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

Ancient Greek Coins of Italy (Magna Graecia)

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 SALE PRICE $675.00
 


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; $490.00 SALE PRICE $441.00
 


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; $270.00 SALE PRICE $243.00
 


Vibo Valentia (Hipponion), Bruttium, Italy, c. 192 - 89 B.C.

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Vibo Valentia was originally the Greek colony of Hipponion. It was founded, probably around the late 7th century B.C., by inhabitants of Locri, a city south of Vibo Valentia on the Ionian Sea. In 388 B.C., the city was taken by Dionysius the Elder, tyrant of Syracuse, who deported the entire population. The population came back in 378 B.C., with the help of the Carthaginians. In the following years Hipponion came under the dominion of the Bruttii. The town fell to Rome and became a Roman colony in 194 B.C. with the name of Vibo Valentia. After a phase of prosperity during the late Republic and early Empire, the town was almost completely abandoned after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
GI76947. Bronze sextans, SNG ANS 494; SNG Cop 1856; SNG München 1395; SNG Tübingen 510; BMC Italy p. 363, 31; HN Italy 2266; SNG Morcom -, VF, nice green patina, reverse slightly off-center, bumps and marks, areas of light corrosion, weight 1.999 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 135o, Vibo Valentia mint, c. 192 - 89 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, two pellets (mark of value) behind; reverse VALENTIA, lyre, two pellets (mark of value) right; $250.00 SALE PRICE $225.00
 


Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 300 - 250 B.C.

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Metapontum or Metapontion was an important city of Magna Graecia, on a plain of extraordinary fertility on the Gulf of Tarentum, between the river Bradanus and the Casuentus (modern Basento). It was distant about 20 km from Heraclea and 40 from Tarentum. The ruins of Metapontum are located in the frazione of Metaponto, in the comune of Bernalda, in the Province of Matera, Basilicata region, Italy.
SH70576. Bronze AE 14, Johnston Bronze 62, SNG ANS 574, SNG Cop 1261, SNG Fitzwilliam 534, SNG Forbat 55, SNG Lloyd 420, SNG Evelpidis 232, HN Italy 1698, BMC Italy -, gVF, nice style, well centered, weight 3.426 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 270o, Metapontion mint, c. 300 - 250 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, hair rolled and wreathed with barley, wearing pendant earring; reverse META (upwards on left), head of barley with leaf right, fly (bee?) on right flying right above leaf; $240.00 SALE PRICE $216.00
 


Salapia, Apulia, Italy, c. 225 - 210 B.C.

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Salapia defected to Hannibal in the Second Punic War and he made it his center of operations from c. 214 to 210 B.C. He had an affair with a local woman, branded a prostitute by Pliny. Salapia later made an about-face and returned to the side of Rome. Hannibal tried to reenter the city to take revenge, but failed.

During the Social War, Salapia was burned and almost razed to the ground.

Salapia overlooked a lagoon, which, in the middle of the first century B.C silted-up and transformed into a malaria-generating swamp. With permission from the Roman Senate, the city was moved four miles away, enclosed by walls and connected by a channel to a sea port.

SH72286. Bronze AE 22, HN Italy 692a; SNG Cop 683; SNG ANS 735, VF, green patina, weight 7.588 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 45o, Salapia mint, magistrate Pyllos, c. 225 - 210 B.C.; obverse ΣAΛΛAΠINΩN, laureate head of Apollo right; reverse horse prancing right without rider, trident head right above, ΠYΛΛOY below; very rare; $240.00 SALE PRICE $216.00
 


Metapontion, Lucania, c. 300 - 200 B.C.

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Metapontion (Latin: Metapontum) was an important city of Magna Graecia, on a plain of extraordinary fertility on the Gulf of Tarentum, between the river Bradanus and the Casuentus. It was about 20 km from Heraclea and 40 km from Tarentum.
GB71325. Bronze AE 15, Johnston Bronze 68a; BMC Italy p. 263, 193; HN Italy 1704; SNG Cop 1254; Pozzi 542; SNG ANS 562 var. (Athena l.); SNG Morcom 296 var. (same), VF, green patina, some corrosion, weight 3.069 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 180o, Metapontion mint, c. 300 - 200 B.C.; obverse Athena Alkidemos advancing right, brandishing spear in right, shield in left; reverse META, owl standing right on stalk of barley right, head facing, wings closed; $225.00 SALE PRICE $203.00
 


Osco-Latin, Central Italy, Late 4th - Early 3rd Century B.C.

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CE84537. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, cf. G. Fallai, IAPN 8, pl. 6, 2-2e; Alvarez-Burgos P28; Thurlow-Vecchi -; molded from bipod shell, VF, weight 35.647 g, maximum diameter 29.6 mm, uncertain Osco-Latin mint, late 4th - early 3rd century B.C.; $225.00 SALE PRICE $203.00
 


Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 300 - 250 B.C.

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A major feature of the festival of Apollo Karneios, celebrated in Sparta, Spartan colonies, and some cities of Magna Graecia, was the race of the staphylodromi. The staphylodromi were unmarried men, dedicated to the god for four years. During the festival they hunted a willing human victim who was adorned with woolen garlands and who had made special prayers for the city. If the victim was caught, it was a beneficial omen, but if he escaped, the city would not fare well.
GI83471. Bronze AE 11, Johnston Bronze 64, HN Italy 1700, cf. SNG ANS 587 (control), SNG Cop 1256 (same), SNG Morcom 287 (same), Macdonald Hunter 67 (same), VF, green patina, well centered on a tight flan, flan adjustment marks, weight 1.590 g, maximum diameter 11.2 mm, die axis 0o, Metapontion mint, c. 300 - 250 B.C.; obverse horned head of Apollo Karneios right; reverse barley ear with leaf to right, META upward on left, fly right (control symbol) above leaf upper right; $220.00 SALE PRICE $198.00
 


Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, Philip IV of Spain, 31 March 1621 - 17 September 1665

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Naples was ruled by the Crown of Aragon as part of the Spanish Empire from 1504 to 1714.
ME66312. Bronze 3 cavalli, MIR Napoli 276 (R4), F, weight 2.223 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Naples mint, 1647; obverse PHILIPP IIII D G REX, bare head right, GA/C (mint master Giovanni Andrea Cavo) left, 46 (or 47) below; reverse foliate cross, rosette at center, flame from each angle; extremely rare; $215.00 SALE PRICE $194.00
 




  



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REFERENCES

Fischer-Bossert, W. Chronologie Der Didrachmenprägung von Tarent 510-280 v.Chr. (Berlin, 1999).
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.E., Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Tarentine Coins formed by M.P. Vlasto. (London, 1947).
Rutter, N.K., ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Poole, R.S., 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, Volume 1: Italy - Sicily (Parts 1 - 5). (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, Volume II, Lloyd Collection. (London. 1933-1937).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume III, R.C. Lockett Collection, Part 1: Spain - Italy (gold and silver). (London, 1938).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume V, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. (London. 1951 - 2008).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume IV, Fitzwilliam Museum, Leake and General Collections, Part 1: Spain (Emporiae, Rhoda)-Italy. (London, 1940).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume 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.D. The Coinage of Heraclea Lucaniae. (Rome, 1994).
Williams, R.T. Silver Coinage of Velia. (London, 1992).

Catalog current as of Sunday, February 26, 2017.
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Italy (Magna Graecia)