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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Denominations ▸ Greek FractionsView Options:  |  |  |   

Greek Silver Fractions

Athens, Greece, Old Style Drachm, c. 454 - 404 B.C.

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Struck during Athens' Golden Age, a time when great thinkers, writers, and artists flourished in the city. Herodotus, the father of history, lived and wrote in Athens. Socrates, the father of philosophy, taught in the marketplace. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, practiced there. The sculptor Phidias created his great works for the Parthenon on the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. Democritus envisioned an atomic universe. Aeschylus, Euripedes, Aristophanes, and Sophocles wrote their famous plays and Pindar his Odes. This legacy would continue as, later, Plato would found his Academy outside the walls of Athens in 385 B.C. and, later, Aristotle would found his Lyceum in the city center.
GS86581. Silver drachm, SNG Cop 41; Kroll 10; Dewing 1601; Svoronos pl. 11, 20; HGC 4 1631, VF, well centered and struck, die wear, porosity, weight 4.153 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 270o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves & floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair across forehead in parallel curves; reverse owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, to left olive sprig and crescent, all within incuse square, AΘE downward on right; scarcer denomination; $450.00 (382.50)


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

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References disagree on the date of this type. Dates range from the rule of Hieron II beginning in 275 B.C. to the end of the 5th Republic in 212 B.C.
GS86619. Silver 2 1/2 litrae, SNG Cop 882, SNG ANS 903, SNG Mnchen 1439, HGC 2 420 (R2) corr., BMC Sicily -, VF, well centered, toned, light bumps and marks, ethnic weakly struck, weight 2.229 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 216 - 215 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo left; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIOI, Isis standing facing, looking up to heaven, veil billowing out behind around head, scroll in right hand, filleted palm frond in left hand, A upper right; very rare; $400.00 (340.00)


Phaselis, Lycia, 500 - 466 B.C.

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Partial brockage obverse. The obverse was re-struck off-center over a brockage of the reverse, leaving two clear impressions.
GA83588. Silver tetrobol, SNGvA 4396, SNG Berry 1200 var. (ΦA above galley, Σ below), SNG Cop -, SNG Fitzwilliam -, VF, toned, tight flan, die wear, die cracks, partial brockage, weight 3.507 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 90o, Phaselis mint, 500 - 440 B.C.; obverse prow of war galley right in the form of a boar's forepart, partial brockage with incuse letters ΦA visible on obverse; reverse stern right, ΦAΣ above, all in incuse square; ex Roma Numismatics, e-sale 21 (31 Oct 2015), 368; $200.00 (170.00)


Olynthos, Chalkidian League, Macedonia, 420 - 348 B.C.

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In 432 B.C. Olynthos broke away from Athens and, with several other cities, formed the Chalkidian league. In 393, Amyntas III of Macedonia temporally transferred territory to Olynthos when he was driven out of Macedonia by Illyrians. When he was restored and the league did not return his lands, he appealed to Sparta. Akanthos and Apollonia, also appealed to Sparta, claiming league membership was not voluntary but enforced at the point of a sword. After a long war, in 379 these cities were made "autonomous" subject allies of Sparta. Weakened by the division, the league was destroyed by Philip II of Macedon in 348 B.C.
SH64053. Silver tetrobol, Robinson-Clement group D, 38 (same dies); Trait pl. 313, 10; SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -; BMC Macedonia -, VF, weight 2.043 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, die axis 0o, Olynthos mint, c. 420 - 348 B.C.; obverse OΛYNΘ (counter-clockwise), laureate head of Apollo left; reverse XAΛKI∆EΩN, kithara with eight strings, squared legend around, all within a shallow incuse square; scarce; $190.00 (161.50)


Tenedos, Islands off Troas, c. 550 - 470 B.C.

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Tenedos is mentioned in both the Iliad and the Aeneid, in the latter as the island where the Greeks hid their fleet near the end of the Trojan War in order to trick the Trojans into believing the war was over and into taking the Trojan Horse within their city walls. The island was important throughout classical antiquity despite its small size due to its strategic location at the entrance of the Dardanelles. In the following centuries, the island came under the control of a succession of regional powers, including the Persian Empire, the Delian League, Alexander the Great, the Kingdom of Pergamon, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and the Republic of Venice. As a result of the War of Chioggia (1381) between Genoa and Venice the entire population was evacuated and the town was demolished. The Ottoman Empire established control over the deserted island in 1455. During Ottoman rule, it was resettled by both Greeks and Turks. In 1807, the island was temporarily invaded by the Russians. During this invasion, the town was burnt down and many Turkish residents left the island.Map of Troas
GS79837. Silver hemidrachm, SNG Cop 506; SNG Munchen 338; BMC Troas p. 91, 4; HGC 6 380 (S); SNGvA -, F, toned, weight 1.644 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, die axis 180o, Tenedos (Bozcaada, Turkey) mint, c. 550 - 470 B.C.; obverse archaic janiform head, male on left, female on right (Zeus and Hera?); reverse labrys (double axe), TENE∆EOΣ, all within an incuse square; scarce; $180.00 (153.00)


Maroneia, Thrace, c. 398 - 385 B.C.

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Maroneia was on the Aegean coast about midway between the mouths of the Hebrus and the Nestus rivers. The city was named after Maron, sometimes identified as a son of Dionysos, who in the Odyssey gives Odysseus the wine with which he intoxicates Polyphemos. Maroneia was famous for its wine, which was esteemed everywhere and was said to possess the odor of nectar.
GB85193. Silver triobol, Schnert-Geiss Maroneia 236 ff.; SNG Cop 616; SNG Delepierre 797; BMC Thrace p. 234, 30a, gF/VF, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 2.624 g, maximum diameter 14.6 mm, die axis 90o, Maroneia (Maroneia-Sapes, Greece) mint, c. 398 - 385 B.C.; obverse forepart of prancing horse left, dotted body truncation, A-N flanking at neck, Θ below; reverse bunch of grapes on a vine, M - A flanking low across the field, all in a dotted linear square border within a square incuse; $180.00 (153.00)


Phistelia, Campania, Italy, c. 325 - 275 B.C.

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The Samnites were early Rome's most formidable rivals. The Samnite Wars extended over half a century, involving almost all the states of Italy. By 290 B.C., after decades of hard fought battles the Romans broke the Samnites' power. They rose up again and allied with Pyrrhus during the Pyrrhic War. After Pyrrhus was defeated Samnium submitted to Rome but rose up again and joined Hannibal during the Second Punic War. The Samnites were the last tribal group holding out against Rome in the Social War. Sulla conducted an ethnic cleansing campaign against this most stubborn and persistent of Rome's adversaries and by 82 B.C. forced the remnant to disperse. So great was the destruction that it was recorded that "the towns of Samnium have become villages, and most have vanished altogether." Phistelia was apparently among those that vanished. At present it is known only by its coins.
GS86685. Silver obol, SNG ANS 584; SNG France 1134; Rutter pg. 180, Group IV; HN Italy 619, VF, toned, small flan crack, lightly etched surfaces, weight 0.611 g, maximum diameter 10.5 mm, die axis 180o, Phistelia mint, c. 325 - 275 B.C.; obverse female head facing slightly left; reverse lion left, snake left with one coil in exergue; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex CNG e-auction 148 (20 Sep 2006), lot 93; ex David Herman Collection; ex CNG Sale XXXI (9-10 Sep 1994), lot 21; $180.00 (153.00)


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Caesarea, Cappadocia

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Kayseri, Turkey was originally named Mazaca. It was renamed Eusebia by Ariarathes V Eusebes, King of Cappadocia, 163 - 130 B.C. The last king of Cappadocia, King Archelaus, renamed it "Caesarea in Cappadocia" to honor Caesar Augustus upon his death in 14 A.D. Muslim Arabs slightly modified the name into Kaisariyah, which became Kayseri when the Seljuk Turks took control, c. 1080 A.D.
RS85572. Silver hemidrachm, RPC II 1659; Metcalf Cappadocia 17; Sydenham Cappadocia 94; BMC Galatia p. 47, 17; SNGvA 6362, gVF, well centered and struck, toned, light marks, light deposits, weight 1.452 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, c. 69 - 79 A.D.; obverse AYOKP KAICAP OVECΠACIANOC CEBA, laureate head right; reverse Nike advancing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm over left shoulder in left hand; $160.00 (136.00)


Persian Empire, Tarkumuwa (Datames), Satrap of Cilicia & Cappadocia, c. 384 - 362 B.C., Tarsus, Cilicia

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In historical times, Tarsos was first ruled by the Hittites, followed by Assyria, and then the Persian Empire. Tarsus, as the principal town of Cilicia, was the seat of a Persian satrapy from 400 B.C. onward. Indeed, Xenophon records that in 401 B.C., when Cyrus the Younger marched against Babylon, the city was governed by King Syennesis in the name of the Persian monarch. Alexander the Great passed through with his armies in 333 B.C. and nearly met his death here after a bath in the Cydnus. By this time Tarsus was already largely influenced by Greek language and culture, and as part of the Seleucid Empire it became more and more Hellenized. Strabo praises the cultural level of Tarsus in this period with its philosophers, poets and linguists. The schools of Tarsus rivaled those of Athens and Alexandria.
GS84907. Silver obol, SNG BnF 310, SNG Levante 217, Sunrise 48, Waddington 4567, Traite II 600, Gorturk -, VF, well centered and struck, toned, earthen deposits, light corrosion, weight 0.714 g, maximum diameter 11.1 mm, die axis 135o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, obverse head of female facing slightly left, drapery around neck; reverse draped bust of female (Aphrodite?) right, wearing tainia, hoop earring, and pearl necklace; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 28 (2 Jul 2016), lot 229; $150.00 (127.50)


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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These very small fractions always weigh less than the theoretical weight for the denomination. They were often struck significantly below the theoretical weight. Wear, corrosion and porosity have usually further reduced the weight over time. They may even weigh less than half their theoretical weight. Assigning the denomination during attribution is often speculative.
GA85721. Silver obol, SNG BnF 378; SNG Cop 48; SNG Kayhan 55; BMC Mysia p. 35, 118; Von Fritze II 11, gVF, sharp detail, lightly etched surfaces, earthen deposits, tight flan, weight 0.798 g, maximum diameter 11.7 mm, die axis 270o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse forepart of boar running left, reversed E on side, tunny fish upwards behind (tunny off flan); reverse head of roaring lion left within incuse square; $150.00 (127.50)




  



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Greek Fractions