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Seleukid Kingdom, Alexander I Balas, 152 - 145 B.C.
Alexander Balas, of humble origin, claimed to be Antiochus IV's son and heir to the Seleukid throne. Rome and Egypt accepted his claims. He married Cleopatra Thea, daughter of King Ptolemy Philometor of Egypt. With his father-in-law's help, he defeated Demetrius Soter and became the Seleukid king. After he abandoned himself to debauchery, his father-in-law shifted his support to Demetrius II, the son of Demetrius Soter. Balas was defeated and fled to Nabataea where he was murdered.GS84619. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 1781.3a, Cohen DCA 118, HGC 9 875a, EF, excellent Hellenistic style, lightly toned, slightly off center, some die wear, light marks, light deposits on obverse, weight 16.950 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 45o, Antioch on the Orontes (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 152 - 146 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, filletborder; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY ΘEOΠATOPOΣ EYEPΓETOY, Zeus Nikephoros enthroned left, chest bare, himation around hips and legs and over left shoulder, Nike offering him wreath in his right hand, scepter in his left hand, cornucopia (control symbol) outer left, ΓΞP (Seleukid Era year 163) and monogram (control symbol) in exergue; ex CNG e-auction 386 (9 Nov 2016), lot 328; $600.00 SALE PRICE $540.00
Seleukid Kingdom, Achaios, 220 - 214 B.C.
Achaios was an uncle of Antiochos III. He proclaimed himself King in Anatolia. After a two-year siege of his capital of Sardes, Lydia, he was captured and beheaded.GY76100. Bronze AE 21, Houghton-Lorber I 956 var. (unlisted control symbol), SNG Spaer 834 var. (same), Newell WSM 1442 var. (same), HGC 9 436 (S-R1), VF, nice green patina, weight 3.314 g, maximum diameter 15.30 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 220 - autumn or winter 214 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverseeagle standing right, head right, wings closed, wreath in talons, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / AXAIOY in two flanking downward lines, X (control symbol) outer right; unpublished extremely rare variant; $430.00 SALE PRICE $387.00
Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VI Dionysus, 144 - c. 142 B.C.
After his father was deposed by Demetrius II, the general Diodotus Tryphon nominated Antiochus VI as king. He gained the allegiance of most of the Seleucid domain, including Judaea, but was actually only a puppet of the general. He died after "ruling" for two years. He was likely assassinated under orders from Tryphon, who then made himself king.GY79685. Bronze serrated AE 22, Houghton-Lorber II 2006b, SNG Spaer 1771, Babelon 1009, Houghton CSE 248 ff. var. (control), SNG Cop 304 var. (same), HGC 9 143 (C-S), VF, nice portrait, green patina, obverse slightly off center, well-centered reverse, weight 8.067 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 45o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. mid-143 - 142 B.C.; obverseradiatehead of Antiochos VI right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, EΠIΦANOYΣ ∆IONYΣOY in ex, elephant walking left, holding torch in trunk, ΣTA above right, palm frond (control symbol) right; scarce; $185.00 SALE PRICE $167.00
Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus II Theos, 261 - 246 B.C.
Antiochus II Theos was the son of Antiochus I and Princess Stratonice, the daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes. He inherited a state of war with Egypt and while he was thus occupied, his satraps in Parthia and Bactria declared independence. To make peace with Egypt and to seal the treaty, Antiochus repudiated his wife Laodice I, exiled her to Ephesus, and married Ptolemy II's daughter Berenice. Antiochus later left Berenice and their infant son Antiochus, to live again with Laodice. Laodice poisoned him, had Berenice and her infant son murdered, and proclaimed her son Seleucus II as King.GB71560. Bronze AE 16, cf. Houghton-Lorber I 525.1; Newell WSM 1407 ff.; SNG Cop 95; SNG Spaer 362; BMC Seleucid p. 15, 13; HGC 9 253a (all various controls outer left), EF, nice jade green patina, typical tight flan, contact marks, slightest spots of corrosion, weight 3.767 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, 261 - 246 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair falling in spiral curls down neck and beneath ear; reversetripod lebes with lion paw feet, anchor with flukes right below, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left, monograms outer left and outer right (controls, outer left off flan); $170.00 SALE PRICE $153.00
Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VI Dionysus, 144 - c. 142 B.C.
After his father was deposed by Demetrius II, the general Diodotus Tryphon nominated Antiochus VI as king. He gained the allegiance of most of the Seleucid domain, including Judaea, but was actually only a puppet of the general. He died after "ruling" for two years. He was likely assassinated under orders from Tryphon, who then made himself king.SH90305. Bronze serrated AE 22, Houghton-Lorber II 2006c, SNG Spaer 1774, Houghton CSE 249, SNG Cop 304 var. (control), HGC 9 1043 (C-S), VF, weight 7.923 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. mid-143 - 142 B.C.; obverseradiatehead of Antiochos VI right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, EΠIΦANOYΣ ∆IONYΣOY in ex, elephant walking left holding torch in trunk, ΣTA above right, star (control symbol) right; ex Forum (2010); $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00
Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus I Soter, 280 - 261 B.C.
Antiochos' reign was marred by struggle against internal and external enemies, including the betrayal and revolt of his co-regent in the east, his eldest son, whom he was forced to execute. He earned the title savior (soter) of Asia by defeated roving bands of Galatians that had terrorized the cities for years. However, not long after, he lost southern and western Asia Minor to Ptolemy.GB83572. Bronze AE 16, Houghton-Lorber I 377, Newell WSM 886, HGC 9 175 (R3), F, nice green patina, bumps and marks, weight 5.18 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Mesopotamian or further east mint, 280 - 261 B.C.; obverse horned horse head right; reverseanchor flukes upward, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left, monograms (control symbols) inner left and inner right; extremely rare; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00
Seleukeia Kalykadnos, Cilicia, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.
The Cilician Seleukia was founded by Seleukos I on the course of river Kalykadnos and soon became an important city, rivaling Tarsos.GB72009. Bronze AE 19, SNG Levante 692 (same reverse die); SNG BnF 923; Weber 7588; BMC Lycaonia p. 130, 11 - 14 var. (monograms), gVF, light corrosion, spot of encrustation, weight 4.465 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia Kalykadnos mint, 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, ΣA upward behind; reverse ΣEΛEYKEΩN TΩN ΠPOΣ TΩI KAΛYKA∆NΩI, forepart of horse right, AΘH above, AΘH below; scarce; $95.00 SALE PRICE $85.50
Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos II Kallinikos, 246 - 226 B.C.
The Seleukid Empire was under attack by Egypt when Kallinikos assumed the throne. He lost much of Thrace and coastal Anatolia to Ptolemy III. While he was fighting, his mother made his younger brother Antiochos Hierax joint ruler. Kallinikos agreed to partition the empire; however, Hierax wanted it all and Hierax and his Galatian mercenaries defeated him. Kallinikos managed to retain the lands east of the Tauros. The War of the Brothers weakened the empire, permitting regions such as Parthia to secede. Anatolia was soon lost. Kallinikos died after a fall from his horse.GB73944. Bronze AE 21, Houghton-Lorber I 692(2), Newell WSM 1015, SNG Cop 112, HGC 9 322, cf. SNG Spaer 404 (uncertain controls), BMC Seleucid p. 17, 20 (same), gVF, nice green patina, crowded flan small than dies, obverse a little off-center, some earthen encrustation, weight 7.792 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 244 - 229 B.C.; obverse draped bust of Athena right, wearing Corinthian helmet; reverseNike standing left, extending wreath in right hand, palm frond in left over shoulder, large anchor flukes up inner left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on the right, ΣEΛEYKOY downward on the left (off flan), EY outer left (control, off flan), monogram (control) outer right; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00
Seleukid Kingdom, Alexander II Zabinas, 128 - 123 B.C.
Zabinas claimed to be an adoptive son of Antiochus VII, but may have been the son of an Egyptian merchant. He was used as a pawn by the Egyptian king Ptolemy VIIIEuergetes II (Physcon). Zabinas managed to defeat Demetrius II and thereafter ruled parts of Syria, but soon ran out of Egyptian support and was defeated by Demetrius' son Antiochus VIII Grypus. As a last resort, Zabinas plundered the temples of Antioch. He is said to have joked about melting down a statuette of the goddess of victory, Nike, which was held in the hand of a Zeus statue, saying "Zeus has given me Victory." Enraged by his impiety, the Antiochenes expelled Zabinas, who was captured and executed soon after. "Zabinas" is a derogatory name meaning "the bought one," implying he was Ptolemy's slave.GB57149. Bronze unit, Houghton-Lorber II 2231(1), SNG Spaer 2348 ff., VF, beautiful highlighting desert patina, weight 7.989 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 126 - 125 B.C.; obversehead of Alexander II right, wearing lion-scalp headdress; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Nike walking left, wreath extended in right, palm-branch over shoulder in left, H∆P monogram over uncertain symbol inner left; $85.00 SALE PRICE $76.50
Tryphon, a general, betrayed and deposed the child king Antiochus VI and seized power for himself in Coele-Syria. He reinstated Hasmonean rule in Judea in exchange for which Jewish armies under the High Priest Jonathan marched against his rival Demetrius. But Tryphon betrayed Jonathan taking him prisoner at a "friendly" meeting and marching his army to Judaea. Jonathan's brother, Simon Maccabaeus, was ready for battle, preventing invasion. Tryphon promised to free Jonathan in exchange for one hundred talents and Jonathan's two sons as hostages. Simon did not trust Tryphon, but he complied so he could not be accused of his brother's death. As expected, Jonathan was executed.Tryphon committed suicide after he was defeated by Antiochus VII.GY79275. Bronze AE 18, Houghton-Lorber II 2040, Houghton CSE 263, SNG Spaer 1825, Babelon Rois 1047, HGC 9 1061 (S); central cavities, VF, nice desert patina with red earthen highlighting, some corrosion, slightly irregular flan, weight 5.397 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 45o, uncertain (northern Syria?) mint, 142 - 138 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, no border; reverse spiked Macedonian helmet left, with cheek guards, adorned with a wild goat's horn above the visor, AΣK (control) downward lower inner left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ TPYΦΩNOΣ in two lines downward on right, AYTOKPATOPOΣ downward on left; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $85.00 SALE PRICE $76.50
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Gardner, P. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, The Seleucid Kings of Syria. (Forni reprint, 1963).
Hill, G.F. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Phoenicia. (London, 1910).
Hoover, O. Handbook of Syrian Coins, Royal and Civic Issues, Fourth to First Centuries BC. HGCS, Vol. 9. (Lancaster, PA, 2009).
Houghton, A., C. Lorber, and O. Hoover. Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalog. (Lancaster, 2002 - 2008).
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Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979). Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 7: Cyprus to India. (West Milford, NJ, 1982). Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale. (Paris, 1993 - 2001). Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Israel I, The Arnold Spaer Collection of Seleucid Coins. (London, 1998). Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum Switzerland I. Levante-Cilicia. (Zurich, 1986; & suppl., 1993).
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