Pile on: Coins to Shake-a-spear at/all the coins of characters in Shakespeare's plays

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ryro, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Ryro

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

    It's mindblowing going through and thinking of all the great people throughout history Billy Shakespeare wrote about:pompous::

    william-shakespeare-194895-1-402.jpg (the man got by on rugged good looks and a little wit;))

    And as a coin lover, it's equally as fun to think of how many of those people were on coins!:jawdrop:
    Going back through all threads with mention of Shakespeare I was surprised to see none done with just that for the theme:bookworm::wideyed:


    I must confess, I would probably never have thought up this specific sub collection on my own. I blame @Orfew :eek: for the great idea:woot: as he is the first person I ever heard mention of it (aaand he has some drool worthy additions that I hope he'll share).
    I'd been planning this thread for a while and when I won my new (slightly used) Henry V... back in February, that just arrived last week (!), that was thr catalyst.


    So, we'll start with him:
    'We few, we happy few, we band of CT ancients collectors.'

    Henry V - London - Long Cross Halfpenny. 1413-1422 AD. Class D. Obv: facing bust with broken annulet each side of crown and HENRIC REX ANGL legend. Rev: long cross and pellets dividing CIVI TAS LON DON legend for London mint. S. 1795; N. 1410.0.49 grams.Found Romney Marsh, Kent area, 2000s.
    Very fine; crack to flan edge. Ex Timeline

    'A coin of Richard III, a coin of Richard III, my kingdom for a coin of Richard III!'
    Richard III
    1483-1485 CE, Silver Groat, type III, London mint, crowned facing bust, within tressure of nine arcs, large fleur on six cusps, initial sun and rose 3 both sides, rev long cross pattée, tri-pellets in each inner angle, twin concentric legends and beaded circles surrounding, 2.71g (N 1679; S 2157).

    Probably my favorite lead role based on a real historical figure of his:

    Julius Caesar
    P. Sepullius Macer - Venus Denarius, lifetime issue Feb-March 44 BC. Moneyer P. Sepullius Macer. Obv: CAESAR DICT PERPETVO legend with laureate and veiled head of Gaius Julius Caesar right. Rev: P SEPVLLIVS MACER legend with Venus standing left, holding Victory in right hand, and sceptre set on shield in left. 20mm, 3.18 grams. Crawford 480/13; Sydenham 1074; RSC 39; Sear 1414. Fine. Scarce. Ex-Savoca

    Do you remember Sextus Pompey, son of the Great, being mentioned as enemies of Cleopatra and Antony??? Cause he was:
    Sextus Pompey
    Ӕ As. Spain or Sicily, 45 BC. Laureate head of Janus, with the features of Cn. Pompeius Magnus; [MGN] above / Prow right; [PIVS] above, IMP below. Crawford 479/1; CPP I 671. 19.23g, 28mm,

    I know there are plenty more (and ones that I've shared that you may have that are in much better condition) and hopefully a surprise or 2 that no one else thought of. It can even be someone not real or just mentioned, like Jupiter or Marc Antony (that's a joke @Bing , please post em)
    So, with little rules and lots of fun lets see all the coins, quotes, jokes and anything else Shakespearean!
    Edessa, Shea19, Orielensis and 18 others like this.
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  3. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    Great idea. He covered a lot of monarchs!

    I can add a King John...
    John, shortcross penny, 1205-1217, London. HENRICVS REX. +ILGER.ON.LVNDE (S. 1354).

    A Richard II (The Life and Death of King Richard II)...
    Richard II, halfpenny, 1377-1399, London. +RICARD REX ANGL. CIVITAS LONDON (S. 1699).

    A rather rough Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2)...
    Henry IV, halfpenny, 1412-1413, London. Light Coinage. HENRIC REX ANGL. CIVITAS LONDON (S 1737).

    A better Henry VI (Parts 1, 2 and 3)...
    Henry VI, halfgroat, 1431-1433, London. Pinecone mascle (North 1462; S 1876).

    An Edward III (from The Raigne of King Edward the Third)...
    Edward III, penny, 1344-1351, London. 3rd Coinage, Class 2, Reverse I. +EDWA R ANGL DNS HYB. CIVI-TAS-LON-DON (S. 1544).

    Henry VIII...
    Henry VIII, groat, 1526-1544, Tower. Second coinage. Mint mark: arrow. Bust D. HENRIC VIII D G R AGLIE Z FRANC (Henry VIII by the Grace of God King of England and France). POSVI DEU ADIVTORE MEU (I have made God my helper). (S 2337E).

    And the man himself...
    George III evasion halfpenny, 1771. SHAKES SPEARE. RULE BRIT AN NIA. (Atkins 433). Shakespeare was used in place of George III to avoid falling foul of Britain's strict counterfeiting laws.
    Edessa, seth77, Orielensis and 14 others like this.
  4. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Ive taught about 18 plays--about half the Shakespearean corpus--in one form or another. And I will be playing Sir Toby Belch next month in a university production of Twelfth Night! Lots of ducats in that one.

    But whenever I teach The Tempest, I always bring in my Dutch duit.

    "Were I in England now,
    as once I was, and had but this fish painted,
    not a holiday fool there but would give a piece
    of silver: there would this monster make a
    man; any strange beast there makes a man:
    when they will not give a doit to relieve a lame
    beggar, they will lazy out ten to see a dead
    Indian." Tempest Act 2.

    2020-09-16 (1).png
    Edessa, Orielensis, thejewk and 14 others like this.
  5. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar 7 a.jpg Marcus Antonius  2.jpg
  6. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    In The Merchant of Venice, Solanio ridicules Shylock's grief and outrage at discovering that his daughter Jessica has eloped with his ducats and her Christian suitor. Solanio imagines Shylock crying out for his "Christian ducats." It seems nonsense, unless one considers that, due to their religious imagery, the ducats could indeed be called "Christian."

    Edessa, Orielensis, thejewk and 12 others like this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Who can forget Earl Siward arriving at the end of Macbeth, to clean up the mess? Apparently a first-generation Dane, he was installed as earl of Northumberland (effectively including York) by 1033 (Lawson, Cnut pp. 187-8).
    This is a short cross, dating to the end of Cnut's reign (c. 1029-1035/6). Not only is it of York; the moneyer's name provides a cool parallel to Siward's. 'Beorn' is an easy Anglicization of 'Bjorn,' just like 'Siward' is of 'Sigurd.' COINS, ENGLAND, CNUT, BEORN ON YORK.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...Or he could've been making more generalized reference to their, um, provenance.
    Here's where you can get into it with antisemitism and The Merchant of Venice. Is Shakespeare just gratuitously stoking stereotypes here? Or, given his remarkable psychological acuity, is he empathizing with Shylock's lot --however underhandedly, since this is voiced by a third party? The whole, mutual pathology of being in a state of abject economic reliance on an inexorably hostile population.
  9. Penny Luster

    Penny Luster Supporter! Supporter

    CNG-RRC-543-Reverse-Sml.jpg CNG-RRC-543-Sml.jpg Antony and Cleopatra
    RRC 543/1 © CNG 2006
    Obverse: Head of M. Antonius right; behind, Armenian tiara; around ANTONI·ARMENIA·DEVICTA. Border of dots.
    Reverse: Bust of Cleopatra right, draped and wearing diadem; before, prow; around CLEOPATRAE·REGINAE·REGVM·FILIORUM·REGVM. Border of dots.
    Eternity was in our lips and in our eyes.”
    Cleopatra (Act 1, Scene 3)
  10. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Timon of Athens (written between 1605 and 1606)

    D-Camera Athens Tetradrachm, Roma E-Sale 55, 7-5-20.jpg

    Henry VIII (in collaboration with John Fletcher, 1613)

    D-Camera  Henry VII groat, Bristol Mint, 5th bust, Sal, 7-26-20.jpg

    Juno (The Tempest)
    D-Camera Faustina Junior sestertius, eBay lot.2,  8-21-20.jpg

    Ceres (The Tempest)

    Claudius and Messilina tetradrachm, Alexandria, purchase MA Shops.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
  11. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    I think it’s my favorite play for these very questions. It clearly trades in the very worst of anti-Semitic stereotypes. And yet it has the greatest anti-racism speech in all of literature, from Shylock. And one from the Prince of Morocco too. It’s an inexhaustible play.
  12. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    My favorite sonnet:

    When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes (Sonnet 29)
    William Shakespeare - 1564-1616

    When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
    I all alone beweep my outcast state,
    And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
    And look upon myself and curse my fate,
    wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
    Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
    Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
    With what I most enjoy contented least;
    Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
    Haply I think on thee—and then my state,
    Like to the lark at break of day arising
    From sullen earth sings hymns at heaven's gate;
    For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,
    That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
    Edessa, Orielensis, thejewk and 8 others like this.
  13. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Thank you Lots, @Gavin Richardson, for your anticipatedly incisive observations.
    Thank you lots, @Gavin Richardson, for your predictably incisive observations. Yeah, two inexhaustible plays. Any opus of this depth is asking you, independently of whether Shakespeare would, from where he is, to read it in (your Own) Real Time. ...Does this mean I like restagings where the cast is all Mafia, or, whatever, wearing leather? Maybe not, but, well, yeah, interpretively, this stuff is very literally inexhaustible.
    Regarding Shakespeare's own disputed origins, why not, we could start with the notion that he couldn't possibly have been that smart without being descended from some (already frighteningly inbred) member of the English aristocracy. That can summarily go sailing out the window. (Defenestration of Prague, anyone?) But meanwhile, I gravitate to the thesis of Michael Wood, that he was likely a Catholic. While not of this communion myself (...can we just kind of summarily give up on the 'some of my best friends' construct? Thank you!!!), it's easy to resonate with how someone of this demonstrated level of acuity could easily learn to identify with other, (very) variously marginalized groups of people.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
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  14. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Thanks, @robinjojo, for taking us here. Sonnet 30.
    (It's about grief. You might want to get the small children out of the room.)

    When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
    I summon up remembrance of things past,
    I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
    And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
    Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,
    For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
    And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,
    And moan th' expense of many a vanish'd sight;
    Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
    And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
    The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
    Which I new pay as if not paid before.
    But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
    All losses are restor'd, and sorrows end.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
  15. Alegandron

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


    IRELAND Henry VIII 1509-1547
    AR Groat 25mm 2.5g
    RΛnCIЄ ЄT hIBЄRnIЄ harp
    H & R London SCBI 22 Copenhagen
    Ex: @Mat


    When he was learning and writing...

    England - Elizabeth I 1558-1603 AR Sixpence 3rd-4th issue crescent mintmark
  16. Alegandron

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


    Last TWO Weeks of his life...
    Roman Imperiatorial
    Julius Caesar Lifetime
    P Sepullius Macer
    AR Denarius, 1st 2 weeks-Mar 44 BCE, 19 mm, 4.03g.
    Obv: CAESAR – DICT PERPETVO Veiled and wreathed head of Caesar R.
    Rev: P·SEPVLLIVS – MACER Venus standing l., holding Victory and sceptre resting on star.
    Ref: Syd 1074a Sear Imperators 107e Crawford 480-14 Rare

    - minted in last two weeks of his reign, or two weeks before he was assassinated.
    - veiled, as he held the offce of Pontifex Maximus for several years, and that office was very important to him personally.
    - wreathed... just short of being king... big no-no
    - DICT PERPETVO - yeah, he was a king... so Roman Republic inherently and culturally hated kings.
    - fairly difficult to capture with the star on reverse
    - reasonably centered with most/all devices and legends (this is not as important to me cuz its numismatic vs the intrinsic Historical impact.)

    Alföldi arranges Crawford 480 series coins in (44 BC) month order as follows:

    RRC 480/1, Buca - January
    RRC 480/2, DICT QVART - early February
    RRC 480/3/4/5, CAESAR IMP - late February
    RRC 480/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14, DICT PERPETVO - early to mid March
    RRC 480/17/18, CAESAR IMPER - late March
    RRC 480/19/20, PARENS PATRIAE - April
    RRC 480/15/16, MARIDIANVS - April
    RRC 480/21/22, CLEMENTIAE CAESARIS and Mark Antony - April
  17. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I have not seen this Messalina called Ceres before. Where did you get the ID?
  18. Alegandron

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

  19. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    From Robert Graves' Claudius the God.

    "But the Alexandrians, without asking my permission - and once the thing was done I could not undo it - struck a coin with my head on the obverse and on the reverse a full-length portrait of Messalina in the dress of the Goddess Demeter, holding in the palm of one hand two figurines representing her little boy and girl, and in the other a sheaf of corn representing fertility. This was a flattering play on the name Messalina - the Latin word messis meaning the corn-harvest. She was delighted."

    So Messalina was depicted on this coin as the Greek goddess Demeter, or the Roman goddess Ceres.

    I just selected this coin because it was readily available in my photo gallery. There are many ancients depicting Ceres. I just chose one with Messalina as Demeter/Ceres, or is it Demeter/Ceres as Messalina? Gotta think about that....
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
    Broucheion, Edessa, thejewk and 4 others like this.
  20. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @robinjojo, well, Fine, but, as literate as Graves had to be in the literature (I'm needing a replacement of the novel, I, Claudius), did he ever bother to cite any primary sources?
  21. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Oh, Shoot, @Alegandron, then you did that.
    Honest, I know 'Star Trek' mostly from the original series (which was already in syndication, if only for the last couple of years). No, we weren't part of a cult in Utah or northern Idaho; more the opposite. (Not literally, or I'd be scaring myself, ...but somewhere closer to that on the spectrum.) I got tired of having grown up with this as the default medium of entertainment.
    Except, if trekkies can (independently?) invent (how many versions of?) Klingon, there Has to be some communal intellectual capital going on here.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
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