Buy a Hare

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, Jun 6, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Normally I do not buy coins based on the animals depicted on them. Every now and then there's a nice example of Pegasus on a stater of Corinth, or an attractive horse on a coin from Thessaly, but they are the exceptions. Otherwise, I generally steer clear of these coins and focus on my favorite themes: trade coinage and coinage with interesting historical backgrounds.

    A year of so ago I came across, a tetradrachm of Messana, one that has a mule drawn biga on the reverse and a running hare right on the obverse. So, I went ahead and placed a bid, which was successful. As grade goes for this example, it is not at the top, but it is decent.

    Sicily, Messana AR Tetradrachm. 480-461 BC. Mule biga driven to right by seated male charioteer; bay leaf in exergue / Hare springing right, MESSENION around. SNG ANS 315-319. 17.36g, 26mm, 7h.

    Good Very Fine.

    Ex Roma Numismatics Ltd., E-Sale 20, 29 August 2015, lot 80.

    D-Camera Messana Tetradrachm,  480-461 BC, Roma Sale 55  6-6-20.jpg

    So, if you feel inclined to hop into this thread and head down the rabbit hole, please do.

    But watch out for that cwazy wabbit!

    ycon, Nemo, Carl Wilmont and 25 others like this.
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  3. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    Eat a hare.

    greek167obv.jpg greek167rev.jpg

    Ex BCD Collection.
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Not much to say but a bit**en coin, congrats.:eek::cool:
  5. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..why 'hare' yes...><
  6. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Nice example! This type does actually have an interesting historical background. They began to be struck under Anaxilas, the tyrant of Rhegion, who had conquered Zankle on Sicily and renamed it Messana. The mule biga advertises his Olympic win in 480 BC. The hare is possibly a reference to the tradition that states he was the one who had introduced the animal to Sicily during a time of food shortage.

    Here’s my wittle wabbit from Whegion.

    [​IMG]BRUTTIUM, Rhegion
    AR Litra. 0.57g, 9.2mm. BRUTTIUM, Rhegion, circa 480-462 BC. Anaxilas, tyrant. SNG Cop 1926; HGC 1, 1649 (R1); Sear Greek 497 (as obol). O: Hare leaping right. R: REC (retrograde).
    Ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli Collection
  7. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter


    Sicily Akragas AE Trias 23mm 8.5g 287-241 BCE Beardless Zeus Hellanios 2 Eagles hare in talons HGC 2 159
  8. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Messana, Sicily; circa 460-456 B.C. AR Tetradrachm (26mm; 17.26 gm; 12h). Obv: Charioteer driving walking biga right; leaf with fruit in exergue; Nike flying above crowning horses. Rev: Hare springing right, branch with two leaves below. Caltabiano 303 (D137/R129); Randazzo 176.
  9. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Supporter! Supporter

    Rabbits really seem to get the short end of the stick from Akragas. Here's my silver version:


    And, a less at-risk rabbit from Messana:

    Carl Wilmont, TIF, randygeki and 17 others like this.
  10. Herodotus

    Herodotus Well-Known Member



    Such pretty coins. Thanks for posting 'em.
  11. tartanhill

    tartanhill Well-Known Member

    Here's my bunny contribution. I bought it for my grand daughter who has a pet rabbit. When I asked her what she thought the three pellets represented, she said they were rabbit droppings. Yes, another teachable moment.


    Sicily. Messana 450-400 BC. Tetras Æ
    13mm., 2,26g.
    Female head right / Hare springing to left, three pellets below, all within laurel wreath.
    very fine
  12. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

    Great Coins as always Joe and beautiful photography too:)
  13. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

    Looks like the wabbit lost this struggle.

    Ancient Sicily, Akragas c.413-406 B.C. AR Tetradrachm (16.98 gms) NGC XF Strike 4/5 Surface 5/5 Fine Style (SNG Lloyd-818; Kraay-Hirmer-178).

    Obverse: Female charioteer driving fast quadriga right with robes billowing behind her, Nike above flying left to crown driver, crab in exergue;
    Reverse: Two eagles feeding on downed hare on rocks, one screeching with its head raised and one down.

    Akragas Tet Obv.jpg

    Akragas Tet Rev.jpg

    Eh, What's up Doc?
  14. EWC3

    EWC3 (mood: stubborn)

    Nothing much in "Golden Bough" but Robert Graves (White Goddess) has a bunch of comments on Hares - for instance that Leviticus and Pliny say it was taboo to eat them, and that Boedicea took one into battle. (He also says they were sacred to the triple goddess - but he says that about near everything).

    Anyhow - I looked because - as some will know - people in the far east do not see a man-in-the-moon but a hare-in-the-moon. And that does apparently show up on some rather scarce Mongol Il-Khan dirhems. Less noticed is that it seems to crop up as a mark on Magadha/Mauryan PMCs too.

    But maybe that is just an eastern way of looking at things - that never came west?

    Rob T

    PS As on (nearly) everything - wiki is helpful - see "hare" and "moon-rabbit"
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
  15. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Great examples, all! Thank you for your posts.

    Here's a coin "in the pipeline", waiting for the situation to improve with the Royal Mail, I hope soon.

    This is an example of an Æ hemilitron of Arkragas, Sicily, a coin that shows up with some frequency in auction and on fixed price lists.

    For a while I thought that the eagle clutching the dead hare might be alluding to a possible conflict between Arkragas and Messana, since the latter used the hare as a civic symbol on its coinage. However, I failed to find evidence of any conflict between these cities. Arkragas maintained a neutral stance during the Athenian expedition during the Peloponnesian War, and was actually allied with Syracuse and other cities in the conflict with Carthage, which ultimately resulted in the Carthaginians sacking Arkragas in 406 BC.

    Lot 274, Roma E-Sale 71

    Sicily, Akragas Æ Hemilitron. Circa 409-406 BC. Eagle standing right with wings spread, clutching dead hare in talons; barleycorn to right, AKPA upwards below wings / Crab; hippocamp to right below, six pellets around. CNS 17; HGC 2, 133 (same obv. die as illustration?). 22.73g, 32mm, 9h.

    Good Very Fine; much remaining obv. detail.

    From a private European collection.

  16. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Beautiful examples!
    AncientJoe likes this.
  17. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    What's up is that you have one excellent coin!
    1934 Wreath Crown likes this.
  18. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Messana Ar Tetradrachm 420-413 B.C. Obv. Mule biga walking right. Rv Hare springing right Caitabaino 524 HGC 792 17.15 grms 24 mm Phot by W. Hansen messana1.jpeg
  19. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Splendid Terence!
  20. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    LOL. Yup, I think she taught YOU! I always love the creativity of a child! We are all preprogrammed by life, but children see it for what it is! Rabbit poop! LOL
    tartanhill likes this.
  21. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

    Thanks @robinjojo
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