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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ ArchitectureView Options:  |  |  |   

Architecture on Ancient Coins

Roman Republic, M. Plaetorius Cestianus, 69 B.C.

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The moneyer, M. Plaetorius Cestianus, was from Praeneste, in Latium, 23 miles east-southeast of Rome, home of the great temple to Fortuna Primigenia. Her sanctuary was an immense complex of buildings rising up the hillside on five vast terraces, connected with each other by grand staircases, visible even from the sea. The reverse likely depicts a pediment in the sanctuary. The epithet of Primigenia means "Original." She was represented suckling two babes, said to be Jupiter and Juno, and she was especially worshiped by matrons. The oracle continued to be consulted down to Christian times, until Constantine the Great, and again later Theodosius I, forbade the practice and closed the temple.
SH76980. Silver denarius, BMCRR Rome 3524 (same wheel control); Crawford 405/1b; Sydenham 800a; SRCV I 340, F, banker's mark, weight 3.563 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, 69 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Fortuna Primigenia right, hair in net, wheel (control symbol) behind; reverse temple pediment, ornamented with sculpture of an anguipede (snake legged) giant holding a club(?) in his left hand, M PLAETORI (AE ligate) on the architrave, CEST S C in exergue; very rare; $720.00 (640.80)


Macrinus, 11 April 217 - 8 June 218 A.D., Kyzikos, Mysia

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Colossal foundations of the Temple of Hadrian, sometimes ranked among the Seven Wonders of the World, are still visible at Cyzicus. The columns were 21.35 meters high (about 70 feet), the highest known in the Roman Empire. Those at Baalbek in Syria, the next highest, are only 19.35 meters (about 63 feet). Columns from both structures were recycled under Justinian I for the Hagia Sophia.
RP76803. Bronze AE 26, cf. CNG e-auction 311 (25 Sep 2013), 873 (apparently otherwise unpublished), VF, nice portrait, green patina, reverse about 1/5 off-center cutting of part of legend, minor flan crack, weight 10.185 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 180o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 11 Apr 217 - 8 Jun 218 A.D.; obverse AV K M OΠEΛ CEOYHP MAKPEINOC, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse KVZIKHNΩN NEOKO,PΩN (last three letters in exergue), octastyle Temple of Hadrian at Cyzicus; apparently only the second known of this extremely rare type; $400.00 (356.00)


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D., Paphos(?), Cyprus

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Titus visited the Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Paphos in 69 A.D., when the future emperor was on his way to Egypt. He consulted the oracle of Aphrodite, and was told that he had a great future.

The 1.2 mm high gray-green conical stone, which once stood at the center of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Paphos, was found by archaeologists near the temple and is now in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia. It is not a meteorite.
RP59007. Silver didrachm, RPC II 1809, F, encrustations, weight 5.636 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos(?) mint, obverse AYTOKPATΩP TITOC KAICAP, laureate head left; reverse ETOYC NEOY IEPOY, temple of Aphrodite at Paphos, conical stone (xoanon) at center, Θ in exergue; rare; $280.00 (249.20)


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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In 278, Probus defeated the Alamanni, expelled the Franks from Gaul, reorganized the Roman defenses on the Rhine and resettled the Germanic tribes in the devastated provinces. He adopted the titles Gothicus Maximus and Germanicus Maximus.
RA76944. Silvered antoninianus, Hunter IV 32 (also 3rd officina); RIC V, part 22, 185; Cohen VI 530; Pink VI-1, p. 56-57/4; SRCV III -, Choice EF, near full silvering, superb portrait, light marks, weight 4.097 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Rome mint, emission 4, 279 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ROMAE AETER, statue of Roma seated facing inside a hexastyle temple, head left, Victory in right, long scepter vertical in left, R pellet in crescent with horns up Γ in exergue; $225.00 (200.25)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Dium, Coele Syria

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Rosenberger describes the altar as a "figure (?) with plumes headdress, on pedestal." The Rosenberger coin is worn and the "figure" is a bit taller and thinner than our altar, but the coin does seem to be this same type.

The site of ancient Dium (Dion, Decapolis) has not been conclusively identified. The four leading candidates for Dium are Tell al-Husn and Edun, both near Irbid, in north Jordan, Kufr Abil, near Pella, and Tell al-Ash'ari, near the Syrian border town of Der'a.
RY77849. Bronze AE 22, Rosenberger 9 corr., Spijkerman 10 var. (legends), Sofaer 10 var. (legends), Meshorer -, SNG ANS -, SNG Hunterian -, BMC Galatia -, aF, earthen deposit highlighting, tight flan, corrosion, weight 7.701 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 180o, Dium mint, 219 - 220 A.D.; obverse AV KAI MAV ANTWNINO, laureate and draped or cuirassed youthful bust right, from the front; reverse hexastyle temple, flaming altar within under central arch, ΓΠ-C (year 283) divided above roof, ∆IHNWN in exergue; very rare; $225.00 (200.25)


Koinon of Macedonia, c. 244 - 245 A.D., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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The two temples and legend on the reverse indicate "Two Neokorie," advertising the Koinon of Macedonia held the highly prized designation "double temple guardian" of the imperial cult. The first Nekoros was awarded by Nerva. The second Neokoros, indicated by B (the Greek number two) or rarely ∆IC (double in Greek) on coins, was first received under Elagabalus. The title was rescinded but then later restored by Severus Alexander, probably in 231 A.D.
RP79978. Bronze AE 28, AMNG III 833; Mionnet supp. 3, p. 229, 446; BMC Macedonia -; SNG Cop -; SNG Hunterian -; SNG Bar -; SNG Saroglos -; Lindgren -, gF, obverse rough, smoothing on reverse, weight 11.370 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 90o, Macedonia, Beroea(?) mint, c. 244 -245 A.D.; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, diademed head of Alexander the Great right; reverse two hexastyle temple fronts, KOINON / M-AKE∆-O in two lines above, B NEΩKOPΩN / EOC (Era of Actium year 275) below;
very rare; $220.00 (195.80)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Pautalia, Thrace

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The site of Pautalia (modern Kyustendil, Bulgaria) was settled in the Iron Age by the Thracian Dentheletes tribe. It was located near thermal springs and remains of the ancient city include a temple of Asklepios and Roman baths. In the 1990s, excavation of nearby 2nd century A.D. tumuli unearthed bronze surgical instruments and a small bronze case containing a variety of medicines.
RP63965. Bronze AE 30, Ruzicka 264 (same reverse die), Varbanov II 4653, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, aF, smoothing, weight 26.306 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 180o, Pautalia (Kyustendil, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT K Λ CEΠTI CEYHPOC ΠEP CEB, laureate head right.; reverse HΓE K AIΛIOY ONEPATOY OYΛΠIAC ΠAYTAΛIAC, tetrastyle temple seen in three-quarters perspective, no steps, Apollo-Bonus Eventus standing within, flanked by a tree left and another right; thick sestertius-like flan; rare; $200.00 (178.00)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Dium, Coele Syria

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Rosenberger describes the altar as a "figure (?) with plumes headdress, on pedestal." The Rosenberger coin is worn and the "figure" is a bit taller and thinner than our altar, but the coin does seem to be this same type.

The site of ancient Dium (Dion, Decapolis) has not been conclusively identified. The four leading candidates for Dium are Tell al-Husn and Edun, both near Irbid, in north Jordan, Kufr Abil, near Pella, and Tell al-Ash'ari, near the Syrian border town of Der'a.
RY77847. Bronze AE 22, Rosenberger 9 corr., Spijkerman 10 var. (legends), Sofaer 10 var. (legends), Meshorer -, SNG ANS -, SNG Hunterian -, BMC Galatia -, aF, uneven strike, tight flan, porous, corrosion, weight 8.737 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 180o, Dium mint, 219 - 220 A.D.; obverse AV KAI MAV ANTWNINO, laureate and draped or cuirassed youthful bust right, from the front; reverse hexastyle temple, flaming altar within under central arch, ΓΠ-C (year 283) divided above roof, ∆IHNWN in exergue; very rare; $200.00 (178.00)


Commodus and Annius Verus, Caesars, 166 - 170 A.D., Tarsus, Cilicia

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The brothers Annius Verus and Commodus, sons of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger, were made caesars in 166 A.D. Annius Verus died at age 7 of natural causes in Rome on 10 September 169. His younger brother Commodus became his father's heir and later successor to his father's throne. The portraits are obviously unrealistic - the caesars were small boys when the coin was struck.
RP84085. Bronze AE 18, RPC Online 5035 (17 spec.); BMC Lycaonia p. 191, 166; SNGvA 5993; SNG BnF 1456; SNG Levante 1018 var. (no star); SNG Cop -, F, turquoise patina, tight flan, porous, earthen deposits, weight 3.339 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 166 - 170 A.D.; obverse KOPOI CEBACTOY, confronted draped youthful busts of Annius Verus (on left) and Commodus, star over crossed club and caduceus between them; reverse temple with ten columns, eagle left with head right and wings open in pediment, KOINOC KIΛIKIAC in architrave, TAP-COY across field at center, MHTPOΠ in exergue; rare; $200.00 (178.00)


Coins and their cities: Architecture on the ancient coins of Greece, Rome, and Palestine

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"Ancient coins illustrate more than a thousand different buildings most of which are now lost without a trace. We tend to forget that a line of foundations stones is all that remains of human effort of planning and labor which goes into the erection of an architectural monument; and it is therefore salutary to begin this study by comparing extracts from letters sent by a provincial governor to the emperor at Rome, dealing with the construction of just buildings on coins."
BK11792. Coins and their cities: Architecture on the ancient coins of Greece, Rome, and Palestine by Martin Price & Bluma Trell, 1977 edition, 298 pages, illustrations throughout, hardback, very good condition; $170.00 (151.30)




  



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REFERENCES

Price, M.J. & B. Trell. Coins and Their Cities: Architecture on the Ancient Coins of Greece, Rome, and Palestine. (London, 1977).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, February 21, 2017.
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Architecture