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

Dolphins on Ancient Coins
Roman Republic, Anonymous, c. 280 B.C.

|before| |211| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Anonymous,| |c.| |280| |B.C.||triens|
The triens (plural trientes) was an Ancient Roman bronze coin produced during the Roman Republic valued at one-third of an as. HUGE 50.5 mm and 83.3 gram bronze!
SH110921. Aes grave (cast) triens, Crawford 14/3 var. (pellets below dolphin); Thurlow-Vecchi 3a var. (same); Haeberlin pl. 39, 15 var. (same); HN Italy 270 var. (same); Sydenham 10, VF, dark green patina, earthen deposits, a few flan flaws, weight 83.342 g, maximum diameter 50.5 mm, die axis 270o, Rome mint, heavy series, c. 280 B.C.; obverse fulmen (thunderbolt), four pellets (mark of value) divided across field; reverse dolphin swimming right, four pellets (mark of value) above; ex CNG auction 90 (23 May 2012), lot 1278; ex L.C. Aes Grave Collection; this coin is the only specimen on Coin Archives and the only specimen known to FORVM with the pellets above the dolphin, HUGE 50.5 mm and 83.3 gram bronze!; extremely rare variant; $2250.00 SALE PRICE $2025.00


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||sestertius|
"At the mouth of the Tiber River, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Ostia means mouth in Latin. This coin was issued to commemorate the completion of an artificial harbor at Ostia, begun under Claudius in 42 A.D. and completed under Nero in 64 A.D.

The earliest known post-diaspora house-synagogue was at Ostia. In 387, St. Augustine stayed in Ostia with his mother, who died there.

Ostia began to decline in the Severan period. By the Constantine Dynasty, Portus was the main port for Rome. Earthquake damage at Ostia was left uncleared. At the end of the fifth century the aqueduct stopped functioning. In 537 with the area under attack from the Goths, the remaining inhabitants retreated to the theater, which they turned into a little fortress. Early in the ninth century Ostia was captured by the Saracens and abandoned.

Ostian marble was reused in the cathedrals of Pisa, Florence, Amalfi and Orvieto. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was entirely built of material from Ostia. Despite all this, Ostia today is known for its well preserved ruins and magnificent frescos.
SH32118. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 440, BMCRE I 323, Mac Dowall WCN 420, Cohen I 251, BnF II 75, Hunter I -, SRCV I -, Choice VF, pourous surfaces, weight 24.599 g, maximum diameter 35.4 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon) mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head right, globe at point of bust; reverse bird's eye view of the Port of Ostia, eight ships in the harbor, statue of Neptune on lighthouse at top, river-god Tiber reclining holding rudder and dolphin below, all flanked by colonnade ending in temple on left and boat slips on right, S - C above, PORT AVG below; nice portrait, ex Stack's Coin Galleries; rare and historic; SOLD


Phokaia, Ionia, c. 625 - 522 B.C.

|Archaic| |Electrum|, |Phokaia,| |Ionia,| |c.| |625| |-| |522| |B.C.||Hekte| |(1/6| |Stater)|
Phocaea, or Phokaia, was an ancient Ionian Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia. Greek colonists from Phocaea founded the colony of Massalia (modern day Marseille, in France) in 600 B.C., Emporion (modern day Empries, in Catalonia, Spain) in 575 B.C. and Elea (modern day Velia, in Campania, Italy) in 540 B.C.
SH86204. Electrum Hekte (1/6 Stater), Triton XVI, lot 464; Bodenstedt - (cf. Em. 1), aEF, well centered and struck, small edge cracks, weight 2.575 g, maximum diameter 10.3 mm, die axis 0o, Phokaia (Foca, Turkey) mint, c. 625/0 - 522 B.C.; obverse forepart of seal right, dolphin swimming downward behind, annulet or ring below; reverse irregular incuse square punch; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 40, lot 270; extremely rare; SOLD


Syracuse, Sicily, Deinomenid Tyranny, Time of Hieron, c. 478 - 467 B.C.

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Deinomenid| |Tyranny,| |Time| |of| |Hieron,| |c.| |478| |-| |467| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
From the height of Syracuse preeminence amongst the Sicilian Greeks, shortly after the great victory over the Carthaginian invaders at Himera in 480 B.C.
SH86274. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer 338 (V166/R236); Randazzo 507 - 509 (same dies); SNG ANS -, gVF, fantastic style, toned, centered on a tight flan, small areas struck a little flat, marks, pre-strike flan casting sprues remaining (as usual for the type), weight 16.971 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 478 - 467 B.C.; obverse slow quadriga driven right by male charioteer, kentron in right hand, reins in left hand, Nike above flying right crowning horses; reverse ΣVRA-KOS-I-ON (Latin R upside down, N reversed), Artemis-Arethusa right, archaic eye, hair slightly waved in front turned up in a krobylos under a diadem of beads, wearing earring and necklace, surrounded by four dolphins swimming clockwise; ex Roma Numismatics, auction 6 (29 Sep 2013), lot 441; ex Comery Collection; SOLD


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |II| |Philadelphos,| |285| |-| |246| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Use of the title "King" suggests a date before 261 B.C. The style of the portrait is that of mid-reign of Ptolemy II, and unlike and finer than those of the Phoenician mints. The portrait style and compact lettering are similar to those on the rare ΘΕ mintmark coins, probably struck at Thera, an Aegean base for the Ptolemaic Navy. A dolphin mintmark was used on Alexander tetradrachms from an unknown Greek or Macedonian mint. Perhaps this coin was struck in the same uncertain Greek city.
SH66538. Silver tetradrachm, unpublished(?), not in references held by Forum and no examples found online, VF, reverse graffiti, weight 14.083 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Greek(?) mint, c. 265 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right with aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing right on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, dolphin left before; ex Pegasi, unpublished, puzzling and possibly unique; SOLD


Syracuse, Sicily, c. 405 B.C., Signed by Kimon

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |c.| |405| |B.C.,| |Signed| |by| |Kimon||hemilitron|
The finest style by one of the greatest masters of numismatic art. The famous master-engravers who signed their work in gold and silver also signed some bronze coins. This is the first example with a clear KIM signature that we have seen.
SH17090. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II 45, 19 fr 1; HGC 2 1479; SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -; SNG Munchen -; BMC Sicily -, EF, attractive green patina, weight 3.666 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 225o, Syracuse mint, c. 415 - 405 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa left, hair bound with ampyx and sphendone, signature KIM in lower right field; reverse wheel of four spokes, ΣY-PA in upper quarters divided by spoke, dolphin head down and inward in each of the lower quarters; SOLD


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Tyrant| |Agathokles,| |317| |-| |289| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
With an army of mercenaries, through deceit, and after banishing or murdering some 10,000 citizens, Agathocles made himself master of Syracuse and later most of Sicily. Machiavelli wrote of him, "It cannot be called prowess to kill fellow-citizens, to betray friends, to be treacherous, pitiless, and irreligious" and cited him as an example of "those who by their crimes come to be princes." According to the historian Justin, very early in life Agathocles parlayed his remarkable beauty into a career as a prostitute, first for men, and later, after puberty, for women, and then made a living by robbery before becoming a soldier and marrying a rich widow.
SH79280. Silver tetradrachm, Ierardi 40 (O7/R23), SNG ANS 639 (same dies), SNG Delepierre 701, SNG Lloyd 1479, Boston MFA 460, HGC 2 1348 (S), SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, gVF, superb classical style, excellent centering on a tight flan, toned, flan flaw on obverse, weight 16.954 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 317 - 310/305 B.C.; obverse head of Persephone (or Arethusa) left, crowned with grain, wearing triple-drop earrings and a pearl necklace, surrounded by three dolphins, NI below; reverse quadriga galloping left, young charioteer wearing long chiton, kentron in right hand, reins in left hand, triskeles above; ΣYPAKOΣIΩN over AI monogram in exergue; ex Helios Numismatik, auction 6 (9 March 2011), lot 345; scarce; SOLD


Kelenderis, Cilicia, c. 425 - 350 B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Kelenderis,| |Cilicia,| |c.| |425| |-| |350| |B.C.||stater|
Kelenderis was a port town, one of the oldest in Cilicia, described in Hellenistic and Roman sources as a small, but strong castle. The rider on the obverse may be Castor, who was not only a horse trainer but also the protector of sailors, an appropriate type for a port town.
SH70330. Silver stater, SNG Levante 23 (same dies); SNG Cop 83 (same dies); SNGvA 5631 (same dies); BMC Lycaonia p. 54, 20 ff. var. (no dolphin); SNG BnF 66 var. (same), VF, superb style, well centered, light toning, weight 10.685 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 270o, Kelenderis (Aydincik, Turkey) mint, c. 425 - 350 B.C.; obverse nude horseman facing sidesaddle on horse rearing right, whip in right; reverse KΕΛΕN, goat kneeling right, looking back, dolphin right in exergue; SOLD


Taras, Calabria, Italy, c. 302 - 281 B.C.

|Italy|, |Taras,| |Calabria,| |Italy,| |c.| |302| |-| |281| |B.C.||nomos|
Taras, the only Spartan colony, was founded in 706 B.C. The founders were Partheniae ("sons of virgins"), sons of unmarried Spartan women and Perioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta). These out-of-wedlock unions were permitted to increase the prospective number of soldiers (only the citizens could be soldiers) during the bloody Messenian wars. Later, however, when they were no longer needed, their citizenship was retroactively nul|lified and the sons were obliged to leave Greece forever. Their leader, Phalanthus, consulted the oracle at Delphi and was told to make the harbor of Taranto their home. They named the city Taras after the son of Poseidon, and of a local nymph, Satyrion. The reverse depicts Taras being saved from a shipwreck by a dolphin sent to him by Poseidon. This symbol of the ancient Greek city is still the symbol of modern Taranto today.
SH75332. Silver nomos, Vlasto 696 corr. (ΔA not WA), SNG ANS 1071 corr. (same), HN Italy 967, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, gVF/VF, superb style, excellent centering, attractive toning, light corrosion, weight 7.302 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, Taras (Taranto, Italy) mint, c. 302 - 281 B.C.; obverse warrior on horseback right, thrusting spear downward with right hand, holding two spears and shield in his left hand, ΣI upper left, ΔAKIMOΣ below right; reverse Phalanthos (or Taras) on dolphin left, small dolphin in his extended right hand, cradling cornucopia in left arm, TAPAΣ downward behind, ΔA below right; rare; SOLD


Taras, Calabria, Italy, c. 280 - 272 B.C.

|Italy|, |Taras,| |Calabria,| |Italy,| |c.| |280| |-| |272| |B.C.||nomos|
Taras, the only Spartan colony, was founded in 706 B.C. The founders were Partheniae ("sons of virgins"), sons of unmarried Spartan women and Perioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta). These out-of-wedlock unions were permitted to increase the prospective number of soldiers (only the citizens could be soldiers) during the bloody Messenian wars. Later, however, when they were no longer needed, their citizenship was retroactively nullified and the sons were obliged to leave Greece forever. Their leader, Phalanthos, consulted the oracle at Delphi and was told to make the harbor of Taranto their home. They named the city Taras after the son of Poseidon, and of a local nymph, Satyrion. The reverse depicts Taras being saved from a shipwreck by a dolphin sent to him by Poseidon. This symbol of the ancient Greek city is still the symbol of modern Taranto today.
GS85114. Silver nomos, Vlasto 739 ff., HN Italy 1006, SNG ANS 1106 ff., SNG BnF 1904 ff., SNG Munchen 669 ff., SNG Lloyd 206, Dewing 211, EF, lovely old cabinet toning with hints of iridescence, well centered, beautiful depiction of Phalanthos, some obverse die wear, weight 6.537 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 45o, Taras (Taranto, Italy) mint, magistrates Zo, Neyme, & Poly, c. 280-272 B.C.; obverse nude youth on horseback right crowning horse with wreath; magistrates' names ZΩ above and NEY/MH in two lines below; reverse Taras (or Phalanthos) astride dolphin left, nude, legs crossed, helmet in extended right hand, stars flanking before and behind, magistrates name ΠOΛY above right, TAPAΣ below; ex Goldberg auction 96, lot 1498; SOLD







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