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Christmas Gift Suggestions

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him" Matthew 2:1-8.

Jesus was born sometime between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. Matthew describes King Herod as the ruler during the time of the Nativity, and Herod died in 4 B.C. Later, in order to kill Jesus and eliminate him as a rival king, Herod ordered the "Massacre of the Innocents" - the killing of all male children in Bethlehem aged two years and under. This means that Jesus may have been up to two years old already by that time, and this also sets the Nativity between 4 and 6 B.C.

Tyre, Phoenicia, 78 - 77 B.C., Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver

|30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver|, |Tyre,| |Phoenicia,| |78| |-| |77| |B.C.,| |Judas'| |30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver||shekel|
Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver
"Then one of the 12, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, 'What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?' And they covenanted with him for 30 pieces of silver." Matthew 26:14-15. Shekels of Tyre were the only currency accepted at the Jerusalem Temple and are the most likely coinage with which Judas was paid for the betrayal of Christ.

The Temple Tax Coin
"..go to the sea and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou has opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them [the temple tax collectors] for me and thee." Since the tax was one half shekel per man the coin would have to be a shekel to pay the tax for both Jesus and Peter. Matthew 17:24-27
SL95986. Silver shekel, BMC Phoenicia p. 243, 141; Cohen DCA 919/49; HGC 10 357; SNG Cop -, NGC Ch AU, strike 4/5, surface 3/5 (5770405-008), weight 14.330 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, 78 - 77 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond under wing, date ΘM (year 49) over club left, ∆ right, Aramaic letter bet between legs; from the Errett Bishop Collection; NGC| Lookup; $2700.00 (€2484.00)
 


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)
 


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)
 


Byzantine, 11th - 12th Century A.D.

|Byzantine| |Seals|, |Byzantine,| |11th| |-| |12th| |Century| |A.D.||seal|
 
BZ92112. Lead seal, Uncertain, aVF, tan surfaces, modified seal cut in the shape of a fish, the cutting, however, obscures much of the reverse inscription, obverse The Theotokos (Virgin Mary) standing facing, orans, MP - ΘV (Greek abbr.: Mητηρ Θεου - Mother of God) flanking across field; reverse Inscription; ex CNG e-auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 571 (realized $390 plus fees); $330.00 (€303.60)
 


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class A3, Basil II & Constantine VIII, c. 1023 - 11 November 1028 A.D.

|Anonymous| |Folles|, |Byzantine| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |Class| |A3,| |Basil| |II| |&| |Constantine| |VIII,| |c.| |1023| |-| |11| |November| |1028| |A.D.||anonymous| |follis|
The emperor's name and portrait are not part of the design on the Byzantine types referred to as anonymous folles. Instead of the earthly king, these coins depict Jesus Christ, King of Kings.
SH82749. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, DOC III-2, class A3; SBCV 1818; Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 39, EF, sharp portrait, slightly uneven strike with small areas weak, slightly off center on a broad flan, tiny encrustations, closed edge crack, weight 9.691 g, maximum diameter 28.7 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHΛ (Latinized Hebrew: Emmanuel - "God with us"), facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, Gospels in both hands, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsoús Xristós - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below inscription; $285.00 (€262.20)
 


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)
 


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class A3, Basil II & Constantine VIII, c. 1023 - 11 November 1028 A.D.

|Anonymous| |Folles|, |Byzantine| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |Class| |A3,| |Basil| |II| |&| |Constantine| |VIII,| |c.| |1023| |-| |11| |November| |1028| |A.D.||anonymous| |follis|
The extraordinarily crude, unusual and interesting style of this coin suggests it is unofficial; however, the style is typical for all specimens with Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 29. The weight of specimens from the issue was well controlled at around 10 grams. The variety is likely official, but from a provincial mint, certainly not Constantinople.
BZ86495. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ class A3, Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 29; DOC III-2 A2.29 (not in the collection, refs. Bellinger); SBCV 1818, EF, sharp detail, extraordinary and interesting crude style, tight flan, reverse off center, edge ragged, weight 10.472 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 180o, provincial (or unofficial?) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHΛ (Latinized Hebrew: Emmanuel - "God with us"), facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger with two pellets in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, Gospels in both hands, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsoús Xristós - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below inscription; $240.00 (€220.80)
 


Imitative Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, c. 970 - 980 A.D.

|Anonymous| |Folles|, |Imitative| |Byzantine| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |c.| |970| |-| |980| |A.D.||anonymous| |follis|
Of this type of imitative, Lampinen writes, "The second phase of Balkan coinage production goes into high gear with the introduction of the anonymous follis series during the reign of John I (969 - 976). The explicit Christian imagery must have struck a chord with the recently converted Balkan masses because the official mint issues were accompanied by a fair quantity of copies, to meet the excess demand. These Christian issues would also be the prototypes for the initial coinage of several medieval Christian states, such as the first Crusader issues of Edessa and Antioch, medieval Armenia and distant Georgia in the Caucasus."
BZ89911. Bronze anonymous follis, See Lampinen Imitative p. 154 for a similar imitative; for the likely prototype cf. official Byzantine anonymous class A1 folles; SBCV 1793, VF, green patina, double struck, porous, crude and blundered, weight 6.880 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, unofficial (Balkan?) mint, c. 970 - 980 A.D.; obverse facing bust of Christ, wears nimbus cruciger ornamented with two pellets in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, Gospels in both hands, blundered imitation of the abbreviation: IC - XC (Greek: Ihsoús Xristós - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse blundered inscription imitating: + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings); rare this crude; $220.00 (€202.40)
 


Byzantine Empire, Alexius III Angelus-Comnenus, 8 April 1195 - 17 July 1203

|Alexius| |III|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Alexius| |III| |Angelus-Comnenus,| |8| |April| |1195| |-| |17| |July| |1203||tetarteron|
According to the Golden Legend, a plague-bearing dragon lived in a lake near a city called Silene, in Libya. To appease the dragon, the people fed it two sheep every day. When the sheep failed, they fed it their children, chosen by lottery. It happened that the lot fell on the king's daughter, Sabra. Sabra was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon. Saint George was ridding past when dragon reared out of the lake. He fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross charged it on horseback with his lance, and gave it a grievous wound. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle. After he put it around its neck, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash. The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene. It terrified the people at its approach, but Saint George called out to them, saying that if they consented to become Christians and be baptized, he would slay the dragon. The king and the people converted to Christianity and George slew the dragon. On the site where the dragon died, the king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George, and from its altar a spring arose whose waters cured all disease.
BZ95143. Bronze tetarteron, CLBC I 8.4.3; DOC IV-1 5a; Hendy p. 152 and pl. 23, 9-10; Grierson 1138; SBCV 2015; Sommer 66.6, gVF, well centered on a typical tight flan, porosity, some light corrosion, weight 3.720 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 8 Apr 1195 - 17 Jul 1203; obverse O/ΓE/WP ΓI/OC, Half-length facing bust of St. George, beardless and nimbate, in military attire, spear in right hand and hilt of sword in left; reverse AΛEΣIOC ∆ECΠOTHC, Alexius standing facing, labarum in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; $215.00 (€197.80)
 




  



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