Heads or heads or tails or tails or tails

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by AncientJoe, Aug 8, 2020.

  1. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Well-Known Member

    Some coins are important because they depict an emperor who changed history. Others are beautiful because they were engraved by the most talented artists of their time.

    Then there are some coins which are just fascinating and enigmatic: this is one of those.

    While I'm not aware of a deeper meaning behind it, it certainly turns heads (groan-inducing pun intended):


    CILICIA. Uncertain. 4th century BC. Obol. Janiform head; on the left, a bearded male; on the right, a diademed female. Rev. Triform bearded male head. Göktürk 37 and pl. XX, 7. 0.88 gr, 9mm

    Post your unusual coins!
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Wow, never seen this type of coin before. Really neat. Congrats.
  4. MeowtheKitty

    MeowtheKitty Well-Known Member

    The only time Meow has heard the name Janus was for the two faced James Bond Villain, and the insurance company with a two faced head logo.
    Roman Collector likes this.
  5. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I'll take tails since the odds are 3:2 :wacky: :D

    Yeah, this one is now added to the list :).

    Okay :D.

    A snake atop a horse... not just plopped atop but holding onto the reins. Yeehah, giddyup!
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Domitian. Regnal year 10, CE 90/91. Æ diobol (25mm, 10.86 g, 12h). AVT KAICAP ΔΟ ΜΙΤ CEB ΓΕΡΜ, laureate head right / Agathodaemon serpent, wearing the skhent crown (emblematic of upper and lower Egypt), on horseback galloping left; L I (date) below. Köln –; Dattari (Savio) –; K&G 24.109; RPC II 2585; SNG Copenhagen 214; Emmett 277.10 (R5).

    Ex Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection. Ex West Coast/Lloyd Beauchaine Collection (Classical Numismatic Group 41, 19 March 1997), lot 1110; Classical Numismatic Review Vol. XVI, No. 1 (January 1991), lot 316; Numismatic Fine Arts Fall Mail Bid Sale (18 October 1990), lot 2365.

    Appearances: Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 39 (this coin). Obverse illustrated in Emmett as the header for the Domitian section, p. 24 (this coin); fully illustrated in Emmett, p. 26 (this coin, discussing the unusual reverse).

    This one is described more or less as a snake coiled atop a horse but it looks like it may be a snake-encircled baetyl atop a horse.

    LYDIA, Philadelphia. Caracalla. Æ 31, 16.7 gm, CE 198-217. Ioulianos, strategos. AVT K M AVP ANTΩNЄINOC; laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right / ЄΠI CTPA IOVΛIANOV A ΠOΛ ΦIΛΑΔЄΛΦЄΩN; horse prancing left surmounted by serpent coiled left. BMC 85.

    Not many coins feature a closeup of a foot. Hmm, are there six toes on that foot? Maybe the ancestor of the Hemingway cats :woot:! (whaddya think, @MeowtheKitty? :D)
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Marcus Aurelius
    AE diobol, 22.8 mm, 8.33 gm
    RY 17 (176/7 CE)
    Obv: MAVPHΛIOCANTωNINOC; laureate head right
    Rev: right foot and ankle (of a statue of Serapis?), pointing right; draped bust right of Serapis above, wearing kalathos; LI[Z] in right field
    Ref: Dattari (Savio) 3516; Emmett 2254.17 (this coin illustrated, p. 96); K&G 37.411 (this coin illustrated). Extremely rare. None in CoinArchives.
    Ex WRG Collection
    Ex Kerry K. Wetterstrom Collection (Part II, Classical Numismatic Auctions XIII, 4 December 1990), lot 130.
  6. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Such interesting designs.
  7. MeowtheKitty

    MeowtheKitty Well-Known Member

    They show too many poorly fed Cats on them ancient coins.
  8. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Ditto to @Mat's "Wow." I've never seen anything like that either.
  9. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    In the same vein as @TIF's Alexandrian diobol of Marcus Aurelius,
    here is a chicken and a foot on this Biunx from Hatria c. 275 - 225 BC.

    By the way, TIF, the your Domitian diobol is amazing.

    eparch, Andres2, Theodosius and 12 others like this.
  10. Ryro

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

    Stunning coin :artist::woot:
    I love and will always appreciate the ancient Greeks ability to deal with depth and optical illusion on these tiny masterpieces on metal:
    CARIA, Halikarnassos
    (reassigned from Kindya)
    499-497 BCE
    AR hektai, 1.78 gm, 11 mm, Milesian standard
    Obv: head of ketos right
    Rev: geometric pattern within incuse square
    Ref: Konuk

    Facing us or facing each other?
    BRUTTIUM, Rhegion
    Circa 415/0-387 BCE. Æ 11mm (1.76 gm). Lion's head facing / PHΓIN[...], laureate head of Apollo right. Cf. SNG ANS 702; HN Italy 2524. Good VF, dark green patina

    Lesbos. Uncertain mint circa 500-450 BC.
    Obol BI
    8mm., 0,89g.
    Confronted boars' heads / Quadripartite incuse square.
    very fine
    Klein 348
  11. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Great optical illusion coin, AJ. I can't stop staring at the reverse!
  12. Alegandron

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

    What a GREAT coin, really like that Quadri-Janiform! Very cool find, @AncientJoe ! I really enjoy it!

    How about Knuckle-bones and Frogs... Great items we would love playing with as KIDS! At least I would as a farmboy.

    Aes Grave
    Uncia 269-266 BCE
    Astragalus knuckle-bone -
    Thurlow- Vecchi 21 Craw 21-6 R

    AES Grave
    Anonymous 217-215 BCE
    Uncia 7.35g
    Corn Ear pellet retrograde L
    Thurlow-Vecchi 285
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  13. ancientone

    ancientone Well-Known Member

    That triform head is spectacular!
  14. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    @AncientJoe that is an interesting design and a lot of heads on a small canvis.
    @octavius I think your coin is a hat trick: an aes grave, a foot on a HAT coin and a chicken.
    My small coin with a lot of knuckelbones on it:
    girl ast.jpg
    Cilicia, TARSOS (389-375 a.C.) AR Obol
    Obv - Female kneeling left, tossing astralagoi.
    Rev - Male head right.
    0.63 gr
    9.4 mm
  15. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    What a fantastic design!! I love it. And I love obols too, so it's a great combo.

    Probably my most suitable coin to post would be this 3-headed Shiva from Ujjain (c. 155-120 BCE):
    Screen Shot 2020-08-08 at 11.48.36 PM.jpg
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  16. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    That is a very neat reverse design, congratulations with this addition @AncientJoe! It still amazes me that ancient die makers were able to produce such complicated and appealing designs with the tools they had in those times.
  17. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    You can also be proud of holding the world record of hammering 1150 times the starting price :)
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  18. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    It's not a coin but I have a feeling of "déjà vu"...

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  19. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Well-Known Member

    I placed a prebid of 1155 for it so I ended up buying it by $5 (although I was watching live and was going to go higher if outbid). I'm hoping there was no funny business running me up but it is surprising that someone else would have come up with the same bid on an obscure coin...

    Regardless, I'm happy with it but it does make me question how it all unfolded!
  20. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    @Ancient Joe - a fascinating coin.Why do so many strange
    coins come from Cilicia ?
    Here is my own Cilician oddity :
    CILICIA. Uncertain. Circa 4th Century BC. Obol (Silver, 11 mm, 0.69 g, 12 h).

    Turreted and bearded male head of Persian style to left. Rev. Bearded male head facing (Nergal?), with a turreted crown and with a facing lion's mask underneath and blending into his beard.

    Nergal was the rather dark Mesopotamian god of war and pestilence - perhaps this was his COVID mask ?
  21. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I remember that coin! Definitely a memorable design :).
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