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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ ItalyView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Greek Coins of Italy (Magna Graecia)

Roman Republic, Aes Formatum Large Domed Disc Ingot, 4th Century B.C.

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Called aes formatum by Haeberlin, this very rare bronze currency was a precursor to the issues of aes grave but later than aes rude. Presumably, molten bronze-iron alloy was poured into a shallow hole in the dirt. This left a disc-shaped metal mound with a flat reverse. Broken examples are much more common than complete ones like this.
RT11424. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 2.7; 1.196kg, 137mm, Italian mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse convex obverse; reverse flat reverse; the denarius is included in the photograph to indicate the size, it is not included with the aes formatum, international shipping at the actual cost of postage will require additional charge; very rare; $720.00 (€612.00)
 


Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 330 - 290 B.C.

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Demeter in Greek mythology is the goddess of grain and fertility, the pure; nourisher of the youth and the green earth, the health-giving cycle of life and death; and preserver of marriage and the sacred law. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, dated to about the seventh century B.C. she is invoked as the "bringer of seasons," a subtle sign that she was worshiped long before she was made one of the Olympians. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that also predated the Olympian pantheon.
SH82666. Silver nomos, SNG ANS 502 (same dies); Noe-Johnston Class C, 8; BMC Italy p. 251, 102; SNG Cop 1229; HN Italy 1592, aEF, attractive iridescent toning, attractive classical style, tight flan, letters on obverse obscure on all examples known to Forum, weight 7.868 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 245o, Metapontion mint, c. 330 - 290 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, wearing grain wreath, triple pendant earring, and pearl necklace, uncertain letters (ΣU? or EY?) under chin; reverse barley ear of seven grains with leaf to right, META upward on left, ΛY lower left, star above leaf; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 2 (26 Nov 2017), lot 36 (From the old stock of a Swiss Numismatist, acquired before 2005.); $700.00 (€595.00)
 


Luceria, Apulia, Italy, c. 211 - 200 B.C.

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In 321 B.C., the Romans, deceived into thinking Lucera was under siege by the Samnites, walked into an ambush and were defeated. The town threw out the Samnites, sought Roman protection, and in 320 B.C. was granted the status of Colonia Togata, which meant it was ruled by the Roman Senate. To strengthen ties, 2,500 Romans moved to Lucera. Roman culture merged with the native one slowly, probably accompanied by cross-cultural marriages, but Lucera was a steadfast supporter of Rome. By the 2nd century B.C., the rustic town was transformed into a proper Roman city with houses, public buildings, paved roads, sidewalks and services for travelers, accommodation for livestock with running water, and warehouses for storing goods.
GB86125. Bronze uncia, SNG ANS 709; SNG Cop 663; SNG BnF 1368; SNG München 504; HN Italy 682; BMC Italy p. 141, 62; Hunterian -, VF, rough, weight 4.084 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 0o, Luceria mint, c. 211 - 200 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, bow and quiver at shoulder, pellet behind; reverse LOVC-ERI, toad seen from above; very rare; $680.00 (€578.00)
 


Roman Republic, Fragment of an Aes Formatum Brick, 4th Century B.C.

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In Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum, Grueber wrote, "In the find at Vulci, besides the aes rude and the aes signatum there was a number of rough brick-shaped pieces in very poor condition, without any imprint and nothing to indicate their value; their weight varying from an ounce to a pound...These pieces would appear to be intermediate between the as rude and the aes signatum." In Aes Grave, Das Schwergeld Roms und Mittelitaliens, published in 1910, the same year as the British Museum Catalog, Haeberlin differentiated these cast shapes from aes rude and introduced a new term for them, aes formatum.
RR87168. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 4 , 1-3; fragment of a brick shaped aes formatum, 214.5g, 62.1x47.6x15.4mm, broken from the end and includes one corner, VF, very rare; $450.00 (€382.50)
 


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, c. 275 - 250 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.
SH86580. Silver didrachm, Sambon 523, HN Italy 586, SNG ANS 395 ff. var., SNG BnF 836 ff. var.; SNG Munchen 250 ff. var., SNG Cop 451 ff. var. (all var., no dolphin control), VF, attractive classical style, well centered and struck, toned, bumps and marks, edge crack, weight 7.118 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis (Naples) mint, 275 - 250 B.C.; obverse diademed head of nymph left, wearing triple-pendant earring, dolphin head down (control symbol) behind; reverse man-faced bull walking right, head turned facing, being crowned by Nike flying right above, IΣ (control or magistrate initials) below, NEOΠOΛITΩN in exergue; $400.00 (€340.00)
 


Tutere (Tudor), Umbria, Italy, 280 - 240 B.C.

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Todi was founded by the ancient Italic people of the Umbri, in the 8th - 7th century BC, with the name of Tutere. The name means "border," it being the city located on the frontier with the Etruscan dominions. It was conquered by the Romans in 217 BC. According to Silius Italicus, it had a double line of walls that stopped Hannibal himself after his victory at the Trasimeno. Christianity spread to Todi very early, through the efforts of St. Terentianus. Bishop St. Fortunatus became the patron saint of the city for his heroic defense of it during the Gothic siege. In Lombard times, Todi was part of the Duchy of Spoleto.
SH73969. Bronze hemiobol, HN Italy 37, Campania CNAI 2, SNG Cop 75, SNG ANS 105; BMC Italy p. 39, 1, F, well centered, pitted, flan crack, weight 3.364 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Tuder (Todi, Italy) mint, 280 - 240 B.C.; obverse bearded head of the satyr Silenus (Seilenos) right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse Umbrian: TVTEDE (downward on left, TVT top outward, EDE top inward), eagle standing left, wings spread; rare; $360.00 (€306.00)
 


Melita, Malta, c. 150 - 146 B.C.

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Melite or Melita (present-day Mdina) Malta began as a Bronze Age settlement, which grew into the city Maleth under the Phoenicians, and became the administrative center of the island. The city fell to Rome in 218 B.C., and it remained part of the Roman and later the Byzantine Empire until 870 A.D., when it was destroyed by the Aghlabids. The city was then rebuilt and renamed Medina, giving rise to the present name Mdina. It remained Malta's capital city until 1530. Only a few vestiges of the Punic-Roman city have survived. The most substantial are the ruins of the Domvs Romana, an aristocratic town house, in which a number of well-preserved mosaics and statues have been found. Sparse remains of other buildings and parts of the city walls have been excavated, but no visible remains of the city's numerous temples, churches, and other public buildings survive.
GI86525. Bronze AE 26, Calciati III p. 353, 7; SNG Cop VIII 463; SNG Dreer 607; Coleiro 3, F, red-black patina, reverse a little off center, light marks and corrosion, weight 12.228 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, Melita (Mdina, Malta) mint, under Roman rule, c. 150 - 146 B.C.; obverse MEΛITAIΩN (clockwise on right), head of Isis (Coleiro says Astarte) left, wearing uraeus crown, composite of symbol of Tanit and caduceus in left field; reverse Osiris kneeling left on left knee, with four open wings, wearing double crown, short scepter in right hand, flail in left hand; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; very rare; $300.00 (€255.00)
 


Roman Republic, Fragment of an Aes Formatum Large Domed Disc Ingot, 4th Century B.C.

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Called aes formatum by Haeberlin, this very rare bronze currency was a precursor to the issues of aes grave but later than aes rude. Presumably, molten bronze-iron alloy was poured into a shallow hole in the dirt. This left a disc-shaped metal mound with a flat reverse. Broken examples like this one are much more common than complete ones.
AR12017. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, cf. Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 2.7; fragment, fragment, broken from a large domed ingot, weight 45.4 g, maximum diameter 99.7 mm, Italian mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse convex obverse; reverse flat reverse; very rare; $240.00 (€204.00)
 


Roman Republic, Fragment of an Aes Formatum Brick, 4th Century B.C.

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In Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum, Grueber wrote, "In the find at Vulci, besides the aes rude and the aes signatum there was a number of rough brick-shaped pieces in very poor condition, without any imprint and nothing to indicate their value; their weight varying from an ounce to a pound...These pieces would appear to be intermediate between the as rude and the aes signatum." In Aes Grave, Das Schwergeld Roms und Mittelitaliens, published in 1910, the same year as the British Museum Catalog, Haeberlin differentiated these cast shapes from aes rude and introduced a new term for them, aes formatum.
RR87167. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 4 , 1-3; fragment of a brick shaped aes formatum, 416g, 93.2x48.9x23mm, square tool mark, VF, very rare; $225.00 (€191.25)
 


Herakleia, Lucania, Italy, 3rd Century B.C.

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The sea god Triton, the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, lived with his parents in a golden palace on the bottom of the sea. Also called Tritons were a group of fish-tailed sea gods or daimones, the Satyrs of the sea. Some, called Ikhthyokentauroi (Sea-Centaurs), had the upper bodies of men and the lower bodies of Hippokampoi (fish-tailed horses).

Glaucus began his life as a mortal fisherman from Anthedon, Boeotia. He discovered a magical herb which could bring fish back to life, and decided to try eating it. The herb made him immortal, but he grew fins and a fish tail, forcing him to dwell forever in the sea. Glaucus was initially upset by this side-effect, but Oceanus and Tethys received him well and he was quickly accepted among the deities of the sea, learning from them the art of prophecy.
GB83465. Bronze AE 13, cf. Van Keuren 144 ff.; SNG ANS 116 ff.; BMC Italy p. 234, 66; SNG Cop 1141; SNG Morcom 265; HN Italy 1437, VF, well centered, nice style, green patina, weight 2.151 g, maximum diameter 13.1 mm, die axis 180o, Heraklea (in Matera Province, Italy) mint, c. 276 - 250 B.C.; obverse bust of Athena right, wearing a crested Corinthian helmet; reverse marine deity (Triton or Glaukos?) right, spear in right hand, shield in left hand, HPAKΛEIΩN below; very rare; $215.00 (€182.75)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Grunauer von Hoerschelmann, S. "Die Bronzeprägung von Poseidonia" in AIIN 18/19 Suppl. (1973).
Jameson, R. Collection R. Jameson. Monnaies grecques antiques. (Paris, 1913-1932).
Johnston, A. "The Bronze Coinage of Metapontum" in Kraay-Mørkholm Essays, pp. 121-136.
Johnston, A. The Coinage of Metapontum, Part 3. ANSNNM 164. (1990).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins: European Mints. (San Mateo, 1989).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Naville Co. Monnaies grecques antiques S. Pozzi. Auction 1 (4 April 1921, Geneva).
Noe, S. The coinage of Metapontum, Parts 1 and 2. ANSNNM 32 and 47. (1927 and 1931).
Noe, S. The Thurian Distaters. ANSNNM 71. (New York, 1935).
Ravel, O., Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Tarentine Coins formed by M.P. Vlasto. (London, 1947).
Rutter, N., ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Poole, R., ed. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Italy. (London, 1873).
Sambon, A. Les monnaies antiques de l'Italie. (Paris, 1903).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1, Europe. (London, 1978).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 1: Italy - Sicily. (New Jersey, 1981).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Münzsammlung Universität Tübingen, Part 1: Hispania-Sikelia. (Berlin, 1981).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale, Vol. 6, Part 1: Italy (Etruria-Calabria). (Paris, 2003).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain II, Lloyd Collection. (London. 1933-1937).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain III, R.C. Lockett Collection, Part 1: Spain - Italy (gold and silver). (London, 1938).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain V, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. (London. 1951 - 2008).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain IV, Fitzwilliam Museum, Leake and General Collections, Part 1: Spain (Emporiae, Rhoda)-Italy. (London, 1940).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain X, John Morcom Collection. (Oxford, 1995).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 1: Etruria - Calabria. (New York, 1969).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 2: Lucania. (New York, 1972).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 3: Bruttium - Sicily 1 (Abacaenum-Eryx). (New York, 1975).
Taliercio Mensitieri, M. "Simboli, lettere, sigle sul bronzo di Neapolis" in Studi Breglia.
van Keuren, F. The Coinage of Heraclea Lucaniae. (Rome, 1994).
Williams, R. Silver Coinage of Velia. (London, 1992).

Catalog current as of Monday, July 23, 2018.
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Italy (Magna Graecia)