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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.

Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Elaiussa-Sebaste, Islands off Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.,| |Elaiussa-Sebaste,| |Islands| |off| |Cilicia||AE| |35|
Elaiussa, meaning olive, was founded in the 2nd century B.C. on a tiny island attached to the southern coast of Turkey by a narrow isthmus in Mediterranean Sea. During the reign of Augustus, the Cappadocian king Archelaus founded a new city on the isthmus. Archelaus called it Sebaste, which is the Greek equivalent word of the Latin "Augusta." The city entered its golden age when Vespasian purged Cilicia of pirates in 74 A.D. Towards the end of the 3rd century A.D. its importance began to wane, due in large part to incursions by the Sassanian King Shapur I in 260 and later by the Isaurians. When its neighbor Corycus began to flourish in the 6th century A.D., Elaiussa Sebaste slowly disappeared from history. The theater, dating to the 2nd century A.D., is small with only 23 rows of seats, whose steps and decorations unfortunately succumbed to centuries of plunder.Elaiussa Theater
GP110208. Bronze AE 35, RPC Online VII-2 2946 (9 spec.), SNG BnF 1175, SNG Pfalz 462, BMC Cilicia - (1975,0411.346), SNG Levante -, SNG Cop -, F, edge chips, flat strike, corrosion, weight 21.223 g, maximum diameter 35.1 mm, die axis 225o, Elaiussa-Sebaste (Ayash, Turkey) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AVT K M ANTΩ ΓOP∆IANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse CEBACTH IEP AC AVT NAVAPXIC, Zeus Nikephoros standing facing, head left, nude, Nike bearing wreath and palm frond in right hand, long grounded scepter vertical in left hand; BIG 35mm bronze; very rare; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


Maximian, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D.

|Maximian|, |Maximian,| |286| |-| |305,| |306| |-| |308,| |and| |310| |A.D.||follis| |(large)|
The ruins of Antioch on the Orontes lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch is called "the cradle of Christianity," for the pivotal early role it played in the emergence of the faith. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east.6th Century Antioch
RT110027. Billon follis (large), RIC VI Antiochia 54b, SRCV IV 13275, Cohen VII 184, Hunter V 95 var. (3rd officina), Choice EF, well centered and struck on a broad flan, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, weight 10.441 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 300 - 301 A.D.; obverse IMP C M A MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing left, kalathos on head, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, pouring libation from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, K - V divided across lower fields, A upper right, ANT in exergue; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


Galerius, 1 March 305 - 5 May 311 A.D.

|Galerius|, |Galerius,| |1| |March| |305| |-| |5| |May| |311| |A.D.||follis| |(large)|
These legends and types were struck in two issues RIC VI 198a, c. 309 - 310, and RIC 207a, c. 310 - 5 May 311. The earlier issue was struck with only officiae A, B and Γ, therefore, without even considering other variations we can be certain this coin is from the second issue.
RT99299. Billon follis (large), RIC VI Siscia p. 480, 207a; SRCV IV 14505; Hunter V p. 62, 7 var. (2nd officina); Cohen VI 133 (Maximian), gVF, amusing style and sharp detail on the reverse, slight porosity, reverse slightly off center, weight 7.444 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, c. 310 - 5 May 311 A.D.; obverse IMP MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor), Genius standing slightly left, head left, kalathos on head, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, crescent with horns upward lower left, ∆ right, SIS in exergue; from a private collector in New Jersey; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00


Licinius I, 11 November 308 - 18 September 324 A.D.

|Licinius| |I|, |Licinius| |I,| |11| |November| |308| |-| |18| |September| |324| |A.D.||follis|
In 320 A.D., Licinius reneged on the religious freedom promised by the Edict of Milan, and began a new persecution of Christians in the Eastern Roman Empire. He destroyed churches, imprisoned Christians and confiscated their property.
RL99315. Billon follis, RIC VII Nicomedia 24 (R2), SRCV IV 15236, Cohen VII 116, Hunter V 138 ff. var. (officina), Choice gVF, full legends, traces of silvering, flow lines, light marks, tiny encrustations, weight 3.377 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 330o, 7th officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 317 - 320 A.D.; obverse IMP LICI-NIVS AVG, laureate consular bust left, mappa in right hand, globe and scepter in left hand; reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI AVGG (to Jove the protector of the two Emperors), Jupiter standing left, nude but for cloak over shoulder, Victory on globe presenting wreath in right hand, long scepter in left hand, palm frond left, Z right, SMN in exergue; from a private collector in New Jersey; scarce; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00


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; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00


Maximinus II Daia, May 310 - 30 April 313 A.D.

|Maximinus| |II|, |Maximinus| |II| |Daia,| |May| |310| |-| |30| |April| |313| |A.D.||follis|
Thessalonica was founded around 315 B.C. by Cassander, King of Macedonia, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma. He named it after his wife Thessalonike, a daughter of Philip II and a half-sister of Alexander the Great. In 168 B.C. it became the capital of Macedonia Secunda and in 146 B.C. it was made the capital of the whole Roman province of Macedonia. Due to its port and location at the intersection of two major Roman roads, Thessalonica grew to become the most important city in Macedonia. Thessalonica was important in the spread of Christianity; the First Epistle to the Thessalonians written by Paul the Apostle is the first written book of the New Testament.
RT97955. Billon follis, Hunter V p. 97, 25 (also 2nd officina) RIC VI Thessalonica 61a; SRCV IV 14882; Cohen VII 126, gVF, double strike in the reverse legend, flan shape slightly irregular, weight 3.608 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 312 - 313 A.D.; obverse IMP C MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI AVGG NN (to Jove the protector of our two Emperors), Jupiter standing left, nude but for cloak over left shoulder and arm, Victory on globe in right hand, scepter in left hand, eagle at feet left with wreath in beak, TSB in exergue; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50


Galerius, 1 March 305 - 5 May 311 A.D.

|Galerius|, |Galerius,| |1| |March| |305| |-| |5| |May| |311| |A.D.||follis| |(large)|
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 IMPERATORIS dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Imperators, the Commanders-in-Chief of the Army. Genius' image is of a man with a cloak half covering the shoulders leaving the rest of his body naked, holding a cornucopia in one hand, and a simpulum or a patera in the other.
RT99302. Billon follis (large), RIC VI Heraclea 37a; SRCV IV 14513; Cohen VII 48; Hunter V p. 63, 16 var. (1st officina), aVF/VF, nearly centered, flow lines, obv. die wear, marks, porosity, weight 6.136 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Heraclea (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, c. 308 - 309 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO IMPERATORIS (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor as Commander in Chief), 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, HTΓ in exergue; from a private collector in New Jersey; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

|Nikopolis|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.,| |Nikopolis| |ad| |Istrum,| |Moesia| |Inferior||assarion|
The figure on the reverse is most often identified as Eros (Cupid) or a generic winged Genius. The inverted torch represents a life extinguished, indicating the figure is Thanatos (death). By the Severan Era, there was increased hope for an afterlife in pleasant Elysium rather than in dismal Hades. Thanatos was associated more with a gentle passing than a woeful demise. Thanatos as a winged boy, very much akin to Cupid, with crossed legs and an inverted torch, became the most common symbol for death, depicted on many Roman sarcophagi.
RP97238. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.16.16 (R3), Moushmov 926, AMNG I/I 1367 (R3) var. (leg.), Varbanov I 2481 (R3) var. (obv. leg., bust), BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, F, rough, edge ragged, part of reverse legend not struck, weight 3.040 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 30o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV KAI CEVHP, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC I, winged Thanatos standing right, legs crossed legs, leaning on reversed torch on right set on low base; scarce; $50.00 SALE PRICE $45.00


Galerius, 1 March 305 - 5 May 311 A.D.

|Galerius|, |Galerius,| |1| |March| |305| |-| |5| |May| |311| |A.D.||follis| |(large)|
On 11 November 308, attempting to keep peace within the Roman Empire, at the Congress of Carnuntum, the Tetrarchy declared Maxentius a public enemy, Licinius was proclaimed Augustus, and Constantine I was made Caesar of Britain and Gaul.
RT90639. Billon follis (large), RIC VI Cyzicus 68; SRCV IV 14518; Cohen VII 49; Hunter V p. 66, 40 var. (4th officina), VF, green patina, light encrustations, some legend weak, weight 5.924 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 1 Jan - 5 May 311 A.D.; obverse GAL MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO IMPERATORIS (to the guardian spirit of the Commander in Chief), 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, A lower left, three pellets arranged in a vertical line in right field, MKV in exergue; $35.00 SALE PRICE $31.50


Syracuse, Sicily, Agathokles, 317 - 289 B.C.

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Agathokles,| |317| |-| |289| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Although Agathocles was brutal in pursuit of power, afterward he was a mild and popular "tyrant." His grandest goal was to establish democracy as the dominant form of government for the world. He did not want his sons to succeed him as king and restored the Syracusan democracy on his death bed.
SH54900. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Lloyd 1494; M. Ierardi, Tetradrachms of Agathokles of Syracuse, AJN N.S. 7-8, 1996, 238, choice gVF, weight 16.445 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 180o, 305 - 295 B.C.; obverse KOPAΣ, head of Kore left, wreathed in grain; reverse AΓA[ΘOKΛEIOΣ], Nike standing half right raising trophy, hammer in right, triskeles at feet left; ex Tom Cederlind, ex Mnzen Und Medaillen List 260 (1965), #17; rare with head left; SOLD







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