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Eagles on Ancient Coins

Corinth, Corinthia, Greece, 345 - 307 B.C.

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Corinth, on the Isthmus of Corinth about halfway between Athens and Sparta, was the largest city and richest port in ancient Greece. Corinth allied with Sparta from about 550 B.C. until the early 4th Century B.C. The city adopted an independent policy in the various wars of the 4th Century. After the Macedonian conquest of Greece, the Acrocorinth was the seat of a Macedonian garrison until 243 B.C., when the city was liberated and joined the Achaean League. In 146 B.C., Corinth was captured and destroyed by Roman armies. Re-founded as a Roman colony in 44 B.C., Corinth flourished once again and became the administrative capital of the Roman province of Achaea.
GS89061. Silver stater, Pegasi 426; BCD Corinth 101; SNG Cop 73; BMC Corinth p. 26, 258; Ravel 1008, HGC 4 1848, gVF, toned, slight roughness, weight 7.893 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 90o, Corinth mint, 345 - 307 B.C.; obverse Pegasos flying left, pointed wing, koppa below; reverse head of Athena (or Aphrodite) left in Corinthian helmet over leather cap, helmet without crest ornamented with a laurel wreath, A-P below divided by neck truncation, eagle (control symbol) standing left behind with wings closed and head turned back right; ex CNG e-auction 232 (28 Apr 2010), lot 91; $700.00 (€616.00)
 


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG VI - Ferrata, the "Ironclad"

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The VI Ferrata, the "Ironclad," was an old legion of Caesar's that fought for Antony. It was retained by Augustus and later served in Syria and Judaea. The VI Victrix, on the other hand, was one of Octavian's legions. This Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus issued a 'restitution' of the type, presumably in connection with the latter's Eastern campaigns.
SH91681. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/19, Sydenham 1223, BMCRR II East 197, RSC I 33, Sear CRI 356, Choice VF, attractive old cabinet toning, well centered and struck, flow lines, a few bumps/scratches, weight 3.819 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 225o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT•AVG / III •VIR•R•P•C, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - VI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $550.00 (€484.00)
 


Arados, Phoenicia, 200 - 190 B.C., Civic Issue in the Types and Name of Alexander the Great

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In 259 B.C., Arados increased her autonomy and dominated a federation of nearby cities including Gabala, Karne, Marathos and Simyra. Thus began the era of Aradus, to which the subsequent coins of the city are dated. Arados was not completely independent, however, the Seleukids retained overlordship.

Arados struck Alexandrine tetradrachms with a palm tree left and Phoenician dates from 243 to 205 B.C. and then with Greek dates from 202 to 167 B.C. They were not struck every year.
GS85703. Silver tetradrachm, Price 3390 ff., Mektepini 614 ff.; Duyrat 1270 ff., Cohen Dated 771, gVF, attractive style, reverse double struck, earthen encrustations, weight 17.039 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 0o, Arados (Arwad, Syria) mint, c. 200 - 190 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion-scalp headdress; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, palm tree with two bunches of dates in left field under arm, AP monogram under throne, uncertain Greek additive date (60 - 69?) below; $380.00 (€334.40)
 


Kings of Galatia, Deiotaros, Tetrarch 63 - 59 B.C., King 59 - 40 B.C.

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Deiotarus was chief of the Celtic Tolistobogii tribe in western Galatia and became King of Galatia. He was a faithful ally of Rome against Mithridates VI of Pontus, for which he was rewarded by Pompey. Caesar pardoned him for siding with Pompey in the civil war but he was deprived of some of his dominions. After Caesar's death, Mark Antony, for a large payment, publicly announced that, in accordance with instructions left by Caesar, Deiotarus was to resume possession of all the territory of which he had been deprived. When civil war broke out again, Deiotarus supported the anti-Caesarian party of Brutus and Cassius, but after the Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C., he went over to the triumvirs. He retained his kingdom until his death at a very advanced age.
GB88403. Bronze AE 27, SNGvA 6103 (same countermark); Arslan K4; SNG BnF 2333; BMC Galatia p. 1, 1; HGC 7 774 (R2); see RPC I p. 536, aVF, countermark VF, dark brown and green patina, off center, reverse flattened opposite countermark, weight 12.715 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Phrygian mint, 59 - 40 B.C.; obverse bust of winged Nike right, hair in a bunch behind; countermark: turreted head of Tyche in round punch; reverse eagle standing right on a sheathed sword, wings open, head turned back left, flanked by pilei of the Dioscuri each with a star above, BAΣIΛEΩΣ above, ∆HIOTAPOV below; very rare; $350.00 (€308.00)
 


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

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We might expect the K on the reverse right to indicate regnal year 20. BMC Ptolemies notes, however, the title ΣΩTHPOΣ (savior) did not appear on the coinage until Ptolemy II's regnal year 25. On some very similar specimens, it is not just a K but instead a KE ligature (), which has been interpreted to mean year 25. Svoronos describes this type (Sv 723) with a KE ligature but the plate coin actually looks like a plain K. It seems likely that a KE ligature was intended but for some specimens it was not correctly engraved or not fully struck.
SH82655. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Milan 142 (same rev. die); cf. Svoronos 723 (ligate KE); BMC Ptolemies p. 29, 55 (same); SNG Cop 509 (same), Weiser -, Noeske -, aVF, test marks, obverse a little off center, bumps and scratches, graffito on reverse before eagles neck, weight 13.808 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 261 - 260 BC; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY ΣΩTHPOΣ (Ptolemy Savior), eagle standing on thunderbolt left, ΣI over ∆I inner left, K inner right; ex Bertolami Fine Arts e-auction 57 (Mar 2018), lot 46; ex Pavlos Pavlou Collection; rare; $340.00 (€299.20)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Demetrius I Poliorketes, 306 - 286 B.C.

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Demetrius I Poliorketes (The Besieger), son of Antigonus I Monophthalmus, was given the title king by his father in 306 B.C. after he defeated Ptolemy I at the Battle of Salamis. In 294 he seized the throne of Macedonia by murdering Alexander V. The combined forces of Pyrrhus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus, forced him out of Macedonia in 288. Abandoned by his troops on the field of battle he surrendered to Seleucus in 286 and died in captivity in 283 B.C.
SL87623. Silver tetradrachm, Newell 30, pl. III, 13 (XXXIV/69); Newell Tyrus 32, pl. III, 7 (same dies); Hersh Tyrus 43a; HGC 3 1011; SNG Alpha Bank -, NGC F, strike 4/5, surface 3/5 (2490378-002), weight 16.877 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 180o, Phoenicia, Tyre mint, c. 306 - 295 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, feet on footstool, club left in a circle on left, AP monogram under throne, ∆HMITPIOY downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) below; rare; $340.00 (€299.20)
 


Rhodos, Carian Islands, c. 205 - 190 B.C., Civic Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great

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Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands of Greece and the principal town of the island is also named Rhodes. The city of Rhodes had 50,636 inhabitants in 2011. It is located northeast of Crete, southeast of Athens and just off the Anatolian coast of Turkey. Rhodes' nickname is The island of the Knights, named after the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, who once conquered it. Historically, Rhodes is famous for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a giant bronze statue once standing at the harbor. It was completed in 280 B.C. and destroyed in an earthquake in 224 B.C. No trace of the statue remains today. Historical sites on the island of Rhodes include the Acropolis of Lindos, the Acropolis of Rhodes with the Temple of Pythian Apollo and an ancient theater and stadium, ancient Ialysos, ancient Kamiros, the Governor's Palace, Rhodes Old Town (walled medieval city), the Palace of the Grand Masters, Kahal Shalom Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter, the Archeological Museum, the ruins of the castle of Monolithos, the castle of Kritinia, St. Catherine Hospice and Rhodes Footbridge.
GS87644. Silver tetradrachm, HGC 6 1455 (S); cf. Price 2520 ff. (various magistrates), Muller Alexander 1162 ff. (same), VF/F, well centered, choice obverse, reverse rough with burnished area, scratches and marks, slight double strike, weight 15.795 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rhodos (Rhodes, Greece) mint, c. 205 - c. 190 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus seated left on throne, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right, magistrate's name under arm and over rose left, PO (Rhodos) under throne; scarce; $340.00 (€299.20)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon, 344 - 336 B.C.

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Threatened by Carthage and dominated by Hiketas, the tyrant of Leontini, Syracusans sent an appeal for help to their mother city, Corinth. By a unanimous vote Corinth selected Timoleon to set sail for Sicily with a few leading citizens of Corinth and a small troop of Greek mercenaries. After defeating Hiketas, Timoleon put order to Syracuse' affairs and established a democratic government. He repelled Carthage in several wars, ending with a treaty which divided the island. Timoleon then retired without any title or office, though he remained practically supreme. He became blind before his death, but when important issues were under discussion he was carried to the assembly to give his opinion, which was usually accepted. When he died the citizens of Syracuse erected a monument to his memory, afterward surrounded with porticoes, and a gymnasium called Timoleonteum.
GI83514. Bronze hemidrachm, Calciati II p. 167, 72; SNG ANS 477; SNG Cop 727; SNG München 1151; BMC Sicily p. 189, 313; Laffaille 220; HGC 2 1440 (S), VF, green patina, edges earthen encrusted, cleaning marks, reverse double struck, weight 15.872 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, c. 342 - 338 B.C.; obverse ZEYΣ EΛEYΘEPIOΣ (clockwise starting upper right), laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios right; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN (clockwise starting upper right), vertical thunderbolt, eagle on right standing right with wings closed; $320.00 (€281.60)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy X Alexander I, 109 - 110 B.C., as King in Cyprus

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This coin was struck at Kition when Ptolemy X ruled in Cyprus and Ptolemy IX and Cleopatra III ruled in Egypt. On the death of Ptolemy VIII, Cleopatra was given the option of which son to declare co-ruler. While she would have preferred Ptolemy X, she was pressured by politics to select Ptolemy IX. Her younger son ruled on Cyprus. Later she would depose Ptolemy IX in favor of her favorite, Ptolemy X.

The attribution to Ptolemy X as King in Cyprus is made mostly by process of elimination. The debased silver eliminates Ptolemy I to VI as possibilities. Ptolemy VIII coins have a very different style for Kition Year 5. Serifs are unique to just a few rare Ptolemaic coin types. Perhaps all are the work of a single engraver. Similar tetradrachms in the Paphos I Hoard shows that these must have been minted before the hoard was lost in ~97 B.C. Also, the heavy-set portrait resembles the marble head of Ptolemy X (Boston Museum of Fine Arts 59.51) and differs from the usual images of Ptolemy I.
GP88097. Silver tetradrachm, unpublished, cf. Svoronos 1767 - 1768, VF, porous rough surfaces, flan cracks, weight 12.913 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kition mint, 110 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on a thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, date LE (year 5) before, KI (Kition mintmark) behind, year and mintmark letters with serifs; no other specimen known; $310.00 (€272.80)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander IV, c. 323 - 311 B.C.

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Struck after Alexander's death, under either Perdikkas or Antipater, regents during the joint reign of Alexander's mentally disabled half-brother, Philip III, and Alexander's infant son, Alexander IV. Philip was the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa. Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, allegedly poisoned her stepson Philip III as a child, leaving him mentally disabled, eliminating him as a rival to Alexander. Neither Philip III nor Alexander IV was capable of actual rule. Both were selected only to serve as pawns. The regents held power, while Philip III was actually imprisoned. In 317, Olympias had Philip murdered to ensure the succession of her grandson. But Alexander IV would never rule. In 311 B.C., he and his mother Roxana were executed by the regent Kassander.
GS87631. Silver tetradrachm, Price 133; Müller Alexander 542; SNG Alpha Bank 514; SNG Saroglos 253; SNG Cop 688; SNG München 293; Ehrhardt Amphipolis 15, VF, excellent centering, light rose toning, light bumps and marks, weight 16.960 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 90o, Macedonia, Amphipolis mint, c. 316 - c. 311 A.D.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne without back, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward behind, dolphin head down left, Πo under throne; $300.00 (€264.00)
 




  



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