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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Animals ▸ HorseView Options:  |  |  |   

Horses on Ancient Coins

Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

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SH86312. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XIVb, 489 (V258/R351); SNG ANS 156 (same dies); Weber 1583 (same obv. die); BMC Sicily, p. 156, 80; Jameson 762; HGC 2 1312, EF, mint luster in recesses, light tone, obverse die wear, uneven strike, reverse off center, weight 17.391 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 466 - 460 B.C.; obverse charioteer driving slow quadriga right, holding reins in both hands, goad in right hand, Nike above flying left crowning driver with wreath, Ketos (sea serpent) right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, head of Arethusa right, wearing pearl or bead necklace and earring with loop and finial pendant, thin band wound once around her head and tying back hair in queue, four dolphins around swimming clockwise; ex CNG auction 102 (18 May 2016), lot 135; ex Colin E. Pitchfork Collection; ex Dr. Neil Geddes (20 Nov 2002); ex Noble auction 54 (22 July 1997), lot 1640; ex Stack’s sale, 6 Dec 1995, lot 65; $2270.00 (€1929.50)
 


Caligula, 16 Mar 37 - 24 Jan 41 A.D., Nero and Drusus Caesars on Obverse

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This type was issued by Caligula for his two deceased brothers, Nero Julius Caesar and Drusus Julius Caesar Germanicus. Nero Caesar was Tiberius' oldest adoptive grandson and was the emperor's most obvious successor until 29 A.D. when he was accused of treason along with his mother, Agrippina the Elder. He was exiled to the island of Ponza where he was either induced to commit suicide or starved to death before October 31. In 30, his brother Drusus Caesar was also accused of treason and exiled and imprisoned. He starved to death in prison in 33, reduced to chewing the stuffing of his bed. In Suetonius', The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Claudius IX we learn that Caligula ordered his uncle and co-consul Claudius to commission statues of his deceased elder brothers. The statues appear on dupondii, immortalized in a pose recognizable as the Dioscuri. The marble statue in the photo right was found in or near Rome during the fifteenth century, and is now in the British Museum. The pose differs from the image on the coins but restorations include the youth’s arms and three of the horse’s legs. Is it one of the two statues commissioned by Claudius? Click the photo to see additional photos and information.Marble Sculpture

RB91358. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I Gaius 34 (S), BMCRE I Gaius 44, Cohen I Nero et Drusus 1, BnF I Gaius 52, Hunter I Gaius 18, SRCV I -, gVF, centered on a full and heavy flan, green and red-brown patina, scattered light porosity, smoothing and cleaning marks, weight 16.011 g, maximum diameter 29.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 40 - 41 A.D.; obverse NERO ET DRVSVS CAESARES, Nero Julius Caesar and Drusus Julius Caesar Germanicus riding right, cloaks flying behind them; reverse C CAESAR DIVI AVG PRON AVG P M TR P IIII P P, legend around large S C; ex CNG e-auction 437 (6 Feb 2019), lot 398; rare; $850.00 (€722.50)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Of this type, the Dictionary of Roman Coins says, "This is a finely designed coin in first brass [a sestertius]. The equestrian group is in a spirited style of workmanship, both horse and man. The Augustus raises aloft his right hand, and with his left holds the bridle of his generous steed, as setting out on him on some journey, about that vague period, his third consulate."
SH89464. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 645 (S), BMCRE III 1313, Hunter II 436, Cohen II 590 var. (bust), SRCV II 3594, Choice VF, mottled turquoise and brown patina, well centered, nice portrait, legends a little weak, edge crack, weight 24.967 g, maximum diameter 33.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 124 - 128 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, emperor on horseback prancing left, bare-headed, wearing military garb, cloak flying behind, raising right hand in salute, reins in left hand, S - C divided low across field, EXPED AVG in exergue; Numismatik Naumann auction 72 (2 Dec 2018), lot 458; scarce; $650.00 (€552.50)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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In 146, Marcus Aurelius received the imperium proconsular and Faustina the Younger was given the title Augusta.
SH73156. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV 1669, RIC III 767a, Strack III 974, Cohen II 320, Hill UCR 709, SRCV II 4168, VF, nice green patina, nice portrait, light scratches, tight flan, weight 22.051 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 146 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG - PIVS P P TR P, laureate head right; reverse Antoninus in slow quadriga left, eagle-tipped scepter in left, reins in right, COS IIII / S C in two lines in exergue; $380.00 (€323.00)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 404 - 370 B.C.

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The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS86616. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar, early, group 3, head type 17 (O55/R1); Lorber Early, type 13, 26.1 (same dies); BCD Thessaly II 215 (same dies); HGC 4 430, VF, toned, obv. die rust/wear and flaw below chin and left cheek, rev. double struck, porosity, weight 5.862 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, c. 404 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly right, ampyx in hair, drop earrings(?), necklace with central bead, necklace is also the neck truncation; reverse horse with straight legs grazing right on ground line, ΛARIΣ above; $300.00 (€255.00)
 


Ireland, James II, 1685 - 1691, Williamite War "Gunmoney"

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James II struck base metal coins called gunmoney because the metal was in part obtained from old cannons. He promised that once he was back in power he would call in the coins, one month's worth at a time, and exchange them for proper silver coins. After James was defeated the coins continued to circulate but at a value based on copper.
WO88340. Bronze crown, SCBC-SII 6578B, VF, weakly struck areas and undertype effects, overstruck on a 1690 half-crown with clear date, weight 13.004 g, maximum diameter 33.2 mm, die axis 0o, Dublin mint, 1690; obverse IAC•II•DEI•GRA•MAG•BRI•FRA•ET•HIB•RIX (James II, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland), James on horseback left, holding sword; reverse CHRIS-TO•VICTO-RI•TRI-VMPHO• ([in] Christ victorious triumph), crowned cruciform coats-of-arms around large crown at center, ANO - DOM divided across upper quarters, 16-90 divided across lower quarters; rare; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.

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BCD Thessaly II notes this obverse die appears to have been altered (reworked).
GS73413. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar early group 3 (O25/R6), BCD Thessaly II 197 (same dies), Lorber Early 11.- (same obverse die), F, etched surfaces, die wear, weight 5.793 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly right, partially radiate hair with hornlike locks of hair on crown above ampyx, drop earring, plain necklace; reverse horse grazing right, legs straight, ΛAPI above; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thessaly, Sept. 2004, €55.-" ; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 356 - 342 B.C.

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The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS73416. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly II 313; BMC Thessaly p. 31, 76; SNG Cop 122; HGC 4 453, F, some light scratches, weight 5.223 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Larissa mint, c. 356 - 342 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, pendant earring, and simple necklace; reverse horse crouching right, left foreleg bent and raised, preparing to roll onto the ground, ΛAPI/ΣAIΩN in two lines starting in exergue, ending above; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thessaly, June 95, SFr. 50.-"; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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Adventus reverse types commemorate the emperor's arrival at Rome, either at the commencement of his reign or on his return from a distance. They may also refer to his arrival in some other city or province of the empire. At their accession, emperors were not conveyed in a chariot nor in any other vehicle, but went on horseback or on foot when they made their first public entry into the capital of the Roman world.
RA76334. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 904 (S); Cohen VI 69; Pink VI-1, p. 43; Hunter IV 311 var. (1st officina); cf. SRCV III 11195 (Rome mint, etc.), gVF, green patina with some silvering remaining, weight 4.393 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, 2nd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 2nd emission, end 276 - beginning 277 A.D.; obverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG (the valor of Emperor Probus), radiate, helmeted, and cuirassed bust left, spear in right hand over right shoulder, oval shield decorated with charging horseman on left arm; reverse ADVENTVS PROBI AVG (the arrival of Emperor Probus), Probus on horseback left, raising right hand in salute, long scepter in left hand, horses' right foreleg raised over bound captive seated left, B in exergue; scarce; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon, 3rd Democracy, 344 - 336 B.C.

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Timoleon installed a democracy in 345 B.C. After the long series of internal struggles had weakened Syracuse's power, Timoleon tried to remedy this, defeating the Carthaginians near the Krimisos river in 339 B.C. Unfortunately the struggle among the city's parties restarted after his death and ended with the rise of another tyrant, Agathocles, who seized power in 317 B.C.
GI87390. Bronze dilitron, Calciati II p. 185, 80; SNG ANS 533; SNG COP 725; SNG München 1159; SNG Morcom 717; SNG Lloyd 1456; BMC Sicily p. 189, 311; HGC 2 1439 (S), F, nice style, brown tone, legends mostly unstruck or off flan, bumps, scratches, light corrosion, weight 17.765 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, 344 - 336 B.C.; obverse ZEYΣ EΛEYΘEPIOΣ, laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios left; reverse ΣYPAKOΣION, free horse prancing left; scarce; $170.00 (€144.50)
 




  



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