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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ AgricultureView Options:  |  |  | 

Agriculture on Ancient Coins

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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A caduceus is a wand entwined at one end by two serpents, each of whose bodies folds again in the form of two half-circles, whilst the head passes above the wand. It was an attribute peculiar to Mercury. Prudence is generally supposed to be represented by these two serpents, and the wings which are sometimes added to the Caduceus, are the symbols of diligence, both needful qualities in the pursuit of trade and commerce, which Mercury patronized. It was also the symbol of peace and concord, which that deity is related to have received from Apollo in return for the lyre.
RS84672. Silver denarius, RIC III 136, RSC II 344, BMCRE IV 530, Hunter II 139, Strack III 166, SRCV II 4078, Choice VF, nice portrait, flow lines, edge cracks, porous, weight 3.163 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 145 - 161 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, clasped hands holding stalks of grain and caduceus; $120.00 (102.00)


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

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The Romans used poppy for cooking and medicinal purposes. For cooking, it was used mainly as a garnish or sprinkled on bread, perhaps also in desserts. Pliny sites the medicinal purpose: "...allow the poppy sap to thicken, roll it into pastilles and allow these to dry in the shade. It is a tranquilizer, but if you take too much, you will die in your sleep." (N.H. XX-lxxvi)
RS85761. Silver denarius, RSC II 172, RIC II 230a, BMCRE III 595, Hunter II 201, Strack II 227, SRCV II 3461 var. (laureate), VF, well centered, uneven toning, light corrosion, edge cracks, weight 2.514 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, bare head right; reverse ANNONA AVG, modius with four stalks of grain and one poppy in center; $120.00 (102.00)


Leontini, Sicily, c. 207 - 200 B.C.

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Leontini was founded by colonists from Naxos in 729 B.C. Six miles inland, it is the only Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, Originally held by the Sicels, the site was seized by the Greeks to gain control of the fertile plain to the north.

When the Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus stormed the city in 214 B.C., Leontini was subject to Syracuse and the rulers of Syracuse actually resided there. Marcellus had 2000 Roman deserters who were hiding in the city killed, and then moved to lay siege to Syracuse itself.
GB65520. Bronze AE 16, Calciati p. 81, 9; SNG ANS 274; BMC Sicily p. 93, 66; SNG Cop 366, VF, weight 4.170 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 180o, Leontini mint, c. 207 - 200 B.C.; obverse veiled head of Demeter left, plow behind; reverse ΛEON, bundle of grain; $110.00 (93.50)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Africa) and its distribution to the people. By the Code De Naviculariis, the mariners appointed to carry grain from Egypt could be executed if they did not keep the proper course; and if they did not sail in the proper season, the master of the vessel would be banished.
RB65293. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 981, BMCRE IV 2038, SRCV II 4254, Cohen II -, F, nice portrait, uneven strike, reverse slightly off center, weight 21.364 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 157 - 158 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P IMP II, laureate head right; reverse TR POT XXI COS IIII, Annona standing slightly slightly left, stalks of grain pointed downward in her right over modius overflowing with stalks of grain at feet on left, rudder vertical behind in left resting on prow of galley right, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; $110.00 (93.50)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.

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Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Africa) and its distribution to the people.
RS73678. Silver denarius, RIC IV 188, RSC III 29a, BMCRE IV 674, SRCV II 7859, Hunter III -, aEF, both sides slightly off-center but broad flan so only the tops of a few letters off flan, some die wear, die break below bust, weight 3.168 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 231 A.D.; obverse IMP SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate head right, with neatly trimmed beard; reverse ANNONA AVG, Annona standing left, two heads of grain downward in right hand over modius overflowing with grain at feet left, grounded anchor in left hand; ex Forum (2004); $90.00 (76.50)


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C.

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Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great's personal bodyguards, was appointed strategos (general) in Thrace and the Chersonesos after Alexander's death. He became one of the diadochi (successors of Alexander) who were initially generals and governors, but who continuously allied and warred with each other and eventually divided the empire. In 309, he founded his capital Lysimachia in a commanding situation on the neck connecting the Chersonesos with the mainland. In 306, he followed the example of Antigonus in taking the title of king, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedonia. In 281, he was killed in battle against Seleucus, another successor of Alexander.
GB68080. Bronze AE 13, Mller 14, SNG Cop 1168, SGCV II 6822, VF, weight 2.519 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, die axis 0o, Kallatis (Mangalia, Romania) mint, c. 297 - 281 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right clad in lion's scalp headdress; reverse BAΣI/ΛYΣI within a wreath of grain; $85.00 (72.25)


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Philippi, Macedonia

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Mark Antony and Octavian defeated the assassins of Caesar, Marcus Junius Brutus and Cassius, at the Battle of Philippi in the plain to the west of the city in October 42 B.C. They released some of their veteran soldiers, probably from legion XXVIII, to colonized the city, which was refounded as Colonia Victrix Philippensium. In 30 BC, Octavian became Roman emperor, reorganized the colony, and established more settlers there, veterans possibly from the Praetorian Guard and other Italians. The city was renamed Colonia Iulia Philippensis, and then Colonia Augusta Iulia Philippensis after January, 27 BC, when Octavian received the title Augustus from the Roman Senate.
RP77240. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 1656; Varbanov III 3770 (R4); BMC Mysia p. 103, 86 (Parium); SNG Cop IV 282 (same), gF, green patina, weight 4.887 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Philippi mint, obverse AVG, bare head right; reverse two priests with yoke of two oxen right, plowing the pomerium (sacred boundary), founding the new colony; $75.00 (63.75)


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D., Berytos, Phoenicia

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Named for the daughter of Augustus, Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Berytus was founded in 14 B.C. with veterans of the 5th and 8th legions. Herod the Great, Herod Agrippa I, and Herod Agrippa II built sumptuous monuments and sponsored gladiatorial combats at Berytos. After the siege of Jerusalem, Titus gave gladiatorial games at Berytos, in which the combatants were Jews.
RP55005. Bronze AE 25, RPC II 2045; Rouvier 513; BMC Phoenicia p. 63, 80; Lindgren-Kovacs 2257, F, green patina, scratches, reverse off-center, weight 13.564 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 180o, Berytos (Beirut, Lebanon) mint, obverse IMP T CAESAR AVG F, bare head left; reverse COL IVL AVG, priest with yoke of two oxen right, plowing the pomerium (sacred boundary), founding the new colony; $70.00 (59.50)


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D., Berytos, Phoenicia

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Named for the daughter of Augustus, Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Berytus was founded in 14 B.C. with veterans of the 5th and 8th legions. Herod the Great, Herod Agrippa I, and Herod Agrippa II built sumptuous monuments and sponsored gladiatorial combats at Berytos. After the siege of Jerusalem, Titus gave gladiatorial games at Berytos, in which the combatants were Jews.
RP78052. Bronze AE 25, RPC II 2045; Rouvier 513; BMC Phoenicia p. 63, 80; Lindgren-Kovacs 2257, F, legends partially unstruck, tight flan, weight 13.319 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, Berytos (Beirut, Lebanon) mint, obverse IMP T CAESAR AVG F, bare head left; reverse COL IVL AVG, priest with yoke of two oxen right, plowing the pomerium (sacred boundary), founding the new colony; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $70.00 (59.50)


Numerian, February or March 283 - October or November 284 A.D.

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Annona was worshiped in Rome as the goddess who prospered the year's supply of grain. She was represented on an altar in the capital. The three principal granaries of Rome were Sicily, Egypt, and the African provinces. Annona civilis was the grain which purchased each year by the Roman state, then imported and put into storage, reserved and distributed for the subsistence of the people. Annona militaris was grain appropriated to the use of an army during a campaign.
RA84351. Billon antoninianus, Venra IV 1189 - 1192, Hunter IV 36 var. (bust), RIC V-2 447 var. (same), SRCV III 12253, Pink VI-2 p. 29, Cohen VI 83, VF, nice portrait, well centered, dark toning, weight 3.490 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, Feb/Mar 283 - Oct/Nov 284 A.D.; obverse IMP NVMERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PROVIDENT AVGG (the foresight of the two emperors), Providentia (Annona?) standing slightly right, head left, stalks of grain downward in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, modius at feet on left, VXXI in exergue; $70.00 (59.50)


Katane, Sicily, c. 216 - 206 B.C.

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As observed by Strabo the location of Katane at the foot of Mount Etna on the east coast of Sicily was both a source of benefits and of evils. On the one hand, the violent outbursts of the volcano from time to time desolated great parts of the city's territory. On the other, the volcanic ashes produced fertile soil, especially suitable for the growth of vines. (Strab. vi. p. 269.).
GI85823. Bronze chalkous, Calciati III p. 109, 23; SNG ANS 1275; HGC 2 627 (R2), F, dark blue-green patina, obverse a little off center, weight 1.369 g, maximum diameter 12.7 mm, die axis 135o, Katane mint, c. 216/5 - 206 B.C.; obverse jugate busts right of Serapis (nearer), laureate and wearing atef crown, and Isis, wearing her crown with horns, orb, and plumes; reverse KATA-NAIΩN (starting upward on left, ending upward on right), two ears of barley, with leaves; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; very rare; $70.00 (59.50)


Elaea, Aeolis, 138 - 192 A.D.

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The head on this type has traditionally been identified as Lucius Verus; however, Lucius Verus was 30 years old when he was made caesar and he was made augustus simultaneously. The legend and young portrait suggest it might be someone else. RPC identifies the identity of the head as uncertain and lists Lucius Verus, Lucius Aelius and Commodus as possibilities.
GB86137. Orichalcum AE 15, RPC IV temp 216; SNG Cop 197; SNGvA 1612; SNG Mun 427; SNG Delepierre 9; SNG Leypold I 513; BMC Troas p. 130, 46; Lindgren III 330; McClean III 7943, VF, centered on a tight flan, porous, weight 2.708 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Aeolis, Elaea mint, 138 - 192 A.D.; obverse Λ OVKIOC - KAICAP, head of youthful Caesar (Lucius Verus, Annius Verus or Commodus) right; reverse EΛAI-TΩN, kalathos containing poppy in center and four stalks of grain; $70.00 (59.50)


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Apamea, Phrygia

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This type, the only issue by Apamea in Phrygia during the Flavian Period, may have been issued to finance recovery from an earthquake and fire mentioned by Suetonius (Vesp. 17).

Apamea or Apameia, Phrygia (also called Apamea Cibotus, Apamea ad Maeandrum, or Apamea on the Maeander) was an ancient city in Anatolia founded in the 3rd century B.C. by Antiochus I Soter, who named it after his mother Apama. It was in Hellenistic Phrygia, but became part of the Roman province of Pisidia.
RP77369. Bronze AE 26, RPC II 1389; SNG Cop 210; SNGvA 3491; SNG Munchen 152; BMC Phrygia p. 95, 150, Fair, nice portrait for grade, nice green patina, weight 9.728 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 0o, Phrygia, Apameia (Dinar, Turkey) mint, struck under Plancius Varus, Praetorian Legate; obverse AYTOKPATΩP KAIΣAP ΣEBAΣTOΣ OYEΣΠAΣIANOΣ, laureate head right; reverse EΠI ΠΛANKIOY OYAPOY KOINON ΦPYΓIAΣ AΠAMEIΣ, bundle of five stalks of grain; $65.00 (55.25)


Leontini, Sicily, c. 476 - 455 B.C.

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Leontini was founded by colonists from Naxos in 729 B.C. Six miles inland, it is the only Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, Originally held by the Sicels, the site was seized by the Greeks to gain control of the fertile plain to the north.
GS65783. Silver hemilitra, SNG Munchen 548; Boehringer Leontini B; cf. HGC 2 688 (R2, obol); SNG ANS 216 (obol, finer style); BMC Sicily p. 88, 22 (same); SNG Cop 342 (same), F, toned, porous, crude style (perhaps a barbaric imitative), weight 0.297 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, die axis 225o, Leontini (or unofficial?) mint, c. 476 - 466 B.C.; obverse crude facing lion scalp, dot border; reverse LE/ON (retrograde), barley grain, within shallow round incuse; from the old stock of a retiring Ohio dealer acquired by Forum in 2012; very rare; $60.00 (51.00)


Leontini, Sicily, c. 476 - 455 B.C.

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Leontini was founded by colonists from Naxos in 729 B.C. Six miles inland, it is the only Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, Originally held by the Sicels, the site was seized by the Greeks to gain control of the fertile plain to the north.
GS67480. Silver hemilitra, SNG Munchen 548; Boehringer Leontini B; cf. HGC 2 688 (R2, obol); SNG ANS 216 (obol, finer style); BMC Sicily p. 88, 22 (same); SNG Cop 342 (same), VF, weight 0.282 g, maximum diameter 10.3 mm, die axis 225o, Leontini (or unofficial?) mint, c. 476 - 466 B.C.; obverse crude facing lion scalp, dot border; reverse LE/ON (retrograde), barley grain, within shallow round incuse; very rare; $60.00 (51.00)


Kallatis, Thrace, 3rd - 2nd Century B.C.

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Kallatis, on the Black Sea, is today Mangalia, the oldest town in Romania. In Greek Callatis means "the beautiful."
GB79703. Bronze AE 26, AMNG I/I 227 ff. var. (different magistrates), SNG Stancomb 69 ff. var. (same), SNG BM 214 var. (same), F, bumps and cuts, minor edge flaw, weight 9.687 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 0o, Kallatis (Mangalia, Romania) mint, c. 200 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse KAΛΛA−TIANΩN, tripod, stalk of grain left field, ∆HΛO (magistrate) in exergue; none with this magistrate on Coin Archives; rare magistrate; $60.00 (51.00)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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Annona was worshiped in Rome for providing the annual supply of grain. She was represented on an altar in the capital. The three principal granaries of Rome were Sicily, Egypt, and the African provinces. Annona civilis was the grain which purchased each year by the state, then imported and put into storage, reserved, and distributed for the subsistence of the people. Annona militaris was grain appropriated to the use of an army during a campaign.
RB65254. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 168a, Cohen V 26, Hunter III 91, SRCV III 8990, VF/F, grainy with some marks and encrustations, weight 15.635 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ANNONA AVGG, Annona standing left, grain in right hand held over modius overflowing with grain, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $55.00 (46.75)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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Annona was worshiped in Rome for providing the annual supply of grain. She was represented on an altar in the capital. The three principal granaries of Rome were Sicily, Egypt, and the African provinces. Annona civilis was the grain which purchased each year by the state, then imported and put into storage, reserved, and distributed for the subsistence of the people. Annona militaris was grain appropriated to the use of an army during a campaign.
RB85871. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 168a, Cohen V 26, Hunter III 91, SRCV III 8990, aVF, nice portrait, centered on an oval flan that cuts of parts of the legends, some corrosion, weight 12.075 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ANNONA AVGG, Annona standing left, grain in right hand held over modius overflowing with grain, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $50.00 (42.50)


Kyrene, Kyrenaica, North Africa 300 - 277 B.C.

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The silphium plant, which appears frequently on the coins of Kyrene, was used to cure just about anything and the stalk was eaten as a vegetable. The fruits were considered both an aphrodisiac and a contraceptive. It apparently went extinct c. 1st century A.D. The story is that Nero ate the last one.
GB69665. Bronze quarti, Asolati 51Gi, BMC Cyrenaica p. 62, 316; SNG Cop 1264, F, rough, weight 5.069 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 0o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, 300 - 277 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus-Ammon with short beard right; reverse K−Y/PA−I, palm tree with fruit, silphium plant on right, legend across fields; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $45.00 (38.25)


Elaia, Aiolis, 2nd - 1st Century 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.
GB90177. Bronze AE 17, BMC Troas p. 127, 20; SNGvA 7685; SNG Cop 181; SNG Munchen 395; SGCV II 4206, VF, weight 2.581 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 0o, Aiolis, Aigai (near Yuntdagi Koseler, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, wearing grain wreath, dot border; reverse EΛ−AI/T−ΩN, lit torch within grain wreath; ex Gerhard Rohde; $40.00 (34.00)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Caesarea, Cappadocia

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Kayseri, Turkey was originally named Mazaca. It was renamed Eusebia by Ariarathes V Eusebes, King of Cappadocia, 163 - 130 B.C. The last king of Cappadocia, King Archelaus, renamed it "Caesarea in Cappadocia" to honor Caesar Augustus upon his death in 14 A.D. Muslim Arabs slightly modified the name into Kaisariyah, which became Kayseri when the Seljuk Turks took control, c. 1080 A.D.
RP78030. Bronze AE 22, Sydenham Caesarea 616; SNG Cop 311; BMC Galatia p. 93, 346 ff.; SGICV 3778; SNGvA -, aVF, tight flan, porous, weight 5.863 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, 243 - 244 A.D.; obverse AV KAI M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse MHTP KAI B NE, six stalks of grain bound together, ET - Z (year 7) divided across lower field; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $36.00 (30.60)


Lysimachia, Thracian Chersonesos, 309 - 220 B.C.

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Lysimachia was built by Lysimachus in 309 B.C., when he was preparing for his last struggle with his rivals; for the new city, being situated on the isthmus, commanded the road from Sestos to the north and the mainland of Thrace. To obtain inhabitants for his new city, Lysimachus destroyed the neighboring town of Cardia, the birthplace of the historian Hieronymus, and settled the inhabitants of it and other Chersonese cities here. Lysimachus no doubt made Lysimachia the capital of his kingdom and it must have rapidly risen to great splendor and prosperity.
GB71306. Bronze AE 11, Lindgren II 874, SNG Cop 920, BMC Thrace -, VF, some corrosion, weight 0.814 g, maximum diameter 10.7 mm, die axis 0o, Lysimachia (Eksemil, Turkey) mint, 309 - 220 B.C.; obverse lion head right; reverse stalk of barley, Λ−Y flanking across field; scarce; $32.00 (27.20)







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Agriculture