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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.


Thasos, Thrace, c. 411 - 355 B.C.

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In 411 B.C., Thasos revolted from Athens and received a Lacedaemonian governor. In 407 B.C. Spartans were expelled and the Athenians readmitted. After the Battle of Aegospotami in 405 B.C., Thasos again fell under the Lacedaemonians led by Lysander who formed a decarchy there. Athens must have recovered it, for later it was one of the subjects of dispute with Philip II of Macedonia.
GS74533. Silver trihemiobol, BMC Thrace p. 221, 57 var. (control: barley kernel), SNG Cop 1032 var. (same); Dewing 1331 var. (no control); HGC 6 351 (S) var. (same), aVF, well centered, attractive style, light corrosion, weight 0.824 g, maximum diameter 11.4 mm, die axis 270o, Thasos mint, c. 411 - 355 B.C.; obverse satyr kneeling left, on left knee, nude but for cloak tied at waist and flying behind, cantharus in right hand, grasshopper left (control symbol) lower left; reverse ΘAΣ−IΩN, volute krater; very rare with this control symbol; $130.00 (115.70)


Methymna, Lesbos, c. 450 - 379 B.C.

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Methymna, the prosperous second city of Lesbos, was, According to myth, named after a daughter of Lesbos, the patron god of the island, and Macar, the island's first king. Methymna had a long-standing rivalry with Mytilene and sided with Athens during the Mytilenaean revolt in 428 B.C. All the other cities of Lesbos sided with Mytilene. After Athenians put down the revolt, only Methymna was spared from being made a cleruchy. After 427, Methymna and Chios were the only members of the Delian League to remain self-governing and exempt from tribute, indicating a privileged position within the Athenian Empire. Methymna was briefly captured by the Spartans in summer 412, but quickly retaken by the Athenians. When the Spartan Kallikratidas besieged Methymna in 406, the city stayed loyal to its Athenian garrison and held out until it was betrayed by several traitors.
GS76285. Silver obol, SNG Cop 351, Klein 351, HGC 6 904 (R2), SNGvA -, VF, centered, uneven toning, die wear and cracks, tiny flan cracks, light corrosion, weight 0.520 g, maximum diameter 8.1 mm, die axis 270o, Methymna mint, c. 450/40 - 406/379 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with spiral floral ornament; reverse kantharos, MAΘ around, linear circle border, all within a round incuse; $130.00 (115.70) ON RESERVE


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus III the Great, 223 - 187 B.C.

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In 213 B.C., after a two year siege, allied with Attalus I of Pergamum, Antiochus III captured the rebel capital Sardes and executed the rebel king Achaeus. Houghton and Lorber explain that this type is attributed to Sardes based on excavation finds, that the denomination does not fit Sardian tradition, and that it was probably struck to support Antiochus' troops during the siege.
GB71681. Bronze AE 20, Houghton-Lorber I 972, Newell WSM 1108, HGC 9 488 (R2), VF, well centered on a tight flan, attractive style, nice green patina, light corrosion, weight 7.046 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, near Sardes (Sart, Turkey), military mint, c. 215 - 213 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, short hair with longer locks on the back of the neck; reverse tripod lebes, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left, no control symbols; very rare; $125.00 (111.25)


Mende, Macedonia, 400 - 346 B.C.

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Mende was an ancient colony of Eretria, on the SW side of Cape Poseidion in Pallene. Its coins illustrate some forgotten myth of Dionysos, his companion Seilenos, and an ass. The wine of Mende was famous and is frequently mentioned by ancient writers. It is unlikely that Mende struck any coins after it was first captured by Philip in 358 B.C.
GB68715. Bronze chalkous, SNG Cop 221; SNG ANS 397 var. (crescent above); BMC Macedonia p. 83, 13 var. (no ivy branch), VF, weight 1.078 g, maximum diameter 11.2 mm, die axis 315o, Mende mint, 400 - 346 B.C.; obverse head of youthful Dionysos to left, wearing ivy wreath; reverse MEN, Amphora with tall handles, ivy branch left; scarce; $120.00 (106.80)


Krannon, Thessaly, Greece, 350 - 300 B.C.

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A hydria is a type of Greek pottery used for carrying water. The hydria has three handles. Two horizontal handles on either side of the body of the pot were used for lifting and carrying the pot. The third handle, a vertical one, located in the center of the other two handles, was used when pouring water. This water vessel can be found in both the red and black figure pottery styles. They often depicted scenes of Greek mythology, that reflected moral and social obligations.
GB71038. Bronze dichalkon, Rogers 197; SNG Cop 43; BMC Thessaly p. 16, 5; SGCV I 2073, VF, bold strike well centered on a tight flan, weight 4.666 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 180o, Krannon mint, 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse horseman galloping right, wearing petasos and chlamys; reverse K-PA/NNO, hydria (water carrying vessel) mounted on cart; $120.00 (106.80)


Kyme, Aiolis, c. 165 - 85 B.C.

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Kyme was conquered by Croesus, king of Lydia, and ruled successively by the Persians, Macedonians, Seleucids, and Pergamenes. Attalus III, the last king of Pergamum, bequeathed Aeolis to Rome in 133 B.C. Shortly afterward, it was made part of the Roman province of Asia. Aeolis was under Byzantine rule until the early 15th century, when the Ottoman Turks occupied the area.
GB71582. Bronze AE 18, SNG Cop 108; SNGvA 1642; SNG Mnchen 507; BMC Troas p. 113, 87; Klein 336; SGCV II 4193, VF, nice style and patina, weight 3.400 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Kyme mint, c. 165 - 85 B.C.; obverse draped bust of Artemis right, bow and quiver over shoulder; reverse Oinochoe (one-handled vase) between two laurel branches, KY above, I−Ω/I−Λ/O−Σ (Zoilos, magistrate) in three lines across inner field flanking vase; $110.00 (97.90)


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.
GS75127. Silver hemidrachm, SNG Cop 77; BCD Thessaly 1089; BCD Thessaly II 123; Trait IV 457 & pl. CCLXXXVII, 20; BMC Thessaly p. 22, 2; Georgiou Lamia 6, VF, toned, scratches, weight 2.429 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 345o, Lamia mint, 400 - 344 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos left, wearing ivy wreath; reverse ΛAMIE−ΩN, amphora with two handles, ivy leaf above, prochous with handle lower right, all within shallow round incuse; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 12 (1 Nov 2014), lot 266; ex Frank James Collection; ex William Holzman (1962); $110.00 (97.90)


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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The augur was an official and priest, whose main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds: whether they are flying in groups or alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of birds they are. This was known as "taking the auspices." The ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society, public or private, including matters of war, commerce, and religion. The Roman historian Livy stresses the importance of the augurs: "Who does not know that this city was founded only after taking the auspices; that everything in war and in peace, at home and abroad, was done only after taking the auspices?"
RS70279. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 356; RSC II 45; BMCRE II 64; BnF III 49; Hunter I 27; SRCV I 2282, VF, nice portrait, toned, well centered on a tight flan, high points flatly struck, weight 3.338 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, 72 - early 73 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS IIII, laureate head right; reverse implements of the augurate and pontificate: simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), ewer (jug) and lituus (augural wand), AVGVR above, TRI POT below; $105.00 (93.45)


Kios, Bithynia, c. 325 - 203 B.C.

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According to myth, Kios (Cius) was founded on the Propontis (Sea of Marmara) by Herakles when he accompanied the Argonauts. According to Greek historians, it was founded in 626 - 625 B.C. by colonists from Miletos. The city joined the Aetolian League and was destroyed by Philip V of Macedon. Prusias I of Bithynia rebuilt the site, naming it for himself. An important chain in the ancient Silk Road, it became a wealthy town. Under Rome the name Kios was revived.
GB71987. Bronze AE 14, SNG Cop 381; SNGvA 7004; BMC Pontos, p. 131, 20; Rec Gn 7, VF, dark green patina, porous, weight 2.880 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 315o, Kios (Bursa, Turkey) mint, c. 325 - 203 B.C.; obverse young beardless male head (Mithras?) right, wearing a Phrygian cap and laurel wreath; reverse Kantharos between two bunches of grapes hanging on vines which emerge from the cup, A above, K-I divided by stem, all within wreath of two stalks of grain; rare; $105.00 (93.45)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. In art Spes is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men. On this coin, the Caesar, Commodus, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people.
RB76910. Copper dupondius (or as), RIC II MA1535 (S), BMCRE IV MA1533, Cohen III 405, Szaivert MIR 18 341, SRCV II 5561, aVF, excellent centering, attractive green patina, scrape near the upper right edge on obverse, weight 12.184 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, as caesar, 175 - 176 A.D.; obverse COMMODO CAES AVG FIL GERM SARM, draped, bare headed bust right, from behind; reverse SPES PVBLICA, implements of the pontificate: secespita (knife), aspergillum (sprinkler), guttus (jug), lituus (wand), and simpulum (ladle); scarce; $100.00 (89.00)




    



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