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Birds on Ancient Coins

Ionia, c. 600 - 550 B.C.

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In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. In early Greek art, Sirens were represented as birds with large women's heads, bird feathers, and scaly feet. Later, they were represented as female figures with the legs of birds, with or without wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps. Later Sirens were sometimes depicted as beautiful women, whose bodies, not only their voices, were seductive.
SH84464. Electrum hemihekte, Unpublished in major references; Naville auction VII (1924), Bement Collection, lot 1435; CNG, Triton XI (8 Jan 2008), lot 253, aEF, tight flan, earthen deposits, weight 1.367 g, maximum diameter 8.8 mm, Ionia, uncertain mint, c. 600 - 550 B.C.; obverse siren standing left; reverse incuse square punch; ex Numismatica Ars Classica, auction 92, part 2 (24 May 2016), lot 1476; this type is not published in the major references but many examples are known from auctions; rare; $1440.00 SALE PRICE $1296.00


Etruscan, Bronze Ladle Handle, 6th - 5th Century B.C.

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Ex Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia; ex Ran Ryan, from the collection of Alex G. Malloy. Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia was founded in 1889 in the Villa di Papa Giulio (Pope Julius), built in the mid-16th century for Pope Julius III. Today the museum is devoted to pre-Roman antiquities, from Umbria, Latium, and southern Etruria. In the 1950's the museum sold Roman antiquities to Rex Ryan, a dealer with a shop in Rome. Alex Malloy, an antiquities dealer in for 40 years, purchased some of these antiquities, including this piece, from Rex Ryan, in 1974.

Greek, Etruscan and Roman bronzes by Gisela Richter notes, "the shape is distinguished for its grace and simplicity" and "ladles of this type are commonly found together with black-figured and red-figured vases in tombs in Etruria."
AM12357. Bronze ladle handle; cf. Richter 648; 14 inches long; bifurcated top, each end with a duck head terminal (one head missing); green patina, $155.00 SALE PRICE $140.00


Caria, Uncertain City (probably Mylasa), c. 420 - 390 B.C.

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Among the smallest coins ever minted.
GA76794. Silver tetartemorion, SNG Kayhan 940 - 943, SNG Keckman I 926, VF, weight 0.150 g, maximum diameter 5.7 mm, die axis 165o, Carian mint, c. 420 - 390 B.C.; obverse forepart of lion right, head turned back left; reverse bird standing left within incuse square; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00







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Catalog current as of Tuesday, October 17, 2017.
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