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Eagles on Ancient Coins

Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Carrhae, Mesopotamia

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Caracalla was assassinated near Carrhae on 8 April 217, while urinating on a roadside. When his escort gave him privacy to relieve himself, Julius Martialis, an officer of his personal bodyguard, ran forward and killed Caracalla with a single sword stroke. Martialis fled on horseback, but was killed by a bodyguard archer. Herodian says Caracalla had executed Martialis' brother a few days earlier on an unproven charge. Cassius Dio says that Martialis was resentful at not being promoted to the rank of centurion. Macrinus, the Praetorian Guard Prefect, who succeeded him as emperor, may have arranged the assassination.
SH70946. Billon tetradrachm, Prieur 830, Bellinger Syrian 159, SNG Cop -, BMC Galatia -, gVF, nice portrait, good metal, well centered on a crowded flan, weight 13.320 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma mint, Cos. 4, 215 - 217 A.D.; obverse AVT K M ANTΩNEINOC CEB, radiate head right, bare back and shoulder, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞ YΠA TO ∆, eagle standing facing, head and tail right, wings open, wreath in beak, star upper left, crescent between legs, two pellets in exergue; ex Ancient Resource (Pasadena, CA); $400.00 (€348.00) ON RESERVE


Istros, Thrace, 400 - 350 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.
SH75321. Silver stater, SNG Stancomb 144; SNG BM 237; SNG Stancomb 144; BMC Thrace p. 25, 2, EF, well centered and struck, weight 5.450 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 90o, Istros (near Istria, Romania) mint, 400 - 350 B.C.; obverse facing male heads, right inverted; reverse IΣTPIH, sea-eagle left grasping a dolphin left with talons, A below; $400.00 (€348.00) ON RESERVE


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, long scepter vertical behind in left, right leg drawn back, Demeter standing facing torch in each hand; $370.00 (€321.90)
 


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; $350.00 (€304.50)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Antioch, Syria

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The Sela Neron (Nero Tetradrachm) is mentioned in the Mishna Keilim 17:12.

Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo was the Propraetorial Imperial Legate of Roman Syria from 60 - 63 A.D. In 58 A.D. Corbulo, who had been Caligula's brother-in-law, had defeated the Parthians. Tigranes, who grew up in Rome, was installed as king of Armenia. In 63, Armenia again fell under Parthian hegemony. Corbulo crossed the Euphrates with a strong army. The new Armenian king Tiridates refused battle, laid down his diadem at the foot of the emperor's statue, and promised not to resume it until he received it from the hand of Nero himself in Rome. In 67, Nero, suspicious of Corbulo and his support among the Roman masses, summoned him to Greece. On his arrival at Cenchreae, the port of Corinth, messengers from Nero met Corbulo, and ordered him to commit suicide, which he loyally obeyed by falling on his own sword, saying, "Axios!"
SH73960. Silver tetradrachm, McAlee 258, Prieur 82, RPC I 4182, gVF, weight 14.269 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 61 - 62 A.D.; obverse NEPΩNOΣ KAIΣAP ΣEBAΣTOY, laureate beardless bust right wearing aegis; reverse eagle standing on a thunderbolt, wings spread, palm frond left, H / IP right (regnal year 8 & year 110 of the Caesarian era); $350.00 (€304.50)
 


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

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This legion was probably Caesar's old III Gallica, which fought for Antony. Another possibility is III Cyrenaica, which was perhaps taken over from Lepidus. The III Augusta was probably an Octavian legion.
RS73643. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/15, Sydenham 1217, BMCRR II East 193, RSC I 28, aVF, weight 3.378 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis ,180o, Patrae(?) mint, fall 32 - spring 31 B.C.; obverse ANT•AVG / III VIR•R•P•C, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow, border of dots; reverse LEG - III, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; $350.00 (€304.50)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Ptolemy I, as Satrap in Egypt, 323 - 305 B.C.

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Ptolemy Lagides was a Macedonian general who, after Alexander's death, became the Satrap of Egypt under the nominal kings Philip III Arrhidaeus and the infant Alexander IV. By custom, kings in Macedonia asserted their right to the throne by burying their predecessor. Probably because he wanted to preempt Perdiccas, the imperial regent, from staking his claim in this way, Ptolemy took stole the body of Alexander. Ptolemy then openly joined the coalition against Perdiccas. Thus began the long series of wars between the Diadochi, Alexander's successors. In 305, Ptolemy took the titles king and pharaoh, founding the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Ptolemaic Dynasty.
GP72061. Bronze hemiobol, Svoronos 172 (as king); BMC Ptolemies p. 8, 62 (295 - 284, Cyprus); SNG Cop 36; SNG Milan 5; Malter 21; Weiser -; Noeske -, VF, crowded flan, red and brown patina, weight 4.503 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 315o, Alexandria mint, 310 - 305 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned head of deified Alexander the Great right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY (no title, upward on left), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings open, apluster above helmet on left; ex Harlan Berk; scarce; $330.00 (€287.10)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

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Huge bronze! The largest of all Ptolemaic bronze coins.
GP75643. Bronze octobol, Svoronos 446; Weiser 19; BMC Ptolemies p. 37, 158; SNG Cop 142; Noeske 64; Hosking 13; Malter 67, aF, weight 77.706 g, maximum diameter 46.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, obverse diademed head of Zeus-Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings open, head turned back right, E between legs; $300.00 (€261.00)
 


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, long scepter vertical behind in left, anchor flukes up flanked by ∆ - I in left field, monogram under throne; $290.00 (€252.30)
 


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 (€247.95)
 


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

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In 248, overwhelmed by the number of invasions and usurpers, Philip offered to resign. The Senate decided to support the Emperor, with Gaius Messius Quintus Decius most vocal of all the senators. Philip was so impressed that he dispatched Decius with a special command of the Pannonian and Moesian provinces. His loyal supporter, Decius, was, however, proclaimed Emperor by the Danubian armies in the spring of 249 and defeated and killed Philip in September.
SH60141. Silver tetradrachm, McAlee 907a, Prieur 357, SNG Righetti 2027, SNG Cop -, EF, weight 10.949 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 247 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, radiate and cuirassed bust left, Gorgon's head on cuirass; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC YΠA TO Γ, eagle standing right, head right, wings open, wreath in beak, ANTIOXIA / S C in exergue; $280.00 (€243.60)
 


Divus Trajan, Commemorative Issued by Trajan Decius, 250 - 251 A.D.

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RIC notes that the commencement of the divi series of antoniniani may be attributed with certainty by their weight to Trajan Decius and issue may have continued into the reign of Trebonianus Gallus.
RS72388. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV Decius 85b (R), RSC II Trajan 666, SRCV III 9740, Hunter III -, F, toned, weight 4.575 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 45o, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, 250 - 251 A.D.; obverse DIVO TRAIANO, radiate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse CONSECRATIO, eagle standing half right, wings open, head turned back left; scarce; $280.00 (€243.60)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Antigonus II Gonatas, 277 - 239 B.C., In the Name of Alexander the Great

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Most people expect the crests on ancient helmets to strictly run from front to back. Officer's helmets, however, frequently had a crest running from ear to ear, as on the helmet used as a control symbol on the reverse of this coin. The two ear flaps dangle below the bowl and visor of the helmet.
SH75314. Silver tetradrachm, Meydancikkale 618 (same obv. die); Mathisen, Administrative VI.1, obv. die A1; Price 629; Müller Alexander 233; SNG Cop -, SNG Alpha Bank -, VF, centered, golden toning, test cut, light scratches and marks, lamination defect on reverse, weight 16.793 g, maximum diameter 28.4 mm, die axis 90o, Pella (or Amphipolis?) mint, c. 275 - 270 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, right leg drawn back, feet on footstool, eagle in right, long scepter vertical behind in left, crested Macedonian officer's helmet facing on left, ΠAP monogram under seat strut, KE monogram in exergue; ex CNG auction 349, lot 35; $280.00 (€243.60)
 


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.
SH75319. Silver drachm, Price L25, Thompson 125, Müller -, aEF, weight 4.178 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, Ionia, Kolophon mint, 299 - 296 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress tied at his neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Zeus seated left on throne, eagle extended in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, forepart of lion left over ∆I on left, K under throne; ex Forum 2008, ex Harlan Berk; $260.00 (€226.20)
 


Mesembria, Thrace, c. 125 - 65 B.C., Civic Issue in the Types and Name of Alexander the Great

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Mesembria, Nesebar Bulgaria today, was a Doric settlement on a Black Sea island just off mainland Thrace. Today it is a seaside resort and a man-made isthmus connects it to the coast. The city struck Alexandrine tetradrachms possibly as early as 275 B.C. It is likely Mesembria issued the very last Alexandrine tetradrachms, possibly even under Roman rule, as late as 65 B.C.
GS74508. Silver tetradrachm, Price 1128; Müller Alexander 487, gVF, double struck, obverse die damage, edge crack, weight 33.92 g, maximum diameter 16.348 mm, die axis 0o, Mesambria (Nesebar, Bulgaria) mint, c. 125 - 65 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion-scalp headdress; reverse Zeus seated left, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right, long scepter vertical behind in left, ∆IO horizontal under arm in inner left field, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, MEΣAM below; ex Pecunem Gitbud & Naumann auction 27 (4 Jan 2015), lot 110; $250.00 (€217.50)
 


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

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The XIII Gemina probably fought for Octavian, and so is not likely to be the Thirteenth Legion referred to on this coin.
SH75371. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/20, Sydenham 1224, BMCRR II East 198, RSC 34, F, dark toning, bankers' marks, some scratches and marks under tone, traces of deposits, shallow edge test, reverse a little off center, weight 3.305 g, maximum diameter 17.8 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, border of dots; reverse LEG - XIII, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; ex CNG e-auction 353, lot 419; $250.00 (€217.50)
 


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

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RR75378. Silver denarius, cf. Crawford 544/14, Sydenham 1216, BMCRR II East 190, RSC I 27 ff., VF, nice galley, rough, reverse off center, weight 3.311 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT•AVG / III VIR•R•P•C, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow, border of dots; reverse LEG - [...], aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; $250.00 (€217.50)
 


Aspendus, Pamphylia, 188 - 187 B.C., In the Name of Alexander the Great

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After Alexander took Perga peacefully, Aspendos sent envoys to offer surrender if he would not take the taxes and horses formerly paid as tribute to the Persian king. Agreeing, Alexander went on to Side, leaving a garrison behind. When he learned they had failed to ratify the agreement their own evnvoys had proposed, Alexander marched to the city. The Aspendians retreated to their acropolis and again sent envoys to sue for peace. This time, however, they had to agree to harsh terms - they would host a Macedonian garrison and pay 100 gold talents and 4.000 horses annually.

At the time this coin was struck, the territory of Aspendos was surrounded by the Attalid's Pergamene Kingdom but retained independence.
SH59445. Silver tetradrachm, Price 2904, Müller Alexander 1217, Cohen DCA 312, gF, weight 15.885 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 188 - 187 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; Seleukid countermark: anchor in a rectangluar punch; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, eagle extended in right, long scepter vertical behind in left, wreath above AΣ / KE left (year 25 Era of Aspendos); $230.00 (€200.10)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III Arrhidaeus, 323 - 317 B.C.

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Minted shortly after Alexander's death, under the rule his brother, Philip III Arrhidaeus. Philip III was mentally disabled and power was divided among his advisers and Alexander's generals. Philip was murdered in October 317 by Olympias, Alexander's mother, to ensure the succession of her grandson.
SH75320. Silver drachm, Price P43, Müller Alexander P50, SNG München 938, aEF, some die wear, weight 4.238 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ionia, Kolophon mint, c. 323 - c. 319 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse ΦIΛIΠΠOY, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne without back, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, right foot drawn back, feet on footstool, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, lyre left; ex Forum (2005); $225.00 (€195.75)
 


Judaea (Yehudah), Ptolemaic Rule, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

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Ptolemy II requested copies of Jewish texts for the Library at Alexandria. There they were translated and transcribed by seventy Jewish scholars hired for the purpose, creating the Septuagint, the oldest Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Many of the oldest Biblical verses among the Dead Sea Scrolls, particularly those in Aramaic, correspond more closely with the Septuagint than with the Hebrew text.
SH54977. Silver quarter-ma'ah-obol, Meshorer TJC 32; Mildenberg Yehud pl. 21, 24; Hendin 1087, gF, weight 0.192 g, maximum diameter 6.4 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem(?) mint, 285 - 246 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right; reverse eagle standing half left on thunderbolt, wings open, head left, Aramaic YHDH (Yehudah) on left; $215.00 (€187.05)
 




    



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