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Collecting History through Ancient Coins

Holding an ancient coin is holding history in your hands. Some coins actually depict historical events. Many include the image of a historic king or emperor. Every ancient coin relates to the people and events of the time and place it was struck. Every ancient coin relates to an interesting historical story. The stories on this page are a primary source of our ancient coin obsession. We hope you enjoy them.

Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander the Great, 336 - 323 B.C., Lifetime Issue

|Alexander| |the| |Great|, |Macedonian| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |the| |Great,| |336| |-| |323| |B.C.,| |Lifetime| |Issue|, |tetradrachm|
Born a leader, his genius and charisma led the Macedonian army to create an empire covering most of the then-known world, from Greece to India. His reign begins the Hellenistic Age, a time when civilization flourished. He was regarded as a god and his fame grew even greater after his premature death at thirty-two.
GS94444. Silver tetradrachm, Price 3485, Newell Dated 24 (obv. die XII), Cohen DCA 874 (R3), Demanhur 3739, Prokesch-Osten I 34, Newell Reattribution 145, Newell Sidon 24, EF, high relief, grainy porous surfaces, obverse a little off center, reverse double struck, small edge splits, weight 16.544 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, struck under Menes, 326 - 325 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus AŽtophoros seated left on throne without back, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward behind, Phoenician letter het (year 8) in left field, ΣI under throne; only one specimen recorded on Coin Archives; very rare date; $850.00 SALE |PRICE| $765.00


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

|Kingdom| |of| |Thrace|, |Kingdom| |of| |Thrace,| |Lysimachos,| |305| |-| |281| |B.C.,| |Portrait| |of| |Alexander| |the| |Great|, |tetradrachm|
Thompson notes that Pyrrhus held Pella until 286 B.C. It was one of the last, if not the last, mint opened by Lysimachos. Twenty-six obverse dies are known for the tetradrachms.
SH93849. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 248, HGC 3.2 1750p (S), MŁller 353 var. (monogram in ex.), VF, superb high relief portrait, light toning with some darker spots, bumps and marks, weight 16.645 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 180o, Pella mint, 286 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse Athena enthroned left, Nike crowning name in her right hand, resting left arm on grounded round shield behind, transverse spear against right side, HP monogram outer left, monogram inner left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ΛYΣIMAXOY downward on left; ex Divus Numismatik; scarce; $750.00 SALE |PRICE| $675.00


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

|Kingdom| |of| |Thrace|, |Kingdom| |of| |Thrace,| |Lysimachos,| |305| |-| |281| |B.C.,| |Portrait| |of| |Alexander| |the| |Great|, |tetradrachm|
Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great's personal bodyguards, was appointed strategos (general) in Thrace and Chersonesos after Alexander's death. He became one of the diadochi (successors of Alexander) who were initially generals and governors, but who continuously allied and warred with each other and eventually divided the empire. In 309, he founded his capital Lysimachia in a commanding situation on the neck connecting the Chersonesos with the mainland. In 306, he followed the example of Antigonus in taking the title of king, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedonia. In 281, he was killed in battle against Seleucus, another successor of Alexander.
GS94259. Silver tetradrachm, HGC 3.2 1750, VF, well centered on a broad flan, nice portrait, toned, bumps and marks, weight 16.424 g, maximum diameter 32.4 mm, die axis 135o, obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse Athena enthroned left, Nike crowning name in her right hand, resting left arm on grounded round shield behind, transverse spear against right side, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ΛYΣIMAXOY downward on left, no control marks; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 83 (1 Sep 2019), lot 87; $550.00 SALE |PRICE| $495.00


Lucilla, Augusta c. 164 - 182 A.D., Wife of Lucius Verus

|Lucilla|, |Lucilla,| |Augusta| |c.| |164| |-| |182| |A.D.,| |Wife| |of| |Lucius| |Verus|, |sestertius|
For Roman wives, piety often meant accepting neglect. It was not considered adultery for a Roman husband to have sex with slaves or unmarried women. The historian Spartianus wrote that after Lucilla complained, Lucius Verus reproached her: "Uxor enim dignitatis nomen est, non voluptatis" (Wife is the name of dignity, not bliss).
RB92463. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 1756, BMCRE IV 1161, Cohen III 54, Hunter II 27, SRCV II 5505, VF, nice portrait, flow lines, well centered on a squared flan, light bumps and scratches, weight 26.206 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 330o, Rome mint, 164 - 166 A.D.; obverse LVCILLAE AVG ANTONINI AVG F, draped bust right, hair waived and knotted in chignon low at back; reverse PIETAS, Pietas standing left, veiled, right hand extended over flaming altar at feet on left, incense box in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $450.00 SALE |PRICE| $405.00


Judaea, Bar Kochba Revolt, 134 - 135 A.D.

|Bar| |Kochba|, |Judaea,| |Bar| |Kochba| |Revolt,| |134| |-| |135| |A.D.|, |AE| |24|
Simon Bar Kochba led a rebellion against Rome from 133 -135 A.D. This Second Jewish Revolt or "Bar Kochba" uprising ended with Hadrian's destruction of Jerusalem, the founding of "Aelia Capitolina" on the site, and dispersal of the Jews throughout the Roman Empire.
JD91433. Bronze AE 24, Mildenberg 113 (O10/R77), Meshorer TJC 289; Hendin 1437, Sofaer 141, SNG ANS 566, aVF, tight flan, light corrosion, light deposits, weight 11.837 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 180o, year 3 (134 - 135 A.D.); obverse seven branched palm tree with two bunches of dates, paleo-Hebrew inscription "Shimon" divided by trunk; reverse paleo-Hebrew inscription: "for the freedom of Jerusalem", five-lobed vine-leaf, hanging from curved branch; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $440.00 SALE |PRICE| $396.00


Plotina, Augusta 105 - 129 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

|Amphipolis|, |Plotina,| |Augusta| |105| |-| |129| |A.D.,| |Amphipolis,| |Macedonia|, |AE| |24|
Plotina was the wife of Trajan, married to him before his succession. She was renowned for her virtue and simplicity. In 100, Trajan awarded her with the title of Augusta, but she did not accept the title until 105. Plotina did not appear on the coinage until 112. She was largely responsible for Hadrian's succession to the throne after the death of Trajan. Plotina died in 129 A.D.
SH79967. Bronze AE 24, RPC Online III 645, SNG Evelpidis 1170, Lindgren 980, SNG ANS -, SNG Cop -, BMC Macedonia -, Varbanov -, F, green patina, pitting, weight 9.487 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, 105 - 129 A.D.; obverse CEBACTH ΠΛWTEINA, draped bust right; reverse AMΦIΠOΛTWN, Tyche seated left, patera in right hand; very rare; $320.00 SALE |PRICE| $288.00


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III and Alexander IV, c. 323 - 317 B.C., In the Name of Alexander

|Macedonian| |Kingdom|, |Macedonian| |Kingdom,| |Philip| |III| |and| |Alexander| |IV,| |c.| |323| |-| |317| |B.C.,| |In| |the| |Name| |of| |Alexander|, |tetradrachm|
Struck after Alexander's death, under either Perdikkas or Antipater, regents during the joint reign of Alexander's mentally disabled half-brother, Philip III, and Alexander's infant son, Alexander IV. Philip was the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa. Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, allegedly poisoned her stepson Philip III as a child, leaving him mentally disabled, eliminating him as a rival to Alexander. Neither Philip III nor Alexander IV was capable of actual rule. Both were selected only to serve as pawns. The regents held power, while Philip III was actually imprisoned. In 317, Olympias had Philip murdered to ensure the succession of her grandson. But Alexander IV would never rule. In 311 B.C., he and his mother Roxana were executed by the regent Kassander.
GS94260. Silver tetradrachm, Price 112, MŁller Alexander 854, Demanhur 1344- 1455, SNG Cop 684, SNG Alpha Bank 499, SNG MŁn 283, SNG Ash 2594, Newell Reattribution 43, Troxell H2, VF, light corrosion, weight 16.129 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 125o, Macedonia, Amphipolis mint, under regent Antipater, c. 322 - 320 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus AŽtophoros seated left on throne without back, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, Phrygian cap inner left; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 80 (4 August 2019), lot 68; ex Tareq Hani Collection; $280.00 SALE |PRICE| $252.00


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

|Julia| |Domna|, |Julia| |Domna,| |Augusta| |194| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.|, |denarius|
Julia Domna was born in Emesa (now Homs), Syria in 170 A.D. She was the youngest daughter of high-priest Julius Bassianus, a descendant of the Royal House of Emesa. Emesa was famous for its Temple of the Sun, the center of worship for the ancient pagan cult El-Gebal (or Elagabal). El-Gebal, worshiped in the form of a conical black stone, was the Aramaic name for the Syrian Sun God and means God of the Mountain. Emesa was also the birthplace of three other Roman empresses, Julia Maesa, Julia Mamaea and Julia Soaemias, and one emperor, Julia Domna's nephew, Elagabalus.
RS92345. Silver denarius, RIC IV S627 (S); RSC III 103; BMCRE V p. 104, 418; SRCV II 6591, F, off center, minor encrustations, edge cracks, weight 3.225 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Emesa (Homs, Syria) mint, 194 - 195 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG, draped bust right; reverse LIBERAL ē AVG, Liberalitas standing slightly left, polos or kalathos on head, counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; only one sale in the last two decades recorded on Coin Archives (an ex Forum coin!); rare; $270.00 SALE |PRICE| $243.00


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

|Julia| |Domna|, |Julia| |Domna,| |Augusta,| |194| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.|, |denarius|
Although many coin references classify Fecunditas as a personification of fertility rather than as an actual deity, Fecunditas was recognized as a Roman divinity by Nero, who erected a statue to her. Tacitus notes that upon the birth of Claudia Neronis, the senate decreed the construction of a temple of Fertility to be built at Antium. Fecunditas is always portrayed as a female figure holding a child, or children and often a scepter, cornucopia, palm branch or caduceus. Sometimes the children are depicted standing at her feet. Coins portraying her usually advertise the fertility of the imperial family.
RS89455. Silver denarius, RIC IV S534 (S); RSC III 42; BMCRE V p. 27, W46; SRCV II 6580; Hunter III -, VF/F, excellent portrait, toned, flaw on reverse, small edge cracks, weight 2.934 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 195 - 196 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, large chignon at back of head; reverse FECVNDITAS (fertility), Fecunditas seated right on throne, holding child in her arms, another child at her feet on right, standing left; very rare; $240.00 SALE |PRICE| $216.00


Belgic Celts, Bellovaci, c. 100 - 57 B.C.

|Celtic| |&| |Tribal|, |Belgic| |Celts,| |Bellovaci,| |c.| |100| |-| |57| |B.C.|, |AE| |16|
The Bellovaci, among the most powerful and numerous of the Belgian tribes of north-eastern Gaul, were conquered by Julius Caesar in 57 B.C. The name survives today in the French city of Beauvais, called by the Romans Caesaromagus. The Bellovaci territory extended from modern Beauvais to the Oise River, along the coast. When Caesar learned the Bellovaci intended to conquer the territory of their Suessiones neighbors, he decided to oppose them and prove Roman superiority. The Bellovaci were surprised by the arrival of Roman troops but, despite his force of about 30,000 men, Caesar was intimidated by the size of the Bellovaci forces. Neither initiated battle. The Belgic warriors set traps in the woods for Roman foragers. Caesar called for reinforcements and built a bridge across a marsh to position his troops within range of the Bellovaci camp. The Bellovaci retreated and then attempted an ambush. Caesar learned of their plan and had reinforcements ready to attack, but the Bellovaci were defeated and their general Correus killed, even before he arrived. After the battle, the Bellovaci were impressed by Caesar's clemency but some of their leaders fled to Britain. Belgae_Map
CE92095. Bronze AE 16, cf. Delestrťe-Tache I 307, CCCBM III 1, Scheers Traitť 601, De la Tour 7276, VF, attractive olive green patina, obverse off center, weight 2.676 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 270o, c. 100 - 57 B.C.; obverse figure running right, ornaments around; reverse human-headed horse galloping right, one large globule above and another below; ex CGB Numismatique Paris; rare; $230.00 SALE |PRICE| $207.00




  



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