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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.


Kyme, Aeolis, 165 - 140 B.C.

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In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a nation of all-female warriors Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia (modern territory of Ukraine). Other historiographers place them in Asia Minor or Libya.
SH85285. Silver tetradrachm, SNGvA 1636; SNG Cop 103; BMC Troas, p. 111, 73; Weber 5502, gEF, some obverse die rust, areas of slightest porosity, weight 16.394 g, maximum diameter 32.8 mm, die axis 0o, Kyme mint, 165 - 140 B.C.; obverse head of Amazon Kyme right, wearing taenia; reverse horse walking right, oinochoe below raised left foreleg, KYMAIΩN downward on right, KAΛΛIAΣ (magistrate) in exergue, all in laurel wreath tied at the bottom; ex Forum (2009), ex Pegasi; $1250.00 (1112.50)


Myrina, Aeolis, Mid 2nd Century B.C.

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At the time this coin was issued, Myrina was a thriving town popular with tourists and known for its terracotta, glassware, and oysters. Today it is perhaps best known for these beautiful tetradrachms!
GS85155. Silver tetradrachm, stephanophoric; Sacks 30, Hunterian 8, de Luynes 2530, McClean 7946, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Ash -, SNG Mun -, BMC Troas -, aEF, attractive style, broad flan, nice toning, slight double strike on obverse, center not fully struck on reverse, weight 16.320 g, maximum diameter 32.3 mm, die axis 0o, Myrina mint, c. 155 - 145 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair falling three long curls over shoulder, ribbons flowing behind; reverse MYPINAIΩN, Apollo Grynios advancing right, patera in right hand, laurel branch with fillets in left hand, omphalos and amphora at feet, three monograms to left, all within laurel wreath; ex Marion Stinton Collection; $800.00 (712.00)


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; $300.00 (267.00)


Lokris Opuntia, Lokris, Greece, c. 340 - 330 B.C.

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Lokrian Ajax (the Lesser) was a Greek mythological hero, son of Oileus, the king of Locris. Locrians are mentioned by Homer in the Iliad as following Ajax, the son of Oleus, to the Trojan War in forty ships, and as inhabiting the towns of Kynos, Opus, Calliarus, Besa, Scarphe, Augeiae, Tarphe, and Thronium. Lokrian Ajax was called the "lesser" or "Lokrian" Ajax, to distinguish him from Ajax the Great, son of Telamon. He is also mentioned in the Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid.
GS83462. Silver triobol, BCD Lokris 98; BMC Central p. 2, 9; SNG Cop 50; SNG Lockett 1700; de Luynes 1958; Pozzi 1339; SGCV I 2330; HGC 4 997, aVF, attractive style, tight flan, etched surfaces, weight 2.385 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Lokris Opuntia mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse head of Persephone right, wearing wreath of grain, single-pendant earring, and pearl necklace; reverse OΠONTIΩN, Ajax son of Oileus, advancing right in fighting attitude, nude but for crested Corinthian helmet, short sword in right hand, shield on left arm ornamented inside with coiled snake (control symbol), kantharos (control symbol) below; scarce; $270.00 (240.30)


Thebes, Boeotia, Greece, c. 480 - 456 B.C.

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The largest city in Boeotia, leader of the Boeotian confederacy, and rival of Athens, Thebes sided with Persia during Xerxes' invasion in 480 B.C. Thebes ended Sparta's power at the Battle of Leuctra in 371. The Sacred Band of Thebes famously fell to Philip II at Chaeronea in 338. After a revolt in 335, Alexander the Great destroyed the city, except, according to tradition, the house of the poet Pindar.
GS85055. Silver stater, SNG Cop 261, BMC Central p. 69, 19, aVF, toned, weight 5.598 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, Thebes mint, 379 - 338 B.C.; obverse Boiotian shield; reverse amphora within incuse square; ex Forum 2012; rare; $225.00 (200.25)


Methymna, Lesbos, c. 450 - 379 B.C.

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Methymna, the prosperous second city of Lesbos, was, According to myth, named after a daughter of Lesbos, the patron god of the island, and Macar, the island's first king. Methymna had a long-standing rivalry with Mytilene and sided with Athens during the Mytilenaean revolt in 428 B.C. All the other cities of Lesbos sided with Mytilene. After Athenians put down the revolt, only Methymna was spared from being made a cleruchy. After 427, Methymna and Chios were the only members of the Delian League to remain self-governing and exempt from tribute, indicating a privileged position within the Athenian Empire. Methymna was briefly captured by the Spartans in summer 412, but quickly retaken by the Athenians. When the Spartan Kallikratidas besieged Methymna in 406, the city stayed loyal to its Athenian garrison and held out until it was betrayed by several traitors.
GS76101. Silver obol, Franke Mnzprgung 19, SNG Cop 351, Klein 351, HGC 6 904 (R2), SNGvA -, VF, well centered, grainy and porous, weight 0.380 g, maximum diameter 8.1 mm, Methymna mint, c. 450/40 - 406/379 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with spiral floral ornament; reverse kantharos, MAΘ around clockwise, linear circle border, all within a round incuse; $200.00 (178.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus II Theos, 261 - 246 B.C.

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Antiochus II Theos was the son of Antiochus I and Princess Stratonice, the daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes. He inherited a state of war with Egypt and while he was thus occupied, his satraps in Parthia and Bactria declared independence. To make peace with Egypt and to seal the treaty, Antiochus repudiated his wife Laodice I, exiled her to Ephesus, and married Ptolemy II's daughter Berenice. Antiochus later left Berenice and their infant son Antiochus, to live again with Laodice. Laodice poisoned him, had Berenice and her infant son murdered, and proclaimed her son Seleucus II as King.
GB71560. Bronze AE 16, cf. Houghton-Lorber I 525(1); Newell WSM 1407 ff.; SNG Cop 95; SNG Spaer 362; BMC Seleucid p. 15, 13; HGC 9 253a (all various controls outer left), EF, nice jade green patina, typical tight flan, contact marks, slightest spots of corrosion, weight 3.767 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, 261 - 246 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair falling in spiral curls down neck and beneath ear; reverse tripod lebes with lion paw feet, anchor with flukes right below, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left, monograms outer left and outer right (controls, outer left off flan); $170.00 (151.30)


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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One 23 June 79 A.D. Vespasian died from fever and diarrhea. Known for his humor, his last words on his deathbed were, "I think I'm turning into a god." Titus succeeded his father as Roman emperor and issued this coin to commemorate his father's consecration.
RS84669. Silver denarius, RIC II T359b, BnF III T99, BMCRE II T127, RSC II V149 (E - X flanking column), SRCV II 2568 (same), VF, excellent portrait, obverse well centered, tight flan, weight 3.076 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 80 - 81 A.D.; obverse DIVVS AVGVSTVS VESPASIANVS, laureate head right; reverse shield inscribed S C, hung on the side of a cippus, on which stands urn, E - X above flanking urn, upright laurels branches flanking on left and right; scarce; $165.00 (146.85)


Ephesos, Ionia, 90 - 89 B.C.

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The torch is an attribute of Artemis and a civic symbol of Ephesus.

Mithridates VI of Pontus invaded Bithynia and Cappadocia beginning the First Mithridatic War.
GS76188. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Kleiner Dated 46, Pinder 36, SNG Cop 326, Cohen DCA 325, BMC Ionia -, SNGvA -, SNG Fitzwilliam -, VF, dark uneven toning on reverse, obverse struck with a worn die, weight 12.674 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, 90 - 89 B.C.; obverse cista mystica with half-open lid, from which a snake emerges, all within wreath of ivy with berries; reverse bow-case ornamented with an apluster, strap lower right, flanked on each side by a snake with head erect, serpent-entwined staff above between snakes' heads, ME (year 45) over EΦE on left, flaming torch on right; $160.00 (142.40)


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 letters) above between heads of snakes, Pergamon monogram to left, snake entwined thyrsos to right; $155.00 (137.95)




  



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