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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Olympians| ▸ |Athena or Minerva||View Options:  |  |  |   

Athena or Minerva on Ancient Coins

Athena was the virgin goddess of wisdom, crafts, and battle strategy. Her symbols are the olive tree and the owl. She is the daughter of Zeus, according to some traditions by Metis.

Seleukid Kingdom, Seleucus I Nikator, 312 - 280 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Seleucus| |I| |Nikator,| |312| |-| |280| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Seleukos (Seleucus) founded the Seleukid Empire and the Seleukid dynasty which ruled Syria until Pompey made it a Roman province in 63 B.C. Seleukos was never one of Alexander the Great's principal generals but he commanded the royal bodyguard during the Indian campaign. In the division of the empire after Alexander's death Seleukos did not receive a satrapy. Instead, he served under the regent Perdikkas until the latter's murder in 321 or 320. Seleukos was then appointed satrap of Babylonia. Five years later Antigonus Monophthalmus (the One-eyed) forced him to flee, but he returned with support from Ptolemy. He later added Persia and Media to his territory and defeated both Antigonus and Lysimachus. He was succeeded by his son Antiochus I.
GY95974. Silver tetradrachm, cf. Houghton-Lorber I 177; Newell ESM 314; BMC Seleucid p. 3, 33 - 34; HGC 9 18c (R1-R2), aVF, high relief head of Zeus, old cabinet toning, flow lines, porosity, light marks, minor edge flaw on reverse, weight 16.251 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 180o, Susa (Shush, Iran) mint, c. 295 - 280 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Zeus right; reverse Athena driving biga of horned elephants, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on left, ΣEΛEYKOY in exergue, spearhead (control) above right, A(or E or M over Ω?, obscure, control) lower right before elephants; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $1600.00 (€1312.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, 113 - 95 B.C

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IX| |Cyzicenus,| |113| |-| |95| |B.C||tetradrachm|
After Antiochus IX's father died, his uncle Demetrius II Nicator took the throne. For his safety, his mother, Cleopatra Thea, sent him to Cyzicus (leading to his nickname). He returned to Syria in 116 B.C. to claim the throne from his half-brother Antiochus VIII Grypus, with whom he eventually divided Syria. He was killed in battle by the son of Grypus, Seleucus VI Epiphanes.
GY95956. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2384; Houghton CSE 725; Babelon Rois 1467; BMC Seleucid p. 92, 6; HGC 9 1288k (R2), gVF, well centered, dark old cabinet toning, old scratches, light deposits, weight 15.977 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 2nd reign, 113 - 112 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochos right; reverse Athena standing left, Nike in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, spear behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two lines downward on right, ΦIΛO−ΠATOPOΣ downward on left, ΣI∆Ω/IEP / AΣY in 3 lines over outer left, Σ (year 200) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $700.00 (€574.00)
 


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Nicomedia, Bithynia

|Bithynia|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Nicomedia,| |Bithynia||AE| |26|
Nicomedia was the Roman metropolis of Bithynia. Diocletian made it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis in 324. Constantine resided mainly in Nicomedia as his interim capital for the next six years, until in 330 when he declared nearby Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) the new capital. Constantine died in his royal villa near Nicomedia in 337. Due to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.
RP92638. Bronze AE 26, RPC IV.1 T9895 (1 spec.), Rec Gen 144(2), SNG Cop 568, SNGvA -, Corsten -, aVF, well centered, earthen highlights, porous, weight 10.629 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 30o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, obverse A K M AV KO ANTΩNI, laureate head right; reverse MHT NEΩ NEIKOMH∆, Athena standing left, wearing crested helmet, small galley in extended right hand, grounded vertical spear and round shield in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection, this is the second known and finest know specimen of the type; extremely rare; $500.00 (€410.00)
 


Persian Empire, Samaria, c. 375 - 333 B.C.

|Judaea| |&| |Palestine|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Samaria,| |c.| |375| |-| |333| |B.C.||obol|
Meshorer-Qedar lists Athena on the obverse, but on the three specimens known to FORVM it is clear that Athena is on the reverse. The types copy contemporary Cypriot stater types from Kition (obverse) and Lapethus (reverse).
GS95808. Silver obol, Meshorer-Qedar 102, cf. Sofaer Collection 63 (hemiobol), HGC 10 -, VF, well centered, toned, struck with worn dies (as are all specimens of this type known to FORVM), weight 0.65 g, maximum diameter 8 mm, die axis 10o, Samaria (10 km NW of Nablus, West Bank) mint, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse lion right atop and attacking a stag fallen right, (Aramaic 'šn', abbreviating Samarian) above; reverse head of Athena facing, wearing crested Attic helmet; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 11 (22 Feb 2020), lot 1128; ex Canaan Collection; only three sale of this type recorded on Coin Archives for the last two decades (and one of the three is this coin); very rare; $450.00 (€369.00)
 


Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D.

|Geta|, |Geta,| |209| |-| |c.| |26| |December| |211| |A.D.||denarius|
Minerva, equated with the Greek Athena, was the Roman virgin warrior goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic, and the inventor of music. She was worshiped on the Capitoline Hill as one of the Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Juno.
RS97463. Silver denarius, RIC IV 34b; RSC III 104a; BMCRE V p. 244, 446; Hunter III 20; SRCV II 7186, Choice gVF, superb portrait, well centered and struck, toned, edge ragged with splits and cracks, weight 3.550 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 205 - 208 A.D.; obverse P SEPTIMIVS GETA CAES, older boy's bare-headed and draped bust right, from behind; reverse PONTIF COS (priest, consul), Minerva standing left, helmeted, resting right hand on grounded shield, spear vertical behind in left hand; ex Savoca Coins auction blue 89 (07 Nov 2020), lot 1289; $175.00 (€143.50)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 307 - 300 B.C.

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |307| |-| |300| |B.C.||AE| |15|NEW
The designs of the early Athenian bronzes were apparently copied from the fractions that they replaced. This coin has a similar design to the silver tetrobol. Later bronzes had much lower value, in relation to their size.
GB93816. Bronze AE 15, Kroll 50; Svoronos pl. 22, 85 - 88; SNG Cop 94: HGC 4 1719 (S), VF, tight flan, obverse a little off center, porosity, weight 3.838 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, c. 307 - 300 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena right, crested Corinthian helmet ornamented with a snake; reverse owl standing left, head turned facing, wings closed, A-ΘH divided across fields from right to left (retrograde, as usual for the type), all within olive wreath; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very scarce; $160.00 (€131.20)
 


Apameia, Phrygia, c. 88 - 40 B.C.

|Apameia|, |Apameia,| |Phrygia,| |c.| |88| |-| |40| |B.C.||AE| |25|NEW
Rome received Apameia with the Pergamene Kingdom in 133 B.C., but sold it to Mithridates V of Pontus, who held it till 120 BC. After the Mithridatic Wars it became a great center for trade, largely carried on by resident Italians and Jews. By order of Flaccus, nearly 45 kilograms of gold, intended by Jews for the Temple in Jerusalem was confiscated in Apamea in 62 B.C.
GB93764. Bronze AE 25, SNG Cop 167; SNG Munchen 116; BMC Phrygia p. 86, 97; HGC 7 670; SNGvA -, aVF, brassy high points with toned recesses, obverse slightly off center, light scratches, weight 8.633 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 45o, Phrygia, Apameia (Dinar, Turkey) mint, c. 88 - 40 B.C.; obverse bust of Athena right, wearing high-crested Corinthian helmet and aegis; reverse eagle alighting right from a basis ornamented with meander pattern, star above, basis flanked on each side by a star above a pileus, AΠAMEΩN above, ΦAINIΠΠOY / ∆PAKONTO ([magistrate] Phainippos, son of Drakon) in two lines below; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, 114 - 95 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IX| |Cyzicenus,| |114| |-| |95| |B.C.||AE| |15|
After Antiochus IX's father died, his uncle Demetrius II Nicator took the throne. For his safety, his mother, Cleopatra Thea, sent him to Cyzicus (leading to his nickname). He returned to Syria in 116 B.C. to claim the throne from his half-brother Antiochus VIII Grypus, with whom he eventually divided Syria. He was killed in battle by the son of Grypus, Seleucus VI Epiphanes.
GY93776. Bronze AE 15, Houghton Lorber 2378(1), Babelon Rois 1509, SNG Spaer 2721, BMC Seleucid 32 - 34, VF, well centered, dark patina, highlighting earthen deposits, light marks, light corrosion, weight 2.202 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain N. Syria, Phoenicia, or Coele Syria mint, 135 - 95 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena right; reverse prow right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY in two lines above, ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ below; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


Persian Empire, Philistia (Gaza or Samaria), c. 375 - 333 B.C., Imitative of Athens

|Judaea| |&| |Palestine|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Philistia| |(Gaza| |or| |Samaria),| |c.| |375| |-| |333| |B.C.,| |Imitative| |of| |Athens||obol|
A Persian Period imitation of Athenian types from the Holy Land. In the past these coins were all attributed to Gaza, however, recent hoard finds indicate a mint at Ashkelon probably also struck this type. It is likely that at least several small mints struck these imitative types.
JD97053. Silver obol, cf. Samaria Hoard pls. 45 - 50, SH269 ff.; Gitler-Tal 4.4.IX-X; SNG ANS 15 ff., aF, toned, squared flan, weight 0.738 g, maximum diameter 8.7 mm, die axis 90o, Gaza(?) mint, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with three olive leaves over visor and a spiral palmette on the bowl, hair in parallel bands, eye in profile; reverse owl standing right, wings closed, head facing, olive spray with one olive between two leaves and a crescent behind, AΘE downward on right, all in incuse square, no Aramaic inscription; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


Kingdom of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C.

|Kingdom| |of| |Chalkis|, |Kingdom| |of| |Chalkis,| |Coele| |Syria,| |Ptolemaios,| |85| |-| |40| |B.C.||AE| |20|
Ptolemaios son of Mennaios (also known as Ptolemy I), an Ituraean Arab dynast, established the Kingdom of Chalkis, c. 85 B.C., during the collapse of the Seleukid Empire. The kingdom, with its capitol at Chalcis sub Libano at the foot of Antilibanus, included Heliopolis, the valley of the Marsyas, and the mountainous region of Ituraea. In 64 B.C., he bribed Pompey the Great to forgo annexing his kingdom into the new Roman province of Syria and to allow him to continue ruling his territory as Tetrarch. Ptolemaios was succeeded by his son Lysanias, who was put to death by Marc Antony for supporting Mattathias Antigonus over Herod the Great. Antony gave the tiny kingdom of Chalkis to Cleopatra as a gift.
GB88239. Bronze AE 20, Herman 9.a (same countermark), Lindgren III 1232 (same countermark), HGC 9 1445 (R1), SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, BMC Galatia -, aF, well centered, bumps and marks, corrosion, rough, weight 4.162 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis ad Libanon mint, 85 - 40 B.C.; obverse bust of Athena right, draped, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; countermark: male head right in round punch; reverse Dioskouroi standing facing each other, each holding a spear; monograms around; ex Forum (2000), ex Phil DeVicchi Collection; rare; $90.00 (€73.80)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

de Callata˙, F. "Le monnayage d'argent au type d'Athéna Parthénos émis au nom des Ainianes" in Obolos 7.
Houghton, A. "The Seleucid Mint of Mallus And the Cult Figure of Athena Magarsia" in Studies Mildenberg.
Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Flügelgestalten der Athena und Nike auf Münzen" in NZ III (1871)., pp. 1 - 50.

Catalog current as of Sunday, June 20, 2021.
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