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ARCHAIC GREEK COINS. 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. Alphabetic writing enabled private citizens to record, account for, and contractualize transactions; and private Phoenician traders dominated the Mediterranean. Previously all transactions had to be recorded by State sanctioned Scribes and all trade was controlled by the Royal Houses.

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, Lesbos and Kyzykos.

The innovation of coinage enabled the Private Citizen to amass, store and preserve wealth in the form of money. This led to a boom in trade and the creation of the first merchant class independent from the Royal/Priest class that had previously enjoyed firm control over both trade and the storage of wealth. Herodotus 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.

In the 7th Century BCE, the Black Sea Region was dominated by the Lydian Empire. The Kings of Lydia, (most probably Ardys or Allyates) eventually made use of alphabetic writing in combination with the image of the Lion, symbol of the Royal House, to invent the first inscribed coinage.

The Lydian lion Trite (third stater) is undoubtedly the first general issue coin that was widely used in trade. Early issues bear inscriptions that are most often described as bearing the word "Walwel" in the Lydian script. However, there is no evidence that there was a Lydian script at this period. I believe it far more likely that some form of the Phoenecian script which becomes the Paleo Judaean script (familiar to the region through stamps and inscriptions used in the trade of wine and olive oil among other products), was used and that the inscription most probably reflected the current ruler's name. Later issues used the image of the lion without inscription.

KROISOS AND THE INVENTION OF BIMETALLIC COINAGE: The Lion and the Bull.

Kroisos of Lydia was the first King to mint pure gold coinage. He started with the heavy standard of about 10.6 grams an ounce for staters, which was soon changed to the light standard of about 8.5 grams a stater. After Lydia was conquered by Darius of Persia, the Persians continued to mint lion/bull staters for a time, changing to a more "Persian style" of depiction.

Kroisos selected the image of the fierce lion and the submissive bull. The lion was the symbol of the Royal House. The Bull was the symbol of Siva/Dionysiac fertility religion that dominated the area before the wave of sky-God worshipping Aryans invaded from the northeast.

Sivaism dates back to at least 3500 BCE, originating in persent day India and spreading throughout the Black Sea area to Northern Greece and Macedonia and down into Crete as the Dionysiac Religion. Dio means God and Nysus is the birth place of Siva. So Dionysus is literaly the God of Nysa or Siva.

Siva/Dionysus was the God of a wild and wine-soaked religion of fertility and natural destruction. The Hordes of Aryans that swept down into the region from the Russian Steppes in waves beginning in about 1800 BCE, worshipped Sky Gods of War as befitted their nomadic conquering ethos. Dionysus was added to the sky-god pantheon ruled by Zeus, but was regarded as a sort ot nuisance God that needed to be controlled.

Hence the badge adopted on the first coinage shows the dominance of the conquering Sky God people over the indigenous bull worshippers. The Athenian story of Theseus slaying the bull-god Minotaur in Crete depicts exactly the same dynamic.

The Dawn of Coinage: A note on dating: To date an historical object it must a) be dated or dateable through scientific means such as carbon dating. b) be discovered in situ in a dateable site - along with other dated or dateable objects, or c) be referred to in a contemporaneously dated text. That's it. Otherwise dating is purely speculative. Unfortunately the rivalry between numismatists and archeologists has caused numismatists to reject all historical dating and rely on the coins themselves to reveal their age. This leads to highly subjective dating. Many of the dates you see on holdered coins, and auctioned coins are educated guesses (that often conflict). By archeological evidence the earliest coins would date closer to 700 BCE and much of the dating of electrum would be pushed back closer to that date. (Reference: Kagan's "The Dates of the Earliest Coins." American Journal of Archeology 1982) - which in archeological circles is still considered definitive. The numismatic objections are dealt with in the article quite convincingly.

IONIA UNCERTAIN circa 700-650 (650-600 on holder)

EL third stater or trite (4.57 gm). Lydo-Milesian standard. Blank convex surface / Two incuse squares side-by-side, slightly offset. Cf. Weidaur 7 (hecte). Cf. SNG Kayhan 673 (hecte). SNG Von Aulock 7762

Undoubtedly amongst the first true coins. Nine such "typeless" electrum pieces were among the famous "Artemision Find" in Ephesus in 1904 which was positively dated close to 700 BCE due to datable nature of the find site itself. (Reference: Kagan's "The Dates of the Earliest Coins." American Journal of Archeology 1982)

NGC Choice XF 5/5 - 3/5.......sold

KINGS OF LYDIA. ARDYS Circa 650-620 BCE.

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

Very Sharp lion with clear well struck letters and clean surfaces. An altogether superior example of this rare issue, perhaps the first issue with writing and as such of the highest historical significance.

NGC graded AU, Str 5/5 surf 5/5
$22,000

NGC 2490346-002

IONIA, Uncertain. Circa 650-600 BC.

EL Hekte – Sixth Stater ( 2.35 g). Lydo-Milesian standard. Flattened striated surface / Two incuse squares. Weidauer Group II, 6–8; Artemision 29; Elektron II 11–2; Traité I 12; SNG Kayhan 680.

A pleasing high grade example of this sought after coin. The Striated Hekte is considered by many, somehwat arbitrarily, as part of the world's first issue of coinage, as the striations are thought to be perhaps the first "obverse design." Though there is no evidence it appeared earlier than other Blasck Sea Area issues.

NGC AU strk 4/5, sur 5/5........ $8500

NGC 6156776-001

IONIA, Uncertain. Circa 650-600 BC.

Electrum Trite (4.68 g),  Lydo-Milesian standard. Geometric figure composed of a cross centered upon a polygon of eight sides. Reverse: Rectangular incuse divided horizontally and vertically into several compartments, some containing pellets. McFadden 1; Weidauer -; Elektron I 16; SNG Kayhan 697.

Very Rare - known from a single horde in 2016 of about 20 trites of varying quality and two staters, as well as several fractions. Clear and well centered

NGC graded XF Strike: 5/5, Surface: 4/5. ...................................$8,000

KINGS of LYDIA. Kroisos. Circa 564/53-550/39 BC.

AV Stater ( 8.07 g). Light standard. Sardes mint. Confronted foreparts of lion and bull / Two incuse squares. Berk 3; Le Rider, Naissance, pl. V, 8; Traité I 401–3; SNG von Aulock 2875; BMC 31; Boston MFA 2073; Gulbenkian 757.

a virtually perfect and well pedigreed specimen of the world's first gold coin. Deeply struck, fully lusterous and perfectly centered, and my own personal preference as the finest die in the small series. Certainly amongst the finest extant

ex superior auctions 1990 lot 2087 (illustrated on the cover)

NGC Graded GEM MS stk 5/5 surf 5/5

POR

NGC 5771425-001

KINGS of LYDIA. Kroisos. Circa 564/53-550/39 BC.

Silver Stater or Double Siglos (10.54 g.) Confronted foreparts of lion right and bull left, both with outstretched foreleg / Two square punches of different size, side by side, with irregular interior surfaces. Traité II/1, p. 235-236,407 und Tf. 10,7; Kurth, Lydia Vol. 1, p. 18, S1; SNG v. Aulock Lydien Tf. 92, 2873-2874; SNG Kayhan 1018;

Well pedigreed and published and amongst the finest extant, only 5 silver staters have graded to this level; and most unusual for this issue, this coin is struck on superb metal. Beautifully preserved Kroisos silver coins are far more difficult to encounter than high grade gold, because silver does tarnish and Lydian silver especially so. A few light marks are hidden under the lovely toning.

Published: Carradice, The ‚Regal' Coinage of the Persian Empire, p. 73-95, plate. 10,2.

Published: E. S. G. Robinson, Some electrum and gold greek coins, in: Centennial publication of the ANS, New York 1958, p. 585-594, plate p. 586

Orignally from the collection of Dr. Roland Maly formed in the 1950s; also the collection of Nelson Bunker Hunt/ Ex Bank Leu, Auktion 45, 26.5.1988, Lot 238. - NAC Zürich, Auktion 4, 27.2.1991 (all listed on an old collector ticket - the leu auction noted on the holder)

NGC AU ★ strk 5/5; surf 4/5; light marks:...................................$34,000

NGC 6556069-001

KINGS of LYDIA. Kroisos. Circa 564/53-550/39 BC.

AR stater or double siglos (20mm, 10.76 gm). Sardes. Confronted foreparts of lion right and bull left, both with outstretched foreleg / Two square punches of different size, side by side, with irregular interior surfaces. SNG Kayhan 1018. BMFA 2070. Berk, 100 Greatest Ancient Coins, 9.19

Deeply struck perfectly centered on flawless, glass-like surfaces, only made possible through 2500 years of most fortuitous toning. Exceptional.

NGC XF ★ strk 5/5 - surf 5/5
$18,000

NGC 5746876-003

KINGS OF LYDIA. Kroisos, circa 560-546 BC.

AV third-stater or trite (2.68 gm). Sardes, "light" standard, ca. 553-539 BC. Confronted foreparts of lion right and bull left, both with outstretched foreleg / Two incuse square punches of unequal size, side by side, with irregular interior surfaces. Berk 9.6. SNG von Aulock 8212.

Whereas the gold staters have been discovered in small hordes, most probably remnants of governmental storage, the the gold fractions have been discovered one at a time or in very small groupings, as they were more likely used in every day commerce.

Excellent strike and centering on satiny surfaces. A ver rare coin in mint state - only twenty trites, both heavy and light standard combined, have been graded.

NGC MS 5/5 - 4/5..............$26,000

NGC 6057162-001

KINGS OF LYDIA. Kroisos, circa 560-546 BC. 

AV sixth stater or Hekte (1.82 g), heavy standard, Sardes, c. 560-550. On the left, forepart of a lion to right confronting, on the right, the forepart of a bull to left. Rev. Two incuse squares, of unequal size, side by side. Berk 7. Traité I 400 = De Luÿnes 2800. Walburg Group III.

Whereas the gold staters have been discovered in small hordes, most probably remnants of governmental storage, the gold fractions have been discovered one at a time or in very small groupings, as they were more likely used in every day commerce.

Extremely Rare Heavy Standard Hekte. Well struck from fresh dies and perfectly centered on a broad flan, with a nearly invisible scuff. Lusterous. Exceptional. Certainly amongst the finest heavy hektes, (only 2 heavy hektes graded to this level or better)

NGC Graded MS strk 5/5 surf 4/5 scuff ..........................................$22,000

NGC 4934501-001

MYSIA. Cyzicus. Ca. 550-450 BC.

EL stater (22mm, 16.10 gm). . Facing Gorgoneion, head covered with writhing snakes, tongue protruding; tunny fish left below / Quadripartite incuse mill-sail square punch. Greenwell -, cf. 75 (hecte). Von Fritze 129, pl. IV, 15. BMFA 1445.

This iconic image is struck from attractive dies on an oval, pale lemon flan, perfectly centered with proof-like fields. Quite beautiful in hand.

NGC Choice XF ★ strk 5/5 - surf 4/5 ..............................................$35,500

NGC 6057562-001

MYSIA, Kyzikos. Circa 550-450 BC.

EL Stater (20mm, 16.22 g). Forepart of winged lioness left; to right, tunny upward / Quadripartite incuse square. Von Fritze I 96; Greenwell 117; cf. Boston MFA 1438 (hekte); SNG BN 237; BMC –; FSD –; Gillet –; Gulbenkian –; Jameson –; Myrmekion –; cf. Rosen 472 (hekte); Weber –

Sleek prooflike appearance, perfectly centered on a flawless oval flan. The finest specimen of this attractive type graded.

NGC AU ★ Strk 5/5 surf 5/5 fine style noted......................................$32,000

NGC 2121686-001

MYSIA. Kyzikos. 500-400

MYSIA, Kyzikos. EL Hekte – Sixth Stater (10mm, 2.61 g). Nude Herakles kneeling left in foreground, and his brother, Iphikles, also nude, kneeling right in background, fighting Hera's serpents on tunny left / Quadripartite incuse square. Von Fritze I 208; cf. Boston MFA 1531 = Warren 1477 (stater); cf. SNG BN 341 (stater); Triton XX, lot 241

A remarkable fine style depiction of the Infant Herakles saving his brother Iphicles from the serpents that Hera had slipped into their crib to avenge herself on her philandering husband, Zeus. A wonderful and very rare mythological motif.

NGC AU 4/5, 4/5........................$6500

NGC 6555900-002

LESBOS. Mytilene. ca. 454-427 BC.

EL sixth-stater or hecte (10mm, 2.56 gm). KING MIDAS (satyr)/ The Golden Fleece (rams heads) palmette between; all in incuse square. Bodenstedt 37. HGC 6, 963. Struck from high-relief dies. 

Though the obverse image is now catalogued as a satyr, the Diadem clearly indicates a King and the reverse, though now described as "butting rams heads" is an image often used to depict the Golden Fleece, thus this fascinating Hekte seems to be a gold coin that depicts the mythological history of Gold, and the King on the obverse is most probably King Midas.

NGC AU ★ 5/5 - 5/5...........$4600

NGC 6323640-008

IONIA. Phokaia. 521-478

EL Hekte (2.53 gms), ca. . Obverse: Bearded head of Silenos facing, to left, small seal upward; Reverse: Quadripartite incuse square. Bodenstedt-67.3 (this coin cited & obv. illustrated).

A very rare Hekte, widely respected as a miniature sculptural masterpiece of Greek Art. Well pedigreed and published:

Bodenstadt Plate Coin: 67.3

Ex: Prospero Collection (New York Sale XXVII - 1/2012) Lot # 521.

Ex: Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection, part II (Sotheby's - 6/1990) Lot # 502.

NGC AU, Strike: 5/5 Surface: 3/5. Fine Style noted, scuff.........................$7000

IONIA. Phokaia. 521-478

Hecte circa 521-478, EL 2.58 g. Lion’s head l., with open jaws and tongue protruding; behind, . Rev. Irregular incuse square. de Luynes 2542 (this obverse die). Bodenstedt 38 a/-.

a rare and elegant hekte, the finest graded, and certainly amongst the finest extant Judging by the high gold content and the style it is probably earlier than the holder date

NGC CH AU 5/5; 5/5................$4200

NGC 6555899-002

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. 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 many existing darics were surely melted down to supply bullion for Alexander’s own gold staters, though, for a time these two coins would have circulated together.

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 -..

Lusterous, fully centered and well detailed example. Extremely rare, especially in this condition. The small horde of about 20 specimens that appeared on the market in 2014 have long since been absorbed, and this is certainly amongst the very finest.

NGC graded MS ★ strike 5/5 surf 5/5
$48,000

NGC 3761965-001

PERSIA ACHAEMENID Empire. Artaxerxes I-Xerxes II (ca. 5th century BC).

AV daric (16mm, 8.33 gm).  Lydo-Milesian standard. Sardes, ca. 455-420 BC. Persian king or hero, wearing cidaris candys, in kneeling-running stance right, decorated quiver over shoulder, dagger pointed at waist in right hand, bow outward in left / Rectangular incuse punch with irregular interior surfaces. Carradice Type IV, Group B - unlisted in gold, but examples now known from recent finds.

This very rare daric once had a lion head control mark on the reverse and was since re-engraved. An absolutely brilliant strike which makes use of the odd shaped flan to include far more of the dagger-weilding king than is normally visible: including his crown, bow, dagger and quiver.

NGC MS strk 4/5 - surf 5/5....$13,000

NGC 6055179-013

PERSIA, Achaemenid Empire. temp. Artaxerxes II to Darios III. Circa 375-336 BC.

AV Daric (15mm, 8.29 g). Lydo-Milesian standard. Sardes mint. Persian king or hero, wearing kidaris and kandys, quiver over shoulder, in kneeling-running stance right, holding spear in right hand, bow in left / Patterned incuse punch. Carradice Type IIIb Late (pl. XV, 50); Meadows, Administration –; BMC Arabia pl. XXV, 24; Sunrise 39 corr

Terrific late fluid style, perfectly centered with flowing robes and a fully articulated face.

NGC CH AU ★ Strk 5/5 Surf 4/5 light marks, Fine Style noted........$10,000

NGC 4934514-001

PERSIA, Achaemenid Empire. temp. Artaxerxes II to Darios III. Circa 375-336 BC.

AV Daric (15.5mm, 8.31 g). Lydo-Milesian standard. Sardes mint. Persian king or hero, wearing kidaris and kandys, quiver over shoulder, in kneeling-running stance right, holding spear in right hand, bow in left / Patterned incuse punch. Carradice Type IIIb Late (pl. XV, 50); Meadows, Administration –; BMC Arabia pl. XXV, 24; Sunrise 39 corr.

Very Rare late type perfectly centered with superb style. Attributed to the Sardes mint, but the striated reverse and fluid style is reminiscent of the Alexandrine darics from the Babylon mint.

The same type in similar condition sold for $16,800: Triton xxi lot 529

NGC MS strk 4/5 surf 3/5, fine style noted.....................................$12,000

NGC 2073700-007

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 citizen - who would have been trained assiduously in Rhetoric, Philosophy and all the written arts.

The Athenian Owl coin is undoubtedly the world's first reserve silver currency as it was not only accepted throughout the ancient world but by the mid 5th century it was stored in quantity in many regions alonside local currency, hence the amazing quantity of "Mid Mass Coinage." These early coins from the 6th century are very rare in fine Imperial Mint style.

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.

Philip was both a learned man of letters and the arts and a voluptuary of great appetites. Pella, The Macedonian capital had long been a refuge for Greek men of letters, actors and artitsts. Euripedes wrote the Bacchae there, describing a tradition that had been a force in that region for many centuries. Philip also established a strong link to Plato's school, and many philosophers became residents of Pella. Aristotle, who had formed his own school became a tutor during his son Alexander's formative years.

Alexander III the Great is by far the greatest Classical Hero of well recorded times. He is the only man in history who was able to conquer the known world. This he did by systematically turning conquered adversaries and foes into allies and supporters by respecting rather than humiliating them, a strategy never since replicated.

His education in the arts and letters inspired him to tracvel with a retinue of writers and artists. Thus 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.

His image was also recorded by some of the greatest artists of the period. He traveled with reknowned Sculptor Lyssippos, and the reknowned gem carver Pyrgoteles. The coin engraving during this period, and especially during the period following his death was certainly heavily influenced by the court artists who surely trained the some of the engravers who went on to carve masterpieces at the Pella, Lampsakos, Kolophon and Magnesia mints.

During Alexander's lifetime he used Darics, Philip Apollo staters, and the Athena/Nike staters. But soon after his death the Apollo staters began to take on the features of Alexander, and sometimes other unnamed rulers. This practive spread to some of the portraiture of rival kings such as Pyhrus of Epirus and Agaothokles of Syracuse. Surely, many of the arists trained in the court of Alexander went on to successful careers throughout the Greek world. Much of the portraiture of this period is unrivaled. And the Features of Alexander served as ideal God-like features througout the Greek world.

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 bearing Alexander's portriat 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),took over Babylon along with Peithon but they soon fell under the control of Antigonus Monopthalmos and his son Demetrios Poliokrates (sacker of cities) as they conquered all of Asia.

But in 311 BCE Seleukos, supported by his old friend Ptolemy, was able to unseat Antigonos and Demetrios 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.

KINGS OF MACEDON. Philip II, 359-336 BC. 

AV Stater (Gold, 18 mm, 8.65 g,), Pella, struck under Philip II circa 340/36. Laureate head of Apollo to right. Rev. ΦΙΛΙΠΠOY Charioteer driving biga to right, holding reins in his left hand and goad in his right; below the horses, thunderbolt. Le Rider 107 (D52/R83).

An excellent example of fine style and quite a rare die. It is difficult to find Staters of Philip II with such refined engraving. Minor nick on the obverse , otherwise, nearly as struck wih lovely original surfaces.

NGC graded CH AU strk 5/5, surf 3/5 fine style noted.....................$12,500

NGC 6158011-001

Kings of Macedon, Alexander III 336-323 BC

Alexander III 'the Great', 336-323 BC. Stater (Gold, 17 mm, 8.58 g, 12 h), Sardes, struck under Menander, circa 330/25-324/3. Head of Athena to right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet decorated with a coiled serpent. Rev. AΛEΞANΔΡOΥ Nike standing front, head to left, with her wings spread, holding laurel wreath in her right hand and stylis in her left; to left, coiled serpent to left. Price 2532.

Magnificent lifestime stater from the Sardes mint and engraved in the finest style. Perfectly centered and struck on a broad flan., with a nearly invisible die shift on the reverse. Lovely.

NGC CH AU 5/5, 5/5 die shift....sold

NGC 6555900-003

A beautiful battle weary Alexander the Great believed to be sculpted by Lysippos (collection Louvre.) And surely the model for the masterpiece below:

Kings of Thrace, Lysimachus 323-28

AV Stater, Pella circa 286-281, 8.54 g. Diademed head of deified Alexander III r., with horn of Ammon. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ – ΛYΣIMAKOY Athena enthroned l., holding Nike and spear and resting l. elbow on shield; in inner field l., monogram and on throne, Π. In exergue, K. Thompson, in Essays Robinson, 241 (these dies). Müller 504 var. Jameson 2464 (these dies). SNG Lockett 1247 (this coin).

A portrait of the finest style. Well struck in high relief, with an insignificant flan flaw in the reverse field, otherwise mint state, and highly important as the portrait most similar to the portrait by Lysippus in the collection of the Louvre Surely, a lifelike rendering of history's greatest conquerer.

Published: 2008 Money of the World: Coins that made history plate 11 (this coin illustrated)

Ex Cyril Lockett collection Glendining’s 12 February 1958,part VI, 1164;

The Millenia collection 2008, lot 23

Highly Important Collection of Greek coins of a man in Love with Art; NAC 126 lot 101

NGC Graded MS Strike 4/5 Surface 4/5, NGC certification number 6157577-007..(mislabled as the Byzantium mint)...........................................$32,000

NGC 6157577-007

KINGS of MACEDON. Philip III Arrhidaios. 323-317 BC.

AV Stater 8,59g struck 323-316, Abydos. Tête laurée d'Apollon à droite / FILIPPOU Quadrige au galop conduit par un aurige à droite; au-dessous, à droite, A et monogramme PA. . Müller 284; Le Rider pl. 90, 12; Thompson Lampsacus & Abydus 98; SNG ANS 299.

Tradart (13 décembre 2001), 46.

Superb idealized Alexander the Great portrait. Very Rare die of fine style.

NGC MS stk 5/5 surf 3/5 - Fine style noted..................................$27,000

NGC 4938385-043

Image result for alexander by lysippos an idealized 2nd century Roman bust of Alexander believed to be inspired by Lysippos.

 

WESTERN GREEK GOLD was most often minted to pay mercenary armies in times of war. Many are emergency issues and as such are quite rare, even by the standards of ancient coins. The earliest Western Gold coins appear in the last years of the Fifth century when Athens is involved in wars with Sparta, and the Carthaginians are rampaging through Sicily. Dionysis I emerges in 405 BC to become Tyrant of Syracuse, and begins to ruthelessly expand his power throughout Sicily.

Calabria, Tarentum. Temp Alexander the Molossian circa 333-330,

Half stater AV 4.27 g. [TAPANTINΩN] Head of Hera r., wearing stephane, triple-pendant earring and necklace. Rev. TAPAΣ Dolphin rider l., holding small dolphin on outstretched r. hand and trident in l.; below, M. Fischer-Bossert G6. Dewing 150. Historia Numorum Italy 902.

A masterpiece of Greek Art struck under Alexander the Mollosian, brother to Olympias and Uncle to Alexander the Great and a fabled warrior in his own right.

Extremely Rare and the amongst the finest extant. Only three known with this fine style right facing head of Hera. Truly a sculptural masterpiece of classical Greek Art.

NGC Graded AU strike 5/5 surf 4/5 fine style noted, light marks...$50,000

NGC 5769993-001

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 took 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 financial and cultural prosperity that included the founding of the museum/college at Alexandria, which hosted the brightest scholars, scientists, mathemeticians 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.

Additionally a cadre of remarkable artists were hired to engrave an extensive gold coinage that includes the first portraits of a living king, and the largest gold coins of the ancient world. . Egypt lay in the center of the trade route that included the gold mines of Guinea West Africa, and Kush (Auxum/Ethiopia) so they had a prodigou source of gold. Yet their coinage seems to have been used exclusively within Egypt, as pieces are rarely discovered in other lands.

Remarkably, Alexandria, to this day, remains a center of learning and culture in North Afica.

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

AV Pentadrachm (17.86 gms), Alexandria Mint, ca. 285-272 B.C. Diademed head of Ptolemy I facing right, wearing aegis around neck, small Delta Δ in curl of hair behind ear; Reverse: Eagle standing on thunderbolt facing left, various control letters in left field. Svoronos-537 (pl.12#8); cf.BMC-6.23,89

Stunning highly lustrous, exceptionally well struck with dies of the finest style signed behind Ptolemy's ear by the Delta Master. Minst State, prooflike surfaces. A masterpiece of Ptolemaic portraiture. An extremely rare die for this issue.

From the John Whitney Walter Collection. (noted on the holder)

NGC MS, Strike: 5/5, Surface: 3/5. Fine Style noted....................$55,000

NGC 4531056-001

PTOLEMAIC KINGS OF EGYPT.

Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC), with Arsinoe II, Ptolemy I, and Berenice I.

AV half-mnaieion or tetradrachm (20mm, 13.89 gm, 12h). Alexandria, ca. 270/65-261/0 BC. AΔEΛΦΩN, jugate busts right of Ptolemy II, draped and diademed, and Arsinoe II, diademed and veiled; Gallic shield behind / ΘEΩN, jugate busts right of Ptolemy I, diademed and draped, and Berenice, diademed and veiled. Svoronos 604. SNG Copenhagen 133. 

Dies of fine style in excpetional condition, perfectly centered and firmly stuck on pristine surface. Surely one of the finest extant.

NGC Graded MS ★ 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style noted...........................$35,000

NGC 4371771-003

PTOLEMAIC KINGS of EGYPT. Ptolemy III Euergetes. 246-222 BC.

AV mnaieion or octodrachm (27mm, 27.72 gm, 11h). , Posthumous issue of Alexandria, under Ptolemy IV, ca. 219-217 BC. Bust of deified Ptolemy III right, wearing radiate diadem and aegis, ornate trident over left shoulder, the central tine ornamented with lotus finial; dotted border / ΠTOΛEMAIOY-BAΣIΛEΩΣ, cornucopia bound with radiate royal diadem, containing grain ear, pyramidal cake and pomegranate, grape cluster hanging from left side of rim; ΔI below, dotted border. CPE 888. Svoronos 1117

Very Early Die State with virtually no die rust, rare thus, attractive surfaces with underlying luster and the finest style of the series. Skillfully brushed to create proof like obverse surface

NGC AU 5/5 - 3/5, Fine Style noted, brushed ........................$28,500

NGC 4934501-002

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.)

This system took written language out of the domain of priests and scribes and into the hands of merchants, householders, and essentially any bright shephard who put in a little hard study time.

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.

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.


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