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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Olympians ▸ Hermes or MercuryView Options:  |  |  | 

Hermes or Mercury

Hermes was the messenger of the gods and the the god of commerce and thieves. He was the son of Zeus and the nymph Maia. His symbols include the caduceus and winged sandals.


Olba, Cilicia, under Ajax, High Priest and Toparch, c. 10 - 16 A.D.

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Perhaps this dynasty of high priests claimed decent from the Ajax or Teucer, heroes of the Trojan war. Teucer was a prince of the Salamis, son of King Telamon and Queen Hesione, half-brother to Telamonian Ajax (Ajax the Greater). Ajax was the son of Telamon's first wife, Periboea. Ajax and Teucer worked in tandem during the Trojan War - Teucer unleashed his arrows from behind the mighty shield of Ajax. Arrow after arrow would find its mark amongst the Trojan ranks but every time that Teucer would fire at Hector, the mightiest of all the Trojan defenders, his arrow would be deflected. Unknown to Teucer, Apollo was at that time protecting Hector from death.
RP85939. Bronze AE 22, RPC I 3725; Staffieri 7; BMC Lyconia, p. 119, 2; SNG BnF 798; SNG Cop 186; SNG Levante 630; SNGvA 5783; Waddington 4418, EF/aVF, green patina, attractive obverse, reverse encrusted, bumps and marks, areas of porosity, weight 7.481 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 0o, Olba (Mersin Province, Turkey) mint, c. 10 - 11 A.D.; obverse AIANTOΣ TEYKPOY (Ajax, son of Teucer), draped bust of Ajax (as Hermes) right, wearing close fitting cap, earring, and chlamys on shoulders, kerykeion (caduceus) before; reverse triskeles in center between ET - A (year 1), APΞIEPEΩΣ / TOΠAPXOY / KEN-NAT / ΛAΛAΣΣ (high priest (archiereos) [of Olba] and governor (toparch) of Lalassis and Cennatis) in four lines, the first two lines above, the third under the date divided by the triskeles, and the last line below; $250.00 (€212.50)
 


Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 130 - 153 A.D.

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Antinous probably joined the entourage of Hadrian when it passed through Bithynia in about 124. He became Hadrian's constant companion and lover but in October 130 Antinous drowned in the Nile. Hadrian's grief knew no bounds; he enrolled him among the gods, erected a temple, and on 30 October 130 A.D., Hadrian founded the city of Antinoopolis on the very bank of the Nile river where Antinous drowned. It was the capital of a new nome, Antinoopolites. Artists vied with each other in immortalizing his beauty. Temples and statues to his memory were erected all over the Empire, and there began a Cult of Antinous. On this coin he is depicted in the guise of Hermanubis.
RX90575. Lead tessera, Dattari 6536, Geissen 3559 var. (11.23g), Emmett 4397 (R4), F, weight 4.666 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antinoopolis (or Alexandria?) mint, c. 130 - 153 A.D.; obverse draped bust of Antinous right, wearing hem-hem crown of Harpocrates, crescent before; reverse Serapis standing left, wearing chiton, himation, and kalathos on head, right hand raised, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Ainos, Thrace, c. 117 - 138 A.D.

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This extremely rare type is unpublished in references and missing from major collections. The only other example we know is the referenced example sold in Nomos obolos 7. Nomos dated the type c. 280 - 200 B.C. AMNG and RPC Online IV list a similar type with both Hermes and the goat right. RPC dates that type to the 2nd Century A.D. We believe the Hermes portrait is Augusticized and has some resemblance to Hadrian. We tentatively date the type to Hadrian's reign, c. 117 - 138 A.D.
GB86124. Bronze AE 18, Nomos obolos 7 (9 Jul 2017), lot 28 (same dies); cf. AMNG 403, pl. V.26 (rev.) (Hermes and goat right, etc.); RPC Online IV temp. 4495 (=AMNG 403), F/aF, well centered, bumps and marks, corrosion, porosity, centration dimple on reverse, weight 4.132 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Ainos (Enez, Turkey) mint, c. 117 - 138 A.D.; obverse head of Hermes left, caduceus before, no centration dimple; reverse AI-NIΩN, goat standing left, centration dimple; unpublished in references, missing from major collections, extremely rare - 2nd known specimen; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Antiocheia, Pisidia, 138 - 192 A.D.

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The rooster heralded the soul of the dead and was a guide to the underworld. This is why roosters were ritually sacrificed to Asclepios, son of Apollo and god of medicine, the god who healed and even brought the dead back to life. This also explains why the rooster is attributed to Hermes, the messenger who travels the three levels of the cosmos.
RP86521. Bronze AE 13, SNG BnF 1069 var. (rev. legend) and cf. 1067 (obverse bust left, same reverse die), SNG Cop 16 var. (rev. legend), VF, light cleaning scratches, weight 1.562 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch in Pisidia (Yalvac, Turkey) mint, 138 - 192 A.D.; obverse ANTIOCHI, bare-headed draped bust of Hermes right, caduceus across shoulder; reverse COLON, rooster standing right; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; scarce; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


Marathos, Phoenicia, 173 - 172 B.C.

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Marathos, the most northern coastal town in Phoenicia, was apparently under Ptolemaic hegemony when this coin was struck. The bust of Hermes is usually attributed to be also that of Ptolemy VI. Destroyed by its neighbor and rival Aradus, c. 145 B.C., Marathos was later rebuilt as a colony of Aradus.
GP73972. Bronze AE 21, Svoronos 1082 - 1085 (various controls); Duyrat Ateliers 252 - 261 (same); Cohen Dated 832; cf. HGC 10 194 (S); SNG Cop -; BMC Phoenicia -, F, black patina, rough, corrosion, weight 6.489 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Marathos (near Tartus, Syria) mint, 173 - 172 B.C.; obverse laureate and draped bust of Ptolemy VI as Hermes, kerykeion over shoulder; reverse Marathos standing left, apluster in right, Phoenician date IIIIIIINNNN (year 87) on left, Phoenician MRT (Marathos) right, Phoenician control letters low across field; $80.00 (€68.00)
 


Aigai, Aiolis, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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Aegae (or Aigai) means place of goats and was the name of many cities of antiquity. Aigai, Aiolis was also an important sanctuary of Apollo. It was within the Lydian Empire, then the Achaemenid Persian Empire, but had its brightest period under the Attalid dynasty, which ruled from nearby Pergamon in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. It changed hands from Pergamon to the Seleucid Empire, but was recaptured by Attalus I of Pergamon in 218 B.C. In the war between Bithynia and Pergamon, it was destroyed by Prusias II of Bithynia in 156 B.C. After a peace was brokered by the Romans, the city was compensated with 100 talents. In 129 B.C., the Kingdom of Pergamon became part of the Roman Empire. Aigai was destroyed by an earthquake in 17 A.D. and received aid for reconstruction from Tiberius. The ruins are near the village of Yuntdagi Koseler in Manisa Province, Turkey.
GB85812. Bronze AE 16, Gorny & Mosch auction 160, lot 1477 (otherwise apparently unpublished); SNG Cop 14 var. (monograms); SNGvA -; SNG München -, BMC Troas -; Lindgren -, aVF, marks and scratches, encrustations, light corrosion, edge crack, weight 2.205 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 315o, Aiolis, Aigai (near Yuntdagi Koseler, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.; obverse draped bust of Hermes right, wearing petasos; reverse AIΓAEΩN, forepart of goat standing right, monograms (controls) above and right; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; extremely rare; $80.00 (€68.00)
 


Pheneos, Arkadia, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 360 - 340 B.C.

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Feneos lies at the foot of Mount Cyllene, mythical birthplace of the god Hermes. It therefore was an important cult center for the god, notably during the annual festival of the Hermaea. Catullus (Poem 68) mentions the seasonal flooding of the plain and says it was drained by an underground channel dug by Hercules during his Twelve Labors. According to Herodotus the river Styx originates near Feneos. In the Aeneid, Evander's fond memories of a visit by Aeneas' father Anchises to Feneos are one factor in his decision to ally his Arcadian colonists to the Trojans.
GB86131. Bronze dichalkon, BCD Peloponnesos 1611; BMC Peloponnesus p. 193, 8; Traité III 893; SNG Cop -; Weber II -, F, dark green patina, well centered, bumps, marks, light corrosion, weight 4.465 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Pheneos (Feneos, Greece) mint, c. 370 - 340 B.C.; obverse head of young Hermes right, cloak tied tied around neck and petasos suspended by cord behind; reverse ΦENEΩ[N], ram standing right, ΣI below ram; ex CNG, ex BCD Collection with his handwritten tag noting, "Ex Peirese auction of 25 Nov 95, part of lot 2, the lot of 25 pcs. for FF 750 + 11%"; very rare; $80.00 (€68.00)
 


Termessos Major, Pisidia, c. 2nd - 3rd Century A.D.

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Hermes was the messenger of the gods and the god of commerce and thieves. He was the son of Zeus and the nymph Maia. His symbols include the caduceus and winged sandals.

Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, industry, justice, and skill. Her usual attribute is the owl and Nike is her frequent companion.
RP85009. Bronze AE 25, SNG Cop 323; SNGvA 5351; SNG Righetti 1443; SNG BnF 2175; BMC Lycia p. 271, 33; SNG PfPs -; SNG Tübingen -, VF, well centered, slight double strike on obverse, bumps and scratches, several flan flaw pits, weight 8.852 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 0o, Termessos Major mint, 2nd - 3rd Century A.D.; obverse T-EPMHC-CEΩN, bare-headed draped bust of Hermes right, kerykeion over far shoulder; reverse TΩN MEI-ZONΩN, Athena standing left, wearing helmet, long chiton, and peplos, phiale in right hand, spear behind in left hand; $70.00 (€59.50)
 


Pheneos, Arkadia, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 370 - 340 B.C.

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Traité III 894 says ΣI below and does not describe the AP in the exergue, but the plate appears to match our coin. The other referenced examples have only ΦE above the ram and nothing below on the reverse.

Feneos lies at the foot of Mount Cyllene, the mythical birthplace Hermes. It therefore was an important cult center for Hermes, notably during the annual festival of the Hermaea. Catullus (Poem 68) mentions the seasonal flooding of the plain, drained by an underground channel dug by Hercules during his Twelve Labors. According to Herodotus the river Styx originates near Feneos. In the Aeneid, Evander's fond memories of a visit by Aeneas' father Anchises to Feneos are one factor in his decision to ally his Arcadian colonists to the Trojans.
GB85898. Bronze chalkous, Traité III 894 corr. & pl. CCXXV, 3; cf. BCD Peloponnesos 1603; SNG Cop 272; BMC Peloponnesus p. 193, 7, pl. 36, 5; Weber II 4320, F, rough, weight 2.162 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 0o, Pheneos (Feneos, Greece) mint, c. 370 - 340 B.C.; obverse head of young Hermes right, cloak tied tied around neck and petasos suspended by cord behind; reverse ram standing right, ΦE above, IΣ below ram, AP in exergue; ex Pecunem auction 33 (5 Jul 2015), part of lot 767, ex CNG, ex BCD Collection with his round tag; very rare; $60.00 (€51.00)
 


Telmessos, Lycia, 133 - 81 B.C.

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Telmessos (Fethiye, Turkey today) was the most important city of Lycia, with a recorded history starting in the 5th century B.C. The city became part of the Persian Empire after the invasion of the Persian general Harpagos in 547 B.C. Telmessos joined the Delian League in mid-5th century B.C. Although it later became an independent city, it continued its relations with the league until the 4th century B.C. Legend says in the winter of 334 - 333 B.C., Alexander the Great entered Telmessos harbor with his fleet. The commander of the fleet, Nearchus, received permission from King Antipatrides for his musicians and slaves to enter the city. Disguised warriors with weapons hidden in flute boxes captured the acropolis during the festivities that night.
GB86100. Bronze AE 11, SNG Cop 135; SNGvA 4453, BMC Lycia p. 86, 2, F, rough, weight 1.389 g, maximum diameter 10.5 mm, Telmessos mint, 133 - 81 B.C.; obverse head of Hermes right, wearing petasos; reverse bee, T-E (Telmessos) flanking head, all within incuse square; very rare; $45.00 (€38.25)
 







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Hermes or Mercury