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

Ancient Greek Coins of Italy (Magna Graecia)

Roman Republic, Aes Formatum Large Domed Disc Ingot, 4th Century B.C.

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Called aes formatum by Haeberlin, this very rare bronze currency was a precursor to the issues of aes grave but later than aes rude. Presumably, molten bronze-iron alloy was poured into a shallow hole in the dirt. This left a disc-shaped metal mound with a flat reverse. Broken examples are much more common than complete ones like this.
RT11424. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 2.7; 1.196kg, 137mm, Italian mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse convex obverse; reverse flat reverse; the denarius is included in the photograph to indicate the size, it is not included with the aes formatum, international shipping at the actual cost of postage will require additional charge; very rare; $720.00 (€612.00)
 


Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 330 - 290 B.C.

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Demeter in Greek mythology is the goddess of grain and fertility, the pure; nourisher of the youth and the green earth, the health-giving cycle of life and death; and preserver of marriage and the sacred law. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, dated to about the seventh century B.C. she is invoked as the "bringer of seasons," a subtle sign that she was worshiped long before she was made one of the Olympians. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that also predated the Olympian pantheon.
SH82666. Silver nomos, SNG ANS 502 (same dies); Noe-Johnston Class C, 8; BMC Italy p. 251, 102; SNG Cop 1229; HN Italy 1592, aEF, attractive iridescent toning, attractive classical style, tight flan, letters on obverse obscure on all examples known to Forum, weight 7.868 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 245o, Metapontion mint, c. 330 - 290 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, wearing grain wreath, triple pendant earring, and pearl necklace, uncertain letters (ΣU? or EY?) under chin; reverse barley ear of seven grains with leaf to right, META upward on left, ΛY lower left, star above leaf; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 2 (26 Nov 2017), lot 36 (From the old stock of a Swiss Numismatist, acquired before 2005.); $700.00 (€595.00)
 


Luceria, Apulia, Italy, c. 211 - 200 B.C.

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In 321 B.C., the Romans, deceived into thinking Lucera was under siege by the Samnites, walked into an ambush and were defeated. The town threw out the Samnites, sought Roman protection, and in 320 B.C. was granted the status of Colonia Togata, which meant it was ruled by the Roman Senate. To strengthen ties, 2,500 Romans moved to Lucera. Roman culture merged with the native one slowly, probably accompanied by cross-cultural marriages, but Lucera was a steadfast supporter of Rome. By the 2nd century B.C., the rustic town was transformed into a proper Roman city with houses, public buildings, paved roads, sidewalks and services for travelers, accommodation for livestock with running water, and warehouses for storing goods.
GB86125. Bronze uncia, SNG ANS 709; SNG Cop 663; SNG BnF 1368; SNG München 504; HN Italy 682; BMC Italy p. 141, 62; Hunterian -, VF, rough, weight 4.084 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 0o, Luceria mint, c. 211 - 200 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, bow and quiver at shoulder, pellet behind; reverse LOVC-ERI, toad seen from above; very rare; $680.00 (€578.00)
 


Roman Republic, Fragment of an Aes Formatum Brick, 4th Century B.C.

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In Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum, Grueber wrote, "In the find at Vulci, besides the aes rude and the aes signatum there was a number of rough brick-shaped pieces in very poor condition, without any imprint and nothing to indicate their value; their weight varying from an ounce to a pound...These pieces would appear to be intermediate between the as rude and the aes signatum." In Aes Grave, Das Schwergeld Roms und Mittelitaliens, published in 1910, the same year as the British Museum Catalog, Haeberlin differentiated these cast shapes from aes rude and introduced a new term for them, aes formatum.
RR87168. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 4 , 1-3; fragment of a brick shaped aes formatum, 214.5g, 62.1x47.6x15.4mm, broken from the end and includes one corner, VF, very rare; $450.00 (€382.50)
 


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, c. 275 - 250 B.C.

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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.
SH86580. Silver didrachm, Sambon 523, HN Italy 586, SNG ANS 395 ff. var., SNG BnF 836 ff. var.; SNG München 250 ff. var., SNG Cop 451 ff. var. (all var., no dolphin control), VF, attractive classical style, well centered and struck, toned, bumps and marks, edge crack, weight 7.118 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis (Naples) mint, 275 - 250 B.C.; obverse diademed head of nymph left, wearing triple-pendant earring, dolphin head down (control symbol) behind; reverse man-faced bull walking right, head turned facing, being crowned by Nike flying right above, IΣ (control or magistrate initials) below, NEOΠOΛITΩN in exergue; $400.00 (€340.00)
 


Tutere (Tudor), Umbria, Italy, 280 - 240 B.C.

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Todi was founded by the ancient Italic people of the Umbri, in the 8th - 7th century BC, with the name of Tutere. The name means "border," it being the city located on the frontier with the Etruscan dominions. It was conquered by the Romans in 217 BC. According to Silius Italicus, it had a double line of walls that stopped Hannibal himself after his victory at the Trasimeno. Christianity spread to Todi very early, through the efforts of St. Terentianus. Bishop St. Fortunatus became the patron saint of the city for his heroic defense of it during the Gothic siege. In Lombard times, Todi was part of the Duchy of Spoleto.
SH73969. Bronze hemiobol, HN Italy 37, Campania CNAI 2, SNG Cop 75, SNG ANS 105; BMC Italy p. 39, 1, F, well centered, pitted, flan crack, weight 3.364 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Tuder (Todi, Italy) mint, 280 - 240 B.C.; obverse bearded head of the satyr Silenus (Seilenos) right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse Umbrian: TVTEDE (downward on left, TVT top outward, EDE top inward), eagle standing left, wings spread; rare; $360.00 (€306.00)
 


Rhegion, Bruttium, Italy, c. 445 - 435 B.C.

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This type is known to have ivy leaf, olive leaf and pellet (or globule) control marks in a variety of locations on the obverse or the reverse. This coin may have a pellet with the top half of the R, or it may be just a die defect. A pellet in this location is not listed in any of the references we examined or on any of the coins of this type we found online.
GI86585. Silver litra, Herzfelder p. 89, pl. IV, B; HN Italy 2485; SNG ANS 651 ff. var. (pellet controls other locations); SNG Mün 15481; SNG Cop 1932 var. (obv. ivy), Choice EF, excellent centering and strike, attractive toning, bumps and marks, minor scratches on reverse, weight 0.621 g, maximum diameter 12.5 mm, die axis 90o, Rhegion mint, c. 445 - 435 B.C.; obverse facing lion scalp mask, no control marks; reverse REGI within olive wreath tied to the left, possibly a pellet with the top half of the R(?); a beautiful little gem!; $250.00 (€212.50)
 


Roman Republic, Fragment of an Aes Formatum Large Domed Disc Ingot, 4th Century B.C.

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Called aes formatum by Haeberlin, this very rare bronze currency was a precursor to the issues of aes grave but later than aes rude. Presumably, molten bronze-iron alloy was poured into a shallow hole in the dirt. This left a disc-shaped metal mound with a flat reverse. Broken examples like this one are much more common than complete ones.
AR12017. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, cf. Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 2.7; fragment, fragment, broken from a large domed ingot, weight 45.4 g, maximum diameter 99.7 mm, Italian mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse convex obverse; reverse flat reverse; very rare; $240.00 (€204.00)
 


Roman Republic, Fragment of an Aes Formatum Brick, 4th Century B.C.

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In Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum, Grueber wrote, "In the find at Vulci, besides the aes rude and the aes signatum there was a number of rough brick-shaped pieces in very poor condition, without any imprint and nothing to indicate their value; their weight varying from an ounce to a pound...These pieces would appear to be intermediate between the as rude and the aes signatum." In Aes Grave, Das Schwergeld Roms und Mittelitaliens, published in 1910, the same year as the British Museum Catalog, Haeberlin differentiated these cast shapes from aes rude and introduced a new term for them, aes formatum.
RR87167. Cast bronze Aes Formatum, Haeberlin p. 4, pl. 4 , 1-3; fragment of a brick shaped aes formatum, 416g, 93.2x48.9x23mm, square tool mark, VF, very rare; $225.00 (€191.25)
 


Locri Epizephyrii, Bruttium, Italy, 280 - 275 B.C., Time of Pyrrhus

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Relations between Locri and Syracuse were close and in the late 5th century B.C. they were allied against Athenian aggression. In 282 B.C. the city received a Roman garrison for defense against the Bretti, but in 280 joined Pyrrhus and became his main South Italian mint. The Romans regained control in 275 and held it until 212 - 205 when Bruttium became the last stronghold of Hannibal and his Brettian allies.
GI87398. Bronze AE 23, Lindgren II 359 (this coin), HN Italy 2386, SNG ANS 573, SNG Cop 1889, BMC Corinth -, VF, burgundy-brown patina, porous, weight 8.985 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 90o, Locri Epizephyrii mint, 280 - 275 B.C.; obverse head of Athena left, wearing Corinthian helmet, necklace and drop earring, barley ear behind; reverse ΛOKPΩN (below), Pegasus flying left, AΓ monogram below; this is the Lindgren plate coin, ex FORUM (2013); $220.00 (€187.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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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).
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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).

Catalog current as of Thursday, September 20, 2018.
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Italy (Magna Graecia)