Bespoke

Dubini provides bespoke jewellery services to make timeless and elegant pieces for its customers, using fine Italian techniques blended with Benedetta’s extensive knowledge as a creative designer and gemologist.

Apart from creating one-of-a-kind pieces for its collections, Dubini also invites you to get involved and see your own jewellery ideas come to life. From the first sketches to the delivery of the final piece from our Roman workshops.

Be it a memory or a special occasion, we can help you select spectacular gem stones to create unforgettable engagement rings and family heirlooms.

Engraving and other personalisations are of course possible on all pieces.As part of our bespoke services, you can refashion your own old coin jewellery into modern creations or we can help you select a unique coin from our expert numismatic dealers. We will make sure that the coins will be preserved and set into contemporary and inimitable pieces.

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Glossary

As rare as precious stones, ancient coins, sourced from numismatic dealers and auction houses, are referred to as “gemme nummarie” (nummary gems) and straddle centuries of history. Coins can command high prices at auction; the infamous 1933 American coin bearing a double eagle sold at Sotheby’s in 2002 for a world record $7,590,020.

These miniature pieces of art have been carefully selected for their mythological and historical aspects which are slowly uncovered whilst analysing the engravers work. Each mark gives you a hint of the city in which they were minted, what victory they were celebrating or what emperor was in power in that specific period. Owning a coin is the ability to own a piece of history that has survived with its details intact, allowing us to study them and dream.

Ancient coins were made from gold, silver, electrum, and copper and its alloys, bronze or brass Gold coins did not become common until the time of Philip II, the father of Alexander The Great.

Coins of gold and silver are said to be coins of intrinsic value, since their worth usually closely approximated the value of the bullion making up the coin. The fineness or purity of the metal used for gold and silver coinages was also closely monitored. Throughout Greek and Roman times, gold coins were consistently of very high purity, usually more than 95 per cent pure gold. Silver coins were of an equally high purity until the time of the Roman Emperor Nero, who lowered the silver content, but only to about 90 per cent.

Coins of copper and its alloys were not common until the later fourth century B.C. The Greeks used mainly bronze, copper alloyed with tin, or simply copper. The Romans used a yellowish alloy of copper and zinc, a type of brass called orichalcum. Numismatists label all copper-alloy coins as bronze.

Glyptics are engraved gems frequently referred to as an intaglios. The art of carving in miniature on semi-precious and precious stones – is among the most ancient forms of human creativity.

“Although the word itself is of Italian origin, intaglios – stones with a hollow-cut design – were known as far back as the 4th millennium B.C. and were used as amulets and personal seals. Relief cameos (also Italian, probably from the Old French сamaïeu) appeared later, in Hellenistic Egypt, in the late 4th or early 3rd century B.C. In contrast to intaglios, they had no practical purpose and were prized chiefly for their aesthetic value. Cameos were kept as precious relics in the treasuries of temples and in the homes of high-born owners. They adorned clothing and objects of religious and secular significance. In imperial Rome they also served as awards or decorations. As a rule, transparent or semi-transparent stones of a single colour (carnelian, sard) were chosen for intaglios, while stones with different layers (onyx, agate) were used for cameos, making it possible to achieve a variety of colouristic effects.
The glyptic art of Antiquity developed over the course of many centuries. The earliest examples included in the exhibition date from the 4th–3rd millennia B.C. They are intaglios that were used as personal seals. In the Ancient World intaglio seals had a hole drilled all the way through them and were worn on a cord (Scarab with an incised image on the base, Etruria, 3rd century B.C.; Scaraboid with an incised image on the base, Asia Minor, Ionia, 4th century BC), or else were set into rings or handles.”

The use of scratching diagrams in the belief to influence the course of events, pretending to use mysterious or supernatural forces, is as old as human history. There was a time when magicians used to inscribe hermetic symbols on their talismans and amulets. Sometimes those jewels featured whole series of hermetic, as well as mythological symbolism, usually recognised as alchemical foundations.

“Since this period corresponded with gnostic syncretism, namely from about one century B.C to fourth century A.D. those magic jewels were known under the “Gnostic Gems” definition. In spite of all the inscribed symbolism, Gnostic Gems were amulets and talismans intended to bring good luck. To be more precise, those pieces of jewellery were expected to give protection against evil, danger, or disease.
Voces magicae, the names of gods, and also words unintelligible in any language frequently appear. In order to maintain secrecy they were often written in code and clandestine names were used. To reach god, it was necessary to overstep the rules of ordinary language. Similarly to the Egyptian or Gnostic tradition, in Greco-Roman magic it was believed that words and names had power. On gems, just as in magical papyri or on magical tablets the so-called charakteres were also used, i.e. symbols inspired by shapes of the Greek, or less frequently the Semitic, alphabet used by magi, astrologists and Gnostics.”

Patina is that beautiful and brilliant kind of time-created varnish, of a green or brownish colour, which covers the surface of some ancient brass medals. It prevents them from deteriorating and is regarded as an evidence of antiquity.

“The agreeable appearance of this splendid rust, having rendered it particularly desirable to the taste of the Italians, they gave it the name of Patina verde, as counterfeiting the emerald. The French numismatists introduced the expression into their own language by calling it Patine.
Another very attractive patina is called a desert patina. This coin was buried in a very dry climate with significant light tan dust, which is what happens in deserts. Green patina forms on coins in wetter climates.

Silver coins do not develop a patina. Silver darkens with age, which is referred to as toning. Thick black silver oxides, similar to patina, can develop in areas on a coin or cover it entirely.”

Along with the pyramids, sphinxes, and mummies, the scarabs are one of the most familiar objects representing Egypt. Scarabs have been collected for centuries and were particularly popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

“Scarabaeus sacer is the Latin name for the dung beetle. Today most people do not have great appreciation for this insect, but this variety and several other members of the family Scarabaeidae, were sacred to the ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians connected the beetles’ habits of rolling balls of dung around their eggs with the concept of eternal life in the after-world. The meaning of Kheper or Scarab was “”becoming, being, metamorphosing, generation, new life, virility, and resurrection.”” Representations of the beetle were an essential symbol in Egyptian art and a whole class of seals and amulets were made in its image.
These little amulets of beetle form often bear hieroglyphic designs on their base, including good luck wishes, the names gods, and the names of individuals both noble and common. The most obviously interesting scarabs are those with names of kings, of the royal family, and of officials. Pharaohs were worshiped as gods, and the names of the current pharaoh or a popular deceased pharaohs, such as Thothemes III, were used to bring good luck to the bearer.
Scarabs were manufactured in a wide variety of materials including steatite, faience, stone, glass, and bone, from the Old Kingdom through the Roman period. The most common material used was steatite. “

For millennia, seals have been employed for identification, authentication, and power. These ancient legal instruments have been found throughout the Mediterranean, Far East, and regions influenced by these cultures. Each is unique, indicating its owner’s status and the significant symbols of his culture.

“Over the centuries, landowners and people of social standing around the globe have relied on seals for all official transactions. Seals offer valuable insights into the social structure, belief systems, and artistic techniques of bygone eras. To this day, some remain undeciphered and hold great mysteries.

Seals were small, engraved devices used to make an impression, usually on clay or wax. Seals came in various shapes, including cones, squares, cylinders, and even animal heads. Seal impressions could indicate ownership or authenticate a document, and they could be used to secure bags or openings, such as doors or entrances to tombs.
Seals were fashioned out of a variety of materials, including bone, limestone, metal, semiprecious stone, or wood. Sometimes the names of the owner and his father were inscribed on the seal. Some seals showed the owner’s title.”

Egypt was one of the first known culture where people would exchange “rings of love” often made of woven reeds or leather. It is said that the Egyptians saw the ring, a circle, as a powerful symbol. The band with no end representing eternal life and love, and its opening representing a gateway to worlds unknown.

“The story of the wedding ring does not have one clear path; it changes with each religion and country’s view of marriage. Some rings strictly marked the legal contract of marriage, while others were clearly crafted in the name of love, such as the “Fede”. It is believed that it was the Romans who linked the ring to marriage. Most commonly with a “”fede”” ring, depicting two hands clasping in love or agreement / dextrarum iunctio. These designs could be made in solid gold or carved in stone, like a signet, often in cornelian, aquamarine, garnet, or onyx.

In ancient Rome, a marriage would have been called justae nuptiae , justum matrionium or ligitimum matrimonium . Marriages had to conform to Roman law. The term connubium, for instance, denotes the legal right to get married, and this was a requirement before people could wed. Not everyone had connubium. Such individuals include people who were already married, eunuchs, and couples within the bounds of certain blood relationships. There were also other laws governing marriage in ancient Rome, including the acquisition of parental consent before a marriage, and a minimum age for marriage (12 for females and 14 for males).
The Romans began personalising wedding rings, shifting from the fede to carvings of the couples themselves. This carried over to the Byzantine Empire in the Middle Ages when most rings were carved with the faces or full figure of the betrothed couple. Once Christianity became the Empire’s official religion the couple was often depicted with Jesus or a cross between them, blessing their marriage. Also, women in ancient Roman society were given two wedding rings, an iron one and a gold one. The first of these was worn at home, whilst the second was worn in public to impress people. “

Ancient Coins

As rare as precious stones, ancient coins, sourced from numismatic dealers and auction houses, are referred to as “gemme nummarie” (nummary gems) and straddle centuries of history. Coins can command high prices at auction; the infamous 1933 American coin bearing a double eagle sold at Sotheby’s in 2002 for a world record $7,590,020.

These miniature pieces of art have been carefully selected for their mythological and historical aspects which are slowly uncovered whilst analysing the engravers work. Each mark gives you a hint of the city in which they were minted, what victory they were celebrating or what emperor was in power in that specific period. Owning a coin is the ability to own a piece of history that has survived with its details intact, allowing us to study them and dream.

Ancient coins were made from gold, silver, electrum, and copper and its alloys, bronze or brass Gold coins did not become common until the time of Philip II, the father of Alexander The Great.

Coins of gold and silver are said to be coins of intrinsic value, since their worth usually closely approximated the value of the bullion making up the coin. The fineness or purity of the metal used for gold and silver coinages was also closely monitored. Throughout Greek and Roman times, gold coins were consistently of very high purity, usually more than 95 per cent pure gold. Silver coins were of an equally high purity until the time of the Roman Emperor Nero, who lowered the silver content, but only to about 90 per cent.

Coins of copper and its alloys were not common until the later fourth century B.C. The Greeks used mainly bronze, copper alloyed with tin, or simply copper. The Romans used a yellowish alloy of copper and zinc, a type of brass called orichalcum. Numismatists label all copper-alloy coins as bronze.

Intaglio

Glyptics are engraved gems frequently referred to as an intaglios. The art of carving in miniature on semi-precious and precious stones – is among the most ancient forms of human creativity.

“Although the word itself is of Italian origin, intaglios – stones with a hollow-cut design – were known as far back as the 4th millennium B.C. and were used as amulets and personal seals. Relief cameos (also Italian, probably from the Old French сamaïeu) appeared later, in Hellenistic Egypt, in the late 4th or early 3rd century B.C. In contrast to intaglios, they had no practical purpose and were prized chiefly for their aesthetic value. Cameos were kept as precious relics in the treasuries of temples and in the homes of high-born owners. They adorned clothing and objects of religious and secular significance. In imperial Rome they also served as awards or decorations. As a rule, transparent or semi-transparent stones of a single colour (carnelian, sard) were chosen for intaglios, while stones with different layers (onyx, agate) were used for cameos, making it possible to achieve a variety of colouristic effects.
The glyptic art of Antiquity developed over the course of many centuries. The earliest examples included in the exhibition date from the 4th–3rd millennia B.C. They are intaglios that were used as personal seals. In the Ancient World intaglio seals had a hole drilled all the way through them and were worn on a cord (Scarab with an incised image on the base, Etruria, 3rd century B.C.; Scaraboid with an incised image on the base, Asia Minor, Ionia, 4th century BC), or else were set into rings or handles.”

Magical Gem

The use of scratching diagrams in the belief to influence the course of events, pretending to use mysterious or supernatural forces, is as old as human history. There was a time when magicians used to inscribe hermetic symbols on their talismans and amulets. Sometimes those jewels featured whole series of hermetic, as well as mythological symbolism, usually recognised as alchemical foundations.

“Since this period corresponded with gnostic syncretism, namely from about one century B.C to fourth century A.D. those magic jewels were known under the “Gnostic Gems” definition. In spite of all the inscribed symbolism, Gnostic Gems were amulets and talismans intended to bring good luck. To be more precise, those pieces of jewellery were expected to give protection against evil, danger, or disease.
Voces magicae, the names of gods, and also words unintelligible in any language frequently appear. In order to maintain secrecy they were often written in code and clandestine names were used. To reach god, it was necessary to overstep the rules of ordinary language. Similarly to the Egyptian or Gnostic tradition, in Greco-Roman magic it was believed that words and names had power. On gems, just as in magical papyri or on magical tablets the so-called charakteres were also used, i.e. symbols inspired by shapes of the Greek, or less frequently the Semitic, alphabet used by magi, astrologists and Gnostics.”

Patina

Patina is that beautiful and brilliant kind of time-created varnish, of a green or brownish colour, which covers the surface of some ancient brass medals. It prevents them from deteriorating and is regarded as an evidence of antiquity.

“The agreeable appearance of this splendid rust, having rendered it particularly desirable to the taste of the Italians, they gave it the name of Patina verde, as counterfeiting the emerald. The French numismatists introduced the expression into their own language by calling it Patine.
Another very attractive patina is called a desert patina. This coin was buried in a very dry climate with significant light tan dust, which is what happens in deserts. Green patina forms on coins in wetter climates.

Silver coins do not develop a patina. Silver darkens with age, which is referred to as toning. Thick black silver oxides, similar to patina, can develop in areas on a coin or cover it entirely.”

Scarabs

Along with the pyramids, sphinxes, and mummies, the scarabs are one of the most familiar objects representing Egypt. Scarabs have been collected for centuries and were particularly popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

“Scarabaeus sacer is the Latin name for the dung beetle. Today most people do not have great appreciation for this insect, but this variety and several other members of the family Scarabaeidae, were sacred to the ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians connected the beetles’ habits of rolling balls of dung around their eggs with the concept of eternal life in the after-world. The meaning of Kheper or Scarab was “”becoming, being, metamorphosing, generation, new life, virility, and resurrection.”” Representations of the beetle were an essential symbol in Egyptian art and a whole class of seals and amulets were made in its image.
These little amulets of beetle form often bear hieroglyphic designs on their base, including good luck wishes, the names gods, and the names of individuals both noble and common. The most obviously interesting scarabs are those with names of kings, of the royal family, and of officials. Pharaohs were worshiped as gods, and the names of the current pharaoh or a popular deceased pharaohs, such as Thothemes III, were used to bring good luck to the bearer.
Scarabs were manufactured in a wide variety of materials including steatite, faience, stone, glass, and bone, from the Old Kingdom through the Roman period. The most common material used was steatite. “

Seals

For millennia, seals have been employed for identification, authentication, and power. These ancient legal instruments have been found throughout the Mediterranean, Far East, and regions influenced by these cultures. Each is unique, indicating its owner’s status and the significant symbols of his culture.

“Over the centuries, landowners and people of social standing around the globe have relied on seals for all official transactions. Seals offer valuable insights into the social structure, belief systems, and artistic techniques of bygone eras. To this day, some remain undeciphered and hold great mysteries.

Seals were small, engraved devices used to make an impression, usually on clay or wax. Seals came in various shapes, including cones, squares, cylinders, and even animal heads. Seal impressions could indicate ownership or authenticate a document, and they could be used to secure bags or openings, such as doors or entrances to tombs.
Seals were fashioned out of a variety of materials, including bone, limestone, metal, semiprecious stone, or wood. Sometimes the names of the owner and his father were inscribed on the seal. Some seals showed the owner’s title.”

Wedding Seals

Egypt was one of the first known culture where people would exchange “rings of love” often made of woven reeds or leather. It is said that the Egyptians saw the ring, a circle, as a powerful symbol. The band with no end representing eternal life and love, and its opening representing a gateway to worlds unknown.

“The story of the wedding ring does not have one clear path; it changes with each religion and country’s view of marriage. Some rings strictly marked the legal contract of marriage, while others were clearly crafted in the name of love, such as the “Fede”. It is believed that it was the Romans who linked the ring to marriage. Most commonly with a “”fede”” ring, depicting two hands clasping in love or agreement / dextrarum iunctio. These designs could be made in solid gold or carved in stone, like a signet, often in cornelian, aquamarine, garnet, or onyx.

In ancient Rome, a marriage would have been called justae nuptiae , justum matrionium or ligitimum matrimonium . Marriages had to conform to Roman law. The term connubium, for instance, denotes the legal right to get married, and this was a requirement before people could wed. Not everyone had connubium. Such individuals include people who were already married, eunuchs, and couples within the bounds of certain blood relationships. There were also other laws governing marriage in ancient Rome, including the acquisition of parental consent before a marriage, and a minimum age for marriage (12 for females and 14 for males).
The Romans began personalising wedding rings, shifting from the fede to carvings of the couples themselves. This carried over to the Byzantine Empire in the Middle Ages when most rings were carved with the faces or full figure of the betrothed couple. Once Christianity became the Empire’s official religion the couple was often depicted with Jesus or a cross between them, blessing their marriage. Also, women in ancient Roman society were given two wedding rings, an iron one and a gold one. The first of these was worn at home, whilst the second was worn in public to impress people. “

Coin directory

Tetradrachm

Alexander III ‘The Great’

Minted: Circa 336-323 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 26-30mm

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.

Tetradrachm

Artemis

Minted: Circa 168-148 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 26-30mm

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.

Drachm

Alexander III ‘The Great’

Minted: Circa 336-323 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 18mm

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.

Follis

Constantine I ‘The Great’

Minted: Circa 330-337 A.D.

Material: Bronze

Diameter: 18-19mm

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.

Drachm

Kings of Cappadocia

Minted: Circa 116 – 101 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 18-20mm

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.

Hemidrachm

Chersonesos

Minted: Circa 4th century B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 13mm

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.

Tetradrachm

Kings of Parthia

Minted: Circa 57-38 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 28-30mm

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.

Obol

Kings of Persis

Minted: Circa 1st century B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 8-9mm

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.

Denarius

Septimius Severus

Minted: Circa 210-211 A.D.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 19mm

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. He is credited with strengthening and reviving an empire facing imminent decline and, through the same policies that saved it, causing its eventual fall. Severus eliminated the dangerous praetorians, unified the empire after turmoil and civil war, strengthened the army, defeated Rome’s most powerful enemy, and founded a successful dynasty. His pay increases for the army, however, established a severe burden on Rome. Future emperors were expected to increase pay as well. These raises resulted in ever-increasing taxes that damaged the economy. Some historians believe high taxes, initiated by Severus policies, played a significant role in Rome’s long-term decline.

Denarius

Julia Domna

Minted: Circa 194 – 217 A.D.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 18-20mm

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.

Obol

Larissa

Minted: Circa 356 – 342 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 11mm

In mythology, the nymph Larissa was a daughter of the primordial man Pelasgus.

When Larissa ceased minting the federal coins it shared with other Thessalian towns and adopted its own coinage in the late 5th century B.C., it chose local types for its coins. The obverse depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named; probably the choice was inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses.

Stater

Pegasus

Minted: Circa 338 – 250 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 20mm

Pegasus was an immortal, winged horse which sprang from the neck of the beheaded Gorgon Medusa.

It was tamed by Bellerophon who rode it into battle against the fire-breathing monster known as the Khimaira (Chimera). Later the hero attempted to fly to heaven but Zeus caused the horse to buck throwing him back down to earth in disgrace. Pegasus’ name means either “of the spring” from the Greek word pêgê, or “sprung forth” from the word pêgazô. The first alludes to the steed’s connection with various springs, and the latter to its birth from the Gorgon’s neck.

Athens and Corinth produced the most significant early coinages and two of the most famous types in the ancient Greek world: the Owl of Athens and the Pegasus, or “colt,” of Corinth.

 

Denarius

Diana

Minted: Circa 74 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 17mm

Diana was the Roman goddess of hunting, bringer of light, youthful and strictly virginal, and later, goddess of the moon.

As a fertility deity she was invoked by women to aid conception and delivery. Though perhaps originally an indigenous woodland goddess, Diana early became identified with Artemis. The most famous place of worship for the goddess was the grove of Diana Nemorensis (“Diana of the Wood”) on the shores of Lake Nemi at Aricia (modern Ariccia), near Rome. In Roman art Diana usually appears as a huntress with bow and quiver, accompanied by a hound or deer.

Trichalkon

Demetrius I Aniketos

Minted: Circa 200 – 185 B.C.

Material: Bronze

Diameter: 31mm

Demetrius I was a Greco-Bactrian/Indo-Greek king, who ruled areas from Bactria to ancient northwestern India.

That Demetrius had conquered India was shown on his coins. On higher denominations, the king was depicted wearing an elephant skin over his head, a symbol of the subjection of India since the campaigns of Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.). The reverse of the trichalkon is also meaningful. With his conquests in India, Demetrius had won control over long tracks of the Silk Road. With this coin image he showed that trade was in his hands: It depicts a kerykeion, a caduceus guarantying sanctity to its possessor and the symbol of the Greek god of trade, Hermes (the Roman Mercury).

Padma Tanka

Lotus

Minted: Circa A.D. 1200-1247

Material: Gold

Diameter: 17mm

Indian Dynasty of the Yadavas of Devagiri was ruling the region of Maharashtra, North Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh around 850 AD-1334 A.D.

They were the feudatories of the Western Chalukyas and often claimed as their descent from the Yadavas of Dwarka, Lord Krishna’s clan. These coins of Yadavas of Devagiri, called ‘padma tankas’ in the literature from their central motif of a padma or lotus, were the coins of the Devagiri treasury. The gold coins were not flat, but cup shaped due to the force of the central punch.

Mohur

Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir

Minted: AD 1658-1707

Material: Gold

Diameter: 23mm

This Gold Mohur was issued during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb. Emperor Aurangzeb was the 6th Mughal emperor of India.

He was the last most powerful and great sovereign of the Mughal crown. During his rule, the Mughal Empire reached its epitome. This gold Mohur of Aurangzeb was issued by Burhanpur mint. The obverse side of this coin depicts a Persian legend “Sikka Zad Dar Jahan Chu Mihr-e-munir Badshah Aurangzeb Alamgir” with Hijri date 1108 on it. The reverse side of this Mohur depicts Julus formula with Regnal year ‘41’ towards the middle right and mint name at the bottom of the coin. Aurangzeb died in 1707 AD leaving a large empire which lasted nearly half a century and led to dissolution due to his policy.

Tetradrachm

Dionysos

Minted: Circa 148-90/80 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 32mm

Dionysos (Greek Διόνυσος) is the ancient Greek god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy.

He is included as one of the twelve Olympian Greek Gods,son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, or as said in  the Cretan version, Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Persephone, the queen of the Greek underworld. He was known also as the driving force behind ancient Greek theater and the one who inspired joyful worship and ecstasy, in festivals and celebrations. He was also known as the Liberator , freeing one from one’s normal self, by madness, ecstasy or wine. The divine mission of Dionysus was to mingle the music of the aulos (ancient greek musical instrument) and to end up all worries and thoughts.

On the reverse, Heracles is depicted holding club and lion skin. The most famous of all his myths are the Twelve Labours. The story goes that in a fit of madness (inflicted on him by Zeus’s wife Hera), Heracles killed his wife Megara. He asked the Oracle of Apollo in Delphi how he could atone. He was told to travel to Tiryns and do the tasks asked of him by King Eurystheus (his cousin through his mortal mother). For twelve years, he traveled all over to complete these incredible tasks. The first task was traveling to Nemea and slaying the Nemean Lion, a fierce beast terrorising the countryside. This monster of a lion had a hide was so tough that no arrow could pierce it. Heracles stunned the beast with his olive-wood club and then strangled it with his bare hands. Athena urged him to skin the lion, using the lion’s own sharp claws.

Dionysos and Heracles were both patron gods of Thasos.

Denarius

Goddess Roma

Minted: Circa 147 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 19mm

The denarius, introduced in 211 BC, was the principal silver coin of Rome for five hundred years.

The profile head of the goddess Roma—the personification of Rome—was the most popular image depicted on silver denarii in the second and first centuries BC. She embodied and idealised certain of Rome’s ideas about itself, its advancement and its eventual domination of its neighbours. Roman political, moral and religious ideas were portrayed through Roma in different forms: coins, sculptures and architectural designs, even in official games and festivals but seldom in a commonplace or domestic context, as Roma was a construction of Roman state patronage. Though her depictions have been influenced by other goddesses at the time, such as Rome’s Minerva, her Greek equivalent Athena and the various manifestations of Greek Tyches, Roma stands out as a symbol of “natural” dominance, with her promise of protection to those who obeyed or cooperated with her, and her “manly virtue” as fierce mother of a warrior race.

Plinthophoric Drachm

Helios

Minted: Circa 188-170 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 16mm

Helios is the god and personification of the Sun in Greek mythology.

He is the son of the Titan Hyperion and the Titaness Theia, also known as Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn. Helios was described as a handsome young man crowned with the shining aureole of the Sun, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day to earth-circling Oceanus and through the world-ocean returned to the East at night.

The Colossus of Rhodes, the sixth of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was a huge statue of Helios measuring 32 meters (100 feet) high, built at Rhodes in 280 B.C. but destroyed by an earthquake later in that century. It has inspired many later sculptures including the Statue of Liberty.

Rhodian plinthophoroi were with some certainty introduced around 190 BC. and continued for a century until the end of the first Mithridatic War in 84 BC. The term plinthophoric used to describe this period of Rhodian coinage refers to the characteristic square incuse on the reverse of this series: Greek πλίνθος translates as “brick” or “ingot.” The Greek for rose was ρόδov (rhodon). It was also the name of the nymph Rhodos, daughter of Aphrodite.

Ducat

Venetian Ducat

Minted: 1789-1797

Material: Gold

Diameter: 20mm

The ducat of Venice was struck in pure gold, of weight 3.56 gm.; its diameter was at first 20 mm, but increased later to about 21 mm.

The obverse displays St. Mark standing at the left; at the right the doge kneeling, holding a staff or banner, alongside which is the word DVX. The inscription around the border is the doge’s name to right, and to left S. M. VENET(VS or I). On the reverse is the figure of Christ, surrounded by stars, in a pointed oval technically known as a mandorla. The legend is SIT.T.XPE.DAT. Q. TV.REGIS.ISTE.DVCAT (Sit tibi Christe datus, quem tu regis, isle ducatus, ‘Let this duchy which thou rulest be dedicated to thee, O Christ’.)

Third Stater

DYNASTS OF LYKIA

Minted: Circa 390-370 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 19mm

Mithrapata was dynast of Lycia in the early 4th century BC, at a time when it was subject to the Persian, or Achaemenid, Empire. Lycia was a geopolitical region in Anatolia in what are now the provinces of Antalya and Muğla on the southern coast of Turkey, and Burdur Province inland. Known to history since the records of ancient Egypt and the Hittite Empire in the Late Bronze Age, it was populated by speakers of the Luwian language group.

Present-day knowledge of Lycia in the period of classical antiquity comes mostly from archaeology, in which this region is unusually rich. Believed to have been based at Antiphellus, Mithrapata is known to have competed for power with another man named Arttumpara. The name of Mithrapata, which is of Persian origin, is known from Lycian coins and also from inscriptions. During the 5th and 4th centuries B.C., the Lycian nobility was using Persian names, so Mithrapata may have been one of them. However, it has also been suggested that he may have been a Persian sent to rule Lycia by Artaxerxes II.

Denarius

Diana A. Postumius

Minted: 81 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 19mm

In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt, the moon, and nature being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals.

She was eventually equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, though she had an independent origin in Italy. Diana was worshipped in ancient Roman religion and is revered in Roman Neopaganism and Stregheria. Diana was known to be the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses, along with Minerva and Vesta, who swore never to marry.

Denarius

Apollo

Minted: 109-108 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 20mm

Borrowed directly from Greek mythology, Apollo was a Roman god that inspired music, poetry, and artistic creativity.

A law-giver and healer, Apollo brought order to humankind and was the source of all medical knowledge. Furthermore, Apollo served as the chief patron of prophets, the source of the gift of prophecy. He was thought to reside at Delphi, the center of oracular thought in the ancient Mediterranean.

On the reverse, the dioscuri are depicted before their horses. Castor and Pollux (the Dioscuri) are figures from Greek and Roman mythology considered the twin sons of Zeus or Jupiter. Semi-divine figures, they were credited with the role of saving those in trouble at sea or in grave danger in war and were particularly associated with horses and sports. The brothers were linked with Sparta especially and had their own temples in Athens and on Delos. The Dioscuri were the patrons of the Roman knights and played an important role in martial ceremonies into the imperial period.

Denarius

Hadrian

Minted: 133-135 A.D.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 18mm

Hadrian was emperor of Rome and is recognised as the third of the Five Good Emperors (NervaTrajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius) who ruled justly.

His reign marked the height of the Roman Empire, usually given as c. 117 CE, and provided a firm foundation for his successor. Hadrian is best known for his literary pursuits, his substantial building projects throughout the Roman Empire, and, especially, Hadrian’s Wall in northern Britain. Hadrian was deeply interested in literature – especially Greek literature – and Egyptian mysticism and magic. He was among the most highly cultured of the Roman emperors – even among the famous best five – wrote his own poetry and other works and insisted on personally supervising as many of the building projects he had commissioned as he possibly could.

Follis

Galerius Maximianus

Minted: 305-311 A.D.

Material: Bronze

Diameter: 26mm

Caesar of the Eastern Empire 293-305 A.D., Augustus 305-311 A.D.. Gaius Galerius Valerius was born c. 250 A.D. near Serdica.

He had a distinguished military career, and Diocletian nominated him as junior emperor in 293 A.D. (at which point Galerius divorced his wife and married Diocletian’s daughter Galeria Valeria (q.v.)). Galerius successfully ruled Egypt and supposedly incited Diocletian to persecute the Christians; he became Augustus in 305 when Diocletian abdicated.

As Augustus of the east, Galerius was theoretically subordinate to the Western emperor but managed to appoint two favourites, Maximinus and Valerius Severus, as the junior Caesars. Upon the death of Constantius, he grudgingly allowed Constantine to become Caesar, but insisted that Severus be Augustus.

Maxentius soon overthrew Severus, and Galerius invaded Italy but was forced to retreat. He summoned Diocletian and Maximian to meet him and declare Maxentius a usurper in 308 A.D.; they appointed Licinus in his place. Galerius grew sick in 310 A.D. and feared the illness was retribution from the Christian god, so he reluctantly lifted some of his persecution. He died in 311 A.D..

Follis

Constantine I the Great

Minted: Circa 330-337 A.D.

Material: Bronze

Diameter: 17-18mm

Constantine the Great and his sons issued small bronze coins commemorating the old capital, Rome, and the new capital, Constantinople, to symbolise the equality of the two cities and the new importance of Constantinople to the empire.

The coins commemorating the founding of Constantinople and the Eastern Roman Empire depict Constantinopolis (Constantinople deified), with Victory on the prow of a ship.  The victory on a prow type alludes to the naval victory of Crispus and his subsequent capture of Byzantium (soon to be re-named Constantinople).

Tetradrachm

Athena

Minted: Circa 108-107 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 30mm

The new style of Athenian “owl”–so-called due to the iconic image of an owl on the reverse–originated in a Greece newly conquered by the Romans.

While retaining a profile of the Greek goddess Athena on the obverse and an owl (one of her symbols) on the reverse, several elaborate additions had been made to the older style of tetradrachm coinage’s design.

The most noticeable change in the new tetradrachm is the fact that Athena now wears a helmet with three crests, emphasizing the fact that she was the goddess of war as well as wisdom. A mythological creature, which can be either Pegasus or a griffin, is to be found on the side of the helmet.

Athena’s owl perches upon an amphora–a large, often ceramic vessel, used to transport and store a variety of products such as wine or olive oil–that serves as a symbol of Athen’s prowess in the olive oil trade. Inscriptions recording the date of issue and the city magistrate that produced the coins were also added.

As for being the patron goddess of Athens, this was the result of a contest between Athena and Poseidon, Zeus’ brother, her uncle, and the god of the sea. The rules were simple: each god would give the city one gift, and whichever gift the citizens liked better would determine the winner. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident, whereby a mighty salt-water spring arose from the crack.

Athena gave the city the olive tree.

Denarius

Medusa

Minted: 47 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 19mm

Medusa was a Gorgon (in some versions she was a beautiful woman) who was cursed by the Greek goddess Athena for being raped by Poseidon in her temple. The curse turned her into a hideous monster, with snakes for hair and a stare that would instantly kill anyone who looked into her eyes.

Medusa was finally slain by the Greek hero Perseus, who beheaded her while she slept and gifted her severed head to Athena. Even when completely severed from her body, Medusa’s head continued to turn anyone who gazed upon it into stone.

Athena accepted the gift and placed it on her aegis (a goatskin shield). It’s said that the head protected Athena during many battles and even the supreme god Zeus wore the image of the Gorgon’s head on his breastplate. Athena and Zeus, along with several other major Olympian deities are hardly ever depicted without the Gorgoneion. In this way, Medusa’s head eventually morphed into a symbol of protection.

Koban

Man-En Koban

Minted: 1860-1867

Material: Gold

Measurement: 35X20mm

The koban (小判) was a Japanese oval gold coin in Edo period feudal Japan, equal to one ryō, another early Japanese monetary unit.

It was a central part of Tokugawa coinage. The Keichō era koban, a gold piece, contained about one ryō of gold, so that koban carried a face value of one ryō. However, successive mintings of the koban had varying (usually diminishing) amounts of gold. As a result, the ryō as a unit of weight of gold and the ryō as the face value of the koban were no longer synonymous.

Denarius

Pietas

Minted: 48 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 18mm

Pietas, translated variously as “duty”, “religiosity” or “religious behavior”, “loyalty”, “devotion”, or “filial piety”, was one of the chief virtues among the ancient Romans. The sacred nature of pietas was embodied by the divine personification Pietas, a goddess often pictured on Roman coins.

According to a miraculous legend, a poor woman who was starving in prison was saved when her daughter gave her breast milk. Caught in the act, the daughter was not punished, but recognised for her pietas. Mother and daughter were set free, and given public support for the rest of their lives. The site was regarded as sacred to the goddess Pietas (consecratus deae) because she had chosen to manifest her presence there. The story exemplified pietas erga parentes, the proper devotion one ought to show to one’s parents.

Stater

Bull

Minted: Circa 530-510 B.C.

Material: Silver

Diameter: 29mm

The coin of Sybaris depicts a bull whose head is gracefully turned backwards, in relief on the obverse and incuse on the reverse.

Its type is one of the most artistic on the coins of Southern Italy and, indeed, elsewhere in the Greek world. The Sybaris elite were renowned for their indulgences, giving root to the modern work “sybarite.” It was said that Sybarite chefs were able to patent their recipes, and the games hosted by this city state were more elaborate than those of Olympia. There was an uprising in 510 B.C., squelched by the elite. Rebels took refuge in nearby Croton (which also used the incuse technique for its coins representing the tripod of Apollo at Delphi; see below). Sybaris demanded their extradition. When Croton refused, Sybaris attacked Croton. Although vastly outnumbered by the Sybarite forces, Croton managed to repel the attack and destroyed Sybaris. To prevent Sybaris from ever being resettled, it then diverted the Crathis River to pass through the center of the old city. Because of this, remnants of the center of Sybaris have never been uncovered, and coins are among the few surviving artifacts of this fascinating city-state.

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