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

Facing Heads on Ancient Coins

Zeno, 18 January - 17 November 474 and August 476 - 11 April 491 A.D.

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Gold never tarnishes, however, ancient gold coins were never pure gold. There is always a small amount of silver in the gold and for reasons that only a chemist could explain, the small amount of silver sometimes tones slightly red. This coin is attractive red toned gold.
SH85084. Gold solidus, RIC X 929, DOCLR 633, Depeyrot 108/1, Tolstoi 16, SRCV V 21514, Ratto -, Choice about Uncirculated, well centered and struck, lustrous with red tone, weight 4.456 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 2nd reign, Aug 476 - 11 Apr 491, 5th issue; obverse D N ZENO PERP AVG, helmeted bust facing, pearl diademed, trefoil on front of crested helmet, cuirassed, spear in right over shoulder, shield on left arm decorated with horseman riding down and spearing enemy; reverse VICTORI-A AVGGG ∆ (victory of the three emperors, 4th officina), Victory standing left, long jeweled cross in right, star right, CONOB in exergue; $1080.00 (961.20) ON RESERVE


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)


Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysius I, 405 - 367 B.C.

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The model for the head on the obverse is derived from the facing Arethusa by Kimon. This issue is usually attributed to Exakestidas with rare examples signed E or EΞ. Stylistic differences suggest other engravers also worked the issue. This example, signed EE, is of the very finest style and clearly the work of Exakestidas. EΞ was probably intended. No other examples of the type signed EE are known to Forum.
SH83659. Bronze tetras, cf. Calciati II p. 59 ff., 29 (unlisted dies); SNG ANS 385; SNG Cop 679; SNG Mn 1107; HGC 2 1432 (R1, 415-405 B.C.); SNG Tub -; SNG Morcom -, aEF, the finest style, nice green patina, light corrosion, edge flaws, weight 2.23 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, c. 400 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa facing slightly left, wearing taenia, earring, and necklace, anepigraphic, EE (master engraver signature, blundered EΞ for Exakestidas) lower left below hair; reverse octopus; ex Savoca Numismatik GmbH & Co. KG, auction 6 (9 Apr 2015), lot 68; $500.00 (445.00)


Kamarina, Sicily, c. 420 - 405 B.C.

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A Gorgoneion was a horror-creating apotropaic Gorgon head pendant. The name derives from the Greek word gorgs, which means "dreadful." The Gorgons were three sisters who had hair of living, venomous snakes, and a horrifying face that turned those who saw it to stone. Stheno and Euryale were immortal, but their sister Medusa was not, and was slain by Perseus. Zeus, Athena, Hellenistic kings and Roman emperors wore Gorgoneion for protection. Images of the Gorgons were also put upon objects and buildings for protection. A Gorgon image is at the center of the pediment of the temple at Corfu, the oldest stone pediment in Greece from about 600 B.C.
GI79953. Bronze tetras, Westermark-Jenkins, type C, 189; BMC Sicily p. 39, 36; Calciati III, p. 53, 16; SNG Stockholm 432; HGC 2 546; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -, Choice gVF, fine style, nice green patina, well centered and struck, light marks, very light corrosion, small edge split, weight 4.731 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 0o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) round face, wild locks, no hair band, large eyes, straight mouth; reverse KAMA (upward on left), owl standing right on right leg, grasping lizard with head down in the left talon, three pellets (mark of value) in exergue, Γ (control mark) right; $450.00 (400.50)


Byzantine Empire, Constans II and Constantine IV, 13 April 654 - 15 July 668 A.D.

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Grierson notes, in the Dumbarton Oaks catalog, "the inscriptions [on this type] are very variable, since it was difficult to get so much on the coin."
SH70048. Gold solidus, DOC II part 2, 25i; Wroth BMC 50; Tolstoi 251; Morrisson BnF 50; Sommer 12.18; Hahn MIB 26; SBCV 959; Ratto -, aEF, light graffiti (Π?)on reverse, weight 4.402 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, 9th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 654 - 659 A.D.; obverse d N CONSTANTINVS C CONSTAN, facing busts of Constans & Constantine IV (beardless) each wearing crown and chlamys, cross between their heads; reverse VICTORIA AVGY Θ (the victory of the Emperor, 9th officina), cross potent on three steps, CONOB in exergue; $420.00 (373.80)


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)


Rhodes, Carian Islands, c. Mid 4th Century B.C.

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This may be a fraction of the Pseudo-Rhodian "solar disk drachm" that Ashton suggests may be from Lampsakos under Memnon of Rhodes. Bronzes of a similar style are now known.
GS84169. Silver tetartemorion, Other than the two previous auction listings for this coin, apparently unpublished, VF, edge chip, weight 0.128 g, maximum diameter 6.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rhodos (Rhodes, Greece) mint, c. mid 4th century B.C.; obverse facing radiate head of Helios, delicate linear ring around; reverse rose bloom; ex CNG e-auction 377 (29 Jun 2016), lot 130; ex Numismatik Naumann Auction 39 (3 Jan 2016), lot 386; unique(?); $280.00 (249.20)


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)


Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

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Kamarina was suffering a plague. A marsh north of the city was the suspected source. The town oracle advised them not to drain the marsh, but in 405 B.C., the leaders ignored the advice. Once the marsh was dry, there was nothing to stop the Carthaginian army. They marched across the newly drained marsh, razed the city, and killed every last inhabitant.
GI76951. Bronze tetras, Westermark-Jenkins 195.12; BMC Sicily p. 40, 38; Calciati III p. 57, 24; SNG Cop 168; SNG Munchen V 410; HGC 2 547 (S); SNG ANS 1226 var. (style), gVF, well centered, attractive dark brown surfaces, some light corrosion, weight 3.552 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, die axis 225o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) with neatly waved hair, pearled headband, smiling expression, dimpled cheeks; reverse KAMA (downward on right), owl standing left on left leg, head facing, lizard with head down in right talon, three pellets (mark of value) in exergue; scarce; $270.00 (240.30)


Gela, Sicily, c. 339 - 310 B.C.

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Demeter in Greek mythology is the goddess of grain and fertility, the pure; nourisher of the youth and the green earth, the health-giving cycle of life and death; and preserver of marriage and the sacred law. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, dated to about the seventh century B.C. she is invoked as the "bringer of seasons," a subtle sign that she was worshiped long before she was made one of the Olympians. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that also predated the Olympian pantheon.
SH71027. Bronze tetras, Jenkins Gela, group XII, 549; Calciati III p. 29, 59; BMC Sicily p. 74, 77; SNG Cop 287; SNG Munchen 324; SNG ANS 123; HGC 2 388 (R1), VF, well centered, green patina, corrosion, weight 2.921 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 135o, Gela mint, c. 339 - 310 B.C.; obverse ΓEΛΩI−ΩN (beginning upward on left), head of Demeter facing slightly right, wreathed with barley, wearing earrings and necklace; reverse bearded head of river-god Gela left, short horn over forehead, bull's ear, wreathed with barley (or reeds?); rare; $260.00 (231.40)




  



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Catalog current as of Tuesday, July 25, 2017.
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Facing Heads