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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Travel & TransporationView Options:  |  |  | 

Travel & Geography on Ancient Coins

Here we depict coins that relate to travel but also to places in the ancient world. We will also include coins from the less common cities and mints when we want to share information about the location.


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Hadrian traveled to nearly every province of the Empire and spent more than half his reign outside Italy. Nero had been criticized as self-indulgent for his trip to Greece, but Hadrian proudly advertised his travels with his "Adventus" coinage series. Unlike Nero, the pleasure-seeking tourist, Hadrian inspected and corrected the legions and made grants for the construction of new public buildings, projects, and settlements. Hadrian travels were intended to transform conquered lands into a unified Roman Empire.
RB87800. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 938f (S), BMCRE III 1782, Hunter II 636, Cohen II 1218, SRCV II 3627, gVF, superb portrait, attractive green patina, well centered and struck, light marks, light corrosion, light earthen deposits, weight 25.249 g, maximum diameter 32.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 131 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse RESTITVTORI ACHAIAE, Hadrian standing left, togate, holding roll in left hand, with right hand raising Achaea, draped, kneeling right and resting left hand on knee; urn containing palm between them, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; rare; $500.00 SALE PRICE $450.00


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Hadrian was born in Hispania. The origin of the name Hispania is much disputed and the evidence for the various speculations is very weak. Two theories hold it to be of Punic derivation, from the Phoenician language of colonizing Carthage. In Hebrew, "i-shfania" means "island of the rabbit." Punic-Phoenician and Hebrew are both Canaanite languages and therefore closely related to each other. The name Hispania may be derived from an ancient Punic name identifying the place as a land of rabbits. Another theory holds the name is derived the word from the Phoenician word "span," meaning hidden, indicating a hidden, that is, a remote, or far-distant land. The rabbit on this coin type has been used as evidence to support the first theory.
RS87611. Silver denarius, RSC II 834, RIC II 306, Strack II 304, BMCRE III 849 note, Hunter II 287 var. (head left), SRCV II -, Choice VF, centered, uneven toning, light marks, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.824 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, bare head right; reverse HISPANIA, Hispania reclining left on rock, olive branch in right hand, rabbit behind below left arm; $380.00 (323.00)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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NEP RED on the reverse abbreviates Neptuno Redux, Neptune who brings back the Emperor in safety by sea. Hadrian toured Greece, 124 - 125, made a detour to Sicily, and returned to Italy in 126. This type honors Neptune for ensuring Hadrian's safety during his sea voyages.
RB88005. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 651, BMCRE III 1318, Cohen II 980, SRCV II 3612, Hunter II 438 var. (dolphin vice acrostolium), VF, well centered, nice style, Tiber patina, edge cracks, weight 22.893 g, maximum diameter 33.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 126 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, Neptune standing right, left knee bend and left foot on prow, nude but for cloak over left thigh, trident vertical with head down behind in right hand, acrostolium in left hand, NEP - RED / S - C in two divided lines across field; ex William Rosenblum, mailbid sale 38C (5 Jun 2008), lot 120; $280.00 (238.00)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Fortuna Redux, one of the many aspects of Fortuna, was in charge of bringing people home safely, primarily from wars - redux means "coming back" or "returning." She may be one of the later aspects of Fortuna, as the earliest mention of her is on an altar dedicated by the Senate in 19 B.C. for the safe return of Emperor Augustus.
RS87269. Silver denarius, RIC IV 189; RSC III 84; BMCRE V 1 p. 419, G1; SRCV II 6802; Hunter III -, Choice VF, superb portrait, well centered and struck, toned, slightly frosty, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.698 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, Rome mint, 211 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse FORT RED P M TR P XIIII COS III P P, Fortuna Redux standing facing, head left, cornucopia in right hand tip outward and top inward, drapery over left arm which is resting on a grounded rudder, wheel at feet on left; $150.00 (127.50)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Africa) and its distribution to the people. By the Code De Naviculariis, the mariners appointed to carry grain from Egypt could be executed if they did not keep the proper course; and if they did not sail in the proper season, the master of the vessel would be banished.
RB65293. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 981, BMCRE IV 2038, SRCV II 4254, Cohen II -, F, nice portrait, uneven strike, reverse slightly off center, weight 21.364 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 157 - 158 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P IMP II, laureate head right; reverse TR POT XXI COS IIII, Annona standing slightly slightly left, stalks of grain pointed downward in her right over modius overflowing with stalks of grain at feet on left, rudder vertical behind in left resting on prow of galley right, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; $100.00 (85.00)


Mesembria, Thrace, 300 - 250 B.C.

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The wheel on the reverse is depicted with a degree of perspective, which is unusual on ancient coins.
GB68697. Bronze AE 20, SNG Stancomb 229, SNG Cop 658, SNG BM 276 var. (helmet left), VF, green patina, weight 4.348 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 90o, Mesambria (Nesebar, Bulgaria) mint, 300 - 250 B.C.; obverse Thracian helmet with cheek guard right; reverse wheel with hub, METAM/BPIANΩN (T = archaic Greek letter sampi = ΣΣ) above and below; ex Pecunem Gitbud & Naumann, auction 7, lot 49; rare; $70.00 (59.50)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Hadrian toured Greece, 124 - 125, made a detour to Sicily, and returned to Italy in 126. He left again in 128 to visit Africa. Hadrian returned to Italy in the summer of 128 but his stay was brief and he set off on another tour that would last three years. Hadrian's galley reverse types refer to his travels to the provinces and his safe return.
RB85872. Copper as, RIC II 673d (S), Hunter II 422, BMCRE III 1342, SRCV II 3682, Cohen II 446 var. (no drapery), VF/F, centered on a tight flan, corrosion, scrapes on reverse, weight 8.824 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 125 - 128 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, galley right with rowers; ram, acrostolium, and vexillum (or furled sail) at prow; rudder and arched cabin at stern; S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; scarce; $60.00 (51.00)







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Catalog current as of Monday, January 21, 2019.
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Travel & Geography