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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Military| ▸ |Nike or Victory||View Options:  |  |  |   

Nike or Victory on Ancient Coins

Victoria or Nike, the Winged Goddess of Victory, personifies victory. She was described variously in different myths as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal). Nike and her siblings were close companions of Zeus. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titan War. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame, symbolized by a wreath of laurel leaves. Victory or Nike is one of the most common figures on Greek and Roman coins.


Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

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SH86312. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XIVb, 489 (V258/R351); SNG ANS 156 (same dies); Weber 1583 (same obv. die); BMC Sicily, p. 156, 80; Jameson 762; HGC 2 1312, EF, mint luster in recesses, light tone, obverse die wear, uneven strike, reverse off center, weight 17.391 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 466 - 460 B.C.; obverse charioteer driving slow quadriga right, holding reins in both hands, goad in right hand, Nike above flying left crowning driver with wreath, Ketos (sea serpent) right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, head of Arethusa right, wearing pearl or bead necklace and earring with loop and finial pendant, thin band wound once around her head and tying back hair in queue, four dolphins around swimming clockwise; ex CNG auction 102 (18 May 2016), lot 135; ex Colin E. Pitchfork Collection; ex Dr. Neil Geddes (20 Nov 2002); ex Noble auction 54 (22 July 1997), lot 1640; ex Stack’s sale, 6 Dec 1995, lot 65; $1900.00 (€1672.00)
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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Lampsacus was known as a center for worship of Priapus, who was said to have been born there.

Thompson notes that Lampsacus was Lysimachos' largest mint in Asia Minor, with approximately 150 known obverse dies. Output from Lampsacus declined when Amphipolis began its extensive coinage c. 288 B.C.
SL89730. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 195, Müller 102, HGC 3 1750l, NGC VF, strike 5/5, surface 4/5, fine style, scratches (2490386-005), weight 16.859 g, maximum diameter 32.0 mm, die axis 30o, Amphipolis mint, 288 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of deified Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Athena Nikephoros enthroned left, Nike crowning name in extended right hand, left arm rests on grounded round shield decorated with lion head, transverse spear against right side, kerykeion with handle inner left field, YE monogram outer right; $1725.00 (€1518.00)
 


Vetranio, 1 March - 25 December 350 A.D.

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In 312 A.D., Constantine the Great dreamed he saw a Christogram in the sky and heard the words IN HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, meaning in Latin, "In this sign, you will be the victor." He ordered the sign of Christ on his legions standards and shields. He won a great victory and later became the first Christian Roman Emperor.
RL92012. Billon maiorina, RIC VIII Siscia 287 (S), LRBC II 1174, Voetter 9, SRCV V 18905, Cohen VIII 4 (25 Fr.), EF, one of the finest Vetranio bronzes we have ever seen, weight 4.857 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 1 Mar - 25 Dec 350 A.D.; obverse D N VETRANIO P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, A behind, star before; reverse HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, Vetranio standing left in military dress, labarum (Christogram standard) in right hand, scepter in left hand, crowned by Victory behind, A left, •ASIS• (A resembling H) in exergue; ex FORVM (2009); ex Scott Collection; ex H.D. Rauch auction 75 (6 May 2005), lot 923; scarce; $750.00 (€660.00)
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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Thompson notes that Pyrrhus held Pella until 286 B.C. It was one of the last, if not the last, mint opened by Lysimachos. Twenty-six obverse dies are known for the tetradrachms.
SH93849. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 248, HGC 3.2 1750p (S), Müller 353 var. (monogram in ex.), VF, superb high relief portrait, light toning with some darker spots, bumps and marks, weight 16.645 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 180o, Pella mint, 286 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse Athena enthroned left, Nike crowning name in her right hand, resting left arm on grounded round shield behind, transverse spear against right side, HP monogram outer left, monogram inner left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ΛYΣIMAXOY downward on left; ex Divus Numismatik; scarce; $750.00 (€660.00)
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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Thompson notes that Lampsacus was Lysimachos largest mint in Asia Minor, with approximately 150 known obverse dies. Output from Lampsacus declined when Amphipolis began its extensive coinage c. 288 B.C.
SH93850. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 47, Müller 401, SNG BnF 2540, HGC 3.2 1750b, VF, spectacular high relief portrait, light tone, well centered, bumps and scratches, porosity, weight 16.739 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 0o, Mysia, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, 297 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse Athena enthroned left, Nike crowning name in her right hand, resting left arm on grounded round shield behind, transverse spear against right side, HP monogram inner left, crescent with horns left in exergue, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ΛYΣIMAXOY downward on left; ex Divus Numismatik; $650.00 (€572.00)
 


Side, Pamphylia, c. 145 - 125 B.C.

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In 190 B.C. a fleet from Rhodes, supported by Rome and Pergamum, defeated the Seleucid fleet under the command of the fugitive Carthaginian general Hannibal. The Seleucid defeat freed Side from the overlord-ship of the Seleucid Empire. The Treaty of Apamea (188 B.C.) left Side in a state of uncertain freedom. It was during this period of autonomy that Side struck these tetradrachms. It would last until 36 B.C. when the city came under the rule of the Roman client King of Galatia, Amyntas.
GS92896. Silver tetradrachm, SNGvA 4796 (also with anchor c/m); SNG BnF 694; BMC Pamphylia p. 148, 46 (KΛE-YX), Choice VF, well centered, reverse strike a little flat, obverse flattened opposite of countermark, weight 16.505 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 0o, Side (near Selimiye, Antalya Province, Turkey) mint, magistrate Kleuch-, c. 145 - 125 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right in a crested Corinthian helmet; reverse Nike advancing left, wreath extended in right hand, pomegranate in left field, KΛ-E (magistrate's name) divided across field below center; countermark: anchor within incuse rectangle; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 77 (5 May 2019), lot 287; $500.00 (€440.00)
 


Roman Republic, M. Tullius, 120 B.C.

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The wreath might represent an eclipse that occurred on 11 November 120 B.C., which the Romans declared indicated divine support for their recent victories in southern France. The reverse more likely commemorates the victories of Servius Tullius, the moneyer's ancestor, over the Sabines. He was the first Roman to be awarded the laurel wreath. The mark of value (X) on the reverse is very unusual.
RR92757. Silver denarius, SRCV I 155, Sydenham 531, Crawford 280/1, RSC I Tullia 1, Choice aEF, beautiful style, attractive iridescent toning, light marks, weight 3.924 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 120 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Roma right, ROMA behind; reverse Victory in a quadriga right, reins in both hands, palm frond in left, wreath above, X below, M•TVLLI in exergue; $350.00 (€308.00)
 


Cappadocian Kingdom, Ariarathes VII Philometor, 116 - 101 B.C., In the Name and Types of Antiochos VII of Syria

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When Ariarathes VII Philometor was a child under the regency of his mother Laodice, Cappadocia was seized by King Nicomedes III of Bithynia, who then married Laodice. Laodice's brother King Mithridates VI of Pontus soon expelled Nicomedes and the restored the Cappadocian throne to Ariarathes VII. When Ariarathes VII learned that his father's assassin was under Mithridates' protection (Mithridates had arranged the murder), he prepared for war. Before the battle, the King of Pontus had him killed and put his own son Ariarathes IX on the Cappadocian throne.
GY91996. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber 2148; HGC 7 829; HGC 9 1069, gVF, areas a little rough, a few deposits, weight 16.604 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Eusebia-Mazaka mint, 107/6 - 104/3 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochos VII right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ APIAPAΘOY ΦIΛOMHTPOΣ, Athena Nikephoros standing left, Nike right in extended right offering wreath, spear and grounded shield in left hand, monogram above A outer left, O inner left, Λ inner right; all within laurel wreath; ex CNG e-auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 227; $300.00 (€264.00)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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Victory or Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Victory or Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.
RS92475. Silver denarius, RIC IV 423 (S) var. (...CAE L SEV...); RSC III 696 var. (same), BMCRE V p. 98, W393 var. (same, VICT AVG); SRCV II -; Hunter III -, EF, toned, minor encrustations, die wear, some letters unstruck, edge cracks, weight 3.188 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 0o, Emesa (Homs, Syria) mint, 194 - 195 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II, laureate head right; reverse VICTOR AVG, Victory advancing right holding trophy in both hands; extremely rare, this is the only example of this variety known to FORVM; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $300.00 (€264.00)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Caesarea Maritima, Samaria

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Caesarea, about 30 miles north of Joppa and about 70 miles northwest of Jerusalem, was the capital of the Roman province of Judaea, the seat of the procurators, and the headquarters of the Roman troops. It was founded by Herod the Great and named after Caesar Augustus.
JD93012. Bronze AE 32, Hendin 836, SNG ANS 766, Rosenberger 24, Kadman Caesarea 27, F, green patina, grainy, earthen deposits, weight 18.384 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 0o, Caesarea Maritima mint, obverse IMP TRA HADRIANO CAES AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse COL I FL AVG, Hadrian, as priest-founder, plowing right with oxen, Nike flying left above holding wreath, CAESAREN in exergue; from The Jimi Berlin Caesarea Collection (surface find, Caesarea, Israel, 1972); $300.00 (€264.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Flügelgestalten der Athena und Nike auf Münzen" in NZ III (1871)., pp. 1 - 50.
Marest-Caffey, L. "Seleukos I's Victory Coinage of Susa Revisited: A Die Study and Commentary" in AJN 28 (2016).

Catalog current as of Friday, December 6, 2019.
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Nike or Victory