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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Geography||View Options:  |  |  |   

Geography

Every ancient coin is associated with a place, at the least where it was minted. Rarely, but occasionally, we learn where a coin was found. Many ancient coins depict the personification of a nation, province, city, or river. Every coin has some tie to geography. Of course collecting every coin is not a theme, so geography must be narrowed down in some way. Collecting the coins of one mint, city or region is popular. Hadrian's famous "travel series" would make an excellent geography theme collection. Another is the travels of Paul. Or you could collect coins from all places you simply find captivating.


Roman Civil War, Vitellius, c. 69 A.D.

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This coin is M71 in Butcher, K. & M. Pointing, The Metallurgy of Roman Silver Coinage: From the Reform of Nero to the Reform of Trajan (Cambridge, 2015). There is a tiny drill hole on the edge where silver was extracted for testing. This was an important coin in the study, with test results indicating 93.9% silver bullion and Gallic isotope ratios strongly suggesting similarity with other Vitellius coins from Gallia, not coins minted for Galba.
RS86684. Silver denarius, Butcher-Pointing M71 (this coin), RIC I Civil Wars 121, BMCRE I 65, RSC I Galba 363, BnF I 75, Martin 7, EF, toned, tight flan, light corrosion, test drill hole on edge, weight 3.127 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Southern Gaul(?) mint, c. 69 A.D.; obverse clasped hands, FIDES above, EXERCITVVM below; reverse clasped hands, FIDES above, PRAETORIANORVM curving along the edge below; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Helios, auction 4 (Munich, 14 Oct 2009), lot 270; ex Coll. A. Lynn collection; ex Classical Numismatic Group, auction 54 (14 June 2000), lot 1484; ex P. DeVicci collection; rare; $1300.00 (€1144.00)


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Otho ruled for just a few months. The mint of Alexandria struck coins with his name, though the portrait bears little resemblance to those of the other mints. It is possible that Alexandria produced coins without having an image of the new emperor.
RP84745. Bronze hemidrachm, RPC I 5364 (3 spec.); Geissen 257; Dattari 336; BMC Alexandria 217; Milne 376; SNG BnF 710; Kampmann-Ganschow 18.13; Emmett 189 (R4); SNG Milan -, F, attractive brown tone, flan crack, light scratches, smoothing, weight 16.768 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, beveled edge; reverse bust of Nilus right, wearing papyrus diadem, cornucopia behind right shoulder, date LA (year 1) before; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $840.00 (€739.20)


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D.

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In 36 A.D., Herod Antipas suffered major losses in a war with Aretas IV of Nabataea, provoked partly by Antipas' divorce of Aretas' daughter. According to Josephus, Herod's defeat was popularly believed to be divine punishment for his execution of John the Baptist. Tiberius ordered Vitellius, the governor of Syria, to capture or kill Aretas, but Vitellius was reluctant to support Herod and abandoned his campaign upon Tiberius' death in 37.
RS91786. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon, group 5, 152; RIC I 30 (C); BMCRE I 60; RSC II 16a; SRCV I 1763, Choice gVF, superb portrait, excellent centering, flow lines, nice round flan, bumps and marks, some die wear, some porosity, weight 3.667 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 90o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 36 - 37 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right, laurel wreath ties fall in small undulations (waves); reverse PONTIF MAXIM (high priest), Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with decorated legs, a single line below, long scepter vertical behind in her right hand, branch in left hand, feet on footstool; $810.00 (€712.80)


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Tribute Penny of Matthew 22:20-21

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Jesus, referring to a "penny" asked, "Whose is this image and superscription?" When told it was Caesar, He said, ''Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:20-21). Since Tiberius was Caesar at the time, this denarius type is attributed by scholars as the "penny" referred to in the Bible.
SH91408. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon, group 4, 150; RIC I 30 (C); BMCRE I 48; RSC II 16a; SRCV I 1763, VF, attractive old collection toning, bumps and scratches, reverse a little off center, weight 3.641 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 150o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 18 - 35 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse PONTIF MAXIM (high priest), Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with decorated legs, a single line below, long scepter vertical behind in her right hand, branch in left hand, feet on footstool; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $700.00 (€616.00)


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Tribute Penny of Matthew 22:20-21

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Jesus, referring to a "penny" asked, "Whose is this image and superscription?" When told it was Caesar, He said, ''Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:20-21). Since Tiberius was Caesar at the time, this denarius type is attributed by scholars as the "penny" referred to in the Bible
SH91313. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon, group 1, 144; RIC I 26 (C); BMCRE I 34; RSC II 16; SRCV I 1763, VF, nice portrait, flow lines, die wear, light marks, reverse a little off center, weight 3.632 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 195o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, earliest type, c. 15 - 18 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse PONTIF MAXIM (high priest), Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with plain legs set on base, long scepter vertical behind in her right hand, branch in left hand, no footstool; $630.00 (€554.40)


Anglo-Gallic, Henry VI de Lancastre, King of France and England, 1422 - 1453

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In 1422, the year old king of England inherited the French throne through his mad grandfather Charles VI of France; the iconography of this type represents the unification of the two nations. Ten years later Joan of Arc would make an appearance which would eventually loosen the English grip on France until by 1436 only Normandy and part of Maine remained in Henry's control.
SH87710. Silver petit blanc, Elias 297a (R), Duplessy 446, Ciani 603, Lafaurie 450, SCBC-SII 8167, leopard mintmark, F, toned, bumps, scratches, crowded flan, weight 1.159 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 210o, Rouen mint, 1423 - 1449; obverse (leopard) HEN-RICVS: - REX (King Henry, triple pellet stop), shields of France (on left) and England (on right), side by side; reverse (leopard) SIT: nOmE: DnI: BEHEDICV' (Blessed be the name of the Lord, triple pellet stops), Latin cross, h left, R right; ex Gordon Andreas Singer, ex E.R. Duncan Elias Collection; rare; $540.00 (€475.20)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 116, Trajan completed his invasion of Parthia by capturing the cities of Seleucia, Babylon, Ctesiphon and Susa. This was the high-water mark of the Roman Empire's eastern expansion.
RX87338. Bronze drachm, BMC Alexandria p. 48, 402; Geissen 702; Emmett 611.19; Dattari 1072; Kampmann-Ganschow 27.662; SNG Milan -, Choice VF, well centered, attractive brown patina, a little flatly struck on highest points, weight 18.113 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 115 - 28 Aug 116 A.D.; obverse AVT TPAI-AN API CEB Γ-EPM ∆AKIK ΠAP, laureate bust right, aegis on far shoulder; reverse Zeus enthroned left, long scepter vertical in right hand, thunderbolt at side in left hand, eagle at feet standing left looking back, L I-Θ (year 19) across field; ex CNG, auction 78 (14 May 2008), lot 1508 ($650 plus fees); ex Empire Coins, auction 8 (7 Dec 1987), lot 429; $420.00 (€369.60)


France, Kingdom of Navarre and Viscountcy of Béarn, Henri III of Navarre (II of Béarn), 1572 - 1610

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Henry IV of France, also known as "Good King Henry," was King of Navarre (Henry III) from 1572 and Viscount of Béarn (Henry II) from 1572. Upon the death of his brother-in-law and distant cousin Henry III of France, Henry was called to the French succession in 1589. He initially kept the Protestant faith but after four years and at least 12 assassination attempts, he abjured the Calvinist faith. He promulgated the Edict of Nantes in 1598, guaranteeing religious freedom and ending the Wars of Religion. He was assassinated in 1610 by a fanatical Catholic. Unpopular immediately after his accession, Henry's popularity greatly improved after his death. The "Good King Henry" (le bon roi Henri) was remembered for his geniality and his great concern about the welfare of his subjects. Henry is said to have originated the oft-repeated phrase, "a chicken in every pot."
WO88341. Silver teston, Duplessy Féodales 1313, Boudeau 604, Poey d'Avant 3471 & pl. LXXIV, 9 corr. (no D cow B acorn, etc.), VF, well centered, toned, double strike, portrait strike a little weak, weight 9.506 g, maximum diameter 29.4 mm, die axis 180o, Béarn, Morlaàs mint, 1573; obverse HENRICVS•II•D•G•REX•NAVARRE•D (cow) B (acorn) (Henry II, by the grace of god, king of Navarre), laureate and cuirassed bust of Henry III, high ruffled collar; reverse GRATIA•DEI•SVM•QD•SVM•1573 (thank God I am what I am), 5 pointed star after date, crowned coat of arms shield, crown cutting the legend at the top, 1st and 4th quarter with arms of Navarre, 2nd of Béarn, and 3rd of Bourbon, flanked on each side with a crowned H; ex Ross D. King (Ontario dealer); $395.00 (€347.60)


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

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We might expect the K on the reverse right to indicate regnal year 20. BMC Ptolemies notes, however, the title ΣΩTHPOΣ (savior) did not appear on the coinage until Ptolemy II's regnal year 25. On some very similar specimens, it is not just a K but instead a KE ligature (), which has been interpreted to mean year 25. Svoronos describes this type (Sv 723) with a KE ligature but the plate coin actually looks like a plain K. It seems likely that a KE ligature was intended but for some specimens it was not correctly engraved or not fully struck.
SH82655. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Milan 142 (same rev. die); cf. Svoronos 723 (ligate KE); BMC Ptolemies p. 29, 55 (same); SNG Cop 509 (same), Weiser -, Noeske -, aVF, test marks, obverse a little off center, bumps and scratches, graffito on reverse before eagles neck, weight 13.808 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 261 - 260 BC; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY ΣΩTHPOΣ (Ptolemy Savior), eagle standing on thunderbolt left, ΣI over ∆I inner left, K inner right; ex Bertolami Fine Arts e-auction 57 (Mar 2018), lot 46; ex Pavlos Pavlou Collection; rare; $340.00 (€299.20)


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy X Alexander I, 109 - 110 B.C., as King in Cyprus

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This coin was struck at Kition when Ptolemy X ruled in Cyprus and Ptolemy IX and Cleopatra III ruled in Egypt. On the death of Ptolemy VIII, Cleopatra was given the option of which son to declare co-ruler. While she would have preferred Ptolemy X, she was pressured by politics to select Ptolemy IX. Her younger son ruled on Cyprus. Later she would depose Ptolemy IX in favor of her favorite, Ptolemy X.

The attribution to Ptolemy X as King in Cyprus is made mostly by process of elimination. The debased silver eliminates Ptolemy I to VI as possibilities. Ptolemy VIII coins have a very different style for Kition Year 5. Serifs are unique to just a few rare Ptolemaic coin types. Perhaps all are the work of a single engraver. Similar tetradrachms in the Paphos I Hoard shows that these must have been minted before the hoard was lost in ~97 B.C. Also, the heavy-set portrait resembles the marble head of Ptolemy X (Boston Museum of Fine Arts 59.51) and differs from the usual images of Ptolemy I.
GP88097. Silver tetradrachm, unpublished, cf. Svoronos 1767 - 1768, VF, porous rough surfaces, flan cracks, weight 12.913 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kition mint, 110 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on a thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, date LE (year 5) before, KI (Kition mintmark) behind, year and mintmark letters with serifs; no other specimen known; $310.00 (€272.80)




  



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Geography