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

Lions on Ancient Coins

Knidos, Caria, c. 210 - 185 B.C.

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The ancient Carian city of Knidos, near modern Tekir, Turkey, was described by Strabo as "built for the most beautiful of goddesses, Aphrodite, on the most beautiful of peninsulas." The legendary Aphrodite of Praxiteles, one of the most beautiful sculptures of antiquity, once graced her temple at Knidos. It has perished, but late copies exist, of which the most faithful is in the Vatican Museums. A fine seated statue of Demeter and a colossal figure of a lion found there are in the British Museum.
GS86557. Silver didrachm, SNG Cop 318, Imhoof-Blumer Karische 32, Waddington 2312, SNG Keckman -, SNGvA -, SNG Kayhan -, SNG Mn -, SNG Tb -, SNG Mugla -, BMC Caria -, aEF, toned, tight flan typical for the type, encrustations, light corrosion, edge cracks, weight 5.531 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Knidos (near Tekir, Turkey) mint, magistrate Agephon..., c. 210 - 185 B.C.; obverse head of Helios facing slightly right; reverse forepart of roaring lion right, club to left, KNI∆ION above, AΓEΦΩN (magistrate) below; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; rare; $580.00 (493.00)


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; $240.00 (204.00)


Chersonesos, Thrace, c. 400 - 338 B.C.

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Chersonesos is Greek for 'peninsula' and several cities used the name. The city in Thracian Chersonesos (the Gallipoli peninsula) that struck these coins is uncertain. The coins may have been struck at Cardia by the peninsula as a league, or perhaps they were struck by lost city on the peninsula named Chersonesos. Chersonesos was controlled by Athens from 560 B.C. to 338 B.C., aside from a brief period during this time when it was controlled by Persia. It was taken by Philip II of Macedonia in 338 B.C., Pergamon in 189 B.C., and Rome in 133 B.C. It was later ruled by the Byzantine Empire and then by the Ottoman Turks.
GS86502. Silver hemidrachm, SNG Cop 842; BMC Thrace p. 183, 14 var. (wreath vice trilobe); SNG Ashmolean 3589 var. (same); McClean 4073 ff. var. (rosette vice trilobe), VF, toned, some bumps and marks, weight 2.299 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chersonesos mint, c. 400 - 338 B.C.; obverse lion forepart right, head turned back left, tongue protruding, fore-paws raised; reverse quadripartite incuse square with alternating shallow and deeper sunken quarters, pellet (control symbol) in one sunken quarter, pellet within trilobe (flower?, control symbol) in the opposite sunken quarter; $180.00 (153.00)


Marion, Cyprus, Stasiakos II, c. 330 - 312 B.C.

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Stasiakos II, king of Marion, was deposed in 312 B.C. by Ptolemy I and the city of Marion was destroyed. This extremely rare type was apparently unpublished until 1998. Coin Archives lists only one sale of this type in the past two decades.
GB87141. Bronze AE 20, Destrooper 16; Bank of Cyprus 10; Symeonides 63 ff., cf. Tziambazis 57 (AE16, lion head facing), SNG Cop -, BMC Cyprus -, VF, rough, weight 7.634 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, Marion mint, c. 330 - 312 B.C.; obverse round shield ornamented with laurel wreath; reverse MAPIEYΣ (below), lion head left; extremely rare; $175.00 (148.75)


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Cybele, called mother of the gods, was originally Anatolian mother goddess. In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater ("Great Mother"). Roman mythographers reinvented her as a Trojan goddess, and thus an ancestral goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas. With Rome's eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanised forms of Cybele's cults spread throughout the Roman Empire.
RS85214. Silver denarius, RIC IV C382 (S); BMCRE V p. 432, 14; RSC III 137; SRCV II 7401, Choice gVF, bold well centered strike, light toning, weight 3.517 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, reign of Caracalla, 211 - 215 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, flat coil at back of head, looped plait from ear and on neck; reverse MATRI DEVM, Cybele standing facing, legs crossed, leaning with left arm resting on a column, head left, towered and veiled, drum in right hand, long scepter resting against left arm, lion left at feet half visible from behind legs to left; scarce; $160.00 (136.00)


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; $140.00 (119.00)


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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These very small fractions always weigh less than the theoretical weight for the denomination. They were often struck significantly below the theoretical weight. Wear, corrosion and porosity have usually further reduced the weight over time. They may even weigh less than half their theoretical weight. Assigning the denomination during attribution is often speculative.
GA85721. Silver obol, SNG BnF 378; SNG Cop 48; SNG Kayhan 55; BMC Mysia p. 35, 118; Von Fritze II 11, gVF, sharp detail, lightly etched surfaces, earthen deposits, tight flan, weight 0.798 g, maximum diameter 11.7 mm, die axis 270o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse forepart of boar running left, reversed E on side, tunny fish upwards behind (tunny off flan); reverse head of roaring lion left within incuse square; $135.00 (114.75)


Leontinoi, Sicily, 477 - 466 B.C.

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Leontini was founded as by colonists from Naxos in 729 B.C., 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 B.C. by Hippocrates of Gela, and in 476 B.C. Hieron of Syracuse moved the inhabitants from Catania and Naxos to Leontini. This coin was struck during a period of independence during which Leontini sought the support of Athens against Syracuse. In part, this request led to Athens' failed Sicilian Expeditions, after which Athens declined. Leontini was again made subject to Syracuse in 415 B.C.
GS85702. Silver obol, Boehringer Leontinoi 19; SNG Fitz 1039; SNG Mn 547; BMC Sicily p. 88, 19; SNG ANS 214 var. (ΛE/ON); SNG Cop 342 var. (same); HGC 2 687 (same), gVF, toned, well struck, weight 0.550 g, maximum diameter 10.8 mm, die axis 90o, Leontinoi mint, 477 - 466 B.C.; obverse facing lion scalp; reverse ΛE-ON (clockwise), barley grain, in shallow round incuse; $125.00 (106.25)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.

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After his brother Demetrius was captured by the Parthians, Antiochus VII was made king. He married Demetrius' wife Cleopatra Thea. He defeated the usurper Tryphon at Dora and laid siege to Jerusalem in 134. According to Josephus, the Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus opened King David's sepulcher and removed three thousand talents, which he then paid Antiochus to spare the city.
GY85814. Bronze AE 15, Houghton CSE 281, Babelon Rois 1108 (no aphlaston), BMC Seleukid 68 var. (star vice aphlaston), Houghton-Lorber II 2068.4b, HGC 9 1096 (S), VF, attractive desert patina with highlighting red earthen fill, off center on a tight flan, weight 2.965 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 90o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 136 - 135 B.C.; obverse lion head right; reverse vertical club, ∆I monogram over aphlaston (control marks) left; retrograde ZOP (year 177 of the Seleukid Era) below, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY / EYEPΓETOY in three downward lines, first two lines on right, last line on left; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; $125.00 (106.25)


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); $120.00 (102.00)




  



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