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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Birds| ▸ |Raven or Crow||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ravens and Crows on Ancient Coins

Apollo's lover Coronis was pregnant with his child, Asclepius. A white raven (or crow) which he had left to watch her informed him that she had an affair. Angered that the bird had not pecked out her lover's eyes, Apollo flung a curse scorching its feathers, which is why all ravens (or crows) are black today. Apollo also had Coronis killed but saved his child.

Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.

|Vitellius|, |Vitellius,| |2| |January| |-| |20| |December| |69| |A.D.||denarius|
"This refers to Vitellius' membership in the priestly college of the quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis, 'fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters.' This body had care of the Sibylline prophecies and were famous for the opulence of their banquets, a feature of the priesthood which particularly appealed to the gluttonous emperor." - David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values
SH21376. Silver denarius, RIC I 70, RSC II 155, BMCRE I 3, VF, attractive bold portrait, weight 3.349 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP, bare head right; reverse XV VIR SACR FAC (fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters), Tripob-lebes with dolphin laying right on top and raven below; scarce; SOLD


Roman Republic, Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C.

|Marc| |Antony|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Mark| |Antony,| |Triumvir| |and| |Imperator,| |44| |-| |30| |B.C.||quinarius|
This type was struck by a military mint traveling with Antony and Lepidus in Transalpine Gaul. On 26 November 43 B.C. Octavian, Antony and Lepidus meet in Bononia (Bologna, Italy), and enter into an official five-year autocratic pact, the Second Triumvirate. To cement their reconciliation Octavian agreed to marry Clodia, a daughter of Antony's wife Fulvia by her former husband Publius Clodius Pulcher. The triumvirs proscribed 130 senators and 2,000 equites, who were branded as outlaws and deprived of their property.
SH64353. Silver quinarius, Banti-Simonetti CNR II 133 (this coin); Crawford 489/4; Sear CRI 121; RSC I 82; Sydenham 1159; Kestner 3716; BMCRR Gaul 36, gVF, toned, a couple of banker?s marks; Military mint traveling with Antony and Lepidus in Transalpine Gaul, weight 1.900 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 180o, Gallia Transalpina mint, late summer-autumn 43 B.C.; obverse Lituus, capis, and raven standing left on ground line; M A(NT) IMP above; reverse Victory standing right, crowning trophy of captured arms standing before her with wreath in her right, palm frond over shoulder in left; ex Triton XVI, lot 930; ex Goldman Roman Imperatorial Collection; ex Künker 124 (16 March 2007), lot 8491; scarce; SOLD


Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.

|Vitellius|, |Vitellius,| |2| |January| |-| |20| |December| |69| |A.D.||denarius|
"This refers to Vitellius' membership in the priestly college of the quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis, 'fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters.' This body had care of the Sibylline prophecies and were famous for the opulence of their banquets, a feature of the priesthood which particularly appealed to the gluttonous emperor." -- David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values
SH76404. Silver denarius, RIC I 109, RSC II 111, BMCRE I 39, BnF III 77, Hunter I 18, SRCV I 2201, VF, well centered, light marks but overall nice surfaces, weight 3.076 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jul - 20 Dec 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right; reverse XV VIR SACR FAC (fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters), tripod-lebes dolphin laying right on top, raven standing right below; from the Jeff Michniak Collection; scarce; SOLD


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D.

|Titus|, |Titus,| |24| |June| |79| |-| |13| |September| |81| |A.D.||denarius|
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.
RS86632. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 131 (R); RSC II 323a; BMCRE II 82; BnF III 66; Hunter I 18; SRCV 2518 var. (head left), Choice VF, superb portrait, ornate Pythia's seat, well centered and struck, attractive toning, bumps and scratches, minor flan flaws, weight 2.949 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1 Jan - 30 Jun 80 A.D.; obverse IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M, laureate head right; reverse TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P, tripod lebes, ornamented with fillets streaming out left and right, lion paw feet, loop handles above the bowl, surmounted by Pythia's seat, the seat's backrest ornamented with ravens left and right (arm rests?), and a dolphin right over an laurel wreath in center; SOLD


Side, Pamphylia, 370 - 360 B.C.

|Side|, |Side,| |Pamphylia,| |370| |-| |360| |B.C.||stater|
Apollo's lover Coronis was pregnant with his child, Asclepius. A white raven which he had left to watch her informed him that she had an affair. Angered that the bird had not pecked out her lover's eyes, Apollo flung a curse scorching its feathers, which is why all ravens are black today. Apollo also had Coronis killed but saved the child.
SH63575. Silver stater, Atlan 112, SNG BnF 644; SNGvA 4771, De Luynes 2762; Traité II 1538; BMC Lycia p. 146, 17 var., SGCV II 5430, F, flat strike, weight 10.434 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 0o, Side (near Selimiye, Antalya Province, Turkey) mint, 370 - 360 B.C.; obverse Athena standing to left, wreath bearing Nike in right hand, spear and shield in left, pomegranate before; reverse Apollo standing left, wearing chiton, pouring libation from phiale on to lighted altar, long laurel branch vertical behind in left, raven standing left at feet behind, Pamphylian letter left and script right; SOLD


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D.

|Titus|, |Titus,| |24| |June| |79| |-| |13| |September| |81| |A.D.||denarius|
Mouchmov noted this variant it in his description of the Reka Devnia hoard, recording only 3 specimens with ravens and the dolphin and 24 specimens of the regular type with only the dolphin. The dolphin, ravens, laurel and tripod are all symbols of Apollo. His 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.
RS77116. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 131 (R); RSC II 323a; BMCRE II 82; BnF III 66; Hunter I 18; SRCV 2518 var. (head left), VF, attractive portrait, fantastic tripod detail, light toning, obverse slightly off-center, weight 3.486 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1 Jan - 30 Jun 80 A.D.; obverse IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M, laureate head right; reverse TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P, tripod lebes, ornamented with fillets flying out left and right, lion paw feet, loop handles above the bowl, surmounted by the Pythia's seat with arms in the form of ravens and a back ornamented with a dolphin on a laurel branch; SOLD


Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D., Spelling Error

|Vitellius|, |Vitellius,| |2| |January| |-| |20| |December| |69| |A.D.,| |Spelling| |Error||denarius|
"This refers to Vitellius' membership in the priestly college of the quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis, 'fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters.' This body had care of the Sibylline prophecies and were famous for the opulence of their banquets, a feature of the priesthood which particularly appealed to the gluttonous emperor." - David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values
SH53562. Silver denarius, RIC I 70 var. (rev. legend), RSC II 115 var. (same), BMCRE I 3 var. (same); spelling error not noted in references, F, weight 2.916 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP, bare head right; reverse XV VIR SACR FCA (sic, correct: FAC), tripob-lebes with dolphin laying right on top and raven below; rare; SOLD


Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.

|Vitellius|, |Vitellius,| |2| |January| |-| |20| |December| |69| |A.D.||denarius|
"This refers to Vitellius' membership in the priestly college of the quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis, 'fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters.' This body had care of the Sibylline prophecies and were famous for the opulence of their banquets, a feature of the priesthood which particularly appealed to the gluttonous emperor." -- David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values
SH77386. Silver denarius, RIC I 86 (S); RSC II 114; BMCRE I p. 370, 17; BnF III 46; Hunter I -; SRCV I -, VF, excellent portrait, toned, marks and scratches, somewhat oval flan, slight edge damage, weight 2.972 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. May - Jul 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, laureate head right; reverse XV VIR SACR FAC (fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters), tripod-lebes with dome cover, dolphin right on top, raven standing right below bowl; ex CNG e-auction 221 (28 Oct 2009), lot 483; ex Jörg Müller Collection; scarce; SOLD


Faustina Sr., Augusta 25 February 138 - Early 141, Wife of Antoninus Pius, Delphi, Phocis

|Faustina| |Sr.|, |Faustina| |Sr.,| |Augusta| |25| |February| |138| |-| |Early| |141,| |Wife| |of| |Antoninus| |Pius,| |Delphi,| |Phocis||AE| |24|
SH54320. Bronze AE 24, Svoronos Delphi 89 - 92, SNG Cop 160, RPC Online 4602, F, weight 7.811 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 180o, Phokis, Delphi mint, obverse ΘEA ΦAVCTEINA, draped bust right, hair elaborately waived and banded, drawn up at the back and piled in a round coil at top; reverse ΠYΘIA, agonistic table with laurel wreath, apples, vase, and crow, small items in lower railing; SOLD


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D.

|Titus|, |Titus,| |24| |June| |79| |-| |13| |September| |81| |A.D.||denarius|
Mouchmov noted this variant it in his description of the Reka Devnia hoard, recording only 3 specimens with ravens and the dolphin and 24 specimens of the regular type with only the dolphin. The dolphin, ravens, laurel and tripod are all symbols of Apollo. His 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.
RS08444. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 131 (R), BMCRE II 82, RSC II 323a, BnF III 66, SRCV -, gVF, weight 3.16 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1 Jan - 30 Jun 80 A.D.; obverse IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M, laureate head right; reverse TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P, tripod lebes, ornamented with fillets, lion paw feet, loop handles above the bowl, surmounted by the Pythia's seat with arms in the form of ravens and a back ornamented with a dolphin on a laurel branch; SOLD




  




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