Siena, Italy excavations at PAVA (2007 and 2009 seasons) see here.
He holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Southern Methodist University (SMU). He speaks both Italian and German and serves on the board of directors of several non-profit organizations. In the state of Virginia he is a County Planning Commissioner for Warren County.