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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Nautical & MarineView Options:  |  |  |   

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.

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., CHORTIS SPECVLATORVM

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Speculatores served the legions as spies, scouts, messengers, lookouts, and executioners. Aboard ship speculatores stood watch as lookouts in a turret (specula) at the stern, explaining their unusual standards. Normally ten speculatores were assigned to each legion. Anthony formed a separate cohort of speculatores which served him personally and also acted as his personal bodyguard. Augustus would later create a speculatorian cohort at Rome to serve as the inner corps of the praetorian guard. This coin probably refers to the naval equivalent, who were comparable to the Marines and provided a shipboard bodyguard for Antony.
SH76389. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1484, Crawford 544/121, Sydenham 1214, BMCRR II East 185, RSC I 6, Sear CRI, Choice VF, well centered on full flan, toned, banker's mark and V graffito on obverse, scratches, weight 3.636 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with fluttering banners at prow, border of dots; reverse CHORTIS SPECVLATORVM, three standards, each decorated with two wreaths and a model war galley prow, border of dots; ex CNG auction 76/2 (12 Sep 2007), lot 3262; ex John A. Seeger Collection; rare; $1600.00 SALE PRICE $1440.00

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG VI - Ferrata, the "Ironclad"

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The VI Ferrata, the "Ironclad," was an old legion of Caesar's that fought for Antony. It was retained by Augustus, and later served in Syria and Judaea. The VI Victrix, on the other hand, was one of Octavian's legions. This Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus issued a 'restitution' of the type, presumably in connection with the latter's Eastern campaigns.
SH76382. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/19, Sydenham 1223, BMCRR II East 197, RSC I 33, Sear CRI 356, Choice EF, near perfect centering, light toning, slightly uneven strike, contact marks, areas of porosity and light corrosion, weight 3.664 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow, border of dots; reverse LEG - VI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; ex Forum (2005); $1400.00 SALE PRICE $1260.00

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG III

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This legion was probably Caesar's old III Gallica, which fought for Antony. Another possibility is III Cyrenaica, which was perhaps taken over from Lepidus. The III Augusta was probably an Octavian legion.
SH76381. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/15, Sydenham 1217, BMCRR II East 193, RSC I 28, Sear CRI 350, Choice gVF, full circle centering on a broad flan, dark patina, areas of light corrosion, weight 3.586 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, fall 32 - spring 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow, border of dots; reverse LEG - III, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; ex Knker auction 111 (18 Mar 2006), lot 6511; $900.00 SALE PRICE $810.00

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

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In 132, a messianic, charismatic Jewish leader Simon bar Kokhba started the Bar Kokhba revolt, a war of liberation for Judea against Rome. At first the rebellion was a success. The legion X Fretensis was forced to retreat from Jerusalem to Caesarea. The legion XXII Deiotariana, which advanced from Egypt, was destroyed. The Jews re-established their sacrifices and struck coins to celebrate their independence. The rebellion would last for only 30 months. By 135, the Romans had recaptured Jerusalem, Simon bar Kokhba was dead, and the majority of the Jewish population of Judea was either killed, exiled, or sold into slavery. Jerusalem was renamed Colonia Aelia Capitolina and an altar to Jupiter was erected on the site of the Temple. The Jews remained scattered without a homeland for close to two millennia.

SH73703. Copper as, BMCRE III 1459, RIC II 719(d), Cohen II 659, Hunter 478 var. (draped), SRCV II -, Choice gVF, well centered, excellent portrait, green patina, areas of porosity, weight 10.412 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 132 - 135 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse FELICITATI AVG, war galley rowed left over waves, mast with furled sail on prow, five oarsmen, steersman under an arched shelter and apluster at stern, S - C flanking ship, COS III P P in exergue; ex Tom Cederlind; $700.00 SALE PRICE $630.00

Octavian and Divus Julius Caesar, Second Triumvirate, 36 B.C., Lugdunum, Gaul

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Lyon was originally founded as the Roman city Colonia Copia Felix Munatia, 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 hill fort, 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 CAESAR DIVI 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; $680.00 SALE PRICE $612.00

Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Hadrianopolis, Thrace

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Hadrian refounded a Thracian tribal capital, changed its name to Hadrianopolis, developed it, adorned it with monuments, and made it the capital of the Roman province. The city is Edirne, Turkey today. From ancient times, the area around Edirne has been the site of no fewer than 16 major battles or sieges. Military historian John Keegan identifies it as "the most contested spot on the globe" and attributes this to its geographical location. Licinius was defeated there by Constantine I in 323, and Valens was killed by the Goths during the Battle of Adrianople in 378.
SH65237. Bronze AE 25, Jurukova p. 157 & pl. XXII, 244 (V137/R244); Mionnet, Suppl. II, 658; BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, SNG Hunterian -, VF, green patina, weight 7.837 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 180o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, obverse IOYΛIA ∆O CEBACTH, draped bust right; reverse A∆PIANOΠOΛEITΩN, galley left with four oarsmen and steersman in stern; very rare; $540.00 SALE PRICE $486.00

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XII

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This old Caesarean legion was known at different times as Victrix, Antiquae, Paterna and finally XII Fulminata ('the thunderers'). Its veterans settled (among other places) in Patras in Greece. After fighting without great distinction in the First Jewish Revolt, the legion was transferred to Melitene in Cappadocia, where it remained for several hundred years.
RR76782. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/20, Sydenham 1224, BMCRR II East 198, RSC I 34, VF, toned, contact marks, graffiti, weight 3.561 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow, border of dots; reverse LEG - XII, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; $450.00 SALE PRICE $405.00

Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Adventus reverse types commemorate the emperor's arrival at Rome, either at the commencement of his reign, or on his return from a distance. In 202, Septimius Severus (and Caracalla) returned to Rome after a five year absence. Festivals were held to celebrate his six year reign. This type might have been minted either after their return or in advance to advertise they were travelling by sea and would be in Rome soon.
RS74406. Silver denarius, RIC IV 120 (S); RSC III 3; BMCRE V p. 205, 267; SRCV II 6790; Hunter III -, Choice VF, nice style, cute boy portrait, fantastic galley, excellent centering, toned, tiny flan cracks, weight 3.465 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 201 - 202 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, boy's laureate and draped bust right; reverse ADVENT AVGG, war galley left on waves, ram, acrostolium and vexillum at the bow, five oarsmen and a steersman, three persons seated in the steersman's cabin, two standards and apluster at the stern; scarce; $400.00 SALE PRICE $360.00

Brettian League, Bruttium, Italy, c. 211- 208 B.C., Time of Hannibal

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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 SALE PRICE $315.00

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XIX

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This LEG XIX was probably raised by Antony and disbanded by Octavian. The old Caesarean legions XVII, XVIII and XIX were destroyed with Scribonius Curio in Africa in 49 B.C., restored by Octavian (Augustus), and then destroyed again in Germany under Quinctilius Varus in 9 A.D.
SH76755. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/35, Sydenham 1242, BMCRR II East 214, RSC I 55, VF, crowded flan, scuff on galley, some deposits in devices, weight 3.225 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / IIIVIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow, border of dots; reverse LEG - XIX, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; ex CNG auction 146 (23 Aug 2006), lot 200; $350.00 SALE PRICE $315.00



Catalog current as of Sunday, November 29, 2015.
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Nautical & Marine