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Byzantine Empire, Levante or Alexandria, c. 5th - 6th Century A.D., Jewish Menorah Lead Token
The purpose of Byzantine era lead tokens is unknown. Many appear closely related to seals differing only by the absence of a cord or channel for attachment to a container or document. Many late Roman and early Byzantine seals have a figural type on one side and a legend in two lines in Latin or Greek on the other side. Seals with a menorah are known, usually with a blank globular reverse, but some also have a name on the other side.JD98657. Lead token, personal token of Rodanos(?); Roma e-sale 53 (7 Feb 2019), lot 504 (same dies), VF, highlighting earthen deposit desert patina, weight 3.077 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 180o, c. 5th - 6th Century A.D.; obverse Menorah of seven branches, flanked by lulav on left and etrog on right; reverse PO∆A/NOY in two lines across field, palm frond above; ex CNG e-auction 435 (2 Jan 2019), lot 401; extremely rare; $2000.00 (€1640.00)
Judean Kingdom, Anonymous Hasmonean, c. 140 - 37 B.C.
A Judaean coin expert informs us that there are nine known specimens of this type, one specimen of this type was discovered during excavations at Mt. Gerizim, and the second best known specimen of this type sold for $12,000 a few years ago.JD97077. Lead tessera, Hendin 1157 (RRR), Meshore TJC -, Sofaer Collection -, HGC 10 -, SNG Cop -, F, scratches, bumps, earthen encrustation, tight flan, weight 2.024 g, maximum diameter 12.1 mm, die axis 225o, Samarian(?) mint, c. 140 - 37 B.C.; obverse double cornucopia, upright rod between, border of dots; reverse stylized palm tree between two blooming lily flowers, border of dots; zero sales of this type listed on Coin Archives in the last two decades; extremely rare; $1500.00 (€1230.00)
Judaea, Bar Kochba Revolt, 132 - 135 A.D.
The Bar Kokhba revolt, led by Simon bar Kokhba, was the last of the major Jewish–Roman wars. The Roman army suffered heavy losses. It took six full legions, auxiliaries, and elements from as many as six more legions three years to crush the revolt. The Romans annihilated much of the Judean population. In 134, the they captured Jerusalem and Simon bar Kokhba was killed in 135. An altar to Jupiter was erected on the site of the Temple. The Jewish diaspora began as Hadrian barred Jews from Jerusalem and had survivors were dispersed across the Roman Empire. Many were sold into slavery. The Jewish people remained scattered without a homeland for close to two millennia.JD98134. Bronze AE 20, Mildenberg p. 332, 156 (O4/R6); SNG ANS 586 (same dies); Meshorer AJC 80; Meshorer TJC p. 255, 301; Hendin 1439; Sofaer p. 283, 166, Choice gVF, well centered and struck, attractive applied desert patina, weight 5.293 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, undated, year 3, 134 - 135 A.D.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: "Jerusalem", seven-branched palm tree with two small bunches of dates, top of tree bent to the left; reverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: 'For the Freedom of Jerusalem', bunch of grapes on vine with small leaf; extraordinary for the type!; scarce; $1300.00 (€1066.00)
Roman, Eastern Mediterranean, Glass Double |Balsamarium (Cosmetic Tube), 4th Century A.D.
This type was used to store eye makeup. One tube would have held kohl, a black paste made with powdered galena. The other tube would have held another color, perhaps made with an ochre clay (for red or brown) or powdered malachite (for green or blue).AG20799. cf. Yale Gallery 323, Oppenländer 680a, ROM Glass 458, Corning II 749, Choice, complete and intact, weathering and iridescence, double balsamarium, free-blown thick heavy pale translucent blue-green glass, 20.0 cm (8") tall, two tubes joined side-by-side and sharing a thick globular bottom, applied top "basket" handle attached to applied loop on each side; from the Robert H. Cornell collection, former dealer in Eastern antiquities for 40 years; $900.00 (€738.00)
Roman Syria-Palestina, Jewish, Lead Bulla Seal, 7 Branched Menorah, c. 5th - 6th Century A.D.
NEW A bulla (plural, bullae) is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place, a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, revealing the tampering. Bullae depicting a menorah are known but very rare and not well documented. Dattari-Savio p. 327, 3 is a 1901 rubbing of a very similar menorah sealing. Michael Still lists two menorah sealings in his thesis on Roman seals, 1696 with a Latin inscription reverse, 1765 with a Hebrew inscription reverse. The recently published catalogue of the Vossen collection by Gert Boersema and Bill Dalzell, has two Menorah seals, numbers 181 and 182, both with blank reverses. There are also a few examples known from auctions. A FORVM member posted a bulla of this exact type from his collection on the Classical Numismatic Discussion on the Forum Ancient Coins website. We received three examples of this type on consignment, all with the same fire damage, suggesting they were found together.JD98655. Lead bulla (tag seal), VF, chip on reverse, light earthen deposits, raised bumps from exposure to an ancient fire that heated and expanded air bubbles within the lead, weight 4.679 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, c. 5th - 6th Century A.D.; obverse seven branched menorah with tripod base; reverse lulav, uncertain Syriac inscription; very rare; $750.00 (€615.00)
Roman-Byzantine, Syro-Palestinian, Glass Dropper Flask, c. Late 1st - Early 5th Century A.D.
Thick enamel-like weathering, as seen on this piece, is common on glass found in the Levant and this piece is certainly from the Levante. This flask is, however, a bit of a mystery. There is nothing very similar in the large library of ancient and medieval glass references held by Forum. It resembles an aryballos, but lacks the handles which define that type. It probably was used like an aryballos, to store and dispense scented oil which was rubbed on the skin and then scraped off to clean the body. The date is uncertain. Weathering obscures the original color, making another mystery, but the only other a similar flasks we know are described as opaque black glass.AG20822. Isings -, et al. -; apparently unpublished but two similar pieces are known from the market (priced $2,500 - $3,000!), Choice, complete and intact, thick tan and brown enamel-like weathering, dropper flask, free-blown, amber(?) glass, 12.0 cm (4 3/4") tall, 8.5 cm maximum diameter, piriform body, very short narrow neck, broad flat folded in rim, round bottom with large pontil mark, not designed to stand on its own, attractive clear plexiglass three prong stand included; from the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years; very rare form; $540.00 (€442.80)
Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D., Gaza, Judaea, Syria Palaestina
Throughout the Roman period, Gaza was a prosperous city and received grants and attention from several emperors. A 500-member senate governed Gaza, and a diverse variety of Philistines, Greeks, Romans, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Jews, Egyptians, Persians and Bedouin populated the city. Gaza's mint stamped out coins adorned with the busts of gods, emperors, and empresses. In 66 A.D., Gaza was burned down by Jews during their rebellion against the Romans. However, it remained an important city; even more so after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus the following year.RP98106. Bronze AE 20, Sofaer pl. 110, 118 (same rev. die); RPC IV.3 T9072 (2 spec., same obv. die, Marnas below date on plate); Rosenberger II 95; BMC Palestine p. 155, 89, Choice gVF, part of ethnic and date unstruck, attractive enhanced desert patina, weight 6.351 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Gaza mint, 163 - 164 A.D.; obverse ANTWNEN-OC CEB (starting from the upper right, letters OC CEB on the left all reversed), laureate, draped bust right; reverse ΓAZA (upward on left), ∆KC (year 224, upward on right), Tyche wearing standing facing, looking left, kalathos on head, long grounded scepter vertical in right hand, cornucopia in left, heifer standing left at feet on left, Marnas symbol upper right above date; ex Menashe Landman Collection; rare; $450.00 (€369.00)
Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Akko-Ptolemais, Phoenicia
Akko was refounded as a Roman colony, colonia Ptolemais, probably in 53 or 54 A.D., the last year of Claudius' reign or the first year of Nero’s. Akko was one of hundreds of cities in the Roman provinces that minted civic coins. In the mid 3rd century cities stopped producing their own coins. The last city coins were struck under Gallienus, and Akko was among the very last cities to strike its own coins.JD96394. Bronze AE 27, BMC Phoenicia p. 138, 50 var. (obv. leg.); Rosenberger 86 var. (same); Kadman Akko 256 var. (same, draped); Sofaer 293 ff. (draped, etc.); SNG Cop -, aF, rough green patina, light earthen deposits, a little off center, weight 13.158 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 0o, Ake Ptolemais (Acre, Israel) mint, 253 - 268 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES LIC GALLIEN[VS AVG], laureate head right; reverse COL P-TOL, portable shrine containing a statue of Zeus Heliopolites, shrine consisting of a frame within two pillars supporting a architrave with hatched decoration, two carrying poles projecting from bottom, figure of deity within standing facing on rock or base, wearing short chiton, double axe in right hand, harpe(?) in left hand; an unpublished variant of a very rare type; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection, 1977 surface find at Caesarea Maritima, Israel; $390.00 (€319.80)
Roman Syria-Palestina, Jewish, Lead Bulla Seal, 7 Branched Menorah, c. 5th - 6th Century A.D.
NEW A bulla (plural, bullae) is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place, a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, revealing the tampering. Bullae depicting a menorah are known but very rare and not well documented. Dattari-Savio p. 327, 3 is a 1901 rubbing of a very similar menorah sealing. Michael Still lists two menorah sealings in his thesis on Roman seals, 1696 with a Latin inscription reverse, 1765 with a Hebrew inscription reverse. The recently published catalogue of the Vossen collection by Gert Boersema and Bill Dalzell, has two Menorah seals, numbers 181 and 182, both with blank reverses. There are also a few examples known from auctions. A FORVM member posted a bulla of this exact type from his collection on the Classical Numismatic Discussion on the Forum Ancient Coins website. We received three examples of this type on consignment, all with the same fire damage, suggesting they were found together.JD98656. Lead bulla (tag seal), VF/Fair, light earthen deposits, raised bumps from exposure to an ancient fire that heated and expanded air bubbles within the lead, c. 5th - 6th Century A.D.; obverse seven branched menorah with tripod base; reverse lulav, uncertain Syriac inscription (obscure); very rare; $380.00 (€311.60)
Persian Empire, Samaria, c. 375 - 332 B.C.
Samaria was the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel in the 9th - 8th centuries B.C. The ruins are located in the Samaria mountains of Palestine, almost 10 km to the northwest of Nablus. The Assyrians took the city and the northern kingdom in 722/721 B.C. The city did not recover until the Persian period, the mid 5th century. The tensions between the ruling Sanballat family and Jerusalem under the governorship of Nehemiah are documented in the Bible (Ezra 4:10, Neh 4:7–8). Samaria became Hellenistic in 332 B.C. Thousands of Macedonian soldiers were settled there following a revolt. The Judaean king John Hyrcanus destroyed the city in 108 B.C., but it was resettled under Alexander Jannaeus. In 63 B.C. Samaria was annexed to the Roman province of Syria.JD97789. Silver hemiobol, Meshorer-Qedar 152, Sofaer -, Samaria Hoard -, Hendin -, SNG ANS -, HGC 10 -, aVF, dark toning in fields, scratches, obverse off center, weight 0.396 g, maximum diameter 7.5 mm, die axis 0o, Samaria (10 km NW of Nablus, West Bank) mint, c. 375 - 332 B.C.; obverse Phoenician galley left, with partially furled sails over zigzag waves; reverse head of Bes facing, within a shaped incuse; very rare; $360.00 (€295.20)
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