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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Animals ▸ LionView Options:  |  |  |   

Lions on Ancient Coins

Ionia, c. 600 - 550 B.C.

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From die wear, we know that many of these early electrum types from Ionia were struck in very large quantities. From the rarity of survivors, we know the vast majority of these earliest coins were melted down and recycled into later coins.
SH84466. Electrum 1/24 stater, Weidauer 122 - 123; SNG Kayhan 708 - 710, Mitchiner ATEC 142, Zhuyuetang -, Trait I -, Rosen -, SNGvA -, VF, dies quite worn, edge splits, weight 0.590 g, maximum diameter 7.1 mm, Ionia, uncertain mint, c. 600 - 550 B.C.; obverse head of lion right, linear form; reverse quadripartite incuse square punch, pellet in center; $450.00 (400.50)


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C.

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Although the primary references do not specify the arrangement of the reverse inscription, most specimens of this issue have the have the royal title on the right and Lysimachos' name in the exergue. This variant with the title in the exergue and his name right is very rare and was first described in the referenced article by Nicholas A. Sicurella, published in The Celator in June 1996.
GS84487. Silver drachm, Sicurella, N. "An unpublished drachm of Lysimachus" in The Celator 10.6 (June 1996), figs. 1-2; Price L12; Thompson 36; Mller 25; SNG BnF -, gVF, lightly toned, minor marks, small flaw on edge, some minor edge flaking, weight 4.141 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 135o, Mysia, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, 299 - 296 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse ΛYΣIMAXOY, Zeus Atophoros seated left on throne, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, dolphin left above lion forepart left (control symbols) on left, torch (control symbol) below throne; from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection, ex CNG e-auction 296 (13 Feb 2013), lot 25; $380.00 (338.20)


Syracuse, Sicily, Agathokles, 317 - 289 B.C.

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With an army of mercenaries, through deceit, and after banishing or murdering some 10,000 citizens, Agathocles made himself master of Syracuse and later most of Sicily. Machiavelli wrote of him, "It cannot be called prowess to kill fellow-citizens, to betray friends, to be treacherous, pitiless, and irreligious" and cited him as an example of "those who by their crimes come to be princes." According to the historian Justin, very early in life Agathocles parlayed his remarkable beauty into a career as a prostitute, first for men, and later, after puberty, for women, and then made a living by robbery before becoming a soldier and marrying a rich widow.
GI76945. Bronze litra, Calciati II p. 287, 150 Ds 14 Rs 63; BMC Sicily p. 196, 391; SNG ANS 740; SNG Cop 767; HGC 2 1465 var. (R1, 4th Democracy, different controls), aEF, dark sea-green patina, light marks, small spots of light corrosion, flan with ragged edge splits, weight 8.501 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 315o, Syracuse mint, 305 - 295 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of young Herakles left, wearing taenia, star (control symbol) behind neck; reverse lion walking right, right foreleg raised, club right above, arrow right (control symbol) in exergue; $300.00 (267.00)


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

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This type indicates Severus granted a special favor to Carthage. The water may indicate that he improved the water supply, possibly construction of an aqueduct.
RS79924. Silver denarius, RIC IV 130a; RSC III 97; BMCRE V p. 208, 280; Hunter III 38; SRCV II 6806, Choice VF, nice youth portrait, excellent centering, edge cracks, weight 3.228 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 201 - 206 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse INDVLGENTIA AVGG IN CARTH, Dea Caelestis riding lion right over water gushing from rock, thunderbolt in right hand, scepter in left hand; $225.00 (200.25)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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This coin is from the issue celebrating the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Rome. Lions undoubtedly participated in the celebratory events, battles between animals, and the slaughter of condemned criminals.
RB84483. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 158 (S), Hunter III 105, SRCV III 9010, Cohen V 176, gVF, excellent portrait, red-brown coppery surfaces, tight squared flan (typical for the issue), small edge crack, weight 12.453 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SAECVLARES AVGG, lion walking right, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; ex Triskeles auction 14 (23 Apr 2015), lot 143; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; scarce; $240.00 SALE PRICE $216.00 ON RESERVE


Rhegion, Bruttium, Italy, c. 415 - 387 B.C.

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Rhegion reached great artistic and cultural heights. It was home to academies, such as the Pythagorean School, and to well-known poets, historians and sculptors such Ibycus, Ippy, and Pythagoras. It was an important ally of the Roman Republic. Rhegium flourished during the Imperial Age but was devastated by several major earthquakes and tsunami. St. Paul passed through Rhegium on his final voyage to Rome (Acts XXVIII:13).
GS79976. Silver litra, SNG Cop 1936; SNG ANS 670; SNG Munchen 1588; SNG Tub 536; HN Italy 2495; BMC Italy p. 376, 30, VF, well centered, nice style, uneven toning, light corrosion, weight 0.722 g, maximum diameter 10.2 mm, die axis 90o, Rhegion mint, c. 415 - 387 B.C.; obverse facing lion scalp mask; reverse olive sprig with two olives, PH between the leaves; $180.00 (160.20)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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Severus was born in Leptis Magna (Khoms, Libya) in the Roman province of Africa. This type was struck to commemorate the emperor's visit to his native Africa in 207. See Leptis Magna on Wikipedia.
RS79618. Silver denarius, RIC IV 207 (S); RSC III 493; BMCRE V p. 263, 531; SRCV II 6341, aEF, slightly off-center, weight 3.395 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XV COS III P P, Africa standing half right, wearing elephant skin headdress, with right holding out drapery with fruits in the fold, lion at her feet right; scarce; $160.00 (142.40)


Persian Empire, Sidon, Phoenicia, Ba'Alshillem II, c. 401 - 366 B.C.

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Sidon, named for the "first-born" of Canaan, the grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:15, 19), is frequently referred to by the prophets (Isaiah 23:2, 4, 12; Jeremiah 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezekiel 27:8; 28:21, 22; 32:30; Joel 3:4). The Sidonians long oppressed Israel (Judges 10:12) but Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with them, and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the land of Israel (1 Kings 11:1, 33). Jesus visited the "coasts" of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24) where many came to hear him preach (Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17). After leaving Caesarea, Paul's ship put in at Sidon, before finally sailing for Rome (Acts 27:3, 4).
GS70326. Silver 1/16 shekel, Elayi 2004 851 ff.; HGC 10 240; Betlyon 27 (Abd'astart, Straton I); BMC Phoenicia p 146, 36 (same); SNG Cop 197 ff. (same), VF, toned, tiny edge cuts, banker's mark, tight flan, bumps and marks, weight 0.648 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, die axis 90o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, c. 371 - 370 B.C.; obverse war galley left, Phoenician letter beth above, banker's mark or countermark above galley; reverse King of Persia (to left) standing right, slaying erect lion to right, Phoenician letter ayin between them; $160.00 (142.40)


Koinon of Macedonia, Reign of Gordian III, 238 - 244 A.D., Alexander and Bucephalus

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Plutarch tells the story of how, in 344 B.C. Philonicus the Thessalian, a horse dealer, offered a massive wild stallion to Alexander's father, King Philip II. Since no one could tame the animal, Philip was not interested. Alexander, however, seeing that the horse was afraid of his own shadow, promised to pay for the horse himself should he fail to tame it. He was given a chance and surprised all by subduing it. Alexander spoke soothingly to the horse and turned it towards the sun so that it could no longer see its shadow. Eventually Bucephalus allowed Alexander to ride him. Embarrassed, Philip commented "O my son, look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee." Alexander named the horse Bucephalus because the horse's head seemed "as broad as a bull's." Bucephalus died of battle wounds in 326 B.C., in Alexander's last battle. Alexander founded the city of Bucephala (thought to be the modern town of Jhelum, Pakistan) in memory of his wonderful horse.
SH65202. Bronze AE 25, AMNG III 724; cf BMC Macedonia p. 22, 102 (one neokorie); SNG Cop -; SNG Hunterian -; SNG Bar -; SNG Saroglos -; Lindgren -, F, weight 10.822 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 180o, Macedonia, Beroea(?) mint, 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, head of Alexander the Great right, as Herakles, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse KOINON MAKE∆ONΩN B NEΩ, Alexander galloping left on his horse Bucephalus, about to spear a lion leaping left below; rare; $155.00 (137.95)


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachus, 305 - 281 B.C.

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Lysimachus, a bodyguard for Alexander the Great, was made a strategos (general) after Alexander's death. He became one of the diadochi (successors) of Alexander who divided the empire and continually allied and warred with each other. In 305, he took the title of basileus (king), ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedonia. He was killed in battle against Seleukos.

Colophon was about 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Ephesus. The same type with the same symbols was also issued by Colophon in the name of Alexander (examples are listed in Forum's catalog).
GS84602. Silver drachm, Price L23, Thompson 123, Mller L19, SGCV II 6812, gF, well centered, toned, weight 4.000 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Ionia, Kolophon (near Degirmendere Fev, Turkey) mint, c. 299 - c. 296 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Zeus enthroned left, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, lion forepart and crescent left, pentagram under throne; from the Lawrence Woolslayer Collection, ex Forum (2004); $155.00 (137.95)




  



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