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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 6 418, VF, typical crude uneven weak strike, weight 0.604 g, maximum diameter 9.3 mm, 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 SALE |PRICE| $585.00
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; $480.00 SALE |PRICE| $432.00
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; $450.00 SALE |PRICE| $405.00
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; $400.00 SALE |PRICE| $360.00
Selge, Pisidia, c. 350 - 300 B.C.
Selge, Pisidia on the southern slope of Mount Taurus where the river Eurymedon (Köprücay) forces its way through the mountains, was once the most powerful and populous city of Pisidia. Protected by precipices, torrents, and an army of 20,000 regarded as worthy kinsmen of the Spartans, Selge was never subject to a foreign power until Rome. In the 5th century A.D., Zosimus calls it a little town, but it was still strong enough to repel a body of Goths. The remains of the city consist mainly of parts of the encircling wall and of the acropolis. A few traces have survived of the gymnasium, the stoa, the stadium and the basilica. There are also the outlines of two temples, but the best-conserved monument is the theater, restored in the 3rd century A.D.GS95236. Silver trihemiobol, BMC Lycia p. 257, 4; SNG BnF 1928 var.; SNGvA 5281 var., Klein 631 var., SNG Tüb 4466 var., SNG Cop -, SNG PfPs - (all var. astragalos behind), EF, well centered, some die wear, light marks, weight 0.874 g, maximum diameter 10.7 mm, die axis 180o, Selge (southern slope of Mount Taurus, Turkey) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), tongue protruding; reverse head of Athena right in crested Attic helmet, astragalos before on left; ex Forum (2018), extremely rare, an apparently unpublished variety and the only specimen known to Forum; $380.00 SALE |PRICE| $342.00
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; $350.00 SALE |PRICE| $315.00
Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 440 - 430 B.C.
Metapontum was one of the cities where the doctrines and sect of Pythagoras obtained the firmest footing. Even when the Pythagoreans were expelled from Crotona, they maintained themselves at Metapontum, where the philosopher himself retired, and where he ended his days. The Metapontines paid the greatest respect to his memory; they consecrated the house in which he had lived as a temple to Ceres, and gave to the street in which it was situated the name of the Museum. His tomb was still shown there in the days of Cicero.GS91978. Silver obol, Noe-Johnston 2, pl. 44, 346.3; SNG Ash 680; SNG Stockholm 192; HN Italy 1500 var. (horns downward); HGC I 1087 (R2) var. (same); SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -, gVF, toned, flow lines, slightly off center, tiny edge splits, weight 0.435 g, maximum diameter 8.4 mm, die axis 0o, Metapontion (Metaponto, Italy) mint, c. 440 - 430 B.C.; obverse ear of barley in border of large dots; reverse ox head facing with horns pointed upward; ex FORVM (2009); very rare; $270.00 SALE |PRICE| $243.00
Lamponeia, Troas, c. 5th - Early 4th Century B.C.
Lamponeia was on the southern coast of Troas, on the long crest of a mountain, above the modern village of Kozlu in Canakkale Province, Turkey. From this site, the city could monitor sea traffic on the coast and control a narrow valley which connected Assos to the cities of the middle Skamander valley. The settlement was 800 m long and protected by a 7 m thick circuit wall of rough masonry and boulders, dated to the 6th century B.C. In the 5th century B.C. the city was a member of the Delian League and paid Athens a modest tribute of 1,000 drachms (on one occasion in 430/429 1,400 drachms). In the late 5th and early 4th century B.C. the city minted bronze coinage, but thereafter disappears from the historical record. It is possible that soon after the site was abandoned and its citizens moved to Assos. Late Roman and Byzantine period finds suggest that the site was reoccupied in this period, perhaps as a defensive measure against piracy and brigandage.GS89698. Silver hemiobol, cf. SNG Cop 444 (obol); SNG Tübingen 2649 (triobol); Traité 2295; BMC Troas p. 72, 12 (hemidrachm); SNG Munchen -; SNG Kayhan -; Klein -, VF, well centered, toned, porous, oval flan, weight 0.270 g, maximum diameter 8.1 mm, die axis 0o, Lamponeia (near Kozlu, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, c. 5th - early 4th century B.C.; obverse bearded head of Dionysos right, hair bound in taenia; reverse facing head of bull, ΛAM around clockwise from lower left, all within a shallow incuse square; ex Beast Coins, this type is apparently unpublished in references as a hemidrachm, but larger denominations with the same types are published, and five hemiobol specimens are known from auctions over the last two decades; extremely rare; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00
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; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00
Persian Cilicia, c. Mid 4th Century B.C.
NEW Ba'al was a title and honorific meaning "owner" or "lord" in the Semitic languages spoken in the northwest Levant during antiquity. It came to be applied to gods, much as Lord is used for God in English today. Inscriptions show that the name Ba'al was particularly associated with the storm and fertility god Hadad and his local manifestations. The Hebrew Bible uses Ba'al in reference to Levantine deities, especially Hadad, who was decried as a false god. That use has been adopted by Christianity and Islam.GS95807. Silver hemiobol, Göktürk 56, Troxell-Kagan 5, SNG Levante -, SNG BnF -, SNGvA -, aEF, toned, tight flan, light marks, earthen deposits, among the best known, weight 0.376 g, maximum diameter 7.9 mm, uncertain mint, c. 360 B.C.(?); obverse two lion foreparts addorsed, truncations joined at center, both with jaws open and tongue protruding, lotus design above center between heads; reverse laureate, bearded head of Ba’al left, fulmen below, Aramaic inscription ( BL right to left = Ba'al = lord god) behind, all within a shallow round incuse; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 11 (22 Feb 2020), lot 1021; extremely rare; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00 ON RESERVE