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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Vessels & CupsView Options:  |  |  |   

Vessels and Cups on Ancient Coins

Vessels and cups depicted on coins were often those used in religious ceremonies, but also those used in daily life. The amphora, used to store olive-oil and wine, is often depicted on coins, especially from cities that were big wine producers.


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Uncertain Mint, Anatolia or Syria

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The mint, the quaestor who struck this type, and even the identity of the person in the portrait remain uncertain. The type has previously been attributed to Macedonia and the portrait identified as Brutus (Friedlander) or Caesar (Grant). David Sear notes the type has never been found in Macedonia. Finds point to Syria or Anatolia. It is possible that the type was issued, with his own portrait, by Sosius, a general under Marc Antony who was quaestor in 39 B.C. Much more likely, however, the portrait is of Augustus.
RB71004. Bronze AE 27, RPC I 5409; Sear CRI 957 (Syria); AMNG II 29 (Pella), F, green patina, weight 17.823 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Anatolian or Syrian mint, obverse bare head right; reverse hasta (spear), sella quaestoria (quaestor's seat of office), and fiscus (imperial treasury), Q (for quaestor) below; previously a rare type but recent finds have made it somewhat easier to acquire; $300.00 (267.00)


Lokris Opuntia, Lokris, Greece, c. 340 - 330 B.C.

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Lokrian Ajax (the Lesser) was a Greek mythological hero, son of Oileus, the king of Locris. Locrians are mentioned by Homer in the Iliad as following Ajax, the son of Oleus, to the Trojan War in forty ships, and as inhabiting the towns of Kynos, Opus, Calliarus, Besa, Scarphe, Augeiae, Tarphe, and Thronium. Lokrian Ajax was called the "lesser" or "Lokrian" Ajax, to distinguish him from Ajax the Great, son of Telamon. He is also mentioned in the Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid.
GS83462. Silver triobol, BCD Lokris 98; BMC Central p. 2, 9; SNG Cop 50; SNG Lockett 1700; de Luynes 1958; Pozzi 1339; SGCV I 2330; HGC 4 997, aVF, attractive style, tight flan, etched surfaces, weight 2.385 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Lokris Opuntia mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse head of Persephone right, wearing wreath of grain, single-pendant earring, and pearl necklace; reverse OΠONTIΩN, Ajax son of Oileus, advancing right in fighting attitude, nude but for crested Corinthian helmet, short sword in right hand, shield on left arm ornamented inside with coiled snake (control symbol), kantharos (control symbol) below; scarce; $240.00 (213.60)


Lamia, Thessaly, Greece, 400 - 344 B.C.

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Lamia has been inhabited since at least the 3rd millennium B.C., but the first historical mention is after an earthquake in 424 B.C., when it was an important Spartan military base. The city held a strategic location, controlling the narrow coastal plain that connected southern Greece with Thessaly and the rest of the Balkans. It was therefore fortified in the 5th century B.C., and was contested by the Macedonians, Thessalians and Aetolians until the Roman conquest in the early 2nd century B.C.
GS84913. Silver hemidrachm, BCD Thessaly 1089; BCD Thessaly II 123; SNG Cop 77; SNG Alpha Bank VI 59, Trait IV 457 & pl. CCLXXXVII, 20; BMC Thessaly p. 22, 2; Georgiou Lamia 6, VF, attractive style, weight 2.656 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 315o, Lamia mint, 400 - 344 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos left, wearing ivy wreath; reverse ΛAMIE−ΩN, volute krater, prochous with handle right on lower right, ivy-leaf above, all within shallow round incuse; ex BCD Collection with his round tag; $225.00 (200.25)


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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Then reverse legend abbreviates, Certamen quinquennale Romae constitutum - five-year games established at Rome. In 60 A.D. Nero founded the quinquennial Neronia games at Rome which, in the Greek fashion, included musical, gymnastic, and horse racing contests. Nero himself was awarded the victory crowns for Latin oratory and poetry and for lyre playing. Despite his supposed talent, it seems Nero did not actually perform at all, the judges declared he was the only one worthy of victory.
RB85335. Orichalcum semis, RIC I 233, BMCRE I 261, Mac Dowall WCN 325, BnF I 338, Cohen I 47, SRCV I 1979, VF, nice portrait, toned brass, light encrustations and deposits, light corrosion, weight 3.174 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 66 - 68 A.D.; obverse NERO CAES AVG IMP, laureate head right; reverse CER QVINQ ROM CO (Certamen quinquennale Romae constitutum - five-year games established at Rome), prize-urn and a wreath set on a agonistic prize-table seen from front and right, front panel ornamented with two griffins, discus(?) resting against right front leg, S (semis) above left, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $165.00 (146.85)


Ephesos, Ionia, 90 - 89 B.C.

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The torch is an attribute of Artemis and a civic symbol of Ephesus.

Mithridates VI of Pontus invaded Bithynia and Cappadocia beginning the First Mithridatic War.
GS76188. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Kleiner Dated 46, Pinder 36, SNG Cop 326, Cohen DCA 325, BMC Ionia -, SNGvA -, SNG Fitzwilliam -, VF, dark uneven toning on reverse, obverse struck with a worn die, weight 12.674 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, 90 - 89 B.C.; obverse cista mystica with half-open lid, from which a snake emerges, all within wreath of ivy with berries; reverse bow-case ornamented with an apluster, strap lower right, flanked on each side by a snake with head erect, serpent-entwined staff above between snakes' heads, ME (year 45) over EΦE on left, flaming torch on right; $160.00 (142.40)


Pergamon, Mysia, c. 104 - 98 B.C.

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The cista mystica was a basket used for housing sacred snakes in connection with the initiation ceremony into the cult of Bacchus (Dionysus). In the Dionysian mysteries a snake, representing the god and possibly symbolic of his phallus, was carried in a cista mystica on a bed of vine leaves. The cista in the mysteries of Isis may also have held a serpent, perhaps associated with the missing phallus of Osiris.

The thyrsus is the staff carried by Bacchus and his associates; topped by a pine cone or a bunch of ivy leaves and wreathed with tendrils of vine or ivy.
GS76186. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Kleiner Pergamum 5; Pinder 93; SNG BnF 1713; SNG Cop 419; SNGvA 7466; BMC Mysia p. 124, 102, VF, toned, light marks, weight 12.637 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 0o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, c. 104 - 98 B.C.; obverse Cista mystica with half-open lid, from which a snake emerges, all within wreath of ivy with berries; reverse bow-case holding strung bow and ornamented with an apluster, flanked on each side by a snake with head erect, AΣ (control letters) above between heads of snakes, Pergamon monogram to left, snake entwined thyrsos to right; $155.00 (137.95)


Etruscan, Bronze Ladle Handle, 6th - 5th Century B.C.

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Ex Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia; ex Ran Ryan, from the collection of Alex G. Malloy. Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia was founded in 1889 in the Villa di Papa Giulio (Pope Julius), built in the mid-16th century for Pope Julius III. Today the museum is devoted to pre-Roman antiquities, from Umbria, Latium, and southern Etruria. In the 1950's the museum sold Roman antiquities to Rex Ryan, a dealer with a shop in Rome. Alex Malloy, an antiquities dealer in for 40 years, purchased some of these antiquities, including this piece, from Rex Ryan, in 1974.

Greek, Etruscan and Roman bronzes by Gisela Richter notes, "the shape is distinguished for its grace and simplicity" and "ladles of this type are commonly found together with black-figured and red-figured vases in tombs in Etruria."
AM12357. Bronze ladle handle; cf. Richter 648; 14 inches long; bifurcated top, each end with a duck head terminal (one head missing); green patina, $155.00 (137.95)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VIII Grypus, 121 - 96 B.C.

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Antiochus VIII Epiphanes Grypus (Hook-Nose) was crowned as a teenager, ruling jointly with his mother Cleopatra Thea. In 121 B.C., one day when he returned from a hunt, his mother offered him a cup of wine. Since this was not common behavior for her, Grypus was suspicious and forced her to drink the wine; poisoned, it killed her. Grypus fought a civil war with his brother that ended with his murder.
GY84979. Silver drachm, Houghton-Lorber 2310b, Newell SMA 410, HGC 9 1209, VF, tight flan, light marks, light corrosion, weight 3.677 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch on the Orontes mint, 3rd reign at Antioch, 109 - 96 B.C.; obverse diademed head right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY EΠIΦANOYΣ, tripod lebes, PE monogram over Γ outer left; $150.00 (133.50)


Leontini, Sicily, c. 405 - 402 B.C.

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Leontini was founded as by colonists from Naxos in 729 BC, itself a Chalcidian colony established five years earlier. It was the only significant Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, being some 6 miles inland. The site, originally held by the Sicels, was seized by the Greeks owing to its command of the fertile plain to the north. The city was reduced to subject status in 498 BC by Hippocrates of Gela, and in 476 BC Hieron of Syracuse moved the inhabitants from Catania and Naxos to Leontini.
GI76342. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 77, 3; SNG Cop 360; SNG ANS 270; SNG Morcom 606; SNG Lloyd 1070; BMC Sicily p. 92, 56; Laffaille 169; HGC 2 709 (R1), VF, well centered, glossy dark patina, weight 1.891 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 180o, Leontini mint, c. 405 - 402 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, olive leaf and olive behind; reverse tripod lebes with loop handles, a barley kernel flanking on each side, kithara between legs of tripod, three pellets in exergue; $125.00 (111.25)


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 200 - 27 B.C.

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Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) Cyzicus was subject to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians alternately. In the naval Battle of Cyzicus in 410, an Athenian fleet completely destroyed a Spartan fleet. At the peace of Antalcidas in 387, like the other Greek cities in Asia, it was made over to Persia. Alexander the Great captured it from the Persians in 334 B.C.
GB72168. Bronze AE 28, SNGvA 7355 (with same countermark); SNG BnF 505 (also with same c/m); SNG Cop 84; BMC Mysia p. 40, 167, VF, nice style, well centered, nice green patina, bevelled obv edge, weight 12.530 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 90o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 200 - 27 B.C.; obverse head of Kore Soteira right, wearing grain wreath; countermark: eagle standing right, wings open in a 7.5mm round punch; reverse tripod with three loop handles, KYZI/KHNWN from upper right, in two flanking downward lines, branch right above, torch left below, monogram outer right, monogram outer left; $120.00 (106.80)




  



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