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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Animals| ▸ |Dolphin||View Options:  |  |  |   

Dolphins on Ancient Coins

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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"At the mouth of the Tiber River, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Ostia means mouth in Latin. This coin was issued to commemorate the completion of an artificial harbor at Ostia, begun under Claudius in 42 A.D. and completed under Nero in 64 A.D.

The earliest known post-diaspora house-synagogue was at Ostia. In 387, St. Augustine stayed in Ostia with his mother, who died there.

Ostia began to decline in the Severan period. By the Constantine Dynasty, Portus was the main port for Rome. Earthquake damage at Ostia was left uncleared. At the end of the fifth century the aqueduct stopped functioning. In 537 with the area under attack from the Goths, the remaining inhabitants retreated to the theater, which they turned into a little fortress. Early in the ninth century Ostia was captured by the Saracens and abandoned.

Ostian marble was reused in the cathedrals of Pisa, Florence, Amalfi and Orvieto. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was entirely built of material from Ostia. Despite all this, Ostia today is known for its well preserved ruins and magnificent frescos.
SH32118. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 440, BMCRE I 323, Mac Dowall WCN 420, Cohen I 251, BnF II 75, Hunter I -, SRCV I -, Choice VF, pourous surfaces, weight 24.599 g, maximum diameter 35.4 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon) mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head right, globe at point of bust; reverse bird's eye view of the Port of Ostia, eight ships in the harbor, statue of Neptune on lighthouse at top, river-god Tiber reclining holding rudder and dolphin below, all flanked by colonnade ending in temple on left and boat slips on right, S - C above, PORT AVG below; nice portrait, ex Stack's Coin Galleries; rare and historic; SOLD


Phokaia, Ionia, c. 625 - 522 B.C.

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Phocaea, or Phokaia, was an ancient Ionian Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia. Greek colonists from Phocaea founded the colony of Massalia (modern day Marseille, in France) in 600 B.C., Emporion (modern day Empķries, in Catalonia, Spain) in 575 B.C. and Elea (modern day Velia, in Campania, Italy) in 540 B.C.
SH86204. Electrum hekte, Triton XVI, lot 464; Bodenstedt - (cf. Em. 1), aEF, well centered and struck, small edge cracks, weight 2.575 g, maximum diameter 10.3 mm, die axis 0o, Phokaia (Foca, Turkey) mint, c. 625/0 - 522 B.C.; obverse forepart of seal right, dolphin swimming downward behind, annulet or ring below; reverse irregular incuse square punch; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 40, lot 270; extremely rare; SOLD


Syracuse, Sicily, Deinomenid Tyranny, Time of Hieron I, c. 475-470 B.C.

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From the height of Syracuse preeminence amongst the Sicilian Greeks, shortly after the great victory over the Carthaginian invaders at Himera in 480 B.C.
SH86273. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer 332 (V164/R232); Randazzo 504 (same dies); SNG ANS -, aEF, superb style, centered on a tight flan, attractive toning, some light marks, weight 17.315 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 485 - 479 B.C.; obverse charioteer walking slow quadriga right, kentron in right hand, reins in left hand, Nike above flying right crowning horses; reverse ΣYPAKOΣION, Head of Arethusa right, wearing earring, beaded necklace and beaded diadem, her hair tied in a krobylos, surrounded by four dolphins swimming clockwise; ex Roma Numismatics, auction 6 (29 Sep 2013), lot 439; ex Comery Collection; SOLD


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

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Following Heron's death, democracy was restored in 466 B.C. Similar to at Athens, the polis was governed by a council and popular assembly with an executive consisting of elected generals or strategoi. Syracuse fought against Athens 427 - 424 B.C. and again 415 - 413 B.C.; ultimately Syracuse was victorious. With further reforms by Diocles, the democratic nature of Syracuse's political structure was further strengthened.
SH86210. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XVIIa, 586 (V291/R396); SNG ANS 189 (same dies); McClean 2670 (same); Pozzi 582 (same); HGC 2 1313, gVF, fine style, lightly toned, well centered, tight flan as always for the type, light bumps and marks, light porosity, slight die shift on reverse, pre-strike casting sprue remnant, weight 16.999 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, c. 440 - 430 B.C.; obverse Charioteer driving quadriga right, Nike flying right above crowning horses, ketos right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, head of Arethusa right, hair bound with wide taenia, four dolphins swimming around; ex CNG auction 102 (18 May 2016), lot 143; ex Allan Smith M.D. Collection; ex CNG auction 81 (20 May 2009), lot 162; rare; SOLD


Syracuse, Sicily, Deinomenid Tyranny, Time of Hieron, c. 478 - 467 B.C.

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From the height of Syracuse preeminence amongst the Sicilian Greeks, shortly after the great victory over the Carthaginian invaders at Himera in 480 B.C.
SH86274. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer 338 (V166/R236); Randazzo 507 - 509 (same dies); SNG ANS -, gVF, fantastic style, toned, centered on a tight flan, small areas struck a little flat, marks, pre-strike flan casting sprues remaining (as usual for the type), weight 16.971 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 478 - 467 B.C.; obverse slow quadriga driven right by male charioteer, kentron in right hand, reins in left hand, Nike above flying right crowning horses; reverse ΣVRA-KOS-I-ON (Latin R upside down, N reversed), Artemis-Arethusa right, archaic eye, hair slightly waved in front turned up in a krobylos under a diadem of beads, wearing earring and necklace, surrounded by four dolphins swimming clockwise; ex Roma Numismatics, auction 6 (29 Sep 2013), lot 441; ex Comery Collection; SOLD


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

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Use of the title "King" suggests a date before 261 B.C. The style of the portrait is that of mid-reign of Ptolemy II, and unlike and finer than those of the Phoenician mints. The portrait style and compact lettering are similar to those on the rare ΘE mintmark coins, probably struck at Thera, an Aegean base for the Ptolemaic Navy. A dolphin mintmark was used on Alexander tetradrachms from an unknown Greek or Macedonian mint. Perhaps this coin was struck in the same uncertain Greek city.
SH66538. Silver tetradrachm, unpublished(?), not in references held by Forum and no examples found online, VF, reverse graffiti, weight 14.083 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Greek(?) mint, c. 265 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right with aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing right on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, dolphin left before; ex Pegasi, unpublished, puzzling and possibly unique; SOLD


Sicily, Siculo-Punic, 4th Century B.C.

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"The types too are generally considered to be Carthaginian, especially that of the horse's head by itself, which is taken as a reference to the myth recounted by Vergil, that the companions of Dido on her expedition to found Carthage 'dug up a horse's head at the spot indicated by Juno.' Moreover, according to Stephanus, Carthage was also called KAKKABH, a word that in Punic means 'the head of a horse'." -- Eckhel, Doctrina I (1792), pp. 229-230. Eckhel himself has some hesitation about accepting this explanation of the type, however, because of the appearance of a similar horse's head type on early Roman didrachms with the inscription ROMA.
SH08966. Silver tetradrachm, MŁller Afrique p. 76, type 23; SNG Cop (Zeugitania) 86; SNG Cop (Sicily) 982, EF, extraordinary high relief, superb style, some mint luster, weight 16.84 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 180o, Sicilian mint, c. 320/315 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Kore-Tanit left, wreathed in barley, wearing triple-pendant earring, and necklace, four dolphins around swimming clockwise; reverse horse's head left, date palm behind, Punic letter M below; SOLD


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 ΣYPAKOSON, 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 Stackís sale, 6 Dec 1995, lot 65; SOLD


Syracuse, Sicily, c. 405 B.C., Signed by Kimon

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The finest style by one of the greatest masters of numismatic art. The famous master-engravers who signed their work in gold and silver also signed some bronze coins. This is the first example with a clear KIM signature that we have seen.
SH17090. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II 45, 19 fr 1; HGC 2 1479; SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -; SNG MŁnchen -; BMC Sicily -, EF, attractive green patina, weight 3.666 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 225o, Syracuse mint, c. 415 - 405 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa left, hair bound with ampyx and sphendone, signature KIM in lower right field; reverse wheel of four spokes, ΣY−PA in upper quarters divided by spoke, dolphin head down and inward in each of the lower quarters; SOLD


Syracuse, Sicily, Deinomenid Tyranny (time of Gelon and Hieron), c. 485 - 479 B.C.

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SH53581. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer 128, nice VF, weight 17.228 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, obverse slow quadriga driven right by male charioteer holding goad, Nike above flying right crowning horses; reverse ΣYPAKO−ΣI−O−N, Artemis-Arethusa right, hair slightly waved in front turned up under diadem of beads, surrounded by four dolphins swimming clockwise; charming late-archaic style; SOLD




  




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Catalog current as of Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
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Dolphins