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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Hanukkah||View Options:  |  |  |   

Hanukkah Gift Suggestions

Hanukkah Sameach! Our Hanukkah gift suggestions listed here are mostly coins and antiquities from Israel, and books about them. Of course any item in our shop could make a nice Hanukkah gift, but this page is intended to highlight some items related to Israel and Jewish history. We still have many Judaean coins to add to this page over the next few days.

In 168 B.C., Antiochus IV ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. The Temple in Jerusalem was seized and dedicated to Zeus. The Jews revolted and after three years of fighting, Judah Maccabee defeated the Seleukid army. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 B.C. According to the Talmud, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, enough time to prepare and consecrate fresh oil. John Hyrcanus was the son of Simon the Maccabee and nephew of Judah Maccabee, the hero of the Hanukkah story. John Hyrcanus was the first Jewish ruler to issue coins in his own name.

Judean Kingdom, Anonymous Hasmonean, c. 140 - 37 B.C.

|Judean| |Kingdom|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Anonymous| |Hasmonean,| |c.| |140| |-| |37| |B.C.||tessera|
A Judaean coin expert informs us that there are nine known specimens of this type, one specimen of this type was discovered during excavations at Mt. Gerizim, and the second best known specimen of this type sold for $12,000 a few years ago.
JD97077. Lead tessera, Hendin 1157 (RRR), Meshore TJC -, Sofaer Collection -, HGC 10 -, SNG Cop -, F, scratches, bumps, earthen encrustation, tight flan, weight 2.024 g, maximum diameter 12.1 mm, die axis 225o, Samarian(?) mint, c. 140 - 37 B.C.; obverse double cornucopia, upright rod between, border of dots; reverse stylized palm tree between two blooming lily flowers, border of dots; zero sales of this type listed on Coin Archives in the last two decades; extremely rare; $2000.00 (€1840.00)
 


Roman, Syro-Palestinian, Sprinkler Flask, 3rd - 4th Century A.D.

|Glass| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Syro-Palestinian,| |Sprinkler| |Flask,| |3rd| |-| |4th| |Century| |A.D.|
Dropper bottles, such as this one, were filled with scented oil or perfume. The constriction in the neck made it easy to dispense the expensive contents one drop at a time. The swirled design was created by blowing the body into a ribbed mold, removing the glass from the mold, then blowing it again while twisting the bubble. The most unusual feature on this flask is the recessed neck, pushed into the body, a very rare feature.
AG20821. cf. Corning II 621, ROM Glass 282, Newark Museum 152, Wolf Collection 154, Carnegie Museum 213, Superb, complete and intact, attractive iridescence, globular body sprinkler flask, transparent blue glass, 11.3 cm (4 3/8") tall, 4.4 cm (1 3/4") widest diameter, beautifully made, mold-blown swirled ribs, recessed cylindrical neck, everted funnel mouth, rolled and folded in rim, kicked bottom, no pontil mark; from a Florida dealer; $900.00 (€828.00)
 


Roman, Syro-Palestinian (|Samaria?), Snake-Thread Flask, Late 2nd - Early 4th Century A.D.

|Glass| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Syro-Palestinian| |(|Samaria?),| |Snake-Thread| |Flask,| |Late| |2nd| |-| |Early| |4th| |Century| |A.D.|
Snake-thread ornamentation originated in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire in the second half of the second century and its popularity peaked in the first half of the third century. Snake-thread decoration was revived in the second half of the fourth century in the east and in the west near Cologne in modern Germany. Serpentine form trails may vary in thickness, may be the same color as the vessel (usually colorless) or brightly colored (common in the West). Ontario Museum 309, with similar subtle snake-thread ornamentation, is attributed to Samaria, 3rd to early 4th century A.D.

A disadvantage of antiquity photographs is that they usually fail to adequately indicate size. This vessel, nearly 5" tall, is larger than most similar vessels of the period.
AG63814. cf. Ontario Museum 309 (for similar ornamentation), Superb, complete and intact, a well made beautiful flask, some weathering, some iridescence, snake thread flask, 12.4 mm (4 7/8") high, funnel mouth with rolled rim, cylindrical neck, bulbous body, snake-thread ornamentation on the body, flat bottom; from a Florida dealer; $800.00 (€736.00)
 


Roman-Byzantine, Syro-Palestinian, Glass Dropper Flask, c. Late 1st - Early 5th Century A.D.

|Glass| |Antiquities|, |Roman-Byzantine,| |Syro-Palestinian,| |Glass| |Dropper| |Flask,| |c.| |Late| |1st| |-| |Early| |5th| |Century| |A.D.|
Thick enamel-like weathering, as seen on this piece, is common on glass found in the Levant and this piece is certainly from the Levante. This flask is, however, a bit of a mystery. There is nothing very similar in the large library of ancient and medieval glass references held by Forum. It resembles an aryballos, but lacks the handles which define that type. It probably was used like an aryballos, to store and dispense scented oil which was rubbed on the skin and then scraped off to clean the body. The date is uncertain. Weathering obscures the original color, making another mystery, but the only other a similar flasks we know are described as opaque black glass.
AG20822. Isings -, et al. -; apparently unpublished but two similar pieces are known from the market (priced $2,500 - $3,000!), Choice, complete and intact, thick tan and brown enamel-like weathering, dropper flask, free-blown, amber(?) glass, 12.0 cm (4 3/4") tall, 8.5 cm maximum diameter, piriform body, very short narrow neck, broad flat folded in rim, round bottom with large pontil mark, not designed to stand on its own, attractive clear plexiglass three prong stand included; from the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years; very rare form; $600.00 (€552.00)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Akko-Ptolemais, Phoenicia

|Phoenicia|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Akko-Ptolemais,| |Phoenicia||AE| |27|
Akko was refounded as a Roman colony, colonia Ptolemais, probably in 53 or 54 A.D., the last year of Claudius' reign or the first year of Nero’s. Akko was one of hundreds of cities in the Roman provinces that minted civic coins. In the mid 3rd century cities stopped producing their own coins. The last city coins were struck under Gallienus, and Akko was among the very last cities to strike its own coins.
JD96394. Bronze AE 27, BMC Phoenicia p. 138, 50 var. (obv. leg.); Rosenberger 86 var. (same); Kadman Akko 256 var. (same, draped); Sofaer 293 ff. (draped, etc.); SNG Cop -, aF, rough green patina, light earthen deposits, a little off center, weight 13.158 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 0o, Ake Ptolemais (Acre, Israel) mint, 253 - 268 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES LIC GALLIEN[VS AVG], laureate head right; reverse COL P-TOL, portable shrine containing a statue of Zeus Heliopolites, shrine consisting of a frame within two pillars supporting a architrave with hatched decoration, two carrying poles projecting from bottom, figure of deity within standing facing on rock or base, wearing short chiton, double axe in right hand, harpe(?) in left hand; an unpublished variant of a very rare type; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection, 1977 surface find at Caesarea Maritima, Israel; $550.00 (€506.00)
 


Caesarea Maritima, Judaea / Syria Palaestina, 1st - 3rd Century A.D., Lead Half Italian Litra Weight

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Caesarea| |Maritima,| |Judaea| |/| |Syria| |Palaestina,| |1st| |-| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.,| |Lead| |Half| |Italian| |Litra| |Weight|
A nearly identical specimen, from the same mold, was found near Caesarea Maritima in 1949 and is listed in the Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae, Vol. II, Ameling, Cotton, Eck, et.al. on page 621. According to the authors, in Judaea, the term "litra" derived from the Roman word "libra" came to indicate local weight standards between the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. Therefore the word Iταλικη (Italica) was added whenever the Roman standard was intended. This weight is inscribed to indicate it is half an Italian litra. It is about 8 grams short of the standard but it probably originally had an handle attached that would have made it close to the appropriate weight. Around the end of the 3rd century CE, local standards were replaced entirely by the Roman system and the descriptive word Iταλικη was no longer necessary.
AS96251. Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae, Vol. II, p. 621 (nearly identical specimen from the same mold), VF, roughly oval shape, probably missing handle at the top, weight 153.5 g, maximum diameter 87x43 mm, obverse ITA/ΛIK/H H/MI Λ/ITPA (half an Italian litra) in six lines; reverse blank; from The Jimi Berlin Caesarea Collection; surface find 1974 Caesarea Maritima; very rare; $540.00 (€496.80)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia

|Phoenicia|, |Valerian| |I,| |October| |253| |-| |c.| |June| |260| |A.D.,| |Tyre,| |Phoenicia||dichalkon|
Romans refounded Tyre as a colony in 64 B.C., when Pompey annexed Phoenicia to the Roman Empire. Tyre flourished under the Rome and remained a Roman port city, even under the Byzantine Empire, until the 7th century when it was taken by Muslim conquest.
RP96396. Bronze dichalkon, BMC Phoenicia p. 289, 465 var. (murex shell on right); Rouvier -; Baramki AUB -; SNG Hunt -; SNG Cop -, F, rough dark green patina, earthen deposits, weight 16.345 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, Oct 253 - Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, laureate bust right; reverse COL TVRO METR, river-god (Adonis?) standing facing, head left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, right hand dropping incense on flaming altar at her feet on left, long grounded reed vertical in left hand, murex shell on left; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection, 1971 Caesarea Maritima surface find; Coin Archives records only one specimen of the type at auction in the last two decades; extremely rare; $450.00 (€414.00)
 


Lot of 20 Prutot, Judean Kingdom, Herod Agrippa I, 37 - 44 A.D.

|Agrippa| |I|, |Lot| |of| |20| |Prutot,| |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Herod| |Agrippa| |I,| |37| |-| |44| |A.D.||Lot|
Agrippa was son of Aristobulus and Bernice, a grandson of Herod the Great. He spent his boyhood at the imperial court in Rome. His friend Caligula bestowed former territories of Philip and Herod Antipas. Claudius bestowed Judaea. He had James, the brother of John, executed (Acts 12:1-2) and imprisoned Peter (Acts 12:3-5).
LT68228. Bronze Lot, Hendin 1244, lot of 20 prutot (singular: prutah), Jerusalem mint, 41 - 42 A.D.; obverse AΓPIΠA BACIΛEWC (King Agrippa), umbrella-like canopy with fringes; reverse three heads of barley between two leaves, L - ς (year 6) divided across field; actual coins in the photograph, as is, no returns; $270.00 (€248.40)
 


Lot of 20 Prutot, Judean Kingdom, Herod Agrippa I, 37 - 44 A.D.

|Agrippa| |I|, |Lot| |of| |20| |Prutot,| |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Herod| |Agrippa| |I,| |37| |-| |44| |A.D.||Lot|
Agrippa was son of Aristobulus and Bernice, a grandson of Herod the Great. He spent his boyhood at the imperial court in Rome. His friend Caligula bestowed former territories of Philip and Herod Antipas. Claudius bestowed Judaea. He had James, the brother of John, executed (Acts 12:1-2) and imprisoned Peter (Acts 12:3-5).
LT68227. Bronze Lot, Hendin 1244, lot of 20 prutot (singular: prutah), Jerusalem mint, 41 - 42 A.D.; obverse AΓPIΠA BACIΛEWC (King Agrippa), umbrella-like canopy with fringes; reverse three heads of barley between two leaves, L - ς (year 6) divided across field; actual coins in the photograph, as is, no returns; $270.00 (€248.40)
 


Lot of 5 Herodian Kings of Judaea Bronze Prutot, c. 37 B.C. - 44 A.D.

|Holyland| |Bulk| |Lots|, |Lot| |of| |5| |Herodian| |Kings| |of| |Judaea| |Bronze| |Prutot,| |c.| |37| |B.C.| |-| |44| |A.D.
||Lot|
Prutot (singular: prutah) of Herod the Great and his son Herod Archelaus.
JD97396. Bronze Lot, Lot of five prutot of Herodian Kings of Judaea, Samaria, etc., 14.5 - 17.8mm, gF or better, Jerusalem mint, c. 37 B.C. - 44 A.D.; the actual coins in the photograph, no flips or tags; $260.00 (€239.20)
 




  



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