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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. Mόller 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; $580.00 (533.60)
Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 340 - 330 B.C.
Leukippos (or Leucippus) was a son of king Oinomaos of Pisa. He fell in love with the nymph Daphne and disguised himself as a girl to join her company. When she discovered his true identity in the bath, he was slain by the nymphs. Based on this portrait, clearly his plan was doomed from the start.
Another Leukippos, unrelated to the coin, was a philosopher in the first half of 5th century B.C. This Leukippos was the first Greek to develop the theory of atomism; the idea that everything is composed entirely of various imperishable, indivisible elements called atoms. His theory was elaborated in far greater detail by his pupil and successor, Democritus. Leukippos was born in Miletus or Abdera.GI95918. Silver stater, Johnston Class B, 2; SNG Cop 1208; SNG ANS 432 ff.; HN Italy 1575; HGC Italy -, F, centered on a tight flan, toned, bumps and scratches, inscription poorly struck, weight 7.525 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Metapontion (Metaponto, Italy) mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse bearded head of Leukippos right, wearing Corinthian helmet, lion head right (control symbol) behind neck, monogram below chin (off flan); reverse barley ear with leaf to left; club above leaf, AMI (magistrate) below leaf on left (off flan), META on right; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $300.00 (276.00)
Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.
Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Africa) and its distribution to the people.RS97455. Silver denarius, RIC III 175; RSC II 284; BMCRE IV p. 95, 657; Strack III 191; cf. SRCV II 4067 (TR P XI), VF, well centered, toned, flow lines, long closed flan crack, weight 3.091 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 148 - 149 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XII, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, Annona standing left holding stalks of grain over modius left and anchor; ex Savoca Coins auction blue 90 (29 Nov 2020), lot 1247; $150.00 (138.00)
Julia Mamaea, Augusta 13 March 222 - February or March 235 A.D.
Hera (Juno to the Romans) is the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Hera's mother is Rhea and her father Cronus. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. The cow, lion and the peacock were considered sacred to her. Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the kalathos. Hera was known for her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus' lovers and offspring, but also against mortals who crossed her. Paris earned Hera's hatred by choosing Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess.RB92608. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV SA683, BMCRE VI SA759, Hunter III 38, Cohen IV 33, SRCV II 8230, VF, rough green patina, patina flaking, porosity, earthen deposits, edge cracks, weight 21.460 g, maximum diameter 32.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 231 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, wearing stephane; reverse IVNO AVGVSTAE, Juno seated left, flower in right hand, swathed infant in crook of left arm, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $140.00 (128.80)
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; $90.00 (82.80)
Sabina, Augusta 128 - c. 136 A.D., Perinthos, Thrace
Perinthos, later called Heraclea and Marmara Eregli today, is 90 km west of Istanbul near a small pointed headland on the north shore of the Marmara Sea. It is said to have been a Samian colony, founded about 599 B.C. It is famous chiefly for its stubborn and successful resistance to Philip II of Macedon in 340 B.C.; at that time it seems to have been more important than Byzantium itself.RP92875. Bronze AE 20, CN Online Perinthos CN_4717, Schonert Perinthos 380, Varbanov III 100 (R6), BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, VF, green patina, well centered on a tight flan, small edge splits, porosity, weight 5.147 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Heraclea Perinthos (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, 128 - c. 136 A.D.; obverse CABINA - CEBACTH, draped bust right; reverse Π-EPIN-ΘIWN, Demeter standing left, two stalks of grain in right hand, long torch vertical behind in left hand; $90.00 (82.80)
Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.
Annona was worshiped in Rome as the goddess who prospered the year's supply of grain. She was represented on an altar in the capital. The three principal granaries of Rome were Sicily, Egypt, and the African provinces. Annona civilis was the grain which purchased each year by the Roman state, then imported and put into storage, reserved and distributed for the subsistence of the people. Annona militaris was grain appropriated to the use of an army during a campaign.RB95900. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC II-3 742; BMCRE III 1334A; Strack II 588; cf. SRCV II 3675 (similar but Annona right); Cohen II 176 (perhaps this coin); Hunter II -, aVF, well centered, rough corrosion, weight 10.531 g, maximum diameter 26.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 124 - 127 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, radiate bust right, chest bare, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, Annona seated left, attendant stands before her helping to draw out a a cloth full of bread loaves(?), stern of ship in the background on right, S - C (Senatus Consulto) across field, ANNONA AVG in exergue; $80.00 (73.60)
Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Caesarea, Cappadocia
Kayseri, Turkey was originally named Mazaca. It was renamed Eusebia by Ariarathes V Eusebes, King of Cappadocia, 163 - 130 B.C. The last king of Cappadocia, King Archelaus, renamed it "Caesarea in Cappadocia" to honor Caesar Augustus upon his death in 14 A.D. Muslim Arabs slightly modified the name into Kaisariyah, which became Kayseri when the Seljuk Turks took control, c. 1080 A.D.RP93140. Bronze AE 22, Ganschow 843d; RPC Online VI T6853; SNG Cop 301; BMC Galatia p. 92, 338; Lindgren A1725A; Sydenham Caesarea 596 var. (AΛEΞAN∆), aVF, porous/rough, reverse off center, weight 6.099 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 180o, Caesarea mint, 228 - 229 A.D.; obverse AYK CEOV AΛEΞAN, laureate head right; reverse MHTPOΠ KAICA, three double-head stalks of grain tied together, ET-H (year) divided across bottom; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $60.00 (55.20)