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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Olympians ▸ Athena or MinervaView Options:  |  |  |   

Athena or Minerva

Virgin goddess of wisdom, crafts, and battle strategy. Symbols are the olive tree and the owl. Daughter of Zeus, according to some traditions by Metis.


Athens, Greece, Old Style Tetradrachm, c. 454 - 404 B.C.

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The old-style tetradrachm of Athens is famous for its almond shaped eye, archaic smile and charming owl reverse. Around 480 B.C. a wreath of olive leaves and a decorative scroll were added to Athena's helmet. On the reverse a crescent moon was added.

During the period 449 - 413 B.C. huge quantities of tetradrachms were minted to finance grandiose building projects such as the Parthenon and to cover the costs of the Peloponnesian War.
SH72559. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, Dewing 1611, SGCV I 2526, VF, well centered, high relief, reverse test cuts, weight 17.117 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 270o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse AΘE right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square; ex Forum (2007); $720.00 (€640.80)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 140 - 175 A.D.

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King Minos demanded that, every ninth year, Athens send seven boys and seven girls to Crete to be devoured by the Minotaur, a half-man, half-bull monster that lived in the Labyrinth. Theseus, son of Aigeus, the king of Athens, volunteered to take the place of one of the youths and slay the monster to stop this horror. Upon his arrival to Crete, Ariadne, King Minos' daughter, fell in love with him and gave him a ball of thread to help him find his way out of the Labyrinth. Theseus promised Ariadne that if he escaped he would take her with him. Using the string to mark his path, he made his way to the heart of the Labyrinth, slew the Minotaur, followed the string out, and then rescued the Athenian boys and girls. Athena told Theseus to leave Ariadne and Phaedra behind on the beach. Distressed by his broken heart, Theseus forgot to put up the white sails that were to signal his success. Upon seeing black sails, his father committed suicide, throwing himself off a cliff into the sea, causing this body of water to be named the Aegean.
GB77873. Bronze drachm, BMC Attica p. 105, 764; SNG Cop 341; Svoronos Athens, pl. 96, 1; Kroll 276, aF, corrosion, weight 7.132 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 180o, Athens mint, pseudo-autonomous under Rome, c. 140 - 175 A.D.; obverse helmeted head of Athena right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; reverse AΘHNAIΩN, Theseus right, preparing to slay the Minotaur, nude, planting knee on the back of Minotaur, raising club in his right hand, a horn of the Minotaur in his left hand, the Minotaur falling right on left knee; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren (Antioch Associates); very rare; $500.00 (€445.00)
 


Kamarina, Sicily, 413 - 405 B.C.

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Kamarina was suffering a plague. A marsh north of the city was the suspected source. The town oracle advised them not to drain the marsh, but in 405 B.C., the leaders ignored the advice. Once the marsh was dry, there was nothing to stop the Carthaginian army. They marched across the newly drained marsh, razed the city, and killed every last inhabitant.
GI76938. Bronze tetras, Westermark-Jenkins 200; Calciati III pp. 63 - 65, 33; BMC Sicily p. 40; 40; SNG München 415; SNG ANS 1228; SNG Cop 169; HGC 2 548, gVF, nice green patina, tight flan, weight 3.242 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 90o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 413 - 405 B.C.; obverse head of Athena left, wearing crested Attic helmet decorated with wing, dot border; reverse KAMA (downward on right), owl standing left on left leg, head facing, lizard in right talon, three pellets (mark of value) in exergue; $450.00 (€400.50)
 


Leukas, Akarnania, Greece, c. 350 - 320 B.C.

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There should be Λ behind the goddesses head but it is missing on this coin. Perhaps it was, in error, not engraved on the die, or perhaps it was unstruck because the letter on the die was filled with dirt. Although we have seen coins of this type struck from nearly a dozen different reverse dies, we have not found a die match to help determine why the Λ is missing.
SH63533. Silver stater, Pegasi II 413, 84 (same obverse die); BMC Corinth p. 129, 51 ff.; BCD Akarnania 221 var. (types right); SNG Cop -, VF, toned, weight 8.163 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Leukas mint, c. 350 - 320 B.C.; obverse Pegasus flying left, Λ below; reverse head of Athena (or Aphrodite) left in Corinthian helmet over leather cap, Λ (unstruck) and kerykeion behind; $390.00 (€347.10)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Pyrrhus of Epirus, 278 - 276 B.C.

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This combination of control symbols is not listed in the references examined. The cornucopia obverse control symbol is normally paired with a fulmen (thunderbolt) on the reverse. The vertical trident reverse control symbol is normally paired with a club on the obverse.
SH73164. Bronze AE 26, Calciati II p. 325, 177 Ds 69 var. (club vice cornucompia); SNG Cop 810 var.; SNG ANS 844 ff. var.; SNG München 1333 ff. var.; HGC 2 1450 (S), VF, nice style, nice patina, broad flan, edge split, weight 11.274 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, 278 - 276 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Herakles left, clad in lion-skin head-dress, cornucopia (control symbol) behind; reverse Athena Promachos advancing right, helmeted and draped, hurling javelin with raised right hand, shield in left hand, no inscription, vertical trident head upward (control symbol) behind; rare variety; $360.00 (€320.40)
 


Side, Pamphylia, 430 - 400 B.C.

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Side was founded by Greeks from Cyme, Aeolis, most likely in the 7th century B.C. The settlers started using the local language and over time forgot their native Greek. Excavations have revealed inscriptions written in this language, still undeciphered, dating from as late as the 2nd century B.C. The name Side is from this indigenous Anatolian language and means pomegranate.
GS70329. Silver stater, SNG BnF 628 - 629, SNG Cop 369, Traité II 883, SNGvA -, VF, reverse a bit off center, weight 10.642 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 270o, Side mint, 430 - 400 B.C.; obverse pomegranate; reverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet, within incuse square; $270.00 (€240.30)
 


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; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


Sybaris, Lucania, Italy, c. 446 - 440 B.C.

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In 509 B.C. the Sybaris was defeated by its neighbor Kroton and its population expelled. The Sybarites made three attempts to reoccupy their city but were driven out each time by the Krotoniates. Finally in 446 or 445 B.C., with assistance and new settlers from Athens and other cities in the Peloponnese, the Sybarites reoccupied their city. This coin with Athena on the obverse and the bull of Sybaris on the reverse, reflects the union of Athenians and Sybarites in refounding the city. Soon, however, a conflict arose between the partners and nearly all of the Sybarites were killed. The new settlers founded the city of Thurii partly on top of the old Sybaris. Some of the Sybarites escaped and founded Sybaris on the Traeis.
GS90332. Silver triobol, SNG ANS 862, SNG Cop 1403, SNG München 1166, HN Italy 1751, gF, fine style, toned, weight 1.105 g, maximum diameter 12.1 mm, die axis 315o, Sybaris mint, c. 446 - 440 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet decorated with a wreath; reverse bull standing right, head left; ex CNG auction 233 (26 Apr 2010), lot 58 ($240 plus fees); $215.00 (€191.35)
 


Solus (Kefra), Sicily, c. 395 - 350 B.C.

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Solus (or Soluntum, near modern Solanto), one of the three chief Punic settlements on Sicily, was on the north coast about 16 km east of Panormus (modern Palermo). It lay 183 meters above sea level, on Monte Catalfano, in a naturally strong situation, and commanding a fine view. The date of its founding is unknown. Solus was one of the few colonies the Phoenicians held when they withdrew before the Greeks to the northwest corner of the island. Together with Panormus and Motya, it allied with Carthage. Dionysius took the city in 396 B.C., but it soon broke away again to Carthage. In 307 B.C. it was given to the soldiers and mercenaries of Agathocles, who had made peace with Carthage after he abandoned them in Africa. In the First Punic War, Solus opened its gates to Rome only after Panormus fell. Under Rome it was a municipal town of no great importance, scarcely mentioned by Cicero. It was noticed by Pliny and Ptolemy, and later. Its destruction probably dates from the time of the Saracens.Solus

GI76344. Bronze tetras, Calciati I p. 310, 5; Jenkins Punic I pl. 23, 20; SNG ANS 740 ff.; SNG München 909; SNG Morcom 672; HGC 2 1254; BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; Laffaille -, gF, green patina, weight 2.235 g, maximum diameter 13.1 mm, Kefra (near Solanto, Sicily, Italy) mint, Carthaginian occupation, c. 395 - 350 B.C.; obverse head of Athena facing slightly right, wearing Corinthian helmet; reverse Punic inscription: KFRA, nude archer kneeling right, wearing pileus, shooting arrow; scarce; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Tauromenion, Sicily, c. 210 - 201 B.C.

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In 212 B.C., the Roman General Marcus Claudius Marcellus conquered the fortified city of Syracuse. Archimedes, the famous inventor was killed during the attack. This coin type was struck after Tauromenium submitted peacefully to Marcellus. Many examples of the type are overstruck on earlier coins of Syracuse. In 208, Marcellus died in an ambush by a Carthaginian force of Numidian horsemen.
GI76997. Bronze AE 24, SNG ANS 1152 (also overstruck), SNG Cop 941 (same), Calciati III, p. 223, 29 ff., aVF, overstruck, strong undertype effects, nice green patina, well centered, weight 7.246 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 180o, Tauromenion (Taormina, Sicily) mint, c. 210 - 201 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena left, small owl behind, dot border; reverse TAYPOMENTIAN, Pegasus left, hind legs on short exergue line, linear border; rare; $200.00 (€178.00)
 




  



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Athena or Minerva