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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Birds| ▸ |Phoenix||View Options:  |  |  |   

Phoenix on Ancient Coins

The Roman poet Ovid tells the story of the Phoenix: 'Most beings spring from other individuals; but there is a certain kind which reproduces itself. The Assyrians call it the Phoenix. It does not live on fruit or flowers, but on frankincense and odoriferous gums. When it has lived five hundred years, it builds itself a nest in the branches of an oak, or on the top of a palm tree. In this it collects cinnamon and spikenard, and myrrh, and of these materials builds a pile on which it deposits itself, and dying, breathes out its last breath amidst odors. From the body of the parent bird, a young Phoenix issues forth, destined to live as long a life as its predecessor. When this has grown up and gained sufficient strength, it lifts its nest from the tree (its own cradle and its parent's sepulcher), and carries it to the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, and deposits it in the temple of the Sun.'


Faustina Sr., Augusta 25 February 138 - Early 141, Wife of Antoninus Pius

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Faustina I was the wife of Antoninus Pius. Little is known of her, except that she was regarded as vain and frivolous, though this may have just been malicious gossip. Antoninus Pius loved her greatly, and upon her death in 141 A.D., she was deified and a temple was built in her honor.
RB65382. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV AP1606, RIC III AP1104 var. (veiled bust), Cohen 19 var. (same), cf. SRCV II 4606 var. (DIVA FAVSTINA), VF, weight 24.562 g, maximum diameter 33.6 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, posthumous, c. 147 A.D.; obverse DIVAE FAVSTINAE, draped bust right, hair elaborately waived and banded, drawn up at the back and piled in a round coil at top; reverse AETERNITAS, Aeternitas seated left, Phoenix on globe in right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; very rare; SOLD


Constans, 9 September 337 - 19 January 350 A.D.

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The reverse legend translates, "Happy Times Restored." Happy times would not last for Constans. This coinage was among his last issues before his general Magnentius rebelled and had him killed.
RL90437. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Siscia 244, LRBC II 1136, Voetter 31, SRCV V 18730, Cohen VII 10, Choice gVF, light encrustations, weight 4.945 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 45o, 2nd officina, Aquileia mint, 348 - 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTA-NS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), Constans standing left in Galley left, labarum in left hand, Phoenix on globe in right hand, Victory steering at stern, AQS in exergue; SOLD


Constans, 9 September 337 - 19 January 350 A.D.

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The Roman poet Ovid tells the story of the Phoenix: 'Most beings spring from other individuals; but there is a certain kind which reproduces itself. The Assyrians call it the Phoenix. It does not live on fruit or flowers, but on frankincense and odoriferous gums. When it has lived five hundred years, it builds itself a nest in the branches of an oak, or on the top of a palm tree. In this it collects cinnamon and spikenard, and myrrh, and of these materials builds a pile on which it deposits itself, and dying, breathes out its last breath amidst odors. From the body of the parent bird, a young Phoenix issues forth, destined to live as long a life as its predecessor. When this has grown up and gained sufficient strength, it lifts its nest from the tree (its own cradle and its parent's sepulcher), and carries it to the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, and deposits it in the temple of the Sun.'
RL71446. Billon quarter maiorina, RIC VIII Cyzicus 88 (R), LRBC II 2482, SRCV V 18721, Cohen VII 22, Voetter -, Hunter V -, Choice VF, weight 3.113 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 225o, 3rd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 348 - 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTA-NS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), radiate Phoenix standing right on celestial globe, star right, SMKΓ in exergue; rare; SOLD


Faustina Sr., Augusta 25 February 138 - Early 141, Wife of Antoninus Pius

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Antoninus Pius wrote of his wife Faustina, "I would rather live with her on Gyara [an island of exile] than without her in the palace." Sadly, Faustina died just two years into his 23 year reign. At his request, the Senate deified her, and he minted a massive series of commemorative coins in her honor.
RB57236. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV AP1482 (same legend breaks), RIC III AP1103A, Hunter II 89, Cohen II 15, SRCV II 4606, F, nice green patina, weight 26.131 g, maximum diameter 31.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, c. 147 A.D.; obverse DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right, hair elaborately waived and banded, drawn up at the back and piled in a round coil at top; reverse AETERNITAS, Aeternitas seated left, feet on footstool, nimbate Phoenix on globe in right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; SOLD


Roman Provincial Egypt, Mid 1st - 2nd Century A.D.

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This type has traditionally been attriubted to Caligula but according to RPC it was more likely issued in the 2nd century. Many examples are cast. References identify the bird variously as a heron, an ibex or a phoenix.
RX58372. Bronze dichalkon, RPC I 5112, Dattari 112 (Caligula), Milne 5246 - 5248, Geissen 3444; BMC Alexandria 2632 ff., SNG Cop 54 (Caligula); Emmett 4257, VF, weight 1.640 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, Middle 1st - 2nd century A.D.; obverse bird standing left, branch left; reverse Apis bull standing right, solar disk between horns, L B (year 2 of an uncertain reign) above; SOLD


Constans, 9 September 337 - 19 January 350 A.D.

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RL57181. Billon AE 2, RIC VIII Rome 113, Choice VF, weight 5.862 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Rome mint, 348 - 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTA-NS P F AVG, diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), Constans standing left in galley left, Phoenix on globe in right hand, labarum in left hand, Victory seated in stern steering, A left, RS in exergue; excellent centering, attractive patina; scarce; SOLD


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Pronoia (foresight) was an Oceanid nymph and wife of the Titan Prometheus, who was sentenced to eternal torture for stealing fire from the Olympian gods for use by humans.
RX88206. Billon tetradrachm, RPC III 6252; Milne 1560; Geissen 1243; Dattari 1450; BMC Alexandria p. 72, 598; Kampmann 32.770; Emmett 881.22, VF, well centered, light marks and encrustations, weight 12.827 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 137 - 10 Jul 138 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC TPAI A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate head right; reverse ΠP-O-NOIA, Pronoia (providence, foresight) standing left, wearing a chiton, peplos, and wreath on her head, radiate phoenix in right hand, long scepter transverse in right hand, KB / L (year 22) in lower left field; SOLD


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D.

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The labarum, was a type of Roman cavalry standard, a vexillum with a military ensign marked with the Christogram (Greek monogram of Christ). It was an object of religious veneration amongst the soldiers, who paid it divine honors.
RL16653. Bronze quarter maiorina, RIC VIII Siscia 243, LRBC II 1135, SRCV V 18261, Cohen VII 36, Choice EF, weight 1.990 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 348 - 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl diademed draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), emperor stands left in galley, phoenix on globe in right hand, labarum in left, Victory seated steers in stern, ASIS and symbol in exergue; nice patina, fantastic strike and condition, superb example of the type; SOLD


Constans, 9 September 337 - 19 January 350 A.D.

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The reverse legend translates, "Happy Times Restored." Happy times would not last for Constans. This coinage was among his last issues before his general Magnentius rebelled and had him killed.
RL71445. Billon quarter maiorina, RIC VIII Siscia 244, LRBC II 1136, Voetter 31, SRCV V 18730, Cohen VII 10, Choice EF, weight 1.982 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 348 - 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), Constans standing left in galley left, Phoenix on globe in right hand, labarum in left hand, Victory seated in stern steering, BSIS followed by control-mark in exergue; SOLD


Constans, 9 September 337 - 19 January 350 A.D.

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In 348, the Goth bishop Wulfila escaped religious persecution by the Gothic chieftain Athanaric and obtained permission from Constantius II to migrate with his flock of converts to Moesia and settle near Nicopolis ad Istrum (Bulgaria).
RL84210. Billon quarter maiorina, RIC VIII Thessalonica 120, LRBC II 1642, SRCV 18732, Cohen VII 10, Choice VF, well centered, nice green patina, some light scratches, weight 2.324 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 348 - 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), Constans standing left in galley left, Phoenix on globe in right hand, labarum in left hand, Victory seated in stern steering, TESΓ in exergue; SOLD




  




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Phoenix