Ancient Coins Title

 

Rome-Marcian Gold Solidus • 450-457 AD • NGC Uncirculated - $1,495.00

Rome-Marcian Gold Solidus

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Marcian (Flavius Marcianus Augustus) was Byzantine emperor from 450-457. His rule marked a recovery of the eastern empire, which the emperor protected from external menances and reformed  it financially and economically. However, his isolationist policies left the western Roman Empire vulnerable to barbarian attacks in the Italian campaigns of Attila the Hun and the Vandals sack of Rome.

Byzantine Bronze Christ Portrait Coins - 800-1200 AD - $49.95 each

Christ Portrait Byzantine coins

These Byzantine era coins (known as folles) were some of the first bronze coins issued to depict Christ. The obverse features Christ holding a book of the Gospels.

The reverse features four lines:
IhSUS, XRISTUS, bASILEU, bASILE, meaning Jesus Christ, King of Kings

Widow's Mite (Pruta) - 103-76 BC - $99.95 each

Widow's Mite - Pruta coin

The Pruta or "Widow’s Mite" was the smallest of the bronze coins in Jewish currency. These coins are referred to in the New Testament in Mark 12:41-44, “And He sat down over against the treasury, and beheld how the multitude cast money into the treasury; and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than all they are casting into the treasury: for they did cast in of their superfluity; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living”.

The coins were issued during the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (Jannai/Yannai)the second Hasmonean king of Judaea from 103 to 76 BC. A son of John Hyrcanus, he inherited the throne from his brother Aristobulus I, and married his brother's widow, Queen Salome Alexandra. From his conquests to expand the kingdom to a bloody civil war, Alexander's reign has been generalized as cruel and oppressive with never ending conflict.

Hellenism at the time had enormous influence over the Holy Land, and the High Priest, Alexander Yannai, took a Greek name and called himself king instead of High Priest. The obverse of the widow’s mite has an anchor (symbolizing his fleet of ships) and an inscription in Greek, “Of Alexander the King”. The reverse has an eight-rayed star. Since Biblical law forbade the making of graven images (Deuteronomy 4:16,23), it is likely that Alexander chose a star, in keeping with Numbers 24:17, "A star rises from Jacob, a scepter comes forth from Israel". This verse generally was generally considered a biblical support for the Davidic monarchy.  Jannaeus, however, could have seen it as an image of his achievements and his rule.

These are some of the nicest "Widow's Mites" we've seen and each would be an excellent addition to your ancient coin collection!

Pilgrim's Token of the True Cross - (Call for pricing)

Pilgrim's Token of the True Cross

The most precious relic preserved by the Byzantine church was the "True Cross", claimed to be the actual cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. Discovered in the 320s during the renovations of the pilgrimage sites in Jerusalem under Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, the Cross had been venerated by generations of pilgrims by the seventh century.

In 614 AD the unthinkable occurred. The Persians, in one of their periodic resurgences of military power, invaded the Byzantine East, as the avengers of the deposed and murdered emperor Maurice Tiberius. They reached Jerusalem, besieged and took it, looting and pillaging the pilgrimage sites. As part of their triumph over the unbelieving (non-Zoroastrian) Christians they carried away the Cross to Ctesiphon; its capture was taken by them as a sign of the weakness of Christ against Ahura-Mazda.

The Cross remained in Persian hands for fourteen years. Meanwhile the emperor Heraclius, having disposed of the usurper Phocas, whose actions caused the problem, prepared his counterstrokes. In 628 AD his army, invading from Armenia, defeated and destroyed the Persian military might. Now the tables were turned; the Byzantines recovered what they had lost, with interest. The Cross was returned to its place of honor in Jerusalem.

The Cross remained in Jerusalem for a further five centuries. Used as a standard in battle by the Crusaders, it was captured at Hattin in 1187 by the Muslims. Eventually, so the story goes, it was taken to the Great Mosque in Cairo, where it was placed under the entrance so that all the Muslim worshipers walked over it on their way to prayers.

Tokens were issued as souvenirs of the celebrations accompanying the return of the Cross to Jerusalem in 630 AD. They are small clay or terra-cotta "medallions", made by pressing a lump of clay into a (probably wooden) mold. It is said that a piece of the wood of the Cross was burned and the ash mixed with the clay; hence the tokens, themselves, became miniature reliquaries.

The tokens were produced in two main types. The classic design is the standard True Cross reliquary design: the Cross, with or without base, held by Constantine in imperial robes on the left side and Helena in robes and widow's veil on the right. Two subtypes are known: first, a variety with two Xs, probably intended as stars, above the arms of the cross, and second, with the cross on steps, much like that on the reverses of many Heraclian coins. The second type shows a Greek cross with the letters H N E I in the angles. Exactly what this Greek inscription means is not certain; the most likely reading is hn ei(dos), "behold the appearance (of the Cross)".

Constantine Bronze Coins - (A variety of type minted during his reign) - $9.95 each

Constantine Bronze coins

Flavius Valerius Constantinus, Constantine the Great, was the son of Helena and Constantius I. His father was a member of a four-man ruling tetrarchy. Constantine ruled the Roman Empire from 307-337 AD. He minted a variety of coins during his reign, and each coin was minted to tell a story or send a message of his victory and power over the Roman Empire.

Constantine converted to Christianity and issued the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, which extended toleration to the Christians and restored any personal and corporate property that had been confiscated during their persecution. Throughout his life, Constantine credited his success to his conversion to Christianity and the support of the Christian God.

His reign was perhaps one of the most crucial of all the emperors in determining the future course of western civilization. Constantine began the process to make Christianity the official state religion in place of paganism, which was completed in 391 during the reign of Theodosius I. To resolve the Arian controversy regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ, (The Arian concept of Christ is that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten by God the Father and therefore subordinate to Him), he convened the first Ecumenical Council of the church, which assembled at Nicaea in Bithynia during June 325. From this council, the Nicene Creed was created, which proclaims the deity of Christ. Today, the Nicene Creed is quoted every week in many churches around the world.

Constantine stopped minting coins showing the Roman god Jupiter in 315 AD. Although Constantine was a Christian, he did not issue coins with overtly Christian symbols. Since he realized the Army put him in power and that the Army could remove him, he often gave tribute to the Army on his coins.

After shifting the capital of the empire from Rome to Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the east, Constantine reassured the people of Rome by issuing coins to reaffirm Rome as the traditional center of the Empire and to mark the foundation of Constantinople.

Various Ancient Silver Coins - Price as marked

    Eukratides I Baktrian Tetradrachm
     
Aemilius Scaurus Denarius   Hadrian Denarius
     
Alexander III Tetradrachm    Lucius Verus Denarius 
     
Alexander III Tetradrachm Amphipoly Mint    
 

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