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Rare Ancient Coins
Judean Kingdom, Anonymous Hasmonean, c. 140 - 37 B.C.

|Judean| |Kingdom|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Anonymous| |Hasmonean,| |c.| |140| |-| |37| |B.C.||tessera|
A Judaean coin expert informs us that there are nine known specimens of this type, one specimen of this type was discovered during excavations at Mt. Gerizim, and the second best known specimen of this type sold for $12,000 a few years ago.
JD97077. Lead tessera, Hendin 1157 (RRR), Meshore TJC -, Sofaer Collection -, HGC 10 -, SNG Cop -, F, scratches, bumps, earthen encrustation, tight flan, weight 2.024 g, maximum diameter 12.1 mm, die axis 225o, Samarian(?) mint, c. 140 - 37 B.C.; obverse double cornucopia, upright rod between, border of dots; reverse stylized palm tree between two blooming lily flowers, border of dots; zero sales of this type listed on Coin Archives in the last two decades; extremely rare; $2000.00 (€1840.00)
 


Roman Republic, Anonymous, c. 280 - 276 B.C., Heavy Series

|before| |150| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Anonymous,| |c.| |280| |-| |276| |B.C.,| |Heavy| |Series||triens|
All the references only describe the pellets as below the dolphin. None of the references include a variation with pellets above, but Crawford and HN Italy note the dolphin is sometimes left, which may actually be describing pellets above. There are a few examples with the pellets above on Coin Archives.
RR93746. Aes grave triens, cf. Crawford 14/3; HN Italy 270; Haeberlin pp. 95- 97, pl. 39, 6 ff.; Thurlow-Vecchi 3; Sydenham 10; Vecchi ICC 27 (all with pellets below), VF, dark green patina, earthen deposits, casting flaw, weight 96.948 g, maximum diameter 53.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 280 - 276 B.C.; obverse dolphin swimming right •••• (mark of value) above; reverse fulmen (thunderbolt) •••• (mark of value) perpendicular to the fulmen in center; from the Errett Bishop Collection, very rare with the pellets above the dolphin, huge AE53!; $1500.00 (€1380.00)
 


Pergamon, Mysia, c. 134 A.D.

|Pergamon|, |Pergamon,| |Mysia,| |c.| |134| |A.D.||dupondius|
Eurypylos was a Mysian hero of the Trojan War. His image is otherwise unknown on coinage. Like Bellerophon at Corinth and Dionysos at Tium, this image of a local hero appears modeled on Antinous. Homer (Odyssey 11.522) has Odysseus say that Eurypylus was, next to Memnon, the most beautiful man he had ever seen.

The strategos I. Pollion is named on several coin types of Pergamon during the reign of Hadrian, including one for Sabina (RPC III 1737) and another for Antinous (RPC III, 1738).

The link between Pergamon and Paphos, evidenced by this coin, is not well understood. However, the same reverse was used, from Hadrian to Philip I, on coins struck to honor an alliance between Sardes and Paphos.
RP96071. Orichalcum dupondius, RPC Online III 1740 (4 spec.), SNG BnF 1897, Weber 5206, SNG Cop -, BMC Mysia -, F, porous, reverse off center, countermark obscure, weight 11.652 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 0o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, time of Hadrian, c. 134 A.D.; obverse HPΩC EYPYΠYΛOC (Hero Eurypylos), head of hero Eurypylos (with the features of Antinous) right, flowing hair, uncertain oval countermark; reverse ΠEPΓAMHNΩN EΠI CTP ΠΩΛΛIΩNOC (Pergamon, struck under strategos Pollion), temple of Aphrodite at Paphos, in which conical xoanon, semicircular walled courtyard, ΠAΦIA (of Paphos) across the courtyard; extremely rare, the 5th known; $1080.00 (€993.60)
 


Thourioi, Lucania, Italy, c. 443 - 410 B.C.

|Italy|, |Thourioi,| |Lucania,| |Italy,| |c.| |443| |-| |410| |B.C.||didrachm|NEW
Nearly 70 years after Sybaris was destroyed by the Crotoniats, a new colony was founded on the site on the Gulf of Taranto. Soon after, on the advice of an oracle, the settlers moved a short distance away near a fountain named Thuria, after which the new city was named. The head of Athena is probably that of the sea-goddess Athena Skyletria. The bull may have been adopted from the archaic coins of Sybaris and symbolize the river Krathis or it may represent the rushing waters of the fountain Thuria from which the city took its name. This denomination is described as a stater, nomos or didrachm in various references and sales listings.
SH96811. Silver didrachm, cf. SNG ANS 876; SNG Cop 1412; HGC 1 1258 (R2); HN Italy 1775; Pozzi 221; Jörgensen p. 168, 3 & pl. VIII, 4, VF, high relief, attractive style, well centered on a tight flan, flow lines, die wear, graffito on reverse, weight 7.918 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 325o, Thourioi mint, c. 443 - 410 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right in crested Athenian helmet ornamented with an olive wreath, not control letter visible; reverse bull walking left with head lowered, ΘOYPIΩN above, tunny fish left in exergue, no control letter visible; very rare; $900.00 (€828.00)
 


Parthian Empire, Vologases V, c. 191 - 208 A.D.

|Parthian| |Empire|, |Parthian| |Empire,| |Vologases| |V,| |c.| |191| |-| |208| |A.D.||drachm|
Vologases V supported Pescennius Niger in the Roman Empire's civil war. After defeating Niger, Septimius Severus marched his legions into Babylonia in 198 A.D. While he achieved some success, Severus was forced to withdraw his forces from Parthia.
GS96065. Silver drachm, Sellwood 86.3; Shore 448; Sunrise 455; BMC Parthia p. 239, 17, EF, toned, flow lines, die wear, marks, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 3.727 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, c. 191 - 208 A.D.; obverse diademed and draped bust facing, oval bunches of hair at sides and on top of head, vertical lines divide the top bunch of hair into thirds, long pointed beard engraved with straight lines; reverse archer seated right, blundered Aramaic and Greek legend forming square around, AT monogram (Ecbatana mintmark) under bow; from the Robert| L3 Collection; ex Ponterio & Associates, C.I.C.F. auction 146 (25 Apr 2008), lot 1310; first specimen of this type handled by FORVM; rare; $850.00 (€782.00)
 


Britannicus, Son of Claudius and Messalina, b. 12 February 41 - d. 11 February 55 A.D., Alabanda, Caria

|Other| |Caria|, |Britannicus,| |Son| |of| |Claudius| |and| |Messalina,| |b.| |12| |February| |41| |-| |d.| |11| |February| |55| |A.D.,| |Alabanda,| |Caria||AE| |23|
Of this type, RPC I notes, "Uncertain. This coin was published by Mi 3.307.22, and is known from a Mionnet cast. The coin [the Mionnet specimen] has been tooled ('médaille retourchée') but may perhaps represent a genuine denomination." Our coin allays the RPC I doubts. The denomination is 1/3 of 18.5g RPC I 2818.
SH88430. Orichalcum AE 23, RPC I 2821 (= Mionnet III, p. 307, 22), F, porous, weight 6.496 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alabanda (Doganyurt, Aydin, Turkey) mint, 50 - 54 A.D.; obverse KΛAV∆IOC BPETANNIKOC KAIΣAP, bare-headed and draped bust right; reverse AΛABAN∆EΩN, Apollo Kissios standing left, nude, bow in right hand with raven on top, sheep standing left at feet on left ; ex Forum (2013), ex J. S. Wagner Collection; of greatest rarity; $800.00 (€736.00)
 


Korkyra (Corfu), Island off Epirus, Greece, c. 433 - 360 B.C.

|Epirus|, |Korkyra| |(Corfu),| |Island| |off| |Epirus,| |Greece,| |c.| |433| |-| |360| |B.C.||stater|
Corfu is a picturesque island near the coasts of Albania and Greece. The advantageous trade position allowed Corcyra to play an important role in Greek history. After the Byzantine Empire gradually collapsed it was ruled by Venice from 1401 to 1797, during which time the Turks laid several sieges against its impregnable Byzantine castle.
GS95931. Silver stater, Fried Group III; BMC Thessaly p. 118, 64; SNG Munchen 634; Dewing 1453; HGC 6 35 (R2); SNG Cop -; SNG Tubingen -, Choice VF, well centered and struck, attractive old collection toning, scratches, obverse die wear, weight 10.871 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 45o, Korkyra (Corfu) mint, c. 433 - 375/60 B.C.; obverse cow left, head turned back toward suckling calf standing right below; reverse vertical double stellate pattern, divided by double line, within square double linear frame, K right, all within a circular linear border; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $800.00 (€736.00)
 


Nero and Poppaea, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Nero| |and| |Poppaea,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|
RPC Online I notes, "The date does look like L IB, but the coin is very battered." and "Confirmation required. Poppaea died in AD 65, so it seems unlikely that coins should have been made for her in year 12." This is the Dattari Collection plate coin and Dattari identified it as year 12. In Alexandria, Nero's year 12 began on 29 August 65 A.D. According to Suetonius, one day in the summer of 65, Poppaea quarreled fiercely with Nero over his spending too much time at the races. She was pregnant with her second child. In a fit of rage, Nero kicked her in the abdomen, killing her. This coin suggests her death was likely on or after the 19th of August. It would have taken 9 days or more for the news of her death to reach Alexandria. This coin may have been a trial strike or perhaps one of very few struck during the first days of the new year.
RX93590. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari-Savio pl. 7, 199 (this coin!); RPC Online I 5289A (this coin!, the only spec.), aVF, brown tone, corrosion, scratches, rough, weight 7.834 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 29 Aug 65 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAV KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP AYTO, radiate bust of Nero right; reverse ΠOΠΠAIA ΣEBAΣTH, draped bust of Poppaea right, L IB (year 12) lower right; from the Kreuzer Collection, ex Naville Numismatics auction 51 (21 Jul 2019), lot 301; ex Dattari Collection; this is the only known example of this type dated year 12!; unique!?; $670.00 (€616.40)
 


Kyrene, Kyrenaika, N. Africa, c. 325 - 313 B.C.

|Kyrenaica|, |Kyrene,| |Kyrenaika,| |N.| |Africa,| |c.| |325| |-| |313| |B.C.||AE| |15|
Silphium, which is now extinct, was so critical to the Kyrenian economy that most of their coins depict it. The plant was used as a spice and to treat all kinds of maladies including cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion, pain, and warts. It was so widely used as a contraceptive that it was worth its weight in denarii. The traditional heart shape, the symbol of love, is probably derived from the shape of the silphium seed due to the use of silphium as an contraceptive.

"By the next day this maiden and all her girlish apparel had disappeared, and in the room were found images of the Dioscuri, a table, and silphium upon it." - Description of Greece, Pausanias 3.16.3, 2nd Century A.D.
GB96101. Bronze AE 15, Asolati 12/2 (same dies); cf. Müller Afrique 228 ff.; Buttrey Cyrene I 12, SNG Cop 1226; BMC Cyrenaica p. 45, 198, VF, porosity, some corrosion, tight flan, weight 3.799 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, 325 - 313 B.C.; obverse head of Apollo Carneius right, short curly hair, THP (magistrate) upward behind; reverse triple silphium plant, seen from above, K-Y-P around divided by members, all within a round incuse; rare; $650.00 (€598.00)
 


Persian Empire, Samaria, c. 375 - 333 B.C.

|Persian| |Rule|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Samaria,| |c.| |375| |-| |333| |B.C.||obol|
The obverse was copied from a very rare Cilician obol (SNG Levante 201). The very interesting reverse appears to depict five coins with owl reverses, presumably Athenian tetradrachms. In "Coinage for Redeeming the Firstborn: An Ancient and Modern Jewish Ritual" in The Celator|, December 2002, pp. 14 - 22, Ronn Berrol discusses a possible connection to the pidyon haben (click the article title to read it online). The pidyon haben is a mitzvah through which a Jewish firstborn son is "redeemed" from predestination to serve as a priest by giving five silver coins to a Kohen.
GA96462. Silver obol, Meshorer-Qedar 141, Sofaer Collection 185, HGC 10 418 (R2), VF, typical crude uneven weak strike, weight 0.604 g, maximum diameter 9.3 mm, Samaria (10 km NW of Nablus, West Bank) mint, middle Levantine' series, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse triform bearded male head, wearing round cap; reverse five discs each with owl standing right and head facing (Athenian coins?), piled up with one in center on top of four around in a cruciform arrangement; ex Leu Numismatik auction 12 (30 May 2020), lot 657; ex Canaan Collection; very rare; $650.00 (€598.00)
 




  



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