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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Animals ▸ GriffinView 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.


Orthosia, Phoenicia, 41 - 40 B.C.

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Orthosia (near modern Arida, Lebanon) was located south of the Eleutheros River (the modern Kabir) in the far north of Phoenicia. It was a refounded by one of the Diadochi but which one is uncertain because the city changed hands frequently. The name Orthosia was derived from an epithet of Artemis and she was the principal divinity of the town.
GB73950. Bronze AE 24, HGC 10 209 (S, this date noted); RPC I - (this date noted p. 644); BMC Phoenicia p. 126, 1 (date obscure); SNG Cop 175 (no visible date); Rouvier -, VF, green patina, light encrustations and marks, edge chip, weight 6.820 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 0o, Orthoseia mint, 41 - 40 B.C.; obverse turreted head of Tyche right; reverse Baal of Orthosia standing on two winged lion-griffins, L∆K (year 24 of the Pompeian Era) horizontal on left, OPΘΩΣIEΩN in exergue; while others with this date are known to exist, we could not find another example; this date very rare; $120.00 (106.80)


Macedonian Kingdom, Antigonus I Monophthalmus, 323 - 301 B.C., In the Name of Alexander the Great

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Antigonos I Monophthalmos ("the One-eyed") (382 B.C. - 301 B.C.) was a nobleman, general, and governor under Alexander the Great. Upon Alexander's death in 323 B.C., he established himself as one of the successors and declared himself King in 306 B.C. The most powerful satraps of the empire, Cassander, Seleucus, Ptolemy, and Lysimachus, answered by also proclaiming themselves kings. Antigonus found himself at war with all four, largely because his territory shared borders with all of them. He died in battle at Ipsus in 301 B.C. Antigonus' kingdom was divided up, with Seleucus I Nicator gaining the most. His son, Demetrius I Poliorcetes, took Macedon, which the family held, off and on, until it was conquered by Rome in 168 B.C. -- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
GS77605. Silver drachm, Price 1387, Mller Alexander 614, SNG Cop 888, SNG Alpha Bank 582, SNG Munchen 451, aVF, scratches and marks, porosity, weight 4.051 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 270o, Mysia, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, 310 - 301 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus seated left on throne without back, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle extended in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, Pegasos forepart left in left field, Artemis standing left holding torch under throne; $110.00 (97.90)


Orthosia, Phoenicia, c. 30 - 28 B.C.

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A similar type was struck at Orthosia for Cleopatra with her bust on the obverse. After Antony and Cleopatra were defeated, under the rule of Augustus, her bust was replaced by Tyche. RPC lists this type dated with years 36, 40 and 41. No date is visible on this coin. The date may simply be worn or perhaps it is an early issue struck with an undated die. The reverse style is so close to that of the coins struck under Cleopatra that the die may have been recycled from her last issue with her regnal year erased.
SH73047. Bronze AE 20, cf. SNG Cop 175 (also no date visible), RPC I 4504 (year 36 = 29 - 28 B.C.), Rouvier 869 (same), F, corrosion, weight 8.937 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Phoenicia, Orthosia mint, rule of Augustus, c. 30 - 28 B.C.; obverse turreted head of Tyche right; reverse Baal of Orthosia in chariot pulled by to griffins to right, crescent above his head, OPΘΩCIEΩN in exergue, undated(?); extremely rare; $90.00 (80.10)


Amphipolis, Macedonia, c. 168 - 31 B.C.

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In 168 B.C., the Romans invaded Macedonia and overthrew King Perseus in the First Battle of Pydna. In 149 B.C., Andriskos, at that time ruler of Adramyttium only, claiming to be Perseus' son, announced his intention to retake Macedonia from Rome. Andriskos traveled to Syria to request military help from Demetrius Soter of Syria. Demetrius instead handed him over to Rome. Andriskos escaped captivity, raised a Thracian army, invaded Macedonia, and defeated the Roman praetor Publius Juventius. Andriskos then declared himself King Philip VI of Macedonia. In 148 B.C., Andriskos conquered Thessaly and made an alliance with Carthage, thus bringing the Roman wrath on him. In 148 B.C., in what the Romans called the Fourth Macedonian War, he was defeated by the Roman praetor Q. Caecilius Metellus at the Second Battle of Pydna. He fled to Thrace, whose prince gave him up to Rome. Andriskos' brief reign over Macedonia was marked by cruelty and extortion. After this, Macedonia was formally reduced to a Roman province.
GB84830. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 58; SNG ANS 104 (monograms obscure); AMNG III.2 p. 34, 29 var. (different monograms); BMC Macedonia -; SNG Dreer -; SNG Berry -, VF, dark patina, slightly rough, tiny edge split, weight 10.444 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 315o, Amphipolis mint, c. 187 - 31 B.C.; obverse head of Roma right, wearing earring, necklace, and Phrygian helmet ornamented with the wings, dorsal spines, and head of a griffin; reverse AMFIPO/LITWN in two lines, ΩΠNK monogram above, ΩΣ monogram below, all within oak wreath; ex Roma Auction 4 (30 Sep 2012), lot 1157; $90.00 (80.10)


Phokaia, Ionia, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

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Hermes is the messenger of the gods in Greek mythology. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of thieves and road travelers, of orators and wit, of literature and poets, of athletics, of weights and measures, of invention, of general commerce, and of the cunning of thieves and liars. His symbols include the tortoise, the rooster, the winged sandals, and the caduceus. The analogous Roman deity is Mercury.
GB71725. Bronze AE 18, BMC Ionia 217, 105; SNG Cop 1038; SNGvA 7959; SNG Munchen -, gVF, dark green patina, a little rough, weight 3.433 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Phokaia (Foca, Turkey) mint, magistrate Pythis, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Hermes right, wearing chlamys and petasos; reverse forepart of griffin right, Φ−Ω divided above body and forelegs, ΠYΘIΣ below; ex Roma Numismatics auction 4 (30 Sep 2012), lot 1681; $70.00 (62.30)


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

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This issue, assigned to Alaisa in many references, was perhaps produced by Thracian mercenaries operating in Sicily in the 4th century B.C.
GI72231. 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, aVF, weight 9.118 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain mint, c. 367 - 340 B.C.; obverse griffin springing left, wings open, rope-like exergue line (clouds?); reverse horse prancing left, loose reigns flying behind, KAINON in exergue; $70.00 (62.30)


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

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This issue, assigned to Alaisa in many references, was perhaps produced by Thracian mercenaries operating in Sicily in the 4th century B.C.
GI75648. Bronze tetras, Calciati I, p. 252, 10; SNG Cop 134 (Alaesa); SNG Munchen 218 (Alaisa); SNG ANS 1178 (Alaesa); BMC Sicily p. 29, 8 (Alaesa); HGC 2 509, F, scrapes, weight 9.108 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 45o, uncertain mint, c. 367 - 340 B.C.; obverse griffin springing left, wings open, grasshopper left below; reverse horse prancing left, loose reigns flying behind, KAINON in exergue, star with eight rays around a central pellet above; $60.00 (53.40)


Abdera, Thrace, c. 281 - 200 B.C.

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SNG Copenhagen speculates the kings depicted on this series are Ptolemy III, IV, or V.
GP54278. Bronze AE 19, Svoronos 929, Lindgren 740 (different portrait style), SNG Cop 380 (different portrait style), RPC II -, BMC Thrace -, AMNG II -, F, rough, scratches, weight 4.072 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Abdera mint, c. 281 - 200 B.C.; obverse head of Ptolemy III right; reverse AB∆H−PITΩN, griffin recumbent to left, star and pellet before; rare; $40.00 (35.60)







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Catalog current as of Friday, May 26, 2017.
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