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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Astronomy||View Options:  |  |  |   

Astronomy on Ancient Coins
Castulo, Hispania Ulterior, c. 150 - 100 B.C.

|Hispania|, |Castulo,| |Hispania| |Ulterior,| |c.| |150| |-| |100| |B.C.|, |quarter| |unit|
After a local princess named Himilce married Hannibal, Castulo allied with Carthage. In 213 B.C., Castulo was the site of Hasdrubal Barca's crushing victory over the Roman army with a force of roughly 40,000 Carthaginian troops plus local Iberian mercenaries. Soon after the Romans made a pact with the residents and the city became a foederati (ally) of Rome.
SL89030. Bronze quarter unit, Villaronga-Benages 2152; Villaronga p. 337, 48; SNG BM Spain 1358; SNG Cop 208, NGC Ch VF, strike 4/5, surface 3/5 (2490384-007), weight 1.766 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 270o, Castulo (near Linares, Spain) mint, mid 2nd century B.C.; obverse diademed male head right; reverse boar standing right, star of 7 rays around a central pellet above, "Kastilo" in Iberian script in exergue; ex Den of Antiquity; NGC| Lookup; $220.00 SALE |PRICE| $198.00


Antiochia, Pisidia, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

|Pisidia|, |Antiochia,| |Pisidia,| |2nd| |-| |1st| |Century| |B.C.|, |tetrassarion|
Antiochia in Pisidia, also know as Antiochia in Phrygia, and under the Roman Empire as Antiochia Caesareia or Antiochia Colonia Caesarea, was on the border of Pisidia and Phrygia, at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Aegean and Central Anatolian regions. After the death of Alexander the Great, Seleucus I Nicator, founder of the Seleucid Dynasty, took control of Pisidia. Captured places were Hellenised and, in order to protect the population, nearly 60 fortified cities were founded at strategically important places, usually on an acropolis. Seleucus gave 16 of them the name of his father Antiochos. Colonists were brought from Magnesia on the Maeander to found Antiochia in Pisidia.
GB92188. Bronze tetrassarion, Imhoof KM p. 108, 5; SNG Cop 12 var. (magistrate); SNGvA 4914 var. (same, ethnic around), VF, green patina with earthen highlighting, weight 6.268 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 180o, Antiochia in Pisidia (near Yalva, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse eagle standing slight right on thunderbolt, wings open, crescent above, Γ (mark of value) lower right; reverse star of six rays around central pellet, ANTIO/ΞE-ΩN in two lines, ΘEAPI∆O (magistrate's name) below; ex Gerhard Rohde Ancient Coins; extremely rare; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $162.00


Thessalonika, Macedonia, c. 54 - 68 A.D.

|Thessalonika|, |Thessalonika,| |Macedonia,| |c.| |54| |-| |68| |A.D.|, |AE| |16|
Thessalonica was founded around 315 B.C. by Cassander, King of Macedonia, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma. He named it after his wife Thessalonike, a daughter of Philip II and a half-sister of Alexander the Great. In 168 B.C. it became the capital of Macedonia Secunda and in 146 B.C. it was made the capital of the whole Roman province of Macedonia. Due to its port and location at the intersection of two major Roman roads, Thessalonica grew to become the most important city in Macedonia. Thessalonica was important in the spread of Christianity; the First Epistle to the Thessalonians written by Paul the Apostle is the first written book of the New Testament.
GB92061. Bronze AE 16, Touratsoglou G.I/A; RPC I 1607 (13 spec. online); SNG Hunterian I 682; McClean 3776; AMNG III taf. XXIII, 23; BMC Macedonia -; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -, aVF, green patina, tight flan, weight 4.078 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, reign of Nero(?), c. 54 - 68 A.D.; obverse horse trotting right, crescent with horns upward above, star below raised foreleg; reverse ΘEΣ/ΣAΛON/IKEΩN in three lines within laurel wreath; ex CHS Basel Numismatics; very rare; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00


Kingdom of Pontus, Mithradates VI, c. 120 - 63 B.C.

|Pontic| |Kingdom|, |Kingdom| |of| |Pontus,| |Mithradates| |VI,| |c.| |120| |-| |63| |B.C.|, |AE| |18|
The star almost certainly depicts one of Mithridates comets. According to Justin's epitome of the Historiae Philippicae of the Augustan historian Pompeius Trogus (Justin 37.2.1-2): "The future greatness of this man [Mithridates Eupator] had been foretold by heavenly portents. For both in the year in which he was born [134/133 B.C.] and in the year in which he first began to rule [120/119 B.C.], a comet gleamed so brightly for 70 days throughout each period that the whole sky seemed to be on fire. In its extent, each of these comets filled one quarter of the sky and surpassed the sun in brilliance. They took four hours to rise and four hours to set."
GB92048. Bronze AE 18, cf. SNG BM Black Sea 980; SNG Stancomb 645; SNG Cop 230, HGC 7 314 (S), VF, green patina, weight 4.930 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, Amisos(?) mint, c. 120 - 100 B.C.; obverse bashlyk (Persian satrap's leather cap with flat top and ear flaps), bow on left pointed right, monogram(?) on right, facing horned bust of Pan below; reverse comet or star of eight rays, bow on right facing inward; scarce; $140.00 SALE |PRICE| $126.00


Maximinus I Thrax, March 235 - May 238 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Maximinus| |I| |Thrax,| |March| |235| |-| |May| |238| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt|, |tetradrachm|
In Greek mythology, Selene is the goddess of the moon. She is the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia, and sister of the sun-god Helios, and Eos, goddess of the dawn. She drives her moon chariot across the heavens. Several lovers are attributed to her in various myths, including Zeus, Pan, and the mortal Endymion. In classical times, Selene was often identified with Artemis, much as her brother, Helios, was identified with Apollo. Selene and Artemis were also associated with Hecate, and all three were regarded as lunar goddesses, but only Selene was regarded as the personification of the moon itself. Her Roman equivalent is Luna.
RP89035. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari (Savio) 4601; BMC Alexandria p. 228, 1775; Milne 3267; Kampmann 65.73; Emmett 3300.1; SNG Cop -; Geissen -, aVF, full border centering on a broad flan, dark brown patina, mild corrosion, edge cracks, weight 12.190 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 237 - 28 Aug 238 A.D.; obverse AVTO MAΞIMINOC CEV CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Maximinus I right, seen from behind; reverse head of Selene right, wearing tainia and chiton fastened on left shoulder with a fibula, L∆ (year four) behind, large crescent right with horns left; ex CGB mail bid sale 13 (30 Jul 2001), lot 557; $130.00 SALE |PRICE| $117.00


Kingdom of Pontus, Mithradates VI, c. 120 - 63 B.C.

|Pontic| |Kingdom|, |Kingdom| |of| |Pontus,| |Mithradates| |VI,| |c.| |120| |-| |63| |B.C.|, |AE| |22|
The star almost certainly depicts one of Mithridates comets. According to Justin's epitome of the Historiae Philippicae of the Augustan historian Pompeius Trogus (Justin 37.2.1-2): "The future greatness of this man [Mithridates Eupator] had been foretold by heavenly portents. For both in the year in which he was born [134/133 B.C.] and in the year in which he first began to rule [120/119 B.C.], a comet gleamed so brightly for 70 days throughout each period that the whole sky seemed to be on fire. In its extent, each of these comets filled one quarter of the sky and surpassed the sun in brilliance. They took four hours to rise and four hours to set."
GB89059. Bronze AE 22, SNG Stancomb 651, SNG BM Black Sea 976, SNG Cop 230, HGC 7 311 (S), F, dark patina, weight 10.131 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, Amisos(?) mint, c. 120 - 100 B.C.; obverse bow case with strap; countermark: helmet right(?) in a c. 5.5mm diameter round punch; reverse comet or star of eight rays, bow right facing inward; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher); scarce; $130.00 SALE |PRICE| $117.00


Miletos, Ionia, 352 - 325 B.C.

|Miletos|, |Miletos,| |Ionia,| |352| |-| |325| |B.C.|, |AE| |13|
Miletos was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River. Miletos, along with most of Anatolia, was taken from Persia by Alexander the Great in 334 B.C. Miletos' greatest wealth and splendor was reached during the Hellenistic era and Roman times. Its ruins are located near the modern town of Balat in Aydin Province, Turkey. The symbols found on coins of Miletos include the lion, a star, and Apollo. The star may represent the Sun in association with Apollo.Miletus Bay
GB92003. Bronze AE 13, Deppert-Lippitz 270 - 272; SNG Cop 972; BMC Ionia p. 188, 45 ff. var. (magistrate), aVF, dark green patina, corrosion, tiny edge patina chips, weight 2.146 g, maximum diameter 12.7 mm, Miletos (near Balat, Turkey) mint, 352 - 325 B.C.; obverse lion standing left, looking back with open jaws, (Miletos monogram) above; reverse stellate ornament, EONOMI∆HΣ (magistrate) around divided by rays; ex FORVM (2009); rare; $105.00 SALE |PRICE| $95.00


Miletos, Ionia, c. 250 - 190 B.C.

|Miletos|, |Miletos,| |Ionia,| |c.| |250| |-| |190| |B.C.|, |AE| |12|
Today most people think of the lion as strictly an African animal, but it is possible that, when this coin was struck, wild lions roamed near Miletos. An ancient source places them on the nearby island of Samos. The European lion survived in Bulgaria until the 4th or 3rd century B.C., in Macedonia until the 1st century A.D. In mainland Greece most were gone by about 100 A.D. but some survived in Thessaly until the 4th century A.D. It was then that Themistius wrote the lion had disappeared in Thessaly and regretted no more lions could be furnished for beast-shows. In Transcaucasia, the lion was present until the 10th century A.D.
GB92025. Bronze AE 12, cf. BMC Ionia p. 191, 74 ff. (various magistrates), SNG Cop 985 (magistrate obscure), SNGvA -, VF, mottled blue-green patina, highlighting buff earthen deposits, nice style, edge crack, weight 0.911 g, maximum diameter 11.6 mm, die axis 0o, Miletos (near Balat, Turkey) mint, c. 250 - 190 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse lion standing right, looking back left at star of eight rays above, no exergue line, magistrate's name in exergue (mostly off flan); ex FORVM (2010); $85.00 SALE |PRICE| $76.50


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum

|Nikopolis|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.,| |Nikopolis| |ad| |Istrum|, |assarion|
There are peculiarities about these Roman crescent and star reverse types that are difficult to understand. First, the crescents are almost always depicted with the horns up. The moon is never seen this way in the sky. Also, in the sky stars are never visible within the horns of the crescent moon because there they would be behind the shadowed yet solid and opaque orb. The crescent with horns up may represent a solar eclipse.
RP92881. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.48.37 (R2), Varbanov I 2474 var. (obv. leg.), AMNG I/I 1432, Moushmov 986, gVF, green patina, slightly off center, scratches, spot of corrosion on reverse, weight 2.928 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 180o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AY K Λ CEVHPOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC IC, five stars above and within crescent with horns upward; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00


Pontos (Uncertain City), c. 119 - 100 B.C.

|Pontos|, |Pontos| |(Uncertain| |City),| |c.| |119| |-| |100| |B.C.|, |AE| |12|
The comets depicted are almost certainly the comets described in Justin's epitome of the Historiae Philippicae of the Augustan historian Pompeius Trogus (Justin 37.2.1-2): "The future greatness of this man [Mithridates Eupator] had been foretold by heavenly portents. For both in the year in which he was born [134/133 B.C.] and in the year in which he first began to rule [120/119 B.C.], a comet gleamed so brightly for 70 days throughout each period that the whole sky seemed to be on fire. In its extent, each of these comets filled one quarter of the sky and surpassed the sun in brilliance. They took four hours to rise and four hours to set."
GB84563. Bronze AE 12, SNG BM 984; SNG Stancomb 653; Lindgren III 154; HGC 7 317, VF, small flan, slightly off center, green patina with buff earthen highlighting, weight 1.623 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, Pontos, uncertain mint, c. 119 - 100 B.C.; obverse horse-head right, with comet star of eight points and central pellet on and below neck; reverse comet star of seven points, central pellet, and tail to right; ex Agora Auctions; rare; $75.00 SALE |PRICE| $67.50




  



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