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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Olympians ▸ Aphrodite or VenusView Options:  |  |  |   

Aphrodite or Venus

Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality. Daughter of Zeus and Dione or, in other traditions, of Uranus. Symbols include the dove.


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" 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.
SH84733. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/13, Sydenham 1074, Sear CRI 107d, RSC I Julius Caesar 39, BMCRR I Rome 4173, SRCV I 1414, Vagi 56, Choice VF, full circle centering on a broad flan, obverse legend all on flan (highly desirable), toned, slightest porosity, weight 3.685 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 45o, 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; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $2000.00 (1780.00) ON RESERVE


Plarasa and Aphrodisias, Caria, 1st Century B.C.

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During the middle of the second century B.C., the neighboring towns of Plarasa and Aphrodisias united, forming a single community. The union was undoubtedly approved and probably encouraged by Rome to improve their security. The order of the names indicates Plarasa was the dominant community when the agreement was made. At that time Aphrodisias may have been little more than a small village with a sanctuary to Aphrodite. By the middle of the first century B.C., however, Aphrodisias was the prominent partner. Sometime during the reign of Augustus, the name Plarasa was dropped. The weight standard is apparently that of a late Roman Republican denarius.
GS84797. Silver drachm, Macdonald Coinage Type 2 (O2/R3), SNG Keckman I 13 (same dies), SNGva 2434 (different dies), cf. BMC Caria p. 27 (illegible), SNG Cop -, aVF, die break behind head on obv., scratches, polished, almost all of reverse legend is off flan or unstruck, weight 3.478 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Aphrodisias-Plarasa mint, pseudo-automomous, 1st century B.C.; obverse bust of Aphrodite right, veiled and draped, wearing stephane, earring and necklace; reverse ΠΛAPAΣEΩN KAI AΦPO∆EIΣEIΩN (or similar, none known with end of legend legible), eagle standing right on thunderbolt, head right, wings open, MY/ΩN in two lines in left field, ΞE/NO/KPA/THΣ / ME/NAN/∆PO/Y (magistrate Xenokrates Menandrou) in nine lines in right field; extremely rare; $750.00 (667.50)


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius

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Venus (Aphrodite) can be faulted for the Trojan War. Upset that she was not invited to a wedding, she went anyway and maliciously left a golden apple inscribed "For the fairest" on the banquet table. The goddesses, as Aphrodite expected, argued who was the rightful possessor of this prize. It was determined the most handsome mortal in the world, a noble Trojan youth named Paris, would decide. Each of the three finalists offered Paris a bribe. Hera promised he would rule the world. Athena said she would make him victorious in battle. Aphrodite guaranteed the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. This was Helen, who was married to the king of Sparta. Paris awarded the golden apple to Aphrodite. Aphrodite enabled Paris to elope with Helen, Helen of Troy. Helen's husband raised a Greek army to retrieve his wife, starting the Trojan War.
SH73705. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III AP1388b; BMCRE IV AP2147; Hunter II p. 300, 30; Cohen III 268; SRCV II 4720, VF, nice style, well centered, flan crack, weight 24.039 g, maximum diameter 35.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Antoninus Pius, 148 - 152 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL, draped bust right with head bare, hair waved and coiled chignon tied with double band of pearls on back of head; reverse VENVS, Venus standing half left, apple in right hand, grounded rudder in left hand, dolphin coiled around rudder, S - C low across field; $490.00 (436.10)


The Sileraioi, Sicily, c. 357 - 330 B.C.

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Sileraioi was not a city. The Sileraians were Campanian mercenaries who took their name from their proximity to the river Silaros. These rare coins have been found at the site of their settlement, Cozzo Mususino, a natural strong-hold in north central Sicily. The coins are often overstruck on coins from Syracuse minted c. 375 - 345 B.C.
SH68704. Bronze Calciati p. 301, 2; HGC 2 1243 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG Mnchen -; SNG Morcom -, VF/F, reverse rough, weight 7.521 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 90o, Sileraian mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse ΣI−ΛEPAIΩ−N (retrograde counterclockwise from 3:00), man-faced bull forepart charging right; reverse SIL (retrograde, upward behind), warrior advancing right, spear in right hand, shield in left; rare; $330.00 (293.70)


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D., Paphos(?), Cyprus

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Titus visited the Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Paphos in 69 A.D., when the future emperor was on his way to Egypt. He consulted the oracle of Aphrodite, and was told that he had a great future.

The 1.2 mm high gray-green conical stone, which once stood at the center of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Paphos, was found by archaeologists near the temple and is now in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia. It is not a meteorite.
RP59007. Silver didrachm, RPC II 1809, F, encrustations, weight 5.636 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos(?) mint, obverse AYTOKPATΩP TITOC KAICAP, laureate head left; reverse ETOYC NEOY IEPOY, temple of Aphrodite at Paphos, conical stone (xoanon) at center, Θ in exergue; rare; $250.00 (222.50)


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Venus in her aspect as the divine ancestress of the Roman people was known as Venus Genetrix. According to legend, and as recorded in Virgil's Aeneid, Aeneis was the son of Venus who fled Troy after its destruction and founded the city of Rome. Julius Caesar, being of the Gens Julia, claimed direct descent from Venus Genetrix and Aeneas. Julius Caesar built a Temple of Venus Genetrix in his new forum. Most depictions of Venus Genetrix on Roman coinage are of the statue in the Forum, and do not directly refer to pregnancy or fertility.
RS79617. Silver denarius, RIC IV C388c, RSC III 212, Hunter III 13, BMCRE V C25, SRCV II 7106, Choice EF, fantastic portrait, mint luster, tiny green spots of encrustation, weight 3.246 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, reign of Caracalla, 216 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust right; reverse VENVS GENETRIX (Mother Venus), Venus enthroned left, extending right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; $225.00 (200.25)


Katane, Sicily, c. 212 - 50 B.C.

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In 212 B.C., after a two-year siege, despite defenses designed by the Greek mathematician and scientist Archimedes, the Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus forced his way into Syracuse. Although Marcellus wished to spare the Syracusans, he was unable to stop his soldiers from sacking the city. Archimedes was killed. Marcellus carried off the art treasures of Syracuse to Rome, the first recorded instance of a practice which was to become common.
GB66799. Bronze two chalkoi, Calciati III p. 110, 25; SNG ANS 1278; SNG Morcom 563; HGC 2 612 (R1); BMC Sicily p. 51, 65 corr.; SNG Cop -, VF, weight 3.768 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 0o, Katane (Catania, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 212 - 50 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse KATA/NAIΩN, Aphrodite Hyblaia (or Isis?) standing right, wearing kalathos on head, holding dove in extended right, II (2 chalkoi) right; $125.00 (111.25)


Mytilene, Lesbos, 400 - 350 B.C.

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Mytilene on the southeast edge of Lesbos, opposite the mainland, was founded about 1054 B.C. It was initially confined to a small island just offshore that later was joined to Lesbos, creating a north and south harbor. In the 7th century B.C., Mytilene successfully contested for the leadership of Lesbos with Methymna, on the north side of the island. Mytilene became the center of the island's prosperous eastern hinterland.
GS76292. Silver diobol, BMC Troas, p. 185, 8-14 var.; SNG Cop 368 var.; SNGvA 7749 - 7750 var.; HGC 6 1037 (R1) var.; Weber 5670 var. (none with grapes), VF, nice style, grainy surfaces, uneven toning, weight 1.290 g, maximum diameter 11.7 mm, die axis 180o, Mytilene mint, 400 - 350 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse head of Aphrodite right, hair rolled, MY behind, bunch of grapes (control symbol) lower left; very rare variety of a rare type - we were unable to find another example with the grapes control symbol; $125.00 (111.25)


Nagidos, Cilicia, c. 420 - 380 B.C.

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Nagidos, a colony of Samos, was located in Cilicia on a hill at the mouth of the Sini Cay (Bozyazi Dere) near modern Bozyazi in Mersin Province, Turkey. Nagidos minted coins with a grape cluster as a symbol of the city, some with both Greek and Aramaic inscriptions, and one type bearing the name of the Persian satrap Pharnabazus. Aphrodite appears most often on the coins, indicating her sanctuary was the most important in the city. Alexander the Great conquered Cilicia in 133 B.C. After his death, Cilicia briefly came under Seleucid rule. About 270 B.C., the Ptolemaic Empire conquered Cilicia. When the city of Arsinoe was founded on land claimed by Nagidos, the Nagidians refused to recognize the settlers. To resolve the dispute, Nagidos was designated as the mother city and the citizens of both shared a single citizenship. Cilicia came under Seleucid rule in 197 B.C. Nagidos was abandoned in the middle of the second century B.C., possibly due to attacks by the Cilician pirates.
GS83594. Silver obol, SNG BnF 14, Waddington 4410, Trait II 1505, SNG Cop 176 var. (N left), SNG Levante 3 var. (NAΓI), Lederer Nagidos -, BMC Lycaonia -, gVF, attractive style, toned, small test cut on edge, weight 0.72 g, maximum diameter 10.9 mm, die axis 90o, Nagidos (Bozyazi, Turkey) mint, c. 420 - 380 B.C.; obverse head of Aphrodite right, hair in sphendone; reverse bearded head of Dionysos right, N right; $125.00 (111.25)


Soloi, Cilicia, c. 100 - 30 B.C.

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Soli (or Soloi) was a colony of Rhodes, founded c. 700 B.C. southwest of Tarsus, in Cilicia. It was destroyed in the 1st century B.C., and refounded by Pompey the Great as Pompeiopolis (not to be confused with the Pompeiopolis in Paphlagonia).
GB57540. Bronze AE 26, cf. SNG BnF 1197, SNG Levante 872, SNG Cop -, aVF, weight 9.225 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, Soloi mint, c. 100 - 30 B.C.; obverse aegis with winged gorgoneion in center; reverse ΣOΛEΩN (below), Aphrodite riding bull right, owl before, monogram above left; rare; $100.00 (89.00)




  



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Aphrodite or Venus