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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Vessels & CupsView Options:  |  |  |   

Vessels and Cups on Ancient Coins

Vessels and cups depicted on coins were often those used in religious ceremonies, but also those used in daily life. The amphora, used to store olive-oil and wine, is often depicted on coins, especially from cities that were big wine producers.


Syracuse, Sicily, Agathokles, 317 - 289 B.C.

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With an army of mercenaries, through deceit, and after banishing or murdering some 10,000 citizens, Agathocles made himself master of Syracuse and later most of Sicily. Machiavelli wrote of him, "It cannot be called prowess to kill fellow-citizens, to betray friends, to be treacherous, pitiless, and irreligious" and cited him as an example of "those who by their crimes come to be princes." According to the historian Justin, very early in life Agathocles parlayed his remarkable beauty into a career as a prostitute, first for men, and later, after puberty, for women, and then made a living by robbery before becoming a soldier and marrying a rich widow.
SH86808. Electrum 50 litrai, Jenkins Group B (O4/R3); SNG ANS 621 (same obv. die); BMC Sicily p. 184, 263 (same); de Luynes 1267 (same); HGC 2 1294, VF, attractive style, centered on a tight flan, lightly toned, light marks, die crack on reverse, weight 3.587 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 306 - 305 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo left, amphora behind; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN (clockwise from upper right), ornamented tripod lebes, high ring handles; ex Classical Numismatic Group, e-auction 412, lot 38; ex John A. Seeger Collection; ex Classical Numismatic Group, auction 76 (12 Sep 2007), lot 3013; $2300.00 SALE PRICE $2070.00


The First Jewish Revolt, 66 - 70 A.D.

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On 14 April 70 A.D. Titus surrounded Jerusalem. He allowed pilgrims to enter to celebrate Passover but this was a trap to put pressure on supplies of food and water; he refused to allow them to leave. On 10 May he began his assault on the walls. The third wall fell on 25 May. The second wall fell on 30 May. On 20 July Titus stormed the Temple Mount. On 4 August 70 A.D. Titus destroyed the Temple. The Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av mourns the Fall of Jerusalem annually on this date.
JD86547. Bronze 1/8 shekel, Kadman III 37, Hendin 1369, Meshorer TJC 214, VF, well centered, highlighting earthen deposits, weight 5.778 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, year 4, 69 - 70 A.D.; obverse Omer cup with pearled rim; reverse bundle of lulav flanked by two ethrogs; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; $580.00 SALE PRICE $522.00


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Uncertain Mint, Anatolia or Syria

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The mint, the quaestor who struck this type, and even the identity of the person in the portrait remain uncertain. The type has previously been attributed to Macedonia and the portrait identified as Brutus (Friedlander) or Caesar (Grant). David Sear notes the type has never been found in Macedonia. Finds point to Syria or Anatolia. It is possible that the type was issued, with his own portrait, by Sosius, a general under Marc Antony who was quaestor in 39 B.C. Much more likely, however, the portrait is of Augustus.
RB71004. Bronze AE 27, RPC I 5409; Sear CRI 957 (Syria); AMNG II 29 (Pella), F, green patina, weight 17.823 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Anatolian or Syrian mint, obverse bare head right; reverse hasta (spear), sella quaestoria (quaestor's seat of office), and fiscus (imperial treasury), Q (for quaestor) below; previously a rare type but recent finds have made it somewhat easier to acquire; $270.00 SALE PRICE $243.00


Etruscan, Bronze Ladle Handle, 6th - 5th Century B.C.

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Ex Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia; ex Ran Ryan, from the collection of Alex G. Malloy. Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia was founded in 1889 in the Villa di Papa Giulio (Pope Julius), built in the mid-16th century for Pope Julius III. Today the museum is devoted to pre-Roman antiquities, from Umbria, Latium, and southern Etruria. In the 1950's the museum sold Roman antiquities to Rex Ryan, a dealer with a shop in Rome. Alex Malloy, an antiquities dealer in for 40 years, purchased some of these antiquities, including this piece, from Rex Ryan, in 1974.

Greek, Etruscan and Roman bronzes by Gisela Richter notes, "the shape is distinguished for its grace and simplicity" and "ladles of this type are commonly found together with black-figured and red-figured vases in tombs in Etruria."
AM12357. Bronze ladle handle; cf. Richter 648; 14 inches long; bifurcated top, each end with a duck head terminal (one head missing); green patina, $155.00 SALE PRICE $127.00 ON RESERVE


Leontini, Sicily, c. 405 - 402 B.C.

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Leontini was founded as by colonists from Naxos in 729 BC, itself a Chalcidian colony established five years earlier. It was the only significant Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, being some 6 miles inland. The site, originally held by the Sicels, was seized by the Greeks owing to its command of the fertile plain to the north. The city was reduced to subject status in 498 BC by Hippocrates of Gela, and in 476 BC Hieron of Syracuse moved the inhabitants from Catania and Naxos to Leontini.
GI76342. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 77, 3; SNG Cop 360; SNG ANS 270; SNG Morcom 606; SNG Lloyd 1070; BMC Sicily p. 92, 56; Laffaille 169; HGC 2 709 (R1), VF, well centered, glossy dark patina, weight 1.891 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 180o, Leontini mint, c. 405 - 402 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, olive leaf and olive behind; reverse tripod lebes with loop handles, a barley kernel flanking on each side, kithara between legs of tripod, three pellets in exergue; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00


The First Jewish Revolt, 66 - 70 A.D.

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In 67, Jewish leaders in Jerusalem were divided by a power struggle, a brutal civil war erupted, the Zealots and the Sicarii executed anyone who tried to leave the city.
JD86851. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1360, VF, weakly struck areas, scratches, weight 2.857 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 315o, Jerusalem mint, year 2, 67 - 68 A.D.; obverse amphora with broad rim and two handles, year 2 (in Hebrew) around; reverse vine leaf on small branch, the freedom of Zion (in Hebrew) around; $95.00 SALE PRICE $85.50


Megara, Megaris, Peloponnesos, Greece, Early 1st Century B.C.

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Megara is in west Attica, the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was a trade port, its people using their ships and wealth as a way to gain leverage on armies of neighboring poleis. Megara specialized in exportation of wool and other animal products including livestock such as horses. It possessed two harbors, Pegae, to the west on the Corinthian Gulf and Nisaea, to the east on the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea.
GB85897. Bronze dichalkon, BCD Peloponnesos 38; SNG Cop 471; BMC Attica p. 120, 16; Kroll 647; HGC 4 1795 (S), aVF, centered on a tight flan, dark patina, marks, some corrosion, weight 3.242 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 90o, Megara mint, early 1st century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse tripod lebes, MEΓA/PEΩN flanking in two downward lines, the first on the right; ex J. Cohen Collection; ex BCD with his ticket; ex Schulten Co (27 Mar 1990), lot 97 (DM 80+15%); scarce; $85.00 SALE PRICE $76.50


Mende, Macedonia, 400 - 346 B.C.

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Mende was an ancient colony of Eretria, on the SW side of Cape Poseidion in Pallene. Its coins illustrate some forgotten myth of Dionysos, his companion Seilenos, and an ass. The wine of Mende was famous and is frequently mentioned by ancient writers. It is unlikely that Mende struck any coins after it was first captured by Philip in 358 B.C.
GB68715. Bronze chalkous, SNG Cop 221; SNG ANS 397 var. (crescent above); BMC Macedonia p. 83, 13 var. (no ivy branch), VF, weight 1.078 g, maximum diameter 11.2 mm, die axis 315o, Mende mint, 400 - 346 B.C.; obverse head of youthful Dionysos to left, wearing ivy wreath; reverse MEN, Amphora with tall handles, ivy branch left; scarce; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00


Abydos, Troas, c. 320 - 200 B.C.

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Abydos is located on the Asiatic shore of the Hellespont (Dardanelles), at the shortest crossing point, scarcely a mile across from Sestus on the European side. In the Iliad, Abydos was an ally of the Trojans (Iliad ii.836) and it is the mythical home of Leander. Persians occupied it in 514 B.C. and Darius burned it in 512. When he invaded Greece in 480 B.C., Xerxes built his two bridges of boats across the strait from Abydos. Abydos became a member of the Delian League, but revolted against Athens in 411 B.C. It allied itself to Sparta, until 394 B.C. Then it passed under Achaemenid rule until 334. Alexander the Great threw a spear to Abydos while crossing the strait and claimed Asia as his own. Abydos is celebrated for the vigorous resistance it made against Philip V of Macedon in 200 B.C. The city minted coins from the early fifth century B.C. to the mid-third century A.D.
GB77994. Bronze AE 11, SNG Cop 33 ff. var.; SNG Munchen 18 var., SNGvA 7538 var.; SNG Tub 2516 var., Weber 5270 var., BMC Troas - (none with this control symbol), VF, very nice for the type, weight 1.750 g, maximum diameter 10.8 mm, die axis 90o, Troas, Abydos (near Canakkale, Turkey) mint, c. 320 - 200 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse ABY, eagle standing right, wings closed, head right, amphora (control symbol) right; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00


Kios, Bithynia, c. 325 - 203 B.C.

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According to myth, Kios (Cius) was founded on the Propontis (Sea of Marmara) by Herakles when he accompanied the Argonauts. According to historians, it was founded in 626 - 625 B.C. by colonists from Miletos. Kios was often subject to greater powers, predominantly the Persian Empire until Alexander the Great invaded and took the city in 334 B.C. After disputes with Alexander's successors, Kios joined the Aetolian League, in opposition to Macedonia. In 202 B.C., Philip V of Macedonia and Prusias I of Bythinia destroyed the city and massacred, banished, or enslaved its citizens. Prusias built a new city on the site and named it for himself (Prusias ad Mare). After this atrocity, the Rodians asked the Roman Senate for help. The Romans seized this opportunity to invade Greece and defeat Philip V. In 74 B.C., after the death of King Nikomides III, the Romans occupied Kios and the whole of Bythinia. Under Rome, the name Kios was revived. An important link in the ancient Silk Road, Kios became a wealthy town.
GB71987. Bronze AE 14, SNG Cop 381; SNGvA 7004; BMC Pontus, p. 131, 20; Rec Gen I.2 7, VF, dark green patina, porous, weight 2.880 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 315o, Kios (Bursa, Turkey) mint, c. 325 - 203 B.C.; obverse young beardless male head (Mithras?) right, wearing a Phrygian cap and laurel wreath; reverse Kantharos between two bunches of grapes hanging on vines which emerge from the cup, A above, K-I divided by stem, all within wreath of two stalks of grain; rare; $75.00 SALE PRICE $67.50




  



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