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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ GeographyView Options:  |  |  |   

Geography

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.


Roman Civil War, Vitellius, c. 69 A.D.

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This coin is M71 in Butcher, K. & M. Pointing, The Metallurgy of Roman Silver Coinage: From the Reform of Nero to the Reform of Trajan (Cambridge, 2015). There is a tiny drill hole on the edge where silver was extracted for testing. This was an important coin in the study, with test results indicating 93.9% silver bullion and Gallic isotope ratios strongly suggesting similarity with other Vitellius coins from Gallia, not coins minted for Galba.
RS86684. Silver denarius, Butcher-Pointing M71 (this coin), RIC I Civil Wars 121, BMCRE I 65, RSC I Galba 363, BnF I 75, Martin 7, EF, toned, tight flan, light corrosion, test drill hole on edge, weight 3.127 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Southern Gaul(?) mint, c. 69 A.D.; obverse clasped hands, FIDES above, EXERCITVVM below; reverse clasped hands, FIDES above, PRAETORIANORVM curving along the edge below; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Helios, auction 4 (Munich, 14 Oct 2009), lot 270; ex Coll. A. Lynn collection; ex Classical Numismatic Group, auction 54 (14 June 2000), lot 1484; ex P. DeVicci collection; rare; $1800.00 (€1530.00)


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Otho ruled for just a few months. The mint of Alexandria struck coins with his name, though the portrait bears little resemblance to those of the other mints. It is possible that Alexandria produced coins without having an image of the new emperor.
RP84745. Bronze hemidrachm, RPC I 5364 (3 spec.); Geissen 257; Dattari 336; BMC Alexandria 217; Milne 376; SNG BnF 710; Kampmann-Ganschow 18.13; Emmett 189 (R4); SNG Milan -, F, attractive brown tone, flan crack, light scratches, smoothing, weight 16.768 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, beveled edge; reverse bust of Nilus right, wearing papyrus diadem, cornucopia behind right shoulder, date LA (year 1) before; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $1050.00 (€892.50)


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)


France, Henri IV, 2 August 1589 - 14 May 1610

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Henry IV, also known as "Good King Henry", was King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. Upon the death of his brother-in-law and distant cousin Henry III of France, Henry was called to the French succession in 1589. He initially kept the Protestant faith but after four years and at least 12 assassination attempts, he abjured the Calvinist faith. He promulgated the Edict of Nantes in 1598, guaranteeing religious freedom and ending the Wars of Religion. He was assassinated in 1610 by a fanatical Catholic. Unpopular immediately after his accession, Henry's popularity greatly improved after his death. The "Good King Henry" (le bon roi Henri) was remembered for his geniality and his great concern about the welfare of his subjects. Henry is said to have originated the oft-repeated phrase, "a chicken in every pot."
WO86330. Silver 1/4 Ecu, cf. Duplessy 1224A var. (RX vice REX), Ciani 1517 var. (RX vice R), KM 27, VF, toned, well centered, tight flan, bumps and scratches, small edge crack, weight 9.507 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 0o, Bayonne mint, 2nd type, 1605 L; obverse + •SIT•NOMEN•DOMINI•BENEDICVM• (Blessed be the name of the Lord) followed by Bayonne mintmark, crowned shield of France, II - II flanking across field; reverse + HENRICVS IIII•D•G•FRANC•E•NAVA•RX•1605 (Henry IV, by the Grace of God, King of France and Navarre), Foliate cross, quatrefoil around cross of five pellets at center, lily arms, pellet at each end; $350.00 (€297.50)


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

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The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also called the Pharos, built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 280 and 247 B.C., was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Between 393 and 450 feet (120 - 140 m) tall, it was one of the tallest man-made structures on Earth for many centuries. Damaged by three earthquakes between 956 and 1323, it then became an abandoned ruin. It was the third longest surviving ancient wonder (after the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the still extant Great Pyramid of Giza), until in 1480 the last of its remnant stones were used to build the Citadel of Qaitbay on the site. In 1994, French archaeologists discovered some remains of the lighthouse on the floor of Alexandria's Eastern Harbor.
RX86722. Bronze drachm, Dattari 1765, Milne 1373, SNG Cop 375, Kampmann 32.547, Emmett 1002/17, Geissen -, BMC Alexandria -, SNG Milan -, aF/aVF, well centered, corrosion but mostly on obverse, most of obverse legend obliterated, weight 22.681 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 132 - 28 Aug 133 A.D.; obverse AYT KAIC TPAI(AN) A∆PIA(NOC) CEB, laureate and draped bust right,; reverse Isis Pharia standing right, sistrum in extended right hand, holding a billowing sail with both hands and left foot, sailing toward the Pharos (lighthouse) of Alexandria, which is surmounted by a statue and two Tritons, each blowing a buccinum (sea shell trumpet); L IZ (year 17) above center; Emmett lists this highly desirable year 17 type as common but there are none on coin archives and it is missing from Cologne, London, and Milan; however, year 18 is common; $350.00 (€297.50)


France, Charles IX, 1560 - 1574

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Charles IX ascended the throne of France upon the death of his brother Francis II. After decades of tension, war broke out between Protestants and Catholics after the massacre of Vassy in 1562. In 1572, after several unsuccessful peace attempts, Charles ordered the marriage of his sister Margaret of Valois to Henry of Navarre, a major Protestant nobleman and the future King Henry IV of France, in a last desperate bid to reconcile his people. Facing popular hostility against this policy of appeasement, Charles allowed the massacre of all Huguenot leaders who gathered in Paris for the royal wedding at the instigation of his mother Catherine de' Medici. This event, known as the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, was a significant blow to the Huguenot movement. Religious civil warfare soon began anew. Charles ordered the Siege of La Rochelle, but was unable to take the Protestant stronghold. Charles died of tuberculosis without legitimate male issue in 1574 and was succeeded by his brother Henry III.
WO86742. Silver teston, Duplessy 1071, Lafaurie 9015, cf. Roberts 3551, Ciani -, VF, toned, parts of legends weak, weight 9.308 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 45o, Lyon mint, 1566 D; obverse CAROLVS•VIIII•D•G•FRANCO•REX•M• (Charles IX, by the Grace of God, King of France), laureate and cuirassed boy's bust left, D (mint-mark) below; reverse + SIT•NOMEN•DNI•BENEDICIM•M•D•LXVI•M.clover. (Blessed be the name of the Lord, 1566), crowned coat of arms (three fleur de lis); ex Gordon Andreas Singer; very rare; $350.00 (€297.50)


Anglo-Gallic, Edward III, 1372 - 1377

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This type and similar billon Anglo-Gallic coins looked silver when issued, but after some use turned black, hence their nickname, "black money." They were usually hastily and poorly struck, heavily circulated and worn, and seldom hoarded. Surviving examples are now rare and mostly low grade.
WO86745. Billon denier au leopard, Elias 95 (RR), Duplessy Féodales 1095A, SCBC-SII 8090, Poey d'Avant 2793 (Edward I), Boudeau -, aVF, well centered on a tight flan, uneven strike with parts of legend weak, areas of light corrosion, weight 0.683 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, 2nd type; obverse + EDVARDVS : REX (King Edward), leopard passant left above AnGL' between lines, rosette below, all within inner circle, double pellet stops; reverse + DVX : AQITAnIE (Duke of Aquitaine), cross pattée, within inner circle, double pellet stops; very rare; $250.00 (€212.50)


Galba, 3 April 68 - 15 January 69 A.D.

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The quinarius, half a denarius, was introduced along with the denarius in 211 B.C., but was only sporadically struck. Quinarii appear to have been struck mainly for special occasions, perhaps primarily for donatives, when the emperor distributed money to the people. This was the first quinarius type struck since early in the principate of Augustus.
RS86832. Silver quinarius, RIC I 132 (R2), King 1, RSC I 317, BMCRE I 244, BnF III 63, SRCV I 2112, F, bumps, marks, scratches, uneven toning, porous, obverse a little off center, weight 1.587 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, die axis 240o, Gaul, probably Lugdunum mint, Nov 68 - 15 Jan 69; obverse SER GALBA IMP CAESAR AVG P M T P, laureate head right; reverse VICTORIA GALBAE AVG, Victory standing right on globe, raising wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand; ex Beast Coins; very rare; $250.00 (€212.50)


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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Rouen (Latin: Rotomagus) is a city on the River Seine in the north of France. It is the capital of the region of Normandy. Formerly one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, Rouen was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy during the Middle Ages. It was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries.
RA73288. Billon antoninianus, Webb Carausius 736, RIC V-2 662 (R), Carausian Hoard 72, SRCV IV 13715 var. (legends), Hunter IV -, King Unmarked -, Bicester -, gF, green patina, earthen encrustations, some corrosion, weight 5.197 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 225o, Rotomagus (Rouen, France) mint, mid 286 - mid 293 A.D.; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS AVG, radiate and draped bust right; reverse SALVS AVG (the health of the Emperor), Salus standing half left, from patera in her right hand, feeding snake rising from the left side of a column altar at her feet, cornucopia in left hand, nothing in exergue; rare; $230.00 (€195.50)


Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 130 - 153 A.D.

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Antinous probably joined the entourage of Hadrian when it passed through Bithynia in about 124. He became Hadrian's constant companion and lover but in October 130 Antinous drowned in the Nile. Hadrian's grief knew no bounds; he enrolled him among the gods, erected a temple, and on 30 October 130 A.D., Hadrian founded the city of Antinoopolis on the very bank of the Nile river where Antinous drowned. It was the capital of a new nome, Antinoopolites. Artists vied with each other in immortalizing his beauty. Temples and statues to his memory were erected all over the Empire, and there began a Cult of Antinous. On this coin he is depicted in the guise of Hermanubis.
RX90575. Lead tessera, Dattari 6536, Geissen 3559 var. (11.23g), Emmett 4397 (R4), F, weight 4.666 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antinoopolis (or Alexandria?) mint, c. 130 - 153 A.D.; obverse draped bust of Antinous right, wearing hem-hem crown of Harpocrates, crescent before; reverse Serapis standing left, wearing chiton, himation, and kalathos on head, right hand raised, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $180.00 (€153.00)




  



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Geography