Gold Coins
Greek Gold Coins
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Greek Gold Coins

Coinage was invented in the seventh century BCE in the Black Sea region northeast of Greece, where the alluvial flow of gold and silver mixed together yeilded the metal known as electrum. Gold and Silver had been used by the earliest Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations as a store of wealth, and a medium of trade. But this naturally occuring electrum was first coined by the kings of Lydia, Miletos, Ephesos, Phokia, and then Lesbos and Kyzykos.

These coins undoubtedly were responsible for a boom in trade both between city-states, and in the rapid escalation of local markets. Herodutus famously referred to the Lydians as a nation of shopkeepers.

The largest unit of trade was the "Stater" which was a translation of the semitic "Shekel," a unit of weight used in the semitic East. Weights varied from between 14 and 16 grams according to local standards. These staters were broken down into trites (thirds) hektes (sixths) and various smaller units.

Croesus of Lydia was the first king to separate the electrum to issue gold and silver coins circa 545 BCE. He was conquered by Darios of Persia who issued his own gold and silver coinage. Coinage spread quickly in the early fifth century BCE through the Greek city states. Most of the trade coinage was silver, while gold was most often reserved for emergency issues associated with war.

THE COINS: The Dawn of Coinage: click on the coins to see the image enlarged.

Grading: Ancient coins are works of art; no two are alike, and a grade is just a subjective guideline. At the same time, I credit NGC with developing a nuanced grading system that tends to give a more comprehensive grade than a simple numerical value. Still, it is important to remember that coins of exactly the same grade can differ greatly on account of style and die state.

"Fine Style" coins are often recognized by this notation. In all art, style is at least as important as condition. Ancient celators (die engravers) ranged from journeymen who simply knew how to operate the equipment to world famous artists hired expressly to dignifiy particular issues. For obvious reasons, great works of art are valued differently than pedestrian utilitarian issues.

POR: Price on Request. The reason so many Greek gold coins are marked as POR is that in very high grade Greek gold is excessively rare by the standards of all other coinage. Market conditions are very volatile. At times even a single wealthy buyer can greatly affect prices. It can be difficult to gauge replacement costs. If I can get duplicates in stock I may wish to lower prices. If coins suddenly become the object of collector frenzies I may wish to raise prices. But at all times my pricing is reflective of replacement cost.

ARCHAIC GREEK COINS: LYDIA AND THE INVENTION OF COINAGE. The greatest invention of Western History is undoubtedly Alphbetic writing, without which there would not be western history. It was invented by the Phoencians in about 1000 BCE. By the late eighth century this writing had spread through the entire fertile crescent, up into the Black Sea Region and down into Greece.

In the 7th Century BCE, the Black Sea Region was dominated by the Lydian Empire. The Kings of Lydia, (most probably Ardys) eventually made use of this writing in combination with the image of the Lion, symbol of the Royal House, to invent the first coinage. They used Electrum, a naturally occurring gold and silver alloy found in the River Patroclus, though more recent studies have suggested that they intentionally fabricated the electrum.

My own theory regarding the earliest inscribed coins of Lydia is that they bear Phoenician lettering copied from seals used in trade from the fertile cresecent. These seals bore the inscription LMLK: "Of The King" insribed on exported jugs of wine and olive oil. The inscription served to certify weight and purity along with the issuing authority. Some rare Lydian coins bear this LMLK inscription. It was natural to then use the name of King: YRDYS (ARDYS). That is the inscription on the coins below. Again, this is only my theory. The more common interpretation is to read the inscription as "Walwet" though this interpretation uses a Lydian alphabet which would not have been codified for another 200 years.

The fact is, there is very little extant alphabetic writing from the 10th through the 6th centuries. (the great libraries of the period were all cuneiform) Most examples are fragments residing on shards of clay, (ostraca), or seals, weights, and amulets. The inscribed coins of the 7th - 6th centuries are some of the few extant documents from this period.

KINGS OF LYDIA. ARDYS Circa 650-620 BCE.

EL Trite 1/3 stater (4.77g)Sardes mint. Head of roaring lion right, YRDYS in Phoenician lettering/ Double square incuse punch. Weidauer 91. Le Rider, La naissance de la monnaie, pp. 49-57.

Remarkably complete specimen of history's first inscribed coin - on a large flan, with minimal die rust, and a perfectly full legible inscription. One of very few specimens with the snout of an opposing lion visible rt. An altogether superior example of this extremely rare issue, and of the highest historical significance.

NGC graded CH XF ** Str 5/5,
Surf 5/5..................................POR

KINGS OF LYDIA. ARDYS Circa 650-620 BCE.

EL Trite 1/3 stater (4.77g) Sardes mint. Head of roaring lion right, YRDYS in Phoenician lettering/ Double square incuse punch. Weidauer 91-2. SNG Von Auluck 8204.

Very Sharp strike with clear letters and clean surfaces. An altogether superior example of this extremely rare issue, and of the highest historical significance.

NGC graded AU, Str 5/5 surf 5/5
POR

KINGS OF LYDIA. ARDYS Circa 650-620 BCE.

El Hekte (2.34gm) Head of roaring lion right, YRDYS in Phoenician lettering/ Double square incuse punch.

Decent example of the world's first inscribed coinage, with letters visible, and a clearer image than most often encountered in this denomination.

NGC graded Ch XF strk 5/5 surf 4/5
$2600

IONIA, Uncertain Workshop. Circa 625-600 BC.

EL Trite – Third Stater (4.68 g). Lydo-Milesian standard. Geometric figure resembling a star, composed of a cross centered upon a polygon of eight sides / Rectangular incuse divided horizontally and vertically into four compartments by two perpendicular lines; the upper two compartments divided into thirds by two parallel lines; the lower two compartments divided into halves by a single line, the upper halves contain a pellet, the lower halves are bisected by two small vertical lines. Elektron I 16; Rosen Sale 12; SNG Kayhan 697; SNG Copenhagen (Cyprus, etc.), pl. 10, 318; Zhuyuetang 2; Konuk & Lorber fig. 14.

A fascinating and very rare issue from the dawn of coinage. Only two known staters and less than 20 known trites from this issue, and of those, very few are well centered..

NGC graded XF, strk 5/5 surf 5/5
$7500

KINGS of LYDIA. temp. Alyattes – Kroisos. Circa 610-546 BC.

EL Trite – Third Stater (13mm, 4.72 g). Sardes mint. Head of roaring lion right, sun with multiple rays on forehead / Two incuse square punches. Weidauer Group XVI, 86–9; Traité I 44; SNG Kayhan 1013; SNG von Aulock 2868–9; Rosen 655-6. Toned with a remarkable style and strike and from fresh dies. Certainly amongst the finest extant.

NGC graded CH AU ** strk 5/5 surf 4/5..........................................POR

The roaring lion and the docile bull appear as a motif on the earliest coinage throughout the Black Sea Area. This is reflective of the fact that the Siva/Bull fertility cult worshipping tribes of the Indus Valley who settled Turkey, Greece, and Crete were conquered by the Achaen Sky God worshipping tribes that flooded out of the Russian Steppes in waves from 1200 to 800 BCE. The Achean tribes used the lion as the symbol of their Royal houses. The Myth of Theseus the Achean Prince who is taken as a slave to Crete and then destroys the Bull God (Minotaur) to achieve dominion over all of Greece is reflective of this dynamic.

KINGS OF LYDIA, Croesus. Circa 561-546 BC. AV Stater (8.05 gm). Time of Croesus. Light Series.

Confronted foreparts of lion facing right and bull facing left, both with straight legs / Two square incuse punches. A magnificent example of the first gold coinage in world history. And certainly amongst the finest extant.

Boston MFA 2073; Dewing 2431; SNG von Aulock 2875.

NGC Graded: CHOICE MINT STATE Strike 5/5, surface 5/5......POR

KINGS OF LYDIA. Croesus, 561-546 BC. AV Stater. (8.09 g) time of Croesus to Kambyses 561-525

Roaring lion confronting bull/ two incuse punches. A magnificent example of the first gold coinage in world history. And certainly amongst the finest extant.

Boston 2073; SNG Berry 1138
.
NGC Graded: CHOICE MINT STATE, strike 5/5, surface 5/5...................POR

Though electrum coinage seems to have been invented in Lydia, the surrounding Black Sea States of Miletos, Ephesus, Phokaea, Lesbos, Erythraea and Samos all produced electrum coinage, though none in comparable (surviving) quantities to that of Kyzikos. The celebrated electrum coinage of Kyzikos began in the first half of the sixth century, and from the beginning the coinage was notable for the variety and inventiveness of its designs. These staters and fractions were regarded as gold coins and circulated throughout a large area along with the gold staters of Lydia and then the gold darics of the Persian Empire. On all of the coins of Kyzikos, large or small, was engraved the tunny-fish (θυννος), which constituted an important product in the Kyzikene maritime economy. Whereas all electrum staters are rare, staters from other black sea states are very rare indeed.

Ionia, Miletus 650-600 BCE

Stater, EL (13.86 g.) Lion crouching l., head turned back, within rectangular frame divided in two smaller rectangular compartments. Rev. Central oblong punch containing a running fox and three pellets connected by a line; a square punch to l., containing five pellets connected by lines. A square punch to r., containing four pellets connected by a line. ACGC pl. 3, 55 var. (the four pellets are differently connected). Mitchiner, Ancient Trade, 194 var. (the four pellets are differently connected).

Very Rare variety of a very rare and historically important coin.

reserved

MYSIA, Kyzikos. Circa 550-500 BC.

EL Stater (16.16 g). Head of lion left; behind, tunny upward / Quadripartite incuse square. Von Fritze I 39; Boston MFA 1414; SNG von Aulock 7272; SNG France 178.

Striking Archaic lion, roughly contemporary to the early Lions of Lydia and Miletos, though considerably more serene. The lion was the symbol of Royalty for the Achaean hordes that invaded Black Sea Region and then Greece in waves from 1200 BCE.

Perfectly centered and struck on a broad clean flan. Among the finest known for this issue.

NGC Graded CH XF** Strk 5/5 Surf 5/5............................................POR

LESBOS, Mytilene. Circa 521-478 BC

EL Hekte (2.55 g,). Head of roaring lion right / Incuse head of docile calf right; rectangular punch behind. Bodenstedt Em. 13 (unlisted dies); HGC 6, 938; SNG von Aulock 1685; SNG Copenhagen 301; Boston MFA 1679-81;

Very sharp strike both sides, and among the earliest workshops to exhibit such intricate style.

NGC Graded AU** Strk 5/5 Surf 5/5 fine style noted......................sold

IONIA, Phokaia. Circa 521-478 BC.

EL Hekte – Sixth Stater (2.56 g). Archaic Female head left, wearing helmet or close fitting cap; to right, seal downward / Quadripartite incuse square. Bodenstedt Em. 31; Boston MFA –; SNG von Aulock 7943.

A very early Phokian coin of remarkably beautiful style.

NGC graded CH XF ** Strk 5/5
surf 4/5
fine style noted..........$3800

THE SIVA/SILENOS HEKTE: There is no doubt that the first wave of settlers who conquered Crete and then Greece were Siva-worshipping fertililty cultists from the Indus Valley as early as 3500 BCE. Their God, Siva, became Dio-Nysus (the God of Nysus - the birthplace of Shiva). The Dionyisiac religion was later incorporated into the Sky-God religion of the Aryan speaking tribes that flooded into Macedonia and then Greece in waves starting around 1200 BCE.

The Hekte below bears a portrait of Silenos: Dionysus' alter ego, portayed with a clear Third Eye in the middle of his forehead - linking Dionysus direclty to Siva. This very rare archaic masterpiece clearly demonstrates the importance of coinage as documentation of an era from which very little writing has survived.

IONIA, Phokaia. Circa 521-478 BC.

EL Hekte – Sixth Stater (2.57 g). Facing head of Silenos, small seal/ Quadripartite incuse square punch. Bodenstedt Em. 43; Boston MFA –; SNG von Aulock –; BMC 3; SNG Fitzwilliam 4559.

Very rare, of great historical interest, and certainly amongst the finest extant.

NGC graded CH AU strk 5/5 surf 4/5
$8500

The Aechemenid or Persian Empire was forged by Cyrus the Great (biblical liberator of the Jews of the Babylonian captivity). In about 550 BCE, Cyrus I conquered Croesus of Lydia, and adopted his system of gold and silver coinage. The Persian Empire dominated three continents spanning from Parthia and Bactria (modern day India) through Mesopotamia to the Black Sea Region and down through the Fertile Crescent.

Around 505 BCE the Persian king Darios I decided to inaugurate a gold coinage bearing his own types, rather than continuing to use those of Kroisos of Lydia. These new coins, called Darics (meaning, literally, 'Of the King' - the same LMLK inscription that traveled from the fertile crescent to Lydia) - bore a generalized portrait of the Persian king. The earliest, which employs an image of the King shooting an arrow, is very rare; though a tiny horde has been recently discovered.. This coin financed Darios' war with Greece. Later types must have been produced in enormous numbers, and were surely the reserve currency' of the 5th and 4th centuries BCE.

The last Achemenid King, Darios III, was conquered by Alexander the Great in 330 BCE. With the fall of Persia to Alexander, the vast majority of the then existing darics were surely melted down to supply bullion for Alexander’s own gold staters.

PERSIA. Achaemenid Empire. Darius I - (ca. 505-480 BC).

AV daric (8.34 gm).  Great King in kneeling-running stance right, drawing back bow and preparing to shoot arrow / Rectangular incuse punch with irregular interior surface. CarradiceType II (pl. XI, 11) BMC Arabia -; SNG Copenhagen -.extremely rare, especially in this condition.

This is the finest and most detailed die of this very rare series, most desirable with fully realized face and with arrows visible in the quiver, an arrow on the bow, and a full bow on the flan.

NGC graded MS strike 4/5 surf 4/5
POR

Persia, Achaemenid Empire. Time of Darius I - Xerxes II (ca. 485-420 BC);

AV-Daric (8,35 g) . Great king running with spear and bow // Incuse. Carradice Type IIIb A/B though the strike is weak on the spear arm, the state of preservation is exceptional.

NGC graded CH AU Strk 5/5 surf 5/5.........................................$5550

PERSIA. Achaemenid Empire.Time of Darius I - Xerxes II (ca. 485-420 BC);

AV-Daric (8,34 g) . Great king running with spear and bow // Incuse. SNG Berry 1447.
Unusually well detailed, complete and clear image, with a very pleasant style.

NGC graded CH AU** Strk 5/5 Surf 5/5
$7750

MACEDONIA: Philip II of Macedon (359-336 BCE) inherited a war torn country from his brother Pedikas III. From his years as hostage of neighboring Thebes he learned the military strategy based on the phalanx whose manoevers were hidden by rows of warriors bearing "sarissas" - immensely long spears. A gifted warrior and statesmen, Philip, by a combination of strategic alliances and dramatic wars, managed to conquer Macedonia, Illyria, Epirus, Thrace, Thessaly and all of Greece save Sparta. He then set his eyes on Persia, but was murdered on the eve of his planned invasion.

His Son Alexander III The Great, who was tutored by Aristotle, inherited the throne and conquered Persia and then India, extending his Empire throughout most of the known world. He was by far the greatest Hero of well recorded times. Julius Caesar was said to have wept when confronted with a bust of the great conqueror, lamenting the fact that, in comparison, he had achieved so very little. The gold issues of Alexander the Great consist of Athena/Nike Staters, Di (double) staters, halves, quarters. After his death his generals, who split up his empire, continued for some time to use the same style stater to confer legitimacy on their own rule.

KINGS of MACEDON. Alexander III the Great, 336-323 BC. AV Distater (17.17 g) Aigai/ pella(?) mint.

Lifetime issue, struck circa 332-323 BC. Head of Athena right, / ALEXANDROU, Nike standing left, vertical thunderbolt in left field, LO monogram below left wing. Price 191; Very Rare. struck in high relief, Certainly amongst the finest, if not the finest extant.

NGC graded CHOICE MINT STATE strike 5/5, surface 5/5...............reserved

KINGS OF MACEDON Alexander III the Great, 336-323 BC. AV stater, (8.52 g.) Early Posthumus Issue

Struck ca. 323-311 BC, Eastern mint, (Babylon?) Obv. Head of Athena with a large Corinthian helmet, snake ornament. Rev. ΒΑSΙΛΕOS [ΑΛ]ΕΞΑΝΔΡ[ΟΥ] Nike standing facing looking to left, holding wreath in right hand and stylis over left shoulder, MI in exterior left field, monogram in wreath below left wing. Price 3748 variety (helmet with snake, not sphinx);

A magnificent coin, amongst the finest extant, and of unusually fine style, in high sculptural relief.

NGC graded CHOICE MINT STATE, Strk 5/5, Surf 5/5, Fine Style noted
$14000

After Alexander's Death from fever in Babylon, he was succeded by his half brother Philip III, Arrhideus. Alexander's generals, referred to as his "bodyguards," then split up the empire in a series of wars.. Lysimachus got Thrace. He produced a series of gold staters that became a standard of trade coinage that endured for 300 years. Seleukos Nikator (the victor) won the Eastern Empire, making his capital Antioch; and Ptolemy Soter (the savior) took Egypt. The Seleuked dynasty figures prominently in the old testament Books of the Maccabees. Their gold coinage is quite rare.

Little is known of Philip III. He is thought to have been dim witted, but then so was Claudius, and he turned out to be brilliant. It is probable that he was infirm as he took no part in Alexander's conquests though Alexander was said to have been quite fond of him. Whatever the case, Philip produced an astounding Fine Style coinage borrowing stylisitcally from the coinage of his father Philip II. But instead of a stylized head of Apollo, his master artists at the Kolophon, Abydos and Lampsokos mints engraved magnficent portraits. Some of the most brilliant coins bear the likeness of Alexander the Great. Others, are unidentifed, though clearly modelled after real subjects.

The portrait above from the Lampsakos mint on the Alexander-style stater, bears a striking resemblance to the portrait on the Philip style stater from the same Lampsakos mint below. Could this be Philip III?

KINGS of MACEDON Philip III.
323/317 BCE,

AV Stater (8,54 gm) Lampsakos mint; Head of Apollo with the features of Philip III? //Nike in Biga r., Below head of. Helios and AΠ (mintmark).

Another clear portrait stater from the workshops of Philip III. The reasons behind this startling artistic departure from previous engraving is unknown. Certainly there was a premium on establishing dynastic lineage. And certainly there was an artist or group of artists capable of high quality fine style portraiture. Beyond that, we can only speculate.

Extremely Rare, and a portrait of the finest Hellenistic style. Thompson in Studio Paulo Naster Oblata Pl. VII, 31.

NGC graded AU strk 5/5 surf 5/5 fine style noted......................$11,500

KINGS of MACEDON Philip III. 323-317BCE

AV Stater (8.56 g,). Kolophon mint. circa 323-319 BC. Laureate head of Apollo right, with the features of Alexander the Great/ FILIPPOU, charioteer (Pelops - the derivation of the name Philip) driving biga right, tripod below horses.

Early Alexander portrait. Excessively Rare - the finest of a handful known. Superbly realized with realistic features in high relief, in relation and distinction to the idealized Kolophon portrait below - though, quite possibly by the same artist. A coin of great historical and numismatic interest.

NGC graded Choice AU ** strike 5/5, surf 5/5, fine style noted.............POR

KINGS of MACEDON Philip III. 323-317BCE


AV Stater (8.54 g,). Kolophon mint. circa 323-319 BC. Laureate head of Apollo right, with the features of Alexander the Great/ FILIPPOU, charioteer (Pelops - the derivation of the name Philip) driving biga right, tripod below horses. Thompson, Philip 12, Le Rider pl. 93, 26;

With a superb portrait of Alexander. Light surface marks on the reverse only visible through a powerful loop, nevertheless a stunning piece, struck from fresh dies with a wonderful tone. Rare, and certainly one of the finest known.

NGC graded MS: strk 5/5, surf 3/5,
fine style noted......................POR

Very little history is known from contemporary sources. This is to say there is much guesswork in all historical reconstuction. And so it is with numismatics. For example, all Lysimachos staters are said to bear portraits of Alexander the Great, though the busts on some of these coins cleary portray different subjects. Some early lifetime Lysimachos staters bear portraits of a personnage whose jutting chin, jowly cheeks and strong nose are quite clearly in distinction to other Alexander portraits. The three busts below have been identified as portraying. Lysimachos. They seem to bear a marked resemblance to the portraits on these early lifetime Lysimachos staters.

So-called Lysimachus bust at My Favourite PlanetLysimachus, general that ruled Asia Minor

busts of lysimachos

KINGS of THRACE. Lysimachos. 323-281 BC.

Pedigreed AV Lifetime Stater (8,56g). 297/6 - 282/1 BCE. . Alexandria Troas. Vs.: Alexander Head with Diadem and Ammonshorn n. r. Rs.: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛΥΣIMAXOΥ, Athena with Nike enthronend, Monogramm, Thompson, Lysimachus 143; Müller, Lysimachus ­.

A very rare and unusual fine style early lifetime stater. The portrait is so different from other Alexander portrait staters that it is reasonable to assume the features are either those of Lysimachos himself or perhaps Lysimachos conflated with Alexander (as, later, the Romans did regularly with their coinage to emphazise legitimacy of succession.) The Troas mint being very near the Kolophon and Lampsakos mints, it is also reasonable to assume that some of the same remarkable portrait artists could have been employed.

Ex B.C. Prichard Collection, Sotheby's & Co., 21st Febr. 1929, 52; ex Rous Collection Bourgey, 29. Mai 1911, 75.

NGC graded CH AU strk 5/5, surf 4/5
$13,500

KINGS of THRACE. Lysimachos. 323-281 BC.

AV Stater (8.39 gm). Byzantium mint 225-205 BC. Diademed head of deified Alexander right, wearing horn of Ammon / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛΥΣIMAXOΥ, Athena seated left, holding Nike, with shield, spear behind; SNG COP 1086.

Superb portrait and clearly of Alexander the Great - certainly from a contemporary marble. Extremely rare.

NGC graded: CH AU, strike 5/5, surf 4/5, fine style noted, rev marks noted.
POR

KINGS of THRACE. Lysimachos WESTERN BLACK SEA REGION

Late 2nd – early 1st centuries BC.
AV Stater ( 8.50 g, ). In the name and types of Lysimachos of Thrace. Diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon / Athena Nikephoros seated left, left arm resting on shield, transverse spear in background; uncertain monogram to inner left, ornate trident in exergue.

Extremely rare and unpublished in the standard references. Stylistically it appears to be quite probably of Celtic Origin. The obverse die is quite beautiful and deserving of the fine style designation.

NGC graded MS, strk 4/5 surf 3/5
$6600

In about 255 BCE, Diodotus, Satrap of the Northern Indian province known as Baktria seceded from the Seleukid Empire ruled by Antiochus II. At first he struck coins in the name of Antiochus II, and later in his own name. There are no contemporary sources for this historical event other than the coins. All the Baktrian gold coins were extremely rare until a horde came to light about 12 years ago. For mysterious reasons, almost all the coins were marked by test cuts, most often right on the head of Diodotus. Most of the horde has long since been assimilated and coins in mint condition without the test cut are extremely rare.

Kingdom of Baktria, Diodotus I 255-235 BC

AV Stater (8.28gm) In the name of Antiochus II. first Diodotic mint in Eastern Asia (Aï Khanoum) circa 250-235, AV 8.29 g. Diademed of Diotus I r. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ − ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ Zeus advancing l., hurling thunderbolt and with aegis draped on extended r. arm; at his feet, eagle l. Bopearachchi serie 1a. Seleucid Coins 629.2.

Beautiful style and very rare in this condition and without a test cut.

NGC graded MS ** Strk 5/5 Suf 4/5
Fine Style noted......................POR

PTOLEMAIC EGYPT: After the death of Alexander the Great, his generals (referred to as his bodyguards) split up his empire in a series of wars. Lysimachus got Thrace. He produced a series of gold staters that became a standard of trade coinage that endured for 300 years. Seleukos Nikator (the victor) won the Eastern Empire, making his capital Antioch; and Ptolemy Soter (the savior) took Egypt. The Seleuked dynasty figures prominently in the old testament Books of the Maccabees. Their gold coinage is quite rare.
The Ptolemies presided over a tremendous period of cultural prosperity that included the founding of the college at Alexandria, which hosted the brightest scholars and philosophers of the day, and the famed library which imported and commissioned copies of all the important literature of the era, including the translation of the Old Testament know as the Septuagint. This translation provides us with the earliest extant version of the five Books of Moses (Pentateuch). Ptolemy I himself wrote the difinitve history of Alexander's campaigns.
The Ptolemies produced a prolific gold coinage, as Egypt lay in the center of the trade route that included the gold mines of Guinea West Africa, and Kush (Auxum/Ethiopia). Yet their coinage seems to have been used exclusively within Egypt.

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Ptolemy I Soter. 305-282 BC. AV Trichryson – 'Pentadrachm' (17.86 g,). Alexandreia mint. Struck circa 294-285 BC. Diademed head of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis around neck, small Δ behind ear / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY, Eagle standing left on thunderbolt; monogram to left. Svoronos 210; SNG Copenhagen –; Noeske –; Boston MFA 2263; Dewing 2740.

A signed die of the finest Hellenistic style and rare. Certainly the most beautiful Ptolemy portrait.

NGC Graded: AU, Strk 5/5, Surf: 4/5
Fine style noted. Artist's signature "Delta" noted.
...........................POR

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Ptolemy II Philadelphos, with Arsinöe II, Ptolemy I, and Berenike I. 285-246 BC.

AV Half Mnaïeion -Tetradrachm (13.86g,) Alexandreia mint. Struck circa 272-261/0 BC. Conjoined busts of Ptolemy II and Arsinöe II right; Ptolemy is diademed and draped, Arsinöe is diademed and veiled; AΔEΛΦΩN above, shield to left / Conjoined busts of Ptolemy I and Berenike I; Ptolemy is diademed and draped, Berenike is diademed and veiled; ΘEΩN above. Svoronos 604; Olivier & Lorber 243–9 var., dies 15/– [unlisted rev. die]; SNG Copenhagen 133; Noeske 38; Boston MFA 2275; Dewing 2753-4.

A clean, lustrous and beautifully centered coin, far nicer than normally encountered..

NGC graded AU strk 5/5, surf 4/5
$14,000

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Ptolemy II Philadelphos, Arsinöe II. 285-246 BC.

AV Oktadrachm (27,77 g.) struck after 265, Alexandria mint. ADELFWN Busts of Ptolemy II, draped and diademed and bust of Arsinoe II, veiled and diademed, jugate to r. Rev. QEWN Draped and diademed bust of Ptolemy I and veiled and diademed bust of Berenice I, jugate to r. Svoronos 603. SNG Cop. 132. Superb style and strike in high sculptural relief. Extremely rare in this state of preservation.

NGC Graded: Mint State, str 5/5, surf 4/5, fine style noted..........Sold

WESTERN GREEK GOLD: As mentioned, western Greek Gold, was often a product of emergency war issues, minted to pay off armies. Carthage, Epirus, Syracuse, and Calabria all minted gold pieces, often in conjunction with wars waged against a new rising power in the region: Rome.

Dionysus I of Syracuse (432-367 BCE) engaged in numerous wars during his long reign. He was reputed to be a bloodthirsty tyrant of literary and artistic pretensions. He invited Plato and Philistus to his court; he wrote his own plays and poetry, and he hired the greatest artists of the day to carve dies for his coinage. Among the most beautiful achievements of classical Greek art are some of the dies carved by Euainetos such as the 100 litrae featured below:

SICILY, Syracuse, Dionysus I
405-367 BCE

AV 100 Litrae (5.79g) 405-400 BCE obv: Head of Arethustra with triple pendant, earing, and necklace. Hair ornamented with stars, star behind ear. Rev: Herakles strangling the Nemean lion. Berend 40, SNG ANS 337, Delepierre 687.

High relief dies in the finest style of - but not signed by - Euainetos. A few light surface marks on the reverse but notably free of the die rust that plagues this issue.. Extremely rare in MS. One of the most beautiful coins ever minted, in extraordinary condition.

NGC graded Mint State, strike 5/5, surf 3/5, fine style noted............ POR

SICILY. Syracuse. Dionysius I
405-367 BCE

AV 20 litrae or tetradrachm (1.13 gm ). Struck ca. 405 BC. ΣYPA, head of Heracles left, wearing lion skin headdress / Quadripartite incuse square, small head of Arethusa in central incuse circle, Σ-Y-P-A in each quarter. C. Boehringer, "Zu Finanzpolitik und Münzprägung des Dionysios von Syrakus" in Essays Thompson, pl. 38, 13. SNG ANS 351.

NGC Graded MS** strk 5/5 surf 5/5
sold

SICILY, Syracuse. Timoleon and the Third Democracy. (344-335 BC).

AV Hemidrachm / 30 Litrae (2.15 g)
Obv: [ZEY]Σ EΛEY[ΘEPIOΣ]
Laureate head of Zeus left.
Rev: ΣYPAKOΣIΩN.
Pegasos flying right, A in left field. Three dots below. SNG ANS 493.

An artwork of the finest Hellenistic style. As nice as this coin comes, and certainly amongst the finest extant. Remarkably well struck on both sides. Ex Triton VI

NCG graded AU strk 5/5 surf 5/5,
fine style noted....................POR

Agothokles was son of a potter who moved to Syracuse ca 343 BCE. He entered the army, rose qickly through the ranks then tried to engineer a coup for which he was banished. He returned with an army of mercenaries and subdued most of Sicily. Then he entered into a series of wars with Carthage. Agothokles was another great tyrant who likened himself to Alexander the Great.

SICILY, Syracuse. Agathokles. 317-289 BC

AV stater or double dekadrachm (5.69g). circa 305-289 BC. Head of Athena right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet decorated with a griffin, single-pendant earring and necklace / ΑΓΑΘΟΚΛΕΟΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΟΣ, winged thunderbolt; monogram below. SNG ANS 702 and cf 704

Ex Robert O Ebert collection, Gemini V graded FDC A rare and spectacular piece: perfectly centered and struck. Fully lusterous and of superior style. Certainly amongst the finest extant.

NGC Graded MS ** strk 5/5 surf 5/5
fine style noted..............................POR

SICILY, Syracuse. Agathokles. 317-289 BC.

AV Tetrobol – Dekadrachm (2.83 g,). Struck circa 305-289 BC. Head of Apollo left, wearing laurel wreath / Charioteer, driving galloping biga right; triskeles below horses, monogram in exergue. Bérend, l’or pl. 9, 11; BAR Issue 30; SNG ANS 706 var. (Φ in exergue); SNG Lloyd 1474 var. (T in exergue); Jameson 859 var. (Φ in exergue); Gulbenkian 33.

Ex James A. Ferrendelli Collection Triton VI. Very rare, and certainly amongst the finest extant.

NGC Graded: CH AU **, strike 5/5, surf 4/5, fine style noted ..... POR

Carthage was founded by Semitic Phoenician (Punic) traders around 700 BCE. About 300 years earlier The Phoenicians had developed the single greatest invention in Western History: the Alpahbetic system of writing. This Alphabet was quickly adopted by both the Aryan speaking tribes of Greece and the Black Sea (from whom we get Greek and then Latin) and the Semitic tribes of the Fertile Crescent (from whom we get Hebrew and the Arabic languages.) In one of the great ironies of history, because the Phoenecians used this language primarily for practical accounting purposes, we know relatively little about this brilliant civilization, whereas their cousins to the South - the Judaeans (whose language, customs, city planning, art and religion were manifestly similar) - adopted the system of writing and created a narrative literature that captured the imagination of people down to this day.

Through a quirk of linguistic fate, the Judaeans called their God 'El,' rather than the Phoenecian 'Baal,' and then the Aramaic speaking Arabs called their God 'Elah' - distinctions that formed the justification for thousands of years of bloody tribal conflict.

By the third century BCE, enriched by control of the gold trade from Senegal, Guinea and Kush, Carthage had become a military powerhouse of the Southern Mediteranean. The Punic goddess Tanit\Astarte (the consort of Baal) and the horse had become the standard types of Carthaginian coinage and remained so for the balance of the city’s existence. Tanit is always depicted on the coinage wearing a wreath of grain just like her Greek counterpart Demeter.

Carthage waged a series of successful wars in Sicily and Italy ( notably under Hannibal - or Hani-baal) until it was destroyed in 146 BCE after the third Punic War by the Romans.

CARTHAGE. Circa 350-320 BC.

AV Stater ( 9.39 g ). Early issue circa 350
Head of Tanit to left, wearing grain wreath, triple-pendant earring and a pearl necklace with eight pendants. Rev. Horse standing to right; before his hooves to right, three pellets. Jenkins & Lewis Group IIIg, 57 (same obverse die, and possibly the same reverse die as well).

superbly detailed and well struck on a broad flan, with a beautiful early style that was copied by the artists of the trihemistater . (ex-Nomos AG - graded good EF) - appears to be mint state/ as struck. Very rare.

NGC graded CH AU , strk 5/5, surf 4/5
$ 15,500

Zeugitana. Carthage. c. 350-320 BC.

AV Stater, (9.51g). Head of Tanit to left, wearing grain wreath, triple-pendant earring and a pearl necklace with eight pendants. Rev. Horse standing to right; before his hooves to right, three pellets. . Jenkins-Lewis, 82 (groupe IIIh).

A remarkable example of the finest style - struck from fresh dies and the same dies - and condition - as the cover coin of NGSA 7

NGC graded MS ** strk 5/5, surf 3/5 fine style noted.......................POR

The interesting coin below was first explicated by Erasmus of Rotterdam in 1520. It clearly imitates a silver denarius of Brutus and the "B" in front of the lictor on the obverse reencforces the prevalent view that this was an issue by Brutus' Allies in Scythia to help pay mercenaries in Brutus' army in the Roman Civil Wars that followed the murder of Julius Caesar.

SKYTHIA, Geto-Dacians. Koson. Mid 1st century BC. AV Stater (20mm, 8.37 g, 12h). Roman consul accompanied by two lictors; monogram to left; KOΣΩΝ in exergue / Eagle standing left on scepter, with wings displayed, holding wreath in talon. Iliescu pl. II, 1; RPC I 1701; BMC 1.

very rare with the Ch Ms Star grade

NGC graded: CHOICE MS ** Strk 5/5, surf 5/5 ....................................$3600


For info, comments, purchase requests contact: Jeff Kahn at Jkahn21@nyc.rr.com
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