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

Lions on Ancient Coins

Syracuse, Sicily, Agathokles, 317 - 289 B.C.

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With an army of mercenaries, through deceit, and after banishing or murdering some 10,000 citizens, Agathocles made himself master of Syracuse and later most of Sicily. Machiavelli wrote of him, "It cannot be called prowess to kill fellow-citizens, to betray friends, to be treacherous, pitiless, and irreligious" and cited him as an example of "those who by their crimes come to be princes." According to the historian Justin, very early in life Agathocles parlayed his remarkable beauty into a career as a prostitute, first for men, and later, after puberty, for women, and then made a living by robbery before becoming a soldier and marrying a rich widow.
GI76945. Bronze litra, Calciati II p. 287, 150 Ds 14 Rs 63; BMC Sicily p. 196, 391; SNG ANS 740; SNG Cop 767; HGC 2 1465 var. (R1, 4th Democracy, different controls), aEF, dark sea-green patina, light marks, small spots of light corrosion, flan with ragged edge splits, weight 8.501 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 315o, Syracuse mint, 305 - 295 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of young Herakles left, wearing taenia, star (control symbol) behind neck; reverse lion walking right, right foreleg raised, club right above, arrow right (control symbol) in exergue; $270.00 (240.30)


Diadumenian, Mid May - 8 June 218 A.D., Hierapolis, Cyrrhestica, Syria

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Modern Membij, was renamed Hierapolis, (Holy City) by Seleucus Nicator and his wife Stratonice when they built a temple for the goddess of fertility and water, Atargatis (dea Syria). The city retained the name Hierapolis for only a few hundred years. Religious ceremonies before Roman times may have included child sacrifice. -- The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and Their Fractions by Michael and Karin Prieur
RY85320. Silver tetradrachm, Prieur 947 (43 spec.), Bellinger Syrian 108, SNG Cop -, BMC Galatia -, VF, light toning, attractive style, tight flan, reverse slightly off center, light marks, porous, edge split, weight 13.025 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 180o, Cyrrhestica, Hierapolis-Bambyce (Membij, Syria) mint, Middle May - 8 Jun 218 A.D.; obverse AYT K M OΠEΛ ANTΩEINOC, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞ YΠATOC (tribune of the people, consul), eagle standing facing, wings spread, head right, wreath in beak, lion walking right between eagle's legs; $250.00 (222.50)


Elaios, Thracian Chersonesos, c. 350 - 281 B.C.

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The city of Elaios in Thracian Chersonesos occupied a strategic position on what is now called the Gallipoli peninsula. In the ancient world, it was know for its sanctuary of the Trojan hero Protesilaos. Philostratos, writing of this sanctuary in the early third century A.D., speaks of a temple statue of Protesilaos standing on a base which was shaped like the prow of a boat. Of all the references listed in this coin's attribution, SNG Copenhagen is the only to list any coins of this rare city.
GB85370. Bronze AE 13, SNG Cop 898 (also same countermark); BMC Thrace -, Corpus Nummorum Thracorum -, SNG Tub -, SNG BM -, SNG Stancomb -, SNG Pushkin -, VF, well centered, highlighting earthen deposits, some marks, some corrosion, reverse slightly flattened by counter marking, weight 2.392 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, die axis 0o, Elaios mint, c. 350 - 281 B.C.; obverse veiled female head (Demeter?) right (wreathed in grain?); countermark: lion forepart right in an round punch; reverse bee upward, seen from above, EΛAIOY/ΣIΩN flanking in two upward lines first on left, ΠA monogram below; extremely rare; $250.00 (222.50)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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This type indicates Severus granted a special favor to Carthage. The water may indicate that he improved the water supply, possibly construction of an aqueduct.
RS79924. Silver denarius, RIC IV 130a; RSC III 97; BMCRE V p. 208, 280; Hunter III 38; SRCV II 6806, Choice VF, nice youth portrait, excellent centering, edge cracks, weight 3.228 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 201 - 206 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse INDVLGENTIA AVGG IN CARTH, Dea Caelestis riding lion right over water gushing from rock, thunderbolt in right hand, scepter in left hand; $200.00 (178.00)


Akanthos, Macedonia, c. 525 - 470 B.C.

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Akanthos was on the Athos peninsula of Chalcidice, near modern Ierissos. The name Akanthos (derived from the acanthus bush) may refer to the thorny nature of the town's foundation. According to Thucydides, in the 7th century B.C., colonists from Andros and Chalcis arrived on the shore near Acanthus at the same time. The frightened natives fled. When the colonists realized the town was empty, each group sent a runner to take the town first. The Chalcidian was the fastest but the Andrian, seeing he was losing, stopped and threw his spear in the city's gate before his opponent arrived. A court case followed, which was won by the Andrians because they had "taken over" the city first.
GA85066. Silver tetrobol, SNG Cop 7; SNG ANS 18; SNG Berry 4; Weber II 1875, BMC Macedonia p. 33, 10; AMNG III/2 13; Rosen 84, VF, well centered, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.317 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, Akanthos (Ierissos, Greece) mint, c. 525 - 470 B.C.; obverse forepart of lion right, head turned so the top of the head is seen, floral ornament (acanthus?) above, dotted line at truncation, dotted ground line; reverse quadripartite incuse square; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 245, part of lot 1906; $180.00 (160.20)


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

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Cybele, called mother of the gods, was originally Anatolian mother goddess. In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater ("Great Mother"). Roman mythographers reinvented her as a Trojan goddess, and thus an ancestral goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas. With Rome's eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanised forms of Cybele's cults spread throughout the Roman Empire.
RS85214. Silver denarius, RIC IV C382 (S); BMCRE V p. 432, 14; RSC III 137; SRCV II 7401, Choice gVF, bold well centered strike, light toning, weight 3.517 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, reign of Caracalla, 211 - 215 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust right; reverse MATRI DEVM, Cybele standing facing, legs crossed, leaning with left arm resting on a column, head left, towered and veiled, drum in right hand, long scepter resting against left arm, lion left at feet half visible from behind legs to left; scarce; $180.00 (160.20)


Pherai, Thessaly, Greece, c. 302 - 286 B.C.

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Pherae in southeastern Thessaly, was one of the oldest Thessalian cities. In Homer, Pherae was the home of King Admetus and his wife, Alcestis, (whom Heracles went into Hades to rescue), as well as their son Eumelus (who was one of the suitors of Helen and led the Achaean forces of Pherae and Iolcus in the Trojan War) (Iliad 2.711; Odyssey 4.798).

Ennodia (the name means, "the one in the streets") was a goddess identified in certain areas with Artemis, Hecate, or Persephone. Timarete of Corinth, who died in Pella, Macedonia in the late 5th century B.C., is the only attested priestess of this Goddess.

Hypereia was a fountain nymph. In the Iliad, Hector fears that Andromache may be enslaved and forced to draw water "from Messeis or Hypereia" in far-off Greece.
GS84911. Silver hemidrachm, BCD Thessaly 1321; BCD Thessaly II 714; SNG Cop 239;Trait IV 607 & pl. CCXCIV, 9; HGC 4 553; BMC Thessaly p. 48, 21 & pl. X, 15; Jameson 2474, VF, well centered on a tight flan, bumps and marks, light corrosion, weight 2.596 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 0o, Pherai mint, c. 302 - 286 B.C.; obverse head of Ennodia left, wearing myrtle wreath, triple-pendant earring, and necklace, torch behind; reverse nymph Hypereia standing left, resting right hand on a lion's head fountain, water gushing from the lion's mouth, her left hand on her waist, AS/TO in two lines within wreath lower left, ΦEPAIOYN downward on right; ex BCD Collection with his round tag; $175.00 (155.75)


Macedonian Kingdom, Antigonus I Monophthalmus, 323 - 301 B.C., In the Name and Types of Alexander the Great

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Antigonos I Monophthalmos ("the One-eyed") (382 B.C. - 301 B.C.) was a nobleman, general, and governor under Alexander the Great. Upon Alexander's death in 323 B.C., he established himself as one of the successors and declared himself King in 306 B.C. The most powerful satraps of the empire, Cassander, Seleucus, Ptolemy, and Lysimachus, answered by also proclaiming themselves kings. Antigonus found himself at war with all four, largely because his territory shared borders with all of them. He died in battle at Ipsus in 301 B.C. Antigonus' kingdom was divided up, with Seleucus I Nicator gaining the most. His son, Demetrius I Poliorcetes, took Macedonia, which the family held, off and on, until it was conquered by Rome in 168 B.C. -- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
GS76144. Silver drachm, Price 1826, Mller Alexander 274, Prokesch-Osten 306, SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, SNG Alpha Bank -, VF, toned, head on reverse flatly struck, light marks, weight 4.364 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, Ionia, Kolophon (near Degirmendere Fev, Turkey) mint, c. 310 - c. 301 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus seated left on backless throne, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg drawn back, feet on footstool, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, crescent horns right over lion head left in left field, Π under throne; $160.00 (142.40)


Rhegion, Bruttium, Italy, c. 415 - 387 B.C.

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Rhegion reached great artistic and cultural heights. It was home to academies, such as the Pythagorean School, and to well-known poets, historians and sculptors such Ibycus, Ippy, and Pythagoras. It was an important ally of the Roman Republic. Rhegium flourished during the Imperial Age but was devastated by several major earthquakes and tsunami. St. Paul passed through Rhegium on his final voyage to Rome (Acts XXVIII:13).
GS79976. Silver litra, SNG Cop 1936; SNG ANS 670; SNG Munchen 1588; SNG Tub 536; HN Italy 2495; BMC Italy p. 376, 30, VF, well centered, nice style, uneven toning, light corrosion, weight 0.722 g, maximum diameter 10.2 mm, die axis 90o, Rhegion mint, c. 415 - 387 B.C.; obverse facing lion scalp mask; reverse olive sprig with two olives, PH between the leaves; $160.00 (142.40)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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Severus was born in Leptis Magna (Khoms, Libya) in the Roman province of Africa. This type was struck to commemorate the emperor's visit to his native Africa in 207. See Leptis Magna on Wikipedia.
RS79618. Silver denarius, RIC IV 207 (S); RSC III 493; BMCRE V p. 263, 531; SRCV II 6341, aEF, slightly off-center, weight 3.395 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XV COS III P P, Africa standing half right, wearing elephant skin headdress, with right holding out drapery with fruits in the fold, lion at her feet right; scarce; $140.00 (124.60)




  



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