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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.


Apollonia Pontika, Thrace, c. 480 - 450 B.C.

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A gorgoneion was a horror-creating apotropaic Gorgon head pendant. The name derives from the Greek word gorgs, which means "dreadful." The Gorgons were three sisters who had hair of living, venomous snakes, and a horrifying face that turned those who saw it to stone. Stheno and Euryale were immortal, but their sister Medusa was not, and was slain by Perseus. Zeus, Athena, Hellenistic kings and Roman emperors wore Gorgoneion for protection. Images of the Gorgons were also put upon objects and buildings for protection. A Gorgon image is at the center of the pediment of the temple at Corfu, the oldest stone pediment in Greece from about 600 B.C.
GS91395. Silver drachm, Topalov Apollonia p. 586, 41; SNG BM 153; SNG Cop 454; SGCV I 1655; HGC 3.2 1323, VF, desirable early archaic type, toned, light marks, reverse die wear, typical ragged flan, weight 3.201 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 135o, Apollonia Pontica (Sozopol, Bulgaria) mint, c. 480/478 - 450 B.C.; obverse anchor flukes up, curved stock, crayfish left, A right; reverse archaic Ionian style gorgoneion (facing head of Medusa), snakes for hair, large open mouth, visible teeth, long protruding tongue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $200.00 (176.00)


Roman Republic, Anonymous, 211 - 206 B.C.

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Janus (or Ianus) was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings. He is most often depicted as having two faces or heads, facing in opposite directions. Janus is believed to be one of the few major deities in Roman mythology that does not have a Greek origin or counterpart.
RR88221. Bronze as, Crawford 56/2, Sydenham 143, BMCRR Rome 373 ff., SRCV I 627, F, green patina, crack, porous, weight 29.386 g, maximum diameter 33.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 211 - 206 B.C.; obverse laureate head of bearded Janus, I (mark of value) above, countermark: head right in round punch; reverse war galley prow right, I (mark of value) above, ROMA in exergue; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; $145.00 (127.60)


Salamis, Cyprus, c. 322 - 310 B.C.

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Salamis was a maritime town on the east coast of Cyprus, at the end of a fertile plain between two mountains, near the River Pediaeus.
GB86883. Bronze AE 14, Bank of Cyprus 27; Tziambazis 130 (Evagoras II); BMC Cyprus p. 61, 74 (Evagoras II); SNG Cop -, VF, well centered and struck, dark patina, some pitting and corrosion, weight 2.555 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, die axis 0o, Salamis mint, c. 322 - 310 B.C.; obverse helmeted and draped bust of Athena left, wearing crested Attic helmet, earring and necklace; reverse prow left, ΣAΛ upward on left; very rare; $140.00 (123.20)


Roman Republic, Unofficial, c. 169 - 91 B.C.

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Crawford notes, "The very common quadrantes with M and N (as Milan 351) are clearly unofficial."
RR79715. Copper quadrans, cf. Milan 351 (from Crawford appendix p. 309 unofficial issues of bronze coins), Sydenham -, VF, centered on a tight flan, light marks,, weight 4.182 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 135o, unofficial mint, c. 169 - 91 B.C.; obverse head of Hercules right, wearing Nemean Lion scalp headdress, three pellets behind; reverse prow right, ROMA below, three pellets before, M above; ex Forum (2006), ex Goodman collection; $125.00 (110.00)


Roman Republic, BAL Series, 169 - 158 B.C.

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In 168 B.C., Antiochus IV ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. The Temple in Jerusalem was seized and dedicated to Zeus. The Jews revolted and after three years of fighting, Judah Maccabee defeated the Seleukid army. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 B.C. According to the Talmud, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, enough time to prepare and consecrate fresh oil. John Hyrcanus was the son of Simon the Maccabee and nephew of Judah Maccabee, the hero of the Hanukkah story. John Hyrcanus was the first Jewish ruler to issue coins in his own name.
RR88350. Bronze triens, Crawford 179/3, Sydenham 354b, BMCRR 614, RBW Collection 759, SRCV I 974, F, well centered, marks, porosity, some corrosion, edge crack, weight 13.464 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, central Italy mint, 169 - 158 B.C.; obverse head of Minerva right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet, four pellets above; reverse prow of galley right, BAL (AL ligate) above, four pellets on right, ROMA below; scarce; $120.00 (105.60)


Roman Republic, M. Marcius Mn.f., 134 B.C.

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The First Servile War, 135 - 132 B.C., was an unsuccessful slave rebellion against the Roman Republic. The war was prompted by slave revolts in Enna on the island of Sicily. It was led by Eunus, a former slave claiming to be a prophet, and Cleon, a Cilician (from present-day Turkey) who became Eunus's military commander. After some minor battles won by the slaves, a larger Roman army arrived in Sicily and defeated the rebels.
RR88355. Bronze quadrans, Crawford 245/3, Sydenham 501a, BMCRR I Rome 1017, RBW Collection 1011, SRCV I 1151, aF, dark green patina, corrosion, edge crack, weight 5.255 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, 134 B.C.; obverse head of Hercules right, wearing Nemean Lion's scalp headdress, three pellets behind; reverse prow of galley right, M MARCI / MN F (MAR and MNF ligate) in two lines above, three pellets before, ROMA in exergue; ex Rudnik Numismatics, with an old collector tag dated 30 November 1932, with the cost noted as $.25; $120.00 (105.60)


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

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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.
GI91491. Bronze AE 24, cf. Calciati II p. 395, 197 ff.; SNG Cop 844 ff., SNG ANS 964 ff., SGCV I 1223 (various controls), VF, beautiful Poseidon, nice glossy dark patina, remnant of pre-strike flan casting sprue, weight 9.637 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, 275 - 215 B.C.; obverse head of Poseidon left; reverse ornamented trident head, dolphins at sides, IEP-ΩNOΣ low across field divided by shaft, uncertain control marks below; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Richard Margolis Coins and Medals of the World (Teaneck, NJ); $120.00 (105.60)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Coela, Thracian Chersonesos

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Coela in Chersonesos Thraciae (on the Gallipoli peninsula) issued gold and silver coins under Alexander the Great and from the early 2nd century A.D. struck Roman provincial and colonial coins.
RP84057. Bronze AE 17, SNG Cop 872 (same dies), Varbanov 2888 (R6) var. (legends, grain above prow), SNG Tb -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Dreer -, BMC Thrace -, Lindgren -, VF, nice green patina, tight flan cutting off much of the legends, marks, weight 4.166 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 135o, Coela mint, Aug 138 - 7 Mar 161 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES - ANTONINVS (or similar), laureate head right; reverse AEL MVNI COELANI (or similar), war galley prow left; very rare; $110.00 (96.80)


Tarentum, Southern Apulia, Italy, c. 275 - 200 B.C.

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Tarentum's independence and power ended when the Romans expanded across Italy. Tarentum was aided by Pyrrhus, who surprised and defeated Rome with the use of war elephants. However, after Pyrrhus departed, the city surrendered in 272 B.C. In 209 B.C., Tarentum would suffer for supporting Hannibal. The commander of a Bruttian force betrayed the city to the Romans. Indiscriminate slaughter ensued and among the victims were the Bruttians who had betrayed the city. Thirty thousand of the Greek inhabitants were sold as slaves and the city's art treasures, including the statue of Nike (Victory) were carried off to Rome.
GI85894. Brass AE 14, Vlasto 1850, HN Italy 1092, SNG Morcom 259, aVF, rough, weight 2.212 g, maximum diameter 13.8 mm, die axis 180o, Tarentum (Taranto, Italy) mint, c. 275 - 200 B.C.; obverse scallop shell; reverse kithara; very rare; $110.00 (96.80)


Thebai, Thessaly, Greece, c. 302 - 286 B.C.

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The famous sanctuary of Protesilaos was about ten miles from Thebai, at Phylake. An oracle had prophesied that the first Greek to walk on the land after stepping off a ship in the Trojan War would be the first to die. Protesilaos was the first who dared to leap ashore when the fleet touched the Troad. After killing four men, Protesilaos was slain by Hector, as prophesied, the first Greek to die.

In the war between Demetrius Poliorcetes and Cassander, in 302 B.C., Thebai was one of the strongholds of Cassander. Thebai and Pelinnaeum are mentioned in 282 B.C. as the only Thessalian cities that did not take part in the Lamian War.
GB87154. Bronze chalkous, BCD Thessaly II 760, Rogers 551, HGC 4 34 (R1), BCD Thessaly I -, aF, dark patina, tight flan, light pitting, weight 2.394 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Thebai Phthiotides (north of Mikrothivai, Greece) mint, c. 302 - 286 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, wearing grain wreath; reverse ΘHBAIΩN, Protesilaos advancing right from the prow of a galley right behind him, wearing military garb, sword in right hand, shield on left arm; rare; $105.00 (92.40)




  



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