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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Hellenistic Monarchies| ▸ |Seleucid Kingdom||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of the Seleucid Kingdom

The Seleucid Kingdom, ruled by the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty, existed from 312 B.C. to 63 B.C. Seleucus I Nicator received Babylonia in the division of Alexander the Great's empire in 321 B.C. He expanded his domain, and at the height of its power, the Seleucid Empire included central Anatolia, Persia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and what is now Kuwait, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan. They were defeated by the Roman Republic and their Greek allies in 190 B.C. The subsequent Treaty of Apamea in 188 B.C. required costly war reparations and loss of territory west of the Taurus Mountains. The Parthians conquered much of the remaining empire in the mid-2nd century B.C. The Seleucid kings continued to rule a smaller state from Syria until the invasion by Armenian king Tigranes the Great in 83 B.C. and their ultimate overthrow by the Roman general Pompey in 63 B.C.

Cappadocian Kingdom, c. 130 - 80 B.C., In the Name of the Seleukid King, Antiochus VII, 138 - 129 B.C.

|Cappadocian| |Kingdom|, |Cappadocian| |Kingdom,| |c.| |130| |-| |80| |B.C.,| |In| |the| |Name| |of| |the| |Seleukid| |King,| |Antiochus| |VII,| |138| |-| |129| |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
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.
GY95959. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2150.1, Houghton II 657, Newell SMA 296 SNG Spaer 1870, HGC 9 1069, VF, old cabinet toning, porosity, light scratches, weight 16.356 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia Mint B mint, c. 130 - 80 B.C.; obverse diademed head of the Seleukid King Antiochos VII right, fillet border; reverse Athena standing left, Nike extended in right hand, spear and shield in left hand, Nike standing left extending wreath, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY in two lines on the right, EYEPΓETOY on the left, ligate ∆I over Λ outer left, T inner left, A inner right, laurel wreath border; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $200.00 (€184.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Philip I Philadelphos, c. 94 - 83 or 75 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Philip| |I| |Philadelphos,| |c.| |94| |-| |83| |or| |75| |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
Philip I Philadelphus was the fourth son of Antiochus VIII Grypus. He took the diadem in 94 B.C. together with his twin brother Antiochus XI Epiphanes, after the eldest son Seleucus VI Epiphanes was killed by their cousin Antiochus X Eusebes. The next year Antiochus X killed Antiochus XI. Antiochus X was probably killed in 88 B.C. Philip's younger brother Demetrius III turned on Philip I and took the capital, but the Philip I prevailed and took Antioch. Their youngest brother Antiochus XII took Damascus. Philip I tried to take Damascus, after which he disappears from the historical record, which does not tell us how or when he died. His death is traditionally dated 83 B.C. but Numismatic evidence and clues in ancient literature indicate that Philip I might have died in 75 B.C. His coins remained in circulation when the Romans conquered Syria in 64 B.C. Roman authorities in Syria continued to issue coins modeled on Philip I's coins, including his portrait, until 13 B.C.
GY95954. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2463.3h, Newell SMA 448, SNG Spaer 2807, HGC 9 1319, gVF, toning, porosity, light corrosion, weight 14.971 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 88 - 75 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ΦIΛIΠΠOY EΠIΦANOYΣ / ΦIΛA∆EΛΦOY, Zeus enthroned left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs Nike in right hand crowning him with wreath, long scepter in left hand, Φ/A left outer left, ΛI monogram under throne, Π in exergue, laurel wreath border; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $250.00 (€230.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Philip I Philadelphos, c. 94 - 83 or 75 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Philip| |I| |Philadelphos,| |c.| |94| |-| |83| |or| |75| |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
Philip I Philadelphus was the fourth son of Antiochus VIII Grypus. He took the diadem in 94 B.C. together with his twin brother Antiochus XI Epiphanes, after the eldest son Seleucus VI Epiphanes was killed by their cousin Antiochus X Eusebes. The next year Antiochus X killed Antiochus XI. Antiochus X was probably killed in 88 B.C. Philip's younger brother Demetrius III turned on Philip I and took the capital, but the Philip I prevailed and took Antioch. Their youngest brother Antiochus XII took Damascus. Philip I tried to take Damascus, after which he disappears from the historical record, which does not tell us how or when he died. His death is traditionally dated 83 B.C. but Numismatic evidence and clues in ancient literature indicate that Philip I might have died in 75 B.C. His coins remained in circulation when the Romans conquered Syria in 64 B.C. Roman authorities in Syria continued to issue coins modeled on Philip I's coins, including his portrait, until 13 B.C.
SH95955. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2463.2e, Newell SMA 440, SNG Spaer 2801, HGC 9 1319, Choice gVF, old cabinet toning, light scratches, weight 16.117 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 88 - 75 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ΦIΛIΠΠOY EΠIΦANOYΣ / ΦIΛA∆EΛΦOY, Zeus enthroned left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, Nike in right hand crowning him with wreath, long scepter in left hand, Φ/A left, Θ inner left, laurel wreath border; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $300.00 (€276.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, 113 - 95 B.C

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IX| |Cyzicenus,| |113| |-| |95| |B.C||tetradrachm|NEW
After Antiochus IX's father died, his uncle Demetrius II Nicator took the throne. For his safety, his mother, Cleopatra Thea, sent him to Cyzicus (leading to his nickname). He returned to Syria in 116 B.C. to claim the throne from his half-brother Antiochus VIII Grypus, with whom he eventually divided Syria. He was killed in battle by the son of Grypus, Seleucus VI Epiphanes.
GY95956. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2384; Houghton CSE 725; Babelon Rois 1467; BMC Seleucid p. 92, 6; HGC 9 1288k (R2), gVF, well centered, dark old cabinet toning, old scratches, light deposits, weight 15.977 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 2nd reign, 113 - 112 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochos right; reverse Athena standing left, Nike in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, spear behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two lines downward on right, ΦIΛO−ΠATOPOΣ downward on left, ΣI∆Ω/IEP / AΣY in 3 lines over outer left, Σ (year 200) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $700.00 (€644.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius II Nikator, 146 - 138 and 129 - 125 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Demetrius| |II| |Nikator,| |146| |-| |138| |and| |129| |-| |125| |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
Demetrius II ruled for two periods, separated by years of captivity in Parthia. He gained the throne with the help of Egypt, but general Diodotus rebelled, took Antioch and made Antiochus VI Dionysus his puppet king. Demetrius then ruled part of the kingdom from Seleucia. In 38 B.C. he attacked the Parthians but was defeated and captured, ending his first reign. The Parthians released him in 129 B.C. when his brother, Antiochus VII Sidetes, marched against Parthia. They hoped the brothers would fight a civil war but the Parthians soon defeated Sidetes, and Demetrius returned to rule Syria. His second reign portraits show him wearing a Parthian styled beard. His second reign ended when he was defeated and killed by yet another usurper set up by Egypt, Alexander II Zabinas.
SH95958. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2195.1b; Newell Tyre 156; SNG Spaer 2218; BMC Seleucids p. 76, 1; HGC 9 1122, VF, dark old cabinet toning, areas of light corrosion, reverse a little rough, weight 13.333 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, 130 - 129 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust right; reverse ∆HMHTPIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on ship's ram, palm frond under wing, A over PE above (Tyre monogram) over club left, AVΣ monogram over ΓΠP (year 183) right, monogram between eagles legs; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $180.00 (€165.60)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos IV Philopater, 187 - 175 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Seleukos| |IV| |Philopater,| |187| |-| |175| |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
Seleucus IV Philopator ruled Syria (then including Cilicia and Judea), Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Nearer Iran (Media and Persia). To help pay the heavy war-indemnity exacted by Rome, he sent his minister Heliodorus to Jerusalem to seize the Jewish temple treasury. On his return, Heliodorus assassinated Seleucus, and seized the throne for himself.
GY95971. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 1313.6b, Newell SMA 38, SNG Spaer 839, HGC 9 580e, VF, high relief portrait, dark old cabinet toning, marks, scratches, spots of corrosion, weight 16.434 g, maximum diameter 29.6 mm, die axis 30o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 187 - 175 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Seleucus IV right, fillet border; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ΣEΛEYKOY downward on left, palm frond tied with ribbons outer left, Φ in exergue; ex Errett Bishop Collection; $300.00 (€276.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos IV Philopater, 187 - 175 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Seleukos| |IV| |Philopater,| |187| |-| |175| |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
Seleucus IV Philopator ruled Syria (then including Cilicia and Judea), Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Nearer Iran (Media and Persia). To help pay the heavy war-indemnity exacted by Rome, he sent his minister Heliodorus to Jerusalem to seize the Jewish temple treasury. On his return, Heliodorus assassinated Seleucus, and seized the throne for himself.
GY96473. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 1313.6b, Newell SMA 38, SNG Spaer 839, HGC 9 580e, VF, silver encrustations, porosity/corrosion, bumps and marks, edge crack, edge chip, weight 16.147 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 187 - 175 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Seleucus IV right, fillet border; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ΣEΛEYKOY downward on left, wreath tied with ribbons and palm frond outer left, Φ in exergue; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 11 (22 Feb 2020), lot 1063; $160.00 (€147.20)
 


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

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |III| |the| |Great,| |223| |-| |187| |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
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.
GY96476. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Spaer 730 (same dies); Houghton-Lorber I 1115c; Mørkholm AA XXXVI p. 130, 15; Newell WSM 877; HGC 9 447z (S), VF, high relief portrait, many tiny wedge shaped punches, light marks and scratches, weight 16.690 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 0o, E. Syria or N. Mesopotamia, ΠA mint, c. 204 - 197 B.C.; obverse Antiochos diademed head right, middle aged portrait with receding hairline, fillet border; reverse Apollo naked seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on bow grounded behind, right foot drawn back, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ANTIO-XOY downward on left, ΠA monogram upper inner left, N⅃ monogram upper inner right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 12 (10 Oct 2020), lot 2002 (part of); $280.00 (€257.60)
 


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

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |III| |the| |Great,| |c.| |223| |-| |187| |B.C.||AE| |16|NEW
Antiochus' victory at the Battle of Panium in 198 B.C. transferred control of Judaea from Ptolemaic Egypt to the Seleukid Kingdom. When Antiochos conquered Asia Minor, however, the Romans responded. Antiochos' losses were so great that the whole of his empire was shattered and he was forced to content himself with the region that he had held in the beginning, Syria.
GB96483. Bronze AE 16, Houghton-Lorber I 983.1b, SNG Spaer 488 (Hierax), Newell WSM 1428 var. (control, Hierax), aVF, green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, tight flan, scratches, weight 3.400 g, maximum diameter 16.2 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, 203 - 187 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair in corkscrew curls down neck; reverse Apollo standing left, naked, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on tripod lebes behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on right, monogram (control) outer left; $80.00 (€73.60)
 


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

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |VII| |Euergetes| |Sidetes,| |138| |-| |129| |B.C.,| |Ascalon,| |Philistia||AE| |13|
Askalon lies on the shore of the Mediterranean, ten miles north of Gaza and about 40 miles south of Joppa. Herod the Great ruled all of Palestine, except Askalon, which remained a free city. Today, a national park at Ashqelon, Israel includes ruins of Canaanite, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Crusader walls and buildings.
JD97435. Bronze AE 13, Houghton-Lorber II 2122; Brett Ascalon 10; SNG Spaer 2095; Houghton CSE 818, F, porous, scratches, earthen deposits, off center, weight 1.419 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, die axis 0o, Askalon (Ashqelon, Israel) mint, 138 - 129 B.C.; obverse crested Macedonian helmet with cheek-pieces right, dot border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, apluster vertical (ship's stern ornament); $105.00 (€96.60)
 




  






REFERENCES|

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Brett, A. "Mint of Ascalon under the Seleucids" in ANSMN IV. (New York, 1950). 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).
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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).
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Houghton, A. "The Second Reign of Demetrius II of Syria at Tarsus" in ANSMN 24 (1979).
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Newell, E. Late Seleucid Mints in Ake-Ptolemais and Damascus. ANSNNM 84 (New York, 1939).
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Newell, E. The Coinage of the Eastern Seleucid Mints. From Seleucus I to Antiochus III. (New York, 1938).
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