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Greek Imperial (Roman Provincial) Coins

Koinon of Macedonia, Reign of Severus Alexander, c. 222 - 231 A.D., Alexander and Bucephalus

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Plutarch tells the story of how, in 344 B.C. Philonicus the Thessalian, a horse dealer, offered a massive wild stallion to Alexander's father, King Philip II. Since no one could tame the animal, Philip was not interested. Alexander, however, seeing that the horse was afraid of his own shadow, promised to pay for the horse himself should he fail to tame it. He was given a chance and surprised all by subduing it. Alexander spoke soothingly to the horse and turned it towards the sun so that it could no longer see its shadow. Eventually, Bucephalus allowed Alexander to ride him. Embarrassed, Philip commented, "O my son, look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee." Alexander named the horse Bucephalus because the horse's head seemed "as broad as a bull's." Bucephalus died of battle wounds in 326 B.C., in Alexander's last battle. Alexander gave Bucephalus a state funeral and founded the city of Bucephala (thought to be the modern town of Jhelum, Pakistan) in memory of his wonderful horse.
RP85808. Bronze AE 24, SNG Cop 1357 (same dies), AMNG III 323, BMC Macedonia -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Saroglos -, Lindgren -, F, nice brown tone, slightly rough, weight 7.790 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, Macedonia, Beroea(?) mint, c. 222 - 231 A.D.; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, diademed head of Alexander the Great right, club below bust; reverse KOIN-O-N M-AKE∆O,NΩN (last three letters in exergue, Alexander standing right, nude but for cloak flowing out behind him, taming Bukephalus who rears left; ex Tom Cederlind with his tags, fantastic "story coin" type; scarce; $180.00 (153.00)

Koinon of Macedonia, c. 238 - 244 A.D., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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The Macedonian Koinon (community) was the political organization governing the autonomous Roman province of Macedonia and was responsible for issuing coinage. The individual cities, as members of the Koinon, sent representatives to participate in popular assembly several times each year.

The high point of the year was celebrations and matches in honor of Alexander the Great and the Roman emperor held in Beroea (modern Verria) located about 75 km. west of Thessaloniki. This was the provincial center of the emperor cult, with the appropriate temple and privileges, first granted to the Koinon by Nerva. The title Neokoros, or "temple guardians" was highly prized and thus advertised on coins. Under Elagabalus, the Koinon received a second neokorie, indicated by B (the Greek number two) or rarely ∆IC (double in Greek). The title was rescinded but later restored by Severus Alexander, probably in 231 A.D.

RP85838. Bronze AE 28, BMC Macedonia p. 25, 133; AMNG III 696; SNG Cop 1368 var. (no star); SNG Hunterian 746 var. (star right vice under), SNG Saroglos -, Lindgren -, F, dark brown surfaces speckled with small green deposits, well centered, weight 15.257 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 0o, Macedonia, Beroea(?) mint, reign of Gordian III, c. 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, diademed head of Alexander the Great right; reverse KOINON MAKE∆ONΩN B NE, two agonistic urns each containing palm on a rectangular table with lion's feet, seen in perspective from right corner, star under table; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; scarce; $120.00 (102.00)

Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Aigai, Aiolis

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RPC II p. 161 observes, "The only problem that remains is the identity of the single left-facing head (967). At the moment the obverse inscription cannot be read in full; the portrait looks youngish and rather more like that of Titus than that of Vespasian or Domitian. The discovery of further specimens may resolve this question." Since publication, other examples, including this one, have confirmed the legend identifies the head as Vespasian.
RP85866. Bronze AE 19, RPC II 967, SNG Mnchen 376, SNG Cop 24 var. (head right), aVF, partial green patina on brown tone, legends more legible than most examples of the type, weight 5.464 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Aiolis, Aigai (near Yuntdagi Koseler, Turkey) mint, 1 Jul 69 - 24 Jun 79 A.D.; obverse OYHECΠACIANOC KAICAP (Vespasian, caesar), laureate head left; reverse EΠI AΠOΛΛΩNIOY NEMEONIKOY (magistrate Apollonios, son of Nemeonikos), Apollo standing right, taenia in right hand, laurel branch in left hand, AΓAEΩN downward behind; rare; $110.00 (93.50)

Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D., Serdica, Thrace

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The figure on the reverse is sometimes identified as Eros (Cupid) or a generic winged Genius. The inverted torch represents a life extinguished, indicating the figure is Thanatos (death). By the Severan Era, there was increased hope for an afterlife in pleasant Elysium rather than in dismal Hades. Thanatos was associated more with a gentle passing than a woeful demise. Thanatos as a winged boy, very much akin to Cupid, with crossed legs and an inverted torch, became the most common symbol for death, depicted on many Roman sarcophagi.
RP85917. Bronze AE 18, Moushmov 4929, H-J Serdica (R4) var. (rev. leg.), Varbanov III 2527 var. (same), SNG Cop -, SNG Hunterian -, BMC Thrace -, Lindgren -, VF, well centered and struck, dark patina, porous, small edge cracks, weight 3.415 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 225o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, c. 198 - 209 A.D.; obverse Λ CEΠT ΓETAC K, bare headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse OVΛΠI CEP∆IK, Thanatos standing half right, legs crossed, leaning on inverted extinguished torch set on altar; very rare variant; $85.00 (72.25)

Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Damascus, Coele-Syria

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Saul (later known as Paul) was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians when he was blinded by a light from the presence of Jesus. He spent three days in Damascus, blind, until Jesus sent a disciple named Ananias to Saul. Damascus was the city in which Paul began his work as a great evangelist, teaching people in Asia, Africa and Europe about Jesus.
RY86709. Bronze AE 22, cf. Lindgren III 1263 (legends obscure/different, etc.), De Saulcy p. 55, 7 (same); Rosenberger IV 62 (same), SNG Cop -, SNG Hunt -, BMC Galatia -, F, dark patina with earthen deposit highlighting, tight flan, right side of obv. legend unstruck, scratches, weight 9.696 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 225o, Damascus mint, Aug 253 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES LIC GALLIENVS PIV F AVG (or similar, blundered), laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse CO ∆AMΣ - METPO, agonistic prize urn containing two palms fronds on an ornate tripod; ex J. S. Wagner Collection; very rare; $90.00 (76.50)

Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Neapolis, Samaria

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Neapolis, Samaria, the biblical Shechemis, is now Nablus, Israel, the site of Joseph's Tomb and Jacob's well. Jesus spoke here to a Samaritan woman. The city was refounded as Flavia Neopolis after the Jewish Revolt. Nablus is home to about half the remaining worldwide Samaritan population of 600.
RP86855. Bronze AE 19, RPC II 2220 (20 spec.); BMC Palestine p. 46, 13; Rosenberger III 5; SNG ANS 962; Sofaer 4; Lindgren-Kovaks 2430, F, rough, slightly off center on a tight flan, weight 5.739 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Neapolis mint, 82 - 83 A.D.; obverse AVTOK ∆OMITIANOΣ KAIΣAP ΣEBA (Emperor Domitian, caesar, augustus), laureate head right; reverse date palm tree with two bunches of fruit, ΦΛA-OVI / NEA-ΠOΛI / ΣA-MA / L - AI (Flavia Neapolis, Samaria, year 11) in four lines across field; $40.00 (34.00)

Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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The symbol on this coin that looks like an L was an Egyptian symbol for year. It may have been derived from a hieroglyph. Iota was used as the Greek numeral 10.
RX85908. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 2913, Dattari 5280, Milne 4079, BMC Alexandria 2226, Kampmann 90.62, Emmett 3804/10, VF, excellent portrait, minor encrustations, light marks, tiny edge cracks, slightly off center, attractive coin, weight 9.252 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 262 - 28 Aug 263 A.D.; obverse AVT K Π ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse eagle standing left, head turned back right with wreath in beak, palm left, date LI (year 10) right; $90.00 (76.50)

Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Saite Nome, Roman Egypt

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Sais was the provincial capital of the Saite Nome. Herodotus wrote Sais is where the grave of Osiris was located. Plutarch said the shrine of Athena (Isis) in Sais carried the inscription "I am all that hath been, and is, and shall be; and my veil no mortal has hitherto raised." The Temple of Sais had a medical school (as did many Egyptian temples), which had many female students and apparently women faculty as well, mainly in gynecology and obstetrics. An inscription from the period survives at Sais, and reads, "I have come from the school of medicine at Heliopolis, and have studied at the woman's school at Sais, where the divine mothers have taught me how to cure diseases." Hector Berlioz' L'Enfance du Christ, has Sais as the setting for the youth of Jesus Christ until age 10, after his parents escape Herod the Great's massacre of male children.
RX85923. Bronze obol, Dattari 6370, Geissen 3427, Kampmann N45.13, SNG Cop 1145, SNG Milan 1202, BMC Alexandria 54, Emmett 1219/11, F, well centered, rough, corrosion, small edge splits, closed crack, weight 4.380 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 126 - 28 Aug 127 A.D.; obverse AVT KAI TPAI ADPIA CEB, laureate head right; reverse Athena standing slightly left, head left, wearing crested helmet, owl in right hand, spear in left hand, CAI-T (Saite nome) upward on left, L IA (year 11) downward on right; ex Tom Cederlind, with his $550 ticket; very rare; $400.00 (340.00)

Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Eirene, or Irene (pronounced I-ree-nee; Greek for peace; the Roman equivalent was Pax), was the personification of peace and wealth, and of the spring season.
RX85925. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 3139, Dattari 5530, Milne 4575, Curtis 1878, BMC Alexandria 2415, Emmett 3986/4, gVF, nice portrait, attractive brown tone, well centered on a slightly crowded flan, weight 7.954 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 279 - 28 Aug 280 A.D.; obverse A K M AVP ΠPOBOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse Eirene standing half-left, olive branch in right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, date L ∆ (year 4) left; $90.00 (76.50)

Aelius, Caesar, July or August 136 - 1 January 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 136, Aelius was adopted by an aging and ailing Hadrian and made caesar, successor to the throne. He had no military experience but had served as a senator and had powerful political connections. He was known for luxurious taste, an extravagant lifestyle, but also poor health. He was never to become emperor, dying before Hadrian, on 1 January 138.
RX85959. Bronze hemidrachm, Geissen 1273, Dattari 2078, Milne 1546, Kampmann 34.5; RPC III 6234, SNG Cop 420, SNG Milan 1212, Emmett 1352 (R3), aF, toned bare metal, porous, minor edge flaking, edge crack, weight 8.833 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 137 - 1 Jan 138 A.D.; obverse Λ AIΛIOC KAICAP, bareheaded and draped bust right; reverse ∆HM EΞOYC YΠAT B (tribunicia potestate, consul 2nd time), Homonoia enthroned left, phiale in extended right hand, her left arm resting on throne's armrest, cornucopia at right side of throne, OMONOIA in exergue; scarce; $100.00 (85.00)

Catalog current as of Saturday, May 26, 2018.
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Greek Imperial Coins