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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Nude or EroticView Options:  |  |  |   

Nude Figures and Erotic Images on Ancient Coins

The ancients had a grand appreciation for the beauty of the human body and a rather bawdy view of sexuality.


Roman Macedonia, "Thasian" Type, c. 148 - 80 B.C.

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This Dionysos / Herakles type was first struck by Thasos itself on the island and in its continental territories in the South of the Balkans, c. 168 - 148 B.C. After Rome took control of the area, "Thasian" types were struck by Roman authorities, c. 148 - 80 B.C., mainly in Macedonia but also, perhaps, by mobile military mints on campaigns. Imitatives were also struck by at least several tribal groups (mainly Celtic or mixed enclaves) from as early as 120 - 100 B.C. to about 20 - 10 B.C.
GS79632. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XIV, monogram 24, cf. 1100 - 1104 (V CD3 / -); SNG Cop 1046, VF, centered, toned, struck with a worn obverse die, scrape on chin, scratches and marks, weight 16.690 g, maximum diameter 33.1 mm, die axis 0o, Roman provincial or military mint, c. 148 - 80 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wearing taenia and wreathed in flowering ivy; reverse HPAKΛEOYΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ ΘAΣIΩN, Herakles standing half left, nude but for Nemean lion's skin on left arm, resting right hand on grounded club before him, left hand on hip, monogram inner left; $270.00 (240.30)


Roman Macedonia, "Thasian" Type, c. 148 - 80 B.C.

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This Dionysos / Herakles type was first struck by Thasos itself on the island and in its continental territories in the South of the Balkans, c. 168 - 148 B.C. After Rome took control of the area, "Thasian" types were struck by Roman authorities, c. 148 - 80 B.C., mainly in Macedonia but also, perhaps, by mobile military mints on campaigns. Imitatives were also struck by at least several tribal groups (mainly Celtic or mixed enclaves) from as early as 120 - 100 B.C. to about 20 - 10 B.C.
GS79635. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XVI, 1226 (O DD4 / R 989); SNG Cop 1040 ff., VF, nice style, light toning, bumps and scratches, die wear, weight 16.787 g, maximum diameter 33.2 mm, die axis 0o, Roman provincial or military mint, c. 148 - 80 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wearing taenia and wreathed in flowering ivy; reverse HPAKΛEOYΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ ΘAΣIΩN, Herakles standing half left, nude but for Nemean lion's skin on left arm, resting right hand on grounded club before him, left hand on hip, MH monogram inner left; $270.00 (240.30)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). According to Hesiod (c. 700 B.C.), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld). Parmenides (c. 400 B.C.), one of the pre-Socratic philosophers, makes Eros the first of all the gods to come into existence. In early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Ultimately, by the later satirical poets, he is represented as a child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid.
RP85220. Bronze AE 20, RPC Online VI temp 3886 (3 spec. all same dies); BMC Mysia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG BnF -, SNG Tub -, SNG Hunt-, SNG anakkale -, SNG Leypold -, gVF, centered on a tight flan cutting off tops of some letters, marks and scratches, weight 6.148 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP SEV AL-EXANDER, radiate head right; reverse DEO CVPIDI-NI COLI C IL [?] PA (to the god Cupid, Colonia Gemella Julia Hadriana Pariana, blundered), Cupid standing slightly left, head right, nude but for drapery over left arm, right hand held over herm at feet on left; extremely rare; $250.00 (222.50)


Sabina, Augusta 128 - c. 136 A.D., Wife of Hadrian, Tmolus, Lydia

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The primary reference for Tmolus is: Foss, C. "A neighbor of Sardis: the city of Tmolus and its successors" in Classical Antiquity, vol. 1, no. 2 (Oct. 1982), pp. 178-201, available online: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25010770

Foss wrote that the small city of Tmolus was first authorized to strike coins under Hadrian. He believed that Tmolus issued coinage only very sporadically and the coins were probably struck at the mint of their neighbor Sardis.
RP85354. Bronze AE 19, RPC Online III 2388 (5 spec.); SNG Cop 635; NC 1903, p. 337, 29 and pl. X, 12 rev.; Foss Tmolus p. 181, type I, VF, grainy surface, edge split, weight 4.542 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 190o, struck for Tmolus at Sardis(?) mint, 128 - c. 136 A.D.; obverse CEBACTH CABEINA, draped bust right, wearing stephane; reverse TMΩΛITΩN, Apollo standing right, nude, bow in right hand, arrow in left hand; very rare; $200.00 (178.00)


Solus (Kefra), Sicily, c. 395 - 350 B.C.

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Solus (or Soluntum, near modern Solanto), one of the three chief Punic settlements on Sicily, was on the north coast about 16 km east of Panormus (modern Palermo). It lay 183 meters above sea level, on Monte Catalfano, in a naturally strong situation, and commanding a fine view. The date of its founding is unknown. Solus was one of the few colonies the Phoenicians held when they withdrew before the Greeks to the northwest corner of the island. Together with Panormus and Motya, it allied with Carthage. Dionysius took the city in 396 B.C., but it soon broke away again to Carthage. In 307 B.C. it was given to the soldiers and mercenaries of Agathocles, who had made peace with Carthage after he abandoned them in Africa. In the First Punic War, Solus opened its gates to Rome only after Panormus fell. Under Rome it was a municipal town of no great importance, scarcely mentioned by Cicero. It was noticed by Pliny and Ptolemy, and later. Its destruction probably dates from the time of the Saracens.Solus

GI76344. Bronze tetras, Calciati I p. 310, 5; Jenkins Punic I pl. 23, 20; SNG ANS 740 ff.; SNG Munchen 909; SNG Morcom 672; HGC 2 1254; BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; Laffaille -, gF, green patina, weight 2.235 g, maximum diameter 13.1 mm, Kefra (near Solanto, Sicily, Italy) mint, Carthaginian occupation, c. 395 - 350 B.C.; obverse head of Athena facing slightly right, wearing Corinthian helmet; reverse Punic inscription: KFRA, nude archer kneeling right, wearing pileus, shooting arrow; scarce; $160.00 (142.40)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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In 200 A.D. Septimius Severus visited the provinces of Syria, Palestine, and Arabia. Palestine, benefiting from the benevolent policies of Severus, had a significant economic revival.
RS85000. Silver denarius, RIC IV 30a; RSC III 413; BMCRE V p. 190, 179; Hunter III p. 51, 9; SRCV II 6857, Choice gVF, fine style, superb boy portrait, full circle centering on a broad flan, light toning, small edge cracks, weight 3.555 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 200 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PONTIF TR P III (priest, tribune of the people for 3 years), Caracalla (as Sol) standing facing, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, globe in right hand, leaning on reversed spear in left, not radiate; $150.00 (133.50)


Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D.

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In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Roman people, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc.
RS85551. Silver denarius, RIC IV 59(a); RSC III 114; BMCRE V p. 274, 579; Hunter III 24; SRCV II 7187, Choice gVF, excellent portrait, perfect centering, well struck, tiny edge cracks, slightly frosty, weight 3.369 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 208 A.D.; obverse P SEPTIMIVS GETA CAES, bearded, draped bust right, from behind; reverse PONTIF COS II (priest, consul for the 2nd time), Genius standing left, nude, sacrificing from patera in right hand over flaming altar, ears of grain downward in left hand; $150.00 (133.50)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Roman people, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc.
RS85126. Silver denarius, Woytek 518, Hunter II 176, RIC II 347, RSC II 276, BMCRE III 549, SRCV II 3149, VF, centered on a tight flan, bumps, scratches, tiny pitting, weight 3.059 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 114 - 117 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GERM DAC, laureate and draped bust right; reverse P M TR P COS VI P P S P Q R (high priest, tribune of the people, consul six times, father of the country, the senate and the Roman people), Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude, patera in right hand, large heads of grain in left downward in left hand; $125.00 (111.25)


Galerius, 1 March 305 - 5 May 311 A.D.

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In 295, Galerius, caesar in the Balkans, was dispatched to Egypt to fight against the rebellious cities Busiris and Coptos.
RT77118. Silvered follis, RIC VI Siscia 90b (R2), SRCV IV 14365, Cohen VII 56, EF, most silvering remaining, nice portrait, weight 8.863 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, c. 295 A.D.; obverse MAXIMIANVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing left, modius on head, naked but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, pouring libation from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, Γ right, *SIS in exergue; $120.00 (106.80)


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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On 8 October 314, at the Battle of Cibalae, Constantine defeated Licinius near Colonia Aurelia Cibalae (modern Vinkovci, Croatia). Licinius was forced to flee to Sirmium and lost all of the Balkans except for Thrace. The two Augusti initiated peace negotiations, but they failed and they would not make peace until 1 March 317.
RL85191. Billon follis, RIC VII Ticinum 21 (R1), SRCV IV 16087, Cohen VII 536, cf. Hunter V 139 (TT, 314 A.D.), Choice EF, nice portrait and reverse style, green patina, weight 3.279 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 314 - 315 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVI-C-TO COMITI, Sol standing slightly left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, celestial globe in left hand, star in left field, TT in exergue; rare; $120.00 (106.80)




  



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