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Home>Catalog>CollectingThemes>Nautical&Marine PAGE 1/3123»»»

Nautical & Marine Themes on Ancient Coins

Here we include coins that depict Poseidon, Neptune, ships, anchors, prows, dolphins, sea eagles, crabs, scallops, and all things related to the sea.


Brettian League, Bruttium, Italy, c. 211- 208 B.C., Time of Hannibal
Click for a larger photo The success of Hannibal at Cannae proved too much for the Bruttians' fidelity; they were among the first after the battle to declare in favor of the Carthaginian general. Some towns at first remained with Rome, but Petelia and Consentia were speedily reduced by other Bruttians and a small Carthaginian force, and the more important cities of Locri and Crotona followed not long after. Rhegium alone remained firm, and was able to defy Carthage throughout the war. The region became a Carthaginian stronghold, but the Romans, though avoiding any decisive engagement, continually gained ground by the successive reduction of towns and fortresses. The ravages of war were a severe blow to Bruttium. Punishment by the Romans after the war completed their humiliation. They were deprived of most of their territory, and the whole nation was reduced to near servitude. A praetor with an army was sent annually to watch over them. Colonies were established at Tempsa, Crotona, and Hipponium (renamed Vibo Valentia). A fourth was settled at Thurii on their frontier. From this time the Bruttians as a people disappear from history. All coinage of the Brettii was issued while they were allied with Hannibal.
SH72544. Bronze quarter unit, SNG ANS 120 - 122; Scheu Bronze 50; HN Italy 1990; BMC Italy p. 332, 106 var (no controls), Choice gVF, attractive green patina, weight 1.755 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 180o, Bruttium mint, 211- 208; obverse head of a sea goddess (Amphitrite or Thetis) left, with crab headdress, fulmen (thunderbolt) below neck; reverse BRET/TIWN, crab, bunch of grapes (control symbol) above between claws, linear border; rare; $350.00 (€262.50)

Messana, Sicily, 411 - 408 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century BC, Messina was originally called Zancle, from the Greek meaning "scythe" because of the shape of its natural harbor (though a legend attributes the name to King Zanclus). In the early 5th century BC, Anaxilas of Rhegium renamed it Messene in honor of the Greek city Messene.
GB66780. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I p. 51, 9mv4/1; BMC Sicily p. 107, 71; cf. SNG ANS 390 (controls obscure), VF, weight 4.673 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Messana mint, obverse ΠEΛΩPIAΣ, head of nymph Peloria left, hair in ampyx and sphendone, dolphin behind neck; reverse MEΣΣANIΩN, trident, A P between prongs, scallop shell left, hare downward on right; rare; $195.00 (€146.25)

Mygissos, Caria, c. 350 - 300 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Many Greek cities had names beginning MY, and this type has been attributed to many of them. Most references attribute the type to Myus. Mygissos is most likely correct because nearby Nisyros issued coins with a very similar reverse with NI above the dolphin.
GB69183. Bronze chalkous, SNG München 335 (MY...), SNG Cop 1022 (Myus), SNGvA 2114 (Myus), SNG Tüb 3115 (Myus), SNG Keckman 235 (Myndos?), SNG Kayhan 847 (Myndos), VF, pitting, weight 1.910 g, maximum diameter 11.0 mm, die axis 270o, Mygissos mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Poseidon right; reverse dolphin right, MY above, trident right below; rare; $180.00 (€135.00)

Akragas, Sicily, c. 425 - 406 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Akragas was founded early in the 6th century by colonists from Gela. It was second only to Syracuse in importance on Sicily, but was sacked by the Carthaginians in 406 B.C. It was renamed Agrigentum after it fell to Rome in 210 B.C.
GB70596. Bronze hexas, cf. Calciati I, p. 188, 70; HGC 2 144 (S); SNG ANS 1053 var (both fish right); SNG Morcom 524 var (same); SNG Cop 79 var (same and eagle on fish), F, weight 6.890 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 315o, Akragas mint, c. 425 - 406 B.C.; obverse eagle right, wings open, standing on hare in talons; reverse crab, pellets outside each claw, two fish below the one on top left, the one below right; scarce; $170.00 (€127.50)

Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Struck the year the Colosseum was opened! The Colosseum, started by Vespasian c. 72 A.D., was completed by Titus in 80 A.D. It was capable of seating 50,000 spectators. Games held for its inauguration lasted for 100 days and nights, during which some 5,000 animals were slaughtered
RS72186. Silver denarius, RIC II 112, RSC II 309, BnF III 62, BMCRE II 72, SRCV I 2517, gF, perfectly centered, weight 3.402 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 80 A.D.; obverse IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M, laureate head right; reverse TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P, dolphin coiled around anchor; $160.00 (€120.00)

Mygissos, Caria, c. 350 - 300 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Many Greek cities had names beginning MY, and this type has been attributed to many of them. Mygissos is most likely correct because nearby Nisyros issued coins with a very similar reverse with NI above the dolphin.
GB67788. Bronze chalkous, SNG München 335 (MY...), SNG Cop 1022 (Myus), SNGvA 2114 (Myus), SNG Tüb 3115 (Myus), SNG Keckman 235 (Myndos?), SNG Kayhan 847 (Myndos), F, weight 1.655 g, maximum diameter 11.1 mm, die axis 0o, Mygissos mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Poseidon right; reverse dolphin right, MY above, trident right below; very rare; $155.00 (€116.25)

Osco-Latin, Central Italy, Late 4th - Early 3rd Century B.C.
Click for a larger photo These small cast bronze scallop shells were used as money in central Italy.
RR90918. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, cf. G. Fallai, IAPN 8, plate 6, 2-2e; Alvarez-Burgos P28; Thurlow-Vecchi -; molded from bipod shell, weight 22.675 g, maximum diameter 28.4 mm, $155.00 (€116.25)

Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 to 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity, and Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. He enlarged the theater and built an immense altar. The literary figure Theocritus and the philosopher Archimedes lived under his rule. After struggling against the Mamertini, he eventually allied with Rome.
GB71006. Bronze litra, Calciati p. 399, 198 R1; BMC Sicily - ; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG München; HGC 2 -; SRCV I -, aVF, nice green patina, weight 7.329 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 315o, Syracuse mint, c. 217 - 215 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Poseidon right; reverse ornamented trident-head, dolphins at sides, IEP−ΩNOΣ in lower field divided by shank, ΛY lower right; very rare head right; $150.00 (€112.50)

Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysos I, 405 - 367 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Dionysius I was tyrant of Syracuse. He conquered several cities in Sicily and southern Italy, opposed Carthage's influence in Sicily and made Syracuse the most powerful of the Western Greek colonies. He was regarded by the ancients as an example of the worst kind of despot - cruel, suspicious and vindictive.
SH63456. Bronze drachm, Calciati II p. 111, 62; SNG ANS 454; SNG Cop 720; SNG München 1135; SNG Morcom 697; BMC Sicily p. 187, 287; SGCV I 1189, F, weight 29.678 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, 395 - 367 B.C.; obverse ΣYPA, head of Athena left wearing olive wreathed Corinthian helmet; reverse sea star between two dolphins; ex Ancient Imports; $145.00 (€108.75)

Apollonia Pontica, Thrace, 3rd - 2nd Century B.C.
Click for a larger photo Apollonia Pontica was founded as Antheia by Greek colonists from Miletus in the 7th century B.C. They soon changed its name to Apollonia after building a temple for Apollo. The temple contained a colossal statue of Apollo by Calamis, which was later taken to Rome and placed in the Capitol. The anchor on the coinage is evidence of the importance of its maritime trade.
GB66595. Bronze AE 18, Imhoof MG p. 237, 47; cf. SNG BM 188 ff. (magistrate); SGCV I 1658; SNG Cop -; SNG Stancomb -, F, weight 6.305 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 90o, Apollonia Pontica (Sozopol, Bulgaria) mint, 3rd - 2nd century B.C.; obverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, holding bow; reverse upside-down anchor, A left and crayfish right flanking shaft under flukes, MYΣ (magistrate) upward on left; very rare; $145.00 (€108.75)



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Catalog current as of Saturday, December 20, 2014.
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Nautical & Marine