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Mytilene was famous in ancient times for its great output of electrum coins struck from the late 6th through mid - 4th centuries B.C. The usual denomination was the hekte (1/6th stater). Warwick Wroth noted in the British Museum Catalog, "The Sixths of [this Lesbos electrum series] form one of the most beautiful coin-series of the ancient world. This will be evident from a glance." SH95224. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 79, SNGvA 1731, BMC Troas 62; Pozzi 2324, Traité II 2183, HGC 6 1005, VF, fine style, toned, scuff on cheek, marks, weight 2.551 g, maximum diameter 11.0 mm, die axis 180o, Mytilene mint, c. 412 - 378 B.C.; obverse female (muse?) head right, hair in sakkos, wearing a pendant earring and necklace; reverse Kithara with seven strings in linear square, within incuse square; ex Forum (2016), ex Frank L. Kovacs; $930.00 (€837.00)
Octavian, Imperator and Consul, 32 - 31 B.C.
Mercury was the inventor of the lyre and the protector of commerce. This may refer to the restoration of commerce to Italy after the battle of Naulochus. -- Roman Silver Coins, Vol. I, The Republic to Augustus by H.A. Seaby
In 31 B.C., Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian was Roman Consul for the third time. His partner was Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus, who replaced Mark Antony. RS95264. Silver denarius, RIC I 257, RSC I Augustus 61, Hunter I 251, BMCRE I 596, SRCV I 1550, gVF, toned, banker's marks, some light scratches and marks, weight 3.708 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Italian (Rome or Brundisium?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse bare head of Octavian right; reverse Mercury seated right on rock, playing lyre, petasos around neck, CAESAR - DIVI F divided across field; ex Forum (2016); ex Sincona AG, auction 10 (27 May 2013), lot 240; $900.00 SALE |PRICE| $810.00
Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Sestos, Thracian Chersonesos
Sestos was an ancient town of the Thracian Chersonesos, the modern Gallipoli peninsula in European Turkey. Situated on the Hellespont opposite Abydos, it was an Aeolian colony, founded by settlers from Lesbos, and the home of Hero in the legend of Hero and Leander.CM89992. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 1740 (2 spec.; RPC online 6 spec., 2 with c/m), Varbanov III 2967 (R7); c/m: Howqego 460 (1 spec., same coin type, same placement), VF, tight flan, reverse a bit flattened opposite countermark, weight 3.485 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Sestos mint, obverse CEBACTOY, bare head right, countermark: six pointed star in a 7mm round punch; reverse CHCTI, lyre; very rare; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $162.00
Tarentum, Southern Apulia, Italy, c. 275 - 200 B.C.
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; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00
Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D.
In 251 A.D., a fifteen-year plague began in the Roman Empire. In Roman Coins and Their Values III, David Sear notes, "This unusual reverse type doubtless represents an appeal to the god of healing for deliverance from the pestilence which was afflicting Rome."RS91605. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 32 (S), RSC IV 20, SRCV III 9627, Hunter III -, VF/F, toned, flow lines, porous, frosty surfaces, weight 3.207 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 252 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse APOLL SALVTARI (Apollo the Healer), Apollo standing left, nude, laurel branch in right hand, leaning with left on lyre set on rock; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Numismatique Archeologie, M. Platt (Paris); scarce; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00
Pheneos, Arkadia, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 300 - 240 B.C.
Feneos lies at the foot of Mount Cyllene, mythical birthplace of the god Hermes. It therefore was an important cult center for the god, notably during the annual festival of the Hermaea. Catullus (Poem 68) mentions the seasonal flooding of the plain and says it was drained by an underground channel dug by Hercules during his Twelve Labors. According to Herodotus the river Styx originates near Feneos. In the Aeneid, Evander's fond memories of a visit by Aeneas' father Anchises to Feneos are one factor in his decision to ally his Arcadian colonists to the Trojans.GB85884. Bronze chalkous, BCD Peloponnesos 1629; Imhoof-Blumer MG 257; Traité III 905 & pl. CCXXV, 13; HGC 5 995 (R2); SNG Cop -; BMC Peloponnesus -, F, dark olive green patina, reverse slightly off center, weight 2.693 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, die axis 0o, Pheneos (Feneos, Greece) mint, c. 300 - 240 B.C.; obverse head of Artemis Heurippa right, quiver behind; reverse hound running right, ΦE above, syrinx (Pan pipes) below; ex J. Cohen Collection; very rare; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00
Thespiai, Boiotia, Greece, 146 - 27 B.C.
Thespiae stood on level ground commanded by the low range of hills which run eastward from the foot of Mount Helicon to Thebes, near modern Thespies. During the Hellenistic Period, Thespiae sought the friendship of the Roman Republic in the war against Mithridates VI. It is subsequently mentioned by Strabo as a place of some size, and by Pliny as a free city within the Roman Empire, a reward for its support against Mithridates. Thespiae hosted an important group of Roman negotiatores until the refoundation of Corinth in 44 B.C.GB93470. Bronze AE 16, BCD Boiotia 611; Head Boeotia p. 94, pl. VI, 13; BMC Central p. 92, 14, pl. XVI, 12; SNG Cop 406 - 407; De Luynes 2012; HGC 4 1408 (S), aVF, dark tone, highlighting chalky deposits, porous, weight 4.152 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 225o, Thespiai (near Thespies, Greece) mint, 146 - 27 B.C.; obverse female (Arsinoe III) head right, wearing veil, veiled bust right; reverse chelys, ΘEΣΠI/EΩN in two downward lines, starting on right, ending on left, all in laurel wreath; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis
This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.RP77255. Bronze AE 30, cf. Franke-Nolle, type VI, 848 ff. var. (Vs.C/Rs.-, unlisted reverse die); SNGvA 3668; SNG Tübingen 4054; Lindgren III 596, aF, obverse rough, weight 10.243 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AY• K• - ΠOY• ΛIK• OYAΛEPAN/OC, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front, round countermark on face; reverse IEPAΠOΛE/ITΩN - KE - CAP∆IANΩN NEWK/OPΩN, Apollo on left, standing right, plectrum in right hand, kithara in left hand; cult statue of Kore facing, wearing kalathos and veil, OMONOYA in exergue; very rare; $70.00 SALE |PRICE| $63.00
Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Hadrianopolis, Thrace
The kithara (cithara) was an ancient stringed musical instrument resembling the lyre. The lyre was a simpler folk-instrument with two strings and tortoise shell body. The kithara had seven strings and a flat back. The kithara is a symbol of Apollo and he is credited with inventing it. Its true origins were likely Asiatic.. The kithara was primarily used by professional musicians, called kitharodes. In modern Greek, the word kithara has come to mean "guitar."RP89874. Bronze AE 26, Jurukova Hadrianopolis 547, Varbanov 3715 (R4), SNG Cop 588, Moushmov 2680, F, nice portrait, glossy dark patina, obverse slightly off center, reverse a little rough, central depressions, weight 10.328 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 180o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AYT K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AV, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse A∆PIANOΠOΛEIT,ΩN (last two letters in exergue), Apollo seated left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, laurel branch downward in right hand, kithara (lyre) resting on seat behind in left hand; $60.00 SALE |PRICE| $54.00
Antioch, Seleukis & Pieria, Syria, c. 59 - 60 A.D.
Shortly after Nero's accession in 54, the Roman vassal kingdom of Armenia overthrew their Iberian prince Rhadamistus and replaced him with the Parthian prince Tiridates. This was seen as a Parthian invasion. Nero immediately sent the army under the command of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo. The Parthians temporarily relinquished Armenia, but peace did not last. Full-scale war broke out in 58 when the Parthians invaded Armenian. Corbulo repelled Tiridates, and Rome again controlled most of Armenia. Nero was acclaimed for this victory. Tigranes, a Cappadocian noble raised in Rome, was installed as the new ruler of Armenia. Corbulo was appointed governor of Syria as a reward.RP91515. Bronze dichalkon, McAlee 107b; RPC I 4293; SNG Cop 108; BMC Galatia p. 161, 80, VF, dark brown tone with brassy high points, obverse center flatly struck, slightly off center, bumps and marks, edge crack, weight 3.884 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, civic issue, reign of Nero, c. 59 - 60 A.D.; obverse draped bust of Apollo right, hair rolled and bound with beaded taenia; reverse ANTIOXE ET HP (Antioch, year 108 [Caesarian era]), lyre, no dot above; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $50.00 SALE |PRICE| $45.00