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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Facing Heads||View Options:  |  |  |   

Facing Heads on Ancient Coins
Byzantine Empire, Constantine IX Monomachus, 12 June 1042 - 11 January 1055

|Constantine| |IX|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Constantine| |IX| |Monomachus,| |12| |June| |1042| |-| |11| |January| |1055|, |histamenon| |nomisma|
In 1047, Constantine's nephew, general Leo Tornikios rebelled and besieged Constantinople from 25 to 28 September. Two assaults on the walls were turned back by the defenders under the personal leadership of Constantine. Despite suffering from gout and having no military experience, he showed courage and energy. Tornikios was forced to withdraw. After a failed attack on Rhaidestos, his followers abandoned him. He found refuge in a church, but was lured out, captured, and on Christmas day, he was blinded at Constantinople. Nothing thereafter is known about him.
SH94417. Gold histamenon nomisma, DOC III-2 1a, Wroth BMC 8 - 11, Morrisson BnF 1, Ratto 1987, Sommer 48.1, SBCV 1828, Choice aEF, weight 4.375 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 12 Jun 1042 - 11 Jan 1055; obverse +Ihs XIS REX REGNANTInm (Jesus Christ, King of Kings), Christ enthroned facing on lyre-backed throne, wearing nimbus cruciger (halo with cross), tunic and himation, gospels in left, triple border; reverse +CWNSTAnTn BASILEWS Rm (Constantine King of the Romans), bearded bust of Constantine XI facing, crown with cross and pendilia, jeweled chlamys, cruciform scepter in right, globe surmounted by patriarchal cross in left, triple border; from the Robert Watcher Collection; $1000.00 SALE |PRICE| $900.00


Constantine IX Monomachus, 12 June 1042 - 11 January 1055

|Constantine| |IX|, |Constantine| |IX| |Monomachus,| |12| |June| |1042| |-| |11| |January| |1055|, |scyphate| |histamenon| |nomisma|
In 1047, Constantine's nephew, general Leo Tornikios rebelled and besieged Constantinople from 25 to 28 September. Two assaults on the walls were turned back by the defenders under the personal leadership of Constantine. Despite suffering from gout and having no military experience, he showed courage and energy. Tornikios was forced to withdraw. After a failed attack on Rhaidestos, his followers abandoned him. He found refuge in a church, but was lured out, captured, and on Christmas day, he was blinded at Constantinople. Nothing thereafter is known about him.
SH95130. Gold scyphate histamenon nomisma, DOC III part 2, 3; Morrisson BnF 4 - 10; Wroth BMC (Constantine VIII) 6 - 9; Ratto (Constantine VIII) 1970; Sommer 48.3; Berk 304; SBCV 1830, EF, well centered and struck, beautiful depiction of Christ, weight 4.373 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 150o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 12 Jun 1042 - 11 Jan 1055; obverse +Ihs XPS REX REGNANTIhm (Jesus Christ King of Kings), bust of Christ facing, wearing nimbus cruciger with crescents in upper quarters, tunic and himation, raising right hand in blessing, gospels in left, triple border; reverse +CWNSTAnTn BASILEWS Rm, bearded bust of Constantine XI facing, crown with cross and pendilia, jewels around neck, jeweled chlamys, long cross scepter in right, globe surmounted by pellet cross in left, triple border; from the CEB Collection, ex Edward J. Waddell; $950.00 SALE |PRICE| $855.00


Byzantine Empire, Isaac Comnenus, Usurper in Cyprus, 1184 - 1191 A.D.

|Isaac| |Comnenus| |of| |Cyprus|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Isaac| |Comnenus,| |Usurper| |in| |Cyprus,| |1184| |-| |1191| |A.D.|, |tetarteron|
Isaac Comnenus maintained independent rule in Cyprus for 7 years. He was defeated by Richard the Lionheart of England during the third crusade. Isaac was imprisoned and Cyprus was never recovered by the empire.
BZ95148. Bronze tetarteron, DOC IV-1 7; CLBC 6.3.3 (R4); Hendy pl., 19, 14; Morrisson BnF 63/Ch(B)02; Wroth BMC p. 596, note 1; SBCV 1994; Ratto -, aVF, rough green patina, light scratches, off center, weight 2.836 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Nicosia(?) mint, 1184 - 1191 A.D.; obverse bust of Christ facing, bearded, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, raising right hand in benediction, Gospels in left hand; reverse ICAAKIOC ∆EC or similar, Comnenus bust facing, wearing crown, divitision and sagion, cruciform scepter in left hand, akakia in right hand; from the S. Lindner Collection; very rare; $400.00 SALE |PRICE| $360.00


Selge, Pisidia, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

|Pisidia|, |Selge,| |Pisidia,| |c.| |350| |-| |300| |B.C.|, |trihemiobol|
Selge, Pisidia on the southern slope of Mount Taurus where the river Eurymedon (Kprcay) forces its way through the mountains, was once the most powerful and populous city of Pisidia. Protected by precipices, torrents, and an army of 20,000 regarded as worthy kinsmen of the Spartans, Selge was never subject to a foreign power until Rome. In the 5th century A.D., Zosimus calls it a little town, but it was still strong enough to repel a body of Goths. The remains of the city consist mainly of parts of the encircling wall and of the acropolis. A few traces have survived of the gymnasium, the stoa, the stadium and the basilica. There are also the outlines of two temples, but the best-conserved monument is the theater, restored in the 3rd century A.D.
GS95236. Silver trihemiobol, BMC Lycia p. 257, 4; SNG BnF 1928 var.; SNGvA 5281 var., Klein 631 var., SNG Tb 4466 var., SNG Cop -, SNG PfPs - (all var. astragalos behind), EF, well centered, some die wear, light marks, weight 0.874 g, maximum diameter 10.7 mm, die axis 180o, Selge (southern slope of Mount Taurus, Turkey) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), tongue protruding; reverse head of Athena right in crested Attic helmet, astragalos before on left; ex Forum (2018), extremely rare, an apparently unpublished variety and the only specimen known to Forum; $380.00 SALE |PRICE| $342.00


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class A3, Basil II & Constantine VIII, c. 1023 - 11 November 1028 A.D.

|Anonymous| |Folles|, |Byzantine| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |Class| |A3,| |Basil| |II| |&| |Constantine| |VIII,| |c.| |1023| |-| |11| |November| |1028| |A.D.|, |anonymous| |follis|
The emperor's name and portrait are not part of the design on the Byzantine types referred to as anonymous folles. Instead of the earthly king, these coins depict Jesus Christ, King of Kings.
SH82755. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ class A3; Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 24a; DOC III-2 A2.24a; SBCV 1818; Sommer 40.3.8, EF, some mint luster, areas of porosity, obverse legend weak, weight 11.982 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHΛ (Latinized Hebrew: Emmanuel - "God with us"), facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger with two pellets in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, holding gospels with both hands, gospels ornamented with two pellets within a jeweled border, to left IC, to right XC; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below inscription; $360.00 SALE |PRICE| $324.00


Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, Class A3, Basil II & Constantine VIII, c. 1023 - 11 November 1028 A.D.

|Anonymous| |Folles|, |Byzantine| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |Class| |A3,| |Basil| |II| |&| |Constantine| |VIII,| |c.| |1023| |-| |11| |November| |1028| |A.D.|, |anonymous| |follis|
The emperor's name and portrait are not part of the design on the Byzantine types referred to as anonymous folles. Instead of the earthly king, these coins depict Jesus Christ, King of Kings.
SH82749. Bronze anonymous follis, Anonymous follis of Christ, DOC III-2, class A3; SBCV 1818; Grierson-NumisWiki ornaments 39, EF, sharp portrait, slightly uneven strike with small areas weak, slightly off center on a broad flan, tiny encrustations, closed edge crack, weight 9.691 g, maximum diameter 28.7 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 1023 - 11 Nov 1028 A.D.; obverse + EMMANOVHΛ (Latinized Hebrew: Emmanuel - "God with us"), facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, Gospels in both hands, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsos Xrists - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings), ornamentation above and below inscription; $320.00 SALE |PRICE| $288.00


Kelenderis, Cilicia, c. 5th Century B.C.

|Archaic| |Origins|, |Kelenderis,| |Cilicia,| |c.| |5th| |Century| |B.C.|, |obol|
The Gorgoneion was originally a horror-creating apotropaic pendant showing the Gorgon's facing head. It was worn by the Olympian deities Zeus and Athena as a protective pendant. It was also worn, among other godlike attributes, as a royal aegis by rulers of the Hellenistic age and later on the busts of Roman Emperors. In Greek mythology, the Gorgon was a terrifying female creature. The name derives from the Greek word gorgs, which means "dreadful." While descriptions of Gorgons vary across Greek literature, the term commonly refers to any of three sisters who had hair of living, venomous snakes, and a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld it to stone. Traditionally, while two of the Gorgons were immortal, Stheno and Euryale, their sister Medusa was not, and was slain by the mythical demigod and hero Perseus. Gorgons were a popular image of Greek mythology, appearing in the earliest of written records of Ancient Greek religious beliefs such as those of Homer. Because of their legendary gaze, images of the Gorgons were put upon objects and buildings for protection. For example, an image of a Gorgon holds the primary location at the pediment of the temple at Corfu. It is the oldest stone pediment in Greece and is dated to c. 600 B.C.
SL95877. Silver obol, SNG BnF Cilicia 465 (uncertain mint), Weber 7521 (Forrer notes, "Sir H. Weber notes against this coin: 'Dr. Imhoof says, indubitably Kelenderis'." , NGC Choice VF, strike 3/5, surface 4/5 (5872605-020), in NGC plastic holder, weight 0.70 g, Kelenderis (Aydincik, Turkey) mint, c. 5th century B.C.; obverse facing gorgon head; reverse forepart of horse right, incuse square; NGC| Lookup; $250.00 SALE |PRICE| $225.00


Imitative Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, c. 970 - 980 A.D.

|Anonymous| |Folles|, |Imitative| |Byzantine| |Anonymous| |Follis| |of| |Christ,| |c.| |970| |-| |980| |A.D.|, |anonymous| |follis|
Of this type of imitative, Lampinen writes, "The second phase of Balkan coinage production goes into high gear with the introduction of the anonymous follis series during the reign of John I (969 - 976). The explicit Christian imagery must have struck a chord with the recently converted Balkan masses because the official mint issues were accompanied by a fair quantity of copies, to meet the excess demand. These Christian issues would also be the prototypes for the initial coinage of several medieval Christian states, such as the first Crusader issues of Edessa and Antioch, medieval Armenia and distant Georgia in the Caucasus."
BZ89911. Bronze anonymous follis, See Lampinen Imitative p. 154 for a similar imitative; for the likely prototype cf. official Byzantine anonymous class A1 folles; SBCV 1793, VF, green patina, double struck, porous, crude and blundered, weight 6.880 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, unofficial (Balkan?) mint, c. 970 - 980 A.D.; obverse facing bust of Christ, wears nimbus cruciger ornamented with two pellets in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, Gospels in both hands, blundered imitation of the abbreviation: IC - XC (Greek: Ihsos Xrists - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse blundered inscription imitating: + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings); rare this crude; $240.00 SALE |PRICE| $216.00


Byzantine Empire, Alexius III Angelus-Comnenus, 8 April 1195 - 17 July 1203

|Alexius| |III|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Alexius| |III| |Angelus-Comnenus,| |8| |April| |1195| |-| |17| |July| |1203|, |tetarteron|
According to the Golden Legend, a plague-bearing dragon lived in a lake near a city called Silene, in Libya. To appease the dragon, the people fed it two sheep every day. When the sheep failed, they fed it their children, chosen by lottery. It happened that the lot fell on the king's daughter, Sabra. Sabra was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon. Saint George was ridding past when dragon reared out of the lake. He fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross charged it on horseback with his lance, and gave it a grievous wound. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle. After he put it around its neck, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash. The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene. It terrified the people at its approach, but Saint George called out to them, saying that if they consented to become Christians and be baptized, he would slay the dragon. The king and the people converted to Christianity and George slew the dragon. On the site where the dragon died, the king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George, and from its altar a spring arose whose waters cured all disease.
BZ95143. Bronze tetarteron, CLBC I 8.4.3; DOC IV-1 5a; Hendy p. 152 and pl. 23, 9-10; Grierson 1138; SBCV 2015; Sommer 66.6, gVF, well centered on a typical tight flan, porosity, some light corrosion, weight 3.720 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 8 Apr 1195 - 17 Jul 1203; obverse O/ΓE/WP ΓI/OC, Half-length facing bust of St. George, beardless and nimbate, in military attire, spear in right hand and hilt of sword in left; reverse AΛEΣIOC ∆ECΠOTHC, Alexius standing facing, labarum in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; $240.00 SALE |PRICE| $216.00


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 356 - 342 B.C.

|Thessaly|, |Larissa,| |Thessaly,| |Greece,| |c.| |356| |-| |342| |B.C.|, |drachm|
When Larissa ceased minting the federal coins it shared with other Thessalian towns and adopted its own coinage in the late fifth century B.C., it chose local types for its coins. The obverse depicted the local fountain nymph Larissa, for whom the town was named, probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse depicted a horse in various poses.
GS95233. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly 1156, BCD Thessaly II 320, SNG Cop 123, aVF, attractive style, toned, porous, tiny edge crack, weight 5.612 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 135o, Larissa mint, c. 356 - 342 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, pendant earring, and simple necklace; reverse horse crouching right preparing to roll over, plant below, ΛAPIΣ/AIΩN in two lines, starting above, ending in exergue; ex Forum (2013); $230.00 SALE |PRICE| $207.00




  



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