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

Ancient Greek Coins of Italy (Magna Graecia)
Poseidonia, Lucania, Italy, 420 - 410 B.C.

|Italy|, |Poseidonia,| |Lucania,| |Italy,| |420| |-| |410| |B.C.||nomos|
Poseidonia was founded around the end of the 7th century B.C. by Greek colonists from Sybaris. In the fifth century B.C., Poseidonia was conquered by the Lucani. Archaeological evidence indicates Greek and Oscan cultures thrived together. In 273 B.C., after the Poseidonians had sided with Pyrrhus against Rome, Poseidonia was refounded as the Roman city of Paestum.
GS98741. Silver nomos, Noe Poseidoni 11 (O10/R11); SNG Lloyd 473 (same dies); SNG ANS 669; BMC Italy p. 269, 34; SNG Cop 1287 var. (Γ obv. lower left), VF, toning, flow lines, light marks, die wear, small die cracks, weight 7.723 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 180o, Poseidonia (Paestum, Italy) mint, 420 - 410 B.C.; obverse ΠOMEΣ (downward on right), Poseidon striding right, beardless, nude but for chlamys falling over his shoulders, extending his left arm before him, brandishing a trident overhead in right hand, no series letter, three row dot border; reverse bull standing left, ΠOΣEI∆A (retrograde) above, cockle shell below bull and above exergue line, exergue line comprised of a line a dots between two solid lines, all within a round incuse; ex Numismatic Fine Arts (Beverly Hills, CA); $600.00 SALE PRICE $540.00


Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, 470 - 440 B.C.

|Italy|, |Metapontion,| |Lucania,| |Italy,| |470| |-| |440| |B.C.||nomos|
Metapontum was an ancient Greek Achaean colony, although various traditions assigned to it a much earlier origin. Strabo and Solinus ascribe its foundation to a body of Pylians, a part of those who had followed Nestor to Troy. Justin, tells us it was founded by Epeius; as proof, the tools which the hero had used to build the Trojan Horse, were kept in a temple of Minerva there.
GS98056. Silver nomos, cf. Rutter HN Italy 1484; Noe-Johnston 240; SNG Cop 252; HGC I 1029 (R1), VF, toned, light earthen deposits, weight 7.041 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Metapontion (Metaponto, Italy) mint, 470 - 440 B.C.; obverse barley ear, META; reverse incuse barley ear; rare; $550.00 SALE PRICE $495.00


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; $510.00 SALE PRICE $459.00


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; $400.00 SALE PRICE $360.00


Lucera, Apulia, Italy, c. 225 - 217 B.C.

|Italy|, |Lucera,| |Apulia,| |Italy,| |c.| |225| |-| |217| |B.C.||uncia|
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.
RR98638. Cast bronze uncia, Vecchi ICC 342; Haeberlin p. 184 - 185, 1 - 56 pls. 71, 3 - 6 and 95, 7; HN Italy 674, VF, edge flaw, weight 10.445 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, Lucera mint, c. 225 - 217 B.C.; obverse frog seen from above; reverse grain ear on stalk, pellet left, L right; ex Roma e-sale 84 (16 Jun 2021), lot 49; ex private European collection; very rare; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


Kingdom of Sicily, Manfred von Hohenstaufen, 1258 - 1266

|Sicily|, |Kingdom| |of| |Sicily,| |Manfred| |von| |Hohenstaufen,| |1258| |-| |1266||denaro|
The reading of the legends on this rare type is not certain. Biaggi did not have an adequate specimen and used a line drawing in place of the usual photograph. MEC notes there are no know specimens with clear legends.

Manfred was frequently in conflict with the Papacy and was excommunicated by three different popes. In the Divine Comedy, Dante meets Manfred outside the gates of Purgatory, where the spirit explains that, although he repented of his sins in the moment of death, he must atone by waiting 30 years for each year he lived as an excommunicate, before being admitted to Purgatory proper. Queen Elizabeth is a descendant of King Manfred.
ME95078. Billon denaro, Spahr 199, MEC Italy III 609A, MIR Sicily 138, Biaggi 1277 (R2), F, typical small flan, scratches, uneven strike, weight 0.460 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, Messina mint, 1258 - 1266; obverse + MAYNFRID, S entwined around cross; reverse + SICILIE REX, Ω over R ; $32.00 SALE PRICE $28.80


Melita, Malta, c. 150 - 146 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Melita,| |Malta,| |c.| |150| |-| |146| |B.C.||AE| |26|
Melite or Melita (present-day Mdina) Malta began as a Bronze Age settlement, which grew into the city Maleth under the Phoenicians, and became the administrative center of the island. The city fell to Rome in 218 B.C., and it remained part of the Roman and later the Byzantine Empire until 870 A.D., when it was destroyed by the Aghlabids. The city was then rebuilt and renamed Medina, giving rise to the present name Mdina. It remained Malta's capital city until 1530. Only a few vestiges of the Punic-Roman city have survived. The most substantial are the ruins of the Domvs Romana, an aristocratic town house, in which a number of well-preserved mosaics and statues have been found. Sparse remains of other buildings and parts of the city walls have been excavated, but no visible remains of the city's numerous temples, churches, and other public buildings survive.
GI86525. Bronze AE 26, Calciati III p. 353, 7; SNG Cop VIII 463; SNG Dreer 607; Coleiro 3, F, red-black patina, reverse a little off center, light marks and corrosion, weight 12.228 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, Melita (Mdina, Malta) mint, under Roman rule, c. 150 - 146 B.C.; obverse MEΛITAIΩN (clockwise on right), head of Isis (Coleiro says Astarte) left, wearing uraeus crown, composite of symbol of Tanit and caduceus in left field; reverse Osiris kneeling left on left knee, with four open wings, wearing double crown, short scepter in right hand, flail in left hand; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; very rare; SOLD







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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 Didrachmenprgung von Tarent 510-280 v. Chr. (Berlin, 1999).
Grunauer von Hoerschelmann, S. "Die Bronzeprgung 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-Mrkholm 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, Mnzsammlung Universitt Tbingen, Part 1: Hispania-Sikelia. (Berlin, 1981).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Mdailles, Bibliothque 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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