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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Hellenistic Monarchies ▸ Seleucid KingdomView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of the Seleucid Kingdom

Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus I Soter, 281 - 261 B.C.

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Antiochus faced a formidable task holding the empire together. Revolt broke out in Syria almost immediately after his father's death. He earned the title Soter (savior) for victory over hordes of Gauls that attacked Anatolia. Elsewhere, he had little success. He was forced to abandon Macedonia, Thrace, Bithynia, and Cappadocia and to execute his eldest son for rebellion.
GY85675. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 379.6a, Newell ESM 166, HGC 9 128g, Choice VF, well centered and struck, high relief portrait, attractive toning, bumps and marks, closed edge crack, weight 16.667 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 0o, Seleucia on the Tigris (south of Baghdad, Iraq) mint, c. 263 - 261 B.C.; obverse diademed head right; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow with right, resting left hand on grounded bow, monogram (primary control symbol) outer left, ∆/ΩP monogram (secondary control symbol) outer right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ANT-IOXOY downward on left; $450.00 (€396.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 281 B.C., Babylonia, In the Name of Alexander the Great

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Price dates this type 311 - 305 B.C. Houghton dates it 311 - 300 B.C. Houghton notes that Kritt down-dated the chronology due to the complexity of the emissions and that two hoards independently support the revised dating.
GS87610. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Saroglos 648 (same dies), Houghton-Lorber I 82(4)b, Price 3752, Müller 735, SNG Mün 794 var. (no pellet), SNG Cop 833 var. (same), HGC 9 10f, VF, high relief dies, uneven toning, compact flan, bumps and marks, reverse slightly double struck, weight 16.584 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 45o, Babylon mint, 311 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress forelegs tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, MI left, MYPT monogram (pellet in P) in wreath below throne, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) in exergue; $310.00 (€272.80)
 


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

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Oliver Hoover, in Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton, attributes this type to the Cappadocian Kingdom, c. 130 - 80 B.C. The symbols were used on Cappadocian royal coinage, the coins are found in Cappadocian hoards and a tetradrachm naming the Cappadocian King Ariarathes VII Philometor (116 - 99 B.C.) bears the obverse portrait of Antiochus VII. He notes they may have been struck to pay foreign (Syrian?) mercenaries who preferred the types of Antiochus VII.
GS87618. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2061.1s, Newell SMA 280, SNG Spaer 1852, HGC 9 1067d, VF, well centered on a broad flan, light bumps and marks, small spots of light corrosion on the obverse, weight 16.109 g, maximum diameter 31.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 138 - 129 B.C.; obverse diademed head of the Seleukid King Antiochos VII right, fillet border; reverse Athena standing slightly left, head left, right hand extended through inscription to border holding Nike, grounded shield in left hand, spear leaning on left arm, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY in two downward lines on right, EYEPΓETOY downward on left, ligate ∆I over Λ outer left, laurel wreath border; $260.00 (€228.80)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Achaios, 220 - 214 B.C.

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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 15, 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 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Lydia, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 220 - autumn or winter 214 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse eagle 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; $240.00 (€211.20)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus III the Great, c. 223 - 187 B.C.

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At the age of eighteen, Antiochus III inherited a disorganized state. Much of Anatolia had been lost and the easternmost provinces had revolted and broken away. After some initial defeats, Antiochus took Judaea from Ptolemaic Egypt and then conquered Anatolia, earning him the epithet "the Great." In 192 B.C. Antiochus invaded Greece with a 10,000-man army, and was elected the commander in chief of the Aetolian League. In 191 B.C., however, the Romans routed him at Thermopylae, forcing him to withdraw to Anatolia. The Romans followed up by invading Anatolia and defeating him again. By the Treaty of Apamea 188 B.C., Antiochus abandoned all territory north and west of the Taurus, most of which the Roman Republic gave either to Rhodes or to the Attalid ruler Eumenes II, its allies. Many Greek cities were left free. As a consequence of this blow to the Seleucid power, the provinces which had recovered by Antiochus, reasserted their independence. Antiochus mounted a fresh eastern expedition. He died while pillaging a temple of Bel at Elymaïs, Persia, in 187 B.C.
GS87609. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 1167(1), Newell ESM 254, SNG von Post 576, VF/F, scratches and marks, pitting, corrosion, minor edge flaking, weight 15.471 g, maximum diameter 29.7 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukia on the Tigris (Bagdad, Iraq) mint, 204 - 187 B.C.; obverse Antiochos' diademed head right, middle aged portrait, horn-like lock of hair above ear; reverse Apollo naked seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left, monogram in exergue; $240.00 (€211.20)
 


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

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Oliver Hoover, in Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton, attributes this type to the Cappadocian Kingdom, c. 130 - 80 B.C. The symbols were used on Cappadocian royal coinage, the coins are found in Cappadocian hoards and a tetradrachm naming the Cappadocian King Ariarathes VII Philometor (116 - 99 B.C.) bears the obverse portrait of Antiochus VII. He notes they may have been struck to pay foreign (Syrian?) mercenaries who preferred the types of Antiochus VII.
GS87616. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2061.1s, Newell SMA 280, SNG Spaer 1852, HGC 9 1067d, VF, slightly off center, corrosion, light scratches, weight 16.461 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 138 - 129 B.C.; obverse diademed head of the Seleukid King Antiochos VII right, fillet border; reverse Athena standing slightly left, head left, right hand extended through inscription to border holding Nike, grounded shield in left hand, spear leaning on left arm, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY in two downward lines on right, EYEPΓETOY downward on left, ligate ∆I over Λ outer left, laurel wreath border; $240.00 (€211.20)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 281 B.C.

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Seleucia on the Tigris was founded by Seleucus I Nicator either when he visited Babylonia in the second half of 309 or sometime between 304 and 301 B.C. It was explictly designated as the capital of the empire. The city was opposite the ancient city of Opis at the confluence of the river Tigris and the Royal Canal, which connected the new city to the Euphrates. The ruins have been identified at Tell Umar, about 30 km south of Baghdad, and 60 north of Babylon. Excavations have shown that the city was built according to a gridiron plan. As it was a Seleucid city, there will have been the usual, straight main street, perhaps decorated with colonnades. The agora has not yet been identified. The theater may have been on the southern edge of the city.
GY86790. Silver drachm, Houghton-Lorber I 140(1) var. (Θ in ex.), 140(2) var. (monogram under throne); HGC 9 29g (R1), F, bumps, scratches, scrape on obverse, tight flan, anchor weakly struck, weight 4.008 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 135o, 2nd workshop, Seleukeia on the Tigris mint, c. 296/5 - 281 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean lion-skin headdress; reverse Zeus seated left on throne without back, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, anchor flukes up outer left, ΣEΛEYKOY downward on right, ∆ (primary control) under throne, tiny Θ (secondary control) inner left below arm and above knee; $135.00 (€118.80)
 


Judaean Kingdom, John Hyrcanus I (Yehohanan), 134 - 104 B.C., for the Seleukid King Antiochus VII

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Struck by John Hyrcanus, King of Judaea, in the name of the Seleukid King Antiochos VII, Euergetes (Sidetes). John Hyrcanus was the son of Simon the Maccabee and nephew of the folk hero Judah Maccabee, the hero of the Hanukkah story. Soon after Hyrcanus assumed power, the Seleukid king marched on Jerusalem. Antiochus VII and Hyrcanus I negotiated a treaty that left Hyrcanus a vassal to the Syrian king. Probably as a conciliatory gesture to the Jews, the lily (a symbol of Jerusalem) replaced the head of the Seleukid king. Later, John Hyrcanus would be the first Jewish ruler to issue coins in his own name.
SL89832. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1131b, Houghton-Lorber II 2123(3), SNG Spaer 2140, Houghton CSE 833, SGCV II 7101, HGC 9 1103, Meshorer TJC p. 30, NGC VF, strike 4/5, surface 3/5 (4283488-008), weight 3.14 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 131 - 130 B.C.; obverse lily on stem with two leaves, dot border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY EYEPΓETOY (of King Antiochus, Benefactor), anchor, upside down, BΠP (year 182 of Seleukid Era) below; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


Adelphoi Demi (the Brother People), Seleukeia Pieria, Syria, 149 - 148 B.C.

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Between 149/148 and 147/146 B.C., Seleucia Pieria struck coinage in the name of Adelphoi Demi, "the Brother People." This probably refers to a civic alliance (homonoia) within the tetrarchy, probably with Antioch on the Orontes, and perhaps including Apamea, and Laodicea.
GY88113. Bronze AE 23, SNG Cop 397; BMC Galatia p. 152, 6; HGC 9 1396 (R1), VF, a bit rough, central cavities, weight 7.518 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia Pieria mint, 148 - 147 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse winged fulmen (thunderbolt), EΞP (year 165 Seleukid Era) and monogram (control) over A∆EΛΦΩN above, ∆EMΩN over monogram (control) below, all within laurel wreath; rare; $105.00 (€92.40)
 


Judaean Kingdom, John Hyrcanus I (Yehohanan), 134 - 104 B.C., for the Seleukid King Antiochus VII

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Struck by John Hyrcanus, King of Judaea, in the name of the Seleukid King Antiochos VII, Euergetes (Sidetes). John Hyrcanus was the son of Simon the Maccabee and nephew of the folk hero Judah Maccabee, the hero of the Hanukkah story. Soon after Hyrcanus assumed power, the Seleukid king marched on Jerusalem. Antiochus VII and Hyrcanus I negotiated a treaty that left Hyrcanus a vassal to the Syrian king. Probably as a conciliatory gesture to the Jews, the lily (a symbol of Jerusalem) replaced the head of the Seleukid king. Later, John Hyrcanus would be the first Jewish ruler to issue coins in his own name.
SL89831. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1131b, Houghton-Lorber II 2123(3), SNG Spaer 2140, Houghton CSE 833, SGCV II 7101, HGC 9 1103, Meshorer TJC p. 30, NGC VF, strike 4/5, surface 4/5 (4283488-006), weight 2.67 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 131 - 130 B.C.; obverse lily on stem with two leaves, dot border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY EYEPΓETOY (of King Antiochus, Benefactor), anchor, upside down, BΠP (year 182 of Seleukid Era) below; $100.00 (€88.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Brett, A. "Seleucid Coins of Ake-Ptolemais in Phoenicia, Seleucus IV to Tryphon" in ANSMN 1 (New York, 1945).
Cohen, E. Dated Coins of Antiquity: A comprehensive catalogue of the coins and how their numbers came about. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Gardner, P. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, The Seleucid Kings of Syria. (Forni reprint, 1963).
Hill, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Phoenicia. (London, 1910).
Hoover, O. Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton, Part II. ACNAC 9. (New York, 2007).
Hoover, O. Handbook of Syrian Coins, Royal and Civic Issues, Fourth to First Centuries BC. HGCS 9. (Lancaster, PA, 2009).
Houghton, A., C. Lorber, & O. Hoover. Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalog. (Lancaster, 2002 - 2008).
Houghton, A. Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton. ACNAC 4. (New York, 1983).
Houghton, A. "The Second Reign of Demetrius II of Syria at Tarsus" in ANSMN 24 (1979).
Kritt, B. Seleucid Coins of Bactria. CNS 1. (Lancaster, 1996).
Kritt, B. The Seleucid Mint of Aï Khanoum, CNS 9. (Lancaster, PA, 2016).
Levante, E. Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum Switzerland I. Levante-Cilicia. (1986, and supplement).
Lindgren, H. & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coins of Asia Minor and the Levant. (1985).
Lindgren, H. Lindgren III: Ancient Greek Bronze Coins from the Lindgren Collection. (1993).
Nelson, B. "The 2005 'Seleucus I' Hoard" in Coin Hoards X (2010).
Newell, E. Late Seleucid Mints in Ake-Ptolemais and Damascus. ANSNNM 84 (1939).
Newell, E. The Coinage of the Eastern Seleucid Mints. From Seleucus I to Antiochus III. (New York, 1938).
Newell, E. The Coinage of the Western Seleucid Mints, From Seleucus I to Antiochus III. (New York, 1941).
Newell, E. The Seleucid Mint of Antioch. (Chicago, 1978).
Price, M. The Coinage of in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. (London, 1991).
Rogers, E. The Second and Third Seleucid Coinage at Tyre. ANSNNM 34 (New York, 1927).
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, Vol. 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).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, June 25, 2019.
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Seleucid Kingdom