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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Numismatics| ▸ |Graffiti||View Options:  |  |  |   

Graffiti on Ancient Coins

Ancient people would sometimes scratch their initials or other marks on their coins.


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander the Great, 336 - 323 B.C.

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Struck at Amphipolis under Antipator. When Alexander the Great set out on his Asiatic expedition in 334 B.C., Antipater was left behind as regent in Macedonia and strategos of Europe. After Alexander died, the regent, Perdiccas, left Antipater in control of Greece.
SL87034. Gold stater, Price 164, MŁller Alexander 2, SNG Cop 625, NGC AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5, light graffiti (2818437-001); attractive style, weight 8.60 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 270o, Amphipolis mint, possibly a lifetime issue, c. 325 - 319 B.C; obverse head of Athena right wearing earring, necklace, and triple-crested Corinthian helmet decorated with a coiled snake, light graffito X below chin; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Nike standing left, wreath in right hand, stylis in left, fulmen (thunderbolt) in left field; SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C., C. Cossutius Maridianus

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This coin was struck about a month after Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15 (the Ides of March) by a group of senators, among them Gaius Cassius Longinus, Marcus Junius Brutus, and Caesar's Massilian naval commander, Decimus Brutus. In April, about the time this coin was struck, Octavian returned from Apollonia in Dalmatia to Rome to take up Caesar's inheritance, against advice from Atia (his mother and Caesar's niece) and consular stepfather Antony.
SH26589. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/19, Sydenham 1069, RSC I Julius Caesar 8, Sear CRI 112, SRCV I 1422, nice VF, superb portrait, some mint luster in recesses, light toning, small punch and light graffiti on reverse, weight 3.624 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, C. Cossutius Maridianus, moneyer, Rome mint, posthumous, Apr 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR PARENS PATRIAE (Caesar father of the country), wreathed and veiled head of Caesar right, lituus below chin, apex behind; reverse C COSSVTIVS / MARID-IANVS (moneyer's name) arranged in form of cross, A - A - A - F ē F (Auro, Argento, Aere, Flando, Feriundo) in the angles; a superb example of this type sold in June 2014 for $67,500 plus auction fees!; scarce; SOLD


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

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Use of the title "King" suggests a date before 261 B.C. The style of the portrait is that of mid-reign of Ptolemy II, and unlike and finer than those of the Phoenician mints. The portrait style and compact lettering are similar to those on the rare ΘE mintmark coins, probably struck at Thera, an Aegean base for the Ptolemaic Navy. A dolphin mintmark was used on Alexander tetradrachms from an unknown Greek or Macedonian mint. Perhaps this coin was struck in the same uncertain Greek city.
SH66538. Silver tetradrachm, unpublished(?), not in references held by Forum and no examples found online, VF, reverse graffiti, weight 14.083 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Greek(?) mint, c. 265 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right with aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing right on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, dolphin left before; ex Pegasi, unpublished, puzzling and possibly unique; SOLD


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III and Alexander IV, 323 - 315 B.C., Types of Philip II

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Philip II coin types remained prominent in the northern regions of the Macedonian Kingdom long after his death. This coin was struck after Alexander's death when the kingdom was nominally ruled by Alexander's mentally disabled half-brother Philip III Arrhidaeus, son of Philip II and Philinna, and Alexander IV, the great conqueror's young son. The two were made joint kings by Alexander's generals who only used them as pawns. Philip III was imprisoned upon his return to Macedonia, and in 317 B.C. he was executed under orders from Olympias. Alexander IV and his mother Roxana were executed by the boy's regent, Kassander, in 311 B.C.
SH72301. Silver tetradrachm, Le Rider p. 68 and pl. 22, 530 (D281/R437); SNG Lockett 1414, SNG ANS 450 var. (shield under foreleg), SNG Alpha Bank 276 var. (same), SNG Saroglos -, aEF, excellent centering, graffiti, weight 13.299 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 135o, Macedonia, Pella mint, c. 323 - 315 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse ΦIΛIΠΠOY, nude youth pacing right on horseback, palm frond in right, reins in left, coiled snake below, Boeotian shield in exergue; SOLD


Julian II "the Apostate," February 360 - 26 June 363 A.D.

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Although Eastern Solidi of Julian II seem fairly common, the Western issues are quite scarce and this type from Arles is very rare. Zeus' eagle in the right field has been interpreted to indicate pagan influence at the Arelatum mint.
SH86350. Gold solidus, RIC VIII Arles 303 (R2), Depeyrot EMA 145/1, Cohen VIII 75, SRCV V 19097, Hunter V -, aVF, clipped flan, graffiti obverse right field, bumps and scratches, die break reverse lower left, weight 3.202 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Constantia-Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 360 - 363 A.D.; obverse FL CL IVLIANVS P P AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse VIRTVS EXERC GALL (the courage of the Roman army in Gaul), soldier (Julian?) advancing right, helmeted and wearing military garb, head left, right hand on the head of a bound captive on one knee, trophy of arms in left hand across left shoulder; eagle right in right field, looking left, wreath in beak; KONSTAN (Constantia, TAN ligate) in exergue; ex iNumis auction 20 May 2010 (Ä1740 including fees); very rare; SOLD


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

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Myrina is said to have been founded before the other Aeolian cities by Myrinus or by the Amazon Myrina. Artaxerxes gave Gryneium and Myrina to Gongylus, an Eretrian, who had been banished from his native city for favoring Persia. Myrina had a good harbor. Pliny the Elder mentions the fame of its oysters and that it bore the surname of Sebastopolis (venerable city). An inscription tells us that Myrina was within the Kingdom of Pergamon in the 3rd century B.C. For some time Myrina was occupied by Philip V of Macedon; but the Romans compelled him to evacuate, and declared the place free. It twice suffered severe earthquakes, in the reigns of Tiberius and Trajan. The town was restored each time, and continued to exist until a late period. It was the birthplace of Agathias, a Byzantine poet and historian of the 6th century.
SH35589. Silver stephanophoric tetradrachm, Sacks 29; SNGvA 1665; SNG Cop 222; BMC Troas p. 136, 7; Weber 5565, EF, light graffiti on reverse, weight 17.002 g, maximum diameter 32.2 mm, die axis 0o, Aiolis, Myrina (near Aliaga, Turkey) mint, obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair braided, ribbons flowing behind; reverse MYPINAIΩN, Apollo Grynios advancing right holding patera and laurel branch with fillets; omphalos and amphora at feet; BTN monogram left, all within laurel wreath; SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, Feb - Mar 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.
SH76555. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/7b, Sear CRI 104a, BMCRR I Rome 4155, Sydenham 1062, RSC I Julius Caesar 24, SRCV I 1410, VF, attractive iridescent toning, uneven strike, contact marks, graffiti, weight 3.273 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, moneyer L. Aemilius Buca, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR - DICT PERPETVO (starting upper right), wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse Venus seated right, Victory in extended right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, L BVCA downward behind; ex Roma auction 13 (29 Nov 2014), lot 369; ex Andrew McCabe Collection; scarce; SOLD


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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"The Julian Star" appeared in the sky during the funeral games for Julius Caesar in July 44 B.C. It was a comet and the Romans believed it was a divine manifestation of the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.
SH26033. Silver denarius, RIC I 37a, BMCRE I 323, RSC I 98, aVF, banker's marks, graffiti, weight 3.520 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 180o, Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza, Spain) mint, 19 - 18 B.C.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, head of Augustus left, wearing oak wreath (corona civitas); reverse comet of eight rays, a central dot and flaming tail upwards, DIVVS - IVLIVS horizontal divided flanking across the field at center; ex CNG; SOLD


Zeno, 18 January - 17 November 474 and August 476 - 11 April 491 A.D.

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In 474, Zeno's oppressive rule resulted in a revolt which forced him to flee to Isauria. Verina, the widow of Leo I, claimed the Empire and installed her brother, Basiliscus, on the throne. The following year, Basiliscus was deposed and Zeno reclaimed the Empire. He didn't change and new rebellions were frequent. In 491 A.D., after a turbulent reign of seventeen years, he died. He was succeeded by Anastasius, who married his widow Ariadne.
SH90883. Gold solidus, RIC X 912 (R4), DOCLR 632 var., Depeyrot 108/1 var., SRCV V 21514 var. (only RIC X 912 has the cross), gVF, mint luster, flow lines, die wear, bumps, graffiti, scratches, weight 4.429 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 2nd reign, Aug 476 - 11 Apr 491 A.D.; obverse D N ZENO PERP AVG, helmeted bust facing, pearl diademed, cross on helmet, cuirassed, spear in right over shoulder, shield on left arm decorated with horseman riding down enemy; reverse VICTORIA AVGGG Θ (victory of the three emperors, 9th officina), Victory standing left, long jeweled cross in right, star right, CONOB in exergue; ex Edgar Owen; very rare; SOLD


Theodosius II, 10 January 402 - 28 July 450 A.D.

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The solidus weighed 1/72 of the Roman pound. "OB" was both an abbreviation for the word obryzum, which means refined or pure gold, and is the Greek numeral 72. Thus the exergue of this coin may be read "1/72 pound pure gold." -- "Byzantine Coinage" by Philip Grierson
SH62359. Gold solidus, RIC X Theodosius II 257, aEF, graffiti on obverse, weight 4.469 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 430 - 440 A.D.; obverse D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG, helmeted bust facing, pearl diademed, cuirassed, spear in right over shoulder, shield decorated with a horseman riding down enemy on his left arm; reverse VOT XXX MVLT XXXX Γ, Constantinopolis enthroned left, globus cruciger in right hand, scepter in left hand, foot on a prow, left elbow resting on shield, star right, CONOB in exergue; SOLD




  




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Catalog current as of Wednesday, December 11, 2019.
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Graffiti