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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Animals| ▸ |Man-Faced Bull||View Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Coins Depicting a Man-Faced Bull
Neapolis, Campania, Italy, c. 300 - 275 B.C.

|Italy|, |Neapolis,| |Campania,| |Italy,| |c.| |300| |-| |275| |B.C.||didrachm|NEW
Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the second millennium B.C. The city was refounded as Neapolis in the sixth century B.C. and became an important hub of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society. Naples remained influential under Rome and more so after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.
SH95912. Silver didrachm, SNG BnF 749 - 753 (same dies), Sambon 477, SNG ANS 370, SNG Ashmolean 116, SNG Delepierre 153, de Luynes 166, HN Italy 579, HGC Italy 453 (S), aVF, centered on a tight flan, attractive old collection toning, marks, scratches, trace of inscribed circle from pre-strike flan on rev., test cut on edge, weight 6.697 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 45o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, c. 300 - 275 B.C.; obverse diademed head of nymph right, wearing triple-pendant earring, X (control letter) behind neck (unstruck); reverse man-faced bull walking right, head turned facing, Nike flying right above crowning bull with wreath, EYΞ (magistrate initials?) below, NEOΠOΛITΩN in exergue (off flan); from the Errett Bishop Collection; $550.00 (€506.00)
 


Agyrion, Sicily, 355 - 344 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Agyrion,| |Sicily,| |355| |-| |344| |B.C.||tetras|
Agyrion (modern Agira) was a Sikel city ruled by tyrants, one of whom, Agyris, was the most powerful ruler in the center of Sicily. In 392 B.C., he and Dionysius the Elder, together successfully resisted the Carthaginians under Magno. Agira was not colonized by the Greeks until the Corinthian general Timoleon drove out the last Sikel tyrant in 339 B.C. and settled 10,000 Greeks.

According to Caltabiano, Palagkaios was probably the Sikel name for the larger of the two local rivers (Salso Cimarosa today). Molinari and Sisci propose a Semitic origin, from the Akkadian palag-āsú, 'the gushing river.'
GB91174. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 125, 10; Potamikon 14; SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -; SNG Morcom -, VF, dark green patina, undersize flan, weight 2.685 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 270o, Agyrion (Agira, Sicily, Italy) mint, 355 - 344 B.C.; obverse AΓYPINAI counterclockwise before, young Herakles' head left, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse forepart of a man-faced bull (river-god Acheloios Palagkaios) left, ΠAΛAΓKAIOΣ horizontal above, dot border; rare; $170.00 (€156.40)
 


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, 275 - 250 B.C., Possibly an Ancient Counterfeit

|Italy|, |Neapolis,| |Campania,| |Italy,| |275| |-| |250| |B.C.,| |Possibly| |an| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||drachm|NEW
Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the second millennium B.C. The city was refounded as Neapolis in the sixth century B.C. and became an important hub of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society. Naples remained influential under Rome and more so after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.
GI95913. Silver drachm, cf. Sambon 546 (controls); SNG BnF 865 (same); SNG ANS 420 (same); HN Italy 588; HGC Italy 456 (R2) (all solid silver, official, none with BΦ), F, a few bumps, encrustations, corrosion, no clear core exposure but the weight is light and signs of possible plating exist, perhaps a silver plated fouree, weight 3.092 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis or unofficial(?) mint, 275 - 250 B.C.; obverse diademed head of nymph (Parthenope?) left, BΦ behind neck; reverse man-faced bull (river-god Achelous) walking right, head turned facing, Nike above flying right and placing wreath on bull's head, IΣ below, NEOΠOΛITHΣ exergue; apparently unpublished with BΦ behind the Nymph's neck, we were unable to find another specimen with this control mark; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $150.00 (€138.00)
 


The Sileraioi, Sicily, c. 357 - 330 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |The| |Sileraioi,| |Sicily,| |c.| |357| |-| |330| |B.C.|
Sileraioi was not a city. The Sileraians were Campanian mercenaries who took their name from their proximity to the river Silaros. These rare coins have been found at the site of their settlement, Cozzo Mususino, a natural strong-hold in north central Sicily. The coins are often overstruck on coins from Syracuse minted c. 375 - 345 B.C.
SH68704. Bronze Calciati p. 301, 2; HGC 2 1243 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG Munchen -; SNG Morcom -, VF/F, reverse rough, weight 7.521 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 90o, Sileraian mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse ΣI−ΛEPAIΩ−N (retrograde counterclockwise from 3:00), man-faced bull forepart charging right; reverse SIL (retrograde, upward behind), warrior advancing right, spear in right hand, shield in left; rare; $130.00 (€119.60)
 







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REFERENCES|

Calciati, R. Corpus Nummorum Siculorum. The Bronze Coinage. (Milan, 1983 - 1987).
Classical Numismatic Group. The BCD Collection of the Coinage of Thessaly. Triton XV Auction. (3 January 2012, New York).
Babelon, J. Catalogue de la collection de Luynes: monnaies greques. (Paris, 1924-1936).
Babelon, E. Traité des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines. (Paris, 1901-1932).
Gardner, P. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Thessaly to Aetolia. (London, 1883).
Hoover, O. Handbook of Coins of Sicily (including Lipara), Civic, Royal, Siculo-Punic, and Romano-Sicilian Issues, Sixth to First Centuries BC. HGC 2. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Hoover, O. Handbook of Coins of Northern and Central Greece...Sixth to First Centuries BC, The Handbook of Greek Coinage Series, Vol. 4. (Lancaster, PA, 2014).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Zur Münzen Akarnaniens" in NZ X (1878).
Jenkins, G. Coins of Punic Sicily. (Zürich, 1997).
Jenkins, G. The Coinage of Gela. AMUGS II. (Berlin, 1970).
Martini, R. & N. Vismara. Monetazione Provinciale Romana. Collezione Winsemann Falghera I-VI. (Milan, 1992).
Molinari, N. & N. Sisci. Potamikon: Sinews of Acheloios. A Comprehensive Catalog of the Bronze Coinage of the Man-Faced Bull, With Essays on Origin and Identity. (Oxford, 2016).
Münzen & Medaillen (Deutschland). Sammlung BCD : Akarnanien und Aetolien. Auction 23 (18 October 2007, Stuttgart).
Naville Co. Monnaies grecques antiques; provenant de la collection de feu le prof. S. Pozzi. Auction 1. (4 April 1921, Geneva).
Poole, R. ed. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Italy. (London, 1873).
Poole, R. ed. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Sicily. (London, 1876).
Rogers, E. The Copper Coinage of Thessaly. (London, 1932).
Rutter, N. Campanian Coinages 475-380 BC. (Edinburgh, 1979).
Rutter, N. ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Sambon, A. Les monnaies antiques de l'Italie. (Paris, 1903).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum. (Copenhagen, 1942-1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung. (Berlin, 1968-present).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale. (Paris, 1993 - 2001).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain III, R.C. Lockett Collection. (London, 1938 - 1949).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, USA, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society. (New York, 1969 - present).
Taliercio, M. "Simboli, lettere, sigle sul bronzo di Neapolis" in Studi Breglia.

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