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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Birds ▸ Other BirdView Options:  |  |  | 

Birds on Ancient Coins

Ionia, c. 600 - 550 B.C.

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In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. In early Greek art, Sirens were represented as birds with large women's heads, bird feathers, and scaly feet. Later, they were represented as female figures with the legs of birds, with or without wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps. Later Sirens were sometimes depicted as beautiful women, whose bodies, not only their voices, were seductive.
SH84464. Electrum hemihekte, Unpublished in major references; Naville auction VII (1924), Bement Collection, lot 1435; CNG, Triton XI (8 Jan 2008), lot 253, aEF, tight flan, earthen deposits, weight 1.367 g, maximum diameter 8.8 mm, Ionia, uncertain mint, c. 600 - 550 B.C.; obverse siren standing left; reverse incuse square punch; ex Numismatica Ars Classica, auction 92, part 2 (24 May 2016), lot 1476; this type is not published in the major references but many examples are known from auctions; rare; $1200.00 (1020.00)

Sardes, Lydia, c. 133 B.C. - 14 A.D.

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Sardis was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, one of the important cities of the Persian Empire, the seat of a proconsul under the Roman Empire, and the metropolis of the province Lydia in later Roman and Byzantine times. Its importance was due first to its military strength, secondly to its situation on an important highway leading from the interior to the Aegean coast, and thirdly to its commanding the wide and fertile plain of the Hermus. As one of the Seven churches of Asia, it was addressed by John, the author of the Book of Revelation in the Holy Bible, in terms which seem to imply that its population was notoriously soft and fainthearted. Remains including the bath-gymnasium complex, synagogue and Byzantine shops are open to visitors year-round.
GB86476. Bronze AE 20, SNGvA 3129; SNG Mn 463; SNG Tb 3784; SNG Righetti 1079; Weber 6901; SNG Cop 463 var. (control); BMC Lydia p. 242, 49 ff. var. (control), VF, well centered on a tight flan, weight 8.099 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 133 B.C. - 14 A.D.; obverse turreted and veiled bust of Tyche right; reverse Zeus Lydios, wearing himation and chiton, standing left, eagle in extended right hand, scepter in left hand, monogram (control) lower left, ΣAP∆IANΩN downward on right; $120.00 (102.00)


Catalog current as of Wednesday, March 21, 2018.
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