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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ History ▸ Historic WomenView Options:  |  |  |   

Historic Women on Coins

Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia

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The obverse legend abbreviates Consul Designatus, Iterum et Tertium, meaning Consul Elect for the second and third time. The reverse legend abbreviates Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, the title adopted in November of 43 B.C. by the three Caesarian leaders (Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus) when they formed the Second Triumvirate to oppose the tyrannicides Brutus and Cassius.
SH86609. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RPC I 2202, Sydenham 1198, Crawford 263, RSC Octavia and M. Antony 3, Sear CRI 263, BMCRR East 135, SRCV I 1513, Choice gVF, toned, well centered, some die wear and rust, scratches, weight 11.723 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT (Consul Elect for the 2nd and 3rd time), conjoined head of Antony and bust of Octavia right, Antony nearer and wreathed in ivy, Octavia draped; reverse Dionysus standing half left on cista mystica, in his right hand, thyrsus in his left hand, flanked by two interlaced snakes with heads erect, III VIR (triumvir) downward on left, R P C (Reipublicae Constituendae) upward on right; $2700.00 (€2295.00)
 


Theodora, 21 April 1042 - 12 June 1042 and 11 January 1055 - 21 August 1056

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Zoe and Theodora, the two elderly daughters of Constantine VIII ruled jointly for 7 1/2 weeks (21 Apr - 12 Jun 1042) following the deposition of Michael V. They were unfit for rule and did not get along. The senator Constantine Monomachus was selected as a husband for Zoe ascended the throne as Constantine IX. Theodora held sole rule for a year and a half after the death of Constantine IX until her death (11 Jan 1055 - 21 Aug 1056). She nominated Michael Stratioticus, a civil servant, as her successor.
BZ89542. Gold histamenon nomisma, DOC III, part 2, 1c; SBCV 1837, Wroth BMC 4 var. (pellets in nimbus); Morrison BnF 1 var. (same); Ratto -, Sommer -, VF, broad flan, bumps and scratches, die wear, weight 4.186 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, sole reign, 11 Jan 1055 - 21 Aug 1056; obverse + IhS XIS REX REGNANITInm (Jesus Christ, King of Kings), Christ Pantokrator standing facing on dais, wearing nimbus cruciger with no pellets, pallium and colobium, right hand raised in benediction, book of Gospels cradled in left arm, double border; reverse + ΘEO∆wPA AVΓOVCTA (Theodora, Empress), Theodora (on left) and the Virgin (on left) standing facing, jointly holding labarum between them with pellet on shaft, Theodora with right hand on breast, wearing crown with pendilia, saccos with cross and loros; the Virgin nimbate, wearing pallium and maphorium, M - Θ (mother of god) flanking her head; from the Robert Watcher Collection ; rare; $1600.00 (€1360.00)
 


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

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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; $400.00 (€340.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C.

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Cleopatra VII originally shared power with her father Ptolemy XII and later with her brother-husbands Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. Her relationship with Julius Caesar led to sole rule. After Caesar's assassination, she aligned with Mark Antony. Her reign marks the end of the Hellenistic Era and the beginning of the Roman Era. She was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
GP87627. Bronze diobol, Svoronos 1871; Weiser 183; Noeske 380; SNG Cop 419; SNG Milan 428; BMC Ptolemies p. 123, 4; Hosking 166 (obol); Malter 284; SGCV II 7955, aF, porous, a few pits, weight 15.907 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 50 - 31 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Cleopatra right, with characteristic melon coif hairstyle; reverse KΛEOΠATPAΣ BACIΛICCHC (Queen Cleopatra), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, cornucopia left, Π (80 drachms) right; $360.00 (€306.00)
 


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

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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; $300.00 (€255.00)
 


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

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Julia Domna and her children as Terra and the Four Seasons! "The flatterers of Julia Domna pretended that all things were owing to her. The star-besprinkled globe represents the Roman world, which with her husband Septimius Severus she governed; and to the empire of which she destines her two sons, Caracalla and Geta, who, together with as many daughters, are the proof of her fecundity." -- Rasche, T. ii pl l p 932.
RS85789. Silver denarius, RIC IV S549 (R), RSC III 35, BMCRE V S21, Hunter III S22, SRCV II 6579, F, well centered, slightly rough with light even corrosion, edge cracks, weight 2.369 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, bun at back of head; reverse FECVNDITAS (fertility), Terra reclining left under a vine, nude to the waist, right hand set on globe spangled with stars, leaning on left arm on basket of fruits, in background four children representing the four seasons; rare; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

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Most finds of this type are from Bulgaria, suggesting a mint in Thrace. This type is found both with and without central depressions, indicating it was struck both before and after the coinage reform of 265 B.C., after which central depressions (dimples) became a feature of Ptolemaic coinage. This example is pre-reform.
GP86417. Bronze AE 17, Svoronos 351, SNG Cop 100, Lorber CPE B310 var. (post reform), SNG Milan -, Weiser -, Noeske -, BMC Ptolemies -, Malter -, aVF, obv. die break from nose to edge, rev. well centered on a tight flan, bumps, marks, corrosion, without central cavities, weight 5.472 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 270o, uncertain (Thracian?) mint, pre-reform, 285 - 265 B.C.; obverse veiled and diademed bust of Arsinoe II right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on fulmen (thunderbolt), head left, wings open, ∆I over (AX monogram) left; see CNG e-auction 92 (23 Jun 2004), lot 64, for another specimen with the same obverse die break; rare; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Isabella of Villehardouin, 1297 - 1301

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This was one of very few medieval coin types minted under female authority. Isabella of Villehardouin was the elder daughter of William II of Villehardouin, Prince of Achaea. On 28 May 1271 Isabella married Philip of Sicily, son of Charles I of Sicily. This had been pre-determined by the Treaty. In accordance with the marriage treaty, after Isabella's father, husband, and father-in-law died, Isabella's brother-in-law Charles II was the heir to Achaea. In 1289, however, on Isabella's marriage to Florent of Hainaut and on Charles II's accession as King of Sicily, he conferred on the couple the titles of Prince and Princess of Achaea, on condition that, if she survived her husband, she would not remarry without Charles II's consent. Florent and Isabella had one daughter, Matilda. Frankokratia_Map
CR88471. Billon denier tournois, Metcalf Crusades type Y1, pl. 39, 692; Malloy Crusaders 15a; Schlumberger XII 19, VF, toned, clashed dies, weight 0.738 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 315o, Clarentza mint, 1299 - 1301; obverse +⚜YSABELL•P•AChB (E, cross pattée; reverse DE CLARENCIAI, castle tournois; from the Louis G Estate; $145.00 (€123.25)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Mahaut (Maud) of Hainaut, 1316 - 1318

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This was one of very few medieval coin types minted under female authority. In 1313, Philip I of Taranto, in compensation for breaking their engagement, granted Achaea to Maud and gave her hand to Louis of Burgundy. The principality was, however, possessed by another claimant, Ferdinand of Majorca. At the Battle of Manolada on 5 July 1316, Ferdinand was killed and Louis took control. He was poisoned soon after, leaving 23-year-old Maud in charge. Rule was soon disputed by varying claimants and Maud was dispossessed of her fief by 1318, in which year John, Duke of Durazzo, abducted the princess and forced her to marry him. She did not give him children, however, and he repudiated her in 1321. Maud married again to Hugh de La Palice and retired to Aversa, where she died in 1331.Arms_of_Achaea
CR88473. Billon denier tournois, Metcalf Crusades MA1c; Malloy Crusaders 36, VF, toned, tight flan, edge cracks, light deposits, weight 0.876 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Clarentza(?) mint, 1316 - 1318; obverse + MAhAVTA•P•Ach, cross pattée; reverse DE CLARENCIA (R with a small thin foot = Clarentza?), castle tournois, surmounted by cross, annulet left, three branched plant between two small pellets below; from the Louis G Estate; $145.00 (€123.25)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Mahaut (Maud) of Hainaut, 1316 - 1318

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This was one of very few medieval coin types minted under female authority. In 1313, Philip I of Taranto, in compensation for breaking their engagement, granted Achaea to Maud and gave her hand to Louis of Burgundy. The principality was, however, possessed by another claimant, Ferdinand of Majorca. At the Battle of Manolada on 5 July 1316, Ferdinand was killed and Louis took control. He was poisoned soon after, leaving 23-year-old Maud in charge. Rule was soon disputed by varying claimants and Maud was dispossessed of her fief by 1318, in which year John, Duke of Durazzo, abducted the princess and forced her to marry him. She did not give him children, however, and he repudiated her in 1321. Maud married again to Hugh de La Palice and retired to Aversa, where she died in 1331.Frankokratia_Map
CR88477. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 40; Metcalf Crusades type MA2 var. (lis beginning of reverse legend, no annulet right, Corinth), VF, toned, centered, clashed dies, weight 0.739 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 30o, Clarentza(?) mint, 1316 - 1318; obverse + MAhAVTA•P•Ach, cross pattée; reverse DE CLARENCIA (R with small foot = Clarentza?), castle tournois, surmounted by cross, C left, annulet right, no cross below; from the Louis G Estate; scarce; $145.00 (€123.25)
 




  



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