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This is perhaps the last numismatic depiction of a silphium plant.
The Crassus in named on this coin cannot be the wealthy triumvirate colleague of Julius Caesar and Pompey, who died in 53 B.C., long before this coinage. This Crassus is almost certainly his grandson, Marcus Licinius Crassus the Younger. He fought with Sextus Pompey but transferred his loyalty to Marc Antony in c. 36 B.C. Under Mark Antony he was responsible for Crete and Cyrene. Shortly before Actium, Crassus defected to Octavian. He was consul in 30 B.C., triumphed in 27 B.C., and died long after.GB96100. Bronze quadrans, RPC Online I 918 (12 spec.); BMC Cyrenaica p. 64, 26; Asolati 149a-b; SNG Cop 1312; Müller Afrique -, VF, brown tone, well centered, porous, edge cracks/splits, beveled obverse edge, weight 3.366 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 180o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, magistrate Crassus, c. 37 - 36 B.C.; obverse KPA (Crassus), head of Libya right, with corkscrew curls; reverse silphium plant, K-Y/P-A (Kyrene) flanking in two divided lines; rare; $900.00 SALE |PRICE| $810.00
Kyrene, Kyrenaika, N. Africa, c. 325 - 313 B.C.
NEW Silphium, which is now extinct, was so critical to the Kyrenian economy that most of their coins depict it. The plant was used as a spice and to treat all kinds of maladies including cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion, pain, and warts. It was so widely used as a contraceptive that it was worth its weight in denarii. The traditional heart shape, the symbol of love, is probably derived from the shape of the silphium seed due to the use of silphium as an contraceptive.
"By the next day this maiden and all her girlish apparel had disappeared, and in the room were found images of the Dioscuri, a table, and silphium upon it." - Description of Greece, Pausanias 3.16.3, 2nd Century A.D.GB96101. Bronze AE 15, Asolati 12/2 (same dies); cf. Müller Afrique 228 ff.; Buttrey Cyrene I 12, SNG Cop 1226; BMC Cyrenaica p. 45, 198, VF, porosity, some corrosion, tight flan, weight 3.799 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, 325 - 313 B.C.; obverse head of Apollo Carneius right, short curly hair, THP (magistrate) upward behind; reverse triple silphium plant, seen from above, K-Y-P around divided by members, all within a round incuse; rare; $650.00 SALE |PRICE| $585.00
Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 440 - 430 B.C.
Metapontum was one of the cities where the doctrines and sect of Pythagoras obtained the firmest footing. Even when the Pythagoreans were expelled from Crotona, they maintained themselves at Metapontum, where the philosopher himself retired, and where he ended his days. The Metapontines paid the greatest respect to his memory; they consecrated the house in which he had lived as a temple to Ceres, and gave to the street in which it was situated the name of the Museum. His tomb was still shown there in the days of Cicero.GS91978. Silver obol, Noe-Johnston 2, pl. 44, 346.3; SNG Ash 680; SNG Stockholm 192; HN Italy 1500 var. (horns downward); HGC I 1087 (R2) var. (same); SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -, gVF, toned, flow lines, slightly off center, tiny edge splits, weight 0.435 g, maximum diameter 8.4 mm, die axis 0o, Metapontion (Metaponto, Italy) mint, c. 440 - 430 B.C.; obverse ear of barley in border of large dots; reverse ox head facing with horns pointed upward; ex FORVM (2009); very rare; $270.00 SALE |PRICE| $243.00
The First Jewish Revolt, 66 - 70 A.D.
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 23JD95814. 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
Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.
During Hadrian's reign agriculture in Italy declined. Imports from Egypt and North Africa depressed wheat prices, making farming unprofitable and forcing many farmers off the land. In Rome, bakeries produced dozens of bread varieties, and free bread was distributed to the poor. RS94574. Silver denarius, RIC II-3 854, RSC II 379, BMCRE III 385, Strack II 166, Hunter II -, SRCV -, VF, nice portrait, light toning, flow lines, slightly grainy, a little off center, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.002 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 128 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, Annona (or Abundantia) seated left, reaping hook in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, modius with grain ears at feet; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00
Seleukid Kingdom, Alexander II Zabinas, 128 - 123 B.C.
Zabinas claimed to be an adoptive son of Antiochus VII, but may have been the son of an Egyptian merchant. He was used as a pawn by the Egyptian king Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (Physcon). Zabinas managed to defeat Demetrius II and thereafter ruled parts of Syria, but soon ran out of Egyptian support and was defeated by Demetrius' son Antiochus VIII Grypus. As a last resort, Zabinas plundered the temples of Antioch. He is said to have joked about melting down a statuette of the goddess of victory, Nike, which was held in the hand of a Zeus statue, saying "Zeus has given me Victory." Enraged by his impiety, the Antiochenes expelled Zabinas, who was captured and executed soon after. "Zabinas" is a derogatory name meaning "the bought one," implying he was Ptolemy's slave.GY93617. Bronze AE 22, Houghton-Lorber II 2237.1c, SNG Spaer 2336, Babelon 1310, BMC Seleucid p. 83, 21; HGC 9 1164 (C-S), Choice VF, well centered and struck, brown tone, porous, edge cracks/split, beveled obverse edge, weight 8.433 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 125 - 122 B.C.; obverse radiate and diademed head of Zabinas right, one diadem end flying up behind, the other falling forward over shoulder; reverse double cornucopia bound with fillet, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on left, A over head of grain in inner left, Π in inner right; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00
Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 350 - 275 B.C.
NEW The unusual blue encrustation on this coin is "Egyptian Blue," calcium copper silicate, a reaction of the copper with sand, lime, and natron. In crushed form, it was one of the earliest Egyptian pigments.GI95303. Bronze AE 14, Johnston Bronze 31; HN Italy 1666; HGC I 1136 (R2); SNG Munchen 1027; SNG Evans 229; Weber 804; BMC Italy p. , 177; Winterthur 391, VF/aF, fine style, encrustations, scratches, marks, corrosion, weight 2.043 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 270o, Metapontion (Metaponto, Italy) mint, c. 350 - 275 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter left, wreathed in grain; reverse barley kernel, M-E divided high across field, ant on left, AΓ monogram right; rare; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00
Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.
Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. When Severus Alexander was away on his Persian and German campaigns (231-235) he continuously struck Annona types to indicate his care for the grain supply despite his distance from Rome.RB92606. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 548, BMCRE V 346, Cohen IV 35, SRCV II 7962, Hunter III -, VF, well centered, attractive style, die wear, edge crack, weight 21.085 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 222 - 231 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M AVR SEV ALEXANDER AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse ANNONA AVGVSTI, Annona standing left, veiled, holding stalks of grain in right hand over modius at feet, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across fields; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $120.00 SALE |PRICE| $108.00
Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.
In 136 A.D., following the Bar Kokhba revolt, Hadrian absorbed Judaea and Galilee into a large new province, Syria-Palaestina, comprised of the Levant and western Mesopotamia. In the north (Syria, Lebanon and Southern Turkey) the population was mainly Aramaic speaking peoples and, especially in the main cities, Greco-Roman settlers and Hellenized Jews. Assyrians were the largest group in Mesopotamia. Arameans, Nabataeans, Arabs and Bedouins lived in southern Syrian Desert. In the southern Levant, until about 200 A.D., despite the Jewish–Roman wars, Jews still formed a majority of the population, living alongside Samaritans and Greeks. By the Byzantine period, the Jews had become a minority, living alongside Samaritans, pagan Greco-Syriacs and a large Syriac Christian community.RS94577. Silver denarius, RIC II-3 2200, RSC II 716, BMCRE III 627, Hunter II 207, Strack II 237, SRCV II 3492 var. (laureate), F, light toning, flow lines, small encrustations, edge ragged with small splits, weight 2.700 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 136 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, bare head right; reverse FIDES PVBLICA (loyalty of the public), Fides standing facing, head right, grain ears downward at side in right hand, raising plate of fruit to shoulder height in left hand; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $125.00 SALE |PRICE| $107.00
Uncertain City (Panormos?), Sicily, Roman Rule, c. 211 - 190 B.C.
In 254 B.C. Panormus was captured by the Romans. It retained its municipal freedom, and remained for many years one of the principal cities of Sicily. It continued to issue bronze coins, bearing the names of various resident magistrates, and following the Roman system. Under Augustus, Panormus received a Roman colony.GI89312. Bronze triens, Semuncial standard; Calciati I p. 365, 205 (Panormos); SNG Munchen 835 (Panormos); HGC 2 1691 (R1, uncertain Romano-Sicilian); SNG Cop -, aVF, off center but types on flan, a little rough, weight 3.239 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Romano-Sicilian mint, c. 211 - 190 B.C.; obverse veiled and draped bust of Demeter-Ceres left, small cornucopia behind neck; reverse double cornucopia, overflowing with bunches of grapes, tied with fillets, four pellets (mark of value) in a vertical line to left; rare; $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00