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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Nude or Erotic||View Options:  |  |  |   

Nude Figures and Erotic Images on Ancient Coins

The ancients had a grand appreciation for the beauty of the human body and a rather bawdy view of sexuality.

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; $900.00 (€828.00)
 


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); $750.00 (€690.00)
 


Numerian, February or March 283 - October or November 284 A.D.

|Numerian|, |Numerian,| |February| |or| |March| |283| |-| |October| |or| |November| |284| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Consular busts are scarce for this dynasty.
RA93244. Billon antoninianus, Bastien 562 (3 spec. cited), RIC V-2 -, Cohen VI -, SRCV III -, Hunter V -, La Venèra -, Choice aVF, well centered, flow lines, tiny encrustations, scattered light porosity, weight 3.080 g, maximum diameter 22.85 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 6th emission, c. 284 A.D.; obverse IMP C NVMERIANVS AVG, radiate bust wearing imperial mantle right, eagle-tipped scepter in right hand; reverse MARS VICTOR (Mars the Victor), Mars advancing right, nude except for helmet and cloak tied in belt at waist and flying behind, transverse spear in right hand, trophy over left shoulder in left hand, C in right field; very rare; $420.00 (€386.40)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos IV Philopater, 187 - 175 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Seleukos| |IV| |Philopater,| |187| |-| |175| |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
Seleucus IV Philopator ruled Syria (then including Cilicia and Judea), Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Nearer Iran (Media and Persia). To help pay the heavy war-indemnity exacted by Rome, he sent his minister Heliodorus to Jerusalem to seize the Jewish temple treasury. On his return, Heliodorus assassinated Seleucus, and seized the throne for himself.
GY95971. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 1313.6b, Newell SMA 38, SNG Spaer 839, HGC 9 580e, VF, high relief portrait, dark old cabinet toning, marks, scratches, spots of corrosion, weight 16.434 g, maximum diameter 29.6 mm, die axis 30o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 187 - 175 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Seleucus IV right, fillet border; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ΣEΛEYKOY downward on left, palm frond tied with ribbons outer left, Φ in exergue; ex Errett Bishop Collection; $300.00 (€276.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus III the Great, 223 - 187 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |III| |the| |Great,| |223| |-| |187| |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
At the age of eighteen, Antiochus III inherited a disorganized state. Much of Anatolia had been lost and the easternmost provinces had revolted and broken away. After some initial defeats, Antiochus took Judaea from Ptolemaic Egypt and then conquered Anatolia, earning him the epithet "the Great." In 192 B.C. Antiochus invaded Greece with a 10,000-man army, and was elected the commander in chief of the Aetolian League. In 191 B.C., however, the Romans routed him at Thermopylae, forcing him to withdraw to Anatolia. The Romans followed up by invading Anatolia and defeating him again. By the Treaty of Apamea 188 B.C., Antiochus abandoned all territory north and west of the Taurus, most of which the Roman Republic gave either to Rhodes or to the Attalid ruler Eumenes II, its allies. Many Greek cities were left free. As a consequence of this blow to the Seleucid power, the provinces which had recovered by Antiochus, reasserted their independence. Antiochus mounted a fresh eastern expedition. He died while pillaging a temple of Bel at Elymaïs, Persia, in 187 B.C.
GY96476. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Spaer 730 (same dies); Houghton-Lorber I 1115c; Mørkholm AA XXXVI p. 130, 15; Newell WSM 877; HGC 9 447z (S), VF, high relief portrait, many tiny wedge shaped punches, light marks and scratches, weight 16.690 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 0o, E. Syria or N. Mesopotamia, ΠA mint, c. 204 - 197 B.C.; obverse Antiochos diademed head right, middle aged portrait with receding hairline, fillet border; reverse Apollo naked seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on bow grounded behind, right foot drawn back, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ANTIO-XOY downward on left, ΠA monogram upper inner left, N⅃ monogram upper inner right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 12 (10 Oct 2020), lot 2002 (part of); $280.00 (€257.60)
 


Kaunos, Caria, c. 197 - 191 B.C. (or Later 2nd Century)

|Kaunos|, |Kaunos,| |Caria,| |c.| |197| |-| |191| |B.C.| |(or| |Later| |2nd| |Century)||AE| |16|
On the Rosetta Stone, "The Memphis Decree" announces Ptolemy V's rule and ascension to godhood, and describes him as "like Horus." In "A Statue of a Hellenistic King," Journal of Hellenistic Studies, 33 (1913), C. Edgar attributes a statue very similar to the reverse figure to Ptolemy V: "[The statue] stands with right foot drawn back, the toes alone resting on the ground...His head is held erect and his gaze is turned slightly to his right. His shoulders are drawn up a little...[the upper part] unnaturally short in proportion to the lower part of the trunk...[The missing right] forearm was clear of the body. The [missing] left hand was raised and probably rested on a spear." We believe this type is from the among the last issues of Kaunos under Ptolemaic rule, struck after the 13 year old Ptolemy V came of age in 197/6 B.C., perhaps to commemorate his accession, and before he sold the city to the Rhodians for 200 talents of silver in 191 B.C.
GB87087. Bronze AE 16, SNGvA 8103; Lindgren III 425; Imhoof-Blumer KM I, p. 138, 1; BMC Caria -; SNG Cop -; SNG Keckman -; SNG Munchen -, VF, green patina, well centered on a tight flan, a little porous/rough, tiny edge crack, weight 2.166 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kaunos (Dalyan, Turkey) mint, c. 197 - 191 B.C. (or later 2nd century); obverse diademed and horned head of Alexander the Great right; reverse youth (Ptolemy V as Horus?) advancing right, nude, long lotus-tipped scepter transverse in left hand, right arm and index finger extended, snake before him coiled around scepter, K-AY (Kaunos) divided high across field, ΣΩ-TAΣ (magistrate) divided across center; very rare; $105.00 (€96.60)
 


Maroneia, Thrace, c. 168 - 145 B.C.

|Maroneia|, |Maroneia,| |Thrace,| |c.| |168| |-| |145| |B.C.||AE| |18|
Maroneia was on the Aegean coast about midway between the mouths of the Hebrus and the Nestus rivers. The city was named after Maron, sometimes identified as a son of Dionysos, who in the Odyssey gives Odysseus the wine with which he intoxicates Polyphemos. Maroneia was famous for its wine, which was esteemed everywhere and was said to possess the odor of nectar.
GB93472. Bronze AE 18, Schönert-Geiss Maroneia 1556 ff.; BMC Thrace p. 130, 82; SNG Cop 646; Weber 2351; McClean 3982; HGC 3 1541 (S), VF, attractive green patina with earthen highlighting, slight porosity, weight 6.130 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 0o, Maroneia (Maroneia-Sapes, Greece) mint, c. 168/7-48/45 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right, band across forehead, and ivy wreath; reverse Dionysos standing left, nude but for chlamys on left arm, bunch of grapes in right hand, two stalks of narthex in left hand, MAPΩNITΩN downward on right, no control monogram; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $95.00 (€87.40)
 


Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D.

|Maximinus| |II|, |Maximinus| |II| |Daia,| |Late| |309| |-| |30| |April| |313| |A.D.||follis|
The meaning of the CMH ligature, used at Nicomedia and Cyzicus, is uncertain but it may be a mark of value indicating 48 coins per pound of bronze.
RT85730. Billon follis, Hunter V 36 (also 5th officina), RIC VI Nicomedia 66c, SRCV IV 14827, Cohen VII 34, Choice EF, well centered and struck, some silvering remaining, porosity, weight 7.064 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 310 - 311 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI CMH (CMH ligate), Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, kalathos on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, SMNE in exergue; $90.00 (€82.80)
 


Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D.

|Maximinus| |II|, |Maximinus| |II| |Daia,| |Late| |309| |-| |30| |April| |313| |A.D.||follis|
In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Roman People, etc. The legend GENIO AVGVSTI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Augusti, the Emperors. The figure depicted is the statue of the Spirit of the Roman People which was then in the Roman Forum (it is now lost). The act of pouring the libation to the emperor illustrates what the Christians were required to do in order not to be persecuted.
RT93355. Billon follis, RIC VI Alexandria 152b, SRCV IV 14841, Cohen VII 17, Hunter V -, gVF, dark brown patina, flow lines, porosity, slightly off center, reverse die wear, tiny edge crack, weight 5.116 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Alexandria mint, 312 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor), Genio standing facing, head left, kalathos on head, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, head of Serapis in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, crescent upper left, X in left field, B in right field, ALE in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $90.00 (€82.80)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus III the Great, c. 223 - 187 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |III| |the| |Great,| |c.| |223| |-| |187| |B.C.||AE| |16|NEW
Antiochus' victory at the Battle of Panium in 198 B.C. transferred control of Judaea from Ptolemaic Egypt to the Seleukid Kingdom. When Antiochos conquered Asia Minor, however, the Romans responded. Antiochos' losses were so great that the whole of his empire was shattered and he was forced to content himself with the region that he had held in the beginning, Syria.
GB96483. Bronze AE 16, Houghton-Lorber I 983.1b, SNG Spaer 488 (Hierax), Newell WSM 1428 var. (control, Hierax), aVF, green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, tight flan, scratches, weight 3.400 g, maximum diameter 16.2 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, 203 - 187 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair in corkscrew curls down neck; reverse Apollo standing left, naked, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on tripod lebes behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on right, monogram (control) outer left; $80.00 (€73.60)
 




  



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