Numismatic and History Discussions > Greek Coins

Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"

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Mark Fox:
Dear Steve and Board,

It is late here, but the oldest specimen that I am aware of (or can currently remember!) is the piece that the late Prof. Henry Clay Lindgren (1914–2005) donated to the San Francisco State University Museum:

Unfortunately, the link to the coin in their online collection seems not to be public anymore.  However, going from memory, I believe it was misattributed as a Sicilian issue.  Also, I think the fuzzy picture of the coin was posted in this thread:

I think most collectors/researchers only started noticing these enigmatic coins within the last decade, myself included.  But yes, a Dios Soteros bronze could most certainly be lurking in an old auction catalog or FPL!  I don't know of any such appearance, though (yet).  I also do not know what may be hiding in the world's major public collections (like Berlin, although I am guessing I must have, at the very least, searched the BnF a while back). 

Anyway, I do plan on properly tackling these coins eventually.  I am just simply swamped with other things to do at the moment, both numismatic and otherwise.     

Best regards,

Mark Fox

Perhaps some additional remarks about this enigmatic coin emission from my side:

A special characteristic of these coins is the filleted border on the obverse, restricting a bit the dating. See some examples in the thread about these coins in the German Numismatikforum from 2014:

The smaller of the two denominations has a star beside the eagle's head, the larger has not.

As far as I remember the specimen of the Lindgren collection has been attributed to Akragas, probably because there is a type from this city bearing also the legend ΔΙΟΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ (but being stylistically completely different):

The oldest "documented" example I know is in the ANS as part of the Newell bequest with an accession number from 1944 and attributed to Pergamon (what probably is wrong):

But in former times the focus of collections mostly has been on shiny silver and heavy gold :), so the humble coins here could have been known but not esteemed :-\.

I also have seen two or three specimens with a countermark, as far as I rember always a head of Helios.

--- Quote from: Mark Fox on November 21, 2021, 01:39:25 am ---... Anyway, I do plan on properly tackling these coins eventually. ...
--- End quote ---
I hope you can really make it happen and that this is not only one of the usual "to be published" announcements :). The coins would be worth it :).



Interesting.  Thanks for the help so far.

I will have to try to run the German thread through google-translate and see what I can pick up there.

The  :Greek_Delta:  :Greek_Iota: :Greek_Omicron: :GreeK_Sigma: is not legible on mine though I now see that what I though was an M in the right field is the  :GreeK_Sigma:.  All I was going by was the  :GreeK_Sigma: :Greek_Omega: :Greek_Tau: :Greek_Eta: :Greek_Rho:.  I had immediately eliminated the Ptolemies, despite the many similarities, as their legends are always around the circumference of the coin.  Likewise the Seleucids as the only one with similar legend placement (Demetrius I Soter) clearly doesn't match.

For what it is worth, this one is likely from Asia Minor too.  It comes from a small Dorotheum lot of about 10 AE coins with countermarks that I picked up in 2012 when I lived in Vienna.  All of those in the lot that I have been able to identify so far have been from cities in Asia Minor from the Roman Provincial / Greek Imperial era.  This coin is obviously earlier but probably from the same area.

Here is a close up of the countermark.  It is definitely Helios.


I ran the German discussion thread through Google translate.

Mine is clearly the larger denomination (I weighed several more times and it seems to come out at 5.1g not 5.0).

Seems the consensus is that these are a temple issue coinage, from Asia Minor, during the Hellenistic era, possibly 2nd to early 1st century BC.  But ideas as to where exactly they come from range from Klazomenai in Ionia, though Lydia and Phrygia, to Cilicia.

(The other coins in my lot, not that that gives any weight as they are just an assembled collection, were from Bithynia, Phrygia, Cappadocia and Cillicia).

Anything by Le Rider detail the Helios countermark??


Mark Fox:
Dear Shawn, Steve, Pete, Altamura, and Board,

An excellent close-up, Shawn!  However, are we certain that the countermark is of the head of Helios?  Attached are my two countermarked examples of the large denomination (I had a third, but it was supposedly lost in the mail).  Inside the mark that closest resembles Shawn's, I am wondering if at least some of the "rays" are in fact a hat.  I could be off about that though.  The head in the other countermark looks very much like Hermes to me, although I am also hesitant to be definite on that point.

Not all the borders on these coins (as a group) are filleted.  Some are also apparently beaded.  Again, I am attaching two more specimens from my collection.

I am not too familiar about the details of temple coins in the current context, but the fact that some are countermarked with different marks seems to imply that they were being treated more or less as normal coins.

I am not certain if anything Le Rider wrote could be of assistance here on the countermark, Shawn.  Were you possibly thinking of a specific work?

Best regards,

Mark Fox


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