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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, 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, Dionysos I, 405 - 367 B.C.

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Dionysius I was tyrant of Syracuse. He conquered several cities in Sicily and southern Italy, opposed Carthage's influence in Sicily and made Syracuse the most powerful of the Western Greek colonies. He was regarded by the ancients as an example of the worst kind of despot - cruel, suspicious and vindictive.
GI76358. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II p. 76, 34 (c. 409 B.C.); HGC 2 1456 (c. 375 - 344 B.C.); BMC Sicily p. 187, 292; SNG ANS 426 ff. (end 5th c. B.C.); SNG Cop -, gVF, attractive style, tight flan, some light corrosion, weight 5.429 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, c. 405 - 390 B.C.; obverse ΣYPA, head of Athena left, wearing Corinthian helmet, no ornament on helmet, no control symbols; reverse hippocamp left, no bridle; $350.00 (€311.50)
 


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 headdress, 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; $320.00 (€284.80)
 


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; $300.00 (€267.00)
 


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; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Ilion (Troy), Troas

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Ilion (Troy) became an ally of Rome in the 1st century BC. In 48 B.C., Julius Caesar bestowed benefactions on the city, recalling the city's loyalty during the Mithridatic Wars, the city's connection with his cousin L. Julius Caesar, and the family's claim that they were ultimately descended from Venus through the Trojan prince Aeneas and therefore shared a kinship with the Ilians. In 20 B.C., Augustus visited Ilion and financed the restoration and rebuilding of the sanctuary of Athena Ilias, the bouleuterion, and the theater.
RP79605. Bronze AE 19, RPC VII 38; BMC Troas p. 71, 99; SNG Cop 439; Weber 5414; Bellinger p. 75, T280; SNG München 277 var. (no shield), VF, broad flan, green patina, flan adjustment marks, weight 4.266 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ilion (Troy) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AVT K M AN ΓOP∆IANO, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse mummiform statue of Athena Ilias standing slightly right, head right, transverse spear in right hand, distaff in extended left hand, small round shield at feet, IΛIE−ΩN divided across field near center; ex Ancient Imports; very rare; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.

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Minerva, equated with the Greek Athena, was the Roman virgin warrior goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic, and the inventor of music. She was worshiped on the Capitoline Hill as one of the Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Juno.
RS83546. Silver denarius, RIC III, p. 82, A444 var. (head right); RSC II 618d; BMCRE IV, p. 99, A690; Hunter II, p. 278, 13 var. (head right, slight drapery); SRCV II -, Choice aVF, attractive portrait, toned, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.106 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 148 - 149 A.D.; obverse AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F, bare head left; reverse TR POT III COS II, Minerva standing right, helmeted and draped, inverted spear vertical behind in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield on left side; rare; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


Methymna, Lesbos, c. 450 - 379 B.C.

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Methymna, the prosperous second city of Lesbos, was, According to myth, named after a daughter of Lesbos, the patron god of the island, and Macar, the island's first king. Methymna had a long-standing rivalry with Mytilene and sided with Athens during the Mytilenaean revolt in 428 B.C. All the other cities of Lesbos sided with Mytilene. After Athenians put down the revolt, only Methymna was spared from being made a cleruchy. After 427, Methymna and Chios were the only members of the Delian League to remain self-governing and exempt from tribute, indicating a privileged position within the Athenian Empire. Methymna was briefly captured by the Spartans in summer 412, but quickly retaken by the Athenians. When the Spartan Kallikratidas besieged Methymna in 406, the city stayed loyal to its Athenian garrison and held out until it was betrayed by several traitors.
GS76101. Silver obol, Franke Münzprägung 19, SNG Cop 351, Klein 351, HGC 6 904 (R2), SNGvA -, VF, well centered, grainy and porous, weight 0.380 g, maximum diameter 8.1 mm, Methymna mint, c. 450/40 - 406/379 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with spiral floral ornament; reverse kantharos, MAΘ around clockwise, linear circle border, all within a round incuse; $225.00 (€200.25)
 




  



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Athena or Minerva