Coin Directory

ALEXANDER III ‘THE GREAT’ | TETRADRACHM

The tetradrachms of Alexander III are avidly collected today for both artistic beauty and historical significance. The Alexander coin has Herakles (or Hercules as the Romans called him) on the front (obverse). On the back (reverse) was the supreme god, Zeus, who was the father of Herakles. Zeus sits on his throne holding a scepter and eagle. Although some people have argued the image of Herakles was Alexander himself, there is no convincing evidence of this and the face of Herakles is diverse in different regions. Herakles was the greatest hero of the Greeks. Born of the Greek god Zeus and made mortal, Herakles attained divine status by accomplishing 12 great tasks on Earth known as the 12 Labours of Herakles. The idea of a man becoming a god obviously was an attractive image for Alexander. The headdress that appears on the head of Herakles is the lion skin of the fierce Nemean lion that was killed by Herakles during his first labour.

 

MINTED: Circa 336-323 B.C.
MATERIAL: Silver
DIAMETER: 26-30mm

 

ARTEMIS COIN | TETRADRACHM

This tetradrachm comes from Macedonia (Greece) as a protectorate of Rome. The inscription means ‘Macedonians First.’ Artemis on the front of the coin was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women. She often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows, as can be seen on her shoulder on the coin.

 

MINTED: Circa 168-148 B.C.
MATERIAL: Silver
DIAMETER: 26-30mm

 

ALEXANDER III ‘THE GREAT’ | DRACHM

The two dominant coins of Alexander were the drachm (drachma) and the tetradrachm (tetra = 4). According to one argument, the obverse side of the Drachm has the head of Herakles (Hercules), with the reverse side showing his father, the god Zeus seated on his throne with eagle and scepter. Others believe the obverse side of the coin features Alexander himself.

There are two types of inscriptions found on the reverse of Alexander coins. The primary inscription is ALEXANDROU (of Alexander) and ALEXANDROU BASILEWS (of Alexander the King). The “of” refers to the “coin of Alexander”. The title “King” found on certain coins varied according to region and time period. The Greek speaking people were not partial to the idea of being ruled by any king and therefore the title is not generally found on Alexander coins of mainland Greece.

 

MINTED: Circa 336-323 B.C.

MATERIAL: Silver

DIAMETER: 18mm

 

CONSTANTINE I ‘THE GREAT’ | BRONZE AE3

The wolf and twins are the motif of this coin issued by Constantine I ‘the Great’. This coin is a city commemorative, with Roma on the obverse side and the legend VRBS ROMA, The City Of Rome. Rome, it was said, was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus. Of course, this was a myth; in fact it was the city’s “foundation myth.” The two stars on the reverse represent the dioscuri (the twins Castor and Pollux). In Latin the twins are also known as the Gemini or Castores.

 

MINTED: Circa 330-337 A.D.
MATERIAL: Bronze
DIAMETER: 19mm

 

KINGS OF CAPPADOCIA | DRACHM

After ending Persian rule, Alexander the Great intended to rule Cappadocia through one of his military commanders, but Ariarathes, a Persian aristocrat, somehow made himself king of the Cappadocians. Ariarathes I was successful and extended the borders of the Cappadocian Kingdom as far as the Black Sea. After Alexander’s death, Perdiccas designated Eumenes to rule the area. Ariarathes was defeated, captured and crucified, but due to Macedonian infighting Ariarathes’ son recovered his inheritance. He left the kingdom to a line of successors, who mostly bore the name of the founder of the dynasty. Under Ariarathes IV, Cappadocia became an ally of Rome. The kingdom maintained independence until A.D. 17, when the Tiberius reduced Cappadocia to a Roman province.

 

MINTED: Circa 116 – 101 B.C.
MATERIAL: Silver
DIAMETER: 18-20mm

 

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CHERSONESOS | HEMIDRACHM

Like many other Greek city-states, the city of Chersonesos was built on a site from which it could exploit the military or economic advantages of its location. Located on a peninsula extending from Europe into the Aegean on the west and the Dardanelles on the east, its name derives from the ancient Greek word for peninsula. Little is known about this city, apart from its coinage

 

MINTED: Circa 4th century B.C.
MATERIAL: Silver
DIAMETER: 13mm

 

KINGS OF PARTHIA | TETRADRACHM

All  Parthian tetradrachms, it is currently believed, were produced at the Seleucia mint. In place of the archer used on the reverse of silver drachms, these larger coins usually show other scenes such as the goddess Tyche giving a diadem to the king. Around the scene are lines of inscription, which rarely fit entirely on the flan. The dynastic name ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ (Arsaces) is found on almost every coin. Between the heads of Tyche and the king there is usually a Greek numeral indicating the year of the Seleucid era. Year dating was common on Seleucid coins but rare on Parthian issues from mints other than Seleucia.

 

MINTED: Circa 57-38 B.C.
MATERIAL: Silver
DIAMETER: 29mm

 

KINGS OF PERSIS | AR OBOL

Home to the Persians, the principality of Persis emerged in the 8th century B.C. as a satrapy of Elam. It was located in southeastern Iran fronting on the Persian Gulf. The kings of Persis retained a degree of autonomy under the Parthians, due primarily to their role as the guardians of Zoroastrianism. The last king of Persis, Ardeshir V, fomented a successful revolt against the Parthians and became the first Sasanian king.

 

Coins of Persis were made for local use only, and were struck in small numbers. They have always been scarce and rare, and still are.

 

MINTED: Circa 1st century B.C.
MATERIAL: Silver
DIAMETER: 8-9mm

 

SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS | DENARIUS

Lucius Septimius Severus was born in 145 A.D. in Lepcis Magna, Libya; he was the first African-born Roman emperor. He came to Rome shortly after turning 18 and Marcus Aurelius made him a senator.

 

MINTED: Circa 210-211 A.D.
MATERIAL: Silver
DIAMETER: 19mm

 

JULIA DOMNA | DENARIUS

Julia Domna was the second wife of Septimius Severus and mother of Caracalla and Geta. An intelligent, talented and beautiful woman, Julia Domna exercised great influence during her husband’s reign and practically administered the empire for her sons.

 

MINTED: Circa 194 – 217 A.D.
MATERIAL: Silver
DIAMETER: 18-20mm

 

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