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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Animals ▸ PigView Options:  |  |  | 

Boars, Sows and Piglets on Ancient Coins

For an interesting article about pigs on coins, see, "This Little Piggy Went to Market: Boars, Hogs, Sows and Piglets on Ancient Coins" by Mike Markowitz in CoinWeek


Phaselis, Lycia, c. 530 - 520 B.C.

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Phaselis was founded in 690 BC by settlers from the island of Rhodes. In the same year, the great Rhodian seafarers also founded Gela, on the island of Sicily, thus extending their influence across the Greek world. The colony of Phaselis was the one purely Greek city in Lycia and differed in language, culture, and alphabet from the adjacent cities of the region. It should be noted that the coinage of Phaselis is among the earliest, if not the earliest, of all silver coinage struck in Asia Minor. Struck circa 530 B.C., this coin is roughly contemporary with the silver issues of King Kroisos of Lydia and represents the dawn of this medium of exchange in Asia Minor.
GS87793. Silver stater, Heipp-Tamer Series 3, Em. 1a, 25-27 (V-/R25 [unlisted obv. die]); Asyut 734; SNGvA 4390; Weber III 7291; SNG Cop -; SNG Delepierre -; BMC Lycia -, VF, tight flan cutting off nose of boar, bumps and marks, test cut, weight 10.967 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, Phaselis (near Tekirova, Turkey) mint, c. 530 - 520 B.C.; obverse Prow of galley right in the form of an abstract boar's head, with foreleg and large apotropaic eye, three round shields on gunwale; reverse incuse square punch, random wear pattern within; $670.00 (€589.60)
 


Cyprus, Early 5th Century B.C.

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The obverse die was used to strike three different issues, with different reverses. This type is from the third issue, when the ankh was engraved over the ram, and the obverse die was heavily worn. The published type has no reverse symbol. This variant with an ankh left on the reverse is apparently unpublished; we know of two other examples, one received by Forum together with this coin, the other Leu Numismatik, web auction 6 (9 Dec 2018), lot 355 (the Ankh not described). Two additional unpublished varieties known from auctions both have an anchor on the reverse left and, one with only an ankh reverse right, and another with samekh over an ankh on the reverse right.
GS87794. Silver stater, Apparently unpublished variant; cf. Zapiti-Michaelidou pl. VIII, 2; Asyut pl. XXXII, N; Troxell-Waggoner p. 35, 8-9; Tziambazis -; Traité -; BMC -, aVF/VF, struck with the worn obverse die (as are all coins from this issue), slightly off center, light bumps and marks, weight 10.662 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 270o, uncertain Cypriot mint, early 5th century B.C.; obverse ram walking left, ankh symbol is superimposed on and above the ram's side and back; reverse laurel branch with two leaves and three fruits; ankh symbol on left; all in dotted square within incuse square; extremely rare; $540.00 (€475.20)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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The legends are mostly off flan. Reverse legend possibilities include LEG XX V V, LEG XX AVG, LEG II PARTH, LEG V [...] S M AVG. The mintmark may be retrograde MC, which is known for Camulodunum (Colchester, England), but no boar standing right types are published for Camulodunum. Perhaps the mintmark is retrograde ML, but that too is unpublished. This was likely struck in an unofficial mint (an ancient counterfeit?). Carausius' legionary boar types are highly desirable, and all seem to be quite rare. We do not know of another specimen of this variety.
RA73285. Billon antoninianus, cf. RIC V-2 82 (R2), Cohen VII 148, Hunter IV 13, Webb Carausius 97 - 99, Askew 151, SRCV IV 13617, aF, green patina, earthen deposits, tight flan cutting off legends, a little rough, weight 3.769 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 45o, unofficial(?) mint, c. 287 A.D.; obverse [IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG?], radiate and draped bust right, early reign 'moustache' portrait; reverse L[EG...], boar standing right, large tusks, prominent ridge of spinal bristles, [reversed C?]M in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; very rare; $220.00 (€193.60)
 


Sicily, Abakainon, c. 410 - 396 B.C.

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Even today, Sicilian farmers allow their indigenous Sicilian Black Swine to forage for acorns in the oak forests of the Nebrodi Mountains near ancient Abakainon. Physically resembling and often mistaken for wild boar, they stand about 70 centimeters high and have a prominent ridge of spinal bristles running from its large head to about midway along its back. There are fewer than 2000 of these swine today. Their meat, especially Nebrodi ham, is highly prized as the pig's wild woodlands diet enhances the flavor.
GI86596. Silver litra, SNG München 4 (same rev. die); SNG Tübingen 552; SNG ANS 899; BMC Sicily p. 2, 8; Weber 1171; HGC 2 20 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG Lloyd -, gVF, toned, some bumps and scratches, some corrosion, weight 0.675 g, maximum diameter 11.7 mm, die axis 45o, Abakainon (Tripi, Sicily) mint, c. 410 - 396 B.C.; obverse head of water nymph facing slightly left; reverse sow and piglet walking right, piglet before her, below her head, double exergue line, BA above, A in exergue, within round incuse; rare; $180.00 (€158.40)
 


Laodicea ad Lycus, Phrygia, c. 1st Century B.C.

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The boar and the wolf are symbolic of the rivers Kapros and Lykos respectively.
GB88939. Bronze AE 15, BMC Phrygia p. 287, 52; Weber 7129; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, VF, dark patina, obverse a little off center, porous, weight 3.031 g, maximum diameter 14.6 mm, die axis 30o, Laodicea ad Lycus (near Denizli, Turkey) mint, c. 1st century B.C.; obverse wild bristle-backed boar (river Kapros) standing left, (control monogram) below belly; reverse wolf (river Lykos) standing right, ΛAO∆I/KEΩN in two lines above and in exergue; very rare; $180.00 (€158.40)
 


Lesbos, c. 500 - 450 B.C.

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A most unusual use of illusion on a coin. The two confronting boars' heads can also be viewed as the facing head of a panther.
GA88995. Billon 1/10 stater, SNGvA 7713; Traité I, p. 350, 566 & pl XIV, 13 (pellet on plate?); BMC Troas p. 151, 15 var.; SNG Cop 287 var.; Rosen 543 var. (all var. no pellet), VF, tight flan, porous, weight 1.115 g, maximum diameter 9.4 mm, Koinon of Lesbos mint, c. 500 - 450 B.C.; obverse confronting boar heads, creating the illusion of a facing head of a panther, pellet above; reverse tripartite incuse square punch; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


Athens, Attica, Greece, 307 - 300 B.C., Eleusinian Festival Coinage

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"The pig was sacred to Demeter, goddess of grain, and figures prominently on special coinage struck by Athens for use by participants in the Eleusinian Mysteries, a series of very ancient secret rituals held every Spring at Eleusis (now Elefsina, 18 km, or 11 miles, from Athens). Pigs were sacrificed to Demeter as part of the preparation for initiates...Each had carried to the river or lake a little pig, which was also purified by bathing, and on the next day this pig was sacrificed. The pig was offered because it was very pernicious to cornfields. On the Eleusinian coinage the pig, standing on a torch placed horizontally, appears as the sign and symbol of the Mysteries." -- "This Little Piggy Went to Market: Boars, Hogs, Sows and Piglets on Ancient Coins" by Mike Markowitz in CoinWeek
GB91909. Bronze AE 14, Kroll 51; SNG Cop 420; Svoronos Athens pl. 103, 17 ff.; HGC 4 1767 (S), F, glossy near black patina with highlighting earthen deposits, tight flan cutting off ethnic, weight 3.740 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 180o, Athens mint, 307 - 300 B.C.; obverse Triptolemos seated left in winged chariot drawn by two serpents, stalk of grain in his right hand; reverse piglet right standing on torch (mystic staff), EΛEYΣI below, all within wheat wreath; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


Arpi, Apulia, Italy, c. 325 - 275 B.C.

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Arpi was located 20 miles inland, 5 miles north of modern Foggia. Its territory extended to the sea, and Strabo says that from the extent of the city walls one could gather that it had once been one of the greatest cities of Italy. Legend attributed its foundation to Diomedes. The figure of a horse, which appears on its coins, shows the importance of horse-breeding in the district. As a protection against the Samnites, Arpi became an ally of Rome. In the war with Pyrrhus, the Arpi aided Rome with a contingent of 4000 infantrymen and 400 cavalrymen. Arpi remained faithful to Rome until Rome's defeat at the battle of Cannae. The consul Quintus Fabius Maximus captured it in 213 B.C. and it never recovered its former importance. No Roman inscriptions have been found there, and remains of antiquity are scanty.
GI76339. Bronze AE 21, HN Italy 642, SNG ANS 635, SNG Cop 603, SNG München 438, SNG BnF 1228; BMC Italy p. 130, 4; SGCV I 569, gF, green patina, irregular flan with sprues, a little rough, scratches, weight 5.940 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 270o, Arpi (near Foggia, Italy) mint, c. 325 - 275 B.C.; obverse laureate and bearded head of Zeus left, thunderbolt behind; reverse Kalydonian boar right, spear head right above, APΠANΩN in exergue; $70.00 (€61.60)
 







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