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

Ancient Greek Coins of Italy (Magna Graecia)
Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 330 - 290 B.C.

|Italy|, |Metapontion,| |Lucania,| |Italy,| |c.| |330| |-| |290| |B.C.|, |nomos|
Demeter in Greek mythology is the goddess of grain and fertility, the pure; nourisher of the youth and the green earth, the health-giving cycle of life and death; and preserver of marriage and the sacred law. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, dated to about the seventh century B.C. she is invoked as the "bringer of seasons," a subtle sign that she was worshiped long before she was made one of the Olympians. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that also predated the Olympian pantheon.
SH95240. Silver nomos, Johnston C6; BMC Italy p. 252, 108; SNG ANS 489; SNG Munchen 977; SNG Lockett 421; SNG Fitzwilliam 509; SNG Oxford 760; HN Italy 1589, VF, attractive style, struck with high relief dies, light toning, tight flan, weight 7.524 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 270o, Metapontion (Metaponto, Italy) mint, c. 330 - 290 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter left, wreathed in grain; reverse barley ear with seven rows of grains, leaf on left, griffin springing right above leaf, ΛY below leaf, META on right; ex Forum (2013); $800.00 SALE |PRICE| $720.00
 


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, c. 275 - 250 B.C.

|Italy|, |Neapolis,| |Campania,| |Italy,| |c.| |275| |-| |250| |B.C.|, |nomos|
In angst at not seducing Ulysses with her voice, the siren Parthenope, threw herself into the sea and died. Her body washed up on the shore near Neapolis. There she was not envisioned as one of the insidious monsters of Homer, but rather like a dead hero, she was enshrined and deified and her name was given to an early settlement on the site. Neapolis held funerary torch-races to commemorate Parthenope and her nearby tomb and sanctuary were among the local places of interest. The river god Achelous was her father.
SH95243. Silver nomos, SNG Cop 440; SNG ANS 381; BMC Italy 100, 63; Sambon 483; HN Italy 586; SNG Cop -, Choice VF, fine style, toned, well centered on a tight flan, porous, light marks, weight 7.114 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 45o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, c. 275 - 250 B.C.; obverse head of siren Parthenope left, wearing taenia, triple-pendant earring, and necklace, EY behind neck; reverse the river-god Achelous in the form of a man-faced bull, walking left, head turned facing, Nike flying left above, placing wreath on river-god's head, ΛOY below, NEOΠOΛITHΣ in exergue; ex Forum (2018); $700.00 SALE |PRICE| $630.00
 


Thourioi, Lucania, Italy, c. 400 - 350 B.C.

|Italy|, |Thourioi,| |Lucania,| |Italy,| |c.| |400| |-| |350| |B.C.|, |nomos|
The head of Athena is probably that of the sea-goddess Athena Skyletria. The bull may be a symbol of Dionysos or may have been derived from the archaic coins of Sybaris and symbolize the river Krathis. A more romantic view is that the butting bull symbolizes the rushing waters of the fountain Thuria from which the city took its name. This denomination is described as a stater, nomos or didrachm in various references and sales listings.
SH95227. Silver nomos, SNG Munchen 1192 (same dies), SNG Oxford 932, SNG Cop 1439, SNG ANS 992, HN Italy 1799, VF, well centered on a tight flan, fine classical style, light iridescent toning, light marks and scratches, weight 7.771 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Thourioi (near Sibari, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy) mint, c. 400 - 350 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing Attic helmet ornamented with Scylla scanning, using left hand to shade her eyes; reverse ΘOYPIΩN, bull butting right, right foreleg raised, double exergue line, the top line solid, the bottom line dotted, fish right in exergue; ex Forum (2016), ex Gorny & Mosch auction 233 (6 Oct 2015), lot 1101; $470.00 SALE |PRICE| $423.00
 


Rhegion, Bruttium, Italy, c. 494 - 480 B.C.

|Italy|, |Rhegion,| |Bruttium,| |Italy,| |c.| |494| |-| |480| |B.C.|, |drachm|
Rhegion reached great artistic and cultural heights. It was home to academies, such as the Pythagorean School, and to poets, historians and sculptors such as Ibycus, Ippy, and Pythagoras. It was an important ally of the Roman Republic. Rhegium flourished during the Imperial Age but was devastated by several major earthquakes and tsunami. St. Paul passed through Rhegium on his final voyage to Rome.
SL91514. Silver drachm, HN Italy p. 190, 2469; SNG ANS 621; SNG Munchen 1565; SNG Cop 1923; BMC Italy p. 373, 1; HGC 1 1630 (R2), NGC VF, strike 4/5, surface 2/5 (2416171-008), weight 5.280 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 270o, Rhegium mint, c. 494 - 480 B.C.; obverse lion's scalp facing; reverse RE-CI-N-O-N (retrograde from 5:00), calf head left; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; very rare; $400.00 SALE |PRICE| $360.00
 


Luceria, Apulia, Italy, c. 211 - 200 B.C.

|Italy|, |Luceria,| |Apulia,| |Italy,| |c.| |211| |-| |200| |B.C.|, |uncia|
In 321 B.C., the Romans, deceived into thinking Lucera was under siege by the Samnites, walked into an ambush and were defeated. The town threw out the Samnites, sought Roman protection, and in 320 B.C. was granted the status of Colonia Togata, which meant it was ruled by the Roman Senate. To strengthen ties, 2,500 Romans moved to Lucera. Roman culture merged with the native one slowly, probably accompanied by cross-cultural marriages, but Lucera was a steadfast supporter of Rome. By the 2nd century B.C., the rustic town was transformed into a proper Roman city with houses, public buildings, paved roads, sidewalks and services for travelers, accommodation for livestock with running water, and warehouses for storing goods.
GB86125. Bronze uncia, SNG ANS 709; SNG Cop 663; SNG BnF 1368; SNG Munchen 504; HN Italy 682; BMC Italy p. 141, 62; Hunterian -, VF, rough, weight 4.084 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 0o, Luceria mint, c. 211 - 200 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, bow and quiver at shoulder, pellet behind; reverse LOVC-ERI, toad seen from above; very rare; $380.00 SALE |PRICE| $342.00
 


Kroton, Bruttium, Italy, 530 - 500 B.C.

|Italy|, |Kroton,| |Bruttium,| |Italy,| |530| |-| |500| |B.C.|, |stater|
According to Herodotus (3.131), the physicians of Kroton were considered the foremost among the Greeks, and among them Democedes, son of Calliphon, was the most prominent in the 6th century B.C. Accordingly, he traveled around Greece and ended up working in the court of Polycrates, tyrant of Samos. After the tyrant was murdered, Democedes was captured by the Persians and brought to King Darius, curing him of a dislocated ankle. Democedes' fame was, according to Herodotus, the basis for the prestige of Kroton's physicians.
GS90988. Silver stater, SNG ANS 248; SNG Ashmolean 1467; SNG Lloyd 596; HN Italy 2081; BMC Italy p. 343, 9; SNG Cop -, VF, spread fabric, heavy natural patina, edge chip, weight 7.646 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Kroton (Crotone, Calbria, Italy) mint, 530 - 500 B.C.; obverse tripod lebes with three lion's feet and three handles, koppaPO upward on left, marsh bird (crane or heron) standing left on right; reverse incuse tripod lebes, koppaPO upward on left, marsh bird (crane or heron) standing left on right; ex David Mitten Collection, ex Antioch Associates (Lindgren); $320.00 SALE |PRICE| $288.00
 


Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 440 - 430 B.C.

|Italy|, |Metapontion,| |Lucania,| |Italy,| |c.| |440| |-| |430| |B.C.|, |obol|
Metapontum was one of the cities where the doctrines and sect of Pythagoras obtained the firmest footing. Even when the Pythagoreans were expelled from Crotona, they maintained themselves at Metapontum, where the philosopher himself retired, and where he ended his days. The Metapontines paid the greatest respect to his memory; they consecrated the house in which he had lived as a temple to Ceres, and gave to the street in which it was situated the name of the Museum. His tomb was still shown there in the days of Cicero.
GS91978. Silver obol, Noe-Johnston 2, pl. 44, 346.3; SNG Ash 680; SNG Stockholm 192; HN Italy 1500 var. (horns downward); HGC I 1087 (R2) var. (same); SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -, gVF, toned, flow lines, slightly off center, tiny edge splits, weight 0.435 g, maximum diameter 8.4 mm, die axis 0o, Metapontion (Metaponto, Italy) mint, c. 440 - 430 B.C.; obverse ear of barley in border of large dots; reverse ox head facing with horns pointed upward; ex FORVM (2009); very rare; $270.00 SALE |PRICE| $243.00
 


Kroton, Bruttium, Italy, c. 300 - 250 B.C.

|Italy|, |Kroton,| |Bruttium,| |Italy,| |c.| |300| |-| |250| |B.C.|, |AE| |18|
In 295 B.C., Kroton fell to the Syracusan tyrant Agathocles. When Pyrrhus invaded Italy in 280 B.C., it was still a considerable city, with twelve miles (19 km) of walls, but after the Pyrrhic War, half the town was deserted (Livy 24.3). What was left of its population submitted to Rome in 277 B.C. After the Battle of Cannae in the Second Punic War, Hannibal made it his winter quarters for three years and the city was not recaptured until 205 or 204 B.C. In 194 B.C., it became the site of a Roman colony. Little more is heard of it during the Republican and Imperial periods.
GB92021. Bronze AE 18, SNG ANS 444; SNG Munich 1480; HN Italy 2234; BMC Italy p. 356, 117; Lindgren 339, aVF, green patina, porous, very nice for this rare type, weight 3.836 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, Kroton mint, c. 300 - 250 B.C.; obverse head of Persephone right, wreathed in grain; reverse three narrow crescents with horns outward, K-P-O around clockwise, one letter within each crescent; ex CNG e-auctions 233 (26 May 2010), lot 106 (est. $250, realized $270 plus fees); rare; $270.00 SALE |PRICE| $243.00
 


Kroton, Bruttium, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

|Italy|, |Kroton,| |Bruttium,| |c.| |350| |-| |300| |B.C.|, |AE| |19|
 
SL86538. Bronze AE 19, Attianese 504; BMC Italy p. 356, 114; cf. HN Italy 2225 (2.7g); Weber 1047 (same); München 1478 (head left, 3.3g); SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -, NGC F, strike 4/5, surface 3/5 (2490384-011), weight 5.058 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 270o, Kroton (Crotone, Calbria, Italy) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse bearded head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse crab seen from above, KPΩ below, within a shallow round incuse; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; very rare; $225.00 SALE |PRICE| $203.00
 


Velia, Lucania, Italy, Late 5th Century B.C.

|Italy|, |Velia,| |Lucania,| |Italy,| |Late| |5th| |Century| |B.C.|, |chalkous|
According to Herodotus, in 545 B.C. Ionian Greeks fled Phocaea, in modern Turkey, which was being besieged by the Persians. After wandering 8 to 10 years at sea, they stopped in Reggio Calabria, where they were probably joined by the philosopher Xenophanes and then moved north along the coast and founded the town of Hyele, later renamed Ele, then Elea, and eventually Velia.
GI89083. Bronze chalkous, Di Bello II.1.A.a.193 (not in his collection), HN Italy 1321; SNG ANS 1413; BMC Italy p. 317, 118; HGC 1 1342 (R1) var. (owl left), VF, green patina, earthen deposits, some light scratches, weight 2.045 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 0o, Velia mint, 440 - 400 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion skin headdress; reverse owl standing right on olive spray, head turned facing, wings closed, VEΛH upward behind; ex CNG e-auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 66; ex Colin E. Pitchfork Collection, ex Spink America (6 Dec 1999), part of lot 440; this coin is the only specimen of the type on Coin Archives; very rare; $225.00 SALE |PRICE| $203.00
 




  



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REFERENCES|

Fischer-Bossert, W. Chronologie Der Didrachmenprägung von Tarent 510-280 v. Chr. (Berlin, 1999).
Grunauer von Hoerschelmann, S. "Die Bronzeprägung von Poseidonia" in AIIN 18/19 Suppl. (1973).
Jameson, R. Collection R. Jameson. Monnaies grecques antiques. (Paris, 1913-1932).
Johnston, A. "The Bronze Coinage of Metapontum" in Kraay-Mørkholm Essays, pp. 121-136.
Johnston, A. The Coinage of Metapontum, Part 3. ANSNNM 164. (1990).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins: European Mints. (San Mateo, 1989).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Naville Co. Monnaies grecques antiques S. Pozzi. Auction 1 (4 April 1921, Geneva).
Noe, S. The coinage of Metapontum, Parts 1 and 2. ANSNNM 32 and 47. (1927 and 1931).
Noe, S. The Thurian Distaters. ANSNNM 71. (New York, 1935).
Ravel, O., Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Tarentine Coins formed by M.P. Vlasto. (London, 1947).
Rutter, N., ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Poole, R., ed. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Italy. (London, 1873).
Sambon, A. Les monnaies antiques de l'Italie. (Paris, 1903).
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. 1: Italy - Sicily. (New Jersey, 1981).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Münzsammlung Universität Tübingen, Part 1: Hispania-Sikelia. (Berlin, 1981).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale, Vol. 6, Part 1: Italy (Etruria-Calabria). (Paris, 2003).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain II, Lloyd Collection. (London. 1933-1937).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain III, R.C. Lockett Collection, Part 1: Spain - Italy (gold and silver). (London, 1938).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain V, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. (London. 1951 - 2008).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain IV, Fitzwilliam Museum, Leake and General Collections, Part 1: Spain (Emporiae, Rhoda)-Italy. (London, 1940).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain X, John Morcom Collection. (Oxford, 1995).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 1: Etruria - Calabria. (New York, 1969).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 2: Lucania. (New York, 1972).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 3: Bruttium - Sicily 1 (Abacaenum-Eryx). (New York, 1975).
Taliercio Mensitieri, M. "Simboli, lettere, sigle sul bronzo di Neapolis" in Studi Breglia.
van Keuren, F. The Coinage of Heraclea Lucaniae. (Rome, 1994).
Williams, R. Silver Coinage of Velia. (London, 1992).

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