Featured Coins that go bump in the night

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ryro, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    With the season of the witch upon us I thought I'd kick things off with a spook-coin-tacular post of scary:eek:, macabre:zombie: and just plain gory:vamp: imagery on ancient coins.
    We can thank the Celts for Samhain and a bunch of awesome near abstract stylized knock offs of our favorite ancients (Gods bless those pagans). Over 2,000 years ago the Celts would have celebrated their new years bash and harvest festival on the 31st of October (November 1st was new years day for them). And these parties were epic! The greater the previous years sacrifice the more abundant this years harvest. Keeping in mind that the history on them is written by those who would want them remembered as a bunch of debauched, lustful, psychos:rage::kiss::troll:
    We are told that they felt that it was a liminal time. Due to the changes going on with the world the boundaries between our world and others was thinned and we would be more able to communicate with the spirits and fairies.:nailbiting:
    Though, we can thank the Christians for ripping off another holiday and making it about death:dead: By ganking the holiday and "dead"icating it to celebrating the saints (hallows), hence all Hallows eve, or...Halloween!
    My first sacrificial offering is my most recent acquisition and that of a truly accomplished fellow: Mircea the Elder ruled his realm of Wallachia from 1386-1418 CE and was a Christian closely allied with the last rulers of the Second Bulgarian Empire in their efforts to repulse the invading Ottoman Turks at the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century.
    The role of Voivode Mircea in Bulgarian, Romanian, and Balkan history is especially epic because he was a key figure in what is considered the last crusade against the invading white walkers...I mean Ottoman Turks.
    Oh, and his grandson was Vlad " The Impaler" (earning this nickname for his love of lining impaled enemy heads along the road to his castle) Tepes. Better known as Dracula:vulcan:
    There may or may not be 2 coins of Dracula. And just a handful of his dad, Vlad Dracul (Dracul meaning Dragon. Dracula just meaning son of the Dragon). And those going for thousands!:greedy:

    (Bran castle, better known as castle Dracula in Transylvania Romania)

    These coins being what Dracula would have been using during his life of death.

    31414_00661a00_c (1).jpg
    Wallachia. King Mircea cel Batran, AD 1386 to 1416. Silver Ducat.
    Obverse: Eagle on a helmet set on a shield with Slavic inscriptions around.
    Reverse: Family crest

    Too new for some of you?
    Then let's go back to one of the earliest monsters on coins. You all probably know what I'm about to post. The Gorgons. Specifically, Medusa. Leave it to the misogynistic morbidity of the Greeks to take a poor beautiful virtuous woman who's been taken advantage of by a God and turn her into a snake haired monster that turns men to stone with her mere gaze! Turned into this monster, her and her 2 sisters would roam the world looking for men to get revenge on. (3 freaky babes looking to get young men stoned. The Greeks DID know how to dream).
    Spoiler alert:

    (Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini)

    They send a young hero to dispatch of her...well they sent many. With, shall we say "rocky" results. But Perseus, using the reflection from his shield (given to him by none other than Athena herself) to see her, was able to behead the wo-monster.
    Here are a couple representations of this pitiable python headed perp:

    CollageMaker Plus_201881319424835.png PONTOS, Amisos. Circa 85-65 BC. Æ (28mm, 19.42 g, 12h). Struck under Mithradates VI. Helmeted head of Athena right / Perseus standing facing, holding [harpa] and head of Medusa; body of Medusa at feet, monograms to left and right. Near VF.
    This coin depicts two figures from the legend of Medusa, who was once a beautiful young maiden. Medusa’s hair was turned into hissing serpents and condemned to turn every living thing which gazed upon her to turn to stone. Perseus, son of Zeus and the mortal Danae, was given the task of slaying this monster. He was aided, in part, by Athena who gave her shield to him for the task. In the context of the period which this coin is from, Perseus and Medusa could be representations of Mithradates VI and Rome, respectively.

    Macedon, Neapolis AR Obol. Circa 500-480 BC. Gorgoneion with protruding tongue / Quadripartite incuse square. Traite II 1, 1742, pl. 55, 17. BMC p. 84, 13; SNG ANS 423. 0.65g, 8mm.
    Extremely Fine. Fine late archaic style.

    Fathers lock up your daughters, husbands hide your wives from this next creeper. The Satyr is known to be a lustful drunkard who cares not whether she cares. The Greeks portray the Satyr as part man part horse. The Romans as part man part goat. Either way, if you were an ancient girl debating sneaking out at night you'd think better of it thanks to the stories of this predatory bogeyman that your patents were sure to have warned you about.

    CollageMaker Plus_201846164351132.png Thracian Islands, Thasos
    (c.500-480 B.C.E.), Silver
    Drachm, 3.4g 16 MM. Naked
    ithyphallic satyr in a
    kneeling- running position
    right, carrying off in his arms
    a nymph, who wears robes
    and raises her right hand in
    protest. Rev. Quadripartite
    incuse square (BMC 12;
    SNG Copenhagen
    1016).Broad flan

    And, as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I'll take a page out of one of my favorite threads, that, by @TIF being: https://www.cointalk.com/threads/just-for-fun-totally-looks-like-thread.238718/
    A few spooky totally looks likes.
    No, that's not Icabod Crane with a headless horseman reverse.


    One can never count the Romans out when it comes to violence. It's...

    CollageMaker Plus_201845194640322.png
    AR-Denarius, 3,90 g.
    Rome. c. 116-115.
    Obv.: ROMA / EX SC
    Helmeted head of Roma r.
    Rev.: M SERGI SILUS / Q
    Horseman l., holding sword and severed head of barbarian.

    Is that a voodoo priest???

    Naw. It's a good ol

    CollageMaker Plus_201878211021224.png
    Jaga Deva (1199-1213 CE)
    Vuppadeva dynasty Kashmir
    Obverse: Lakshmi seated facing
    Reverse: king standing sacrificing at altar

    I know there are tons more spooky coins out there. Please post all your scary:mask:, wicked:android:, gory:hungover: and whatever else floats your boat:chicken: ancients!
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Nice coins.

    I always call this one my "Zombie Marcus" due to the toning and old portrait.

    Marcus Aurelius (161 - 180 A.D.)
    AR Denarius
    O: M AVREL ANTONINVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right.
    R:TR P XXXIIII IMP X COS III P P, Victory standing left on globe, holding wreath with her right hand, cradling trophy with her left arm.
    Rome mint. Struck 180 A.D.
    RIC III 411 var. (bust type); BMCRE 808; MIR 18, 463-4/37; RSC 975a.

    Freaky Michelin Man FH

    Constantius II (337 - 361 A.D.)
    O: D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right.
    R: FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), soldier rushing left spearing fallen horseman, soldier in military garb with helmet and shield on left arm, soldiers right foot on shield on the ground, horseman laying across his stumbled mount, bare-headed, without beard, raising left hand in helpless defense.
    Nocomedia Mint
    RIC Nocomedia 96 variant
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  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Nice overview.
    Ryro likes this.
  5. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    LOVE the zombieaurelius! That must be how he got so smart. From all of the brains he ate!!:zombie:
    And double points for the FH. Not only is it violent he already has his Halloween costume on:mask:
  6. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    My Plautius Plancus denarius of the Roman Republic is a good example of macabre fright with it's Medusa head obverse:


    "In Greek mythology, Medusa was a monster, a Gorgon, generally described as a winged human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Gazers upon her face would turn to stone."
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  7. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Forgot this too.

    M. Sergius Silus. (116-115 B.C.)
    AR Denarius
    O: Helmeted head of Roma right; mark of value behind.
    R: Soldier on horseback rearing left, holding sword and severed head of barbarian; Q below.
    Rome Mint
    Crawford 286/1; Sydenham 534; Sergia 1.
  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Here's a severed head on a platter!

    Maximinus II Daia GENIO AVGVSTI follis.jpg
    Maximinus II Daza, AD 309-313, as Augustus.
    Roman Æ follis, 21.4 mm, 4.88 g, 12 h.
    Antioch, AD 312.
    Obv: IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head, right.
    Rev: GENIO AVGVSTI, Genius standing left, modius on head, naked but for chlamys over left shoulder, holding head of Sol and cornucopiae; *|Z //ANT.
    Refs: RIC 164b; Cohen 21; RCV 14840.
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  9. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Thanks Doug. I seem to recall you having a pretty creepy Gorgon of your own...
  10. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    What a nice assortment of Halloween coins!

    Artemis looks creepy on these Saserna denarii and the Gallic woman appears full of dread:
    L. Hostilius Saserna
    48 BCE
    AR denarius, 19 mm, 4.1 g, 6 h. Rome
    Obv: Bare head of a Gallic woman to right, with long disheveled hair; behind, carnyx; in field to right, 3 test cuts.
    Rev: L.HOSTILIVS / SASERNA; Artemis (Diana) standing facing, holding stag with her right hand and spear with her left
    Ref: Crawford 448/3. Sydenham 953.
    Ex W. F. Stoecklin, Amriswil, Switzerland, acquired prior to 1975.

    Spooky Silenus:

    MACEDON (ROMAN PROTECTORATE), Republican period.
    Transitional bronze issue

    c. 167-165 BC
    Obv: Facing mask of Silenus, wearing ivy wreath
    Rev: MAKE ΔONΩN legend In two lines; D above; all within ivy wreath
    Ref: SNG Copenhagen 1324-6

    Roman Imperatorial, moneyer L. Plautius Plancus
    47 BCE
    AR Denarius, 3.79 gm
    Obv: L. PLAVTIVS; facing mask of Medusa, serpents at either side of face; banker's mark on cheek
    Rev: PLANCVS; Aurora flying right and conducting the four horses of the sun. Banker's mark in left field.
    Ref: Plautia 15b Sear 429, Cr453/1b; Syd 959a.
    formerly slabbed by NGC

    THRACE, Apollonia Pontika
    Mid-late 4th century BCE
    AR drachm, 10 mm, 3.2 gm
    Obv: Facing gorgoneion
    Rev: Upright anchor; A to left, crayfish to right
    Ref: Topalov, Apollonia p. 348, 11

    Decapitated Medusa:



    PONTOS, Amisos
    85-65 BCE, time of Mithradates VI Eupator
    AE, (each is 27-29 mm)
    Obv: helmeted head of Athena right; helmet decorated with griffin
    Rev: AMIΣOY; Perseus standing facing, holding harpa and head of Medusa, Medusa's body at his feet, blood gushing from the neck; monogram in left field

    Sea monster:
    CARIA, Halikarnassos (reassigned from Kindya)
    500-496 BCE
    AR tetrobol, 2.18 gm, 11 mm, Samian standard
    Obv: head of ketos right
    Rev: geometric pattern within incuse square
    Ref: Kagan and Kritt, 'The Coinage of Kindya,' NC 1995, 1 var. (head left); SNG Keckman 920 var. (same); SNG Kayhan 815; "Asyut Hoard" 688
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  11. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    I drag this one out every Halloween for this thread. The mummy of Artemis:
    Anemorion/Anemurium, Valerian, 253-268 AD (dated ЄΤΓ, year 3), AE29, 11.87g
    Obv: ΑΥ Κ ΠΟ ΛΙ ΟΥΑΛΕΡΙΑΝΟΝ; laureate, draped & cuirassed bust right
    Rev: ЄΤΓ ΑΝΕ ΝΟΥΡΙΕΩΝ; Mummy shaped cult statue of Artemis facing holding branches, at her feet, stag
    ex Harlan J Berk, 43rd buy or bid sale, May 1986, lot 365

    Not sure if I have shown this next item before. There is some disagreement as to what is depicted.
    ARTUQIDS OF MARDIN. HUSÂM AD-DÎN YÛLUQ-ARSLÂN 580-597 AH (1184-1201 AD). Copper dirham.
    Obv: The seated Turk (representing the planet Mars) with sword behind his head and holding the head of ghoul (the star Algol?) in his left hand.
    Rev: names of the caliph, the Ayyûbids al-Afdal 'Alî and az-Zâhir Ghâzî, sons of Saladin, and the Artuqid.
    Ref: Spengler/Sayles 36.3; Album, Checklist 1829.4.
    ex-Dr. Busso Peus Nachfolger, auction 382, April 2005, lot 849

    This last one I haven't shown before because it is difficult to photograph and it isn't great in hand either. Extremely tiny! It depicts a scorpion-man on the reverse.
    Samaria, 400-333 BC?, 0.19g 7mm
    Obv: Winged bull jumping r., head reverted.
    Rev. Winged and bearded ”Scorpion Man” r.
    Ref: Meshorer-Qedar 11.
  12. Johndakerftw

    Johndakerftw Mr. Rogers is My Hero

    Thanks everybody, I’m sleeping with the lights on tonight. :eek:

  13. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES! Supporter

    What a scary thread! This is scarier than Monster Chiller Horror Theater!


    Look at this man eating snake!



    ITALY, Milan. Giovanni Maria Visconti, 1402-1412 AD. AR Grosso

    O:+ S AMBROSIVS MEDIOLAN St. Ambrose mitred, nimbate, seated facing, holding scourge and crozier. R: + • IOHANES• MARIA• DVX• MEDIOLANI 3C'• Visonti coat of arms flanked by I-M. 22 mm, 2.4 g.

    Thing from the Adams family!



    Claudius, AE Quadrans , AD 42.

    O: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG, hand holding scales, PNR in field; R: PON M TR P IMP PP COS II around S C. RIC 91, Cohen 73. 17 mm, 3.2 g.


  14. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    Gotta love count Floyd!
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  15. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo Temporarily Away

    When I first got this coin I remember thinking that Khusro was all dressed up and ready for his Día de Muertos party :wideyed:

    Great thread @Ryro
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  16. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    YiKeS!!! This thread has turned into a dark and dreary place...and I LIKE IT! To quote Dr Frankenstein, "It's alive!"
    Now I know what my next imperatorial has got to be. One of those goulishly awesome M P Plancus Gorgons. Alla @Carausius and @TIF. Also, very jealous of your Saserna TIF. I was just recently out bid on one (by a lot) and treated myself to dracs gramps as a consolation.
    Gortastic severed heads @Roman Collector and @Ed Snible! And oober creepy mummy and scorpion man Ed. Something tells me I'll be searching for a while till I find mine.
    And @chrsmat71 I LOVE everything about your post... though Claudius' quadrans as thing is a pretty 1st class move right there.
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  17. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Thanks @Curtisimo! Wonderful Sassanian.
    Maybe it's time for a...
  18. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    It amazes me that Danny Elfman went on to be a series composer for films. My favourite of his has to be the score for Batman (1989).
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  19. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    I think this 'seated god' coin of the Remi is a bit spooky.

    celtic the remi.jpg

    Personally I think he looks like this guy.

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  20. Smojo

    Smojo dreamliner

    Cool, I don't have any I would call scary per se but here I try.
    This Kolophon Apollo has some cool green eyes.
    My only Gorgon that I still haven't taken a photo of. Photo and coin from JAZ

    And my presently mumified hand
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  21. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    The Three Headed Monster:
    Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 9.21.22 PM.jpg
    Ujjain, 155-120 BC, probably Shiva on the obv.

    Corrosion transforms a beautiful Apollo into a thing of nightmares:
    Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 9.22.28 PM.jpg
    Satraps/Dynasts of Caria: Pixodaros (340-335 BC), didrachm, Halikarnassos mint

    My own Plautius Plancus gorgon:
    Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 9.24.22 PM.jpg

    Zeno from Cherson with his cheek gouged out is pretty scary IMO:
    Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 9.26.32 PM.jpg
    (AE3 size)

    Cherson also did pretty good skeletons:
    Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 9.35.44 PM.jpg
    Theodosius II (408-450) AE2

    And the thread would definitely not be complete without Zombie Jesus (plus bonus Zombie Nic and Zombie Basil), ex stevex6!
    Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 9.32.00 PM.jpg
    Nicephorus II (963-969) w/ Basil II, fourrée solidus
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