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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Animals| ▸ |Dolphin||View Options:  |  |  |   

Dolphins on Ancient Coins

Sinope, Paphlagonia, c. 330 - 300 B.C.

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Long used as a Hittite port, Sinope was re-founded as a Greek colony by Miletus in the 7th century B.C. Sinope flourished as the Black Sea port of a caravan route that led from the upper Euphrates valley. The city escaped Persian domination until the early 4th century B.C. In 183 B.C. it was captured by Pharnaces I and became the capital of the kingdom of Pontus. Lucullus conquered Sinope for Rome in 70 B.C., and Julius Caesar established a Roman colony there, Colonia Julia Felix, in 47 B.C. It remained with the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantines). It was a part of the Empire of Trebizond from the sacking of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204 until the capture of the city by the Seljuk Turks of Rm in 1214.
SH91741. Silver drachm, SNG BM 1481; SNG Stancomb 770; SNG Pontus p. 97, 13 ff. var. (magistrate); SNG Cop 284 f. var. (same); HGC 7 399 (S), VF, centered on a tight flan, porous, dark areas, weight 4.748 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 180o, Sinope (Sinop, Turkey) mint, c. 330 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of nymph left, hair in sakkos, wearing triple pendant earring and necklace; reverse eagle left with dolphin left in talons, AΓPEΩΣ (magistrate) below wing, ΣINΩ below dolphin; scarce; $470.00 (413.60)


Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysios I, c. 405 - 367 B.C.

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Dionysius I was tyrant of Syracuse. He conquered several cities in Sicily and southern Italy, opposed Carthage's influence in Sicily and made Syracuse the most powerful of the Western Greek colonies. He was regarded by the ancients as an example of the worst kind of despot - cruel, suspicious and vindictive.
GS86597. Silver hemilitron, SNG ANS 301; SNG Cop 669; SNG Lloyd 1379; BMC Sicily p. 182, 237; Boehringer Mnzprgungen pl. II, 19; HGC 2 1392 (R2) , VF, dark toning, light marks and corrosion, tiny edge cracks, weight 0.434 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 405 - 395 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa left, wearing drop earring, hair bound in ampyx and sphendone, no control symbol or signature; reverse four-spoked wheel, SY-PA in upper quarters, two dolphins heads downward nose to nose in lower quarters; very rare; $270.00 (237.60)


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.

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Apollo's most famous attribute is the tripod, the symbol of his prophetic powers. It was in the guise of a dolphin that Apollo brought priests from Crete to Delphi, explaining Apollo's cult title "Delphinios" and the name of the town. He dedicated a bronze tripod to the sanctuary and bestowed divine powers on one of the priestesses, and she became known as the "Pythia." It was she who inhaled the hallucinating vapors from the fissure in the temple floor, while she sat on a tripod chewing laurel leaves. After she mumbled her answer, a male priest would translate it for the supplicant. Depictions of Pythia's seat vary greatly because the seats were given away as prizes and replaced. Apparently the designs changed.
RS91803. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 102; RSC II 594; BMCRE II 30; BnF III 33, Hunter I 9, Choice aVF, well centered, toned, flow lines, scratches, black encrustations, weight 3.301 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 82 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate head right; reverse TR POT COS VIII P P, dolphin right, atop tripod lebes, ornamented with fillets and lion paw feet; ex Savoca Numismatik auction 31 (10 March 2019), lot 440; $140.00 (123.20)


Arse-Saguntum, Hispania Citerior, c. 170 - 130 B.C.

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Saguntum was built by Edetani Iberians in 5th century B.C. In 218 B.C., after enduring eight months of siege, the Saguntines' last defenses were finally overrun. Hannibal offered to spare the population if they were "willing to depart from Saguntum, unarmed, each with two garments." When they declined the offer and began to sabotage the town's wealth and possessions, every adult was put to death. Seven years later, the town was taken by Rome and made a Roman municipium. Saguntum grew to a city of about 50,000 inhabitants, with a great circus, a theater seating 8,000 and an amphitheater.
RP89710. Bronze quadrans, Villaronga-Benages 1974, Alvarez-Burgos 2054, Villaronga CNH 33; SNG BM Spain 1112, VF, centers weakly struck, slightly off center, tight flan, weight 2.516 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, die axis 210o, Saguntum (Sagunto, Valencia, Spain) mint, c. 170 - 130 B.C.; obverse scallop shell; reverse dolphin right, crescent with horns upward above, Iberian A and three pellets below; $80.00 (70.40)


Arse-Saguntum, Hispania Citerior, c. 170 - 130 B.C.

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Saguntum was built by Edetani Iberians in 5th century B.C. In 218 B.C., after enduring eight months of siege, the Saguntines' last defenses were finally overrun. Hannibal offered to spare the population if they were "willing to depart from Saguntum, unarmed, each with two garments." When they declined the offer and began to sabotage the town's wealth and possessions, every adult was put to death. Seven years later, the town was taken by Rome and made a Roman municipium. Saguntum grew to a city of about 50,000 inhabitants, with a great circus, a theater seating 8,000 and an amphitheater.
RP89711. Bronze quadrans, Villaronga-Benages 1974, Alvarez-Burgos 2054, Villaronga CNH 33; SNG BM Spain 1112, aVF, green patina, slightly rough, scratches, weight 2.939 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 180o, Saguntum (Sagunto, Valencia, Spain) mint, c. 170 - 130 B.C.; obverse scallop shell; reverse dolphin right, crescent with horns upward above, Iberian A and three pellets below; $80.00 (70.40)


Arse-Saguntum, Hispania Citerior, c. 170 - 130 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Saguntum was built by Edetani Iberians in 5th century B.C. In 218 B.C., after enduring eight months of siege, the Saguntines' last defenses were finally overrun. Hannibal offered to spare the population if they were "willing to depart from Saguntum, unarmed, each with two garments." When they declined the offer and began to sabotage the town's wealth and possessions, every adult was put to death. Seven years later, the town was taken by Rome and made a Roman municipium. Saguntum grew to a city of about 50,000 inhabitants, with a great circus, a theater seating 8,000 and an amphitheater.
RP89712. Bronze quadrans, Villaronga-Benages 1974, Alvarez-Burgos 2054, Villaronga CNH 33; SNG BM Spain 1112, VF, green patina, reverse center weak, light marks, light deposits, weight 2.267 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 0o, Saguntum (Sagunto, Valencia, Spain) mint, c. 170 - 130 B.C.; obverse scallop shell; reverse dolphin right, crescent with horns upward above, Iberian A and three pellets below; $80.00 (70.40)


Arse-Saguntum, Hispania Citerior, c. 170 - 130 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Saguntum was built by Edetani Iberians in 5th century B.C. In 218 B.C., after enduring eight months of siege, the Saguntines' last defenses were finally overrun. Hannibal offered to spare the population if they were "willing to depart from Saguntum, unarmed, each with two garments." When they declined the offer and began to sabotage the town's wealth and possessions, every adult was put to death. Seven years later, the town was taken by Rome and made a Roman municipium. Saguntum grew to a city of about 50,000 inhabitants, with a great circus, a theater seating 8,000 and an amphitheater.
RP89402. Bronze sextans, Villaronga-Benages 1979, Alvarez-Burgos 2064, Villaronga CNH 35; SNG BM Spain 1113 ff., VF, dark green patina, earthen deposits, reverse slightly off center, weight 1.774 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, die axis 180o, Saguntum (Sagunto, Valencia, Spain) mint, c. 170 - 130 B.C.; obverse scallop shell; reverse dolphin right, crescent with horns upward above, Iberian A and star below; $80.00 (70.40)


Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

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Following Heron's death, democracy was restored in 466 B.C. Similar to at Athens, the polis was governed by a council and popular assembly with an executive consisting of elected generals or strategoi. Syracuse fought against Athens 427 - 424 B.C. and again 415 - 413 B.C.; ultimately Syracuse was victorious. With further reforms by Diocles, the democratic nature of Syracuse's political structure was further strengthened.
GI94062. Bronze hemilitra, Calciati II p. 56, 24; SNG ANS 415 ff.; SNG Cop 697 ff.; HGC 2 1480 (S), aVF, dark brown patina, earthen deposits on beveled obverse edge, minor flan flaws (pits), weight 3.228 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 225o, Syracuse mint, c. 415 - 405 B.C.; obverse head of nymph left, hoop earring, wearing ampyx, with hair bound in sphendone, laurel branch with two leaves behind; reverse dolphin swimming right above ΣYPA, inverted scallop shell below; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; $80.00 (70.40)


Megara, Megaris, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 370 - 275 B.C.

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Megara is in west Attica, the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was a trade port, its people using their ships and wealth as a way to gain leverage on armies of neighboring poleis. Megara specialized in exportation of wool and other animal products including livestock such as horses. It possessed two harbors, Pegae, to the west on the Corinthian Gulf and Nisaea, to the east on the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. Megara had 23,456 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
GB85880. Bronze dichalkon, cf. BCD Peloponnesos 9.2 ff. (various symbols below); BMC Attica p. 120, 26 (dolphin below); HGC 4 1797; SNG Cop -, VF, weight 2.829 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Megara mint, c. 370 - 275 B.C.; obverse prow of galley left, uncertain symbol (cuttlefish, prawn, dolphin, or club?) below; reverse two dolphins swimming clockwise around MEΓ, all within dotted border; ex J. Cohen Collection; $65.00 (57.20)


Castulo, Hispania Ulterior, c. 165 - 80 B.C.

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After a local princess named Himilce married Hannibal, Castulo allied with Carthage. In 213 B.C., Castulo was the site of Hasdrubal Barca's crushing victory over the Roman army with a force of roughly 40,000 Carthaginian troops plus local Iberian mercenaries. Soon after the Romans made a pact with the residents and the city became a foederati (ally) of Rome.
GB88984. Bronze as, Villaronga-Benages 2133; Villaronga p. 334, 30; SNG BM Spain 1311; Burgos 699; SNG Cop -, VF, attractive style, green patina, strike a little weak, ragged irregularly shaped flan, a few flan flaws (pits), weight 13.380 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 0o, Castulo (near Linares, Spain) mint, c. 165 - 80 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, dolphin before swimming upward; reverse helmeted sphinx walking right, left foreleg raised, star before, KASTILO in Iberic script below exergue line; ex Sayles & Lavender; $65.00 (57.20)




  



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