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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Olympians| ▸ |Athena or Minerva||View Options:  |  |  |   

Athena or Minerva on Ancient Coins

Athena was the virgin goddess of wisdom, crafts, and battle strategy. Her symbols are the olive tree and the owl. She is the daughter of Zeus, according to some traditions by Metis.

Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, 113 - 95 B.C

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IX| |Cyzicenus,| |113| |-| |95| |B.C||tetradrachm|
After Antiochus IX's father died, his uncle Demetrius II Nicator took the throne. For his safety, his mother, Cleopatra Thea, sent him to Cyzicus (leading to his nickname). He returned to Syria in 116 B.C. to claim the throne from his half-brother Antiochus VIII Grypus, with whom he eventually divided Syria. He was killed in battle by the son of Grypus, Seleucus VI Epiphanes.
GY95956. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2384; Houghton CSE 725; Babelon Rois 1467; BMC Seleucid p. 92, 6; HGC 9 1288k (R2), gVF, well centered, dark old cabinet toning, old scratches, light deposits, weight 15.977 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 2nd reign, 113 - 112 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochos right; reverse Athena standing left, Nike in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, spear behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two lines downward on right, ΦIΛO−ΠATOPOΣ downward on left, ΣI∆Ω/IEP / AΣY in 3 lines over outer left, Σ (year 200) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $700.00 (€644.00)
 


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

|Bithynia|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Nicomedia,| |Bithynia||AE| |26|
Nicomedia was the Roman metropolis of Bithynia. Diocletian made it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis in 324. Constantine resided mainly in Nicomedia as his interim capital for the next six years, until in 330 when he declared nearby Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) the new capital. Constantine died in his royal villa near Nicomedia in 337. Due to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.
RP92638. Bronze AE 26, RPC IV.1 T9895 (1 spec.), Rec Gen 144(2), SNG Cop 568, SNGvA -, Corsten -, aVF, well centered, earthen highlights, porous, weight 10.629 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 30o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, obverse A K M AV KO ANTΩNI, laureate head right; reverse MHT NEΩ NEIKOMH∆, Athena standing left, wearing crested helmet, small galley in extended right hand, grounded vertical spear and round shield in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection, this is the second known and finest know specimen of the type; extremely rare; $500.00 (€460.00)
 


Persian Empire, Samaria, c. 375 - 333 B.C.

|Judaea| |&| |Palestine|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Samaria,| |c.| |375| |-| |333| |B.C.||obol|
Meshorer-Qedar lists Athena on the obverse, but on the three specimens known to FORVM it is clear that Athena is on the reverse. The types copy contemporary Cypriot stater types from Kition (obverse) and Lapethus (reverse).
GS95808. Silver obol, Meshorer-Qedar 102, cf. Sofaer Collection 63 (hemiobol), HGC 10 -, VF, well centered, toned, struck with worn dies (as are all specimens of this type known to FORVM), weight 0.65 g, maximum diameter 8 mm, die axis 10o, Samaria (10 km NW of Nablus, West Bank) mint, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse lion right atop and attacking a stag fallen right, (Aramaic 'šn', abbreviating Samarian) above; reverse head of Athena facing, wearing crested Attic helmet; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 11 (22 Feb 2020), lot 1128; ex Canaan Collection; only three sale of this type recorded on Coin Archives for the last two decades (and one of the three is this coin); very rare; $450.00 (€414.00)
 


Soloi, Cilicia, Macedonian Empire, Balakros, Satrap in Cilicia, 333 - 323 B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Soloi,| |Cilicia,| |Macedonian| |Empire,| |Balakros,| |Satrap| |in| |Cilicia,| |333| |-| |323| |B.C.||stater|
Balakros was a bodyguard (somatophylax) for Alexander the Great at the start of Asia campaign. After the Battle of Issus in 333 B.C. he was appointed governor of Cilicia. In 332 B.C. he supported the satraps Antigonus Monophthalmus and Kalas in the subjugation of the rest of Asia Minor. He was killed in battle attempting to subdue Isaurian mountain tribes.
GS97489. Silver stater, Casabonne Cilicien series 2, pl. VIII, 12 (D12/R1); SNG BnF 420; BMC Lycaonia p. 174, 67; Traité II 720; SNGvA -; SNG Levante -, aVF, encrustation, Athena's nose and lips flatly struck, weight 10.688 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 40o, Soloi (11 km west of Mersin, Turkey) mint, 333 - 323 B.C.; obverse Baaltars seated left, holding lotus-tipped scepter in right hand, stalk of grain and bunch of grapes to left, ·I· under seat below strut, B (for Balakros) right; reverse draped bust of Athena facing slightly left, wearing triple-crested helmet and necklace; ex Papillon auction 3 (27 Dec 20), lot 167; $380.00 (€349.60)
 


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

|Geta|, |Geta,| |209| |-| |c.| |26| |December| |211| |A.D.||denarius|
Minerva, equated with the Greek Athena, was the Roman virgin warrior goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic, and the inventor of music. She was worshiped on the Capitoline Hill as one of the Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Juno.
RS97463. Silver denarius, RIC IV 34b; RSC III 104a; BMCRE V p. 244, 446; Hunter III 20; SRCV II 7186, Choice gVF, superb portrait, well centered and struck, toned, edge ragged with splits and cracks, weight 3.550 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 205 - 208 A.D.; obverse P SEPTIMIVS GETA CAES, older boy's bare-headed and draped bust right, from behind; reverse PONTIF COS (priest, consul), Minerva standing left, helmeted, resting right hand on grounded shield, spear vertical behind in left hand; ex Savoca Coins auction blue 89 (07 Nov 2020), lot 1289; $175.00 (€161.00)
 


Termessos Major, Pisidia, 3rd Century A.D.

|Pisidia|, |Termessos| |Major,| |Pisidia,| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.||AE| |38|
Alexander the Great likened Termessos, high in the Taurus Mountains, to an eagle's nest after he surrounded it but failed to conquer it in 333 B.C. An ally of Rome, Termessos was granted independent status by the Roman Senate in 71 B.C. Independence was maintained continuously for a long time, the only exception being an alliance with Amyntas king of Galatia (reigned 36 - 25 B.C.). This independence is documented also by the coins of Termessos, which bear the title "Autonomous." Termessos was abandoned after its aqueduct was destroyed by an earthquake (date unknown).
GB83542. Bronze AE 38, SNGvA 5364; BMC Lycia p. 273, 41; SNG BnF -; SNG Cop -; SNG PfPs -; SNG Righetti -; SNG Tüb -, aVF, green patina, rough, pitting, corrosion, smoothing, edge chip, central cavities, weight 28.152 g, maximum diameter 37.8 mm, die axis 0o, Termessos Major mint, pseudo-autonomous, c. 238 - 268 A.D.; obverse TEPMHCCEΩN AVTONOMΩN, laureate and bearded head of Zeus right; reverse TΩN MEIZONΩN, Athena standing slightly left, head left, wearing helmet, long chiton, and peplos, holding Nike offering wreath in right hand, spear in left hand, shield at feet on far side of right leg, trophy of captured arms behind, Θ left; about twice the weight of the similar smaller and less rare coin with the same types (SNG BnF 2189, AE33, 14.06g); very rare; $100.00 (€92.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, 114 - 95 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IX| |Cyzicenus,| |114| |-| |95| |B.C.||AE| |15|
After Antiochus IX's father died, his uncle Demetrius II Nicator took the throne. For his safety, his mother, Cleopatra Thea, sent him to Cyzicus (leading to his nickname). He returned to Syria in 116 B.C. to claim the throne from his half-brother Antiochus VIII Grypus, with whom he eventually divided Syria. He was killed in battle by the son of Grypus, Seleucus VI Epiphanes.
GY93776. Bronze AE 15, Houghton Lorber 2378.1, Babelon Rois 1509, SNG Spaer 2721, BMC Seleucid 32 - 34, VF, well centered, dark patina, highlighting earthen deposits, light marks, light corrosion, weight 2.202 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain N. Syria, Phoenicia, or Coele Syria mint, 135 - 95 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena right; reverse prow right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY in two lines above, ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ below; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $100.00 (€92.00)
 


Taras, Calabria, Italy, c. 380 - 325 B.C.

|Italy|, |Taras,| |Calabria,| |Italy,| |c.| |380| |-| |325| |B.C.||diobol|
The first of Herakles' twelve labors, set by his cousin King Eurystheus, was to slay the Nemean lion and bring back its skin. It could not be killed with mortal weapons because its golden fur was impervious to attack. Its claws were sharper than swords and could cut through any armor. Herakles stunned the beast with his club and, using his immense strength, strangled it to death. During the fight, the lion bit off one of his fingers. After slaying the lion, he tried to skin it with a knife from his belt but failed. Wise Athena, noticing the hero's plight, told him to use one of the lion's own claws to skin the pelt.

This type was struck with dozens of different pose variations on the reverse. In some scenes, it even appears Herakles might lose. There are so many variations that it might be possible to take photographs of the reverses and arrange them in a flip book to animate the fight.
GI95916. Silver diobol, Vlasto 1319, SNG ANS 1405, HN Italy 911, HGC Italy 830, gF, toned, high points flatly struck, corrosion, scratches, lamination defects, small edge split, weight 0.650 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, die axis 0o, Taras (Taranto, Italy) mint, c. 380 - 325 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right in crested Attic helmet decorated with Skylla; reverse Herakles naked crouching right, strangling the Nemean Lion with both hands, club behind, magistrates initial (A?) upper right (off flan); from the Errett Bishop Collection; $100.00 (€92.00)
 


Kingdom of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C.

|Kingdom| |of| |Chalkis|, |Kingdom| |of| |Chalkis,| |Coele| |Syria,| |Ptolemaios,| |85| |-| |40| |B.C.||AE| |20|
Ptolemaios son of Mennaios (also known as Ptolemy I), an Ituraean Arab dynast, established the Kingdom of Chalkis, c. 85 B.C., during the collapse of the Seleukid Empire. The kingdom, with its capitol at Chalcis sub Libano at the foot of Antilibanus, included Heliopolis, the valley of the Marsyas, and the mountainous region of Ituraea. In 64 B.C., he bribed Pompey the Great to forgo annexing his kingdom into the new Roman province of Syria and to allow him to continue ruling his territory as Tetrarch. Ptolemaios was succeeded by his son Lysanias, who was put to death by Marc Antony for supporting Mattathias Antigonus over Herod the Great. Antony gave the tiny kingdom of Chalkis to Cleopatra as a gift.
GB88239. Bronze AE 20, Herman 9.a (same countermark), Lindgren III 1232 (same countermark), HGC 9 1445 (R1), SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, BMC Galatia -, aF, well centered, bumps and marks, corrosion, rough, weight 4.162 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis ad Libanon mint, 85 - 40 B.C.; obverse bust of Athena right, draped, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; countermark: male head right in round punch; reverse Dioskouroi standing facing each other, each holding a spear; monograms around; ex Forum (2000), ex Phil DeVicchi Collection; rare; $90.00 (€82.80)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus I Soter, 280 - 261 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |I| |Soter,| |280| |-| |261| |B.C.||AE| |14|
Antiochos' reign was marred by struggle against internal and external enemies, including the betrayal and revolt of his co-regent in the east, his eldest son, whom he was forced to execute. He earned the title savior (soter) of Asia by defeated roving bands of Galatians that had terrorized the cities for years. However, not long after, he lost southern and western Asia Minor to Ptolemy.
GB95356. Bronze AE 14, Houghton-Lorber I 315a; Newell WSM 1369; BMC Seleucid p. 13, 58; SNG Spaer 233; SNG Cop 77; SGCV II 6883; HGC 9 167 (R2), Choice aVF, dark patina, weight 2.294 g, maximum diameter 13.8 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, 280 - 261 B.C.; obverse bust of Athena facing, wearing triple-crested Attic helmet; reverse Nike walking left, raising wreath in right hand, long palm frond over left shoulder in left hand, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on right, symbol in circle outer left (control), no control right; $90.00 (€82.80)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

de Callata˙, F. "Le monnayage d'argent au type d'Athéna Parthénos émis au nom des Ainianes" in Obolos 7.
Houghton, A. "The Seleucid Mint of Mallus And the Cult Figure of Athena Magarsia" in Studies Mildenberg.
Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Flügelgestalten der Athena und Nike auf Münzen" in NZ III (1871)., pp. 1 - 50.

Catalog current as of Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
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