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Collecting History through Ancient Coins

Holding an ancient coin is holding history in your hands. Some coins actually depict historical events. Many include the image of a historic king or emperor. Every ancient coin relates to the people and events of the time and place it was struck. Every ancient coin relates to an interesting historical story. The stories on this page are a primary source of our ancient coin obsession. We hope you enjoy them.


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius

|Faustina| |Jr.|, |Faustina| |Junior,| |Augusta| |146| |-| |Winter| |175/176| |A.D.,| |Wife| |of| |Marcus| |Aurelius|, aureus
Laetitia is the Roman goddess of gaiety and joy, her name deriving from the root word laeta, meaning happy. She is typically depicted on coinage with a wreath in her right hand, and a scepter, a rudder, or an anchor in her left hand. On the coins of empresses, Laetitia may signal a birth in the Imperial family.
SH93043. Gold aureus, Caliců 2066 (same rev. die); RIC III MA699; BMCRE IV MA129 note; Cohen III 146; SRCV II 5242; Hunter II -, gVF, light marks on edge, weight 6.763 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 161 - 175 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, diademed and draped bust right, hair in bun at the back; reverse LAETITIA, Laetitia standing facing, wreath in right hand, long scepter in left; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 80 (04 Aug 2019), lot 563; ex Roma Numismatics 14 (27 Jan 2019), lot 761; Numismatica Ars Classica auction 106 (09 May 2018), lot 973; ex Roma Numismatics sale XIV (21 Sep 2017), 761 (realized £4,600 plus fees); extremely rare; $5200.00 SALE |PRICE| $4680.00


Carthage, Zeugitana, North Africa, 229 - 221 B.C.

|Carthage|, |Carthage,| |Zeugitana,| |North| |Africa,| |229| |-| |221| |B.C.|, shekel
The Second Punic War, 218 - 201 B.C., is most remembered for Hannibal's crossing of the Alps, followed by his crushing victories over Rome in the battle of the Trebia, at Trasimene, and again at Cannae. After these defeats, many Roman allies joined Carthage, prolonging the war in Italy for over a decade. Against Hannibal's skill on the battlefield, the Romans deployed the Fabian strategy. More capable in siegecraft, the Romans recaptured all the major cities that had defected. The Romans defeated an attempt to reinforce Hannibal at the battle of the Metaurus and, in Iberia, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major took New Carthage and ended Carthaginian rule over Iberia in the Battle of Ilipa. The final showdown was the Battle of Zama in Africa where Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal, resulting in the imposition of harsh peace conditions on Carthage, which ceased to be a major power and became a Roman client-state.Hannibal's route of invasion
GS92184. Silver shekel, Viola CNP 134, MŁller Afrique 126, SNG Cop VIII 291, Macdonald Hunter 67, Villaronga NAH 201, Villaronga CNH 25, VF, toned, bumps and scratches, reverse a little off center, scattered porosity, small edge split, overstruck(?), weight 7.278 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 215o, Carthage mint, 229 - 221 B.C.; obverse head of Tanit-Kore left, hair wreathed with grain; reverse horse prancing right on short exergue line, star above with eight rays around central pellet; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher); scarce; $1480.00 SALE |PRICE| $1332.00


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander the Great, 336 - 323 B.C., Lifetime Issue

|Alexander| |the| |Great|, |Macedonian| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |the| |Great,| |336| |-| |323| |B.C.,| |Lifetime| |Issue|, tetradrachm
Born a leader, his genius and charisma led the Macedonian army to create an empire covering most of the then-known world, from Greece to India. His reign begins the Hellenistic Age, a time when civilization flourished. He was regarded as a god and his fame grew even greater after his premature death at thirty-two.
GS94444. Silver tetradrachm, Price 3485, Newell Dated 24 (obv. die XII), Cohen DCA 874 (R3), Demanhur 3739, Prokesch-Osten I 34, Newell Reattribution 145, Newell Sidon 24, EF, high relief, grainy porous surfaces, obverse a little off center, reverse double struck, small edge splits, weight 16.544 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, struck under Menes, 326 - 325 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus AŽtophoros seated left on throne without back, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward behind, Phoenician letter het (year 8) in left field, ΣI under throne; only one specimen recorded on Coin Archives; very rare date; $950.00 SALE |PRICE| $760.00


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

|Kingdom| |of| |Thrace|, |Kingdom| |of| |Thrace,| |Lysimachos,| |305| |-| |281| |B.C.,| |Portrait| |of| |Alexander| |the| |Great|, tetradrachm
Thompson notes that Pyrrhus held Pella until 286 B.C. It was one of the last, if not the last, mint opened by Lysimachos. Twenty-six obverse dies are known for the tetradrachms.
SH93849. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 248, HGC 3.2 1750p (S), MŁller 353 var. (monogram in ex.), VF, superb high relief portrait, light toning with some darker spots, bumps and marks, weight 16.645 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 180o, Pella mint, 286 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse Athena enthroned left, Nike crowning name in her right hand, resting left arm on grounded round shield behind, transverse spear against right side, HP monogram outer left, monogram inner left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ΛYΣIMAXOY downward on left; ex Divus Numismatik; scarce; $750.00 SALE |PRICE| $675.00


Judaea (Yehudah), Ptolemaic Rule, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

|Greek| |Domination|, |Judaea| |(Yehudah),| |Ptolemaic| |Rule,| |Ptolemy| |II| |Philadelphos,| |285| |-| |246| |B.C.|, quarter ma'ah
Ptolemy II encouraged education, commerce, industry, immigration and trade resulting in a prosperous growing economy and making him the richest monarch of his age. His 112 ships comprised the most powerful fleet that had ever existed. His splendid court compares with the Versailles of Louis XIV. An enthusiast for Hellenic culture, he also adopted Egyptian religious concepts bolstering his image as a pharaoh. At the Library at Alexandria, Jewish texts were translated and transcribed by seventy Jewish scholars, creating the Septuagint, the oldest Greek version of the Hebrew Bible. He defeated the Seleucids in the first Syrian War, gaining control of western Cilicia, southern Lycia, Caunus, Halicarnassus, Myndus, Cnidus, probably Miletus, all of Phoenicia, and even part of Syria.
GS94060. Silver quarter ma'ah, Hendin 1081; Meshorer TJC 33; Mildenberg Yehud pl. 22, 26; Gitler-Lorber II, group 6, pl. 1, 10, aF, obverse off flan, weight 0.162 g, maximum diameter 5.7 mm, c. 283 - 270 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of either Ptolemy I right; reverse head of Berenike I right, Hebrew inscription downward on right: YHD; very rare; $720.00 SALE |PRICE| $648.00


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

|Kingdom| |of| |Thrace|, |Kingdom| |of| |Thrace,| |Lysimachos,| |305| |-| |281| |B.C.,| |Portrait| |of| |Alexander| |the| |Great|, tetradrachm
Thompson notes that Lampsacus was Lysimachos largest mint in Asia Minor, with approximately 150 known obverse dies. Output from Lampsacus declined when Amphipolis began its extensive coinage c. 288 B.C.
SH93850. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 47, MŁller 401, SNG BnF 2540, HGC 3.2 1750b, VF, spectacular high relief portrait, light tone, well centered, bumps and scratches, porosity, weight 16.739 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 0o, Mysia, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, 297 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse Athena enthroned left, Nike crowning name in her right hand, resting left arm on grounded round shield behind, transverse spear against right side, HP monogram inner left, crescent with horns left in exergue, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ΛYΣIMAXOY downward on left; ex Divus Numismatik; $650.00 SALE |PRICE| $585.00


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

|Kingdom| |of| |Thrace|, |Kingdom| |of| |Thrace,| |Lysimachos,| |305| |-| |281| |B.C.,| |Portrait| |of| |Alexander| |the| |Great|, tetradrachm
Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great's personal bodyguards, was appointed strategos (general) in Thrace and Chersonesos after Alexander's death. He became one of the diadochi (successors of Alexander) who were initially generals and governors, but who continuously allied and warred with each other and eventually divided the empire. In 309, he founded his capital Lysimachia in a commanding situation on the neck connecting the Chersonesos with the mainland. In 306, he followed the example of Antigonus in taking the title of king, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedonia. In 281, he was killed in battle against Seleucus, another successor of Alexander.
GS94259. Silver tetradrachm, HGC 3.2 1750, VF, well centered on a broad flan, nice portrait, toned, bumps and marks, weight 16.424 g, maximum diameter 32.4 mm, die axis 135o, obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse Athena enthroned left, Nike crowning name in her right hand, resting left arm on grounded round shield behind, transverse spear against right side, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ΛYΣIMAXOY downward on left, no control marks; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 83 (1 Sep 2019), lot 87; $550.00 SALE |PRICE| $495.00


Lucilla, Augusta c. 164 - 182 A.D., Wife of Lucius Verus

|Lucilla|, |Lucilla,| |Augusta| |c.| |164| |-| |182| |A.D.,| |Wife| |of| |Lucius| |Verus|, sestertius
For Roman wives, piety often meant accepting neglect. It was not considered adultery for a Roman husband to have sex with slaves or unmarried women. The historian Spartianus wrote that after Lucilla complained, Lucius Verus reproached her: "Uxor enim dignitatis nomen est, non voluptatis" (Wife is the name of dignity, not bliss).
RB92463. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 1756, BMCRE IV 1161, Cohen III 54, Hunter II 27, SRCV II 5505, VF, nice portrait, flow lines, well centered on a squared flan, light bumps and scratches, weight 26.206 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 330o, Rome mint, 164 - 166 A.D.; obverse LVCILLAE AVG ANTONINI AVG F, draped bust right, hair waived and knotted in chignon low at back; reverse PIETAS, Pietas standing left, veiled, right hand extended over flaming altar at feet on left, incense box in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $500.00 SALE |PRICE| $450.00


Judaea, Bar Kochba Revolt, 134 - 135 A.D.

|Bar| |Kochba|, |Judaea,| |Bar| |Kochba| |Revolt,| |134| |-| |135| |A.D.|, AE 24
Simon Bar Kochba led a rebellion against Rome from 133 -135 A.D. This Second Jewish Revolt or "Bar Kochba" uprising ended with Hadrian's destruction of Jerusalem, the founding of "Aelia Capitolina" on the site, and dispersal of the Jews throughout the Roman Empire.
JD91433. Bronze AE 24, Mildenberg 113 (O10/R77), Meshorer TJC 289; Hendin 1437, Sofaer 141, SNG ANS 566, aVF, tight flan, light corrosion, light deposits, weight 11.837 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 180o, year 3 (134 - 135 A.D.); obverse seven branched palm tree with two bunches of dates, paleo-Hebrew inscription "Shimon" divided by trunk; reverse paleo-Hebrew inscription: "for the freedom of Jerusalem", five-lobed vine-leaf, hanging from curved branch; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $440.00 SALE |PRICE| $396.00


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C.

|Cleopatra| |VII|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Cleopatra| |VII| |Thea| |Philopator,| |51| |-| |30| |B.C.|, tetradrachm
Octavian decisively defeated Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in September 31 B.C. He chased them to Egypt in 30 B.C., where Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. Octavian became master of the Roman world. Her reign marks the end of the Hellenistic Era and the beginning of the Roman Era in the eastern Mediterranean. She was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
GP94045. Billon tetradrachm, Svoronos 1835, SNG Cop 417, Hosking 164, Noeske 379, Weiser -, SNG Milan -, Malter -, F, bumps and marks, porosity, weight 13.349 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, 31 - 30 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, LKB (year 22) over crown of Isis left, ΠA right; rare final year; $350.00 SALE |PRICE| $315.00




  



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