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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; $650.00 (598.00)
Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 350 - 275 B.C.
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 (138.00)
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; $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)
Kentoripai, Sicily, c. 211 - 190 B.C.
Kentoripai was an iron age Sikel town that maintained its culture and language long after much of Sicily had become Hellenized. In 414 B.C., the town allied with Athens to help defeat a Syracusan inland expedition. In 396, Kentoripai made a treaty with Syracuse. In 344, Timoleon defeated Nikodemos, the ruler of Kentoripai and annexed the city and its territory. Kentoripai was one of the first cities in Sicily to make a treaty with Rome. The city was rewarded for its loyalty and under Roman protection it became one of the most important cities in Roman Sicily.GI93441. Bronze hexas, Calciati III p. 175, 7; BMC Sicily p. 56, 13; SNG ANS 1323; SNG Cop 216; SNG Munchen 517; HGC 2 637 (R1), aVF, well centered on a broad flan, green patina with red copper areas, porous, small edge cracks, weight 4.435 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 0o, Kentoripai mint, c. 211 - 190 B.C.; obverse draped bust of Demeter right, wreathed in grain, wearing earring and necklace, stalk of grain behind; reverse plow right, bird on the share, two pellets left, KENTO/PIΠINΩN in two lines, starting above, ending below, linear border; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $70.00 (64.40)
Leontini, Sicily, c. 405 - 402 B.C.
Leontini was founded as by colonists from Naxos in 729 BC, itself a Chalcidian colony established five years earlier. It was the only significant Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, being some 6 miles inland. The site, originally held by the Sicels, was seized by the Greeks owing to its command of the fertile plain to the north. The city was reduced to subject status in 498 BC by Hippocrates of Gela, and in 476 BC Hieron of Syracuse moved the inhabitants from Catania and Naxos to Leontini. GI93445. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 77, 3; SNG Cop 360; SNG ANS 270; SNG Morcom 606; SNG Lloyd 1070; BMC Sicily p. 92, 56; Laffaille 169; HGC 2 709 (R1), gF, dark patina, scattered porosity/corrosion, small edge crack, obverse edge beveled, weight 2.110 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 90o, Leontini mint, c. 405 - 402 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, olive leaf and olive behind; reverse tripod lebes, a barley kernel flanking on each side, kithara between legs of tripod, three pellets in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $70.00 (64.40)