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Horses on Ancient Coins

Taras, Calabria, Italy, c. 280 - 272 B.C.

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Taras, the only Spartan colony, was founded in 706 B.C. The founders were Partheniae ("sons of virgins"), sons of unmarried Spartan women and Perioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta). These out-of-wedlock unions were permitted to increase the prospective number of soldiers (only the citizens could be soldiers) during the bloody Messenian wars. Later, however, when they were no longer needed, their citizenship was retroactively nullified and the sons were obliged to leave Greece forever. Their leader, Phalanthos, consulted the oracle at Delphi and was told to make the harbor of Taranto their home. They named the city Taras after the son of Poseidon, and of a local nymph, Satyrion. The reverse depicts Taras being saved from a shipwreck by a dolphin sent to him by Poseidon. This symbol of the ancient Greek city is still the symbol of modern Taranto today.
GS85114. Silver nomos, Vlasto 739 ff., HN Italy 1006, SNG ANS 1106 ff., SNG BnF 1904 ff., SNG Mnchen 669 ff., SNG Lloyd 206, Dewing 211, EF, lovely old cabinet toning with hints of iridescence, well centered, beautiful depiction of Phalanthos, some obverse die wear, weight 6.537 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 45o, Taras (Taranto, Italy) mint, magistrates Zo, Neyme, & Poly, c. 280-272 B.C.; obverse nude youth on horseback right crowning horse with wreath; magistrates' names ZΩ above and NEY/MH in two lines below; reverse Taras (or Phalanthos) astride dolphin left, nude, legs crossed, helmet in extended right hand, stars flanking before and behind, magistrates name ΠOΛY above right, TAPAΣ below; ex Goldberg auction 96, lot 1498; $800.00 (712.00)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, 404 - 370 B.C.

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When Larissa ceased minting the federal coins it shared with other Thessalian towns and adopted its own coinage in the late fifth century B.C., it chose local types for its coins. The obverse depicted the local fountain nymph Larissa, for whom the town was named, probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse depicted a horse in various poses.
GS85151. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly II 380.18 (same dies), Lorber Early group IV H23, 65.1(a) (this obv. die), BCD Thessaly I 1144.2, Hoover HGC 430, Choice VF, toned, fine style, areas of light etching, weight 6.075 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, 404 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly right, wearing necklace, hair confined by ampyx and floating loosely; reverse horse grazing right, legs straight, dotted exergual line, ΛAPI above; ex Art of Money (Portland, OR); $800.00 (712.00)


Eastern Celts, Imitative of Philip II of Macedonia, "Eingesetztem Pferdefu" Type, c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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The type "Eingesetztem Pferdefu" literally translates "with inserted cloven hoof."
CE77589. Silver tetradrachm, Lanz 413 (same dies); cf. Gbl OTA 122/2 (for obverse) and Gbl OTA 122/3 (for reverse), aVF, obverse off-center, uneven strike, marks and scratches, weight 10.665 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, tribal mint, c. 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse stylized laureate and bearded head of Zeus right; reverse stylized helmeted horseman riding left; cloven hoof above the horse's head; on left: round floral design with pellet in oval in center with many small pellet petals around; below: wheel with five spokes and five pellets between the spokes; rare; $550.00 (489.50)


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

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In 146, Marcus Aurelius received the imperium proconsular and Faustina the Younger was given the title Augusta.
SH73156. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV 1669, RIC III 767a, Strack III 974, Cohen II 320, Hill UCR 709, SRCV II 4168, VF, nice green patina, nice portrait, light scratches, tight flan, weight 22.051 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 146 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG - PIVS P P TR P, laureate head right; reverse Antoninus in slow quadriga left, eagle-tipped scepter in left, reins in right, COS IIII / S C in two lines in exergue; $540.00 (480.60)


Phalanna, Thessaly, 360 - 340 B.C.

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Coins of Phalanna (a few miles northwest of Larissa on the left bank of the Peneius) are scarce. There was also a Phalanna on Crete, colonized by Thessalians from Phalanna in Thessaly.
GS84798. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly I 1250 (same dies); BCD Thessaly II 569; SNG Cop 199; BMC Thessaly p. 41, 1; Papaevangelou-Genakos 1; HGC 4 165 (R1), VF/F, fine classical style, toned, porous, reverse a little rough, weight 5.314 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Phalanna mint, 360 - 340 B.C.; obverse youthful male head with short, curly hair right; reverse FAΛ-ANN-A-IΩN, bridled horse prancing right without a rider; ex BCD with his round tag noting, "T/ne ex Thess., Oct. 86, 250.-"; $390.00 (347.10)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.

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The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS79835. Silver drachm, Lorber Early 89.1 (same dies), BCD Thessaly I 1148, BCD Thessaly II 215 var. (facing slightly right), VF, toned, area of corrosion, reverse double struck, uneven strike, weight 5.835 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, earring, and wire necklace; reverse horse grazing right, legs straight, ΛAPIΣ above; ex Amphora Coins; $320.00 (284.80)


Pannonian Celts, Skordoski, Syrmia Region, Kugelwange (Ball Cheek) Type, c. 2nd Century B.C.

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This type normally has a prominent raised round (ball) cheek, but on this example the cheek is less prominent than most.

Syrmia is a fertile region of the Pannonian Plain in Europe, between the Danube and Sava rivers. Today, it is divided between Serbia in the east and Croatia in the west.
CE85024. Bronze tetradrachm, cf. Gbl OTA 193, Lanz 465; derived from the Macedonian Kingdom tetradrachms of Philip II, VF, bold strike, toned, tight flan, weight 10.015 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 0o, Syrmia mint, c. 2nd century B.C.; obverse devolved laureate head of Zeus right, hair in arcs on both sides of central point, broad laurel wreath; reverse devolved horse trotting left, pellet in circle above; $300.00 (267.00)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 365 - 356 B.C.

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When Larissa ceased minting the federal coins it shared with other Thessalian towns and adopted its own coinage in the late fifth century B.C., it chose local types for its coins. The obverse depicted the local fountain nymph Larissa, for whom the town was named, probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse depicted a horse in various poses.
SH73414. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly II 316, BCD Thessaly I 1158, SNG Cop 121, HGC 4 454, VF, etched surfaces, reverse double struck, weight 5.618 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, 365 - 356 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, pendant earring and wire necklace; reverse horse crouching right, left foreleg raised, preparing to lie down, ΛAPIΣ/AIΩN in two lines, the first above, the second line in exergue; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "V. ex Thessaly, Jan. 94, SFr. 175.-"; $270.00 (240.30)


Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon, 3rd Democracy, 344 - 336 B.C.

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Timoleon installed a democracy in 345 B.C. After the long series of internal struggles had weakened Syracuse's power, Timoleon tried to remedy this, defeating the Carthaginians near the Krimisos river in 339 B.C. Unfortunately the struggle among the city's parties restarted after his death and ended with the rise of another tyrant, Agathocles, who seized power in 317 B.C.
SH71353. Bronze dilitron, Calciati II p. 185, 80; SNG ANS 533; SNG Morcom 717; SNG Munchen 1159; SNG Lloyd 1456; BMC Sicily p. 189, 311; HGC 2 1439 (S), gVF, some corrosion, weight 18.018 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 225o, Syracuse mint, 344 - 336 B.C.; obverse ZEYΣ EΛEYΘEPIOΣ, laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios left; reverse ΣYPAKOΣION, free horse prancing left; $260.00 (231.40)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 356 - 342 B.C.

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The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS73406. Silver drachm, Lorber Hoard pl. III, 27 (same dies); BCD Thessaly I 1158; BCD Thessaly II 316; SNG Cop 121; HGC 4 454, VF, well centered on a tight flan, etched surfaces, scratch on cheek, weight 5.920 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 135o, Larissa mint, c. 356 - 342 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, pendant earring, and simple necklace; reverse horse crouching right, left foreleg bent and raised, preparing to roll onto the ground, ΛAPIΣ/AIΩN in two lines starting above, ending in exergue; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Thz. G/ni ex Thess., Apr. 94, SFr. 100.-"; $250.00 (222.50)




  



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