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Ancient Coins of Macedonia

Macedonian Kingdom, Antigonus I Monophthalmus or Antigonus II Gonatus, 306 - 270 B.C.

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Unpublished in the standard references and not yet fully attributed, this is only the second specimen of this extremely rare and important drachm known to Forum. Both specimens were struck with the same reverse die. Gorny & Mosch wrote of their specimen: "Troxell recorded a very rare issue of Alexandrine tetradrachms in the name of Gonatas (The Peloponnesian Alexanders, ANSMN 17, 1971, 75-6, note 68), which through hoard evidence was conclusively proven to be struck at Pella circa 272 (see R. W. Mathisen, Antigonus Gonatas and the Silver Coinages of Macedon circa 280-270 BC, ANSMN 26, 1981, pp. 79-123, esp. p. 104). However, this unique drachm has no controls that would explicitly tie it to the Pella mint tetradrachms, and even more perplexing is the style of the engraving, which is clearly dissimilar to the tetradrachms as well. One might suppose that it is in fact not a coin of Gonatas at all, but rather a hitherto unknown drachm of his grandfather, Antigonos I Monophthalmos. However, this also does not sit well, again for reasons of style, which is inconsistent with the period of Monophthalmos' reign. For the time being, therefore, this coin must remain a numismatic enigma until further evidence can shed additional light on it."

There are two auction records for the Gorny & Mosch specimen: Roma Numismatics auction 7 (22 Mar 2014), lot 454, sold for £ 4,800 plus fees; and Gorny & Mosch auction 203 (5 Mar 2012), lot 150, sold for € 3,200 plus fees. Our coin sold at Gitbud & Naumann auction 16, (4 May 2014), lot 152, apparently slipping through unnoticed by all but our astute consignor for € 575 plus fees.
SH71048. Silver drachm, unpublished in standard refs; cf. Roma Numismatics auction 7, lot 454 (same rev die) = Gorny & Mosch auction 203, lot 150, VF, reverse struck a bit flat, weight 3.845 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Greece or Macedonia mint, 306 - 270 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIΓONOY, Zeus Aetophoros enthroned left, throne with high back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back; ex Gitbud & Naumann auction 16, lot 152; extremely rare, only two know specimens; $2020.00 (€1797.80)


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)


Claudius and Messalina, 24 January 41 - 48 A.D., Knossos, Crete

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Messalina was Claudius' 3rd wife and mother of Britannicus and Claudia Octavia. They were married when she was 14. In 48 A.D., while Claudius was away in Ostia, even though she was married to the emperor, Messalina married her lover, Gaius Silius. Silius was executed and Messalina driven to suicide.
SH74280. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 1001 (rev legend ending IIVIR) or 1002, Svoronos Crete 214 corr. (IIVIR) or 212, SNG Cop -, BMC Crete -, aVF, crowded irregular flan, weight 4.393 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 180o, Knossos mint, Duumviri Cytherus und Capito, 41 A.D.; obverse TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS, bare head of Claudius left; reverse VALERIA MESSALINA [CAPITONE CYTHERONTE IIVIR] or [CYTHERO CAPITONE] (end of legend off flan), draped bust of Messalina right; extremely rare; $540.00 (€480.60)


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)


Gortyna, Crete, 4th Century B.C.

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Gortyna in the southern part of central Crete, rivaled Cnossus in wealth and importance. A Gortynian decree of the third or second century B.C. required, under a penalty, the use of "the bronze money which the city has put in circulation," and established a fine to be paid by any one who "accepts in payment silver obols."
GS77556. Silver drachm, Svoronos Crete p. 161, 32, pl. XIII, 6; McClean II 7111; SNG Cop -; BMC Crete -; Seager -; Weber -, aVF, overstruck, weight 5.102 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, Gortyna mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse head and neck of bull right, head turned slightly facing, round object to right from undertype; reverse head Persephone right, wearing wreath of grain and cross-folded taenia, rosette-shaped ear ornament and necklace, part of dotted square border from undertype, concave field; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 233 (6 Oct 2015), part of lot 3109; $450.00 (€400.50)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.

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The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS79835. Silver drachm, Lorber Early 89.1 (same dies), BCD Thessaly I 1148, BCD Thessaly II 215 var. (facing slightly right), VF, toned, area of corrosion, reverse double struck, uneven strike, weight 5.835 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, earring, and wire necklace; reverse horse grazing right, legs straight, ΛAPIΣ above; ex Amphora Coins; $400.00 (€356.00)


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)


Thebes, Boiotia, Greece, 405 - 395 B.C.

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The largest city in Boeotia, leader of the Boeotian confederacy, and rival of Athens, Thebes sided with Persia during Xerxes' invasion in 480 B.C. Thebes ended Sparta's power of at the Battle of Leuctra in 371. The Sacred Band of Thebes famously fell to Philip II at Chaeronea in 338. After a revolt in 335, Alexander the Great destroyed the city, except, according to tradition, the house of the poet Pindar.
GS74435. Silver tetartemorion, BCD Boiotia 466; BMC Central p. 77, 87; SNG Cop 294; Bérend Fractions 35; Head Boeotia 37, Choice VF, toned, weight 0.163 g, maximum diameter 6.4 mm, Thebes mint, 405 - 395 B.C.; obverse Boiotian ox hide shield; reverse bunch of grapes on stem, Θ−E flanking above; ex BCD Collection; $360.00 (€320.40)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 365 - 356 B.C.

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The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS73417. Silver drachm, BMC Thessaly p. 30, 61 var. (horse right); BCD Thessaly II 288 var. (exergue inverted); HGC 4 452 var. (S, same); BCD Thessaly I -, aVF, scratches, light etching, encrustations, weight 5.862 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, c. 365 - 356 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, pendant earring, and wire necklace; reverse ΛAPIΣ/AIΩN, horse crouching left preparing to roll over, plant below; ex BCD Collection; $340.00 (€302.60)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 440 - 375 B.C.

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The name Larissa is in origin a Pelasgian (pre-Greek) word for "fortress." There were many ancient Greek cities with this name. The name of Thessalian Larissa is first recorded in connection with the aristocratic Aleuadai family. Larissa is thought to be where the famous Greek physician Hippocrates and the famous philosopher Gorgias of Leontini died.
GS77554. Silver trihemiobol, BCD Thessaly 1120, Trait 690 and pl. CCXCVII 23, SNG Cop -, BMC Thessaly -, aVF, weight 0.893 g, maximum diameter 12.3 mm, Larissa mint, c. 440 - 375 B.C.; obverse a bull's hoof with bone, laying on a small round dish or shield with a dotted edge, all within an outer dotted boarder; reverse diademed bust of Asklepios right, with long beard, drapery on his left shoulder, erect curving snake with head right before him, ΛAPI upward behind; very rare; $330.00 (€293.70)










REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Saturday, July 30, 2016.
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