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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ InsectsView Options:  |  |  | 

Insects on Ancient Coins

Elaios, Thracian Chersonesos, c. 350 - 281 B.C.

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The city of Elaios in Thracian Chersonesos occupied a strategic position on what is now called the Gallipoli peninsula. In the ancient world, it was know for its sanctuary of the Trojan hero Protesilaos. Philostratos, writing of this sanctuary in the early third century A.D., speaks of a temple statue of Protesilaos standing on a base which was shaped like the prow of a boat. Of all the references listed in this coin's attribution, SNG Copenhagen is the only to list any coins of this rare city.
GB85370. Bronze AE 13, SNG Cop 898 (also same countermark); BMC Thrace -, Corpus Nummorum Thracorum -, SNG Tub -, SNG BM -, SNG Stancomb -, SNG Pushkin -, VF, well centered, highlighting earthen deposits, some marks, some corrosion, reverse slightly flattened by counter marking, weight 2.392 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, die axis 0o, Elaios mint, c. 350 - 281 B.C.; obverse veiled female head (Demeter?) right (wreathed in grain?); countermark: lion forepart right in an round punch; reverse bee upward, seen from above, EΛAIOY/ΣIΩN flanking in two upward lines first on left, ΠA monogram below; extremely rare; $250.00 (Ä212.50)


Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 300 - 250 B.C.

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Metapontum or Metapontion was an important city of Magna Graecia, on a plain of extraordinary fertility on the Gulf of Tarentum, between the river Bradanus and the Casuentus (modern Basento). It was distant about 20 km from Heraclea and 40 from Tarentum. The ruins of Metapontum are located in the frazione of Metaponto, in the comune of Bernalda, in the Province of Matera, Basilicata region, Italy.
SH70576. Bronze AE 14, Johnston Bronze 62, SNG ANS 574, SNG Cop 1261, SNG Fitzwilliam 534, SNG Forbat 55, SNG Lloyd 420, SNG Evelpidis 232, HN Italy 1698, BMC Italy -, gVF, nice style, well centered, weight 3.426 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 270o, Metapontion mint, c. 300 - 250 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, hair rolled and wreathed with barley, wearing pendant earring; reverse META (upwards on left), head of barley with leaf right, fly (bee?) on right flying right above leaf; $215.00 (Ä182.75)


Kingdom of Commagene, Julia Iotape, 38 - 72 A.D.

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Iotape was the daughter of Antiochus III and Iotapa, the king and queen of Commagene. Her parents were full-blooded siblings and direct descendants of the Seleucid kings. Iotapa and her brother Antiochus IV were very young when their father died in 17 A.D. Tiberius agreed with the citizens of Commagene to make their Kingdom a part of the Roman province of Syria. From 17 until 38, Iotapa and her brother were raised in Rome, members of the remarkable court of Antonia Minor. Antonia Minor was a niece of Augustus and the youngest daughter of Mark Antony. She was very influential and supervised her circle of various princes and princesses, assisting in the political preservation of the Empireís borders, and the affairs of client states. In 38, Caligula returned Antiochus IV and Iotape to the throne of Commagene. In addition, Caligula enlarged their territory with a part of Cilicia bordering on the seacoast and gave them one million gold pieces, the total amount of revenue collected from Commagene during the twenty years that it had been under Syria. The reason for his extraordinary generosity is unknown. Perhaps it was just a stroke of Caligula's well-attested eccentricity. Iotapa and Antiochus IV married and had three children. Iotapa died before Commagene was annexed by Vespasian in 72. When she died, Antiochus IV founded a town called Iotapa in her honor (modern Aytap, Turkey).
GB84499. Bronze AE 26, Lindgren-Kovacs 1887 (same countermark); RPC I 3858; BMC Galatia p. 109, 4; Nercessian AC -; SNG Cop VII 5; countermark: Howgego 403 (after 69 A.D.), VF, straight edge flan, weight 15.289 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, die axis 0o, Samosata (site now flooded by the AtatŁrk Dam) mint, 66 - 72 B.C.; obverse BAΣIΛIΣΣA IΩTAΠH ΦIΛA∆EΛΦOΣ (of Queen Iotape Philadelphus), diademed and draped bust of Iotape to right, countermark: crossed cornucopias; reverse KOMMAΓ−HNΩN, scorpion and inscription all within laurel wreath; from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection; scarce; $150.00 (Ä127.50)


Erythrai, Ionia, c. 133 - 30 B.C.

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In 334 B.C. Alexander the Great made Erithrae a free city. According to Pliny (HN 5.116) and Pausanias (2.1.5), Alexander planned to cut a canal through the peninsula of Erythrae to connect Teos bay with the gulf of Smyrna. When Alexander returned to Memphis in April 331 B.C., envoys from Greece were waiting for him, saying that the oracles at Didyma and Erythrae, which had been silent for a long time, had suddenly spoken and confirmed that Alexander was the son of Zeus. Alexander was already thinking that he was of a more than human nature when he entered Greece, after all, the people of Didyma and Erythrae could not have known that Alexander was recognized as the son of Ra and wanted to be called "son of Zeus." Erythrae was later associated with Pergamum and with Rome, and after the death of Attalos III in 133 BC, when the Pergamene kingdom was bequeathed to the Romans, it flourished as a "civitas libera" attached to the Roman province of Asia. Erythrai_amphitheater
GB75487. Bronze trichalkon, BMC Ionia p. 140, 212; SNG Cop 721; SNG Tub 2873; SNGvA -; SNG Munchen -, VF, green patina, weight 2.524 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 90o, Ionia, Erythrai (north of Ildiri, Turkey) mint, magistrate Herakleos, c. 133 - 30 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse Bow-in-bow case above, HPAKΛEOΣ / EΠIKOYPOY (magistrate's name and patronymic) in two lines across center, bee left lower left, club over EPY lower right; scarce; $60.00 (Ä51.00)


"Kainon," Sicily, c. 367 - 340 B.C.

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This issue, assigned to Alaisa in many references, was perhaps produced by Thracian mercenaries operating in Sicily in the 4th century B.C.
GI75648. Bronze tetras, Calciati I, p. 252, 10; SNG Cop 134 (Alaesa); SNG Munchen 218 (Alaisa); SNG ANS 1178 (Alaesa); BMC Sicily p. 29, 8 (Alaesa); HGC 2 509, F, scrapes, weight 9.108 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 45o, uncertain mint, c. 367 - 340 B.C.; obverse griffin springing left, wings open, grasshopper left below; reverse horse prancing left, loose reigns flying behind, KAINON in exergue, star with eight rays around a central pellet above; $50.00 (Ä42.50)







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Insects