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Ancient Coins of Cyprus

Hunter-gatherers were active on Cyprus from around 10,000 B.C. and settled village communities date from 8200 B.C. Water wells found in Cyprus are among the oldest in the world, about 10,000 years old. Mycenaean Greek traders started visiting Cyprus around 1400 B.C. A major wave of Greek settlement followed the collapse of Mycenaean Greece, from 1100 to 1050 B.C. The island's predominantly Greek character dates from this period. In Greek Mythology, Cyprus is the birthplace of Aphrodite and Adonis, and home to King Cinyras, Teucer and Pygmalion. Cyprus also had an early Phoenician presence. Kition was under Tyrian rule at the beginning of the 10th century B.C. Assyria ruled the island for a century from 708 B.C., before a brief spell under Egyptian rule and eventually Persian rule in 545 B.C. The Cypriots joined their fellow Greeks in the Ionian cities during the unsuccessful Ionian Revolt against the Persian Empire in 499 B.C. The revolt was suppressed, but Cyprus managed to maintain a high degree of autonomy and remained inclined towards the Greek world. Alexander the Great took Cyprus in 333 B.C. Following his death, Cyprus became part of Ptolemaic Egypt. It was during this period that the island was fully Hellenized.

Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C., Paphos, Cyprus

|Cleopatra| |VII|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Cleopatra| |VII| |Thea| |Philopator,| |51| |-| |30| |B.C.,| |Paphos,| |Cyprus|, |dichalkon|
Kreuzer, in his book The Coinage System of Cleopatra VII and Augustus in Cyprus, assembles evidence dating this type to Cleopatra VII instead of the reign of Ptolemy IV used in older references.
GP89308. Bronze dichalkon, Kreuzer p. 44, first illustration; Svoronos 1160 (Ptolemy IV); SNG Cop 649; Weiser -, F, porous, beveled obverse edge, weight 2.455 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, 51 - 30 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Cleopatra VII as Isis right, hair in melon-coiffure; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY - BAΣIΛEΩΣ, double cornucopia flanked by ribbons; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00


Lot of 5 Cypriot Bronzes, c. 309 - 294 B.C.

|Greek| |Bulk| |Lots|, |Lot| |of| |5| |Cypriot| |Bronzes,| |c.| |309| |-| |294| |B.C.|, |Lot|
1) Paphos, 10 Attic 1/16th obol (1.42g) c. 309 B.C., head of Aphrodite(?) left, wearing ornate headdress / lotus, BMC Cyprus 50 (as rose), Tziambazis 93, Symeonides 101a, rare denomination, VF.
2) Another, (0.83g) aF.
3) Similar, AE16, 1/4 obol (4.18g), BMC Cyprus 49. F, obverse off center. VF.
4) Salamis, AE15, helmeted head left. / prow left. F, rough.
5) Demetrios Poliorketes, AE12, Salamis mint, prow right, Newell 173, VF.
LT91347. Bronze Lot, 5 bronze coins, 10mm - 16mm, c. 309 - 294 B.C.; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C., Paphos, Cyprus

|Cleopatra| |VII|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Cleopatra| |VII| |Thea| |Philopator,| |51| |-| |30| |B.C.,| |Paphos,| |Cyprus|, |dichalkon|
Kreuzer, in his book The Coinage System of Cleopatra VII and Augustus in Cyprus, assembles evidence dating this type to Cleopatra VII instead of the reign of Ptolemy IV used in older references.
GP91360. Bronze dichalkon, Kreuzer p. 44, first illustration; Svoronos 1160 (Ptolemy IV); SNG Cop 649; Weiser -, F, nice dark green patina with lighter highlighting, minor edge crack, weight 1.781 g, maximum diameter 12.0 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, 51 - 30 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Cleopatra VII as Isis right, hair in melon-coiffure; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY - BAΣIΛEΩΣ, double cornucopia flanked by ribbons; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cyprus, c. Late 2nd - Early 1st Century B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Cyprus,| |c.| |Late| |2nd| |-| |Early| |1st| |Century| |B.C.|, |AE| |31|
 
GP89345. Bronze AE 31, Malter 275; cf. SNG Milan 519 (similar without palm); SNG Cop 674 (same), BMC Ptolemies -, Svoronos -, Paphos II -, RPC -, Noeske -;, aVF, uneven strike, earthen encrustation, scratches, areas of corrosion, beveled obverse edge, weight 11.502 g, maximum diameter 30.8 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, uncertain mint, c. late 2nd - early 1st century B.C.; obverse diademed head of Zeus right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), two eagles standing left on a thunderbolt, heads left, wings closed, palm branch before; from a New England collector; extremely rare; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $162.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175 - 164 B.C., Struck with Ptolemy VI Dies Captured on Cyprus

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IV| |Epiphanes,| |175| |-| |164| |B.C.,| |Struck| |with| |Ptolemy| |VI| |Dies| |Captured| |on| |Cyprus|, |obol|
This coin was struck with dies captured by Seleukid invaders during Antiochos IV's short lived invasion and occupation of Ptolemaic Egypt and Cyprus, c. 168 B.C. The dies were originally engraved for Ptolemy VI of Egypt. The letters EYΛ are the first letters of Eulaios, a regent during part of the minority of Ptolemy VI. The name of "Ptolemy" was effaced from the reverse die before the coin was struck.
GP93833. Bronze obol, Lorber Lotus Series p. 46, VI.3; Svoronos 1398 & pl. xlvii, 21-24 (Ptolemy VI with Eulaios); Weiser 152 (same); SNG Cop 294; Noeske , VF, well centered and struck, attractive highlighting red earthen deposits, porous, central depressions, beveled obverse edge, weight 16.144 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus mint, c. 168 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned head of Zeus-Ammon right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ (ΠTOΛEMAIOY erased from die), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, legs heavily feathered, lotus left, EYΛ between legs; countermark: Seleukid anchor in rectangular punch; ex Timelines Auctions auction 117 (9 Sep 2019), lot 3868; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C., Paphos, Cyprus

|Cleopatra| |VII|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Cleopatra| |VII| |Thea| |Philopator,| |51| |-| |30| |B.C.,| |Paphos,| |Cyprus|, |1/4| |obol|
Kreuzer, in his book The Coinage System of Cleopatra VII and Augustus in Cyprus, assembles evidence dating this type to Cleopatra VII instead of the reign of Ptolemy IV used in older references.
GP93837. Bronze 1/4 obol, Kreuzer p. 44, first illustration; Svoronos 1160 (Ptolemy IV); SNG Cop 649; Weiser -, aVF, black patina with blue spots and orange earthen deposits, irregular flan with pre-strike casting sprues, weight 1.710 g, maximum diameter 12.6 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, 51 - 30 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Cleopatra VII as Isis right, hair in melon-coiffure; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), double cornucopia tied with royal diadem; from a New England collector; $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175 - 164 B.C., Struck with Ptolemy VI Dies Captured on Cyprus

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IV| |Epiphanes,| |175| |-| |164| |B.C.,| |Struck| |with| |Ptolemy| |VI| |Dies| |Captured| |on| |Cyprus|, |obol|
This coin was struck with dies captured by Seleukid invaders during Antiochos IV's short lived invasion and occupation of Ptolemaic Egypt and Cyprus, c. 168 B.C. The dies were originally engraved for Ptolemy VI of Egypt. The letters EYΛ are the first letters of Eulaios, a regent during part of the minority of Ptolemy VI. The name of "Ptolemy" was effaced from the reverse die before the coin was struck.
GP89399. Bronze obol, Lorber Lotus Series p. 46, VI.3; Svoronos 1398 & pl. xlvii, 21-24 (Ptolemy VI with Eulaios); Weiser 152 (same); SNG Cop 294; Noeske , VF, well centered on a broad flan, small red earthen deposits, name of Ptolemy erased from die, porous, central depressions, obverse edge beveled, weight 12.413 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus mint, c. 168 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned head of Zeus-Ammon right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ (ΠTOΛEMAIOY erased from die), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, legs heavily feathered, lotus left, EYΛ between legs; countermark: Seleukid anchor in rectangular punch; from a New England collector; $125.00 SALE |PRICE| $113.00


Salamis, Cyprus, Evagoras I, 411 - 374 B.C.

|Cyprus|, |Salamis,| |Cyprus,| |Evagoras| |I,| |411| |-| |374| |B.C.|, |1/12| |siglos|
Evagoras claimed descent from Teucer, the son of Telamon and half-brother of Ajax. His family had long ruled Salamis. During his childhood Phoenicians took Salamis and he was exiled to Cilicia. He returned secretly in 410 with 50 followers and retook his throne. Expecting a Persian attack, he cultivated the friendship of Athens. For a time, he also maintained friendly relations with Persia and secured the aid of Artaxerxes II for Athens against Sparta. At the battle of Cnidus of 394 B.C., the Spartan fleet was defeated thanks to his efforts, and for this his statue was placed by the Athenians side by side with that of Conon in the Ceramicus. Relations with Persia deteriorated and from 391 they were at war. Aided by the Athens and Egypt, Evagoras extended his rule over the greater part of Cyprus and even took several cities in Phoenicia (including Tyre). Under the peace of Antalcidas in 387, Athens abandoned him and recognized Persian lordship over Cyprus. The Persian generals Tiribazus and Orontes invaded Cyprus in 385 B.C. At first, Evagoras managed to cut off Persian resupplies and the starving troops rebelled, but when his fleet was destroyed at the Battle of Citium, he was compelled to flee to Salamis. Although blockaded, Evagoras held his ground, and took advantage of a quarrel between the two Persian generals to conclude peace in 376. Evagoras was allowed to remain nominally king of Salamis, but in reality a vassal of Persia, to which he was to pay a yearly tribute. In 374, he was assassinated by a eunuch motivated by personal revenge, and was succeeded by his son, Nicocles.
GS93074. Silver 1/12 siglos, Bank of Cyprus 9; BMC Cyprus p. 55, 44; cf. SNG Cop 42 (0.80, obol); Tziambazis 119 (0.27g, 1/48 siglos), VF, thin tight flan, scratches, edge chip, weight 0.292 g, maximum diameter 8.8 mm, Salamis mint, 411 - 374 B.C.; obverse young male head right, curly short hair, dot circle border; reverse smooth blank (as struck); rare; $60.00 SALE |PRICE| $54.00


Salamis, Cyprus, Evagoras I, 411 - 374 B.C.

|Cyprus|, |Salamis,| |Cyprus,| |Evagoras| |I,| |411| |-| |374| |B.C.|, |1/12| |siglos|
Evagoras claimed descent from Teucer, the son of Telamon and half-brother of Ajax. His family had long ruled Salamis. During his childhood Phoenicians took Salamis and he was exiled to Cilicia. He returned secretly in 410 with 50 followers and retook his throne. Expecting a Persian attack, he cultivated the friendship of Athens. For a time, he also maintained friendly relations with Persia and secured the aid of Artaxerxes II for Athens against Sparta. At the battle of Cnidus of 394 B.C., the Spartan fleet was defeated thanks to his efforts, and for this his statue was placed by the Athenians side by side with that of Conon in the Ceramicus. Relations with Persia deteriorated and from 391 they were at war. Aided by the Athens and Egypt, Evagoras extended his rule over the greater part of Cyprus and even took several cities in Phoenicia (including Tyre). Under the peace of Antalcidas in 387, Athens abandoned him and recognized Persian lordship over Cyprus. The Persian generals Tiribazus and Orontes invaded Cyprus in 385 B.C. At first, Evagoras managed to cut off Persian resupplies and the starving troops rebelled, but when his fleet was destroyed at the Battle of Citium, he was compelled to flee to Salamis. Although blockaded, Evagoras held his ground, and took advantage of a quarrel between the two Persian generals to conclude peace in 376. Evagoras was allowed to remain nominally king of Salamis, but in reality a vassal of Persia, to which he was to pay a yearly tribute. In 374, he was assassinated by a eunuch motivated by personal revenge, and was succeeded by his son, Nicocles.
GS93063. Silver 1/12 siglos, Bank of Cyprus 9; BMC Cyprus p. 55, 44; cf. SNG Cop 42 (0.80, obol); Tziambazis 119 (0.27g, 1/48 siglos), VF, horn silver encrustations, ragged thin flan, small edge chip, weight 0.286 g, maximum diameter 9.7 mm, Salamis mint, 411 - 374 B.C.; obverse young male head right, curly short hair, dot circle border; reverse smooth blank (as struck); rare; $60.00 SALE |PRICE| $54.00


Paphos, Cyprus, Timocharis or Nicolcles, c. 350 - 320 B.C.

|Cyprus|, |Paphos,| |Cyprus,| |Timocharis| |or| |Nicolcles,| |c.| |350| |-| |320| |B.C.|, |AE| |14|
Destrooper-Georgiades speculates, that the type of the rose may mark a change of reign in the royal house of Paphos or a monetary reform. She also notes, they are often corroded and their study presents many difficulties of classification and dating because, like most bronzes struck in Cyprus at that time they are anepigraphic or bear only one syllabic character whose meaning is not always obvious and because none was found in a dated stratigraphic layer, not even the 12 or so found in the systematic excavations of Kourion and of Paphos.
GB88980. Bronze AE 14, cf. Zapiti-Michaelidou 22; Destrooper-Georgiades Nouvelles 13; Tzambazis 92; BMC Cyprus p. 45; 49, gF, crowded flan, corrosion, weight 2.193 g, maximum diameter 13.6 mm, die axis 180o, Paphos mint, c. 350 - 320 B.C.; obverse head of Aphrodite left, wearing ornamented stephanos; reverse rose, tendril left; very rare; $70.00 SALE |PRICE| $63.00




  






REFERENCES|

Babelon, E. Trait des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines. (Paris, 1901-1932).
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Destrooper-Georgiades, A. "Le dbuts du monnayage en bronze Chypre" in NC 168. (2008).
Destrooper-Georgiades, A. "Le monnayage de Paphos au IVe sicle, nouvelles perspectives" in XIII Congreso. (Madrid, 2005).
Destrooper-Georgiades, A. & A. Symeonides. "Classical Coin in the Symeonides Collection. The coin circulation in Marion during the 5th and 4th centuries" in RDAC 1998, pp. 111 - 136.
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