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Let's see some lions!


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After seeing more than a few lions on the UNO thread, I thought I'd start one just for cute, cuddly lions. Let's see how many coins of this amazing animal we can display.

First, here are a few obligatory lions I've photographed in South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.






Now for the coins!


Phoenicia, Byblos 'Urimilk III
AR 1/16 Stater 0.87g, 11mm, 9h
Circa 333 BCE
Galley to left, containing two hoplites with helmets and round shields; below, Phoenician letters and hippocamp to left / Lion attacking bull to left, Phoenician inscription above. E&E-B Group IV.3.2; HGC 10, 137
Ex Roma


Kings of Macedon, Perdikkas III (365-359 BC).
AE 17.5mm, 3.21g, 12h
Head of Herakles r., wearing lion skin. R/ Lion standing r., breaking javelin with its jaws.
SNG ANS 114; SNG Alpha Bank 240; HGC 3.1, 839.
Ex London Ancient Coins


Isaura Palaia(?), Cilicia
Silver hemiobol c. 335-325 BCE
8.1mm 0.294g
obverse head of Herakles facing slightly left
reverse facing head of lion, YAYPCOM (or similar) below
Göktürk p. 150, 86 (Isaura Palaia), SNG Kayhan 1062, SNG Levante -; SNG BnF -
ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (15 Aug 2020)
ex Roma e-sale 52 (10 Jan 2019)
ex Forum Ancient Coins



SAMARIA, Samarian-signed Series
Circa 375-333 BCE
AR Obol 8.5mm, 0.63 g, 7h
Forepart of lion crouching right, head facing / Bearded head of male left; ŠMRY[N] (in Aramaic) to right.
Meshorer & Qedar 83; Sofaer 59


Kings of Paeonia, Leon
Æ 13mm 1.91g, 6h 278-250 BCE
Wreathed head of Dionysos(?) to right / Head of lion to left; ΛEΩN to left, sword to right.
Cf. AMNG III/11, p. 206
Ex Roma 2017
Ex Roma 2022



IONIA. Miletos
Circa 350-325 BCE
Bronze, 11 mm, 2.38 g
Lion standing left, looking back; above, monogram of Miletos. Rev. Stellate pattern. Deppert-Lippitz 297-303. Weber 6041
Ex J. Metzger Collection
Ex Nomos



India. Kushan. Yueh Chi. Northern Bactria. Arsiles AR Hemidrachm
1st Century BCE AR 14.66mm 1.50g
Obverse: [APΣЄIΛ]HC, helmeted and draped bust right
Reverse: NANAIA / NANAIA, lion standing right, crescent / Λ above
Senior A4.1
Ex Marc Breitsprecher



Cyprus. Citium. Pumiathon Æ Chalkous / Lion
16.37mm 2.70g 362-312 BCE
Obverse: Lion walking left, ram head above
Reverse: Horse standing left, star above, symbol before
BMC 69
Ex Marc Breitsprecher


Finally, on a sad note, lions actually lived in Greece until the Hellenistic area. Therefore, the Greeks were very familiar with them and one likely reason they were far more common on their coins than on the Romans'. Sadly, they were eventually extirpated from Greece and Anatolia. Why? Well, the coin below provides the answer. Clearly, they were accidentally run over by kings on horseback. After Alexander the Great's death, the number of kingdoms exploded, as did the number of kings. This increased the likelihood of lions becoming road kill and eventually led to their extirpation.


Demetrios I Poliorketes
AE 18 mm, 5.20 g, 6 h
uncertain mint in Macedon or Greece (?)
circa 300 BCE
Prow to left. Rev. ΔΗΜ / ΒΑΣΙ Demetrios on horseback galloping left, hurling spear; to left, forepart of a lion right.
HGC 3, 1024. Newell 179 and pl. XVII, 18. SNG Alpha Bank -. SNG München -.
Ex Leu

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Impressive pictures !!


Here's a lion I never posted before:


Kings of Thrace, 323-281 B.C.
Obv.: Helmeted head of Athena right
Rev.: Lion charging right, caduceus, monogram and spear-head below
AE, 4.98g, 19.2mm
Ref.: SNG Cop 1153 var (monogram)

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One of my favorite lion coins:


Islands off Ionia, Samos
AR Didrachm, 6.57 grams, 310-300 BC. 
Obverse: Lion scalp
Reverse: NANISKOS, Forepart of an ox charging right, SA, olive spray.
References: Barron 22,6. HGC 1229. 
Ex Jean Elsen Brussel V, 1981
Very rare.     


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Similar lion scalp:


Perikles. Circa 380-360 BC
AR Third Stater, 3.01 grams, 16-17mm
Obverse: Lion scalp facing.
Reverse: Triskeles; in one section, draped bust of Hermes, wearing winged petasos, facing slightly left
References: SNG von Aulock 4256 var. (position of Hermes)


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A bit different one:


Seljuqs Of Rum, Kaykhusru II, (Giyath Al Din) 634-644 AH / 1236-1245 AD
AR Dirham, 2.92 grams, 22mm, Struck At Sivas, In 637 AH.
Obverse: Sun And Lion Motif
Reverse: Inscription.
References: Album Type 1218, Mitchiner Mwis-982.

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Nice coins!

 Seljuks of Rum,Ghiyath al-Din Kay Khusraw II, Siwas mint, AH 638 ( AD 1240) and AH 639(AD 1241), 2 AR dirhams.  From Roma E-ale 96 lots 1633 and 1641.



Not an ancient coin, but it should qualify:

Netherlands, United Provinces, Holland, Lion Daalder, 1589.

This coin was from a hoard found in Flanders in the late 1970s.



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Leontini Ar Stater 476-466 BC Obv. Man on horseback right Rv Head of roaring lion right surrounded by four grain ears. Boehringer 13 HGC 679  8.47 grms 20 mm Photo by W. Hansenleontini5.jpg.891da9d9bbd8b3a7b1f7c8f3d03f7110.jpg

Like most of the Sicilian mints the initial issues from the mint of Leontini consisted of didrachms struck on the Attic standard. Later the more familiar tetradrachm was adopted. 

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Recent lions.


Caria, Mylasa AR Tetartemorion. Circa 420-390 BC.  0.26g., 6.5 mm.



Lydia, Attalea. Pseudo-autonomous AE14




Lydia, Magnesia ad Sipylos. Pseudo-autonomous issue circa AD 200-300.




German States. Hesse-Cassel. Wilhelm I. 1785-1821. Billon groschen (1/24 thaler) 1819.




Thrace, Byzantium. Pseudo-autonomous AE17. Hercules/Club of Hercules

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Here's imo is a neat little lion you don't see every day...


Shahis of Ohind AE Jital of Vakka Deva around 870 AD

Diameter 18mm and 1.9 grams.

Obv. Elephant facing left with the name "Sri Vakka Deva" above in Nagari.

Rev. Lion to the right with gaping mouth, tongue out and one front paw raised. Diamond symbol in the rump.

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I only have one coin with a lion on it in my collection. Shown numerous times on here, most would have seen it before. A very pretty coin and one of my favourites.

Archaic drachm from Knidos. Head of roaring lion on the obverse, Aphrodite on the reverse, c. 500 - 495 BC.



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Some of mine:





Septimius Severus, Indulgentia, Dea Caelestis & lion - jpg version.jpg


Philip I Antoninianus (Lion Reverse) jpg version.jpg

combined Gallienus lion.jpg


Divus Maximianus Half Follis Lion Reverse jpg version.jpg

Bonus: a couple of Mudie medals with very robust British lions defeating whatever puny creatures the French send against them:



Another bonus: an ancient Egyptian faience reclining lion, 26th Dynasty:


And a Lion and Sun Disk scarab, probably from the time of the 26th Dynasty pharaoh Psemthek I (= Psammetichus I = Psamtik I, the more current spelling).

Steatite Scarab 23 mm. 1.jpg

Lion & sun disk scarab underside 2.jpg

Scarab & impression 1.jpg

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Great idea for a thread. And congratulations for the pictures (although I consider the lion one of the most beautiful animals in the world, I would prefer looking at them only through a computer screen. I know you used zoom a lot, but I am not sure my hands wouldn't shake).

Here are some coins with lions that weren't posted on this thread.

This one came in my first lot of ancient coins.


2.38 g 21 mm
GALLIENVS AVG. Radiate and cuirassed bust of Gallienus on the right draped over the left shoulder, seen from three quarters forward / LEG IIII FL VI P VI F. Lion leaping to the right.
Reverse translation: “Legio quarta Flavia sextum pia, sextum fidelis”, (Fourth legion Flavia pious and faithful for the sixth time).  
RIC V-1, Milan 343 (Joint Reign).

Not the main star of the reverse, but still present on Viminacium coins


On my smallest coin - attributed as tetartemorion but I strongly suspect it's a hemitetartemorion


Ionia. Miletos circa 525-475 BC. (Possible Caria Mylasa)
Hemitetartemorion AR Cf. Rosen 407/8. Klein 430; SNG Tubingen 3001;
Head of a roaring lion l. R/ Quail standing l. within incuse square
5 mm., 0,08 g.


1/12 Stater
7 mm, 0,94 g
LESBOS. Uncertain mint. Circa 480-400 BC. 1/12 Stater (Billon) Female head to left, wearing taenia. Rev. Head of a lion to right within incuse square. BMC 60-2. HGC 6, 1095. SNG Copenhagen 366.



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From the 13th and maybe 14th centuries:


Edward I, as prince and Duke of Aquitaine, c. 1252-1272.

Obv. Lion passant (/on all fours /'leopard') guardant (facing).  +EDVVARD': FILI'; Rev. [...] +h[ENRICVS]' REGIS /\NGLIE.  Duplessy 1037 var.


Harness pendant of Edward I or II as king of England, c. 1272-1307-1327.  Gules, three lions passant or.


Another one, of the Percy lords of Alnwick, and eventual earls of Northumberland; c. mid-13th -earlier 14th c.  Or a lion rampant azure.

Edited by JeandAcre
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How about some quadrigas drawn by lions?

Italy 1920 50c Lion Quadriga.jpg
Julia Domna, AD 193-217.
Roman AR denarius, 3.30 g, 19 mm, 6 h.
Rome, 21st emission, AD 205.
Obv: IVLIA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: MATER AVGG, Julia Domna, as Cybele, seated left in quadriga of lions and holding branch in her right hand.
Refs: RIC 562; BMCRE 48; Cohen/RSC 117; RCV 6592; Hill 759; CRE 354.

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Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Caracalla, Denarius of the Roman Imperial Period 216 AD, Material: Silver, Diameter: 20mm, Weight: 3.40g, Mint: Rome, Reference: RIC IV Caracalla 283c, Provenance: Ex Dr. Gernot Heinrich Collection, Obverse: You can see the right-facing bust of Caracalla with a laurel wreath. The inscription reads: ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM for Antoninus Pius Augustus Germanicus, Reverse: You can see a lion with a radiant crown (solar lion) walking to the left with a bundle of lightning in its mouth. The inscription reads: P M TR P XVIIII COS IIII P P for Pontifex Maximus Tribunitia Potestas (for the nineteenth time) Consul (for the fourth time) Pater Patriae.

The lion symbolizes courage and royalty as it is considered the „king of beasts“. In ancient times, the lion was widespread throughout the Mediterranean. In Greek mythology, lions appear in various roles. The Nemean lion was represented as a man-eating beast, which was one of Heracles‘ twelve labors to kill. In the story of Androclus, one of Aesop’s fables, the hero, a runaway slave, plucks a thorn from a lion’s paw. When he is later to be thrown to the lions for food as punishment for his flight, the animal recognizes him and refuses to kill the man.

The winged lion is mentioned in the Bible (Daniel 7.4 EU) and assigned to the evangelist Mark in Christian iconography. The lion also played a role in numerous other ancient cultures. In Egypt, pharaohs were represented as sphinxes, lions with human heads. The most famous such depiction is the Great Sphinx of Giza. Egyptian mythology also knew Dedun, the Upper Egyptian god of wealth. Especially in the mythology of the East, the lion in connection with symbols of the sun symbolized the ruling power. The fiery zodiac sign of Leo, whose energy flow is guided by the sun and whose specific quality for humans is the targeted striving for knowledge and domination. It governs the will to enlighten and the will to rule.

With the depiction of the sun lion on the reverse of this denarius, Caracalla combines the lion in his imitatio Alexandri (Alexander the Great was also known as the lion of Macedonia) with the radiant crown of Sol, the ruler of the world and the invincible sun god of the East.

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Here are a few I didn't notice above.

Heraclea diobol - ca. 432-420 BC.   HN Italy 1358, 0.96g, 12mm


RR double litra - ca. 275-270 BC.   Cr. 16/1a, 11.33g, 22mm.


Reverse of Seleukos I stater of Babylon = ca. 412-305 BC.   Nicolet-Pierre 7 (p. 291), 16.26g, 22mm.


Tarentum diobol - ca. 380-334 BC.   SNG ANS 11388, 0.95g, 13mm.


Reverse of Segesta didrachm - ca. 412-400 BC.   The nymph is wearing a necklace with lionhead pendant (photo' doesn't have enough depth of field, need to re-take it).
HGC 2, 1151, 7.26g, 23mm.


Augustus denarius - 19-18 BC.   RIC 381, 3.45g, 18mm.


Finally, one from change from 1986 or 1987 - it was then 160 years old - overdone lighting...

UK George IV shilling, 1826.   5.3g, 24mm.



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One more coin from my pride that I forgot to post with the others.

Antoninus Pius AE Drachm, Zodiac Series, Sun in Leo (day house), Year 8 (144-145 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, ΑYΤ Κ Τ ΑΙΛ ΑΔΡ ΑΝΤѠΝƐΙΝΟϹ ϹƐ-Β ƐYϹ (legend begins at 8:00) / Rev. Lion springing right; above to left, bust of Helios, radiate and draped; above to right, 8-pointed star; L H (Year 8 ) below.  RPC IV.4 Online 13547 (temp.) (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/4/13547 ); Emmett 1530.8 (ill. p. 74A); BMC 16 Alexandria 1084 at p. 127 (ill. Pl. 12); Milne 1813-1815 at p. 44 (No. 1815 has same obv. legend break as this coin, i.e., ϹƐ-Β ƐVϹ); Dattari (Savio) 2968; K&G 35.278 (ill. p. 173); Köln (Geissen) 1495.  Ex. Dr. Busso Peus Nachfolger, Auction 428, Lot 555, 28 Apr. 2021; ex. Heidelberger Münzhandlung Herbert Grün e.K., Auction 79, Lot 1284, 10 Nov. 2020.* 33 mm., 20.95 g. [Footnote omitted.]

 Ant Pius zodiac Helios & lion photo from 2021 Busso P. nachf. auction.jpg

Edited by DonnaML
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