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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Anatolia ▸ LyciaView Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Coins of Lycia, Anatolia

Lycia, on the southern coast of Anatolia, was first recorded in the Late Bronze Age records of ancient Egypt and the Hittite Empire. In 546 B.C. when Lycia was involuntary incorporated into the Persian Empire, the local population was decimated, and the area received an influx of Persians. Lycia fought for Persia in the Persian Wars. Intermittently free after the Greeks defeated the Achaemenid Empire, it briefly joined the Athenian Empire, it seceded and became independent, was under the Persians again, revolted again, was conquered by Mausolus of Caria, returned to the Persians, and went under Macedonian hegemony at the defeat of the Persians by Alexander the Great. Lycia was totally Hellenized under the Macedonians. The Lycian language disappeared from inscriptions and coinage. On defeating Antiochus III in 188 the Romans gave Lycia to Rhodes for 20 years, taking it back in 168 B.C. The Romans allowed home rule under the Lycian League, a federation with republican principles, which later influenced the framers of the United States Constitution. In 43 A.D. Claudius dissolved the league and made Lycia a Roman province. It was an eparchy of Byzantine Empire. A substantial Christian Greek community lived in Lycia until the 1920s when they were forced to migrate to Greece following the Greco-Turkish War.Lycia


Anatolia (Lycia?), 5th Century B.C.

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Although unlisted in the major references, a similar hemidrachm type was first published by 1897. Six obols of this type, including this coin, are listed on Coin Archives having been offered at auction in the last two decades.

The chimera was, according to Greek mythology, a monstrous fire-breathing creature of Lycia, composed of the parts of three animals - a lion, a snake, and a goat or stag. Usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that ending with a snake's head, the Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra. The term chimera has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals, or to describe anything perceived as wildly imaginative or implausible.
GS87477. Silver obol, 6 specimens known from auctions, otherwise unpublished; cf. Boston MFA 2325 (hemidrachm), Greenwell 1897, p. 281, 2 (= Boston MFA 2325), VF, well centered, toned, lightly etched surfaces, bumps and scratches, die wear, weight 0.662 g, maximum diameter 7.8 mm, die axis 270o, uncertain (Lycian?) mint, 5th century B.C.; obverse chimera standing (right?) with heads of a lion (in center with looking left), stag, and serpent, joined on one quadruped body at the center and radiating outward; reverse gorgoneion (facing head of Medusa), snaky locks, tongue protruding, within incuse square; ex Numismatic Naumann, auction 62 (4 Feb 2018), lot 127; extremely rare; $280.00 (€238.00)
 


Phaselis, Lycia, 500 - 466 B.C.

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Partial brockage obverse. The obverse was re-struck off-center over a brockage of the reverse, leaving two clear impressions.
GA83588. Silver tetrobol, SNGvA 4396, SNG Berry 1200 var. (ΦA above galley, Σ below), SNG Cop -, SNG Fitzwilliam -, VF, toned, tight flan, die wear, die cracks, partial brockage, weight 3.507 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 90o, Phaselis mint, 500 - 440 B.C.; obverse prow of war galley right in the form of a boar's forepart, partial brockage with incuse letters ΦA visible on obverse; reverse stern right, ΦAΣ above, all in incuse square; ex Roma Numismatics, e-sale 21 (31 Oct 2015), 368; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Lycia, Uncertain Dynast, c. 400 - 350 B.C.

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Although we cannot find a match with this inscription, Historia Numorum lists lion scalp and helmeted head of Athena types struck by several dynasts in the first half of the 4th century B.C.
GA87325. Silver obol, Apparently unpublished, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Tüb -, Vismara -, Podalia Hoard -, BMC Lycia -, F/VF, significant edge chip, weight 0.579 g, maximum diameter 10.9 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain mint, c. 400 - 350 B.C.; obverse lion scalp facing, from above; reverse head of Athena left, wearing crested Corinthian helmet, Lycian letters (EK?) above, dot border, all within a round incuse; extremely rare; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Lycian League, Myra, Masicytus, Lycia, c. 35 - 27 B.C.

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Cragus and Masicytus were the two principal districts of Lycia, named for the Cragus and Masicytus mountain ranges. Xanthus, Patara, and Tlos were towns in Cragus. Myra, the primary town in Masicytus, was on the river Myros, 5.4 kilometers from the sea. Saint Paul visited the port on his way to Italy. The remains of the ancient city are some of the most beautiful ruins in Lycia and include a large theater.
GB86566. Bronze half unit, Troxell 174 (4 spec.); Waddington 3089; BMC Lycia p. 70, 5 corr. (MY); RPC I 3315; Müseler -; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, F, green patina, scratches, obverse off center, weight 2.327 g, maximum diameter 13.8 mm, die axis 0o, Myra (Demre, Turkey) mint, c. 35 - 27 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse bow and quiver in saltire (crossed), ΛYKI (Lycia) above, M-A (Masicytus) across field, all within an incuse square; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; very rare; $80.00 (€68.00)
 


Telmessos, Lycia, 133 - 81 B.C.

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Telmessos (Fethiye, Turkey today) was the most important city of Lycia, with a recorded history starting in the 5th century B.C. The city became part of the Persian Empire after the invasion of the Persian general Harpagos in 547 B.C. Telmessos joined the Delian League in mid-5th century B.C. Although it later became an independent city, it continued its relations with the league until the 4th century B.C. Legend says in the winter of 334 - 333 B.C., Alexander the Great entered Telmessos harbor with his fleet. The commander of the fleet, Nearchus, received permission from King Antipatrides for his musicians and slaves to enter the city. Disguised warriors with weapons hidden in flute boxes captured the acropolis during the festivities that night.
GB86100. Bronze AE 11, SNG Cop 135; SNGvA 4453, BMC Lycia p. 86, 2, F, rough, weight 1.389 g, maximum diameter 10.5 mm, Telmessos mint, 133 - 81 B.C.; obverse head of Hermes right, wearing petasos; reverse bee, T-E (Telmessos) flanking head, all within incuse square; very rare; $45.00 (€38.25)
 







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REFERENCES

Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Cohen, E. Dated Coins of Antiquity: A comprehensive catalogue of the coins and how their numbers came about. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Heipp-Tamer, C. Die Münzprägung der lykischen Stadt Phaselis in griechischer Zeit. (Saarbrücker, 1993).
Hill, G. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Lycia, Pamphylia, and Pisidia. (London, 1897).
Hurter, S. "A New Lycian Coin Type: Kherêi, Not Kuperlis" in INJ 14 (2000-2).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Lindgren, H & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coinage of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
Noe, S "A Lycian Hoard" in Centennial Publication of the American Numismatic Society. (New York, 1958).
Mionnet, T. Description de Médailles antiques grecques et romaines, Supp. VII. Lycia. (Paris, 1809).
Mørkholm, O. "The Classification of Lycian coins before Alexander the Great" in JNG XIV (1964).
Müseler, W. Lykische Münzen in europäischen Privatsammlungen. (Istanbul, 2016).
Olçay, N. & O. Mørkholm. "The Coin Hoard from Podalia" in NC 1971.
Price, M. The Coinage of in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. (London, 1991).
Price, M. & N. Waggoner. Archaic Greek Silver Coinage, The "Asyut" Hoard. (London, 1975).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 6: Phrygia to Cilicia. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Münzsammlung Universität Tübingen, Part 6: Phrygien-Kappadokien; Römische Provinzprägungen in Kleinasien. (Berlin, 1998).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock, Vol. 2: Caria, Lydia, Phrygia, Lycia, Pamphylia. (Berlin, 1962).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Finland, The Erkki Keckman Collection in the Skopbank, Helsinki, Part II: Asia Minor except Karia. (Helsinki, 1999).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain IV, Fitzwilliam Museum, Leake and General Collections, Part 7: Asia Minor: Lycia-Cappadocia. (London, 1967).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. (Istanbul, 2002).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, United States, Burton Y. Berry Collection; Part 2. Megaris to Egypt. (New York, 1962).
Troxell, H. The Coinage of the Lycian League, NNM 162. (New York, 1982).
Vismara, N. Monetazione Arcaica della Lycia. (Milan, 1989 -1996).
Waggoner, N. Early Greek Coins from the Collection of Jonathan P. Rosen. ANS ACNAC 5. (New York, 1983).

Catalog current as of Thursday, September 20, 2018.
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Lycia