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Ancient Coins and Music


Theodosius
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I have been listening to violin concertos lately, just for a change of pace from classic rock, alternative, etc.

I have been watching a lot of TwoSetViolin videos on youtube because I find them amusing and relaxing but also educational.

I realized I have a Greek coin that belonged to Jascha Heifetz, the famous violinist.

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I love coins from Syracuse and could not resist this obvious homage to their famous types.  Hard to believe I have had this coin for 32 years...

Campania, Neapolis.

AR Nomos, 380-350 BC.

Obverse: Diademed head of nymph right surrounded by three dolphins.

Reverse: [N]EOΠOΛITΩN, man-headed bull walking right, head facing; above, Nike flying right, crowning bull with wreath.

References: SNG ANS 335

Ex 1989 Jascha Heifetz sale Part 2, #2336.

Ex 1990 Fred Shore

 

Do you have any coins with a musical tie-in of any kind?

John

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57 minutes ago, Alegandron said:

@Theodosiushere is a Violin Concerto for you!  😄

 

1243124670_CampaniaNeapolis320-300BCARDidrachmNomosNymphAchelous.jpg.e700fd9ce2bfa0de1795218458001fbe.jpg

Campania Neapolis 320-300 BC AR Didrachm Nomos Nymph Achelous

 

LOL, actually wanted to see if I could attached cool music... something to liven up a tough day that I had.  😄

I'm sorry to read that. Another one that always gets me going when I'm down:

 

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18 hours ago, Theodosius said:

I realized I have a Greek coin that belonged to Jascha Heifetz, the famous violinist.

That is so cool!!

I like Apollo's lyre on this AE26 from Hierapolis in Phrygia:

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And this tiny AE13 from Magnesia ad Sipylum seems to be the second known:

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I should really get some more music-related coins...

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Since this is in the Greek section, I'll post this Greek coin with a lyre.

[IMG]
Lydia, Philadelphia, early-mid 2nd century BC.
Greek Æ 17 mm, 5.84 g, 12 h.
Obv: Head of Zeus, right, wearing tainia.
Rev: ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛ / ΦΕⲰΝ either side of lyre (or kithara), monogram above, plectrum below; all within laurel-wreath.
Refs: BMC 22.187, 5-7; Sear 4720; cf. SNG Cop 348-50; cf. SNG von Aulock 3061.
 

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This aureus is a recent purchase from HJB's Buy Bid Sale. Aaron Berk was kind enough to let me know that a customer of his tracked down a pedigree to Enrico Caruso, the famous Italian operatic tenor (1873-1921) who produced hundreds of recordings in the infancy of "portable" music. As a musician myself, I've always wanted a Caruso pedigree and hadn't found the right coin, making this a very fortunate "two birds with one stone" purchase:

image.thumb.jpeg.81098e19db7c6fe907a7438d4cdc5a7d.jpeg

 

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3 minutes ago, AncientJoe said:

This aureus is a recent purchase from HJB's Buy Bid Sale. Aaron Berk was kind enough to let me know that a customer of his tracked down a pedigree to Enrico Caruso, the famous Italian operatic tenor (1873-1921) who produced hundreds of recordings in the infancy of "portable" music. As a musician myself, I've always wanted a Caruso pedigree and hadn't found the right coin, making this a very fortunate "two birds with one stone" purchase:

image.thumb.jpeg.81098e19db7c6fe907a7438d4cdc5a7d.jpeg

 

A gorgeous coin! The Caruso provenance is the icing on the cake!

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The satyr Marsyas was a famous musician, known for playing both the double oboe.  He challenged Apollo to a contest of music and lost his hide and life.

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L. Censorinus 82 BC denarius 3.80g
Obv: Laureate head of Apollo right.
Rev: L CENSOR; Marsyas standing left, holding wineskin over shoulder; to right, column surmounted by statue of Minerva (?) standing left.
Purchased from Beast Coins, June 2003

Marsyas has a weird, almost superhero-quality origin story.  The flute/oboe/aulos was invented by Athena.  Unfortunately later mirrors were invented and she saw herself playing.  Blowing into the oboe puffed up her cheeks and made her look silly ... so she threw it away and cursed it.

Marsyas finds Athena's flute.  Athena's curse is that he will die an awful death.  Marsyas becomes skilled on the flute, so skilled he challenges the god of music to a contest.  The Greeks thought this was hubris, but remember that Athena and Apollo are half-siblings.  (I suspect a set-up.)

The contest terms were that the winner could treat the defeated party any way he wanted.

The contest: Diodorus Siculus tells us that Marsyas played his flute, putting everyone there into a frenzy, and they started dancing wildly. When it was Apollo's turn, he played his lyre so beautifully that everyone was still and had tears in their eyes.  Hyginus says Marsyas actually won the first round, but then Apollo wowed the audience by playing the harp upside-down and playing the same song again.

The penalty Apollo demanded was that Marsyas be flayed (skinned).  In some versions his skin is made into a winesack, which may explain the sack Marsyas is carrying on this coin.  However when Herodotus visited Celaenae in Phyrgia (a city with no coins?), he actually saw Marsyas' skin hanging in the square.  (Which would put me off shopping).

 

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7 hours ago, Etcherdude said:

Two beautiful coins photographed during a recent visit to the Getty Villa.

One depicts a lyre(?). I need to remember to photograph the labels too.

 

lyre.jpg

lyre2.jpg

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MACEDON, Chalkidian League. Circa 382-379 BCE. AR tetradrachm, Olynthos mint. Reverse: Kithara; tripod between uprights. 

“The coin’s reverse depicts a kithara from which the word “guitar” is derived.” https://coinweek.com/ancient-coins/ancient-greek-guitar/

Edited by Etcherdude
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I have several coins from the Reinhold Faelton Collection.  Reinhold Faelton (1856 - 1949) was a musician, composer, the Dean and founder in 1897 of the Faelton Pianoforte School of Boston, Massachusetts, and a coin collector for over 50 years. His collection of ancient coins was sold by Stacks in January 1938. This Stack's catalogue was one of the earliest to feature photographs of actual ancient coins in the plates, rather than photos of plaster casts of the coins (which was the standard at the time). The resulting plates were mixed-quality but mostly poor, making it an arduous task to use this catalogue for provenance matching.

My two Ex Faelton coins:

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1521044195142126439108.jpg.db8cda262cb55dbd6f964dd790a029ab.jpg

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What a nice idea for a thread...

1694965220_NeroasVictory..thumb.jpg.9c567c8bdbef6e17bab4da8ccac6ffb2.jpg

 

 Whenever I see this as of Nero, I'm reminded of the song 'Seneca' by Patti Smith, and vice versa. A logical pairing.

Melancholy, but beautiful. 

PS:I've never tried to embed a video before, so I hope this works.

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What a handsome lady! I have a similar type, the more common Campanian didrachm. This one is a bit special though, being minted in Nola, not Neapolis. The lady on the obverse - Parthenope, one of the sirens from the Odyssee - must have had some mad singing skills! It's tricky to photograph unfortunately: 

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Nola, AR didrachm

400 - 375 BC

Obverse: diademed head of nymph (Parthenope) facing left

Reverse: man-faced bull (Achelous) advancing right, crowned by Nike flying above, NOLAION in exergue

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