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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Non-Olympian| ▸ |Cupid or Eros||View Options:  |  |  |   

Cupid or Eros

Cupid to the Romans, Eros to the Greeks, is the god of desire, affection and erotic love. He is the son of goddess Venus and god Mars. In popular culture, Cupid is frequently shown shooting his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine's Day. Today he is the personification of love and courtship in general.


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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This type was a special military coinage produced by Caesar during his final campaign. This campaign against the Pompeian forces in Spain culminated in the battle of Munda on 17 March 45 B.C. The obverse refers to Caesar's mythical descent from the goddess Venus. The reverse refers to Caesar's victories in Gaul and the male Gaulish captive may be Vercingetorix.
RS50608. Silver denarius, Crawford 468/1, Sydenham 1014, RSC I 13, BMCRR Spain 89, Sear CRI 58, SRCV I 1404, Choice VF, weight 4.110 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 45o, Spanish mint, 46 - 45 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Venus right, small Cupid behind; reverse trophy of Gallic arms; on left, Gallia seated left with hand to head in attitude of morning; on right, male (Vercingetorix?) captive seated right, hands bound behind, looking up; CAESAR in exergue; SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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This type was a special coinage struck by a military mint traveling with Caesar in Hispania during his final campaign. This campaign against the Pompeian forces in Spain culminated in the battle of Munda on 17 March 45 B.C. The obverse refers to Caesar's mythical descent from the goddess Venus. The reverse refers to Caesar's victories in Gaul and the Gaulish captive may be Vercingetorix.
SH65209. Silver denarius, Crawford 468/2, Sydenham 1015, RSC I 14, Kestner 3644, BMCRR Spain 86, RBW Collection 1640, Sear CRI 59, SRCV I 1405, gVF, sharp detail, scratches, encrustation, weight 3.756 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 45o, late 46 - early 45 B.C.; obverse draped bust of Venus left, wearing stephane and star in her hair, small Cupid at point of bust, lituus left on left, scepter on right; reverse trophy of Gallic arms and carnyces; Gallic captive, on left, kneeling left, head right; Gallia, on right, seated right in attitude of mourning; CAESAR in exergue; military mint traveling with Caesar in Hispania; SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
This type was a special military coinage produced by Caesar during his final campaign. This campaign against the Pompeian forces in Spain culminated in the battle of Munda on 17 March 45 B.C. The obverse refers to Caesar's mythical descent from the goddess Venus. The reverse refers to Caesar's victories in Gaul and the male Gaulish captive may be Vercingetorix.
SL74867. Silver denarius, Crawford 468/1, Sydenham 1014, RSC I 13, BMCRR Spain 89, Sear CRI 58, SRCV I 1404, NGC XF, strike 4/5, surface 4/5 (2490379-001), weight 3.987 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 90o, Spanish mint, 46 - 45 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Venus right, small Cupid behind; reverse trophy of Gallic arms; on left, Gallia seated left with hand to head in attitude of morning; on right, male (Vercingetorix?) captive seated right, hands bound behind, looking back and up; CAESAR in exergue; SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
This type was a special military coinage produced by Caesar during his final campaign. This campaign against the Pompeian forces in Spain culminated in the battle of Munda on 17 March 45 B.C. The obverse refers to Caesar's mythical descent from the goddess Venus. The reverse refers to Caesar's victories in Gaul and the Gaulish captive may be Vercingetorix.
SH77463. Silver denarius, Crawford 468/1, Sydenham 1014, RSC I 13, BMCRR Spain 89, Sear CRI 58, SRCV I 1404, gVF, dark toning, porous, light marks, weight 3.377 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 45o, Spanish mint, 46 - 45 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Venus right, small Cupid behind; reverse two captives (male and female) seated at base of trophy of Gallic arms, CAESAR in exergue; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 233 (6 Oct 2015), lot 2252; SOLD


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Felix (Lucky) was a traditional epithet for Venus. Venus Felix was her cult title at Hadrian's temple to Venus Felix and Roma Aeterna on the Via Sacra. In dice-games, a popular pastime among Romans of all classes, the luckiest, best possible roll was known as "Venus."
SH76082. Silver denarius, RSC II 1449; BMCRE III 752; RIC II 280; SRCV II 3546, Hunter II 252 var. (palladium vice Cupid), EF, bold reverse with extraordinary style, toned, light marks, encrustations, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.276 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, bare head right; reverse VENERIS FELICIS, Venus seated left on throne without back, feet on footstool, winged Cupid standing left in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left; scarce; SOLD


Roman Republic, Dictatorship of Julius Caesar, Mn. Cordius Rufus, c. 46 B.C.

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The Cordia home, Tusculum, was a center of worship for the Dioscuri. The reverse is a clever play on the moneyer's name and may also compliment Julius Caesar who claimed descent from Venus. The particular design of Venus may derive from a statue placed in the temple of Venus Genetrix in the year of issue.
RR64084. Silver denarius, Sydenham 976b (also CORDIV, scarce), Crawford 463/1a, RSC I Cordia 2a, BMCRR I Rome 4037, RBW Collection 1606, Sear CRI 63, SRCV I 440, VF, toned, weight 4.027 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, c. 46 B.C.; obverse RVFVS III VIR downward behind, jugate heads of Dioscuri right, wearing laureate pilei surmounted by stars; reverse MN CORDIVS (MN ligate) downward on right, Venus standing half left, scales in right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, Cupid at shoulder; ex CNG auction 273 (8 Feb 2012), part of lot 620; scarce; SOLD


Roman Republic, Manius Fonteius C.f., c. 85 B.C.

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Vejovis is a little-known Italian deity. He was worshiped in a temple on the Capitol in Rome. The reverse most likely depicts a statue that was beside the statue of Vejovis in the temple. This statue may refer to the infancy of Jupiter who was suckled by the goat Amaltheia on Mount Ida.

The thyrsus is the staff carried by Bacchus and his associates; topped by a pine cone or a bunch of ivy leaves and wreathed with tendrils of vine or ivy.
RR34680. Silver denarius, RBW Collection 1352, Crawford 353/1d, Sydenham 724b, RSC I Fonteia 11, BMCRR I Rome 2481, SRCV I 271, EF, toned, weight 4.049 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 75o, Rome mint, c. 85 B.C.; obverse MN FONTEI C F (MN and NT ligate), laureate head of Vejovis right, thunderbolt below neck truncation, Roma monogram right; reverse Cupid seated on goat right, flanked by caps of the Dioscuri, thyrsus of Bacchus in exergue, all within laurel wreath; fabulous reverse, scarcer variety with the caps flanking the goat vice above; SOLD


Roman Republic, L. Cornelius Sulla, 84 - 83 B.C.

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Struck by a military mint traveling with Sulla in the east after his successful campaign against Mithradates VI. Venus was the patron goddess of Sulla. The two trophies of captured arms on the reverse advertise his two acclamations as imperator by his troops. With this, his first issue, Sulla was the first imperator to issue coinage to pay his legions without the authority of the senate, consequently breaking an important connection between the military and the government. Breaking another taboo, the types were overt propaganda advertising his personal power and accomplishments. Sulla's monetary "innovations" set the example for later imperators and contributed to Rome's transformation from republic to empire.
RR71323. Silver denarius, RSC Cornelia 29, Crawford 359/2, Sydenham 761, BMCRR East 3, SRCV I 276, aVF, both sides off-center but nearly all detail on flan, weight 3.682 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 0o, mobile military mint, 84 - 83 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Venus right, Cupid standing left holding long palm frond before, LēSVLLA below; reverse capis and lituus between two trophies of captured arms, IMPER above, ITERVM below; scarce; SOLD


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Victory seems an odd attribute for the goddess of love but both Sulla and Pompey dreamed of Venus Victrix. Julius Caesar, who claimed Venus as his ancestor, sacrificed to her and she ensured he was always victorious. The use of Victrix on the reverse of Mamaea's coinage at this time, not only appealed for her aid against the Persians, but also reminded the Romans that the empress too was in Syria accompanying the legions on campaign.
SH18330. Silver denarius, unpublished in major references, RIC IV -, BMCRE V -, RSC III -, SRCV II -, nice VF, weight 3.030 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 207 - 209 (211) A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in waved horizontal ridges, bun at back of head; reverse VENVS VICTRIX (victorious Venus), Venus standing left, helmet in right hand, palm frond in left hand, resting elbow on column behind, cuirass at feet behind left, Cupid holding grounded shield at feet right; very rare; SOLD


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). According to Hesiod (c. 700 B.C.), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld). Parmenides (c. 400 B.C.), one of the pre-Socratic philosophers, makes Eros the first of all the gods to come into existence. In early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Ultimately, by the later satirical poets, he is represented as a child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid.
RP85220. Bronze AE 20, RPC Online VI temp 3886 (3 spec. all same dies); BMC Mysia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG BnF -, SNG TŁb -, SNG Hunt-, SNG «anakkale -, SNG Leypold -, gVF, centered on a tight flan cutting off tops of some letters, marks and scratches, weight 6.148 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP SEV AL-EXANDER, radiate head right; reverse DEO CVPIDI-NI COLI C IL [?] PA (to the god Cupid, Colonia Gemella Julia Hadriana Pariana, blundered), Cupid standing slightly left, head right, nude but for drapery over left arm, right hand held over herm at feet on left; extremely rare; SOLD




  




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Cupid or Eros