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

Ancient Greek Coins of Italy (Magna Graecia)

Roman Republic, Large Domed Ingot, Aes Formatum, 4th Century B.C.

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Called aes formatum by Haeberlin, this very rare bronze currency was a precursor to the issues of aes grave but later than aes rude. Presumably, molten bronze-iron alloy was poured into a shallow hole in the dirt. This left a disc-shaped metal mound with a flat reverse. Broken examples are much more common than complete ones like this.
AR11900. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 2.7; 1.64 kg (3 lbs, 10 oz), maximum diameter 14.6 cm, Italian mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse convex obverse; reverse flat reverse; the denarius is in the photograph to indicate the size, denarius not included, international shipping at the actual cost of postage will require additional charge; very rare; $720.00 (€633.60)
 


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

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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 München 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; $540.00 (€475.20)
 


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

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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); $400.00 (€352.00)
 


Roman Republic, Fragment of an Aes Formatum Brick, 4th Century B.C.

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In Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum, Grueber wrote, "In the find at Vulci, besides the aes rude and the aes signatum there was a number of rough brick-shaped pieces in very poor condition, without any imprint and nothing to indicate their value; their weight varying from an ounce to a pound...These pieces would appear to be intermediate between the as rude and the aes signatum." In Aes Grave, Das Schwergeld Roms und Mittelitaliens, published in 1910, the same year as the British Museum Catalog, Haeberlin differentiated these cast shapes from aes rude and introduced a new term for them, aes formatum.
RR87168. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 4 , 1-3; fragment of a brick shaped aes formatum, 214.5g, 62.1x47.6x15.4mm, broken from the end and includes one corner, VF, very rare; $360.00 (€316.80)
 


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, c. 300 - 275 B.C.

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Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the second millennium B.C. The city was refounded as Neapolis in the sixth century B.C. and became an important hub of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society. Naples remained influential under Rome and more so after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.
GS88981. Silver didrachm, cf. SNG ANS I 345; SNG Cop 417; BMC Italy p. 99, 58; Weber I 333; Sambon p. 227, 463; McClean 265; HN Italy 579; HGC I 453 (S), F, attractive style, even wear - nice for the grade, light bumps and marks, irregular flan shape with edge split, weight 6.921 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, c. 300 - 275 B.C.; obverse diademed female head (Siren Parthenope?) right, wearing large pendant earring and pearl necklace, astragalus (control symbol) behind neck, APTE[MI?] (master engraver or magistrate) below neck truncation; reverse man-faced bull standing right, head turned facing, Nike above flying right and placing wreath on bull's head, ΘE below, NEOΠOΛITΩN in exergue (off flan); ex Ancient Imports; scarce; $220.00 (€193.60)
 


Poseidonia, Lucania, Italy, c. 470 - 445 B.C.

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Poseidonia was founded around the end of the 7th century B.C. by Greek colonists from Sybaris. In the fifth century B.C., Poseidonia was conquered by the Lucani. Archaeological evidence indicates Greek and Oscan cultures thrived together. In 273 B.C., after the Poseidonians had sided with Pyrrhus against Rome, Poseidonia was refounded as the Roman city of Paestum.
GS87516. Silver nomos, SNG ANS 646, SNG Fitzwilliam 544, SNG Cop 1281, SNG München 1056 var. (inscription), HN Italy 1114 var. (same), SNG Tübingen -, SNG Lockett -, F, well centered, toned, some marks and scratches, etched surfaces, weight 7.712 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 90o, Poseidonia mint, c. 470 - 445 B.C.; obverse Poseidon advancing right, chlamys over shoulders, brandishing trident in raised right hand, left arm outstretched before him, ΠOMES retrograde downward on right; reverse bull standing right, within round incuse, ΠOMES retrograde above; $215.00 (€189.20)


Art and Coinage of Magna Graecia, R. Ross Holloway, 1978

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Superb coins of the south Italian Greek cities from the fifth and forth centuries B. C. presented as artistic documents. In comparison with the major trends of Greek arts of the period, parallels are illustrated from sculpture, vase painting, tomb painting and decorative bronze reliefs.
BK20313. Art and Coinage of Magna Graecia, 1978 by R. Ross Holloway, hardcover, dust cover wear, 173 pages, beautifully illustrated, new, some shelf-wear, international shipping at the actual cost of postage; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


Velia, Lucania, Italy, c. 334 - 300 B.C.

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Signed! The KE monograms are the signatures of Kleudoros, the artist or mint master of Velia. We know his name because he signed his full name in the genitive case on one obverse die. On his reverses there is, in addition, usually a control mark, ether Θ, Φ, or A.
GS91331. Silver nomos, Williams 340 (O176/R243++); BMC Italy p. 312, 79; HN Italy 1296; HGC 1 1314; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -, VF, light rose gold toning, light scratches, die wear/rust, small lamination defects, obverse flatly struck, tiny edge crack, weight 7.484 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Velia mint, c. 340 - 310 B.C.; obverse head of Athena left, wearing crested Phrygian helmet with decorated with a centauress on bow, KE (Kleudoros monogram) behind neck; reverse lion standing left devouring prey, Φ (recut over A) above, trace of Kleudoros KE monogram below, ethnic in exergue has been erased from the die and replaced with a "tablet" upon which another ethnic, YEΛHTΩN, is lightly engraved; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


Roman Republic, Fragment of an Aes Formatum Large Domed Disc Ingot, 4th Century B.C.

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Called aes formatum by Haeberlin, this very rare bronze currency was a precursor to the issues of aes grave but later than aes rude. Presumably, molten bronze-iron alloy was poured into a shallow hole in the dirt. This left a disc-shaped metal mound with a flat reverse. Broken examples like this one are much more common than complete ones.
AR12017. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, cf. Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 2.7; fragment, fragment, broken from a large domed ingot, weight 45.4 g, maximum diameter 99.7 mm, Italian mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse convex obverse; reverse flat reverse; very rare; $190.00 (€167.20)
 


Central Italy, c. 5th - 4th Century B.C., Aes Rude Fragments

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Aes rude is the earliest type of money used by the population of central Italy. They are just irregular pieces of bronze with no marks or designs. More advanced types of currency were used later: Aes Signatum and Aes Grave, and in the end, normal struck coins.
LT12228. Bronze Lot, Lot of 8 aes rude fragments, average weight c. 30g, $190.00 (€167.20)
 




  



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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).

Catalog current as of Sunday, July 21, 2019.
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Italy (Magna Graecia)