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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.


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 (229.50)


Pergamon, Mysia, c. 104 - 98 B.C.

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The cista mystica was a basket used for housing sacred snakes in connection with the initiation ceremony into the cult of Bacchus (Dionysus). In the Dionysian mysteries a snake, representing the god and possibly symbolic of his phallus, was carried in a cista mystica on a bed of vine leaves. The cista in the mysteries of Isis may also have held a serpent, perhaps associated with the missing phallus of Osiris.

The thyrsus is the staff carried by Bacchus and his associates; topped by a pine cone or a bunch of ivy leaves and wreathed with tendrils of vine or ivy.
GS76186. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Kleiner Pergamum 5; Pinder 93; SNG BnF 1713; SNG Cop 419; SNGvA 7466; BMC Mysia p. 124, 102, VF, toned, light marks, weight 12.637 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 0o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, c. 104 - 98 B.C.; obverse Cista mystica with half-open lid, from which a snake emerges, all within wreath of ivy with berries; reverse bow-case holding strung bow and ornamented with an apluster, flanked on each side by a snake with head erect, AΣ (control) above between heads of snakes, straps from case draped over snakes below, Pergamon monogram to left, snake entwined thyrsos to right; $135.00 (114.75)


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 (106.25)


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; $85.00 (72.25)


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 (72.25)


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 (68.00)


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, Abydos 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 (68.00)


Magnesia ad Maeandrum, Ionia, 350 - 300 B.C.

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Magnesia ad Maeandrum was an inland city of Ionia, located on a small tributary of the Maeander River about 12 miles southeast of Ephesus.
GB72671. Brass AE 28, Imhoof MG p. 291, 89; Mionnet III p. 145, 620; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; BMC Ionia -, VF/F, some corrosion, weight 14.368 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 0o, Magnesia ad Maeandrum (near Tekin, Turkey) mint, Pausanias and Metrodoros, magistrates; obverse rider on horseback right, holding lance; reverse tripod lebes with dome cover tied with fillets, MAΓNHTΩN above, ΠAYΣANIAΣ to right, MHTPO∆OPOΣ to left, monogram in exergue; ex Roger Liles Collection; very rare; $70.00 (59.50)


Laodikeia on the Lykos, Phrygia, c. 133 - 67 B.C.

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Laodicea on the Lycus was located in the Hellenistic regions of Caria and Lydia, which later became the Roman Province of Phrygia Pacatiana. In 188 B.C., the city passed to the Kingdom of Pergamon. After 133 B.C. it fell under Roman control. It suffered greatly during the Mithridatic Wars but quickly recovered under the dominion of Rome. Towards the end of the Roman Republic and under the first emperors, Laodicea, benefiting from its advantageous position on a trade route, became one of the most important and flourishing commercial cities of Asia Minor. It contained one of the Seven churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
GB77497. Bronze AE 14, SNG Cop 506, HGC 7 741 (S), SNGvA 3805 var. (rev leg arrangement), BMC Phrygia p. 286, 44 var. (same), VF, dark green patina with earthen highlighting, weight 3.063 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 0o, Laodikeia (near Denizli, Turkey) mint, c. 133 - 67 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo, long curls down neck; reverse ΛAO∆IKEΩN, tripod lebes; ex Divus Numismatic, ex H. D. Rauch auction 92 (22 Apr 2013), lot 1117; $70.00 (59.50)




  



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