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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Facing HeadsView Options:  |  |  |   

Facing Heads on Ancient Coins

Leo I, 7 February 457 - 18 January 474 A.D.

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Victory or Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Victory or Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.
SL87035. Gold solidus, RIC X 605 (S); DOCLR 529; Tolstoi 13; Ratto 250; Depeyrot II p. 258, 93/1; SRCV V 21404; Hunter V -, NGC AU, strike 5/5, surface 3/5, brushed (2490379-009), weight 4.47 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 170o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 462 - 466 A.D.; obverse D N LEO PE-R PET AVG, pearl-diademed, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, spear in right over shoulder, shield on left decorated with horseman; reverse VICTORIA AVGGG I (victory of the three emperors, 10th officina), Victory half left supporting long jeweled cross, star right, CONOB in exergue; scarce; $900.00 (765.00)


Knidos, Caria, c. 210 - 185 B.C.

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The ancient Carian city of Knidos, near modern Tekir, Turkey, was described by Strabo as "built for the most beautiful of goddesses, Aphrodite, on the most beautiful of peninsulas." The legendary Aphrodite of Praxiteles, one of the most beautiful sculptures of antiquity, once graced her temple at Knidos. It has perished, but late copies exist, of which the most faithful is in the Vatican Museums. A fine seated statue of Demeter and a colossal figure of a lion found there are in the British Museum.
GS86557. Silver didrachm, SNG Cop 318, Imhoof-Blumer Karische 32, Waddington 2312, SNG Keckman -, SNGvA -, SNG Kayhan -, SNG Mn -, SNG Tb -, SNG Mugla -, BMC Caria -, aEF, toned, tight flan typical for the type, encrustations, light corrosion, edge cracks, weight 5.531 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Knidos (near Tekir, Turkey) mint, magistrate Agephon..., c. 210 - 185 B.C.; obverse head of Helios facing slightly right; reverse forepart of roaring lion right, club to left, KNI∆ION above, AΓEΦΩN (magistrate) below; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; rare; $580.00 (493.00)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 356 - 320 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.
GS86544. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly I 1156; BMC Thessaly p. 30, 61; HGC 4 454; BCD Thessaly II 323 var. (same obv. die, trident head left control), VF, toned, etched surfaces, tight flan, small edge cracks, weight 5.869 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, c. 356 - 320 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, pendant earring represented by three pellets in a vertical line, and simple necklace; reverse horse crouching right, left foreleg bent and raised, preparing to roll onto the ground, small plant (control) below, ΛAPIΣ/AIΩN in two lines, the first above, second in exergue; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; $380.00 (323.00)


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); $360.00 (306.00)


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class A3, Basil II & Constantine VIII, c. 1023 - 11 November 1028 A.D.

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The emperor's name and portrait are not part of the design on the Byzantine types referred to as anonymous folles. Instead of the earthly king, these coins depict Jesus Christ, King of Kings.
BZ86496. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, class A3; SBCV 1818; Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 24a, EF, superb bust of Jesus Christ, reverse a little off center, uneven strike with weak areas, flan cracks, areas of minor corrosion, weight 12.455 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHL, facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger with two pellets in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, holding gospels with both hands, gospels ornamented with two pellets within a jeweled border, to left IC, to right XC; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below legend; $300.00 (255.00)


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class A3, Basil II & Constantine VIII, c. 1023 - 11 November 1028 A.D.

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This is a new ornaments variety, unlisted by Bellinger and Grierson, with one pellet in each limb of the nimbus cross, two pellets vertically arranged within a jeweled border on the Gospels and the ornamentation shown below under the reverse inscription. The ornamentation above the inscription is off flan but most likely the same as below. We have designated this new variety Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments F1c.

BZ86497. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, class A3; SBCV 1818; Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments F1c, gVF, attractive bust of Christ, tight ragged flan, bumps and marks, edge chip, weight 8.514 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 270o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHL, facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, holding gospels with both hands, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation for Jesus Christ) across field; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below legend; unpublished variety; $300.00 (255.00)


Istros, Thrace, c. 280 - 255 B.C.

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The obverse type has been variously interpreted as representing the Dioscuri, the rising and setting sun, and the two branches of the river Danube. - Greek Coins and Their Values by David Sear.
GS86906. Silver drachm, Dima subgroup VI, 1, pl. XIX, 2 (same obv. die); AMNG I/I 425; SNG Stancomb 148; SNG BM 256 var. (right head inverted); SNG Cop -; BMC Thrace -, VF, toned, flan flaws, flan cracks, weight 4.652 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 90o, Istros (near Istria, Romania) mint, c. 280 - 256/255 B.C.; obverse two facing male heads, left head inverted; reverse IΣTPIH, sea-eagle grasping a dolphin with talons, ΦY (control) below dolphin; $300.00 (255.00)


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; $280.00 (238.00)


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class I, Nicephorus III, 7 January 1078 - 1 April 1081

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BZ86180. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, class I; SBCV 1889, gVF, excellent bust of Christ, weight 3.510 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 7 Jan 1078 - 1 Apr 1081; obverse Christ bust facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, gospels in left; reverse Latin cross with X at center, globule and two pellets at each extremity, floral ornaments in lower fields, crescents in upper fields; $270.00 (229.50)


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.-"; $250.00 (212.50)




  



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Facing Heads