Jump to content

A true definition of a snack coin


Recommended Posts

I participated today in an auction. My funds are severely low and a vacation is knocking on the door, but I felt the need for a few new coins. You know the feeling ...

But for this auction, the competition was on their toes. Usually I manage to get 1-2 major targets and a few snacks but today no, sir. All the coins I was chasing were lost, even those where my bids were reasonable.

So I got annoyed for wasting a few hours (on the train) so decided to get at least 2-3 coins.

Won 2 Geta good provincials I might post in the future (not bad, especially since I have no Geta imperials).

But this was, for me, the biggest surprise in recent auctions. Not something fabulous, but I think some colleagues, including @Marsyas Mike, will like it.


PHRYGIA. Apameia. Pseudo-autonomous issue. Assarion. 4.57g 18mm. Time of the Severans, 193-235. ΔHMOC, Bearded and draped bust of the Demos to right / AΠAMЄΩN, Marsyas advancing right, playing double flute (aulos)
Leypold, Vol. II, p. 30, 1441; Martin, Demos Vol. 2, p. 158, Apameia 22; SNG Copenhagen 200.


A new city, a coin with a reverse I like (somebody playing a musical instrument) and overall pleasant - I don't think I can ask for more for the exorbitant price of 5 EUR.

About the reverse character, from wiki page.

Marsyas was an expert player on the double-piped double reed instrument known as the aulos. The dithyrambic poet Melanippides of Melos (c. 480 – 430 BC) embellished the story in his dithyramb Marsyas, claiming that the goddess Athena, who was already said to have invented the aulos, once looked in the mirror while she was playing it and saw how blowing into it puffed up her cheeks and made her look silly, so she threw the aulos away and cursed it so that whoever picked it up would meet an awful death. Marsyas picked up the aulos and was later killed by Apollo for his hubris. The fifth-century BC poet Telestes doubted that virginal Athena could have been motivated by such vanity. Some account informs about the curse placed on the bearer of the flute, i.e; Athena placed a curse that the one picking up the flute would be severely punished.
Later, however, Melanippides's story became accepted as canonical and the Athenian sculptor Myron created a group of bronze sculptures based on it, which was installed before the western front of the Parthenon in around 440 BC.In the second century AD, the travel writer Pausanias saw this set of sculptures and described it as "a statue of Athena striking Marsyas the Silenos for taking up the flutes [aulos] that the goddess wished to be cast away for good."


Please post pseudo autonomous coins, coins with musical instruments players, very cheap coins or whatever you feel relevant!

Edited by ambr0zie
  • Like 14
  • Smile 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have two coins featuring Marsyas, though neither is as nice as @ambr0zie's coin.  I have a provincial of Elagabalus from Berytus (Beirut) with a statue of Marsyas on the reverse (you can just barely see the aulos he's holding):


And a Roman Republic denarius of Lucius Marcius Censorinus (82 BC) with Marsyas and his wine-skin (but no aulos) on reverse:


And here's one of the many videos on Youtube that feature the mournful sound of the aulos:




  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@ambr0zie...That's a really neat coin! And thanks for the write up. 

@Parthicus...Wow, never heard the aulos, certainly thought provoking!

Here's an autonomous coin and cheap at 4 bucks...Them were the days....



Gadhaiya paisa 1 Drachm

Gadhaiya paisa (Rajputana and Gujarat Region) 800-950
Obverse-Stylized Head of King Right.
Reverse-Stylized Fire Altar and Moon

Edited by Spaniard
  • Like 13
  • Big Smile 1
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neat to see decent coins at low prices @Spaniard

And @Parthicus I also want to thank you for the aulos video. Never heard one and I thought it has a higher pitched sound.

I had this kind of sound in mind, also an archaic wind instrument used by the Romanian band Phoenix on their 1974 album called "Mugur de fluier" (Flute's bud)


  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Score! One man's snack is another man's mark. But I certainly have been guilty of buying coins I didn't NEED so that I didn't feel so bad about shipping. 

Here are some fun ones that fit some of your categories.

Here's a Lyre and the guy who flayed Marsyas for his insolence:


Here's a flute (now I'm the liar 😉)


And some Pseudo-autonomous sweeties that were snacks:



Edited by Ryro
  • Like 15
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great snacks all! 

Here’s a snack I recently received $0.99… plus $10 shipping split between 2 $0.99 coins… so let’s call it $6 total for this one. 

It’s a scarce variation of the galley theme also used on the more common GLORIA ROMANORVM coins of the era. This coin is an AE3 rather than AE2 and has the reverse legend VIRTVS AVGGG. This coin is said to be the first reverse issued for Valentinian II after fleeing Italy for safety under Theodosius I from Magnus Maximus.


Edited by Orange Julius
  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, ambr0zie said:

But this was, for me, the biggest surprise in recent auctions. Not something fabulous, but I think some colleagues, including @Marsyas Mike, will like it.


Oh yeah!  I like it a lot @ambr0zie.  That's a heck of a snack. 

Actually, I was unaware of this type - the Marsyas types from Apameia I've seen are the common ones with Tyche on the obverse.  Here is one of those (Ron Burgundy flute solo!) paired with perhaps my finest Marsyas type, an issue for Serverus Alexander from Delutum showing Marsyas with his after-concert wine skin.  Just havin' a good time until Apollo comes along and flays you:


As it so happens, I do have a "pseudo-anonymous" type with Marsyas, this beauty from Troas:

1062995459_Troas-MarsyastimeofGallienusMay2019(0).jpg.9c96ed7d891c44d590e58d9975180fa2.jpgAlexandreia, Troas   Æ 22 Pseudo-autonomous (Gallienus era c. 253-268 A.D.) CO ALEX [TRO], Turreted,   draped bust of Tyche r., vexillum w. CO/AV behind / COL AV[G] TROA(C?), Marsyas standing right on pedestal, wine-skin over shoulder, right hand raised. (4.41 grams / 22 mm ) eBay May 2019  Bellinger A497 var. (with CO ALEX TRO on obv.); SNG Cop 103 var (ditto); SNG von Aulock 1463 var (ditto)


Edited by Marsyas Mike
  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hard to beat a Byzantine hexagram for $20 shipped, especially with a bit of provenance (it was in a previous sale back in 1999):

Heraclius (with Heraclius Constantine), Byzantine Empire
AR hexagram
Obv: dd NN hERACLIUS Et hERA CONSt, Heraclius on left and Heraclius Constantine on right, seated facing on double-throne, each holding cross on globe in right hand, small cross above
Rev: dEUS AdIUtA ROmANIS, Cross-potent on globe above three steps; monogram to left, I in left field
Date: 615-638 AD
Mint: Constantinople
Ref: SB 801
22 mm wide, 6 gr.


Edited by ValiantKnight
  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sardis pseudo-autonomous issue, reusing a coin of Nero...

Ti. Cl. Phileinos Hemiassarion, Time of Vespasian, 70-73image.png.2d8252e0db4b092483fc9f68cb4dbb8a.pngSardis. Bronze, 12.5mm, 2.48g. Draped bust of Mên to right, wearing Phrygian cap; crescent on his shoulders; EΠI TI KΛAY ΦIΛEINOY CTΡA (Ti. Cl. Phileinos magistrate). CAΡ/ΔIA/NΩN (Sardisian) in three lines within laurel wreath tied below (RPC II 1307). Struck over an AD65 Nero Hemiassarion from Sardis, under the strategos Ti. Cl. Mnaseas (bold letters visible): Laureate head of Nero to right; NEPΩN KAICAP ("KAIC" is visible at 12h). Laureate head of Hercules to right, with lion's skin tied around his neck; EΠI TI MNACEOY CAPΔIANΩN ("CAPΔ" is just below the bust of Mên) (RPC I 3009).

Edited by John Conduitt
  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

Sestus, Thrace AE bronze

'after' 150 BC

diameter: 16.2 mm

Weight: 2.34 grams

Obverse: Hermes head left

Reverse: Lyre

Reference: Weber 2465

Other: kinda rare & super cool


hermes a.jpg

hermes bb.jpg

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

My one coin depicting Marsyas:

Roman Republic, Lucius Marcius Censorinus, AR Denarius, 82 BCE. Obv. Laureate head of Apollo right, traces of control mark (unidentifiable) behind / Rev. The satyr Marsyas standing left, gazing upwards, raising right hand and holding wineskin over left shoulder; tall column behind him, surmounted by statue of draped figure (Minerva [RSC] or Victory [Crawford]); L. CENSOR downwards before him. Crawford 363/1d, RSC I Marcia 24, Sear RCV I 281 (ill.), BMCRR 2657. 18 mm, 3.80 g, 5 h. [The coin refers to the legend of the satyr Marsyas challenging Apollo to a flute-playing contest. As the winner, Apollo got to choose the punishment for the loser -- namely, skinning Marsyas alive. Traditionally, the gens Marcia was descended from Marsyas; hence the reference.]


  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...