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

Boars, Sows and Piglets on Ancient Coins

For an interesting article about pigs on coins, see, "This Little Piggy Went to Market: Boars, Hogs, Sows and Piglets on Ancient Coins" by Mike Markowitz in CoinWeek


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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In 77 or 78 A.D., Gnaeus Julius Agricola was made governor of Roman Britain, a post he occupied until 84. In his first year, Agricola subdued the Ordovices in Wales and pursued the remnants of the tribe to Anglesey, the holy island of the Druids. According to Tacitus, he exterminated the whole tribe. The Ordovices do completely disappear from the historical record, but considering the mountainous terrain, it is unlikely killed the entire population. Another tribe, the Silures, was either also militarily defeated or simply agreed to terms. Tacitus wrote of the Silures: non atrocitate, non clementia mutabatur - the tribe "was changed neither by cruelty nor by clemency." A Roman squadron, sent by Agricola, explored the north of Scotland for the first time, discovering the Orkney and Shetland Islands.Pre-Roman Wales
RS86687. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 983, RSC II 214, BMCRE II 214, BnF III 189, Hunter I 71, SRCV I 2292 var. (head right), Choice EF, well centered and struck, excellent portrait, mint luster, radiating flow lines, clashed reverse die, small edge cracks, weight 3.437 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jul 77 - Dec 78 A.D.; obverse CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head left; reverse sow and three piglets at feet (one before, one below and one behind) walking left, all on ground line, IMP XIX in exergue; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; ex Helios, auction 4 (14 Oct 2009), lot 298; ex A. Lynn Collection; $900.00 (€765.00)
 


Abakainon, Sicily, c. 410 - 396 B.C.

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Even today, Sicilian farmers allow their indigenous Sicilian Black Swine to forage for acorns in the oak forests of the Nebrodi Mountains near ancient Abakainon. Physically resembling and often mistaken for wild boar, they stand about 70 centimeters high and have a prominent ridge of spinal bristles running from its large head to about midway along its back. There are fewer than 2000 of these swine today. Their meat, especially Nebrodi ham, is highly prized as the pig's wild woodlands diet enhances the flavor.
GS86588. Silver litra, SNG Lloyd 779; SNG Cop 6; BMC Sicily p. 1, 6 (R2); Weber 1170; HGC 2 21 (R2); SNG ANS -; SNG München -; SNG Tübingen -, aEF, finest style for the type, toned, reverse off center, scratches, lightly etched surfaces, weight 0.521 g, maximum diameter 11.8 mm, die axis 180o, Abakainon (Tripi, Sicily) mint, c. 410 - 396 B.C.; obverse head of water nymph facing slightly left; reverse sow and piglet walking left, piglet before her, below her head, double exergue line, ABA above, linear boarder, within round incuse; a tiny gem, quite beautiful in-hand viewed at actual size; very rare; $260.00 (€221.00)
 


Sicily, Abakainon, c. 410 - 396 B.C.

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Even today, Sicilian farmers allow their indigenous Sicilian Black Swine to forage for acorns in the oak forests of the Nebrodi Mountains near ancient Abakainon. Physically resembling and often mistaken for wild boar, they stand about 70 centimeters high and have a prominent ridge of spinal bristles running from its large head to about midway along its back. There are fewer than 2000 of these swine today. Their meat, especially Nebrodi ham, is highly prized as the pig's wild woodlands diet enhances the flavor.
GI86596. Silver litra, SNG München 4 (same rev. die); SNG Tübingen 552; SNG ANS 899; BMC Sicily p. 2, 8; Weber 1171; HGC 2 20 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG Lloyd -, gVF, toned, some bumps and scratches, some corrosion, weight 0.675 g, maximum diameter 11.7 mm, die axis 45o, Abakainon (Tripi, Sicily) mint, c. 410 - 396 B.C.; obverse head of water nymph facing slightly left; reverse sow and piglet walking right, piglet before her, below her head, double exergue line, BA above, A in exergue, within round incuse; rare; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


Akragas, Sicily, Tyrant Phintias, 287 - 278 B.C.

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The head on the obverse is variously identified in Calciati as Apollo, in BMC Sicily and SNG Cop as Persephone, in Weber as Apollo or Persephone, and in SNG ANS, McClean, and HGC 2 as a river god. There is also a similar coin with a bust of Artemis wearing earring, necklace and quiver on the obverse. We are convinced the obverse bust on this type is the river god Akragas, wreathed in reeds, not Apollo, who should be laureate, or Persephone, who should be more feminine, wearing jewelry, and wreathed in barley.
GB86319. Bronze AE 22, BMC Sicily p. 20, 136; SNG Cop 103; McClean 2105, SNG ANS 1123 corr. (NΓ ligature in error); Calciati 117 var. (no monogram); HGC 2 170 (R2), gVF, green patina, minor encrustations, cleaning scratches, spots of slight corrosion, weight 7.379 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, Akragas (Agrigento, Sicily, Italy) mint, 287 - 279/8 B.C.; obverse head of the river god Akragas left, wearing a wreath of reeds, NE ligature behind; reverse wild boar charging left, BAΣIΛEOΣ above, ΦINTIA in exergue, linear border; rare; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


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; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Uncertain (Ionia or Aegean Islands?), c. 550 - 450 B.C.

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We received this coin attributed to Kythnos, Cyclades Islands, Greece, but neither the boar's head nor the incuse punch share the same style with specimens from Kythnos known to Forum. The origin of this coin is uncertain. If it is a great rarity of high value, please let us know so we can raise the price before you buy it (just kidding, go ahead, buy it).
GA86886. Silver tetartemorion, VF, centered, toned, porous, weight 0.153 g, maximum diameter 5.2 mm, uncertain mint, c. 550 - 450 B.C.; obverse boar head right; reverse incuse square; very rare; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


Lesbos, c. 500 - 450 B.C.

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A most unusual use of illusion on a coin. The two confronting boars' heads can also be viewed as the facing head of a panther.
GA87115. Billon 1/10 stater, BMC Troas p. 151, 14; SNG Cop 287; Traité I, p. 350, 564; SNGvA 7712 var. (no ethnic); SNG München 645 ff. var. (same); Rosen 542 var. (same), VF, porous, weight 0.982 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, uncertain Koinon of Lesbos mint, c. 500 - 450 B.C.; obverse confronting boar heads, creating the illusion of a facing head of a panther, ΛEΣ above; reverse quadripartite incuse square punch; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Arpi, Apulia, Italy, c. 325 - 275 B.C.

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Arpi was located 20 miles inland, 5 miles north of modern Foggia. Its territory extended to the sea, and Strabo says that from the extent of the city walls one could gather that it had once been one of the greatest cities of Italy. Legend attributed its foundation to Diomedes. The figure of a horse, which appears on its coins, shows the importance of horse-breeding in the district. As a protection against the Samnites, Arpi became an ally of Rome. In the war with Pyrrhus, the Arpi aided Rome with a contingent of 4000 infantrymen and 400 cavalrymen. Arpi remained faithful to Rome until Rome's defeat at the battle of Cannae. The consul Quintus Fabius Maximus captured it in 213 B.C. and it never recovered its former importance. No Roman inscriptions have been found there, and remains of antiquity are scanty.
GI76339. Bronze AE 21, HN Italy 642, SNG ANS 635, SNG Cop 603, SNG München 438, SNG BnF 1228; BMC Italy p. 130, 4; SGCV I 569, gF, green patina, irregular flan with sprues, a little rough, scratches, weight 5.940 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 270o, Arpi (near Foggia, Italy) mint, c. 325 - 275 B.C.; obverse laureate and bearded head of Zeus left, thunderbolt behind; reverse Kalydonian boar right, spear head right above, APΠANΩN in exergue; $80.00 (€68.00)
 







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