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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Military ▸ Nike or VictoryView Options:  |  |  |   

Nike or Victory on Ancient Coins

Victoria or Nike, the Winged Goddess of Victory, personifies victory. She was described variously in different myths as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal). Nike and her siblings were close companions of Zeus. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titan War. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame, symbolized by a wreath of laurel leaves. Victory or Nike is one of the most common figures on Greek and Roman coins.


Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

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Following Heron's death, democracy was restored in 466 B.C. Similar to at Athens, the polis was governed by a council and popular assembly with an executive consisting of elected generals or strategoi. Syracuse fought against Athens 427 - 424 B.C. and again 415 - 413 B.C.; ultimately Syracuse was victorious. With further reforms by Diocles, the democratic nature of Syracuse's political structure was further strengthened.
SH86210. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XVIIa, 586 (V291/R396); SNG ANS 189 (same dies); McClean 2670 (same); Pozzi 582 (same); HGC 2 1313, gVF, fine style, lightly toned, well centered, tight flan as always for the type, light bumps and marks, light porosity, slight die shift on reverse, pre-strike casting sprue remnant, weight 16.999 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, c. 440 - 430 B.C.; obverse Charioteer driving quadriga right, Nike flying right above crowning horses, ketos right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, head of Arethusa right, hair bound with wide taenia, four dolphins swimming around; ex CNG auction 102 (18 May 2016), lot 143; ex Allan Smith M.D. Collection; ex CNG auction 81 (20 May 2009), lot 162; rare; $3000.00 (€2550.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

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SH86312. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XIVb, 489 (V258/R351); SNG ANS 156 (same dies); Weber 1583 (same obv. die); BMC Sicily, p. 156, 80; Jameson 762; HGC 2 1312, EF, mint luster in recesses, light tone, obverse die wear, uneven strike, reverse off center, weight 17.391 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 466 - 460 B.C.; obverse charioteer driving slow quadriga right, holding reigns in both hands, goad in right hand, Nike above flying left crowning driver with wreath, Ketos (sea serpent) right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, head of Arethusa right, wearing pearl or bead necklace and earring with loop and finial pendant, thin band wound once around her head and tying back hair in queue, four dolphins around swimming clockwise; ex CNG auction 102 (18 May 2016), lot 135; ex Colin E. Pitchfork Collection; ex Dr. Neil Geddes (20 Nov 2002); ex Noble auction 54 (22 July 1997), lot 1640; ex Stack’s sale, 6 Dec 1995, lot 65; $2800.00 (€2380.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Deinomenid Tyranny, Time of Hieron, c. 478 - 467 B.C.

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From the height of Syracuse preeminence amongst the Sicilian Greeks, shortly after the great victory over the Carthaginian invaders at Himera in 480 B.C.
SH86274. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer 338 (V166/R236); Randazzo 507 - 509 (same dies); SNG ANS -, gVF, fantastic style, toned, centered on a tight flan, small areas struck a little flat, marks, pre-strike flan casting sprues remaining (as usual for the type), weight 16.971 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 478 - 467 B.C.; obverse slow quadriga driven right by male charioteer, kentron in right hand, reigns in left hand, Nike above flying right crowning horses; reverse ΣVRA-KOS-I-ON (Latin R upside down, N reversed), Artemis-Arethusa right, archaic eye, hair slightly waved in front turned up in a krobylos under a diadem of beads, wearing earring and necklace, surrounded by four dolphins swimming clockwise; ex Roma Numismatics, auction 6 (29 Sep 2013), lot 441; ex Comery Collection; $2500.00 (€2125.00)
 


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

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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; reverse VICTORIAE BRIT (victories over the British), Victory advancing right, raising wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder; scarce; $400.00 (€340.00)
 


Himera, Sicily, 420 - 409 B.C.

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In 409 B.C., Carthage attacked Himera. The city was unprepared; its fortifications weak. At first they were supported about 4000 auxiliaries from Syracuse, but their general, Diocles, seized with panic for the safety of Syracuse itself, abandoned Himera. The city was utterly destroyed, its buildings, even its temples, were razed to the ground. More than 3000 prisoners were put to death by General Hannibal Mago as a human sacrifice to the memory of his grandfather General Hamilcar who had been defeated at the Battle of Himera in 480 B.C.
GB86306. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I p. 41, 27; SNG Cop 318, SNG Munchen 365; SNG ANS 184 var. (grasshopper control), gVF, dark patina, bumps and scratches, areas of light corrosion, earthen deposits, a little off center, weight 6.039 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 90o, Himera (Termini, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 409 B.C.; obverse Pan on a goat prancing right, nude but for chlamys fluttering in the wind behind, preparing to blow on conch in right, thyrsus in left over shoulder, Corinthian helmet (control symbol) below; reverse HIMEPAION, Nike flying left, apluster with dangling fillets in extended right, fold of long chiton in left, six pellets (mark of value) left below arm; $350.00 (€297.50)
 


Lot of 20 Roman Empire City of Constantinople Commemoratives Bronzes 330 - 346 A.D.

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On 11 May 330, Constantine I refounded Byzantium, renamed it Constantinopolis after himself, and moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to his new city. The new capital was Christian, old gods and traditions were either replaced or assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism. Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite. Generations later there was the story that a divine vision led Constantine to this spot. The capital would often be compared to the 'old' Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana, the "New Rome of Constantinople." Special commemorative coins were issued with types for both Rome and Constantinople to advertise the importance of the new capital.
LT85418. Bronze reduced centenionalis, SRCV IV 16444 ff. (various mints), all VF, nice coins, 330 - 346 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINOPOLIS, laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis left, wearing imperial cloak, scepter over left shoulder; reverse Victory standing left, right foot on prow, scepter in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, mintmark in exergue; one with soldiers with standard reverse, unattributed mint or issue, no flips or tags, the actual coins in the photographs, as-is, no returns; $270.00 (€229.50)
 


Lot of 20 Roman Empire City of Constantinople Commemoratives Bronzes 330 - 346 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
On 11 May 330, Constantine I refounded Byzantium, renamed it Constantinopolis after himself, and moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to his new city. The new capital was Christian, old gods and traditions were either replaced or assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism. Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite. Generations later there was the story that a divine vision led Constantine to this spot. The capital would often be compared to the 'old' Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana, the "New Rome of Constantinople." Special commemorative coins were issued with types for both Rome and Constantinople to advertise the importance of the new capital.
LT85420. Bronze reduced centenionalis, SRCV IV 16444 ff. (various mints), VF, all nice coins, 330 - 346 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINOPOLIS, laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis left, wearing imperial cloak, scepter over left shoulder; reverse Victory standing left, right foot on prow, scepter in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, mintmark in exergue; unattributed mint or issue, correction: one of the 20 coins is a Roma commemorative, no flips or tags, the actual coins in the photographs, as-is, no returns; $270.00 (€229.50)
 


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D., Issued by Vetranio

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In 312 A.D., Constantine dreamed he saw a Christogram in the sky and heard the words IN HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, meaning in Latin "In this sign, you will be the victor." He ordered the sign of Christ on his legions standards and shields. He won a great victory and later became the first Christian Roman Emperor.
RL90446. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Siscia 286 (S), LRBC II 1173, Voetter 51, SRCV V 18203, VF, well centered, slightly rough green patina, coppery high-points, weight 4.749 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, issued by Vetranio, 1 Mar - 25 Dec 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, A behind, star before; reverse HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, Constantius standing facing head left, holding labarum (Chi Rho Christogram standard) and spear, Victory right crowning him, A left, •ASIS• in exergue (A's often appear as H in this period); scarce; $190.00 (€161.50)
 


Amisos, Pontos, c. 85 - 65 B.C.

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Amisos was settled c. 760 - 750 B.C. by people from Miletus, who established a flourishing trade relationship with the ancient peoples of Anatolia. Amisos came under the rule of the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire, and then the Kingdom of Pontus. The Romans took control in 47 B.C. and Amisos remained within the Byzantine Empire after the fall of Rome. In 1200, the city was captured by the Seljuks, to be later taken over by the Ilhanlilar. Amisos today is Samsun, a city of about half a million people on the north coast of Turkey.
GB76954. Bronze AE 20, BMC Pontus p. 20, 72; SNG BM 1187 var. (different monogram right); SNG Stancomb 688 ff. var. (different monograms); SNG Cop 167 ff. var. (same), VF, well centered on usual tight flan, nice green patina, minor flan adjustment marks, weight 8.426 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, Amisos (Samsun, Turkey) mint, c. 85 - 65 B.C.; obverse aegis with facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) in center; reverse AMI−ΣOY, Nike advancing right, holding palm frond across shoulders behind, A∆T monogram lower left, AMTE monogram lower right; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Caesarea, Cappadocia

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Kayseri, Turkey was originally named Mazaca. It was renamed Eusebia by Ariarathes V Eusebes, King of Cappadocia, 163 - 130 B.C. The last king of Cappadocia, King Archelaus, renamed it "Caesarea in Cappadocia" to honor Caesar Augustus upon his death in 14 A.D. Muslim Arabs slightly modified the name into Kaisariyah, which became Kayseri when the Seljuk Turks took control, c. 1080 A.D.
RS85572. Silver hemidrachm, RPC II 1659; Metcalf Cappadocia 17; Sydenham Cappadocia 94; BMC Galatia p. 47, 17; SNGvA 6362, gVF, well centered and struck, toned, light marks, light deposits, weight 1.452 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, c. 69 - 79 A.D.; obverse AYOKP KAICAP OVECΠACIANOC CEBA, laureate head right; reverse Nike advancing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm over left shoulder in left hand; $180.00 (€153.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Flügelgestalten der Athena und Nike auf Münzen" in NZ III (1871)., pp. 1 - 50.
Marest-Caffey, L. "Seleukos I's Victory Coinage of Susa Revisited: A Die Study and Commentary" in AJN 28 (2016).

Catalog current as of Saturday, January 20, 2018.
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Nike or Victory