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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Love & Beauty||View Options:  |  |  |   

Love & Beauty on Ancient Coins

Venus is the Roman goddess principally associated with love and beauty, the rough equivalent of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. The son of Venus and Mars, Cupid to the Romans, Eros to the Greeks, is the god of desire, affection and erotic love.


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

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"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar, but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH28916. 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 3.865 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 315o, 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; superb portrait, toned, excellent centering and strike for the type; SOLD


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII & Alexander Helios, c. 38 B.C.

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Alexander Helios (b. 40 B.C., d. between 29 and 25 B.C.) was the son of Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony. Helios (the Sun) had a twin sister, Cleopatra Selene (the Moon). He was made king of Armenia and king of king of Media and Parthia at about age six. After his mother's death, Egypt and his kingdoms were annexed by Rome; Alexander Helios was placed under the guardianship of Octavia and faded from history.
The exact denominations of this type and the other bronze units issued during Cleopatra's reign are unknown. Based on the bronze Egyptian denominations of Augustus used not long after this coin was struck, this coin was a diobol.
SH16527. Bronze diobol, SGCV II 7957, BMC Ptolemies 2-3, RPC I 3091, Vagi 76, aVF, among the finest known, weight 13.127 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, c. 38 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Cleopatra VII right, as Aphrodite, holding scepter and infant; reverse KΛEOΠATPAΣ BAΣIΛIΣΣHΣ, double cornucopia, joined at the bottom and bound with fillet, KYΠP monogram in lower right field; nice brown patina, among the finest known of this rare issue; rare; 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


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

Click for a larger photo
"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar, but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH84607. 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, nice portrait, toned, scratches, off center, edge cracks, weight 3.830 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 90o, 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; SOLD


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

Click for a larger photo
"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.
SH54776. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/10, Sydenham 1073, Sear CRI 107a, RSC I Julius Caesar 38, BMCRR I Rome 4169, gVF, toned, banker's mark, weight 3.971 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sepullius Macer, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right, banker's mark on cheek; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right, long scepter vertical behind in left, shield leaning against scepter; from the Sierra Collection, nice clear legend; SOLD


Cyrene, North Africa, c. 500 - 480 B.C.

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The Valentine Coin! Silphium, which is now extinct, was so critical to the Kyrenian economy that most of their coins depict it. The plant was used as a spice and to treat all kinds of maladies including cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion, pain, and warts. It was so widely used as a contraceptive that it was worth its weight in denarii. The traditional heart shape, the symbol of love, is probably derived from the shape of the silphium seed due to the use of silphium as a contraceptive.

"By the next day this maiden and all her girlish apparel had disappeared, and in the room were found images of the Dioscuri, a table, and silphium upon it." - Description of Greece, Pausanias 3.16.3, 2nd Century A.D.
SH15373. Silver drachm, Traitť I, pl. 63, 15; BMC Cyrenaica 36; ex Leu 22, 1979, 181, gVF, weight 2.562 g, maximum diameter 12.1 mm, die axis 90o, obverse two Silphium fruits set on a base, pedicels coinciding, pellet above and below; reverse Silphium fruit in an incuse square, pellet in each corner; very rare; SOLD


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

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"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life." Caesar would be dictator for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks or days after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar, but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar" when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."
SH87935. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/8, Sydenham 1061, BMCRR Rome 4154, RSC I 23, Sear CRI 105, SRCV I 1411, VF, well centered, light toning with luster in recesses, highest points not fully struck, minor flan flaws, tiny edge crack, weight 3.041 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 75o, struck by P. L. Aemilus Buca, Rome mint, lifetime issue, Feb - 15 Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAES DICT PERPETVO, laureate head of Julius Caesar right; reverse Venus standing left, Victory in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, L BVCA downward on the right; ex Aurea Numismatika, auction 82, lot 381; SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, assassinated 15 March 44 B.C.

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"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar, but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH59564. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/11, Sydenham 1072, Sear CRI 107b, gF, weak areas, weight 3.372 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, struck by P. Sepullius Macer, Jan - Feb 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse P∑SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in right, scepter vertical behind resting on star in left; ex Randy Haviland Collection, ex Holyland Coins; SOLD


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

Click for a larger photo
"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar, but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH82691. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/13, Sydenham 1074, Sear CRI 107d, RSC I Julius Caesar 39, BMCRR I Rome 4173, SRCV I 1414, Vagi 56, VF, toned, strike a little off center and uneven (typical for the issue), weight 3.767 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, 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; ex Coin Galleries, 1994 Mail Bid Sale, lot 192; SOLD


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

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This type was a special military coinage produced by Caesar during his final campaign. This campaign against the Pompeian forces in Spain culminated in the battle of Munda on 17 March 45 B.C. The obverse refers to Caesar's mythical descent from the goddess Venus. The reverse refers to Caesar's victories in Gaul and the male Gaulish captive may be Vercingetorix.
RS50608. Silver denarius, Crawford 468/1, Sydenham 1014, RSC I 13, BMCRR Spain 89, Sear CRI 58, SRCV I 1404, Choice VF, weight 4.110 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 45o, Spanish mint, 46 - 45 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Venus right, small Cupid behind; reverse trophy of Gallic arms; on left, Gallia seated left with hand to head in attitude of morning; on right, male (Vercingetorix?) captive seated right, hands bound behind, looking up; CAESAR in exergue; SOLD




  




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Love & Beauty