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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Italy||View Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Greek Coins of Italy (Magna Graecia)
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)
 


Roman Republic and Central Italy, Cast Aes Rude, c. 5th - 4th Century B.C., 20 Fragments

|before| |211| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic| |and| |Central| |Italy,| |Cast| |Aes| |Rude,| |c.| |5th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.,| |20| |Fragments||Lot|
In Italy, as with other nations, early trade used a system of barter. Aes rude (Latin: "rough bronze"), used perhaps as early as the early 8th century B.C., was the earliest metal proto-currency in central Italy. In the 5th century B.C., bronze replaced cattle as the primary measure of value in trade. Aes rude are rough lumpy bronze ingots with no marks or design, some are flat and oblong, others are square, while many are irregular and shapeless. The metal is mostly copper with roughly 5% tin. Weight varies considerably with some exceeding twelve pounds and others under an ounce. Many smaller examples are fragments of broken larger specimens. A balance was necessary to measure value for commercial transactions.
LT96143. Bronze Lot, Lot of 20 aes rude fragments, cf. BMCRR I p. 1, Haeberlin pl. 1, Vecchi ICC pl. 1, Thurlow-Vecchi pl. 2, SRCV I 505, 13.908g - 65.836g, no tags or flips, actual pieces in the photograph, as-is, no returns; $500.00 (€410.00)
 


Roman Republic and Central Italy, Cast Aes Rude, c. 5th - 4th Century B.C., 8 Fragments

|before| |211| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic| |and| |Central| |Italy,| |Cast| |Aes| |Rude,| |c.| |5th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.,| |8| |Fragments||Lot|NEW
In Italy, as with other nations, early trade used a system of barter. Aes rude (Latin: "rough bronze"), used perhaps as early as the early 8th century B.C., was the earliest metal proto-currency in central Italy. In the 5th century B.C., bronze replaced cattle as the primary measure of value in trade. Aes rude are rough lumpy bronze ingots with no marks or design, some are flat and oblong, others are square, while many are irregular and shapeless. The metal is mostly copper with roughly 5% tin. Weight varies considerably with some exceeding twelve pounds and others under an ounce. Many smaller examples are fragments of broken larger specimens. A balance was necessary to measure value for commercial transactions.
LT96230. Bronze Lot, Lot of 8 aes rude fragments, cf. BMCRR I p. 1, Haeberlin pl. 1, Vecchi ICC pl. 1, Thurlow-Vecchi pl. 2, SRCV I 505, weight 28.533g - 62.227g, no tags or flips, actual pieces in the photograph, as-is, no returns; $250.00 (€205.00)
 


Rhegion, Bruttium, Italy, c. 260 - 215 B.C.

|Italy|, |Rhegion,| |Bruttium,| |Italy,| |c.| |260| |-| |215| |B.C.||AE| |16|
Rhegion reached great artistic and cultural heights. It was home to academies, such as the Pythagorean School, and to well-known poets, historians and sculptors such as Ibycus, Ippy, and Pythagoras. It was an important ally of the Roman Republic. Rhegium flourished during the Imperial Age but was devastated by several major earthquakes and tsunami. St. Paul passed through Rhegium on his final voyage to Rome (Acts XXVIII:13).
GI93430. Bronze AE 16, SNG ANS 727, HN Italy 2545, Gross McClean 1910, HGC 1 1695 (R1) corr. (obv. leg), aVF, green patina, light earthen deposits, bumps, flaw on chin, inscription weak, edge splits, weight 2.359 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rhegion (Reggio, Calabria) mint, c. 260 - 215 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, long hair; reverse lion prowling right, PHΓI-NΩN in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $200.00 (€164.00)
 


Roman Republic and Central Italy, Aes Rude, Middle 5th - 4th Century B.C.

|before| |211| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic| |and| |Central| |Italy,| |Aes| |Rude,| |Middle| |5th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.||Aes| |Formatum|
In Italy, as with other nations, early trade used a system of barter. Aes rude (Latin: "rough bronze"), used perhaps as early as the early 8th century B.C., was the earliest metal proto-currency in central Italy. In the 5th century B.C., bronze replaced cattle as the primary measure of value in trade. Aes rude are rough lumpy bronze ingots with no marks or design, some are flat and oblong, others are square, while many are irregular and shapeless. The metal is mostly copper with roughly 5% tin. Weight varies considerably with some exceeding twelve pounds and others under an ounce. Many smaller examples are fragments of broken larger specimens. A scale was necessary to measure value for commercial transactions.
RR95747. Bronze Aes Formatum, cf. BMCRR I p. 1, Haeberlin pl. 1, Vecchi ICC pl. 1, Thurlow-Vecchi pl. 2, Bertol-Farac pl. 1, SRCV I 505; maximum length 63.5mm, weight 215.456g, c. 5th - 4th Century B.C.; $190.00 (€155.80)
 


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, 275 - 250 B.C., Possibly an Ancient Counterfeit

|Italy|, |Neapolis,| |Campania,| |Italy,| |275| |-| |250| |B.C.,| |Possibly| |an| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||drachm|
Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the second millennium B.C. The city was refounded as Neapolis in the sixth century B.C. and became an important hub of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society. Naples remained influential under Rome and more so after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.
GI95913. Silver drachm, cf. Sambon 546 (controls); SNG BnF 865 (same); SNG ANS 420 (same); HN Italy 588; HGC Italy 456 (R2) (all solid silver, official, none with BΦ), F, a few bumps, encrustations, corrosion, no clear core exposure but the weight is light and signs of possible plating exist, perhaps a silver plated fouree, weight 3.092 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis or unofficial(?) mint, 275 - 250 B.C.; obverse diademed head of nymph (Parthenope?) left, BΦ behind neck; reverse man-faced bull (river-god Achelous) walking right, head turned facing, Nike above flying right and placing wreath on bull's head, IΣ below, NEOΠOΛITHΣ exergue; apparently unpublished with BΦ behind the Nymph's neck, we were unable to find another specimen with this control mark; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $130.00 (€106.60)
 


Paestum, Lucania, Italy, c. 218 - 201 B.C.

|Roman| |Italy| |&| |Sicily|, |Paestum,| |Lucania,| |Italy,| |c.| |218| |-| |201| |B.C.||sextans|
Paestum (originally Poseidonia) was founded near the end of the 7th century B.C. by Greek colonists from Sybaris. From the archaeological evidence it appears that Greeks and Oscans thrived alongside one another. Poseidonia became the Roman city of Paestum in 273 B.C. after the residents sided with Pyrrhus, the loser in a war against Rome. Paestum remained faithful to Rome against Hannibal and afterward was granted special favors, including minting coins. The city declined after the 4th century and was abandoned during the Middle Ages. Its ruins only came to notice again in the 18th century, after the rediscovery Pompeii and Herculaneum.

On 9 September 1943, the U.S. 36th Infantry Division landed at Paestum. Heavy fighting persisted within and around the town for nine days before the Germans withdrew.
GI93428. Bronze sextans, Crawford Paestum 19/3; SNG ANS 760; HN Italy 1211; BMC Italy p. 276, 27, VF, rough green patina, weight 2.405 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Paestum mint, Second Punic War, c. 218 - 201 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter (or Ceres) right, wreathed with grain, two pellets (mark of value) behind; reverse wild boar running right, QVA (VA ligate) over two pellets (mark of value) below; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


Art and Coinage of Magna Graecia, R. Ross Holloway, 1978

|Greek| |Books|, |Art| |and| |Coinage| |of| |Magna| |Graecia,| |R.| |Ross| |Holloway,| |1978|
Superb coins of the south Italian Greek cities from the fifth and forth centuries B. C. presented as artistic documents. In comparison with the major trends of Greek arts of the period, parallels are illustrated from sculpture, vase painting, tomb painting and decorative bronze reliefs.
BK20313. Art and Coinage of Magna Graecia, 1978 by R. Ross Holloway, hardcover, dust cover wear, 173 pages, beautifully illustrated, new, some shelf-wear, international shipping at the actual cost of postage; $90.00 (€73.80) Out of Stock!


Osco-Latin, Central Italy, Cast Aes Formatum, Late 4th - Early 3rd Century B.C., Bipod Shell

|Italy|, |Osco-Latin,| |Central| |Italy,| |Cast| |Aes| |Formatum,| |Late| |4th| |-| |Early| |3rd| |Century| |B.C.,| |Bipod| |Shell||Aes| |Formatum|
 
GA96779. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, cf. Fallai IAPN 8, pl. 6, 2-2c; Alvarez-Burgos P28; Thurlow-Vecchi -, Fair, weight 13.617 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, uncertain Osco-Latin mint, late 4th - early 3rd century B.C.; cast from a bipod shell; $90.00 (€73.80)
 


Brettian League, Bruttium, Italy, c. 216 - 214 B.C., Time of Hannibal

|Italy|, |Brettian| |League,| |Bruttium,| |Italy,| |c.| |216| |-| |214| |B.C.,| |Time| |of| |Hannibal||triobol|
All coinage of the Brettii was issued during the Second Punic War when they allied themselves with Hannibal.
GI93433. Bronze triobol, HN Italy 1943, HGC I 1370 (R1), SNG Cop 1678, SNG ANS 4, F, a little rough, corrosion, earthen deposits, weight 5.305 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 315o, Brettii mint, c. 216 - 214 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Nike left, hair tied in a bun at the back, NIKA upward lower left, control symbol below; reverse Zeus standing right, nude, hurling thunderbolt with right hand, long scepter in extended left hand, BPETTIΩN upward on left; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $80.00 (€65.60)
 







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REFERENCES|

Crawford, M. "Paestum and Rome: The form and function of a subsidiary coinage" in La monetazione di bronzo do Poseidonia-Paestum. Annali 18-19 Supp. (Naples, 1971).
Fischer-Bossert, W. Chronologie Der Didrachmenprägung von Tarent 510-280 v. Chr. (Berlin, 1999).
Grunauer von Hoerschelmann, S. "Die Bronzeprägung von Poseidonia" in AIIN 18/19 Suppl. (1973).
Jameson, R. Collection R. Jameson. Monnaies grecques antiques. (Paris, 1913-1932).
Johnston, A. "The Bronze Coinage of Metapontum" in Kraay-Mørkholm Essays, pp. 121-136.
Johnston, A. The Coinage of Metapontum, Part 3. ANSNNM 164. (1990).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins: European Mints. (San Mateo, 1989).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Naville Co. Monnaies grecques antiques S. Pozzi. Auction 1 (4 April 1921, Geneva).
Noe, S. The coinage of Metapontum, Parts 1 and 2. ANSNNM 32 and 47. (1927 and 1931).
Noe, S. The Thurian Distaters. ANSNNM 71. (New York, 1935).
Ravel, O., Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Tarentine Coins formed by M.P. Vlasto. (London, 1947).
Rutter, N., ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Poole, R., ed. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Italy. (London, 1873).
Sambon, A. Les monnaies antiques de l'Italie. (Paris, 1903).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1, Europe. (London, 1978).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 1: Italy - Sicily. (New Jersey, 1981).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Münzsammlung Universität Tübingen, Part 1: Hispania-Sikelia. (Berlin, 1981).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale, Vol. 6, Part 1: Italy (Etruria-Calabria). (Paris, 2003).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain II, Lloyd Collection. (London. 1933-1937).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain III, R.C. Lockett Collection, Part 1: Spain - Italy (gold and silver). (London, 1938).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain V, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. (London. 1951 - 2008).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain IV, Fitzwilliam Museum, Leake and General Collections, Part 1: Spain (Emporiae, Rhoda)-Italy. (London, 1940).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain X, John Morcom Collection. (Oxford, 1995).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 1: Etruria - Calabria. (New York, 1969).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 2: Lucania. (New York, 1972).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 3: Bruttium - Sicily 1 (Abacaenum-Eryx). (New York, 1975).
Taliercio Mensitieri, M. "Simboli, lettere, sigle sul bronzo di Neapolis" in Studi Breglia.
van Keuren, F. The Coinage of Heraclea Lucaniae. (Rome, 1994).
Williams, R. Silver Coinage of Velia. (London, 1992).

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