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Every ancient coin is associated with a place, at the least where it was minted. Rarely, but occasionally, we learn where a coin was found. Many ancient coins depict the personification of a nation, province, city, or river. Every coin has some tie to geography. Of course collecting every coin is not a theme, so geography must be narrowed down in some way. Collecting the coins of one mint, city or region is popular. Hadrian's famous "travel series" would make an excellent geography theme collection. Another is the travels of Paul. Or you could collect coins from all places you simply find captivating.
Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy IX Lathyros, Reign as King of Cyprus, 101 - 88 B.C.
Ptolemy IX Lathyros ("grass pea") was king of Egypt three times, 116 B.C. to 110 B.C., 109 B.C. to 107 B.C. and 88 B.C. to 81 B.C., with intervening periods ruled by his brother, Ptolemy X Alexander. When this coin was struck Ptolemy IX ruled in Cyprus and Ptolemy X in Egypt.
Serifs are unique to just a few rare Ptolemaic coins from this time period. Perhaps all are the work of a single engraver. Serifs also appear on a very rare Kition tetradrachm of this ruler. They appear on the K behind the head of Arsinoe II on the latest of the octadrachms. The heavy-set portrait compares well to MFA 59.51, and not so well to images of Ptolemy I. SH72904. Silver tetradrachm, apparently unpublished and unique!, VF, weight 13.234 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, as King of Cyprus, year 27, 91 - 90 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy IX right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on a thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, date LKZ (year 27) before, ΠA mint mark behind, all letters with serifs; $1620.00 SALE PRICE $1458.00
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.
Nero considered himself an artist, perhaps he was and took an interest in his coinage - the sestertii of Nero are considered by many to be the finest numismatic art of the Roman Empire.RB84073. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 443 (S), Mac Dowall WCN 428, Giard Lyon 119, BnF II 83, Cohen I 262, BMCRE I -, Hunter I -, SGCV I -, VF, finestyle, excellent portrait, attractive brown toning, obverse slightly off center, some light corrosion, weight 25.990 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum mint, 65 A.D.; obverseNEROCLAVDCAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head left, globe at point of neck; reverseRoma seated left on cuirass and shields, wearing helmet and military garb, Victory in offering wreath in her right hand, her left hand resting on parazonium at side, right foot drawn back and resting on helmet, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field at center, ROMA in exergue; $1450.00 SALE PRICE $1305.00
Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D.
In 36 A.D., Herod Antipas suffered major losses in a war with Aretas IV of Nabataea, provoked partly by Antipas' divorce of Aretas' daughter. According to Josephus, Herod's defeat was popularly believed to be divine punishment for his execution of John the Baptist. Tiberius ordered Vitellius, the governor of Syria, to capture or kill Aretas, but Vitellius was reluctant to support Herod and abandoned his campaign upon Tiberius' death in 37. SH84234. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon, group 5, 152; RIC I 30 (C); BMCRE I 60; RSC II 16a; SRCV I 1763, Choice gVF, well centered, toned, die wear, porosity, light marks, weight 3.670 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 45o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 36 - 37 A.D.; obverseTI CAESARDIVI AVG FAVGVSTVS, laureate head right, laurel wreath ties fall in small undulations (waves); reversePONTIF MAXIM (high priest), Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with decorated legs, a single line below, long scepter vertical behind in her right, branch in left, feet on footstool; $560.00 SALE PRICE $504.00
Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta Issue
This type celebrates the success of Vespasian and Titus in quelling the First Jewish Revolt. Coins commemorating this event are referred to as "Judaea Capta" issues. RIC lists this type as common; we think in error. This is only the second example of the type handled by Forum in nearly two decades.RS84469. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 1120; RSC II 243; Hendin 1488; BMCRE II 388; BnF III 297; Hunter I 161; SRCV I 2262, F, toned, scratches, weight 2.994 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 71 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESARVESPASIANVSAVG TR P, laureate head right; reverseIVDAEA DEVICTA (Judaea Defeated), Jewess standing left, draped, head slightly bowed, hands tied in front of her, date palm tree behind her; ex Spink with their round tag; rare; $550.00 SALE PRICE $495.00
Octavian and Divus Julius Caesar, Second Triumvirate, 36 B.C., Lugdunum, Gaul
Lyon was originally founded as the Roman city ColoniaCopiaFelixMunatia, a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods. The city became increasingly referred to as Lugdunum by the end of the 1st century A.D. The etymology of Lugdunum is a latinization of the Gaulish place name Lugodunon. While dunon means hillfort, the source of Lug is uncertain. The most commonly offered meaning is the Celtic god named Lug. During the Middle Ages, Lugdunum was transformed to Lyon by natural sound change.RR70870. Bronze dupondius, RPC I 515, Giard Lyon 7, SNG Cop 689, F, weight 16.797 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 36 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESARDIVI F DIVI IVLI, two heads back to back: laureate head of Divus Julius Caesar to left and bare head of Octavian to right; between them palm branch with its tip bent to right over Octavian's head; reverse Prow of galley to right, ornamented with an eye and dolphin; star superimposed on globe and meta above deck, COPIA below; rare; $540.00 SALE PRICE $486.00
France, Provincial, Duchy of Normandie, William the Conqueror, 1035 - 1087, In the Name of William Rufus(?)
There are two varieties of this denier, one with RICAR above the pediment (Legros 336) and the other with two W's (Legros 337, Dumas and Legros list only one specimen, in the Brussels Coin Cabinet). These two types were struck in the reign of William the Conqueror, after 1070. The RICAR issue may have been struck in the name of his son Richard (1057- c. 1081), Duke of Bernay; and the W's may refer to his son William Rufus (1056 - 1100), King of the English.ME79660. Silver denier, Dumas pl. XX, 12 (Brussels Coin Cabinet); Legros 337 (same, unique); Poey d'Avant –; Duplessy Féodales –; Roberts –; De Wit Collection –, VF, toned, weight 0.801 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rouen mint, c. 1070 - 1081; obverse + NORMANNA, cross pattée, pellets in each quarter, within linear inner border; reversestylized cathedral facade, cross within arched doorway, two pellets above arch, two towers flanking (each a line topped with an annulet), pellet in triangular pediment, two W's (for William Rufus?) above the pediment; extremely rare; $480.00 SALE PRICE $432.00
Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.
Issued to commemorate victory in Britain. Between 208 and 210 A.D., Septimius Severus and his son Caracalla campaigned into Scotland (then Caledonia) and also restored Hadrian's Wall. The victories in the north pacified the island for the remainder of the century, but the aged Septimius died at Eburacum (York) in 211 A.D.SH83529. Silver denarius, RIC IV 332 (S); RSC III 727; BMCRE V p. 366, 51; Hunter III 108; SRCV II 6382, Choice gVF, some luster, perfect centering, nice portrait, light toning, small edge cracks, weight 3.369 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 210 - 211 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverseVICTORIAE BRIT (victories over the British), Victory advancing right, raising wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder; scarce; $450.00 SALE PRICE $405.00
Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.
Huge bronze! The largest of all Ptolemaic bronze coin types.GP83552. Bronze octobol, Svoronos 446; Weiser 19; BMC Ptolemies p. 37, 158; SNG Cop 142; Noeske 64; Hosking 13; Malter 67, VF, well centered, bumps and scratches, light corrosion, centration dimples, weight 88.174 g, maximum diameter 46.6 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 285 - 246 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Zeus-Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings open, head turned back right, E between legs; scarce; $400.00 SALE PRICE $360.00
Roman Egypt, Nov 130 - c. 138 A.D.
Both the obverse and reverse types on this tessera are published but the combination does not appear to be published. Nor did we find another example online. According to Milne, lead tesserae served as local small change in Egypt during the first to the third century A.D.RX90574. Lead tessera, Unpublished; cf. Dattari 6444 and Geissen 3584 (for obversetype) and Dattari 6493 and 3575 (for reversetype), VF , weight 5.107 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 270o, Alexandria(?) mint, Nov 130 - c. 138 A.D. (possibly later); obverseAntinous on horseback right, wearing hem hem crown, caduceus in right hand; reverseNilus reclining left on crocodile right below, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, reeds in his right hand, cornucopia in left; before him at his feet stands Euthenia (prosperity) wearing chiton and peplos, offering wreath held in right hand; extremely rare; $380.00 SALE PRICE $342.00
Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.
Pax, regarded by the ancients as a goddess, was worshiped not only at Rome but also at Athens. Her altar could not be stained with blood. Claudius began the construction of a magnificent temple to her honor, which Vespasian finished, in the Via Sacra. The attributes of Peace are the hasta pura, the olive branch, the cornucopia, and often the caduceus. Sometimes she is represented setting fire to a pile of arms. RA73231. Billonantoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 319 (C); Webb Carausius 375; SRCV IV 13644; Cohen VII 215; Hunter IV - (p. ccvii), gVF, much silvering, light marks, tiny encrustation, a little weak in centers, edge split/crack, weight 4.819 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 180o, Camulodunum (Colchester, England) mint, c. 292 - early 293 A.D.; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassedbust right; reversePAX AVG (the peace of the Emperor), Pax standing half left, head left, raising olive-branch in right hand, long scepter transverse in left hand, S - P across fields at center, C in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection, ex-Wayne C. Phillips; $340.00 SALE PRICE $306.00