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 Cyrus of Persia. Darios I of Persia issued his own gold and silver coinage ca 510 BCE. 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.


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

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 (strike 5/5).

NGC graded CH XF, strk 5/5 surf 5/5

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......reserved

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...............reserved

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.

An Athenian Ledger from 418 BCE records that Athens "handed over 4000 Kyzikene Staters to the Triarchs against Argos with Demosthenes." So it is clear that these served as a reserve currency along side the Athenian Owl coins, even in Athens.

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 650-550 BCE

IONIA, Miletos. Circa 650-550 BC. EL Stater (22mm, 14.00 g). Lion reclining left, head reverted, within rectangular frame divided into smaller rectangular compartments / Central oblong punch, containing three pellets connected in Λ shape, two parallel lines, and a fox standing left; flanked by two square punches containing, respectively, a stellate pattern and a stag’s head left. Weidauer 126; Elektron I 61; SNG von Aulock –; SNG Copenhagen –; SNG Kayhan 440; BMC 2; Boston MFA 1882; Kraay & Hirmer 591; Traité I 19 = C. Greenwell, “On some Rare Greek Coins” in NC 1897, pl. XI, 17; Konuk & Lorber fig. 18. Very rare, especially in this condition

Ex Jacquier FPL 26 (Spring 2001), no. 79; Martin Huth Collection, purchased from Frank Sternberg.

NGC Graded CH XF strk 4/5 Surf 4/5

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

After the lion and the bull, the sphinx is amongst the earliest images to adorn coinage. The Giza Sphinx dates to about 2500 BCE. It depicts a lion with a man's head. The earliest images of the Greek Sphinx date to about 600 BCE and depict a woman's head on a lion's body with an eagle's wings and a serpent's tail. The image appears on early electrum coinage of Kyzikos, Chios and Miletos.

MYSIA. Kyzikos. Ca. 550-500 BC.

EL stater (20mm, weight not listed: aprox 16 gm). Crouching sphinx left; below, tunny fish left / Quadripartite incuse square. Von Fritze I 72.

Very rare and well-centered. Of the six examples to have traded in the last decade this if the finest.

From The Lexington Collection of Jonathan K. Kern

NGC Graded XF strk 5/5 Surf 3/5

The panther is the sacred animal of Dionysus. Though it is very rare to find panther depictions on coins, Dionysiac imagery is a prevelant theme of early coinage especially in Thrace, Macedonia, and the Black Sea Region. Euripedes wrote The Bacchae at the court of Archelaus I in Macedon.

MYSIA. Kyzikos. Ca. 550-500 BC.

EL Stater. (16.11g,) Panther running left, tunny fish to left below / Quadripartite incuse square. Von Fritze 86; Traité pl.176, 29; Rosen Coll. 463.

Very rare and well centered, with exceptional detail especially in the panther's face. Only 3 examples listed in coin archives.

NGC Graded CH XF strk 5/5, surf 3/5

IONIA, Phokaia. Circa 625-550

EL Hekte ( 2.60 g). Forepart of bull right, head left; above, small seal left / Incuse square punch. Bodenstedt Em. 9; SNG von Aulock 7946; SNG Lockett 2842; Boston MFA –; BMC –; Traité I 155; Weber –.

Very rare archaic bull (only 7 examples listed by Bodenstat)

NGC graded XF strk 5/5 surf 4/5

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..........$3400

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

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 (8.35 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 -..

Beautiful, fully centered and well detailed example. Extremely rare, especially in this condition.

NGC graded MS ** strike 5/5 surf 5/5

ATHENS was,without a doubt, the source of much of what has become viewed as Greek Culture: Democracy, Philosophy, Tragedy, Comedy, Rhetoric.

It is currently fashionable to view the Greeks as "Anthropomorphic Polytheists." Yet when Euripides (ca 480 BCE) has Hecabe (widow of Priam) pray in the "Trojan Women," she says: "Zeus, whether you be force of nature or intelligence in man..."

We can see through this quote that a very specific idea of Human Intelligence is as central to Greek religion as to its art and institutions. Athena was Goddess of Wisdom. The Owl a symbol of Human Intelligence. Thus the images on the coins of Athens were aptly chosen, and would have had evocative connotations for the average Athenian.


AR Tetradrachme (17,29g) Athena rt/ AΘE, Owl n. r. olive sprig behind. Svoronos Taf. 5; Seltman Group G; SNG Cop. 17.

Very rare archaic example, in high relief, on superb metal, with a pleasing style and in remarkable condition for the issue. In a double width NGC holder.


NGC Graded AU strk 4/5 surf 4/5 $8,500

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. His exploits were chronicled by contemporaries Ptolemy, Heironymus, Nearchus (Alexander's admiral), Aristobulus (Alexander's chief engineer) and Calisthenes (Aristotle's nephew) whose writings, though lost, were read and synthesized by Arrian of Nicomedia, much of whose work survives to this day. Herodotus , Diodorus, and Quintus Curtius roughly contemporay to Arrian, also wrote histories that are still partially extant, also drawing on the writings of Alexander's contemporaries.

Upon defeating Porus, the king of India, Alexander demanded of his brave enemy: "What would you have me do to you?" Porus replied, "Treat me as a King ought." Alexander was so delighted by this reply, he restored Porus his sovereignity over his subjects, and, so doing, created a lifelong ally. This story, related by Arrian, and confirmed by Heroditus and Cutrius, illustrates a sagacity and gallantry seldom - if ever - duplicated in the history of conquest.

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

After Alexander's death from fever in Babylon, his General, Perdikkas seized control and legitimized his reign by passing the crown to Alexander's infirm half-brother Philip III, Arrhideus, who was eventually murdered by Olympia, Alexander's mother. Perdikkas was immediately contested by the rest of Alexander's generals, especially the inner circle referred to as his "bodyguards," who split up the empire in a series of bloody wars.

Lysimachus ultimately took Thrace. He produced a series of gold staters that became a standard of trade coinage that endured for 300 years.

Ptolemy Soter (the savior) took Egypt, and founded a dynasty that lasted 300 years. He was the first living king to issue coinage with his own image.

Seleukos Nikator (the victor), was chosen along with Ptolemy, Perdikkas and Lysimachos to personally accompany Alexander on the decisive assault in India. though he was only a junior officer in Alexander's army. After Alexander's death, Seleukos served as a general under Perdikkas, but eventually switched sides and murdered Perdikkas in his tent during the ill-fated attack on Ptolemy in Egypt.

He then took over Babylon along with Peithon but soon fell under the control of Antigonus Monopthalmos when that General conquered all of Asia. But in 311 BCE Seleukos, supported by his old friend Ptolemy, was able to unseat Antigonos and claim Asia for himself, making his capital Antioch. He eventually was able to extend his Empire as far east as India. He defeated Lysimchos in 281, to regain most of Alexander's empire, save for Egypt.

The Seleuked Kings figures prominently in the Old Testament Book of the Maccabees (as villains).

Though current fashion is to attribute some gold Alexander types to Seleukos I Nikator, this is only guesswork. Many of the coins from the Babylon mint could as easily have been issued under Perdikkas, Eumenes, Antingons, or Peithon. Gold coinage in the name of Seleukos and his descendants is extremely rare.

Seleuked Kingdom Seleukos I 312-280 BCE

AV Stater (8.54g.) Ca 302-290 Carrhae mint. Obv: Head of Athena with crested Corinthean helmet with serpent. Rev: Nike standing left inscribed in the name of Seleukos: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣEΛEYKOY, monogram ATP in field. WSM 766 plate 5, 1 (same dies), Houghton 887 (same dies)

Ex NGSA 1 (2000) lot 115

One of the extremely rare gold staters inscribed in the name of Seleukos I, and certainly amongst the finest extant, if not the finest.

NGC graded CH MS strk 5/5 surf 5/5

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 - at some point - under the auspices first of Perdikkas, and then Antigonos Monopthalmos, and finally his wicked step mother Olympias, 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 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.

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 - or Perdikkas?

323/317 BCE,

AV Stater (8,54 gm) Lampsakos mint; Head of Apollo with the features of Philip III - or Perdikkas? //Nike in Biga r., Below head of. Helios and AΠ (mintmark). Thompson in Studio Paulo Naster Oblata Pl. VII, 31.

Another clear portrait stater from the workshops of Philip III. Extremely Rare, and a portrait of the finest Hellenistic style. Clearly modeled on a real person, the identity of whom is currently a mystery. Stylistically linked to the two Alexander portraits below.

NGC graded AU strk 5/5 surf 5/5 fine style noted......................$10,500

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. Thompson in Studio Paulo Naster Oblata S. 58, 4.

Early Alexander portrait. Extremely 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 (8.60 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 the Great. Struck shortly after Alexander's death in Babylon, in the name of Philip III, most probably under the direction of Perdikkas, who controlled Alexander's embalmed corpse - until it was stolen by Ptolemy. A stunning piece, struck from fresh dies with a wonderful tone and full weight to the 100th of a gram. Certainly amongst the finest - if not the finest - extant. A near perfect coin of a most important type.

NGC graded Choice Mint State **
strk 5/5. surf 5/5............reserved

Though much has been written about Alexander, the available sources shed precious little light on his coinage. There is much guesswork in all historical reconstuction, and it is especailly so 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 busts below have been identified as portraying. Lysimachos. They seem to bear a marked resemblance to the portraits on these early lifetime Lysimachos staters.

Lysimachus, general that ruled Asia MinorSo-called Lysimachus bust at My Favourite Planetbusts of lyimachoss

KINGS of THRACE. Lysimachos. 323-281 BC.

AV Lifetime Stater (8,48g). 297/6 - 282/1 BCE. Lysimachia mint. Head of (Alexander) or more likely Lysimachos, with horn of Ammon. Rs.: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛΥΣIMAXOΥ, Athena with Nike enthronend, Monogramm, Δ I.

Very rare lifetime stater from the Lysimachea mint, founded near the site of Cardia. Excellent style with a portrait certainly similar to the marble bust of Lysimachos pictured above.

NGC graded MS ** Strk 5/5 surf 4/5
fine style noted........................ POR

busts of Alexander

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;

Superb portrait of Alexander the Great - clearly from a contemporary marble. Unique and unrecorded in the standard references, and of a remarkable style in distinction to all other Lysimachos types from this period.

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


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, with full rounded cheeks and intricate hair, remeniscent of Celtic silver staters from this period.

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

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. Seleukos Nikator (the victor) won the Eastern Empire, making his capital Antioch; and Ptolemy Soter (the savior) took Egypt.

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 a 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.

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

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

AV Hemidrachm / 30 Litrae (2.15 g)
Laureate head of Zeus left.
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.

James A. Ferrendelli Collection (Triton VII, 13 January 2004), lot 96; Numismatica Ars Classica 9 (16 April 1996), lot 233.

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. Extremely rare, and certainly amongst the finest extant.

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

Calabria-Tarentum, Time of Pyrrhos of Epiros, c.276-272 BC

AV Quarter Stater (2.13g) Laureate head of Apollo right, AP monogram in left field TAPANTINΩN Eagle standing left on thunderbolt AP monogram in left field

Fischer-Bossert Plate Coin: G59g and Plate 68 (this coin); Vlasto 49 (same dies); SNG ANS --;

Ex Hess-Leu, Lot 12, March 1956 ex Lawrence Woolslayer Collection.

Superb pedigree, Extremely rare and attractive.

Pyrrhos won a series of impressive victories over the Romans, which stretched his supply lines to a dangerous degree. He famously exclaimed: "If I win one more victory I shall be utterly ruined," thus giving rise to the expression: "Pyhrric victory."

NGC graded XF** Strk 5/5 surf 4/5

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 priest of baal) until it was destroyed in 146 BCE after the third Punic War by the Romans.

Zeugitana. Carthage. c. 350-320 BC.

CARTHAGE. Circa 350-320 BC. AV Stater ( 9.30 g,). Head of Tanit left, wearing wreath of grain ears, triple-pendant earring, and necklace with seven pendants / Horse standing right; three pellets on ground line. Jenkins & Lewis Group IIIi, 111-4; MAA 4

Beauitfully engraved in high relief. Very rare in this condition.


NGC graded MS ** strk 5/5, surf 4/5

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.

lustrous, historically fascinating and quite affordable Greek gold.

NGC graded: MS ** Strk 5/5, surf 4/5 $2250

For info, comments, purchase requests contact: Jeff Kahn at
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