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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Animals ▸ Man-Faced BullView Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Coins Depicting a Man-Faced Bull

Neapolis, Campania, Italy, 320 - 300 B.C.

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Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the second millennium B.C. The city was refounded as Neapolis in the sixth century B.C. and became an important hub of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society. Naples remained influential under Rome and more so after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.
SH79834. Silver nomos, SNG ANS 325; Sambon 450; BMC Italy p. 99, 53; Head HN 571; SNG Cop -; SNG München -, VF, finest style, well centered and struck on a tight flan, toned, scratches and bumps, small edge splits, weight 7.252 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, magistrate Olympios, 320 - 300 B.C.; obverse diademed head of nymph right, wearing pendant earring and pearl necklace, no legends or symbols; reverse man-faced bull standing right, head turned facing, Nike above flying right and placing wreath on bull's head, OΛ−YM−ΠI below, NEOΠOΛITHΣ exergue; ex Fritz Rudolf Künker GmbH & Co. KG, auction 216 (8 Oct 2012), lot 48; rare; $750.00 (€667.50)
 


The Sileraioi, Sicily, c. 357 - 330 B.C.

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Sileraioi was not a city. The Sileraians were Campanian mercenaries who took their name from their proximity to the river Silaros. These rare coins have been found at the site of their settlement, Cozzo Mususino, a natural strong-hold in north central Sicily. The coins are often overstruck on coins from Syracuse minted c. 375 - 345 B.C.
SH68704. Bronze Calciati p. 301, 2; HGC 2 1243 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG München -; SNG Morcom -, VF/F, reverse rough, weight 7.521 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 90o, Sileraian mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse ΣI−ΛEPAIΩ−N (retrograde counterclockwise from 3:00), man-faced bull forepart charging right; reverse SIL (retrograde, upward behind), warrior advancing right, spear in right hand, shield in left; rare; $330.00 (€293.70)
 


Ziz (Panormos), Punic Sicily, c. 336 - 330 B.C.

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Panormos was the ancient Greek name (meaning, 'All-haven') for present day Palermo. Palermo was, however, originally a Phoenician colony and numismatists identify the city before Greek rule with the Punic name Ziz. It seems the only evidence for this ancient name is the coinage and some scholars believe that Ziz may have been another city.
GI76350. Bronze AE 12, Calciati I, p. 272, 10; HGC 2 1061 (R1); SNG ANS 5, III, pl. 44, 1362; SNG Cop -; SNG München -; BMC Sicily -, gVF, dark green patina, light smoothing, light marks and corrosion, small edge split, obverse 1/5 off-center, weight 1.975 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, die axis 0o, Ziz (Palermo, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 336 - 330 B.C.; obverse horse galloping right, barley-kernel above, linear border; reverse forepart of a man-faced bull right, Punic inscription above: ZIZ; all within a deep round incuse; rare; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


Cales, Campania, Italy, c. 265 - 240 B.C.

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The Romans captured Cales in 335 B.C. and established a colony in 334 with Latin rights of 2,500 citizens. It was an important base in the war against Hannibal. Before 184 B.C. more settlers were sent there. After the Social War it became a municipium. Its fertile territory and manufacture of black glazed pottery, which was even exported to Etruria, made it prosperous. Inscriptions name six gates of the town: and there are considerable remains of antiquity, especially of an amphitheater and theater, of a supposed temple, a Roman necropolis, and other edifices.
GB73620. Bronze AE 20, SNG Cop 309; HN Italy 436, SNG ANS 183, cf. BMC Italy p. 79, 23 (star of eight rays vice O below), F, green patina, tight flan, weight 6.161 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 225o, Cales (Calvi Risorta, Italy) mint, c. 265 - 240 B.C.; obverse CALENO, laureate head of Apollo left, star behind; reverse man-faced bull right, star of sixteen rays above, Θ (or O?) below, CALENO in exergue; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Agyrion, Sicily, c. 344 - 336 B.C.

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Agyrion (modern Agira) was a Sicel city ruled by tyrants, one of whom, Agyris, was the most powerful ruler in the center of Sicily. In 392 B.C., he and Dionysius the Elder, together successfully resisted the Carthaginians under Magno. Agira was not colonized by the Greeks until the Corinthian general Timoleon drove out the last Sicel tyrant in 339 B.C. and settled 10,000 Greeks.
GB63889. Bronze AE 14, Calciati III p. 125, 10; SNG ANS -; SNG Morcom -, VF, nice patina, weight 4.086 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 180o, Agyrion (Agira, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 344 - 336 B.C.; obverse AΓYPINAI, young Herakles' head left, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse AΓYPINAI, forepart of a man-faced bull left, legend horizontal above; rare; $130.00 (€115.70)
 


Iaetia, Sicily, 4th Century B.C.

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Iaitas was located on Mount Jato, near modern San Giuseppe Jato, a village in a hilly region of Palermo's hinterland, 31 km from the Sicilian capital. The settlement dated back to prehistoric times, with influence of Greek culture from the 6th century B.C.
GB65643. Bronze AE 13, Calciati I p.383, 1; SNG ANS 1343; SNG Cop -; SNG München -, aF, rough, weight 1.332 g, maximum diameter 13.0 mm, die axis 180o, Iaetia mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse IATINΩN, man-faced bull right; reverse head of grain on left, grain kernel (or a second head of grain) on right; very rare; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


Ziz (Panormos), Punic Sicily, c. 405 - 380 B.C.

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Some authorities have identified the male head on the obverse as Apollo. Indeed, on some examples the head does resemble other depictions of the youthful sun god, but on other examples the god is horned. On this coin the head seems to better resemble traditional depictions of Herakles or Baal. The type usually has the Punic ethnic above the bull. Sometimes it is below. Most likely it should be above on this coin but is merely unstruck.
GS66771. Silver obol, cf. Jenkins Punic (SNR 50) 14; BMC Sicily p. 249, 27; SNG ANS 551; SGCV I 889 (all w/ Punic ethnic "sys" above bull), aVF, weight 0.547 g, maximum diameter 9.14 mm, die axis 45o, Ziz (Palermo, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 405 - 380 B.C.; obverse male head left; reverse Man-faced bull advancing left, head turned facing; $85.00 (€75.65)
 







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Man-Faced Bull