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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Heros ▸ HerculesView Options:  |  |  |   

Hercules (Herakles)

Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III and Alexander IV, c. 323 - 317 B.C., In the Name of Alexander

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Struck after Alexander's death, under either Perdikkas or Antipater, regents during the joint reign of Alexander's mentally disabled half-brother, Philip III, and Alexander's infant son, Alexander IV. Philip was the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa. Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, allegedly poisoned her stepson Philip III as a child, leaving him mentally disabled, eliminating him as a rival to Alexander. Neither Philip III nor Alexander IV was capable of actual rule. Both were selected only to serve as pawns. The regents held power, while Philip III was actually imprisoned. In 317, Olympias had Philip murdered to ensure the succession of her grandson. But Alexander IV would never rule. In 311 B.C., he and his mother Roxana were executed by the regent Kassander.
SH86161. Silver tetradrachm, Price 113, Müller Alexander 224, Troxell issue H3, SNG Cop 682, SNG Munchen 275, SNG Alpha Bank 503, SNG Delepierre 986, Choice EF, attractive archaic style, bold well centered strike, high relief, light toning, weight 17.283 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 90o, Macedonia, Amphipolis mint, c. 322 - 320 A.D.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus seated left on throne without back, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, Macedonian helmet (control symbol) left; Classical Numismatic Group auction 105 (10 May 2017), lot 78; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 46 (11 Sep 2016), lot 105 (realized €1,900 plus fees); $1780.00 (€1513.00)
 


Mesembria, Thrace, c. 275 - 225 B.C., Civic Issue in the Types and Name of Alexander the Great

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Mesembria, Nesebar Bulgaria today, was a Doric settlement on a Black Sea island just off mainland Thrace. Thrace was invaded by the Galatians in 279 B.C. Only the wealthy coastal cities, including Mesembria, withstood their attacks. Following that chaos, rule of Thrace was divided between many tribes. Philip V, 221 - 179 B.C., tried to regain control of the area for the Macedonian Kingdom, but his success was limited and short lived. Mesembria was taken by Mithradates VI in the First Mithradatic War and surrendered to Rome in 71 B.C. The city struck Alexandrine tetradrachms as early as 275 B.C., more than 50 years after Alexander's death, and probably issued the very last Alexandrine tetradrachms struck anywhere, possibly under Roman rule as late as 65 B.C.
SH85286. Silver tetradrachm, Karayotov p. 84 and pl. VII, 41 (O7/R18); Price 992; Müller Alexander 436, gVF, attractive style, light marks and scratches, weight 17.000 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 180o, Mesambria (Nesebar, Bulgaria) mint, c. 275 - 225 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion-scalp headdress; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, Corinthian helmet right over ΠA monogram in inner left field under arm; ex FORVM (2013); $630.00 (€535.50)
 


Kos, Carian Islands, c. 345 - 340 B.C.

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Herakles was traveling by sea when Hera, who hated him, sent a storm, sinking his boats. Hercules and only a few friends survived, swimming to Kos. Once ashore they asked a shepherd for food and shelter. The shepherd refused and insulted Hercules and they fought. People from nearby Antimachia joined the fight against Hercules. Hercules and his friends slipped into a house, disguised as women, and escaped. Another town welcomed Hercules and declared war on Antimachia. Hercules killed the king of Antimachia and married the newly elected king's sister, Halkiopi. Their son, Thessalos, would later be the king of Kos and Nisyros.
GS86516. Silver didrachm, Pixodarus p. 234, 13 (A2/P7); SNG Cop 619; Weber 6629; HGC 6 1305 (R1); BMC Caria p. 195, 18 ff. var. (magistrate); SNG Keckman 287 var. (same), gVF, attractive style, bold strike, toned, tight flan cutting off ethnic, corrosion, edge cracks, weight 6.369 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 0o, Kos mint, Ma[...], magistrate, c. 345 - 340 B.C.; obverse bearded head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse veiled female (Halkiopi?) head left, MA (magistrate) behind, KΩION below; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; rare; $600.00 (€510.00)
 


Arados, Phoenicia, 200 - 190 B.C., Civic Issue in the Types and Name of Alexander the Great

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In 259 B.C., Arados increased her autonomy and dominated a federation of nearby cities including Gabala, Karne, Marathos and Simyra. Thus began the era of Aradus, to which the subsequent coins of the city are dated. Arados was not completely independent, however, the Seleukids retained overlordship.

Arados struck Alexandrine tetradrachms with a palm tree left and Phoenician dates from 243 to 205 B.C. and then with Greek dates from 202 to 167 B.C. They were not struck every year.
GS85703. Silver tetradrachm, Price 3390 ff., Mektepini 614 ff.; Duyrat 1270 ff., Cohen Dated 771, gVF, attractive style, reverse double struck, earthen encrustations, weight 17.039 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 0o, Arados mint, c. 200 - 190 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion-scalp headdress; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, palm tree with two bunches of dates in left field under arm, AP monogram under throne, uncertain Greek additive date (60 - 69?) below; $540.00 (€459.00)
 


Kephaloidion, Sicily, c. 307 - 289 B.C.

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Kephaloidoion, on Cape Cefalu, was under the influence of nearby Himera until c. 405 B.C. In 396 B.C., the town allied with General Himilco of Carthage against Dionysos of Syracuse but was defeated. Agathocles besieged and conquered the city in 307 B.C. Kephaloidion was again allied with Carthage at the beginning of the First Punic War but the citizens opened the gates when the Roman fleet appeared off the shore in 254 B.C. The city faded but survived at least into the second century A.D.
GI76952. Bronze AE 17, Calciati I, p. 371, 1; HGC 2 649 (R2); SNG ANS -; SNG Morcom -; SNG Munchen -; SNG Tub -, VF, green patina, light marks, reverse off center, weight 4.367 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 135o, Kephaloidion (Cefalu, Sicily) mint, c. 344 - 336 B.C. (references vary greatly); obverse KEΦAΛOI∆I, Herakles head right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse bull butting right, club above, linear border; very rare; $400.00 (€340.00)
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C.

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This is an Alexandrine type drachm, meaning it has the types of Alexander's drachms, Herakles and Zeus Aëtophoros. Thompson notes, "Teos, like Colophon, was a royal mint [for Lysimachos] for only a short time. Its scanty output of drachms falls in the period before Lysimachus began to issue money with his own types."
GS86508. Silver drachm, Price L38 corr. (control positions), Thompson 130 corr. (control positions), Müller 34 ff. var. (monogram), Müller Alexander -, SNG Cop -, gVF, toned, centered on a tight flan, light marks, weight 4.258 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, Ionia, Teos (near Sigacik, Turkey) mint, lifetime issue, c. 301/299 - 297 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros seated left, right leg drawn back, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, griffin seated left above monogram (controls) in lower left field, ΛYΣIMAXOY (Lysimachos) downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) in exergue; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; very rare; $385.00 (€327.25)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleucus I Nikator, 312 - 280 B.C.

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Seleukos (Seleucus) founded the Seleukid Empire and the Seleukid dynasty which ruled Syria until Pompey made it a Roman province in 63 B.C. Seleukos was never one of Alexander the Great's principal generals but he commanded the royal bodyguard during the Indian campaign. In the division of the empire after Alexander's death Seleukos did not receive a satrapy. Instead, he served under the regent Perdikkas until the latter's murder in 321 or 320. Seleukos was then appointed satrap of Babylonia. Five years later Antigonus Monophthalmus (the One-eyed) forced him to flee, but he returned with support from Ptolemy. He later added Persia and Media to his territory and defeated both Antigonus and Lysimachus. He was succeeded by his son Antiochus I.
SH85790. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 13(1)c, Newell WSM 909, Meydancikkale 2745, HGC 3 16c (R1), VF, struck with fine style high-relief dies, light golden toning, bumps and marks, tight flan, obverse slightly off center, test punch on obverse, weight 17.040 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 300 - 281 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse ΣEΛEYKOΣ BAΣIΛEΩΣ, Zeus Nikephoros on throne, right leg drawn back, feet on footstool, Nike offering wreath in his right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, monogram in left field before knees, ΘE under throne below strut, ΣEΛEYKOΣ downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ in exergue; rare; $350.00 (€297.50)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander III The Great, 336 - 323 B.C.

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After Alexander's death, many cities cleverly continued to strike coins in the name of Alexander, maintaining neutrality, rather than favoring any one of the Diadochi (Alexander's successors). Although Greece was declared "free" in 311 B.C., it soon became a chaotic battleground. Old men, once comrades in Alexander's army, along with their children, fought each other to death to expand their kingdoms. Ptolemy I of Egypt took Corinth from Antigonus in 308. Demetrius Poliorcetes defeated Ptolemy and returned to Greece in 302 B.C. Claiming to be a liberator, he reinstated the Corinthian League.
GS86197. Silver tetradrachm, Price 671; Troxell Peloponnesian, pl. xix, 6; SNG München -; SNG Cop -; SNG Alpha Bank -, VF, high relief, toned, bumps, marks and scratches, areas of porosity, weight 16.454 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 165o, Greece, Corinth mint, posthumous, c. 310 - 290 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, feet on footstool, right foot drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, dove flying left surrounded by wreath in left field, H under throne; extremely rare - only a few examples known to Forum; $300.00 (€255.00)
 


Maionia, Lydia, 161 - 180 A.D.

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Omphale was queen of the kingdom of Lydia, the wife of Tmolus, the oak-clad mountain king of Lydia. After he was gored to death by a bull, she continued to reign on her own.

Omphale bought Herakles from Hermes, who sold him after an oracle declared Hercules must be sold into slavery for three years. Hercules had sought the oracle to learn what he must do to purify himself, after he murdered his friend Iphitus and stole the Delphic tripod. As a slave, Herakles was forced to do women's work and even wear women's clothing and hold a basket of wool while Omphale and her maidens did their spinning. Meanwhile, Omphale wore the skin of the Nemean Lion and carried Herakles' olive-wood club. But it was also during his stay in Lydia that Herakles captured the city of the Itones and enslaved them, killed Syleus who forced passersby to hoe his vineyard, and captured the Cercopes. He buried the body of Icarus and took part in the Calydonian Boar Hunt and the Argonautica. After some time, Omphale freed Herakles and took him as her husband.

The Greeks did not recognize Omphale as a goddess. Omphale's name, connected with omphalos, a Greek word meaning navel (or axis), may, however, represent a Lydian earth goddess. Herakles' servitude and marriage may represent the servitude of the sun to the axis of the celestial sphere, the spinners being Lydian versions of the Moirae. This myth may have been and attempt to explain why the priests of Herakles wore female clothing.
GB83463. Bronze AE 19, SNG Cop 222; SNGvA 3011; SNG Munchen 302; BMC Lydia p. 129, 17, VF, superb style, well centered, light marks and corrosion, weight 4.380 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Maeonia mint, rule of Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 180 A.D.; obverse bearded head of Herakles left; reverse MAIONΩN, Omphale advancing right, holding lion's skin and club across shoulder; $280.00 (€238.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Pyrrhus of Epirus, 278 - 276 B.C.

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This combination of control symbols is not listed in the references examined. The cornucopia obverse control symbol is normally paired with a fulmen (thunderbolt) on the reverse. The vertical trident reverse control symbol is normally paired with a club on the obverse.
SH73164. Bronze AE 26, Calciati II p. 325, 177 Ds 69 var. (club vice cornucompia); SNG Cop 810 var.; SNG ANS 844 ff. var.; SNG Munchen 1333 ff. var.; HGC 2 1450 (S), VF, nice style, nice patina, broad flan, edge split, weight 11.274 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, 278 - 276 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Herakles left, clad in lion-skin headdress, cornucopia (control symbol) behind; reverse Athena Promachos advancing right, helmeted and draped, hurling javelin with raised right hand, shield in left hand, no inscription, vertical trident head upward (control symbol) behind; rare variety; $260.00 (€221.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Stoll, R. Herakles auf römischen Münzen. (Trier, 1999).
Voegtli, H. Bilder der Heldenepen in der kaiserzeitlichen griechischen Munzprägung. (Aesch, 1977).

Catalog current as of Sunday, May 20, 2018.
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Hercules