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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Animals| ▸ |Griffin||View Options:  |  |  | 

Griffins on Ancient Coins

The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle was the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Griffins are normally known for guarding treasure and well valued priceless possession.

Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 330 - 290 B.C.

|Italy|, |Metapontion,| |Lucania,| |Italy,| |c.| |330| |-| |290| |B.C.|, |nomos|
Demeter in Greek mythology is the goddess of grain and fertility, the pure; nourisher of the youth and the green earth, the health-giving cycle of life and death; and preserver of marriage and the sacred law. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, dated to about the seventh century B.C. she is invoked as the "bringer of seasons," a subtle sign that she was worshiped long before she was made one of the Olympians. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that also predated the Olympian pantheon.
SH95240. Silver nomos, Johnston C6; BMC Italy p. 252, 108; SNG ANS 489; SNG Munchen 977; SNG Lockett 421; SNG Fitzwilliam 509; SNG Oxford 760; HN Italy 1589, VF, attractive style, struck with high relief dies, light toning, tight flan, weight 7.524 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 270o, Metapontion (Metaponto, Italy) mint, c. 330 - 290 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter left, wreathed in grain; reverse barley ear with seven rows of grains, leaf on left, griffin springing right above leaf, ΛY below leaf, META on right; ex Forum (2013); $800.00 SALE |PRICE| $720.00


Cilicia (Uncertain City, possibly Tarsos), 4th Century B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Cilicia| |(Uncertain| |City,| |possibly| |Tarsos),| |4th| |Century| |B.C.|, |obol|
SNG Levante describes the obverse type as a Pegasos forepart, however, both their coin and ours clearly depict a griffin.
GS92951. Silver obol, SNG Levante 208 corr. (Pegasos vice Griffin in error), SNG BnF -, aVF, toned, light deposits, tight flan, worn dies, edge split, weight 0.680 g, maximum diameter 8.3 mm, die axis 90o, 4th century B.C.; obverse forepart of griffin left; reverse owl standing left, head facing, crescent and olive spray behind; only one sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades - Nomos AG, obolos 5 (26 Jun 2016), lot 437 (similar condition, realized 550 CHF plus 18.5% fees = $660); extremely rare; $400.00 SALE |PRICE| $360.00


"Kainon," Sicily, c. 367 - 340 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |"Kainon,"| |Sicily,| |c.| |367| |-| |340| |B.C.|, |tetras|NEW
This issue, assigned to Alaisa in many references, was perhaps produced by Thracian mercenaries operating in Sicily in the 4th century B.C.
GI93437. Bronze tetras, Calciati I p. 249, 1; SNG Cop 133 (Alaesa); SNG Munchen 213 (Alaisa); BMC Sicily p. 29, 3 (Alaesa?); SGCV I 1048 (Alaisa); HGC 2 509, F, dark patina, tight thick flan, founded edges, bumps, some corrosion, weight 9.380 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 135o, uncertain mint, c. 367 - 340 B.C.; obverse griffin springing left, wings open, rope-like exergue line (clouds?); reverse horse prancing left, loose reins flying behind, KAINON in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00







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