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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek CoinsView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Greek Coins

The sculpture of the ancient Greeks is acknowledged supreme and, although the art has often been revived over the last two millennia, man has rarely equaled the splendid classic Greek forms. In circles of mere millimeters, ancient Greek coins contain most of the finest qualities of the sculpture, and a subtle record of the harmonies of line and form. Taken collectively, ancient Greek coinage chronicles the archaic origins, the rise to classical height, and the decay of ancient Greek art, and also explains the causes of that rise and decline. The numismatic record thoroughly documents the political, commercial, cultural, and economic history of the ancient Greek world.

Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II of Macedonia, 359 - 336 B.C.

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Philip II expanded the size and influence of the Macedonian Kingdom, but is perhaps best known as the father of Alexander the Great. He personally selected the design of his coins.
SH70337. Gold stater, Le Rider 341 (D152/R260), SNG ANS 154, Choice gVF, attractive style, perfect centering, light marks, weight 8.513 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 270o, Amphipolis mint, c. 340 - 328 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse charioteer in biga right, trident head below horses, ΦIΛIΠΠOY in exergue; $4950.00 SALE PRICE $4455.00

Macedonian Kingdom, Antigonus I Monophthalmus or Antigonus II Gonatus, 306 - 270 B.C.

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Unpublished in the standard references and not yet fully attributed, this is only the second specimen of this extremely rare and important drachm known to Forum. Both specimens were struck with the same reverse die. Gorny & Mosch wrote of their specimen: "Troxell recorded a very rare issue of Alexandrine tetradrachms in the name of Gonatas (The Peloponnesian Alexanders, ANSMN 17, 1971, 75-6, note 68), which through hoard evidence was conclusively proven to be struck at Pella circa 272 (see R. W. Mathisen, Antigonus Gonatas and the Silver Coinages of Macedon circa 280-270 BC, ANSMN 26, 1981, pp. 79-123, esp. p. 104). However, this unique drachm has no controls that would explicitly tie it to the Pella mint tetradrachms, and even more perplexing is the style of the engraving, which is clearly dissimilar to the tetradrachms as well. One might suppose that it is in fact not a coin of Gonatas at all, but rather a hitherto unknown drachm of his grandfather, Antigonos I Monophthalmos. However, this also does not sit well, again for reasons of style, which is inconsistent with the period of Monophthalmos' reign. For the time being, therefore, this coin must remain a numismatic enigma until further evidence can shed additional light on it."

There are two auction records for the Gorny & Mosch specimen: Roma Numismatics auction 7 (22 Mar 2014), lot 454, sold for 4,800 plus fees; and Gorny & Mosch auction 203 (5 Mar 2012), lot 150, sold for € 3,200 plus fees. Our coin sold at Gitbud & Naumann auction 16, (4 May 2014), lot 152, apparently slipping through unnoticed by all but our astute consignor for € 575 plus fees.
SH71048. Silver drachm, unpublished in standard refs; cf. Roma Numismatics auction 7, lot 454 (same rev die) = Gorny & Mosch auction 203, lot 150, VF, reverse struck a bit flat, weight 3.845 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Greece or Macedonia mint, 306 - 270 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIΓONOY, Zeus Aetophoros enthroned left, throne with high back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back; ex Gitbud & Naumann auction 16, lot 152; extremely rare, only two know specimens; $2020.00 SALE PRICE $1818.00

Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy IX Lathyros, Reign as King of Cyprus, 101 - 88 B.C.

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Ptolemy IX Lathyros ("grass pea") was king of Egypt three times, 116 B.C. to 110 B.C., 109 B.C. to 107 B.C. and 88 B.C. to 81 B.C., with intervening periods ruled by his brother, Ptolemy X Alexander. When this coin was struck Ptolemy IX ruled in Cyprus and Ptolemy X in Egypt.

Serifs are unique to just a few rare Ptolemaic coins from this time period. Perhaps all are the work of a single engraver. Serifs also appear on a very rare Kition tetradrachm of this ruler. They appear on the K behind the head of Arsinoe II on the latest of the octadrachms. The heavy-set portrait compares well to MFA 59.51, and not so well to images of Ptolemy I.
SH72904. Silver tetradrachm, apparently unpublished and unique!, VF, weight 13.234 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, as King of Cyprus, year 27, 91 - 90 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy IX right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on a thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, date LKZ (year 27) before, ΠA mint mark behind, all letters with serifs; $1810.00 SALE PRICE $1629.00

Ionia, c. 650 - 600 B.C., Rough Irregular "Typeless" Type

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Some sales catalogs describe similar coins as the striated type. The roughly parallel lines on the striated type appear to be impressed into the "obverse" by lines cut into the anvil. On this coin, it appears the rough irregular "typeless" surface is simply flattened rough pre-strike features from the raw irregular nugget-like "planchet." Based on the apparent wear on the reverse punch, huge numbers of this type may have been struck. Very few have survived. This is the first example handled by Forum.
SH77378. Electrum 1/24 stater, cf. SNGvA 7768, SNG Kayhan 682, Trait I 14 -15, Weidauer -, Rosen -, VF, weight 0.647 g, maximum diameter 5.7 mm, uncertain Ionian mint, 650 - 600 B.C.; obverse flattened rough irregular "typeless" surface; reverse roughly square incuse pyramidal punch with striated sides, divided roughly in half by a raised irregular line, striated sides and the irregular line appear to be the result of wear; very rare; $1350.00 SALE PRICE $1215.00

Vespasian the Younger, Caesar, 94 - 95 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia

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In 94 A.D., because he had no heir, Domitian adopted his two young great-nephews. He renamed them Vespasian and Domitian. The next year he executed the boys' father, his cousin, Titus Flavius Clemens, and exiled the boys' mother, his niece, Flavia Domitilla. They were charged with Atheism, a charge sometimes applied to condemn converts to Judaism or Christianity. The boys then disappeared from history and their fate is unknown.

Smyrna was the only city to strike coins in the name of Vespasian the Younger. No coins were struck for his brother.

Some scholars connect Domitilla with a Roman Matron in the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 10b) and the Deuteronomy Rabbah 2.25. When the emperor had decreed that in 30 days, the Senate would confirm an edict to kill all Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire, the Roman matron convinced her husband to stand up for the Jews. If that identification is correct, her husband Flavius Clemens converted to Judaism, after having contact with the great sage Rabbi Akiva. Flavia Domitilla is a saint in both the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church.
SH83453. Bronze AE 16, Klose p. 244, 3, pl. 31 (V1/R1); RPC II 1028; SNG Cop 1360; SNGvA 2208; BMC Ionia p. 276, 320, gF/F, weight 2.790 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna mint, as caesar, 94 - 95 A.D.; obverse OYOCΠACIANOC NEΩTEPOC, bare head right; reverse ZMYPNAIΩN, Nike standing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand; ex Solidus Numismatik, auction 7, lot 200; rare; $1350.00 SALE PRICE $1215.00

Carthaginians in Sicily, 300 - 289 B.C.

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At the height of its prominence, Carthage's influence extended over most of the western Mediterranean. Rivalry with Rome led to a series of conflicts, the Punic Wars. The Third Punic War ended in the complete destruction of the city, annexation by Rome of all Carthaginian territory, and the death or enslavement of the entire Carthaginian population.
SL84036. Silver tetradrachm, Jenkins Punic 394 (O120/R322); SNG Cop VIII 91; Dewing 983; SGCV II 6438; HGC 2 295, NGC Choice VF, strike 4/5, surface 5/5 (3819620-001), weight 17.03 g, maximum diameter 23 mm, die axis 225o, Sicilian mint, 300 - 289 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in lion's scalp; reverse horse's head left, palm tree behind, Punic inscription MHSBM (paymasters) below; NGC certified (slabbed); $1260.00 SALE PRICE $1134.00

Roman Civil Wars, Revolt of Galba, Governor of Spain, April - June 68 A.D.

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Galba lived in Tarraco for eight years. This coin was issued by Galba as governor of Spain in revolt against Nero. The obverse is copied from Republican denarii struck in 62 B.C. by the moneyer L. Scribonius Libo.
SH63560. Silver denarius, RIC I 9 (R4), RSC II 396, BMCRE I 9, SRCV I 2072, F, toned, weight 3.515 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 225o, Tarraco(?) mint, Apr - Jun 68 A.D.; obverse BON EVENT, young female head (Bonus Eventus) right, fillet around forehead; reverse ROM RENASC, Roma standing right in military garb, Victory on globe in right hand, eagle-tipped scepter over left shoulder in left; bargain priced for this interesting R4 rarity implying the restoration of the Republic!, from the Jyrki Muona Collection; very rare (R4); $1170.00 SALE PRICE $1053.00

Hellenistic Greek, Bronze Relief Ring Fragment, Anatolia, 3rd - 2nd Century B.C.

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This bronze ring fragment is nearly identical to referenced the ring fragment currently in The J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California, listed in Spier Rings, as shown to the right. It is clearly the same woman depicted and they are very likely from the same engraver and workshop. The Getty Museum piece is similarly missing almost the entire hoop.Skepsis
AS72537. Spier Rings 90 (nearly identical fragment!, bezel 21.1 x 17.3 x 4.5 mm), fragment, entire bezel present, only traces of the hoop remain, rough green patina, some corrosion, bezel 22.5 x 18.3 x 4.7 mm, high relief portrait of a woman facing left (perhaps a Ptolemaic queen), draped and wearing her hair in melon coiffure; $1120.00 SALE PRICE $1008.00

Persian Empire, Dynasts of Lycia, Kherei, c. 440 - 410 B.C.

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Lycia had a single monarch, who ruled the entire country, subject to Persian policy, from a palace at Xanthos. The monarchy was hereditary, hence the term "dynast" has come into use among English-speaking scholars. Lycian inscriptions indicate the monarch was titled khntawati. The names of the dynasts are known mostly from coin inscriptions.
SH83587. Silver stater, Hurter New 1-6 (same rev. die); CNG mail bid 69, lot 472 (same dies, obv. die also very worn); Mrkholm-Zahle II -; Falghera -; SNG Cop -, Fair/gVF, toned, choice reverse, struck with a very worn obverse die, weight 8.860 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Xanthos mint, c. 440 - 410 B.C.; obverse bull crouching left with head raised, attacked by lion right leaping on its back; reverse bull standing left, Lycian triskeles above, dotted border, all within incuse square; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 21, lot 359; extremely rare; $800.00 SALE PRICE $720.00

Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander III The Great, 336 - 323 B.C., Lifetime issue

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Lifetime issue. This extremely rare type was probably struck in 323 B.C., just before Alexander's death. This type was unpublished prior to the 1993 Near East Hoard, there are no records of prior sales of the type on Coin Archives, and this is one of only four specimens of the type known to Forum.
SH75258. Silver tetradrachm, Hersh 5; Hersh Near East 4 - 5 (2 spec.); Troxell Studies p. 32, group E(?) or F(?) (3 examples known); Price -; Mller Alexander -; et al. -, VF, excellent centering, archaic style, uneven toning, light marks, weight 4.163 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Amphipolis mint, struck under Antipater, c. 325 - 323 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY (curving along dot border), Zeus enthroned left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg forward, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, upright laurel branch on left; extremely rare; $760.00 SALE PRICE $684.00


Catalog current as of Saturday, October 22, 2016.
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Greek Coins