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The obverse was copied from a very rare Cilician obol (SNG Levante 201). The very interesting reverse appears to depict five coins with owl reverses, presumably Athenian tetradrachms. In "Coinage for Redeeming the Firstborn: An Ancient and Modern Jewish Ritual" in The Celator|, December 2002, pp. 14 - 22, Ronn Berrol discusses a possible connection to the pidyon haben (click the article title to read it online). The pidyon haben is a mitzvah through which a Jewish firstborn son is "redeemed" from predestination to serve as a priest by giving five silver coins to a Kohen.GA96462. Silver obol, Meshorer-Qedar 141, Sofaer Collection 185, HGC 10 418 (R2), VF, typical crude uneven weak strike, weight 0.604 g, maximum diameter 9.3 mm, Samaria (10 km NW of Nablus, West Bank) mint, middle Levantine' series, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse triform bearded male head, wearing round cap; reverse five discs each with owl standing right and head facing (Athenian coins?), piled up with one in center on top of four around in a cruciform arrangement; ex Leu Numismatik auction 12 (30 May 2020), lot 657; ex Canaan Collection; very rare; $650.00 (€598.00)
Persian Empire, Samaria, c. 375 - 333 B.C.
Meshorer-Qedar lists Athena on the obverse, but on the three specimens known to FORVM it is clear that Athena is on the reverse. The types copy contemporary Cypriot stater types from Kition (obverse) and Lapethus (reverse).GS95808. Silver obol, Meshorer-Qedar 102, cf. Sofaer Collection 63 (hemiobol), HGC 10 -, VF, well centered, toned, struck with worn dies (as are all specimens of this type known to FORVM), weight 0.65 g, maximum diameter 8 mm, die axis 10o, Samaria (10 km NW of Nablus, West Bank) mint, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse lion right atop and attacking a stag fallen right, (Aramaic 'šn', abbreviating Samarian) above; reverse head of Athena facing, wearing crested Attic helmet; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 11 (22 Feb 2020), lot 1128; ex Canaan Collection; only three sale of this type recorded on Coin Archives for the last two decades (and one of the three is this coin); very rare; $500.00 (€460.00)
Massalia, Gaul, c. 475 - 460 B.C.
Massalia (Marseille) is the oldest city of modern France, and was founded around 600 BC by Greeks from the Asia Minor city of Phocaea.GA95211. Silver obol, Chevillon OBM-1 (fig. 29); Brenot Period 2, 1; Furtwängler Massalia, Em. VI, pl. III, 4; De La Tour 511; SNG Cop -, gVF, toned, nice metal, weight 0.889 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 0o, Massalia mint, 475 - 465/460 B.C.; obverse archaic head of Apollo left; reverse crab, M below; ex Forum (2016), ex CNG e-auction 368 (10 Feb 2016), lot 4; ex Poindessault-Vedrines (31 March 1997), lot 339.; very rare; $430.00 (€395.60)
Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon and the Third Democracy, c. 344 - 317 B.C.
Threatened by Carthage and dominated by Hiketas, the tyrant of Leontini, Syracusans sent an appeal for help to their mother city, Corinth. By a unanimous vote Corinth selected Timoleon to set sail for Sicily with a few leading citizens of Corinth and a small troop of Greek mercenaries. After defeating Hiketas, Timoleon put order to Syracuse' affairs and established a democratic government. He repelled Carthage in several wars, ending with a treaty which divided the island. Timoleon then retired without any title or office, though he remained practically supreme. He became blind before his death, but when important issues were under discussion he was carried to the assembly to give his opinion, which was usually accepted. When he died the citizens of Syracuse erected a monument to his memory, afterward surrounded with porticoes, and a gymnasium called Timoleonteum.GI95238. Silver dilitron, SNG ANS 518; SNG Cop 717; SNG Munchen 1126; BMC Sicily p. 186, 283; Weber 1644; HGC 2 1373 (R2), VF, well centered, very dark toning, porosity, edge crack, weight 1.226 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 45o, Syracuse mint, c. 344 - 317 B.C.; obverse laureate Janiform female head, ΣYPAKOΣI-ΩN upward on left, two dolphins nose to nose on right; reverse horse galloping right, barley ear right above, N below; ex Forum (2018); rare; $400.00 (€368.00)
Cilicia (Uncertain City, possibly Tarsos), 4th Century B.C.
SNG Levante describes the obverse type as a Pegasos forepart, however, both their coin and ours clearly depict a griffin.GS92951. Silver obol, SNG Levante 208 corr. (Pegasos vice Griffin in error), SNG BnF -, aVF, toned, light deposits, tight flan, worn dies, edge split, weight 0.680 g, maximum diameter 8.3 mm, die axis 90o, 4th century B.C.; obverse forepart of griffin left; reverse owl standing left, head facing, crescent and olive spray behind; only one sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades - Nomos AG, obolos 5 (26 Jun 2016), lot 437 (similar condition, realized 550 CHF plus 18.5% fees = $660); extremely rare; $360.00 (€331.20)
Lesbos, 5th - 4th Century B.C.
The specific satrap has not been confirmed.SL95876. Billon 1/3 stater, BMC Lesbos 58, pl. XXXI, 3; SNG Cop -; Winzer -, NGC VG, Strike 4/5; Surface 2/5 (5872605-037), weight 3.90 g, maximum diameter 14 mm, die axis 225o, uncertain Lesbos mint, 5th - 4th Century B.C.; obverse youthful male head (satrap?) left, wearing tight-fitting cap; reverse head of roaring lion left within incuse square; NGC| Lookup; extremely rare; $315.00 (€289.80)
Dikaia, Macedonia, 5th Century B.C.
The referenced Pecunem Gitbud & Naumann coin is very similar, but from different dies. The referenced VAuctions coin, presumably a later issue, is also very similar but with ∆IKAI and a dotted square border around the grapes within a shallower square incuse. Dikaia was located between the rivers Nestos and Hebros.GS92899. Silver hemiobol, Apparently unpublished in the standard references; Gitbud & Naumann auction 11 (29 Dec 2013), lot 89; cf. VAuctions 270, lot 112 (see notes), VF, well centered on an irregularly shaped flan, toned, earthen deposits, reverse flatly struck, weight 0.295 g, maximum diameter 7.5 mm, die axis 180o, Dikaia mint, 5th century B.C.; obverse head of lion right; reverse bunch of grapes on stem within incuse square; extremely rare; $180.00 (€165.60)
Macedonian Kingdom, Ptolemy I, as Satrap, 323 - 305 B.C.
Aradus minted coinage in the name of Alexander during his lifetime and shortly after. When Aradus gained autonomy in 259 B.C., the city again minted coinage in the name of Alexander. After the Ptolemaic victory over the Seleukid Kingdom at Raphia in 217 B.C. Aradus fell under the control of Egypt. In 214, Aradus ceased to issue Alexander coinage and struck regal Ptolemaic issues. In 202 B.C., as Ptolemaic power waned, Aradus returned to issuing coinage of Alexander. The last Alexander coinage of Aradus was struck in 166/165 B.C.GS89324. Silver obol, unpublished in references but several known from auctions, CNG e-auction 201, lot 34 (same dies), VF, toned, earthen encrustation, porosity, weight 0.649 g, maximum diameter 9.0 mm, die axis 13.5o, Phoenicia, Aradus mint, c. 323 - 315 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style) eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward behind, A/P monogram (control) left; from a New England collector; $140.00 (€128.80)
Neapolis, Macedonia, c. 525 - 450 B.C.
Neapolis, Macedonia (Kavala, Greece today), was founded by settlers from Thasos near the end of the 7th century B.C., to exploit the rich gold and silver mines of the area. At the end of the 6th century B.C. Neapolis ("new city" in Greek) claimed its independence from Thasos and struck its own silver coins with the head of Gorgon. A member of the Athenian League, Neapolis was besieged by the allied armies of the Spartans and the Thasians in 411 B.C., during the Peloponnesian War, but remained faithful to Athens. The Apostle Paul landed at Neapolis on his second and third missionary journeys.GA96103. Silver obol, SNG ANS 423 - 424; BMC Macedonia p. 84, 13; HGC 3-1 585; SNG Cop -; Rosen -, gVF, slightly grainy, slightly porous, weight 0.632 g, maximum diameter 10.5 mm, Macedonia, Neapolis mint, c. 525 - 450 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), tongue protruding; reverse quadripartite incuse square; ex Roma e-sale 43 (3 Feb 2018), lot 95; $125.00 (€115.00)
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection
SNG Kayhan is a standard reference for the archaic silver fractional coins of Ionia and Karia and a very good overall for pre-Roman Greek coins from those areas (Ephesos and Miletos in particular). The book largely covers the private collection of the author and this particular volume consists solely of Greek coinage (i.e. Roman Provincials are not present). While there is some coverage of areas such as Thrace, Macedonia, Boiotia, Attika, Bithynia, Mysia, Troas, Aiolis, Lydia, Phrygia, Lykia, Pamphylia, Pisidia, Isauria, Kilikia, Cyprus, Syria, Egypt, Incerti, it is Ionia and Karia that get most attention.BK65561. Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection, Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection, Istanbul, 2002, quatro, 41 pages of plates with corresponding pages of descriptions (1,076 coins); $120.00 (€110.40)