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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Animals| ▸ |Bull or Cow||View Options:  |  |  | 

Cattle on Ancient Coins
Sybaris, Lucania, Italy, c. 550 - 510 B.C.

|Italy|, |Sybaris,| |Lucania,| |Italy,| |c.| |550| |-| |510| |B.C.||nomos|
The origin of this unusual design is difficult to pinpoint (Rutter 1997). It served no practical purpose in facilitating the stacking of coins, since even with matching images in relief and negative, irregularities would have hindered this method of storage. It has been suggested that Pythagoras, who lived in all three of the cities that pioneered incuse coins and died in Metapontum itself, introduced the technique in an attempt to realize in concrete form a confrontation of opposites that was characteristic of the Pythagorean system of thought. Despite the poetic appeal of this suggestion, it seems highly unlikely, considering that the incuse technique appears to have been adopted about twenty years before Pythagoras made it to southern Italy.
SH98006. Silver nomos, Dewing 405, SNG ANS 817, HN Italy 1729, HGC I 1231 (S), F, porous, scratches, weight 6.930 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Sybaris mint, c. 550 - 510 B.C.; obverse bull standing left, head turned back right, YM above, dotted border between two circles; reverse incuse of obverse; from the CEB Collection, ex Frank L. Kovacs; scarce; $800.00 (€656.00)
 


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

|Cappadocia|, |Caracalla,| |28| |January| |198| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Tyana,| |Cappadocia||AE| |29|
Under Caracalla the city became Antoniana colonia Tyana. After having sided with Queen Zenobia of Palmyra it was captured by Aurelian in 272, who would not allow his soldiers to sack it, allegedly because Apollo appeared to him, pleading for its safety. The ruins of Tyana are at modern Kemerhisar, three miles south of Nigde. There are remains of a Roman aqueduct and sepulchral grottoes.
RP97247. Bronze AE 29, SNGvA 8732, SNG Cop -, BMC Galatia -, Ganschow -, F, mild smoothing, small edge crack, weight 17.290 g, maximum diameter 29.3 mm, die axis 0o, Tyana (Kemerhisar, Turkey) mint, 212 - 213 A.D.; obverse A KAI M AYP ANTΩNINOC, laureate head right; reverse ANT KOΛΩNIAC, emperor, radiate and togate, globe in extended right hand, plow in left hand, plowing left, marking the pomerium (sacred boundary) to found the new colony, TVANΩN / ET Iς (year 16) in in two lines in the exergue; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 87 (1 Mar 2020), lot 345; this is the first example of this type handled by FORVM; only five sales of this type listed on Coin Archives in the last two decades, including the Naumann auction for this coin; very rare; $140.00 (€114.80)
 


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Parion, Mysia(?)

|Parium|, |Domitian,| |13| |September| |81| |-| |18| |September| |96| |A.D.,| |Parion,| |Mysia(?)||AE| |15|
The attribution of this very rare type to Parium is uncertain. See RPC II p. 137.

The ceremonial founding of a new Roman colony included plowing a furrow, the pomerium, a sacred boundary, around the site of the new city.
RP94451. Bronze AE 15, RPC II Online 889 (12 spec.), SNGvA 6202, F, dark brown patina, light corrosion, tight flan, weight 3.575 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Parion, Mysia(?) mint, 13 Sep 81 - 18 Sep 96 A.D.; obverse DO-MIT AVG (clockwise from the upper right), laureate head left; reverse priest plowing right with two oxen, marking the pomerium (sacred boundary marked for the foundation of a new Roman colony), GERM in exergue; zero sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; very rare; $130.00 (€106.60)
 


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Agathokles,| |317| |-| |289| |B.C.||AE| |17|
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.
GI96864. Bronze AE 17, Calciati II p. 225, 99 R41; cf. BMC Sicily p. 195, 370 (controls); SNG ANS 603 (controls); HGC 2 1489, SNG Cop -, aVF, beautiful style, nice green patina, some corrosion/pitting, earthen deposits, light marks, edge crack, weight 3.403 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 317 - 310 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Kore left, wreathed with grain, wreath (control symbol) behind neck; reverse bull butting left, dolphin above, monogram in wreath (control) in exergue; $130.00 (€106.60)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Alexandria Troas, Troas

|Troas|, |Valerian| |I,| |October| |253| |-| |c.| |June| |260| |A.D.,| |Alexandria| |Troas,| |Troas||AE| |21|
Alexandria Troas (modern Eski Stambul) is on the Aegean Sea near the northern tip of the west coast of Anatolia, a little south of Tenedos (modern Bozcaada). The city was founded by Antigonus around 310 B.C. with the name Antigoneia and was populated with the inhabitants of Cebren, Colone, Hamaxitus, Neandria, and Scepsis. About 301 B.C., Lysimachus improved the city and re-named it Alexandreia. Among the few structure ruins remaining today are a bath, an odeon, a theater and gymnasium complex and a stadium. The circuit of the old walls can still be traced.
RP97240. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 190; Bellinger Troy A439; SNG Canakkale 410 var. (obv. leg); SNGvA 7572 var. (legends); BMC Troas p. 30, 164 var. (legends, bust), gVF, bare toned bronze, flow lines, a little off center, scattered porosity, weight 4.139 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP LIC VALERIA, laureate, draped, and bearded bust right, seen from behind; reverse CO AVG TRO, eagle flying right, bull forepart right in its talons; $120.00 (€98.40)
 


Caria (Uncertain City), c. 460 - 440 B.C.

|Other| |Caria|, |Caria| |(Uncertain| |City),| |c.| |460| |-| |440| |B.C.||hemiobol|
Troxell notes that hoard provinces indicate this type was struck in Caria, however, the issuing city remains unknown. SNG Kayhan identifies the denomination as a Milesian standard tetartemorion. SNG Keckman lists it as a Persic hemiobol.
GS92103. Silver hemiobol, Troxell Carians 11C, SNG Keckman 913 ff.; cf. SNG Kayhan 968 ff. (no star), SNG Tüb 3329 (same), BMC Caria -, F/VF, obverse off center, light marks, light encrustations, weight 0.265 g, maximum diameter 6.9 mm, die axis 0o, Carian mint, c. 460 - 440 B.C.; obverse foreparts of two bulls confronted; reverse forepart of bull left, star below; ex Civitas Galleries; scarce; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 281 B.C., Sardes, Lydia

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Seleukos| |I| |Nikator,| |312| |-| |281| |B.C.,| |Sardes,| |Lydia||AE| |14|
The Indian humped bull type, along with his well-known anchor symbol, was used only by Nikator. The Indian humped bull on the reverse recalls when Nikator, with only his bare-hands, stopped a similar bull that had broken free while Alexander the Great was sacrificing it at the altar. Seleucus captured Sardes from Lysimachus in 282 B.C. This type has been attributed to Sardes based on find locations.
GY97882. Bronze AE 14, Houghton-Lorber I 6(2)b, Newell WSM 1628, HGC 9 107a (S), SNG Spaer 69 var. (monogram behind bull), SNG Cop 45 var. (same), aVF, green patina, slight porosity, tight flan, weight 2.293 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 270o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, 282 - 281 B.C.; obverse winged head of Medusa right; reverse humped bull butting right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) above, ΣEΛEYKOY in exergue, monogram between hind legs; from a Norwegian collection; scarce; $80.00 (€65.60)
 







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REFERENCES|

Molinari, N.J. & N. Sisci. Potamikon: Sinews of Acheloios. A Comprehensive Catalog of the Bronze Coinage of the Man-Faced Bull, With Essays on Origin and Identity. (Oxford, 2016).

Catalog current as of Friday, October 22, 2021.
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