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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ SculptureView Options:  |  |  | 

Sculpture on Ancient Coins

Many of the images of gods and goddesses on ancient coins were derived from sculptures. The coins on this page depict known sculptures or images that are clearly taken from sculpture.


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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A gilded 2nd century B.C. slightly over-lifesize bronze statue, Hercules of the Forum Boarium, has Hercules in a similar pose. This statue is probably the one mentioned by Pliny, which originally stood in the Temple of Hercules Victor, by the Tiber. It lacks the lion skin. Perhaps a actual lion skin was once draped on it. The sculpture is now in the Musei Capitolini, Rome. Another similar sculpture, from the 2nd Century A.D., the Hercules of the Theatre of Pompey, was discovered in 1864, carefully buried under protective tiles. It was incised FCS (fulgor conditum summanium), indicating that it had been struck by lightning, and had been carefully interred on the spot. The figure lightly supports himself on his grounded vertical club, the skin of the Nemean Lion is draped over his left forearm. This sculpture is now in the round room area of Museo Pio-Clementino, in the Vatican.Hercules_Sculptures
RS86635. Silver denarius, Woytek 100a, RIC II 49, RSC II 234, BMCRE III 86, BnF IV 108, Hunter II 41, Strack I 40, SRCV II -, Choice VF, well centered, toned, light marks, weight 3.393 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 101 - Oct 102 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P COS IIII P P, statue of Hercules standing facing on low base, nude except for lion skin draped over head, shoulders and left arm, club downward in right hand, apples of Hesperides in his left hand; $240.00 (204.00)


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy III Euergetes, 246 - 222 B.C.

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Ptolemy III Euergetes was the third ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. He promoted the translation of Jewish scriptures into Greek as the Septuagint. Due to a falling out at the Seleucid court, his eldest sister Berenice Phernophorus was murdered along with her infant son. In response, he invaded Syria, occupied Antioch, and even reached Babylon. This war, the Third Syrian War, is cryptically alluded to in Daniel XI 7-9.
GP85912. Bronze trihemiobol, Svoronos 1005; SNG Cop 644; Weiser 107; BMC Ptolemies p. 52, 57; SNG Milan 199; Weber 854; McClean 9789; Noeske -; Hosking -, VF, dark patina, well centered, some red earthen deposits, porosity/light corrosion, central dimples, weight 17.135 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, die axis 0o, Salamis mint, c. 204 - 202 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Zeus-Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), cult statue of Aphrodite standing facing on base, wearing polos, chiton and peplos, right arm across breast, left arm downward away from side; $200.00 (170.00)


Kaunos, Caria, c. 197 - 191 B.C. (or Later 2nd Century)

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On the Rosetta Stone, "The Memphis Decree" announces Ptolemy V's rule and ascension to godhood, and describes him as "like Horus." In "A Statue of a Hellenistic King," Journal of Hellenistic Studies, 33 (1913), C. Edgar attributes a statue very similar to the reverse figure to Ptolemy V: "[The statue] stands with right foot drawn back, the toes alone resting on the ground...His head is held erect and his gaze is turned slightly to his right. His shoulders are drawn up a little...[the upper part] unnaturally short in proportion to the lower part of the trunk...[The missing right] forearm was clear of the body. The [missing] left hand was raised and probably rested on a spear." We believe this type is from the among the last issues of Kaunos under Ptolemaic rule, struck after the 13 year old Ptolemy V came of age in 197/6 B.C., perhaps to commemorate his accession, and before he sold the city to the Rhodians for 200 talents of silver in 191 B.C.
GB87087. Bronze AE 16, SNGvA 8103; Lindgren III 425; Imhoof-Blumer KM I, p. 138, 1; BMC Caria -; SNG Cop -; SNG Keckman -; SNG Mnchen -, VF, green patina, well centered on a tight flan, a little porous/rough, tiny edge crack, weight 2.166 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kaunos mint, c. 197 - 191 B.C. (or later 2nd century); obverse diademed and horned head of Alexander the Great right; reverse youth (Ptolemy V as Horus?) advancing right, nude, long lotus-tipped scepter transverse in left hand, right arm and index finger extended, snake before him coiled around scepter, K-AY (Kaunos) divided high across field, ΣΩ-TAΣ (magistrate) divided across center; very rare; $180.00 (153.00)


Hadrian, 117 - 138 A.D., Perga, Pamphylia

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Artemis is depicted here in the same pose as The Diana of Versailles, a slightly over life-size Roman marble statue from the 1st or 2nd century A.D., copying a lost Greek bronze original attributed to Leochares, c. 325 B.C. The sculpture also has a stag at her side. The sculpture may have come from a sanctuary at Nemi or possibly from Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli. In 1556, it was given by Pope Paul IV to Henry II of France, a subtle allusion to the king's mistress, Diane de Poitiers. It is now in the Muse du Louvre, Paris.
RP86567. Bronze AE 21, SNG BnF 400, Waddington 3345, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Righetti -, gVF/aVF, nice green patina, attractive portrait, porous, areas of reverse slightly rough, weight 5.484 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Perga (15 km east of Antalya, Turkey) mint, 117 - 138 A.D.; obverse A∆PIANOC KAICAP, laureate draped cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse APTEMI∆OC ΠEPΓAIAC, Artemis standing right, bow in left hand, reaching with right hand for arrow in quiver on his shoulder, stag right on far side; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; rare; $155.00 (131.75)


Sabina, Augusta 128 - c. 136 A.D., Wife of Hadrian, Ankyra, Phrygia

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Ankyra, the chief city of the district Abbaitis in western Phrygia, should not be confused with Ankyra in Galatia, the modern capital of Turkey. Ankyra in Phrygia was probably the second century B.C. mint city of the coins reading MYΣΩN ABBAITΩN. After a long interval Ancyra begins again to strike quasi-autonomous and Imperial coins from the reign of Nero, when the town bore for a time the name of Julia (inscription, IOYΛIEΩN ANKYPANΩN), until the time of Philip.
RP87411. Bronze AE 20, RPC III 2541; SNGvA 3433; SNG Mnchen 94; SNG Tbingen 3942; SNG Leypold 1426; SNG Lewis 1513; BMC Phrygia p. 62, 23; Weber 7020, Lindgren-Kovacs 885, VF, brown tone, weight 4.294 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Ankyra mint, 128 - c. 136 A.D.,; obverse CABEINA CEBACTH, draped bust of Sabina right; reverse ANKYPANΩN, cult statue of Ephesian Artemis, arms extended with supports, flanked by two stags; ex Nomos Obolos 10, lot 300; $140.00 (119.00)


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Apamea, Phrygia

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Apamea is mentioned in the Talmud (Ber. 62a, Niddah, 30b and Yeb. 115b). Christianity was very likely established early in the city. Saint Paul probably visited the place when he went throughout Phrygia.
RP85829. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 3127 (6 spec.); SNGvA 3486; Imhoof-Blumer KM p. 209, 13a; Waddington 5700; magistrates Dionysios Apolloniou and Meliton, F, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, scratches, weight 5.334 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Phrygia, Apameia mint, c. 5 B.C.; obverse ΣEBAΣTOΣ, laureate head right, aphlaston to right; reverse ∆IONYΣIOΣ AΠOΛΛΩNIOY MEΛITΩN AΠAMEΩN, facing cult statue of Artemis (with arm supports), meander pattern below; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; $125.00 (106.25)


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Commemorative Struck by Caligula

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The reverse legend indicates the figure depicted is a statue that was dedicated to Augustus by the "general will of the Senate, equestrian order and people of Rome."
RB87467. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I Gaius 56; BMCRE I Caligula 88; Hunter I p. 62, 1; Cohen I 87; BnF II Caligula 134; SRCV I 1811, aVF, well centered, reverse center weakly struck, obverse encrustations, porous, weight 13.479 g, maximum diameter 31.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 41 A.D.; obverse DIVVS AVGVSTVS, radiate head of Augustus left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across lower half of field; reverse CONSENSV SENAT ET EQ ORDIN P Q R (with the will of the Senate, the equestrian order, and the people of Rome), Augustus seated left on curule chair, laureate and togate, laurel branch in extended right hand, globe in left hand at side; ex Heritage Auctions Europe; $120.00 (102.00) ON RESERVE


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Rabbathmoba-Areopolis, Provincia Arabia

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Rabbathmoba, probably the Biblical Ir-Moab, was conquered by Alexander Jannaeus. Its ruins are 18 kilometers north of Kerak in Jordan.
RP84127. Bronze AE 27, Sofaer 5; Spijkerman p. 264, 8; cf. Rosenberger IV 1-3 (bust and legend variations, etc.); SNG ANS 1414 (same), VF, no patina, weight 6.492 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rabbathmoba-Areopolis mint, obverse AVT KAIC Λ CEΠ - CEOVHPOC ΠEB, laureate bust right; reverse RABBAΘM-WBHNWN APHC, cult statue of Ares standing facing in military dress, sword erect in right hand, spear and round shield in left hand, on platform with four legs set on base; rare; $70.00 (59.50)


Argos, Argolis, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 280 - 260 B.C.

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Argos is located in the eastern Peloponnese, very near the Aegean Sea. Inhabitants worshiped Hera. Sparta was a close neighbor to the south but the city was a nominal ally of Athens in the continuous conflict between Athens and Sparta in 5th century B.C.
GB85883. Bronze dichalkon, BCD Peloponnesos 1102; Nemea 1644 - 1646, BMC Peloponnesus p. 144, 106; SNG Cop 57; HGC 5 697 (S), VF, green patina, rough corrosion, weight 2.990 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Argos mint, c. 280 - 260 B.C.; obverse head of Hera right, wearing polos inscribed APΓE; reverse Palladion statuette of Athena advancing left, helmeted and draped, shield on raised left arm, hurling javelin with right hand; ex J. Cohen Collection; scarce; $70.00 (59.50)







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