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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.

Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Lampsakos, Mysia

|Lampsakos|, |Augustus,| |16| |January| |27| |B.C.| |-| |19| |August| |14| |A.D.,| |Lampsakos,| |Mysia||AE| |17|
Priapus or Priapos was a minor rustic fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia. Priapus is marked by his absurdly oversized permanent erection, which gave rise to the medical term priapism. He became a popular figure in Roman erotic art and Latin literature, and is the subject of the often humorously obscene collection of verse called the Priapeia. Statues of Priapus were sometimes placed on boundaries and hung with signs which threatened sexual assault on trespassers.
RP111013. Bronze AE 17, RPC I 2274; SNG BnF 1267; BMC Mysia p. 87, 79; Lindgren I 262; SNG Cop -, F, edge splits and cracks, corrosion, weight 3.269 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 45o, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, 16 Jan 27 B.C. - 19 Aug 14 A.D.; obverse CEBACTOY, youthful laureate head of Augustus right; reverse ithyphallic Priapus standing left, right hand raised, left hand on hip, L-A/M-Ψ/A-K in three divided lines across field; scarce; $125.00 (126.25)


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius, Saitta, Lydia

|Other| |Lydia|, |Faustina| |Junior,| |Augusta| |146| |-| |Winter| |175/176| |A.D.,| |Wife| |of| |Marcus| |Aurelius,| |Saitta,| |Lydia||AE| |18|
Saitta (or Saittai) was in eastern Lydia, in the triangle between the upper Hyllus river (modern Demirci ayi) and the Hermus river (modern Sidaskale). Representations of the river gods are found on coins of the Imperial Period. The moon god Mn Akziottenos was honored, but Zeus, Dionysos, Aphrodite, Hygieia, Asklepios, Apollo, Kybele, and Herakles were also revered at Saitta. The town was a regional center for textile production. Hadrian probably visited in 124 A.D. In the city, In the Christian era Saittai was attached to the Archbishopric of Sardeis.
RP110656. Bronze AE 18, GRPC Lydia III pl. 255, 71; RPC Online IV.2 T1392; BMC Lydia p. 218, 36; SNGvA 8247; Lindgren I A790B; Winterthur 3887; SNG Cop -, Choice aVF, well centered, dark patina, earthen deposits, scratches, weight 4.402 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Saitta (Sidaskale, Turkey) mint, Titianos (archon), c. 161 - 163/165 A.D.; obverse ΦAVCTEINA CEBAC (from upper right), draped bust right; reverse EΠI TITIANOV CAITTHNΩN (under authority of Titianus, Saitta), Apollo standing facing, nude, head left, legs crossed, laurel branch downward in right hand, drapery over left left forearm which is resting on a waist high column; $120.00 (121.20)


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 (111.10)


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Lampsakos, Mysia

|Lampsakos|, |Augustus,| |16| |January| |27| |B.C.| |-| |19| |August| |14| |A.D.,| |Lampsakos,| |Mysia||AE| |16|NEW
Priapus or Priapos was a minor rustic fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia. Priapus is marked by his absurdly oversized permanent erection, which gave rise to the medical term priapism. He became a popular figure in Roman erotic art and Latin literature, and is the subject of the often humorously obscene collection of verse called the Priapeia. Statues of Priapus were sometimes placed on boundaries and hung with signs which threatened sexual assault on trespassers.
RP111641. Bronze AE 16, RPC I 2275 (5 spec.); BMC Mysia p. 87, 78; SNG BnF 1267 var. (rev. leg. arrangement); SNG Cop -, F, green patina, rough, earthen deposits, weight 2.586 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 0o, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, 16 Jan 27 B.C. - 19 Aug 14 A.D.; obverse CEBACTOY, youthful laureate head of Augustus right, star lower right; reverse LAM-ΨAK (counterclockwise from upper right), ithyphallic Priapus standing left, right hand raised, left hand on hip; scarce; $90.00 (90.90)


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, Δ right, SIS in exergue; from a private collector in New Jersey; $80.00 (80.80)


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; $70.00 (70.70)


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.
GY111032. Bronze AE 16, Houghton-Lorber I 983(1)b, SNG Spaer 488 (Hierax), Newell WSM 1428 var. (control, Hierax), VF, dark green patina, tight flan, scratches, weight 3.829 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 315o, 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, M/A monogram (control) outer left; $70.00 (70.70)


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; $60.00 (60.60)


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 (60.60)


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 ΚΟΡΑΣ, head of Kore left, wreathed in grain; reverse ΑΓΑ[ΘΟΚΛΕΙΟΣ], 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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