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Collecting History through Ancient Coins

Holding an ancient coin is holding history in your hands. Some coins actually depict historical events. Many include the image of a historic king or emperor. Every ancient coin relates to the people and events of the time and place it was struck. Every ancient coin relates to an interesting historical story. The stories on this page are a primary source of our ancient coin obsession. We hope you enjoy them.

Koinon of Macedonia, Reigns of Elagabalus - Gordian III, c. 218 - 244 A.D., Alexander and Bucephalus

|Koinon| |of| |Macedonia|, |Koinon| |of| |Macedonia,| |Reigns| |of| |Elagabalus| |-| |Gordian| |III,| |c.| |218| |-| |244| |A.D.,| |Alexander| |and| |Bucephalus||AE| |26|NEW
Plutarch tells the story of how, in 344 B.C. Philonicus the Thessalian, a horse dealer, offered a massive wild stallion to Alexander's father, King Philip II. Since no one could tame the animal, Philip was not interested. Alexander, however, seeing that the horse was afraid of his own shadow, promised to pay for the horse himself should he fail to tame it. He was given a chance and surprised all by subduing it. Alexander spoke soothingly to the horse and turned it towards the sun so that it could no longer see its shadow. Eventually, Bucephalus allowed Alexander to ride him. Embarrassed, Philip commented, "O my son, look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee." Alexander named the horse Bucephalus because the horse's head seemed "as broad as a bull's." Bucephalus died of battle wounds in 326 B.C., in Alexander's last battle. Alexander founded the city of Bucephala (thought to be the modern town of Jhelum, Pakistan) in memory of his wonderful horse.
RP96104. Bronze AE 26, BMC Macedonia p. 23, 106; AMNG III-1 p. 123, 482; RPC Online -; SNG Cop -; SNG Hunterian -; SNG Sarglos -, VF, bumps, porosity, obverse slightly off center, flan flaw (pit) center obverse, weight 10.747 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 180o, Macedonia, Beroea(?) mint, c. 231 - 235 A.D.; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, head of Alexander the Great right, as Herakles, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse KOI MAKE∆ONΩN B NEΩ KO, Alexander galloping his horse Bucephalus right, wearing military garb, cloak fluttering behind, spear in right hand, reins in left hand, no symbol below; only one sale of this type recorded on Coin Archives for the last two decades; rare variety; $140.00 SALE |PRICE| $126.00


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 282 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |I| |Soter,| |305| |-| |282| |B.C.||obol|NEW
Cyprus became part of Alexander the Great's empire when he defeated Persia. After the succession struggles between Alexander's generals, Cyprus was ruled by the Ptolemies of Egypt.
GP96077. Bronze obol, Lorber CPE B110a; Svoronos 363; BMC Ptolemies p. 14, 7; Mionnet VI 229; Weiser 8; Noeske 107; Cox Curium 69; Malter 55; SNG Milan 12; SNG Cop -, VF, nice green patina, high points not fully struck, die damage reverse upper right, weight 7.099 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Cypriot Salamis(?) mint, c. 294 - 285 B.C.; obverse head of Alexander the Great right, wearing elephant scalp headdress; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings partially open, EY over (XAP monogram) left; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00


The First Jewish Revolt, 66 - 70 A.D.

|First| |Jewish| |Revolt|, |The| |First| |Jewish| |Revolt,| |66| |-| |70| |A.D.||eighth| |shekel|NEW
"and you shall take of yourselves on the first day [of Sukkot] the fruit of a goodly tree [etog], a palm branch, the myrtle branch, and the willow of the brook [lulav]; and you shall rejoice before the L-rd your G-d seven days" -- Leviticus 23
JD95814. Bronze eighth shekel, Kadman III 37, Hendin 1369, Meshorer TJC 214, SNG ANS 455, aVF, dark patina, obverse off center, reverse legend weak, weight 4.578 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, 69 - 70 A.D. mint, Year 4, 69 - 70 A.D.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew counterclockwise inscription: To the redemption of Zion, Omer cup with a pearled rim; reverse Paleo-Hebrew counterclockwise inscription: Year four, Lulav (myrtle, palm and willow branches tied together), flanked on each side by an etrog (citron - small lemon like fruit); ex Tareq Hani collection; $250.00 SALE |PRICE| $225.00


Great Britain, Victoria, 20 June 1837 - 22 January 1901

|United| |Kingdom|, |Great| |Britain,| |Victoria,| |20| |June| |1837| |-| |22| |January| |1901
||penny|NEW
Queen Victoria inherited the throne at 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no legitimate surviving children. The UK was already a constitutional monarchy, in which the Sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Publicly, she became a national icon and was identified with strict standards of personal morality. Her reign of 63 years and seven months is known as the Victorian era.
UK94022. Copper penny, SCBC 3948, AU, light marks and rim bumps, weight 19.042 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, die axis 0o, London mint, 1854; obverse VICTORIA DEI GRATIA (Victoria, by the Grace of God), first uncrowned portrait ('Young Head') of Queen Victoria left, 1854 below; reverse BRITANNIAR: REG: FID: DEF: (Queen of the Britons, Defender of the Faith), Britannia seated right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet, resting right hand on shield at side ornamented with the Union Jack, trident in left hand, rose, shamrock, and thistle in exergue; ex CNG e-sale 453 (2 Oct 2019), lot 893 (part of); ex Brondesbury Park Collection; $130.00 SALE |PRICE| $117.00


Great Britain, Victoria, 20 June 1837 - 22 January 1901

|United| |Kingdom|, |Great| |Britain,| |Victoria,| |20| |June| |1837| |-| |22| |January| |1901||half| |farthing|NEW
Queen Victoria inherited the throne at 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no legitimate surviving children. The UK was already a constitutional monarchy, in which the Sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Publicly, she became a national icon and was identified with strict standards of personal morality. Her reign of 63 years and seven months is known as the Victorian era.
UK94023. Copper half farthing, SCBC 3951, EF, darker spots on reverse, light marks, weight 2.345 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 0o, London mint, 1852; obverse VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D: (Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen of Britain, Defender of the Faith), first uncrowned portrait ('Young Head') of Queen Victoria left; reverse HALF / FARTHING / 1852 in three lines, crown above, rose, shamrock, and thistle below; ex CNG e-sale 453 (2 Oct 2019), lot 893 (part of); ex Brondesbury Park Collection; $60.00 SALE |PRICE| $54.00


Great Britain, Victoria, 20 June 1837 - 22 January 1901

|United| |Kingdom|, |Great| |Britain,| |Victoria,| |20| |June| |1837| |-| |22| |January| |1901||half| |farthing|NEW
Queen Victoria inherited the throne at 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no legitimate surviving children. The UK was already a constitutional monarchy, in which the Sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Publicly, she became a national icon and was identified with strict standards of personal morality. Her reign of 63 years and seven months is known as the Victorian era.
UK94024. Copper half farthing, SCBC 3951, EF, stains, light marks and rim bumps, weight 2.386 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, London mint, 1852; obverse VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F: D: (Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen of Britain, Defender of the Faith), first uncrowned portrait ('Young Head') of Queen Victoria left, ribbons in her hair; reverse HALF / FARTHING / 1842 in three lines, crown above, rose, shamrock, and thistle below; ex CNG e-sale 453 (2 Oct 2019), lot 893 (part of); ex Brondesbury Park Collection; $55.00 SALE |PRICE| $49.00


Aigeai, Cilicia, c. 47 - 27 B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Aigeai,| |Cilicia,| |c.| |47| |-| |27| |B.C.||AE| |18|NEW
Aegeae (also spelled Aigai, Aegaeae, Aigaiai, Aegae, or Aigeai) was a Greek town with a port on the coast of ancient Cilicia, on the north side of the Bay of Issus. It is now separated from the outlet of the Pyramus River (the modern Ceyhan) by a long narrow estuary called Gulf of Alexandretta. In 47 B.C., Julius Caesar, during his stay in Tarsus, reorganized Cilicia. Aegeae was pro-Caesarian and demonstrating their support began a new town era in that same year. Under Rome Aegeae was a place of some importance. It was Christianised at an early date.
GB97039. Bronze AE 18, Bloesch 245 ff. (5 spec.); SNG Levante 1685; SNGvA 5444; BMC Lycaonia p. 22, 18; SNG BnF -, VF, nice green patina with earthen highlighting, scratches, some porosity, flan shape slightly irregular, weight 3.088 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, Aigeai (near Yumurtalik, Turkey) mint, 34 - 33 B.C. (if year 14); obverse diademed head of king (Alexander the Great?) right; reverse Nike advancing left, wreath extended in right hand, palm frond over shoulder in left hand, AIΓE/AIΩN in two lines in the left field, MH right (magistrate initials?), ∆I (year 14 or magistrate initials?) lower left; $140.00 SALE |PRICE| $126.00


Julia Mamaea, Augusta 13 March 222 - February or March 235 A.D.

|Julia| |Mamaea|, |Julia| |Mamaea,| |Augusta| |13| |March| |222| |-| |February| |or| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
Fecunditas (Latin: "fecundity, fertility") was the goddess of fertility. She was portrayed as a matron, sometimes holding a cornucopia or a hasta pura, often with children in her arms or standing next to her.
RS92610. Silver denarius, RIC IV 331, RSC III 5, BMCRE VI 917 ff., Hunter IV 9, SRCV II 8207, EF/VF, toned, flow lines, light marks, reverse a little off center, weight 2.674 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 232 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, diademed draped bust right; reverse FECVND AVGVSTAE, Fecunditas standing left, extending right hand over small boy standing before her, boy nude and raising arms to her, cornucopia in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00


Faustina Sr., Augusta 25 February 138 - Early 141, Wife of Antoninus Pius

|Faustina| |Sr.|, |Faustina| |Sr.,| |Augusta| |25| |February| |138| |-| |Early| |141,| |Wife| |of| |Antoninus| |Pius||denarius|NEW
Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RS96969. Silver denarius, RIC III AP394a, RSC II 234, BMCRE IV AP311, SRCV II 4598, Choice VF, well centered, superb matron portrait, old collection toning, flow lines, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.992 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, 145 A.D.; obverse DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, draped bust right, hair elaborately waived and banded, drawn up at the back and piled in a round coil at top; reverse PIETAS AVG (to the piety of the Emperor), Pietas standing slightly left, head left, veiled and draped, dropping incense from right hand on flaming garlanded column altar on left, incense box in left hand; ex Forum (2009); $140.00 SALE |PRICE| $126.00


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander the Great, 336 - 323 B.C.

|Alexander| |the| |Great|, |Macedonian| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |the| |Great,| |336| |-| |323| |B.C.||stater|NEW
Alexander the Great lifetime issue, struck by his Satrap in Lydia, Menander. Menander, the commander of a force of mercenaries in Alexander's army, was appointed by Alexander as the satrap in Lydia in 331. In 323 B.C., he was commissioned to conduct a reinforcement of troops to Alexander at Babylon, where he arrived there just before Alexander's death. In the division of the provinces after the death of Alexander, Menander received his former government of Lydia. He appears soon to have attached himself to the party of Antigonus. In the new distribution of the provinces at Triparadisus in 321 B.C., he lost the government of Lydia, which was given to Cleitus; but this was probably a promotion by Antigonus, as he commanded part of Antigonus' army in the first campaign against Eumenes in 320 B.C. The following year, Menander learned of the escape of Eumenes from Nora, and advanced with an army into Cappadocia to attack him, forcing him to take refuge in Cilicia. After this, no further mention of Menander is found in history.
SL96805. Gold stater, Price 2537, Müller Alexander 145, SNG Cop 645, ICG AU50 (2064440108), weight c. 8.5 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, lifetime issue, c. 334 - 323 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing earring, necklace, and crested Corinthian helmet ornamented with a coiled snake; reverse Nike standing half left, wreath in extended right hand, stylus in left, tripod lebes with loop handles (control symbol) to left, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right; mint luster that is not captured by the photograph; ICG| Lookup; $5200.00 SALE |PRICE| $4680.00











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