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Mythology On Coins. Post Yours...

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 Posted 04/04/2021  09:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The commemorative half dollar struck for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition has an obverse with multiple elements that have mythological roots.

The obverse depicts Columbia - the allegorical personification of the United States - scattering flowers into San Francisco Bay as she looks out onto the Golden Gate and a setting sun. Though Columbia, as a symbol of the United States, was a creation of the 18th century, the manner in which she is typically depicted, and the sense of strength she projects, bears strong resemblance to the goddesses of Greek and Roman mythology and was likely inspired by them.

Columbia is shown wearing a Phrygian cap - a liberty cap. Though the cap has roots in the times of ancient Rome, the Phrygian cap as a symbol of freedom dates back to the American and French Revolutions of the late 1700s. (See link to the "Hats Thread" for more of the Phrygian cap story.)

Standing behind Columbia is a cherub. Cherubs date to biblical times, and were originally seen as angelic servants of God by multiple religions. In modern time, a cherub is typically seen as a young, innocent child. On the coin, the cherub helps Columbia spread America's prosperity, in the spirit of friendship, absent of malevolent intent.

The cherub holds a cornucopia full of additional flowers, In ancient mythology, the cornucopia was connected to abundance and prosperity - the cornucopia full of flowers on the coin is meant to represent the "boundless resources" of the American West.

The design is the work of Charles E. Barber; George T. Morgan created the reverse design.

1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition Half Dollar


You can learn more about the Pan-Pac commemorative half dollar here:

- 1915 Panama-Pacific Half Dollar
- 1915 Panama-Pacific Half Dollar - Revisit
- 1915 Panama-Pacific Half Dollar - Coins with Hats Thread


My previous posts about other commemorative coins and medals can be found here: Read More: Commems Collection.



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 04/05/2021  10:04 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice examples!


Quote:
On the obverse of each coin is seen a left-facing portrait of Minerva - the Roman goddess of "wisdom and statecraft"
Very interesting! Gold coins are not in my wheelhouse, so I had not realized she was anything other than some representation of Liberty.
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 Posted 04/05/2021  5:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The Roman goddess Libertas is the inspiration behind the depiction of Lady Liberty on the obverse of the 1926 commemorative gold Quarter Eagle ($2.50) that was authorized to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the launch of American independence. As part of the American Independence Sesquicentennial commemorative coin program, a silver half dollar coin was also issued.

The obverse of the Quarter Eagle depicts Lady Liberty standing on a globe. She is shown wearing a flowing gown with the Torch of Freedom held in her right hand and an over-sized scroll of the Declaration of Independence in her left. On her head is seen a Phrygian Cap, a popular symbol of freedom at the time of the American Revolution (circa 1776) - it was also a popular symbol among the French at the time of the French Revolution (1789). The reverse of the coin presents Independence Hall in Philadelphia, site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

It is possible to trace the inspiration for Lady Liberty at least one step beyond the Roman goddess Libertas - to Greek mythology and the goddess Eleutheria who also was symbolic of freedom.

John R. Sinnock, the eighth Chief Engraver of the US Mint, was the designer and modeler of the coin; Sinnock took over the top post within the Mint's Engraving Department after the passing of George Morgan in 1925. Both the silver Half Dollar and the gold Quarter Eagle were sponsored by the Sesquicentennial Exhibition Association (the organizers of the Sesquicentennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia, PA).

1926 American Independence Sesquicentennial, Gold Quarter Eagle



To learn more:

- 1926 American Independence Sesquicentennial
- What if? 1926 American Independence Gold $1.50
- 1926 American Independence Sesquicentennial - Coins Depicting the Sun


For more stories of commemorative coins and medals, check out: Read More: Commems Collection


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
04/05/2021 5:33 pm
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 Posted 04/06/2021  11:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The gold Quarter Eagle of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition commemorative program is one of four coins within the Exposition's five-coin program that incorporates mythological elements within its design. The other three coins are: the half dollar and the two varieties of the gold Quintuple Eagle. (Links to the discussion of mythology on each can be found below.)

On the Quarter Eagle, the mythological connection is found on the obverse. It is on that side that we find the allegorical figure of Columbia - the personification of the United States - looking very much like Lady Liberty, who is based on the Roman goddess Libertas and/or the Greek goddess Eleutheria. Making the parallel to Liberty even stronger is the fact that Columbia is shown wearing a Phrygian cap (aka the "Liberty cap'") that is ever-present on Lady Liberty,.

Columbia is depicted riding on a hippocampus - a fictitious animal that dates to Greek mythology; a hippocampus was said to be an animal that combined the front quarters of a horse with the body and tail of a fish (sometimes identified as a dolphin).

Columbia is also shown holding a caduceus in her left hand which is included to represent the medical triumph over yellow fever that enabled the Panama Canal to be be built/completed. The caduceus is a staff with two intertwined snakes whose heads meet at the top; it is often shown with wings at the top. The caduceus can be found in ancient Greek and Roman mythology, though it had a different meaning/symbolism at that time - nothing to do with medicine or healthcare. The association of the caduceus with medicine is a narrative that developed in the 19th century.

1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition Gold Quarter Eagle


Note: I do not own this coin yet, so I am presenting images of it courtesy of Heritage Auctions, http://www.ha.com.

For more on the 1915 Pan-Pac Quarter Eagle, see:

- ]1915 Pan-Pac Quarter Eagle - Coins Representing the Animal Kingdom Thread
- 1915 Pan-Pac Quarter Eagle - Coins with Hands Thread

Links to discussions of mythology for other Pan-Pac coins:

- 1915 Pan-Pac Silver Half Dollar - Mythology on Coins Thread
- 1915 Pan-Pac Gold $50 Coin - Mythology on Coins Thread


For more posts about commemorative coins and medals, check out: Read More: Commems Collection.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 04/06/2021  11:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
It is possible to trace the inspiration for Lady Liberty at least one step beyond the Roman goddess Libertas - to Greek mythology and the goddess Eleutheria who also was symbolic of freedom.
Very interesting!


Quote:
1926 American Independence Sesquicentennial, Gold Quarter Eagle
Lovely example!
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 Posted 04/09/2021  10:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Dorado to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
1966 Greece
5 Drachmai - Constantine II.


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 Posted 04/12/2021  09:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
1966 Greece 5 Drachmai - Constantine II.
Very nice!
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 Posted 07/22/2021  5:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The Celts had a rich mythology populated by gods, divine creatures, spirited animals, and shape shifters. To the delight of today's numismatists, they also populated their coins with elements from their mythological realm. The lack of contemporary written sources, however, often leaves plenty of room for guesswork when it comes to interpreting the symbolism. Still, the coins are beautiful and stimulating to the imagination. Here is a recent acquisition of mine, from Gaul.

Carnutes or Eburovices tribe, 40-30 BC? Bronze, 2.98 g, 15.5 mm. Obverse and reverse inscription (mostly outside the edge of this coin): PIXTILOS. La Tour 7078, Delestrée 2470.



In catalogs this coin is described as showing a griffon, but it is really a hybrid between a griffon (which has the body of a lion) and a winged pegasus horse. The symbolism? Well - in Celtic mythology a winged horse pulls the celestial chariot which moves the sun across the sky and is sometimes driven by Lugus, a god with many abilities. Lugus is in turn associated with both horses and birds (as companions or as taking the form of a bird) and sometimes he is shown as a bird riding a horse. Maybe, and this is my own speculation, the hybrid creature here is a manifestation of Lugus, with the horse and bird forms fused?
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 Posted 07/23/2021  3:33 pm  Show Profile   Check barryg's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add barryg to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Well, commems already posted an example of the 1935 Hudson, NY Sesquicentennial Half Dollar, so I guess I'll go with my second option, the infamously overpriced 2013 Niue Island Six Ounce Silver Proof $50 "FORTUNA REDUX" Cylinder Coin that features an effigy of Mercury (the Roman god of tradesmen and travelers) on what I guess would be called the "obverse" if this were a regular coin, as well as a full-body engraving of Mercury on the "reverse":






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(Dansco 7070 and 8100 albums, Proof Type Set, U.S. Currency Type Set & Foreign Bullion Collection)
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 Posted 07/23/2021  6:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@erafjel: Interesting coin - thanks for posting!

I don't collect ancient coins, so I enjoy seeing/learning from what others collect and display here on CCF!

QUESTION: Is it just me, or does the horse-bird hybrid creature only have one wing?


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 07/23/2021  6:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Well, commems already posted an example of the 1935 Hudson, NY Sesquicentennial Half Dollar...

Sorry!

I had to include it when I was taking a look at all the classic US commemorative coins that featured mythological elements.

FWIW, I enjoyed having a look at your second option!



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 07/24/2021  07:34 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Is it just me, or does the horse-bird hybrid creature only have one wing?

@commems, you are right, the poor creature really has just one wing!

I just looked over other coins of this and similar types on the net, and it seems all Gallic griffons (or what they are) are one-winged.
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 Posted 07/24/2021  08:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
... seems all Gallic griffons (or what they are) are one-winged.

The would certainly make flying more difficult!


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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