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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Athletics & Games||View Options:  |  |  | 

Atheletics and Games on Ancient Coins
Aspendos, Pamphylia, 333 - 250 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |333| |-| |250| |B.C.||stater|
After Alexander took Perga peacefully, Aspendos sent envoys to offer surrender if he would not take the taxes and horses formerly paid as tribute to the Persian king. Agreeing, Alexander went on to Side, leaving a garrison behind. When he learned they had failed to ratify the agreement their own envoys had proposed, Alexander marched to the city. The Aspendians retreated to their acropolis and again sent envoys to sue for peace. This time, however, they had to agree to harsh terms - they would host a Macedonian garrison and pay 100 gold talents and 4,000 horses annually.

This type is a late example and likely among the last of the wrestler and slinger staters. Struck during economic crisis, perhaps resulting from the harsh terms set by Alexander after their treachery, the flans are underweight, crudely cast and appear to be of debased silver. The wrestlers and slinger are carelessly depicted. It is not as attractive as earlier examples but it is certainly much scarcer.
GS95992. Silver stater, Tekin Series 5, SNGvA 4576, SNG BnF 122, SNG Cop 240, Arslan-Lightfoot -, Choice gVF, attractive style, toned, obverse edge beveled, edge cracks, weight 10.440 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 333 - 250 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers grappling, nude, wrestler on left holds the right wrist of his opponent with his right hand and right forearm with his left hand, E between their legs, tiny die break on right, beveled edge; reverse slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, EΣTFE∆IY upward behind, O between legs, clockwise triskeles of human legs above club on right, round border of dots; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $720.00 SALE PRICE $648.00
 


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 370 - 333 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |370| |-| |333| |B.C.||stater|
The countermark appears to be a Hoplite advancing right with sword in right and round shield in left, in oval incuse. The hoplite represents the soldiery for which Aspendus was famous. The astonishing abundance of the silver money of Aspendus is a proof of the commercial importance of the town; and the number of countermarks and barbarous imitations shows that it circulated widely in the region.22.6
SH95389. Silver stater, Arslan-Lightfoot 39; SNGvA 4561; Tekin Series 4, 11; SNG BnF 84; SNG Cop 231; SNG Berry 1224 (all same obv die), VF, attractive rainbow toning, typical slightly flat strike, weight 10.855 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 370 - 333 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, AK between their legs; reverse slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, triskeles on right with feet clockwise, EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ upward on left, countermark lower right: lion head right in a round 3.6mm punch; ex Forum (2011); $670.00 SALE PRICE $603.00
 


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 370 - 333 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |370| |-| |333| |B.C.||stater|
The BΛ is among the rarest control marks on Aspendos staters of this type.
GS97487. Silver stater, SNG Pfälzer IV 5, Tekin Series 4, Arslan-Lightfoot -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Berry -, VF, die wear, flow lines, tight flan cutting off slinger's feet, porosity, light marks and scratches, weight 10.532 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 370 - 333 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, BΛ between their legs; reverse slinger discharging sling to right, wearing short chiton, EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ upward on left, triskeles on right with feet clockwise; ex Papillon auction 3 (27 Dec 20), lot 152; very rare variant; $670.00 SALE PRICE $603.00
 


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 380 - 325 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |380| |-| |325| |B.C.||stater|
Aspendos has the best-preserved theater of antiquity, with seating for 7,000. It was built in 155, during the rule of Marcus Aurelius, by the Greek architect Zenon, a native of the city. The Seljuqs used it as a caravansary and in the 13th century converted the stage building into a palace. Until recently the theater was still used for concerts, festivals and events, but shows are no longer allowed due to damage caused by modern theatrical equipment. A new facility has been constructed nearby to continue the tradition of open air theater in Aspendos.
GS97488. Silver stater, Tekin Series 4; SNG Cop 230; SNGvA 4567; SNG BnF 86; BMC Lycia p. 97, 30; Arslan-Lightfoot -, aVF, struck with worn dies, die breaks on obverse, some porosity, light marks and scratches, tiny edge splits, weight 10.484 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 380 - 325 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, AΣ (Σ appears as a slightly wavy vertical line) between their legs; reverse slinger discharging sling to right, wearing short chiton, EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ upward on left, triskeles on right with feet clockwise, all in a square dot border; ex Papillon auction 3 (27 Dec 20), lot 153; $400.00 SALE PRICE $360.00
 


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Tarsos, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Tarsos,| |Cilicia||AE| |27|
The title Neokoros, designating a guardian of a temple of the imperial cult, was highly prized and advertised on the coins of many cities. Tarsos was the first city in Cilicia to receive the title, during the reign of Hadrian, not long after 130 A.D. This first temple dedicated to the cult of Hadrian is named in the reverse legend. A second imperial temple was dedicated to Commodus during his reign, before August 191. The B (the Greek number two) indicates this second neokorie. The Kommodeios isolympic worldwide festival was held in honor of this temple. Commodus probably honored Tarsos because its chief god was Hercules, and Commodus had come to believe he was Hercules reincarnated.
RP97264. Bronze AE 27, RPC Online IV.3 T5845, SNG Levante Supp. 260, SNG BnF 1466, SNGvA 5997, Waddington 4636, VF, nice green patina, uneven slightly off-center strike with parts of legends weak or unstruck, weight 11.189 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 30o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; obverse AYT KAIC AYP KOMO∆OC CEB, mantled bust right, wearing demiurgic crown; club of Hercules behind; reverse A∆P KOM - TAP MHO (Hadrianeia, Kommodeios - Tarsos Metropolis), agonistic crown inscribed KOMO∆EI, OIKO/VME (Kommodeios worldwide) in two lines above, B / NEWKO (two neokorie) in two lines below; ex Zeus Numismatics, auction 11 (01 Aug 2020), lot 453; $145.00 SALE PRICE $131.00
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia

|Ephesos|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Ephesos,| |Ionia||AE| |25|
Agonistic "urns" or "crowns" were awarded to winners at ancient Greek games, similar to modern trophies. They are called "crowns" because they may have been placed on the head of the victor.
RP95365. Bronze AE 25, Karwiese 1131(a1) (O13/R95); SNG Munchen 260; SNG Hunterian XII 1749; SNG Cop 519; SNGvA 7889; SNG Tub -; BMC Ionia -, gVF, well centered on a broad flan, obverse die wear and minor die breaks, weight 6.759 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, Aug 253 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse AYT K ΠO ΛIKI ΓAΛΛIHNOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse EΦECIΩN A D• NE•Ω•KOPΩN, agonistic urn (prize crown) containing palm fronds, band across the crown is marked EΦECIAI; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Anazarbus, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Valerian| |I,| |October| |253| |-| |c.| |June| |260| |A.D.,| |Anazarbus,| |Cilicia||hexassarion|
Anazarbus was founded by Assyrians. Under the early Roman Empire, it was known as Caesarea and was the Metropolis (capital) of the late Roman province Cilicia Secunda. It was the home of the poet Oppian. Rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor Justin I after an earthquake in 525, it became Justinopolis. Despite the name changes, the old native name persisted. When Thoros I, king of Lesser Armenia, made it his capital early in the 12th century, it was known as Anazarva.

According to Ziegler (p. 124), the Γ Γ means,"[chairman of] 3 [provinces], [holder of] 3 [neocorates]." ET BOC is the date, year 272 of Caesarea. The era began in 19 B.C. when the city was visited by Augustus, refounded and renamed Caesarea, dating this coin to 253 - 254 A.D. In the reverse exergue, Anazarbus boasts A M K T (ΠPΩTH MEΓIΣTH KAΛΛIΣTH TIMΩTATH), meaning First (A is the Greek numeral one), Greatest, Most Beautiful, and Most Esteemed (or Honored).
RP97262. Bronze hexassarion, Ziegler 834 (Vs1/Rs4); SNG BnF 2162; SNG Levante 1520; SNGvA 5508; BMC Lycaonia p. 40, 43 Weber 7505; SNG Cop -, Choice VF, well centered on a broad flan, nice green patina, some legend and highest points a little weakly stuck, light marks, weight 17.070 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 180o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, Oct 235 - 254 A.D.; obverse AVT K OVAΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse ANAZAPBOV MHTPOΠ, six agonistic prize crowns arranged in two rows of three, Γ − Γ above, ET • B•OC (year 272) across center, •A•M•K•T below; ex Zeus Numismatics auction 11 (1 Aug 2020), lot 459; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
 







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REFERENCES|

Klose, D. & G. Stumpf. Sport, Spiel, Sieg. (Munich, 1996).


Catalog current as of Sunday, November 28, 2021.
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