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Eagles on Ancient Coins

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG II

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This may have been II Sabina, disbanded by Augustus. The well-known II Augusta, which took part in the conquest of Britain and was later stationed in South Wales, was one of Octavian's legions, and so not likely to be the Second Legion referred to on this coin. Other Second Legions (Adiutrix, Italica, Parthica and Traiana) were raised much later in imperial times.
SH76924. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/14, Sydenham 1216, BMCRR II East 190, RSC I 27, Sear CRI 349, gVF, well struck, toned, crowded flan, marks and scratches, weight 3.521 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT•AVG / III VIR•R•P•C, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - II, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; ex Germania Inferior Numismatics; $550.00 (€489.50)
 


The Temple Tax Coin, KP Tyrian Type Half Shekel, Jerusalem or Tyre Mint, 44 - 45 A.D.

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At the Great Temple in Jerusalem the annual tax levied was 1/2 shekel per male. The 1/2 shekel and shekel were the only coins accepted by the temple. Some experts believe that after the coinage of Tyre was debased under Roman control, Herod the Great began to strike "Tyre" shekels in Jerusalem. These coins were of cruder fabric and style, but maintained the silver purity required to pay the temple tax. The "Jerusalem" shekels have the letters KP or KAP to the right of the eagle and dates range from PH (18/17 B.C.) to PKE (69/70 A.D.). The Greek letters KP or KAP are probably an abbreviation for KAICAP, Greek for Caesar.


JD79299. Silver half shekel, RPC I Supp. 4701A (1 spec.), Cohen DCA 921 (S), Hendin 1619, HGC 10 358, BMC Phoenicia -, Prieur -, RPC I -, Baramki AUB -, F, centered on a tight flan, toned, weight 6.358 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem or Tyre mint, 44 - 45 A.D.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle standing left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond behind, PO (year 170) over club left, KP over monogram (control) right, Phoenician letter beth (control) between legs; $550.00 (€489.50)
 


Tyre, Phoenicia, 54 - 55 B.C., The Temple Tax Coin

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Half Shekel - the currency of the Jerusalem Temple
At the Great Temple in Jerusalem the annual tax levied on Jews was 1/2 shekel per male. The 1/2 shekel and shekel were not always used in everyday commerce, but were the only coins accepted by the temple. Many taxpayers required a currency exchange, so money changers set up in the Temple court. Jesus found this business and their shouting (advertising rates) offensive, so he threw over their tables.
JD79300. Silver half shekel, Cohen DCA 921 (unreported date - no known specimens), HGC 10 358, Hendin 1619, RPC I -, Baramki AUB -, F, toned, slightly off center, shallow pitting, weight 6.719 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre, Phoenicia mint, 54 - 55 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle standing left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond behind, PΠ (year 180) over club left, AN (?, control) right, Phoenician letter beth (control) between legs; extremely rare date; $550.00 (€489.50)
 


The Temple Tax Coin, KP Tyrian Type Half Shekel, Jerusalem or Tyre Mint, 18 B.C. - 69 A.D.

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The barbaric style with blundered legends and date are typical of the later coins attributed by some experts to Jerusalem.

After the coinage of Tyre was debased under Roman control, some experts believe Herod the Great began to strike "Tyre" shekels in Jerusalem. These coins were of cruder fabric and style, but maintained the silver purity required to pay the temple tax. The Jerusalem shekels have the letters KP or KAP to the right of the eagle and dates range from PH (18/17 B.C.) to PKE (69/70 A.D.). The Greek letters KP or KAP are probably an abbreviation for KAICAP, Greek for Caesar.
JD79301. Silver half shekel, HGC 10 358; Cohen DCA 922; Hendin 1621; BMC Phoenicia p. 252, 235 ff.; RPC I 4681 ff.; Prieur 1455 ff., F, toned, bumps and marks, light corrosion, weight 6.336 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem or Tyre mint, 18 B.C. - 69 A.D.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY, eagle standing left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond behind, uncertain date & club left, KP and monogram right, Aramaic letter between legs; $550.00 (€489.50)
 


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; $540.00 (€480.60)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander III The Great, 336 - 323 B.C.

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Struck during the lifetime of Alexander the Great or very soon after.
SH79674. Silver tetradrachm, Price 83, Müller Alexander 181, Troxell Issue E4, Demanhur Hoard 536 - 578, SNG Cop 673, Newell Reattribution 31, Wartenberg-Kagan 21, gVF, centered, toned, weight 17.156 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, Amphipolis(?) mint, struck under Antipater, c. 325 - 323/2 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, throne without back and two leg struts, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, TE monogram lower left, concave field; Obolos (by Nomos) auction 3, lot 120; ex a Swiss collection formed prior to 2005; $520.00 (€462.80)
 


Kings of Thrace, Thracian Kainoi, Mostis, c. 126 - 86 B.C.

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Mostis, reigned c. 126 - 86 B.C., was king of the Thracian Kainoi (Caeni) tribe in South East Thrace to Strandzha mountain, territory in Bulgaria and Turkey today. He king is best known from his coinage, which includes bronze coins and rare tetradrachms.
GB77206. Bronze AE 20, SNG BM Black Sea 311 - 312, Youroukova 134, SNG Stancomb -, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, VF, green patina, some light corrosion, weight 4.750 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, c. 126 - 86 B.C.; obverse jugate heads of Zeus and Hera right; countermark: monogram; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / MOΣTI∆OΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, monogram above right; very rare; $500.00 (€445.00)
 


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XI

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This may have been a legion raised by Antony and disbanded by Augustus. The XI Claudia, an old legion of Caesar's, fought for Octavian (and won the title Actiaca at the battle of Actium).
SL79267. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/25, Sydenham 1229, BMCRR II East 203, RSC I 39, NGC F, strike 3/5, surface 2/5, banker's marks (2400602-008), toned, weight 3.48 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT•AVG / III VIR•R•P•C, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; NGC certified (slabbed); $500.00 (€445.00)
 


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XII

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This old Caesarean legion was known at different times as Victrix, Antiquae, Paterna and finally XII Fulminata ('the thunderers'). Its veterans settled (among other places) in Patras in Greece. After fighting without great distinction in the First Jewish Revolt, the legion was transferred to Melitene in Cappadocia, where it remained for several hundred years.
RR76782. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/20, Sydenham 1224, BMCRR II East 198, RSC I 34, VF, toned, contact marks, graffiti, weight 3.561 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT•AVG / III VIR•R•P•C, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XII, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; $450.00 (€400.50)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander III The Great, 336 - 323 B.C., Lifetime Issue

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Lifetime issue. This coin was issued during the lifetime and rule of Alexander the Great. Most Alexander coins were issued after his death.
GS79557. Silver drachm, Price 2090; Müller Alexander 763; SNG Cop 895; SNG Alpha Bank 629; SNG Saroglos 771; SNG München -, Choice gVF, superb style, toned, centered, bumps and marks, weight 4.004 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ionia, Miletos mint, 325 - 323 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus seated left on throne without back, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, feet on footstool, right leg forward, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter topped with lotus vertical behind in left hand, ∆H monogram left; $450.00 (€400.50)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C., Tyre, Phoenicia

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Minted in Tyre during a period of Seleukid control. The tetradrachm is the same denomination as the shekel for Tyre.
GY79683. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2109.5a, Newell Tyre 121, HGC9 1074, SNG Spaer 2027 var. (control monogram), SNG Cop 335 var. (same), aEF, light marks, uneven tone, weight 14.146 g, maximum diameter 29.8 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, 136 - 135 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Antiochus right; reverse ANTIOXOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on prow of galley, head left, wings closed, transverse palm frond on far side over right wing, A/PE over TYP monogram (Tyre) over club left, A/Σ monogram over ZOP (year 177, Z appears as I), monogram (control) between legs; ex Naville Numismatics auction 18 (1 Nov 2015), lot 66; $420.00 (€373.80)
 


Akragas, Sicily, 450 - 440 B.C.

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Located on a plateau overlooking Sicily's southern coast, Akragas was founded c. 582 B.C. by colonists from Gela. It grew rapidly, becoming second only to Syracuse in importance on Sicily, but was sacked by Carthage in 406 B.C. and never fully recovered. It was renamed Agrigentum after it fell to Rome in 210 B.C.
GI76829. Cast bronze trias, Calciati I, p. 143, 1; Westermark Fifth pl. I, 1; SNG Cop 61; SNG ANS 1015; SNG Lloyd 832; HGC 2 126 (R1);, VF, green patina, earthen deposits, some light corrosion, weight 16.186 g, Akragas mint, 450 - 440 B.C.; cast near tooth-shaped flattened cone form, four pellets on flat top, sea-eagle standing left on one side, crab opposite; rare; $400.00 (€356.00)
 


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG V

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Struck by Antony and Cleopatra at Patrae while preparing for the struggle with Octavian. Twenty-three different legions are named on coins of this issue. This may have been the famous V Alaudae ('the larks'), a Caesarean legion which remained loyal to Antony but was later retained by Augustus. There are other possibilities, however: V Macedonica, a Caesarean legion about which little is known; V Urbana, disbanded after Actium (and therefore quite likely an Antonian legion); and V Gallica, a Caesarean legion that was probably the one that under Lollius lost its eagle to German raiders in Gaul in 17 B.C.
SH77472. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/18, Sydenham 1221, BMCRR II East 196, RSC I 32, Sear CRI 354, VF, toned, minor flan flaw on obverse, light scratches, weight 3.401 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, Patrae mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT AVG III. VIR. R. P. C., galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - V, legionary aquila between two standards; $375.00 (€333.75)
 


Roman Republic, Pompey the Great, Imperator, and Terentius Varro, Proquaestor, 49 B.C.

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Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (29 Sep 106 B.C. – 29 Sep 48 B.C.), known as Pompey the Great, was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic. He came from a wealthy Italian provincial background, and his father had been the first to establish the family among the Roman nobility. Pompey's immense success as a general while very young enabled him to advance to his first consulship without meeting the normal requirements for office. His success as a military commander in Sulla's Second Civil War resulted in Sulla bestowing the nickname Magnus, "the Great" upon him. He was consul three times and celebrated three triumphs. In mid-60 B.C., Pompey joined Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gaius Julius Caesar in the unofficial military-political alliance known as the First Triumvirate, which Pompey's marriage to Caesar's daughter Julia helped secure. After the deaths of Julia and Crassus, Pompey sided with the optimates, the conservative faction of the Roman Senate. Pompey and Caesar then contended for the leadership of the Roman state, leading to a civil war. When Pompey was defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus, he sought refuge in Egypt, where he was assassinated. His career and defeat are significant in Rome's subsequent transformation from Republic to Principate and Empire.
SH77559. Silver denarius, Crawford 447/1a; Sydenham 1033; RSC I 3; Sear CRI 8; BMCRE Spain 64, F, well centered, light tone, weight 3.603 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 270o, struck by Varro, proquaestor in Greece, 49 B.C.; obverse VARRO•PRO•Q, diademed terminal bust herm of Jupiter right; reverse scepter between dolphin head down and right (on left) and eagle standing left (on right), MAGN•PRO COS in two lines in exergue; $350.00 (€311.50)
 


Kabyle, Thrace, c. 219 - 215 B.C., Civic Issue in the Types and Name of Alexander the Great

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The obverse dies for this type were also used with reverse dies naming the Gaulish King Kavaros. Die wear shows the Alexanderine types followed Kavaros' coinage, indicating this type was likely struck during the revolt of the Thracians, which brought about the chieftain's death and the end of Gaulish rule. Kavaros ruled until at least 219 B.C., when he participated in a treaty between Byzantium and Bithynia. The style compares closely with contemporary issues of Dionysopolis, Mesembria, and Odessus.
SH69935. Silver tetradrachm, Price 882a, Draganov Cabyle 845 ff., Müller Alexander 399, VF, weight 16.205 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Cabyle mint, time of the Thracian Revolt, c. 219 - 215 B; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, Demeter standing facing torch in each hand; $330.00 (€293.70)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Antigonos I Monophthalmos, 320 - 306 B.C., In the Name and Types of Alexander the Great

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Antigonos I Monophthalmos ("the One-eyed") was a nobleman and strategos (general and governor) under Alexander the Great. Upon Alexander's death in 323 B.C., he established himself as one of the successors and declared himself King in 306 B.C. The most powerful satraps of the empire, Cassander, Seleucus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus, answered by also proclaiming themselves kings. Antigonus found himself at war with all four, largely because his territory shared borders with all of them. He died in battle at Ipsus in 301 B.C. Antigonus' kingdom was divided up, with Seleucus I Nicator gaining the most. His son, Demetrius I Poliorcetes, took Macedon, which the family held, off and on, until it was conquered by Rome in 168 B.C.
SH79282. Silver tetradrachm, cf. Price 2646 ff., ADM I 368, gVF, excellent style, well struck on a tight flan, obverse off center, light marks and corrosion, weight 16.729 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 90o, Lydia, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, as strategos of Asia, 318 - 315 B.D.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne without back, nude to waist, himation around waist and legs, right foot drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, Γ left, A under throne; nothing (Price 2646), a star (Price 2647), or an ivy leaf (Price 2649A) in exergue; Naville Numismatics Ltd., auction 18, lot 29; $320.00 (€284.80)
 


Britannicus, Son of Claudius and Messalina, 12 February 41 - 11 February 55 A.D., Aeolis, Aegae

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Tiberius Claudius Britannicus was born in 41 A.D., son of Cladius I and Messalina. Although the natural heir to the empire, Britannicus was passed over in favor of Nero who then had him murdered a year after his fathers' death.
SH54008. Bronze AE 17, RPC I 2431 (4 specimens), SNG Cop -, Fair, weight 3.696 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 0o, Aegae mint, 50 - 54 A.D.; obverse BPETANNIKOC KAICAP, bare head of Britannicus right; reverse AIΓAEΩN EΠI XAΛEOY, Zeus standing left, head facing, eagle in right, long scepter behind in left; extremely rare; $310.00 (€275.90)
 


Istros, Thrace, Late 5th - 4th Century B.C.

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The obverse type has been variously interpreted as representing the Dioscuri, the rising and setting sun, and the two branches of the river Danube. - Greek Coins and Their Values by David Sear.
GS76336. Silver stater, SNG BM Black Sea 230 - 231, SNG Stancomb -, SNG Cop -, AMNG -, BMC Thrace -, gVF, areas of light corrosion, some light marks, tight flan, weight 5.561 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 0o, Istros (near Istria, Romania) mint, Late 5th - 4th Century B.C.; obverse Facing male heads, left inverted; reverse IΣTPIH, sea-eagle grasping a dolphin with talons, Γ below eagle; scarce; $300.00 (€267.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Seleukos, Satrap in Babylon, 311 - 306 B.C., In the Name of Alexander the Great

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Struck in the name of Alexander, this coin also bears the personal badge of Seleukos, an anchor. Seleukos was first appointed satrap in Babylonia in 320 B.C. but was put to flight by Antigonus in 315. He returned in 311 only to be forced to evacuate later that year by a counterattack by Antigonus' son, Demetrius. Not long after, however, Seleukos again recovered the city.
SH60135. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 293, Price 3449 (Marthus), Müller Alexander 1512, aVF/F, weight 16.601 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 225o, uncertain mint, c. 311 - 305 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus seated left on throne, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, anchor flukes up flanked by ∆ - I in left field, monogram under throne; $290.00 (€258.10)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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MON VRB stands for MONETA VRBIS. According to H. R. Baldus this initial issue of coins was minted in Rome. Indeed the portrait style is unmistakably that of the mint of Rome, and even if the coins were actually minted in Antioch, the dies were surely engraved by the Rome mint.
SH60149. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 899, Prieur 304, BMC Galatia 507, EF, weight 13.825 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome or Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 244 or 246 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛ ΦIΛIΠΠOY CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPC EΞOYCIAC, eagle standing facing on ground line, wings open, head and tail left, wreath in beak, S - C below wings, MON VRB in exergue; double strike evident in obverse legend, minor flan crack, small encrustations, very sharp, handsome portrait and eagle; $285.00 (€253.65)
 




    



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