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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Greece| ▸ |Illyria||View Options:  |  |  |   

Illyria, Greece

Illyria, in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula, was divided into small hereditary kingdoms, none ruling the entire region, and some with only a single town. Numerous Greek colonies were also established in Illyria. Epidamnos was found in 627 B.C. and Apollonia founded in 588 B.C., both by colonists from Corinth and Corfu. The most notable Illyrian kingdoms and dynasties were those of Bardyllis of the Dardani, and of Agron of the Ardiaei. Agron extended rule to other tribes and created the last and best-known Illyrian kingdom. Rome defeated Gentius, the last independent king of Illyria, at Scodra (in present-day Albania) in 168 B.C. Four client-republics were set up, which were in fact ruled by Rome. Later, the region was governed as a province, with Scodra as its capital. In 10 A.D., after crushing a revolt, Rome dissolved the province of Illyricum and divided it between the new provinces of Pannonia and Dalmatia. Illyricum was made a Roman prefecture during the 4th century, and was abolished, re-established and divided several times during the late Roman and Byzantine periods.Map of Ancient Greek colonies on the northern coast of the Black Sea

Dyrrhachion, Illyria, c. 340 - 280 B.C.

|Illyria|, |Dyrrhachion,| |Illyria,| |c.| |340| |-| |280| |B.C.||stater|
Dyrrhachion is today Durrės, the second largest city of Albania located on the central Albanian coast, about 33 km west of the capital Tirana. Founded in the 7th century B.C. by Greek colonists from Corinth and Corcyra under the name Epidamnos, it has been continuously inhabited for 2,700 years.

According to Wikipedia, "the Romans renamed the city Dyrrachium (Greek: Dyrrhachion). They considered the name Epidamnos to be inauspicious because of its wholly coincidental similarities with the Latin word damnum, meaning "loss" or "harm". The meaning of Dyrrachium ("bad spine" or "difficult ridge" in Greek) is unclear, but it has been suggested that it refers to the imposing cliffs near the city." This type with the ethnic ∆YP, indicates the city was renamed before Roman rule in 229 B.C. Either Wikipedia is incorrect or numismatists have dated this type too early.
SH65528. Silver stater, Maier p. 17, 10; BMC Thessaly p. 65, 11; SNG Cop 423 (cow right, legend not retrograde), VF, weight 10.544 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 45o, Dyrrhachium (Durrės, Albania) mint, c. 340 - 280 B.C.; obverse cow standing right, looking back at suckling calf standing left below; reverse ∆YP (retrograde ∆YP), double stellate pattern, divided by line, in double linear square border; club left below; all within linear circle border; SOLD


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, 229 - c. 100 B.C.

|Illyria|, |Dyrrhachion,| |Illyria,| |229| |-| |c.| |100| |B.C.||hemidrachm|
Dyrrhachion is today Durrės, the second largest city of Albania located on the central Albanian coast, about 33 km west of the capital Tirana. Founded in the 7th century B.C. by Greek colonists from Corinth and Corcyra under the name Epidamnos, it has been continuously inhabited for 2,700 years.

According to Wikipedia, "the Romans renamed the city Dyrrachium (Greek: Dyrrhachion). They considered the name Epidamnos to be inauspicious because of its wholly coincidental similarities with the Latin word damnum, meaning "loss" or "harm". The meaning of Dyrrachium ("bad spine" or "difficult ridge" in Greek) is unclear, but it has been suggested that it refers to the imposing cliffs near the city." This type with the ethnic ∆YP, indicates the city was renamed before Roman rule in 229 B.C. Either Wikipedia is incorrect or numismatists have dated this type too early.
SH66618. Silver hemidrachm, Maier p. 30, 483; BMC Thessaly p. 75, 153; cf. SNG Cop 500 (magistrates), VF, grainy, edge chip, weight 1.213 g, maximum diameter 13.0 mm, die axis 270o, Dyrrhachium (Durrės, Albania) mint, 229 - c. 100 B.C.; obverse cow forepart right, IΠ above; reverse ∆YP - AY-[...]-NOΣ, double stellate pattern, divided by line of dots, in double linear square border; all within linear circle border; extremely rare; SOLD


Epidamnus-Dyrrhachion, Illyria, Greece, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

|Illyria|, |Epidamnus-Dyrrhachion,| |Illyria,| |Greece,| |c.| |350| |-| |300| |B.C.||stater|
In 344 B.C. Philip II of Macedonia conquered Thessaly, Illyria, and Epirus. In 338 B.C. Philip II defeated Athens and Thebes at Chaeronea and united several eastern Greek cities into the League of Corinth.
GS52433. Silver stater, Pegasi 33; SNG Cop 430; BMC Corinth p. 101, 6, aVF, weight 7.383 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Epidamnus-Dyrrhachium (Durrės, Albania) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse Pegasos flying right, ∆ below; reverse head of Athena (or Aphrodite) right in Corinthian helmet over leather cap, club behind (off flan), ∆ and club behind, YP above (off flan); rare; SOLD


Epidamnus-Dyrrhachion, Illyria, Greece, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

|Illyria|, |Epidamnus-Dyrrhachion,| |Illyria,| |Greece,| |c.| |350| |-| |300| |B.C.||stater|
The referenced Lakeview Collection coin is listed on coin archives (erroneously identified as SNG Cop 430 and SNG Lockett 2221).
GS17853. Silver stater, Lakeview Collection 5490 (USBCV auction 59), SNG Cop -, Pegasi -, BMC Corinth -, Pozzi -, aVF, flat strike, weight 8.111 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Epidamnus-Dyrrhachium (Durrės, Albania) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse Pegasos flying right, ∆ below; reverse head of Athena (or Aphrodite) right in Corinthian helmet over leather cap, club behind (off flan), ∆ above right; rare; SOLD


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, Greece, Roman Protectorate, 229 - 30 B.C.

|Illyria|, |Dyrrhachion,| |Illyria,| |Greece,| |Roman| |Protectorate,| |229| |-| |30| |B.C.||drachm|
Durrės, one of the oldest cities in Albania, was founded as Epidamnos in 627 B.C. by colonists from Corinth and Corcyra. Located around a rocky harbor, surrounded by inland swamps and high cliffs, the city was difficult to attack from land or sea. After its defeat to Rome in 229 B.C., the new rulers renamed the city Dyrrachium. Epidamnos is similar to the Latin damnum, meaning "loss." Dyrrhachion is Greek for "bad spine" or "difficult ridge," likely referring to the nearby cliffs. Dyrrachium prospered under Rome and was made a naval and military base. Pompey made a stand there in 48 B.C. before fleeing south to Greece. Augustus made the city a colony for veterans of his legions following the Battle of Actium, proclaiming it a civitas libera (free town).
GS12075. Silver drachm, Ceka 374; BMC Thessaly p. 73, 118; SNG Munchen 433; SNG Cop -, VF, obverse slightly off center, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.369 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Dyrrhachium (Durrės, Albania) mint, 229 - 100 B.C.; obverse ΠEPIΓENHΣ, cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left, head of Isis right above, grain over cluster of grapes right; reverse ∆YP - ΦA-NIS-KOY, double stellate pattern within double linear square; rare; SOLD


Apollonia, Illyria, Greece, c. 200 - 80 B.C.

|Illyria|, |Apollonia,| |Illyria,| |Greece,| |c.| |200| |-| |80| |B.C.||drachm|
The cities of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium (Epidamnus) were established in the Archaic period by Corcyra and her mother city Corinth on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, in the Illyrian lands to the north of Epirus. When the Illyrian and Macedonian kingdoms threatened their prosperity in the last third of the 3rd century BC, they turned to the Romans for military support and subsequently assumed the privileged status of a Roman protectorate (Polybius 2.12.2, Appian, Ill. 7 - 8). As early as 228 BC, these two Adriatic cities concluded an alliance with the Roman Republic. They served as Adriatic naval bases for the Republic, and soon became centres of Roman operations in the interior of the Balkans. Essentially, the late drachms of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium were Roman controlled issues (Ujes-Morgan 2012). -- Illyrian Coinage From Thrace by Brendan Mac Gonagle.
SH32162. Silver drachm, BMC Thessaly p. 57, 13, Choice gVF, toned, weight 3.422 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Apollonia mint, obverse ΣIMIAΣ, cow left, head turned back toward suckling calf right, ΛE below; reverse AΠOΛ − AYTO−BOY−ΛOY, double stellate pattern within double linear square with sides curved inward; very nice for the type; SOLD


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, Greece, Roman Protectorate, c. 229 - 30 B.C., Unofficial Imitative(?)

|Illyria|, |Dyrrhachion,| |Illyria,| |Greece,| |Roman| |Protectorate,| |c.| |229| |-| |30| |B.C.,| |Unofficial| |Imitative(?)||drachm|
This type, Maier 141, is an extremely rare and odd variety. It is so rare that, other than the Maier listing, we have not found another specimen. The style and epigraphy are crude. Maier identifies a "scepter" with the woman's head, and one can be seen on this coin, but it seems more likely to be part of a die crack than engraved. Maier says the type has an owl in the right field which, if it exists, is off flan on this specimen. No other cow and calf drachm variety has an owl on the obverse. Gyula Petrįnyi excludes this variety from his chronology, apparently indicating he believes it is an unofficial imitative. We agree it is likely an imitative.
GS88120. Silver drachm, Maier 141, Ceka 250 var. (no head or owl), BMC Thessaly -, SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, Delepierre -, SNG Evelpidis -, VF, light toning, off center, bumps and marks, die break on obverse, clashed reverse die, weight 3.126 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial(?) mint, c. 60 - 40 B.C.(?); obverse cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left, woman's head (Isis?) right over KEP∆ΩN above, owl in right field (off flan); reverse ∆YP - API-ΣTΩ-NOΣ, double stellate pattern within double linear square; extremely rare; SOLD


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, c. 250 - 200 B.C., Brockage

|Illyria|, |Dyrrhachion,| |Illyria,| |c.| |250| |-| |200| |B.C.,| |Brockage||drachm|
A brockage occurs when a blank is struck with a previously struck coin which adhered to the opposite die. Click here to read a detailed explanation.
GS84585. Silver drachm, see CNG e-auction 205 (25 Feb 2009), lot 84 (for another obv. brockage of the same type); cf. Ceka 257 - 261 (also Kleon), VF, toned, weight 2.938 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, Dyrrhachion mint, magistrate Kleon, c. 250 - 200 B.C.; obverse cow standing right, suckling calf left, star over KΛEΩN above; reverse incuse of obverse; SOLD


Apollonia, Illyria, Greece, c. 120 - 70 B.C.

|Roman| |Greece|, |Apollonia,| |Illyria,| |Greece,| |c.| |120| |-| |70| |B.C.||drachm|
Strabo, in about 17 A.D. wrote: "On the territory of the people of Apolonia in Illlyria there is what is called a nymphaeum. It is a rock which emits fire. Below it are springs flowing with hot water and asphalt..." The Nymphaeum was likely a burning natural gas seep.
GS65542. Silver drachm, BMC Thessaly p. 59, 41 - 42; SNG Cop 398; Maier p. 15, 120, VF, weight 2.980 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 270o, Apollonia mint, magistrates Aibatios & Chairenos, c. 120 - 70 B.C.; obverse AIBATIOΣ, cow standing left, head turned back right, suckling calf standing right, grain ear left in exergue; reverse AΠOΛ − XAI−PH−NOΣ, the Nymphaeum of Apollonia ablaze, lagobolon below, within double linear square with sides curved inward; very rare; SOLD


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, Greece, Roman Protectorate, 229 - 30 B.C.

|Illyria|, |Dyrrhachion,| |Illyria,| |Greece,| |Roman| |Protectorate,| |229| |-| |30| |B.C.||drachm|
After the decisive defeat of the Illyrians to Rome in 229 B.C., the new Roman rulers renamed the city. The original name, Epidamnos, was similar to the Latin word damnum, meaning "loss" or "harm." Dyrrhachion is Greek for "bad spine" or "difficult ridge," probably referring to imposing cliffs near the city.
GS64458. Silver drachm, Ceka 167, Maier 365, SNG Munchen 432, BMC Thessaly -, SNG Cop -, VF, uneven strike, weight 3.114 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Dyrrhachium (Durrės, Albania) mint, Euktemon and Phaniskos, 229 - 30 B.C.; obverse EYKTHMΩN, cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left, head of Isis above, grain and cluster of grapes right; reverse ∆YP - ΦA-NIS-KOY, double stellate pattern within double linear square; ex Elvira Clain-Stefanelli Collection; scarce; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Brunsmid, J. Die Inschriften und Münzen der griechischen Städte Dalmatiens. (Vienna, 1898).
Calciati, R. Pegasi, Volume II: Colonies of Corinth and related issues. (Mortara, 1990).
Ceka, H. Questions de numismatique illyrienne. (State University, Tirana, 1972).
Gardner, P. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Thessaly to Aetolia. (London, 1883).
Head, B. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Corinth, Colonies of Corinth, Etc. (London, 1889).
Imhoof, F. Numismatische Zeitschrift, 1884, pp. 246 ff.
Maier, A. "Die Silberprägung von Apollonia und Dyrrhachion" in NZ 41 (1908), pp. 1 - 33.
Patsch, C. Congres de Num., 1900, p. 104 ff.
Prokopov, I. Coin Collections and Coin Hoards From Bulgaria, Vol. I, Numismatic Collections of the Historical Museum Lovech & the Historical Museum Razgrad. (Sofia, 2007).
Schlosser, J. von. Beschreibung der Altgreichischen Münzen I: Thessalien, Illyrien, Dalmatien und die Inseln des Adriatischen Meeres, Epeiros. (Vienna, 1893).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 3: Greece: Thessaly to Aegean Islands. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 12: Thessalien - Illyrien - Epirus - Korkyra. (Berlin, 2007).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Bibliothčque National, Collection Jean et Marie Delepierre. (Paris, 1983).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Grčce, Collection Réna H. Evelpidis, Part 2: Macédoine - Thessalie - Illyrie - Epire - Corcyre. (Athens, 1975).
Visoną, P. "Greek-Illyrian Coins in Trade, 1904-2005" in SNR 84 (2005).

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