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

Elephants on Ancient Coins

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

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In 110, the Forum of Trajan was constructed in Rome by the Syrian architect Apollodorus of Damascus.
RX79999. Bronze drachm, Milne 621; Geissen 551; Dattari 765; Kampmann-Ganschow 27.316; BMC Alexandria p. 61, 510; Emmett 462, Fair, weight 21.827 g, maximum diameter 33.4 mm, die axis 215o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 110 - 28 Aug 111 A.D.; obverse AYT TPAIAN CEB ΓEPM ∆AKIK, laureate head right; reverse Trajan in slow quadriga of elephants right, laurel-branch in right hand, standard in left, L I∆ (year 14) above; ex Forum (2012); $125.00 (106.25)


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

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Elephants are represented on coins as an emblem of Eternity, because the ancients believed elephants lived two or even three hundred years. In April 248, Philip combined the celebration of Rome's 1000th anniversary with the Ludi Saeculares. Festivities included spectacular games and theatrical presentations. In the Colosseum, more than 1,000 gladiators were killed along with hundreds of exotic animals including hippos, leopards, lions, giraffes, and one rhinoceros. At the same time, Philip elevated his son to the rank of co-Augustus. Undoubtedly the festivities included elephants, as advertised by this coin.
RS87526. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 17, RIC IV 58, Hunter III 31, SRCV III 8921, VF, full-circle centering on a broad flan, attractive golden toning, some die wear, weight 3.950 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse AETERNITAS AVGG, elephant walking left, ridden by mahout guiding it with rod and goad; $95.00 (80.75)


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

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In 197, Septimius Severus returned to Rome and executed about 30 of Albinus' supporters in the Senate. After his victory he declared himself the adopted son of the late Marcus Aurelius. This type refers to games held to celebrate the victory over Albinus.
RS87521. Silver denarius, RIC IV 100 (S); RSC III 349; BMCRE V p. 56, 224; cf. SRCV II 6317 (IMP VIII); Hunter -, F, light tone, tight flan cutting off parts of legends, small edge cracks, weight 2.847 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 197 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP VIIII, laureate head right; reverse MVNIFICENTIA AVG, elephant walking right; from an American collection; scarce; $90.00 (76.50)


Apamea, Syria, 58 - 57 B.C.

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In 302 B.C., Seleucus ceded a large part of Afghanistan to Chandragupta for 500 elephants to equip his army. The Seleukids' elephant and horse breeding and training camp was at Apamea. More than thirty thousand brood mares and three hundred stallions were kept. Here instructors taught the methods of fighting in heavy armor, and all the arts of war. In 188 B.C., Rome forced the defeated Antiochus III to sign the Treaty of Apamea, which obligated him to hand over all but 10 of his ships, hostages, 15,000 talents and all his elephants. When this coin was issued, the elephants had long existed only in memory.
GY88148. Bronze AE 22, HGC 9 1420 (R1); Cohen DCA 424 (S); cf. BMC Galatia, p. 235, 14 and pl. 27, 6 (year 8); SNG Mnchen 794 (same); SNG Cop -, F, brown patina with red earthen highlighting, some porosity, typical tight flan, weight 8.386 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 0o, Syria, Apameia (Qalaat al-Madiq, Syria) mint, 58 - 57 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse AΠAMEΩN / THΣ IEPAΣ / KAI AΣYΛOY in three lines two above and one below, elephant walking right, Z (year 7 of Pompeian era) below trunk, uncertain control letters (off flan) below inscription; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; scarce; $90.00 (76.50)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VI Dionysus, 144 - c. 142 B.C.

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After his father was deposed by Demetrius II, the general Diodotus Tryphon nominated Antiochus VI as king. He gained the allegiance of most of the Seleucid domain, including Judaea, but was actually only a puppet of the general. He died after "ruling" for two years. He was likely assassinated under orders from Tryphon, who then made himself king.
GY84865. Bronze serrated AE 22, Houghton-Lorber II 2006a, SNG Spaer 1772, Houghton CSE 248, Babelon Rois 1007; SNG Cop 304 var. (star vice cornucopia), HGC 9 1043 (C-S), VF/F, nice green patina with red earthen highlighting, weight 7.249 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 45o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. mid-143 - 142 B.C.; obverse radiate head of Antiochos VI right, wreathed in ivy; reverse elephant walking left, holding torch in trunk, BAΣIΛEΩS ANTIOXOY above, EΠIΦANOYΣ ∆IONYΣOY in exergue, ΣTA over cornucopia (control symbols) to the right; $80.00 (68.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VI Dionysus, 144 - c. 142 B.C.

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After his father was deposed by Demetrius II, the general Diodotus Tryphon nominated Antiochus VI as king. He gained the allegiance of most of the Seleucid domain, including Judaea, but was actually only a puppet of the general. He died after "ruling" for two years. He was likely assassinated under orders from Tryphon, who then made himself king.
SH90305. Bronze serrated AE 22, Houghton-Lorber II 2006c, SNG Spaer 1774, Houghton CSE 249, SNG Cop 304 var. (control), HGC 9 1043 (C-S), VF, nice style, green patina, bumps and marks, weight 7.923 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. mid-143 - 142 B.C.; obverse radiate head of Antiochos VI right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse elephant walking left, holding torch in trunk, BAΣIΛEΩS ANTIOXOY above, EΠIΦANOYΣ ∆IONYΣOY in exergue, ΣTA over star (control symbols) to the right; ex Forum (2010); $70.00 (59.50)


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

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At the invitation of Nicomedes I of Bithynia, who required help in a dynastic struggle against his brother, three tribes of Celts crossed over from Thrace to Asia Minor. They numbered about 10,000 fighting men and about the same number of women and children. The Seleucid king Antiochus I, in 275 B.C., defeated them in a battle using Seleucid war elephants to shock the Celts. This victory was the origin of Antiochus' title of Soter (Greek for "savior"). These "Gauls" were not exterminated, many joined Antiochus' army as mercenaries. They established a long-lived Celtic territory in central Anatolia, called Galatia. Strengthened by fresh accessions of the same clans from Europe, the "Galatians" overran Bithynia and supported themselves by plundering neighboring countries.
GY87705. Bronze AE 19, Houghton and Lorber I 339.4, Newell ESM 946, HGC 9 148, F, well centered, corrosion, weight 6.277 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 300o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 278 - 268 B.C.; obverse Macedonian shield decorated with anchor in center, six double arcs around; reverse horned elephant walking right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY above and below, monogram and club above, jawbone below; $70.00 (59.50)







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Catalog current as of Thursday, December 13, 2018.
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Elephant