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

Collecting History through Ancient Coins

Holding an ancient coin is holding history in your hands. Some coins actually depict historical events. Many include the image of a historic king or emperor. Every ancient coin relates to the people and events of the time and place it was struck. Every ancient coin relates to an interesting historical story. The stories on this page are a primary source of our ancient coin obsession. We hope you enjoy them.


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Marcianopolis, Moesia Inferior

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The Three Graces, named Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Thalia, were the attendants of Aphrodite (Venus). They are shown on Roman provincial coins as a statuary group, nude and sometimes holding apples.
RP28313. Bronze AE 23, AMNG I/I 603, VF, weight 7.812 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, Markianopolis (Devnya, Bulgaria) mint, obverse IOYΛIA ∆OMNA CEB, draped bust right; reverse MAPKIANOΠOΛITΩN, the three graces, outer two each holding an apple; SOLD


Arsinoe II, Wife of Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

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Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

David Sear notes, "a handsome example of this remarkable coinage." Following Arsinoe's death in 268 B.C., Ptolemy II minted a massive issue of outstanding gold and silver medallic coins honoring his departed wife.

Arsinoe II is portrayed in the guise of Isis. Her worship was widespread during this period, and for generations following it.
SH24847. Gold oktodrachm, Svoronos 475; BMC Ptolemies p. 43, 10 and pl. VIII, 4; SGCV II 7768, gVF, weight 27.702 g, maximum diameter 28.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 253 - 246 B.C.; obverse diademed and veiled head or Arsinoe II right, K behind; reverse APΣINOHΣ ΦIΛA∆EΛΦOY, double cornucopia bound with fillet; SOLD


Faustina Sr., Augusta 25 February 138 - Early 141, Wife of Antoninus Pius

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The Romans believed that Fortuna, after deserting the Persians and Assyrians, took flight over Macedonia and saw Alexander perish as she passed into Egypt and into Syria. At last arriving on Mount Palatine, she threw aside her wings and casting away her wheel, entered Rome where she took up her abode forever.
SH30326. Gold aureus, Calico 1746 (S3), RIC III 349b, BMCRE IV AP285, Cohen II 4, Choice EF, weight 7.253 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 141 A.D.; obverse DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, draped bust right, hair elaborately waived and banded, drawn up at the back and piled in a round coil at top; reverse AETERNITAS, Fortuna standing half left, patera in right, rudder on globe vertical in left; nice style, attractive portrait, well struck on a broad flan; ex Cayon Subastas auction 13 - 14 Dec 2007, lot 3304; a few minor hairline scratches; scarce; SOLD


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.

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The first Rome mint portrait sestertius type, and a highly sought after reverse type.
SH38172. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 33; BMCRE p. 152, 36; BnF II 47; Cohen I 4; SRCV I 1800, NGC VF, Strike 5, Surface 2, weight 26.340 g, maximum diameter 34.5 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, laureate head left; reverse AGRIPPINA DRVSILLA IVLIA, the three sisters of Caligula standing, in the guises of Securitas, Concordia, and Fortuna, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; NGC certified, excellent centering and strike, attractive portrait, patina worn on high spots; rare; SOLD


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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Thompson notes that Lampsacus was Lysimachos largest mint in Asia Minor, with approximately 150 known obverse dies. Output from Lampsacus declined when Amphipolis began its extensive coinage c. 288 B.C.
SH24648. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 47, MŁller 401, superb EF, weight 16.854 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 0o, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, 286 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Athena enthroned left, rests arm on shield, transverse spear against right side, holds Nike crowning name, HP monogram inner left, crescent in exergue; fabulous style and high relief portrait; SOLD


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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In the years following his death Alexander the Great came to be the subject of cult worship throughout the Mediterranean basin. His corpse was appropriated by Ptolemy I who transported it to Egypt, initially interring it at Memphis, then to a mausoleum and center of worship in Alexandria. It survived until the 4th century A.D. when Theodosius banned paganism, only to disappear without trace.
SH48867. Gold stater, MŁller 162; SNG Cop 1086 ff. var. (monogram), EF, weight 8.544 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Byzantion (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, posthumous, c. 250 - 150 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great right wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Athena seated left, Victory in extended right, resting left elbow on shield, monogram inner left, BY on throne, trident in exergue ornamented with two small dolphins; extraordinary mint luster, high relief, nice style, fantastic coin!; SOLD


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great's personal bodyguards, was appointed strategos (general) in Thrace and the Chersonesos after Alexander's death. He became one of the diadochi (successors of Alexander) who were initially generals and governors, but who continuously allied and warred with each other and eventually divided the empire. In 309, he founded his capital Lysimachia in a commanding situation on the neck connecting the Chersonesos with the mainland. In 306, he followed the example of Antigonus in taking the title of king, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedonia. In 281, he was killed in battle against Seleucus, another successor of Alexander.
SH09059. Gold stater, Thompson 164, EF, weight 8.50 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Ephesus mint, posthumous, 305 - 297 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great right wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Athena seated left, resting elbow on shield and holding Victory, bee and E-Φ in left field; struck with beautiful dies, mint luster!; SOLD


Pontic Kingdom, Mithradates VI, c. 120 - 63 B.C., Lysimachos Type

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Mithradates VI Eupator "the Great"expanded his Pontic Kingdom through conquest, which inevitably brought him into conflict with Rome. Mithradates regarded himself as the champion of the Greeks against Rome, however, after three years of war, he was defeated by Pompey the Great. The design of this coin is taken from a coin of Lysimachos, bodyguard of Alexander the Great, and King of Thrace 323 - 281 B.C. The Lysimachos coin depicted Alexander the Great on the obverse. The features of the obverse portrait on this type are those of Mithradates VI.
SH12093. Gold stater, SNG Cop 1089 var. (monogram), Choice EF, weight 8.232 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 0o, Byzantium (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 100 - 85 B.C; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great (with the features of Mithradates VI), wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Athena enthroned left, holding Nike and resting left arm on shield, transverse spear against her side, BY on throne, (AP monogram) over right arm, trident and two dolphins in exergue; fantastic style with superb portrait of Mithradates as Alexander the Great!; SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

"The coin that killed Caesar." This coin declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life." He did serve as Dictator for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this issue. For Caesar to put his image on coins and essentially declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. This coin (along with other similar types) is sometimes called "the coin that killed Caesar." Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH50025. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/13, Sydenham 1074, Sear CRI 107d, RSC I Julius Caesar 39, BMCRR I Rome 4173, SRCV I 1414, Vagi 56, gVF, weight 4.103 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sepullius Macer, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right, long scepter in left hand, shield at feet right; banker's mark on Caesar's nose, a little carelessly struck with some flatness, tiny chip in border near DICT; ex Colosseum Coin Exchange, Auction 119, 5 Feb 2002 (copy of catalog included); SOLD


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.

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The first Rome mint portrait sestertius type, and a highly sought after reverse type.
SH32176. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 33; BMCRE p. 152, 36; BnF II 47; Cohen I 4; SRCV I 1800, aVF, full circles strike, light corrosion, weight 24.043 g, maximum diameter 36.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, laureate head left; reverse AGRIPPINA DRVSILLA IVLIA, the three sisters of Caligula standing, in the guises of Securitas, Concordia, and Fortuna, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; ex CNG e-sale 11/07, lot 220; rare; SOLD




  




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