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

Ancient Greek Coins of Phoenicia

Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia

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Dido, the founder and first queen of Carthage, is primarily known from Virgil's Aeneid. Upon succeeding their father as king of Tyre, Dido's brother Pygmalion had her husband Sichaeus killed in a plot to seize his immense wealth. Dido, with a large group of friends and followers, escaped Tyre, carrying with them all of Sichaeus' treasure. As depicted on the reverse of this coin, Dido made a sacrifice at the temple of Melqart-Hercules before leaving. The reverse on some other Valerian types, we know of one example struck with this same obverse die, depict Dido in Carthage beginning construction.
RP75357. Bronze dichalkon, Unpublished in the many references examined by Forum, cf. SNG Righetti 2354 (radiate and cuirassed bust), Rouvier 2503 (same), VF, well centered, porous, flan adjustment marks, weight 11.064 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 180o, Tyre mint, Oct 253 - Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP CP LIC VALERIANVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse COL TVRO MET, Dido standing right, kalathos on head, extending both hands toward a distyle temple of Melqart-Hercules in perspective to upper right, club within the temple, flaming column altar at her feet, murex shell on right below temple; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection; the best of the few examples of the type known to Forum; extremely rare; $800.00 (€712.00)
 


The Temple Tax Coin, KAP Tyrian Type Half Shekel, Jerusalem or Tyre Mint, 19 - 18 B.C.

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A KAP Temple Tax Coin - Important Transitional Year!

Some Tyrian shekels and all half shekels struck year 108 (19/18 B.C.) bear the Greek letters KAP. Years 109 - 111 all the coins bear the KAP ligature. In the following years until production ceased all the coins bear the Greek letters KP. Meshorer argued that the KAP and KP coins were actually struck at Jerusalem, initially by Herod. He based his opinion on a sudden stylistic and fabric degradation, find locations indicating the KP coins circulated mainly in Israel, and an end to production coinciding with the First Jewish Rebellion and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in A.D. 70. Under Augustus the cities in the east such as Kyzikos, Tyre and Sidon lost much of their autonomy. Perhaps Tyre lost the freedom to strike silver coins. Under Roman control the other traditional silver coinages of the area did disappear, with the exception of a debased Antioch coinage. Given Herod's influence with Augustus, it is conceivable that he successfully arranged minting Tyre type shekels in Jerusalem in order to fill the need for the accepted temple coinage. The letters KAP and KP likely abbreviate the Greek for Caesar perhaps indicating the approval of Rome.
JD79298. Silver shekel, BMC Phoenicia p. 252, 233; Cohen DCA 921 (R3); RPC I 4684; Hendin 1619; HGC 10 358, Baramki AUB -, F, toned, rough, die wear, weight 5.808 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 45o, Jerusalem or Tyre mint, 19 - 18 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOYIEPAΣ KAIAΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond behind, date PH (year 108) over club and palm frond left, KAP (Kaisar?) monogram right, Phoenician letter beth (control) between legs; rare date; $680.00 (€605.20)
 


Tyre, Phoenicia, 108 - 107 B.C., The Temple Tax Coin

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Half Shekel - the currency of the Jerusalem Temple.
At the Great Temple in Jerusalem the annual tax levied on Jews was 1/2 shekel per male. The 1/2 shekel and shekel were not always used in everyday commerce, but were the only coins accepted by the temple. Many taxpayers required a currency exchange, so money changers set up in the Temple court. Jesus found this business and their shouting (advertising rates) offensive, so he threw over their tables.
JD79297. Silver shekel, Cohen DCA 921 (unreported date - no known specimens); HGC 10 358; Hendin 1619; BMC Phoenicia -; Baramki AUB -, F, toned, light corrosion, weight 6.011 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, 108 - 107 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOYIEPAΣ KAIAΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond behind, date ΘI (year 19) over club and palm frond left, ZB (control) right, Phoenician letter beth (control) between legs; extremely rare date; $600.00 (€534.00)
 


Tyre, Phoenicia, 76 - 75 B.C., The Temple Tax Coin

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Half Shekel - the currency of the Jerusalem Temple.

At the Great Temple in Jerusalem the annual tax levied on Jews was 1/2 shekel per male. The 1/2 shekel and shekel were not always used in everyday commerce, but were the only coins accepted by the temple. Many taxpayers required a currency exchange, so money changers set up in the Temple court. Jesus found this business and their shouting (advertising rates) offensive, so he threw over their tables.
JD79296. Silver half shekel, Prieur 1447 (1 spec.), RPC I 4683, Rouvier 2077, Cohen DCA 921 (R3), HGC 10 358, Hendin 1619, Baramki AUB -, F, toned, slightly off center, die wear, lamination defects, weight 6.103 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Phoenicia, Tyre mint, 27 - 26 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle standing left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond behind, P (year 100) over club left, monogram (control) right, Phoenician letter (control) between legs; rare date; $570.00 (€507.30)
 


The Temple Tax Coin, KP Tyrian Type Half Shekel, Jerusalem or Tyre Mint, 44 - 45 A.D.

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At the Great Temple in Jerusalem the annual tax levied was 1/2 shekel per male. The 1/2 shekel and shekel were the only coins accepted by the temple. Some experts believe that after the coinage of Tyre was debased under Roman control, Herod the Great began to strike "Tyre" shekels in Jerusalem. These coins were of cruder fabric and style, but maintained the silver purity required to pay the temple tax. The "Jerusalem" shekels have the letters KP or KAP to the right of the eagle and dates range from PH (18/17 B.C.) to PKE (69/70 A.D.). The Greek letters KP or KAP are probably an abbreviation for KAICAP, Greek for Caesar.


JD79299. Silver half shekel, RPC I Supp. 4701A (1 spec.), Cohen DCA 921 (S), Hendin 1619, HGC 10 358, BMC Phoenicia -, Prieur -, RPC I -, Baramki AUB -, F, centered on a tight flan, toned, weight 6.358 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem or Tyre mint, 44 - 45 A.D.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle standing left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond behind, PO (year 170) over club left, KP over monogram (control) right, Phoenician letter beth (control) between legs; $550.00 (€489.50)
 


Tyre, Phoenicia, 54 - 55 B.C., The Temple Tax Coin

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Half Shekel - the currency of the Jerusalem Temple
At the Great Temple in Jerusalem the annual tax levied on Jews was 1/2 shekel per male. The 1/2 shekel and shekel were not always used in everyday commerce, but were the only coins accepted by the temple. Many taxpayers required a currency exchange, so money changers set up in the Temple court. Jesus found this business and their shouting (advertising rates) offensive, so he threw over their tables.
JD79300. Silver half shekel, Cohen DCA 921 (unreported date - no known specimens), HGC 10 358, Hendin 1619, RPC I -, Baramki AUB -, F, toned, slightly off center, shallow pitting, weight 6.719 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre, Phoenicia mint, 54 - 55 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle standing left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond behind, PΠ (year 180) over club left, AN (?, control) right, Phoenician letter beth (control) between legs; extremely rare date; $550.00 (€489.50)
 


The Temple Tax Coin, KP Tyrian Type Half Shekel, Jerusalem or Tyre Mint, 18 B.C. - 69 A.D.

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The barbaric style with blundered legends and date are typical of the later coins attributed by some experts to Jerusalem.

After the coinage of Tyre was debased under Roman control, some experts believe Herod the Great began to strike "Tyre" shekels in Jerusalem. These coins were of cruder fabric and style, but maintained the silver purity required to pay the temple tax. The Jerusalem shekels have the letters KP or KAP to the right of the eagle and dates range from PH (18/17 B.C.) to PKE (69/70 A.D.). The Greek letters KP or KAP are probably an abbreviation for KAICAP, Greek for Caesar.
JD79301. Silver half shekel, HGC 10 358; Cohen DCA 922; Hendin 1621; BMC Phoenicia p. 252, 235 ff.; RPC I 4681 ff.; Prieur 1455 ff., F, toned, bumps and marks, light corrosion, weight 6.336 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem or Tyre mint, 18 B.C. - 69 A.D.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY, eagle standing left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond behind, uncertain date & club left, KP and monogram right, Aramaic letter between legs; $550.00 (€489.50)
 


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 42 - 31 B.C., Akko-Ptolemais, Phoenicia

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In 38 B.C. (or 37 B.C.), Mark Antony, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus and Marcus Lepidus signed the Treaty of Tarentum, extending the Second Triumvirate until 33 B.C.
RP72123. Bronze AE 26, RPC I 4740; Seyrig Monnayage 19; Sofaer pl. 7, 118; Kadman 73; Rouvier 993; Rosenberger -, aF, rough, earthen encrustations, weight 10.071 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 0o, Akko-Ptolemais, Phoenicia mint, 39 - 38 B.C.; obverse bare head of Antony right, within laurel wreath; reverse Tyche standing left on prow of galley, head right, apluster and rudder in right hand, cornucopia and palm in left, L IA / KAI AΣY (year 11 of Caesarian Era) upper left, ΠTOΛE/MAEΩN / IEPAΣ in three horizontal lines on right; rare; $450.00 (€400.50)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C., Tyre, Phoenicia

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Minted in Tyre during a period of Seleukid control. The tetradrachm is the same denomination as the shekel for Tyre.
GY79683. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2109.5a, Newell Tyre 121, HGC9 1074, SNG Spaer 2027 var. (control monogram), SNG Cop 335 var. (same), aEF, light marks, uneven tone, weight 14.146 g, maximum diameter 29.8 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, 136 - 135 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Antiochus right; reverse ANTIOXOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on prow of galley, head left, wings closed, transverse palm frond on far side over right wing, A/PE over TYP monogram (Tyre) over club left, A/Σ monogram over ZOP (year 177, Z appears as I), monogram (control) between legs; ex Naville Numismatics auction 18 (1 Nov 2015), lot 66; $420.00 (€373.80)
 


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia

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Herakles is depicted wearing the Nemean lion skin around his neck. The first of Herakles' twelve labors, set by King Eurystheus (his cousin), was to slay the Nemean lion and bring back its skin. Herakles discovered arrows and his club were useless against it because its golden fur was impervious to mortal weapons. Its claws were sharper than swords and could cut through any armor. Herakles stunned the beast with his club and, using his immense strength, strangled it to death. During the fight the lion bit off one of his fingers. After slaying the lion, he tried to skin it with a knife from his belt, but failed. Wise Athena, noticing the hero's plight, told him to use one of the lion's own claws to skin the pelt.
SH79761. Silver tetradrachm, Prieur 1496, McAlee 458, Wruck 151, VF, well centered, edge cracks, dark areas, weight 13.980 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 180o, Tyre mint, 103 - 111 A.D.; obverse AVTOKP KAIC NEP TPAIANOC CEB ΓEPM ∆AK, laureate head right, club left below, eagle standing right with wings closed at point of bust; reverse ∆HMAPX - EΞ IE YΠAT E (=COS V), laureate bust of Melqart right, Nemean lion-skin around neck tied at front; $270.00 (€240.30)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Sunday, June 26, 2016.
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Phoenician Coins