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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Animals ▸ DolphinView Options:  |  |  |   

Dolphins on Ancient Coins

Octavian and Divus Julius Caesar, Second Triumvirate, 36 B.C., Lugdunum, Gaul

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Lyon was originally founded as the Roman city Colonia Copia Felix Munatia, a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods. The city became increasingly referred to as Lugdunum by the end of the 1st century A.D. The etymology of Lugdunum is a latinization of the Gaulish place name Lugodunon. While dunon means hill fort, the source of Lug is uncertain. The most commonly offered meaning is the Celtic god named Lug. During the Middle Ages, Lugdunum was transformed to Lyon by natural sound change.
RR70870. Bronze dupondius, RPC I 515, Giard Lyon 7, SNG Cop 689, F, weight 16.797 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 36 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR DIVI F DIVI IVLI, two heads back to back: laureate head of Divus Julius Caesar to left and bare head of Octavian to right; between them palm branch with its tip bent to right over Octavian's head; reverse Prow of galley to right, ornamented with an eye and dolphin; star superimposed on globe and meta above deck, COPIA below; rare; $540.00 (€480.60)
 


Messana, Sicily, c. 330 - 325 B.C.

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Founded in the 8th century B.C., until the 5th century Messina was called Zancle, meaning "scythe" because of the shape of its harbor. Carthage sacked the city in 397 B.C. and then Dionysius I of Syracuse conquered it. In 288 B.C. the Mamertine mercenaries seized the city by treachery, killing all the men and taking the women as their wives. The city became a base from which they ravaged the countryside, leading to conflict with Syracuse. Initially Carthage assisted the Mamertines. When Syracuse attacked a second time, the Mamertines asked Rome for help. Rome was initially reluctant, but allied with the Mamertines to limit Carthaginian power.In 264 B.C., Roman troops were deployed to Sicily, the first time a Roman army acted outside the Italian Peninsula. At the end of the First Punic War, Messana was a free city allied with Rome.
SH77506. Bronze tetras, HGC 2 840 (R1); Caltabiano 751 ff.; Calciati I p. 52, 16; SNG Cop 421; SNG München 674; SNG ANS -; BMC Sicily -, Nice VF, fine classical style, nice green patina, weight 3.603 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 180o, Messana (Messina, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 330 - 325 B.C.; obverse ΠOΣEI∆AN, laureate head of Poseidon left, ∆ (mark of value) behind; reverse M−E−Σ−Σ−A−NI−ON, ornate trident head, flanked on each side by a dolphin with head down; rare; $450.00 (€400.50)
 


Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.

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"This refers to Vitellius' membership in the priestly college of the quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis, 'fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters.' This body had care of the Sibylline prophecies and were famous for the opulence of their banquets, a feature of the priesthood which particularly appealed to the gluttonous emperor." -- David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values
SH77386. Silver denarius, RIC I 86 (S); RSC II 114; BMCRE I p. 370, 17; BnF III 46; Hunter I -; SRCV I -, VF, excellent portrait, toned, marks and scratches, somewhat oval flan, slight edge damage, weight 2.972 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. May - Jul 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, laureate head right; reverse XV VIR SACR FAC, tripod-lebes with dome cover, dolphin right on top, raven standing right below bowl; ex CNG e-auction 221 (28 Oct 2009), lot 483; ex Jörg Müller Collection; scarce; $380.00 (€338.20)
 


Istros, Thrace, Late 5th - 4th Century B.C.

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The obverse type has been variously interpreted as representing the Dioscuri, the rising and setting sun, and the two branches of the river Danube. - Greek Coins and Their Values by David Sear.
GS76336. Silver stater, SNG BM Black Sea 230 - 231, SNG Stancomb -, SNG Cop -, AMNG -, BMC Thrace -, gVF, areas of light corrosion, some light marks, tight flan, weight 5.561 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 0o, Istros (near Istria, Romania) mint, Late 5th - 4th Century B.C.; obverse Facing male heads, left inverted; reverse IΣTPIH, sea-eagle grasping a dolphin with talons, Γ below eagle; scarce; $270.00 (€240.30)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Deultum, Thrace

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Colonia Flavia Pacensis (or Pacifica) Deultum was founded by Vespasian. The colony assumed his family name, Flavia, and on account of Vespasian's devotion to the goddess of Peace (to whom he built a temple at Rome); it was called Pacensis (or Pacifica).
RP77123. Bronze AE 22, SNG Deultum 1746-1749 (same dies); Jurukova Deultum 454, Varbanov II 3023(?); BMC Thrace -, gVF, nice patina, nice style, reverse die wear and crack, weight 6.695 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, Deultum (Debelt, Bulgaria) mint, Feb 244 - End Sep 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind, centration dimple; reverse CO-L FL PAC DEV,LT (LT in exergue), prow of galley left on waves, ram's head on point of ram, octopus and dolphin swimming left beside hull above waves; Pecunem Gitbud & Naumann auction 31 (3 May 2015), lot 313; rare; $240.00 (€213.60)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

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Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 to 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity, and Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. He enlarged the theater and built an immense altar. The literary figure Theocritus and the philosopher Archimedes lived under his rule. After struggling against the Mamertini, he eventually allied with Rome.
GI84181. Bronze tetras, SNG Cop 844; SNG München 1446; SNG Morcom 830; BMC Sicily p. 218, 606; HGC 2 1550 (S); cf. Calciati II p. 395, 197 (controls); SNG ANS 964 ff. (same), VF, dark green patina, weight 6.914 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 268 - 218 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Poseidon left; reverse ornamented trident head, dolphin downward flanking on each side, IEPΩ−NOΣ horizontal across field divided by shaft, AΠ (control letters) lower right; $220.00 (€195.80)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

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Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 to 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity, and Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. He enlarged the theater and built an immense altar. The literary figure Theocritus and the philosopher Archimedes lived under his rule. After struggling against the Mamertini, he eventually allied with Rome.
GI77003. Bronze tetras, BMC Sicily p. 218, 608; Calciati II p. 395, 197 (ΛY right not listed); SNG Cop 852; SNG München 1403; SNG ANS 964 ff.; HGC 2 1550 (S), gVF, nice Poseidon, reverse about 1/5 off-center, very light corrosion and encrustation, light bumps and marks, weight 5.556 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 268 - 218 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Poseidon left; reverse ornamented trident head, dolphin downward flanking on each side, IEPΩ−NOΣ horizontal across field divided by shaft, ΛY lower right; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

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Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 to 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity, and Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. He enlarged the theater and built an immense altar. The literary figure Theocritus and the philosopher Archimedes lived under his rule. After struggling against the Mamertini, he eventually allied with Rome.
GB77040. Bronze tetras, cf. Calciati II p. 395, 197; BMC Sicily p. 218, 588 ff.; SNG Cop 844 ff.; SNG ANS 964 ff.; SNG München 1394 ff.; HGC 2 1550 (S); SGCV I 1223, gVF/F, superb Poseidon, reverse weak, areas of light corrosion, tiny edge cracks, weight 5.564 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 268 - 218 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Poseidon left; reverse ornamented trident head, dolphin downward flanking on each side, IEPΩ−NOΣ in lower field divided by shank, uncertain control symbols below; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


Byzantion, Thrace, 387 - 340 B.C.

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Byzantion was founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 657 B.C. The city was rebuilt as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Constantine I in 330 A.D. and renamed Constantinople. It became the capital of the Ottoman Empire when it was conquered in 1453. Today it is Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, and the country's economic, cultural, and historical heart.
GS79643. Silver hemidrachm, cf. SNG BM 16; SNG Cop 484; BMC Thrace p. 94, 23; SGCV I 15 (none with Σ right), VF, toned, weight 1.956 g, maximum diameter 11.8 mm, die axis 45o, Byzantion (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 387 - 340 B.C.; obverse forepart of cow standing left on dolphin left, right foreleg raised, Π above (the first letter is an archaic form of "B" used at Byzantium); reverse ornamented trident head, Σ right; very rare variety; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


Mygissos, Caria, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

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Many Greek cities had names beginning MY, and this type has been attributed to many of them. Most references attribute the type to Myus. Mygissos is most likely correct because nearby Nisyros issued coins with a very similar reverse with NI above the dolphin.
GB69183. Bronze chalkous, SNG München 335 (MY...), SNG Cop 1022 (Myus), SNGvA 2114 (Myus), SNG Tüb 3115 (Myus), SNG Keckman 235 (Myndos?), SNG Kayhan 847 (Myndos), VF, pitting, weight 1.910 g, maximum diameter 11.0 mm, die axis 270o, Mygissos mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Poseidon right; reverse dolphin right, MY above, trident right below; rare; $125.00 (€111.25)
 




  



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