Featured Themistokles: The First Portrait Coin in History or a Very Drunk Blacksmith?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Curtisimo, Feb 12, 2021.


Who do you think is shown on the obverse?

  1. Themistokles

  2. Hephaestus

  3. The guy who invented bacon bits

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Alegandron

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

    I have to post this again, cuz it is one of my favorites...

    Campania, Capua
    Bronze circa 216-211,
    Æ 14.5mm., 2.35g.
    Obv: Diademed and veiled bust of Hera r.; lotus-tipped sceptre over shoulder.
    Rev: KAPV in oscan character Grain ear; in r. field, tripod-like object.
    Ref: SNG France 517. SNG ANS 219. Historia Numorum Italy 500 Campania
    From the collection of EE Clain Stefanelli
    Ex: Naville Numismatics

    Comments: When Hannibal came through Italia, he promised the Capuan Magistrates that Capua would become the capital of Italia should he destroy Rome. Obviously, the Roman Republic prevailed in the Second Punic War. Since Capua sided with Hannibal, all coins, and anything that Capua created to popularize Hannibal were destroyed, melted down, etc. Makes Capuan coins scarcer from this Era.
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  3. Theodosius

    Theodosius Fine Style Seeker Supporter

    A very enjoyable thread, Curtis!

    I learned a lot about the travels of Themo that I didn't know before.

    You have to hand it to him for going to Persia and talking his way into a good situation. He was clearly not shy. Great pickup on that rare coin.

    Curtisimo likes this.
  4. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    That is a fascinating coin! Thanks for sharing Brian.

    Thanks John! Yes, Themistokles is one of the most fascinating characters in history. I wish we had better documentation on what he got up to when he went to Persia. I bet those adventures would have been just as fascinating as his Persian War story.
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  5. Alegandron

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

    Thank you, Curtis. I have 3 Capua coins from the Hannibal Occupation. I really like them for their unique history. I always think of the “what if” game should it would had happened.

    LOL, I grew up with a gal whose last name is DeCapua. I explained to her that she was a traitor. LOL.
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  6. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

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  7. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    Curtismo - fascinating stuff, thank you.
    I don't have any coins of Themistokles sadly,
    but I do have an interesting early and rare portrait of the satrap Spithridates

    Ionia, Achaemenid Period. Spithridates, Satrap of Lydia and Ionia, under Darius III. Circa 335-334 BC. AR Tetrobol (14mm, 2.97g). Head of satrap left, wearing Persian headdress / Forepart of Pegasos right, ΣΠI - ΘPI behind and below. BMC 18. Traité II 2, pl. LXXXIX, 1-3. L. Mildenberg, Vestigia Leonis, p. 9, pl. III, 26. W. Wroth, NC (1900), pp. 289-90, no. 23. H.A. Cahn, Revue des etudes anciennes 91 (1989), pp. 97-105. C. Harrison in: Oikistes. Studies in Honor of A.J. Graham (Leiden, 2002), pp. 301-319. J. Bodzek, Israel Numismatic Review 3 (2008).
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  8. Alegandron

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

    Wow, beautiful coin, @eparch . Very nice.

    I really enjoy the history behind this Satrap... amazing fate in history. I have an AE version...

    Persian Empire
    Spithridates, Achaemenid satrap of Sparda (Lydia and Ionia)
    ca 334 BC
    AE10, 1.20g
    Head of satrap r., wearing Persian headdress
    Rev: Forepart of galloping horse r., monogram above, Greek PI below
    Ref: VA 1823, Klein 367, Cop 1538
    Comment: VF+ / VF , rev. bit o/c, highlighted olive green-brown patina, scarce
    Ex: Rudnik Numismatics
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2021
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  9. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Thanks for the kind word @eparch and great Spithridates coins!

    I’ll post my Spithridates example Ex @Ryro !
    Achaemenid Empire
    Spithridates as Satrap
    AE10, mint in Ionia or Lydia, struck 334 BC
    Dia.: 10 mm
    Wt.: 1.5 g
    Obv.: Head of Spithridates right, wearing bashlyk
    Rev.: Forepart of horse right; TO monogram in upper left
    field, ΣΠ-I below and in right field
    Ref.: SNG Copenhagen 1538; SNG von Aulock 1823; Klein 367; Babelon, Perses 380
    Ex Ryro Collection
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  10. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Since this thread was posted, I've unsuccessfully bid on two of these Themistokles fractions, including the most recent one in Leu, a Leukippos type with a very off-center obverse that nevertheless went for CHF 550 before fees. :wideyed:

    So, while I don't have a coin issued by Themistokles to add here, thanks to a surprise find in a group lot that arrived this week, I do have something relevant to share, a Roman provincial of Athens that supposedly depicts Themistokles on its reverse. It's pretty worn, and a flan flaw obscures part of the figure, but I do still think it's a neat addition to the ol' collection. :)

    ATTICA Athens - Pseudo-autonomous AE23 Themistokles 4217.JPG ATHENS, Attica
    AE23. 8.93g, 23.5mm. ATTICA, Athens, circa AD 140s/150s – 175. RPC IV.1 temp 3465; SNG Cop 345. O: Head of Athena right. R: ΑΘΗ[ΝΑΙΩΝ], Themistokles standing on galley right, wearing military dress, holding trophy and wreath; on prow, owl.

    Unlike the provincial of Magnesia ad Maeandrum shown in the OP that explicitly names Themistokles, this one doesn't, but the provincial coins of Athens do seem to have featured a few heroically posed figures that in all likelihood celebrated its famous sons of centuries past. The hero standing on a galley with a trophy and wreath clearly alludes to a great naval victory, the most legendary of which was Themistokles' at the Battle of Salamis.
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  11. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    So cool!! Rare too! You so often find neat things in group lots, @zumbly, is it magic?
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  12. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Yes, yes it is. How did you guess?

    Great, Sev, now you made me break the thread. :oops:
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  13. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    That is a wonderful coin that I was not even aware of! You manage to come across some of the most interesting coins Z.

    Wow to that CHF 550+ hammer! Makes me feel fortunate I got mine when I did.
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  14. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if this thread of yours contributed to that hammer!
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  15. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    I would be flattered if that were the case. I do wonder how much influence CT has on the wider ancient coin hobby. Obviously we are a pretty small group of regular posters and we influence each other tremendously but I wonder how many collectors read and never comment but are still influenced by the board.

    The rise in popularity of Frank’s auctions I would guess is, at least in part, because of CT.

    Either way I have a few coin write ups I’m working on of coins that made my want list because of fellow CTers.
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  16. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    We'll never know exactly how much, but for selfish reasons I have to wish the positive influence we've had on the hobby applied to everything but the hammer prices!
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