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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Antiquities| ▸ |Antiquities by Type| ▸ |Seals||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Seals

Both the objects used to make impressions and the impressions themselves are referred to as seals. Seal impressions served as a signature of the owner of the seal. Seals used to make impressions include cylinder seals and stamp seals. Often these seals are holed for stringing and some were probably never used to make impressions, but were rather worn as amulets. The most common form of seal impression is the bulla. A bulla (plural, bullae), is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, thereby ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.

Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D., Imperial Seal Box

|Titus|, |Titus,| |24| |June| |79| |-| |13| |September| |81| |A.D.,| |Imperial| |Seal| |Box|
When the Romans sent important small packages by courier, such as documents or valuables, they were were placed in strong leather or cloth bags, which were sealed with a stout cord, the knot covered in wax and impressed with the sender's signet. To protect the wax seal, it and the knot were encased in a small, ornamental metal box with an hinged lid and two holes in the back for the cord. In addition, the lid could be kept closed by further cords sewn to the package and tied around it. Hinged boxes used for this purpose have been found in Britain, where they tend to date to the 2nd and 3rd centuries and are mostly of enameled bronze. However, they certainly started earlier. Hattatt illustrated an example found in Ostia bearing the portraits of Hadrian and Sabina (p. 464, 151) and seal boxes with portraits of Vespasian and Domitian have been found in London and must have been used by high officials (P. Salway, A History of Roman Britain [Oxford 2001], p. 381). This was certainly the case with this piece, especially given its splendid portrait of Titus, which was surely made by workers in the imperial mint in Rome and then sent out for official use in the provinces. See Roman| Seal| Boxes| by Colin| Andrews| - https://www.ukdfd.co.uk/pages/roman-seal-boxes.html for more information, as well as other examples of the type.
AS75699. cf. Hattatt ABOA, pp. 461 ff. (for general type); Nomos I 144 (cover only, head right), nice green patina, hing broken, Piriform-shaped bronze box with hinged cover, decorated with laureate head of Titus left, done in repoussé work; base perforated with three holes; 3.51g, 24mm x 17mm, 9mm (depth); ex Triton XIII (5-6 Jan 2010), lot 314; very rare; SOLD


Roman, Intaglio Engraved Gem Stone, 1st - 3rd century A.D.

|Jewelry|, |Roman,| |Intaglio| |Engraved| |Gem| |Stone,| |1st| |-| |3rd| |century| |A.D.|
AS90832. Antike Gemmen Deutschen -, Marlborough -; Intaglio engraved translucent red carnelian, weight 0.406 g, maximum diameter 11.2 mm, Dioscuri standing facing, heads confronted, each holds a bow(?) in inner hand and spear in outer hand, star above each head, crescent moon with horns up above center, from The Jimi Berlin Caesarea Collection, found at Caesarea, Israel; SOLD


First Bulgarian Empire, Peter I, 927 - 969 A.D., Lead Bulla Seal

|Bulgaria|, |First| |Bulgarian| |Empire,| |Peter| |I,| |927| |-| |969| |A.D.,| |Lead| |Bulla| |Seal||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
This seal was reportedly found together with a hoard of Romanus I, Constantine II and Romanus II solidi, some of which are now available for sale in our Byzantine Gold section. The seal may have once tied a leather bag containing the coins; perhaps a Bulgarian imperial payment.

Peter was the son of Simeon the Great 893 - 927, architect of the Golden Age for the Bulgarian Empire. In 927 the Bulgarians and the Byzantines signed apeace treaty which recognized Peter's Imperial title, the borders and the Bulgarian Patriarchate. In addition, Peter married Maria Lecapene, renamed Eirene (Peace) for the event.

An inferior example (with a finder's cut defacing Peter) was estimated $1000 and sold for $650 plus fees in Triton XI, 2008.
SH33751. Lead bulla (tag seal), gVF, weight 18.524 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, obverse + IhSuS XPI[...]+, facing bust of Christ, holding book of Gospels in left hand, cross behind head; reverse blundered legend naming Peter, facing busts of Peter, wearing chlamys, and his wife, Eirine (Maria) Lecapene, wearing loros, both crowned, holding patriarchal cross between them; well formed seal, nice round thick flan, attractive buff-grey patina; SOLD


South Arabian, Sabaean Hematite Seal, c. 1000 B.C.

|Seals|, |South| |Arabian,| |Sabaean| |Hematite| |Seal,| |c.| |1000| |B.C.|
AA31273. Sabaean hematite seal, 1.2 cm (1/2") long, horse rampant before seated God on X stool, drill and line cut design, the design and shape are most unusual; rare; SOLD


Southern Mesopotamia, Cylinder Seal, Jemdet Nasr Period, c. 3200 - 2900 B.C.

|Seals|, |Southern| |Mesopotamia,| |Cylinder| |Seal,| |Jemdet| |Nasr| |Period,| |c.| |3200| |-| |2900| |B.C.|
Very early cylinder seal from the dawn of writing. The earliest cylinder seals, such as this one, are from the Jemdet Nasr Period in Mesopotamia.
AS48859. Cylinder seal; Malloy Artifacts 394 (this seal), cf. Buchanan 203, Superb, fine quality seal, clear calcite cylinder seal, linear opposing triangles indicating mountains and valleys; 17 mm long; ex Alex G. Malloy sale 5/99, #1326; SOLD


Elam, Cylinder Seal, Middle Ellamite Period, c. 1600 - 1200 B.C.

|Western| |Asiatic| |Antiquities|, |Elam,| |Cylinder| |Seal,| |Middle| |Ellamite| |Period,| |c.| |1600| |-| |1200| |B.C.|
AS35627. Cylinder seal; black serpentine; animals and birds with appearance of movement in two levels; 20 mm X 9.5 mm, Superb, SOLD


Egyptian, Carved Steatite Plaque Amulet, Late Period, c. 712 - 332 B.C.

|Egyptian| |Antiquities|, |Egyptian,| |Carved| |Steatite| |Plaque| |Amulet,| |Late| |Period,| |c.| |712| |-| |332| |B.C.|
AS31141. Egyptian steatite plaque amulet, Choice, 2.2 cm (7/8") by 1.7 cm (5/8"), holed for suspension; SOLD


Egyptian, Carved Steatite Seal Amulet, Hyksos Period, 1786 - 1567 B.C.

|Egyptian| |Antiquities|, |Egyptian,| |Carved| |Steatite| |Seal| |Amulet,| |Hyksos| |Period,| |1786| |-| |1567| |B.C.|
An attractive piece in the archetypal style of the Hyksos period.

In Egypt, few seals were actually used to make impressions and seal documents. Although they are almost always holed for stringing, an absence of wear on them shows that they were not usually carried during life, but were engraved to place as amulets with the dead.
AS31142. Hyksos amulet, Choice, 3 cm (1 1/8") by 2 cm (3/4"), holed for stringing; a few small edge chips; SOLD


Neo-Assyrian Faience Cylinder Seal, 900 - 700 B.C.

|Western| |Asiatic| |Antiquities|, |Neo-Assyrian| |Faience| |Cylinder| |Seal,| |900| |-| |700| |B.C.|
AS31153. 2.6 cm (1") high, Choice, green faience, hero shooting arrow at serpent; SOLD


Byzantine Lead Bulla Seal, Soterichos, Patrikios and Strategos of Thrace, 10th Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Byzantine| |Lead| |Bulla| |Seal,| |Soterichos,| |Patrikios| |and| |Strategos| |of| |Thrace,| |10th| |Century| |A.D.||seal|
SH60400. Lead seal, cf. Jordanov-Zhekova Shuman 297, Zacos BLS -, Zacos -, Metcalf Seals -, DOCBS -, VF, undersized leaving some elements off flan, weight 15.156 g, maximum diameter 29.8 mm, die axis 90o, obverse ΘEOTOKE BOHΘEI in cruciform monogram, TW - CW/ ∆OV- ΛW in the angles (God-bearer [the Virgin], help your servant); reverse [CWTH]/PIXW ΠAT[PI]/K∋ KAI CTPA/THΓW... / ΘPAKH (or similar); SOLD


Babylonian Cuneiform Inscribed Clay Bulla, Old Babylonian Period, c. 2000 - 1600 B.C.

|Ancient| |Writing|, |Babylonian| |Cuneiform| |Inscribed| |Clay| |Bulla,| |Old| |Babylonian| |Period,| |c.| |2000| |-| |1600| |B.C.|
Bullae, such as this one, were attached by a cord to a basket of tablets, a container, an object or an animal. This bulla appears to name three individuals and lists five cattle; there is also a seal impression. It may have sealed a container which held tablets that also identified the owners, senders (taxpayers?) or intended recipients of the cattle.
AA30981. length 3.0 cm (1 1/8"), black clay bulla; SOLD


Babylon, Cylinder Seal, Old Babylonian Period, c. 1730 - 1600 B.C.

|Seals|, |Babylon,| |Cylinder| |Seal,| |Old| |Babylonian| |Period,| |c.| |1730| |-| |1600| |B.C.|
AS35630. Cylinder seal; creamy white mable; figure standing before 8 pointed star, long robed figure holding tall vessel above horned gazelle; 20 mm X 9 mm, Superb, SOLD


Marcian, 24 August 450 - 31 January 457 A.D.

|Marcian|, |Marcian,| |24| |August| |450| |-| |31| |January| |457| |A.D.||tessera|
After Eastern Emperor Theodosius II died unexpectedly in a riding accident on 28 July 450 the empire was met with its first succession crisis in 60 years, as Theodosius did not have any sons, nor had he designated any successor. Some later sources state that Theodosius willed the Eastern Empire to Marcian on his deathbed, but this was likely propaganda created by Marcian's supporters after his election. There was a one-month delay between Theodosius' death and Marcian's election, likely due to negotiations with generals Aspar and Flavius Zeno, and with Pulcheria, the sister of Theodosius II. Pulcheria agreed to marry Marcian (although she would keep her vow of virginity, which she had taken at age 14), which legitimize Marcian's rule. Flavius Zeno was given the prestigious rank of patrician, perhaps a reward for supporting Marcian, rather than attempting to be made emperor himself. Pulcheria herself crowned him emperor, a unique event symbolizing that the imperial power was shared, likely to further boost Marcian's legitimacy. Marcian was elected without the consultation of the Western Roman Emperor, Valentinian III, which has been viewed as a marker of further separation between the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. Valentinian III would not recognize Marcian as Eastern Roman Emperor until March 452. Marcian had his daughter Marcia Euphemia, who came from a previous marriage, marry Anthemius, future Western Roman Emperor, in 453.
BZ87504. Lead tessera, VF, triple struck, some adhesions on gray patina, huge lead tessera (or seal), weight 40.767 g, maximum diameter 37.9 mm, die axis 0o, 475 - 476 A.D.; obverse helmeted, diademed, and cuirassed bust facing, holding spear and shield; reverse monogram of Marcian (triple struck); very rare; SOLD


Jewish, Lead Menorah Bulla Seal, 7 Branched Menorah on Each Side, c. 6th - 10th Century A.D.

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |Jewish,| |Lead| |Menorah| |Bulla| |Seal,| |7| |Branched| |Menorah| |on| |Each| |Side,| |c.| |6th| |-| |10th| |Century| |A.D.|
A bulla (plural, bullae), is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, thereby ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.
JD34522. Menorah bulla seal, weight 11.1 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, 8.9 mm thick; rare; SOLD


Byzantine Lead Bulla Seal, John Melek, 12th - 13th Century A.D.

|Byzantine| |Seals|, |Byzantine| |Lead| |Bulla| |Seal,| |John| |Melek,| |12th| |-| |13th| |Century| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
A number of Byzantine dignitaries in 13th and 14th centuries shared the patronym Melek but they probably were not all from the same family. The name is foreign and perhaps derived from the Seljuk name malik, meaning prince. Presumably John Melek was a Seljuk prince who converted, was baptized adopting the name John, and served the Empire.

The office and title of the owner is not included in the inscription, which during the period, was a common practice of the representatives of noble ruling families.

The owner of the seal might be a certain John Melek associated with the stay of the army headed by Emperor Manuel I Komnenos in Beroe in 1155/1156.

A 13th century possiblity, is that the owner was one of the sons of the sultan Izedin, who after their father escaped captivity, were baptized and served in army of the Empire with the patronym Melek.

SH58238. Lead bulla (tag seal), Jordanov 456 (Historical Museum, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, no. 10 C3-11, found in the town); DOCBS -, Choice, near complete imprint, weight 17.593 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, obverse MP − ΘY, half-length figure of Virgin Orans standing facing, nimbate, hands raised, medallion of the infant Christ on breast; reverse Inscription: IWANHN / CKEΠOIC ME / MEΛHK / KOPH; large, high-relief seal; SOLD


Roman, Imperial Cone Shaped Lead Bulla Seal, 4th Century A.D.

|Constantine| |the| |Great|, |Roman,| |Imperial| |Cone| |Shaped| |Lead| |Bulla| |Seal,| |4th| |Century| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
The portrait appears to be that of Constantine the Great. Interesting.
AS38022. Lead bulla (tag seal), VF, weight 16.211 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, obverse laureate and draped bust right; SOLD


Neo-Babylonian, Stamp Seal, 625 - 539 B.C.

|Seals|, |Neo-Babylonian,| |Stamp| |Seal,| |625| |-| |539| |B.C.|
AS48864. Stamp seal, cream marble, pyramid shaped, drill style, Ishtar standing with wings or rays emitting from center, 26 mm high, 19 x 13 mm seal, Choice, Legrain - "rare type"; ex Alex G. Malloy Sale 5/28/1999, 1325; SOLD


Assyrian Stone Seal, c. 1900 - 1800 B.C.

|Seals|, |Assyrian| |Stone| |Seal,| |c.| |1900| |-| |1800| |B.C.|
AS31264. 3.3 cm (1 1/4") diameter, Choice, holed for stringing, reportedly found in Anatolia; SOLD


Assyrian Stone Seal, c. 1900 - 1800 B.C.

|Seals|, |Assyrian| |Stone| |Seal,| |c.| |1900| |-| |1800| |B.C.|
AS31265. 3.3 cm (1 1/4") diameter, Choice, holed for stringing, reportedly found in Anatolia; SOLD


Neo-Assyrian, Red Brown Stamp Seal, c. 883 - 612 B.C.

|Seals|, |Neo-Assyrian,| |Red| |Brown| |Stamp| |Seal,| || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || || |c.| |883| |-| |612| |B.C.|
AS34497. 2 cm (3/4") long; linear style, male standing with arms outstretched, pierced length-wise for suspension, Choice, rare; SOLD


Syria, Black Steatite Seal, Proto-Literate Period, 3500 - 2900 B.C.

|Seals|, |Syria,| |Black| |Steatite| |Seal,| |Proto-Literate| |Period,| |3500| |-| |2900| |B.C.|
AS48858. cf. Buchanan 86 and 88, carved black steatite, suspension loop on a thick oval base, linear style, probably an ibex, 16mm diameter, Choice, chip at base, from an American private collection, ex Alex G. Malloy Sale 5/99, #1319; SOLD


Theodosius I, 19 January 379 - 17 January 395 A.D.

|Theodosius| |I|, |Theodosius| |I,| |19| |January| |379| |-| |17| |January| |395| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
This type of lead conical bulla seal is commonly attributed to Theodosius I with his sons, Arcadius and Honorius. While the attribution is not certain, there is reason behind it. The form is correct for the period and the type is very common for a seal. Forum has handled a few examples and there are at least four on Coin Archives. The large number of specimens supports attribution to the emperor, in whose name there was a lot of correspondence. Theodosius and his two sons are the best imperial fit for these three facing busts.
AS89555. Lead bulla (tag seal), conical type, commonly attributed to Theodosius I and his sons Arcadius and Honorius, VF, gray and buff surfaces, weight 9.316 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, obverse three bare-headed and draped busts facing, center bust larger, two flanking busts smaller; reverse domed back, pierced for the cord; ex CNG e-auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 504; SOLD


South Arabian (Biblical Sheba?) Sabaean Steatite Amulet Seal, c. 1000 B.C.

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |South| |Arabian| |(Biblical| |Sheba?)| |Sabaean| |Steatite| |Amulet| |Seal,| |c.| |1000| |B.C.|
Sheba is mentioned several times in the Bible. In the Table of Nations (Genesis 10:7), Sheba is listed as a descendant of Noah's son Ham (as sons of Raamah son of Cush). In Genesis 25:3, Sheba is listed as names of sons of Jokshan, son of Abraham. Another Sheba is listed in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10:28) as a son of Joktan, another descendant of Noah's son Shem.
AS31269. Sabaean steatite amulet seal, Choice, 1.7 cm (5/8") length, inscribed BR' in the Sabaean alphabet; SOLD


South Arabian (Biblical Sheba?) Sabaean Steatite Amulet Seal, c. 1000 - 900 B.C.

|Holy| |Land| |Antiquities|, |South| |Arabian| |(Biblical| |Sheba?)| |Sabaean| |Steatite| |Amulet| |Seal,| |c.| || |1000| |-| |900| |B.C.|
This seal and other Sabaean we have listed are from present-day Yemen. Sheba was a southern kingdom mentioned in the Jewish scriptures and in the Qur'an. The actual location of the historical kingdom is disputed between southern Arabia and the Horn of Africa; the kingdom may have been situated in either present-day Ethiopia or present-day Yemen, or both.
AS31272. Sabaean steatite amulet seal, Choice, 1.3 cm (1/2") length, intaglio Nubian Ibex, Arabian Oryx, or Saudi Gazelle?; SOLD


South Arabian (Biblical Sheba?) Sabaean Steatite Amulet Seal, c. 1000 - 900 B.C.

|Seals|, |South| |Arabian| |(Biblical| |Sheba?)| |Sabaean| |Steatite| |Amulet| |Seal,| |c.| || |1000| |-| |900| |B.C.|
This seal and other Sabaean we have listed are from present-day Yemen. Sheba was a southern kingdom mentioned in the Jewish scriptures and in the Qur'an. The actual location of the historical kingdom is disputed between southern Arabia and the Horn of Africa; the kingdom may have been situated in either present-day Ethiopia or present-day Yemen, or both.
AS31275. Sabaean amulet seal, near Choice, 1.3 cm (1/2") length, intaglio cat?, a few tiny chips; SOLD


South Arabian (Biblical Sheba?), Sabaean Black Steatite Amulet, c. 1000 - 900 B.C.

|Seals|, |South| |Arabian| |(Biblical| |Sheba?),| |Sabaean| |Black| |Steatite| |Amulet,| |c.| |1000| |-| |900| |B.C.|
Sheba is mentioned several times in the Bible. In the Table of Nations (Genesis 10:7), Sheba is listed as a descendant of Noah's son Ham (as sons of Raamah son of Cush). In Genesis 25:3, Sheba is listed as names of sons of Jokshan, son of Abraham. Another Sheba is listed in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10:28) as a son of Joktan, another descendant of Noah's son Shem.
AS31816. South Arabian steatite amulet, Choice, 0.9 cm (3/8") diameter, inscribed KSD in the Sabaean alphabet, cone shaped back; SOLD


Egyptian, Faience Seal, 6th - 9th Dynasty, c. 2345 - 2133 B.C.

|Egyptian| |Antiquities|, |Egyptian,| |Faience| |Seal,| |6th| |-| |9th| |Dynasty,| |c.| |2345| |-| |2133| |B.C.|
Seals from Egypt with a loop behind belong to the 6th to 9th dynasties. In Egypt, few seals were actually used to make impressions and seal documents. Although they are almost always holed for stringing, an absence of wear on them shows that they were not usually carried during life, but were engraved to place as amulets with the dead.
AS31303. Yellow composite faience seal, 2.2 cm (7/8") long, walking figure, loop behind suspension, SOLD


South Arabian (Biblical Sheba?), Sabaean Black Steatite Amulet Seal, c. 1000 - 900 B.C.

|Seals|, |South| |Arabian| |(Biblical| |Sheba?),| |Sabaean| |Black| |Steatite| |Amulet| |Seal,| |c.| |1000| |-| |900| |B.C.|
Sheba is mentioned several times in the Bible. In the Table of Nations (Genesis 10:7), Sheba is listed as a descendant of Noah's son Ham (as sons of Raamah son of Cush). In Genesis 25:3, Sheba is listed as names of sons of Jokshan, son of Abraham. Another Sheba is listed in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10:28) as a son of Joktan, another descendant of Noah's son Shem.
AS31271. Sabaean amulet seal, Choice, 1.4 cm (1/2") length, intaglio Nubian Ibex, Arabian Oryx or Saudi Gazelle with crescent above, a nice artifact!; SOLD


Egyptian Faience Scarab, New Kingdom to Late Period, c. 1570 - 332 B.C.

|Egyptian| |Antiquities|, |Egyptian| |Faience| |Scarab,| |New| |Kingdom| |to| |Late| |Period,| |c.| |1570| |-| |332| |B.C.|
AS31267. 1.4 cm (5/8") length, Average, aquamarine faience; back has gone white; SOLD


Roman, Lead Conical Bulla Seal, Early 4th Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman,| |Lead| |Conical| |Bulla| |Seal,| |Early| |4th| |Century| |A.D.||seal|
The ancients did not all agree on the attributes of Serapis. A passage in Tacitus affirms that many recognized in this god, Aesculapius, imputing healing to his intervention; some thought him identical with Osiris, the oldest deity of the Egyptians; others regarded him as Jupiter, possessing universal power; but by most he was believed to be the same as Pluto, the "gloomy" Dis Pater of the infernal regions. The general impression of the ancients seems to have been that by Serapis, was to be understood the beginning and foundation of things. Julian II consulted the oracle of Apollo for the purpose of learning whether Pluto and Serapis were different gods; and he received for an answer that Jupiter-Serapis and Pluto were one and the same divinity.
AS83610. Lead seal, aEF, weight 8.022 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, early 4th Century A.D.; obverse diademed, draped, bearded, bust of Serapis right, kalathos(?) on head; reverse conical back, pierced for cord; SOLD


Sasanian, White Chalcedony Seal 4th Century A.D.

|Stone| |Antiquities|, |Sasanian,| |White| |Chalcedony| |Seal| |4th| |Century| |A.D.|
AS31302. Sasanian seal; 1.5 mm (5/8") length, Collectible condition, SOLD


Roman, 2nd - early 3rd Century A.D., Bronze Wax-Seal Box

|Seals|, |Roman,| |2nd| |-| |early| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.,| |Bronze| |Wax-Seal| |Box|
When the Romans sent important small packages by courier, such as documents or valuables, they were were placed in strong leather or cloth bags, which were sealed with a stout cord. The cord was threaded into and tied within a small metal box with a hinged lid. The box was filled with wax covering the knot and the wax was impressed with the sender's signet. In addition, the lid could be kept closed by further cords sewn to the package and tied around it.

See The Colchester Archaeological Trust online for a seal box nearly identical to ours found in a Roman pit at Lexden, a suburb of Colchester, Essex, England. A dupondius of Trajan minted in Rome, 114 - 117 A.D. was also found at the Lexden site. Another similar Roman seal box was found at the Balkerne Lane site in Colchester.
MA95786. See Hattatt ABOA, pp. 461 ff., Choice, complete and intact, sealed shut, rectangular bronze box with hinged cover, no indication of enamel, base perforated with three holes, hole in each side; 5.379g, 20.0mm x 15.7mm, 4.2mm (depth); SOLD


Roman, Lead Conical Bulla Seal, Aristanetos, Early 4th Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman,| |Lead| |Conical| |Bulla| |Seal,| |Aristanetos,| |Early| |4th| |Century| |A.D.||seal|
The portrait indicates an early 4th century date. It is the personal seal of Aristanetos, as the Greek genitive legend indicates. Many personal seals from the late Roman and Byzantine eras feature the owner's portrait.
AS85926. Lead seal, cf. Münzzentrum auction 157 (2011), lot 552, aVF, weight 9.060 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, early 4th Century A.D.; obverse APICT-ANETOV, draped bust of a slightly balding middle-aged man with sideburns; reverse conical back, pierced for cord; SOLD


North Syria, Red Serpentine Seal, c. 3500 - 3000 B.C.

|Seals|, |North| |Syria,| |Red| |Serpentine| |Seal,| |c.| |3500| |-| |3000| |B.C.|
AS35616. Red serpentine seal; similar style to Buchanan YBC 44-60; large X, arrow head points in angles; 18 X 10 mm; part of seal missing, SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Kemales Tzotzikes, Protospatharios, Hypatos and Strategos of Artach, c. 1000 - 1150

|Byzantine| |Seals|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Kemales| |Tzotzikes,| |Protospatharios,| |Hypatos| |and| |Strategos| |of| |Artach,| |c.| |1000| |-| |1150||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
The name Kermales was common among the Turks. The family name Tzotzikios, however, clearly indicates this general was Georgian. His name is also found among the founders of monastery of Iviron. Georgians played a significant role in the service of the empire and Artach (modern Irtah, 40 KM east of Antioch) was an important fortress on the eastern frontier captured by the Byzantines in 966, facing the emirate of Aleppo.
BZ49868. Lead bulla (tag seal), cf. Zacos III 262 (larger, 22.88g), broken in two, weight 10.092 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, obverse [O AΓIOΣ ΘEO∆ΩPOΣ], St Theodoros standing facing in military dress, spear in right, left rests on grounded shield; reverse +KEM/AΛHC ACΠ/ΘAP VΠATO/Σ CTPATIΓ / TOu APTAX/O TZOTZI/KIC (in 7 lines); SOLD


Roman Egyptian, Clay Bulla Seal, Harpocrates Bust Right, c. 1st - 2nd Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman| |Egyptian,| |Clay| |Bulla| |Seal,| |Harpocrates| |Bust| |Right,| |c.| |1st| |-| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
A bulla (plural, bullae) is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, thereby ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.
AA54469. Clay bulla (tag seal), weight 0.635 g, maximum diameter 12.0 mm, obverse draped bust of Harpocrates touching lips with index finger right in an oval incuse; reverse imprint of a papyrus document; SOLD


Eastern India, Buddhist Terracotta Votive Sealing, c. 8th Century

|Terracotta| |Antiquities|, |Eastern| |India,| |Buddhist| |Terracotta| |Votive| |Sealing,| |c.| |8th| |Century|
At holy sites and temples Buddhist pilgrims would purchase small votive offerings, to present to the shrine to be interred inside a stupa, or to take home as a memento. Votive offerings varied from place to place and over time. They were often made of terracotta and included small plaques, stupas, and sealings. The various sealings texts include meaningless pseudo-writing, repeated mantras, passages from the Ramayana, the Buddhist creed, prayers, etc. Because few early Buddhist manuscripts have survived in India, the writings found on these humble sealings provide a rare glimpse of the various scripts used in India in ancient and early medieval times. -- https://papyri.tripod.com/buddhist/introsealings.html
AB54489. cf. Zwalf, p. 33 and nos. 144 - 146, Choice, maximum diameter 29 mm, obverse Sanskrit text: the Buddhist Creed; reverse undecorated; mica sparkling in the clay, ex Alex G. Malloy; SOLD


Eastern India, Buddhist Terracotta Votive Sealing, c. 8th Century

|Central| |Asian| |Antiquities|, |Eastern| |India,| |Buddhist| |Terracotta| |Votive| |Sealing,| |c.| |8th| |Century|
At holy sites and temples Buddhist pilgrims would purchase small votive offerings, to present to the shrine to be interred inside a stupa, or to take home as a memento. Votive offerings varied from place to place and over time. They were often made of terracotta and included small plaques, stupas, and sealings. The various sealings texts include meaningless pseudo-writing, repeated mantras, passages from the Ramayana, the Buddhist creed, prayers, etc. Because few early Buddhist manuscripts have survived in India, the writings found on these humble sealings provide a rare glimpse of the various scripts used in India in ancient and early medieval times. -- https://papyri.tripod.com/buddhist/introsealings.html
AB54491. cf. Zwalf, p. 33 and nos. 144 - 146, Choice, maximum diameter 29 mm, obverse Sanskrit text: the Buddhist Creed; reverse undecorated; mica sparkling in the clay, ex Alex G. Malloy; SOLD


Eastern India, Buddhist Terracotta Votive Sealing, c. 8th Century

|Central| |Asian| |Antiquities|, |Eastern| |India,| |Buddhist| |Terracotta| |Votive| |Sealing,| |c.| |8th| |Century|
At holy sites and temples Buddhist pilgrims would purchase small votive offerings, to present to the shrine to be interred inside a stupa, or to take home as a memento. Votive offerings varied from place to place and over time. They were often made of terracotta and included small plaques, stupas, and sealings. The various sealings texts include meaningless pseudo-writing, repeated mantras, passages from the Ramayana, the Buddhist creed, prayers, etc. Because few early Buddhist manuscripts have survived in India, the writings found on these humble sealings provide a rare glimpse of the various scripts used in India in ancient and early medieval times. -- https://papyri.tripod.com/buddhist/introsealings.html
AB54496. cf. Zwalf, p. 33 and nos. 144 - 146, Choice, maximum diameter 29 mm, obverse Sanskrit text: the Buddhist Creed; reverse undecorated; mica sparkling in the clay, ex Alex G. Malloy; SOLD


Roman Empire, Lead Bulla Sealing, c. 2nd - 4th Century

|Seals|, |Roman| |Empire,| |Lead| |Bulla| |Sealing,| |c.| |2nd| |-| |4th| |Century||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
The fabric impression on the reverse indicates this seal was used on a sack. Some sealings of this type have been found with an intact hemp cord though them. Victory was very common on intaglio gem rings and many lead sealings with victory were likely impressed using a ring. Most sealings with Victory do not include inscriptions; most that do include inscriptions are imperial.
AS71304. Lead bulla (tag seal), Still category 5; cf. Still 1326, Dissard 519; vertical cord hole, VF, weight 3.316 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, obverse Victory advancing left, raising wreath in right, palm frond over shoulder in left, palm frond before her on left, within round incuse; reverse dome shape impressed with pattern of woven fabric; SOLD


Roman Lead Bulla Seal, c. 3rd Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman| |Lead| |Bulla| |Seal,| |c.| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.||seal|
AS53318. Lead seal, gF, obverse confronted busts, possibly Philip I and Philip II; interesting!; SOLD


Roman Egyptian, Clay Bulla Seal, Standing Female Figure, c. 1st - 2nd Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman| |Egyptian,| |Clay| |Bulla| |Seal,| |Standing| |Female| |Figure,| |c.| |1st| |-| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
A bulla (plural, bullae) is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, thereby ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.
AA54471. Clay bulla (tag seal), weight 0.800 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, obverse standing female figure; reverse imprint of a papyrus document; SOLD


Roman Clay Bulla Seal, Apollo(?) Leaning on Column, c. 1st - 2nd Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman| |Clay| |Bulla| |Seal,| |Apollo(?)| |Leaning| |on| |Column,| |c.| |1st| |-| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
A bulla (plural, bullae) is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, thereby ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.

AA54468. Clay bulla (tag seal), Roman clay bulla seal, weight 0.851 g, maximum diameter 13.0 mm, c. 1st - 2nd century A.D.; obverse Apollo(?) standing left, leaning on column with left elbow; reverse imprint of a papyrus document; SOLD


Theodosius I, 19 January 379 - 17 January 395 A.D.

|Theodosius| |I|, |Theodosius| |I,| |19| |January| |379| |-| |17| |January| |395| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
This type of lead conical bulla seal is commonly attributed to Theodosius I with his sons, Arcadius and Honorius. While the attribution is not certain, there is reason behind it. The form is correct for the period and the type is very common for a seal. Forum has handled a few examples and there are at least four on Coin Archives. The large number of specimens supports attribution to the emperor, in whose name there was a lot of correspondence. Theodosius and his two sons are the best imperial fit for these three facing busts.
AS65213. Lead bulla (tag seal), conical type, commonly attributed to Theodosius I and his sons Arcadius and Honorius, VF, weight 9.335 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, obverse three bare-headed and draped busts facing, center bust larger, two flanking busts smaller; reverse domed back, pierced for the cord; SOLD


Byzantine, Lead Bulla Seal, 7th - 11th Century

|Byzantine| |Seals|, |Byzantine,| |Lead| |Bulla| |Seal,| |7th| |-| |11th| |Century|
During the late Roman and Byzantine periods, lead bullae (singular, Bulla) were widely used to seal and identify the sender of correspondence and containers in shipment. An iron, pliers-shaped instrument, a boulloterion, was used to impress the designs on a lead bulla seal. After the cord was wrapped around the package or document and the ends inserted in a channel in the blank seal, the seal was placed between the disk shaped engraved dies on the jaws of a boulloterion. The boulloterion had a projection above the jaws, which was struck with a hammer to impress the design on the seal and close the channel around the two ends of the cord. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.
AS34517. Fine, weight 6.493 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 0o, obverse nimbate saint with cross in left; reverse cruciform monogram; SOLD


Byzantine, Lead Cone-Shaped Bulla Seal, c. 6th - 7th Century A.D.

|Byzantine| |Seals|, |Byzantine,| |Lead| |Cone-Shaped| |Bulla| |Seal,| |c.| |6th| |-| |7th| |Century| |A.D.|
A bulla (plural, bullae), is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, thereby ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.
AS35600. Byzantine lead cone-shaped bulla seal; 14.1 g, 19.9 mm long, obverse draped bust right; reverse cruciform monogram; SOLD


Lot of 3 Roman Lead Conical Bulla Seals, c. 2nd - 4th Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Lot| |of| |3| |Roman| |Lead| |Conical| |Bulla| |Seals,| |c.| |2nd| |-| |4th| |Century| |A.D.|
During the Byzantine period, lead bullae (singular, Bulla) were widely used to seal and identify the sender of correspondence and containers in shipment. An iron, pliers-shaped instrument, a boulloterion, was used to impress the designs on a lead bulla seal. After the cord was wrapped around the package or document and the ends inserted in a channel in the blank seal, the seal was placed between the disk shaped engraved dies on the jaws of a boulloterion. The boulloterion had a projection above the jaws, which was struck with a hammer to impress the design on the seal and close the channel around the two ends of the cord. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.
AS89420. Lot of 3 lead conical bulla seals, c. 2nd - 4th Century A.D.; the actual seals in the photographs; SOLD


Roman Clay Bulla Seal, Standing Figures Clasping Hands, c. 1st - 2nd Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman| |Clay| |Bulla| |Seal,| |Standing| |Figures| |Clasping| |Hands,| |c.| |1st| |-| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
A bulla (plural, bullae) is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, thereby ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.
BB54470. Clay bulla (tag seal), edge chips, weight 2.646 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, obverse helmeted female figure (Athena?) standing left, clasping hands with male figure standing right; reverse imprint of a papyrus document; SOLD


Lot of Two Lead Seals

|Byzantine| |Seals|, |Lot| |of| |Two| |Lead| |Seals||seal|
BZ39328. Lead seal, Two lead seals, one Byzantine with Greek legend (16 x 15 mm), the other with a decorative pattern (24 mm diameter, perhaps Islamic), F, SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Lead Bulla Seal, c. 5th - 12th Century

|Byzantine| |Seals|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Lead| |Bulla| |Seal,| |c.| |5th| |-| |12th| |Century||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
During the Byzantine period, lead bullae (singular, Bulla) were widely used to seal and identify the sender of correspondence and containers in shipment. An iron, pliers-shaped instrument, a boulloterion, was used to impress the designs on a lead bulla seal. After the cord was wrapped around the package or document and the ends inserted in a channel in the blank seal, the seal was placed between the disk shaped engraved dies on the jaws of a boulloterion. The boulloterion had a projection above the jaws, which was struck with a hammer to impress the design on the seal and close the channel around the two ends of the cord. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.
BB53492. Lead bulla (tag seal), very large, weight 40.994 g, maximum diameter 39.7 mm, SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Andrews, C. Roman Seal-Boxes in Britain, BAR British Series 567. (Oxford, 2012).
Buchanan, B. Ancient Near Eastern Seals in the Yale Babylonian Collection. (New Haven, 1981).
Dissard, P. La Collection Reìcamier. Catalogue des Plombs antiques (sceaux, tesseres, monnaies et objets divers). (Paris-London, 1905).
Hattatt, R. Ancient Brooches and Other Artifacts. (Oxford, 1989) Holmes, S. "Seal boxes from Roman London" in The London Archaeologist 7.15 (1995), pp. 391 - 395. Jordanov, I. Corpus of Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria. (Sofia, 2003).
Jordanov, I & Z. Zhekova. Catalogue of Medieval Seals at the Regional Historical Museum of Shumen. (Sofia, 2007).
Metcalf, D. Byzantine Lead Seals from Cyprus. (Nicosia, 2004).
Milovanovic, B. & A. Raickovic Savic. "Seal Boxes From the Viminacium Site" in Institute of Archaeology, Belgrade, STARINAR LXIII (2013), pp. 219 - 236.
Morrisson, C. "Monnaies en plomb byzantines" in RIN LXXXIII (1981).
Nesbitt, J. et al., eds. Catalogue of Byzantine Seals at Dumbarton Oaks and the Fogg Museum of Art. (Washington, DC. 1991-2005).
Spink. Byzantine Seals from the Collection of George Zacos, Part I. Auction 127 (7 October 1998). London.
Spink. Byzantine Seals from the Collection of George Zacos, Part II. Auction 132 (25 May 1999). London.
Spink. Byzantine Seals from the Collection of George Zacos, Part III. Auction 135 (6 October 1999). London.
Still, M. Roman Lead Sealings. (University of London, 1995).
Youroukova P. & V. Penchev. Bulgarian Medieval Coins and Seals. (Sofia, 1990).
Zacos, G. Byzantine Lead Seals. (Berne, 1972-84).
Zwalf, W. ed. Buddhism Art and Faith. (New York, 1985).

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