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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.


Cyprus, Early 5th Century B.C.

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The obverse die was used to strike three different issues, with different reverses. This type is from the third issue, when the obverse die was heavily worn and the ankh was engraved over the ram. The published specimens have no symbol or monogram on the reverse. There are other examples of this variant on Coin Archives.
GS87794. Silver stater, Apparently unpublished variant; cf. Zapiti-Michaelidou pl. VIII, 2; Asyut pl. XXXII, N; Troxell-Waggoner p. 35, 8-9; Tziambazis -; Traité -; BMC -, aVF/VF, struck with the worn obverse die (as are all coins from this issue), slightly off center, light bumps and marks, weight 10.662 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 270o, uncertain Cypriot mint, early 5th century B.C.; obverse ram walking left, ankh symbol superimposed on and above the ram's side and back (the ankh symbol was recut on a heavily worn die); reverse laurel branch with two leaves and three fruits, monogram lower left, all in dotted square within incuse square; rare; $480.00 SALE |PRICE| $432.00
 


Cyprus, Early 5th Century B.C.

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The obverse die was used to strike three different issues, with different reverses. This type is from the third issue, when the obverse die was heavily worn and the ankh was engraved over the ram. The published specimens have no symbol or monogram on the reverse. There are other examples of this variant on Coin Archives.
GS89724. Silver stater, Apparently unpublished variant; cf. Zapiti-Michaelidou pl. VIII, 2; Asyut pl. XXXII, N; Troxell-Waggoner p. 35, 8-9; Tziambazis -; Traité -; BMC -, F/VF, struck with a worn obverse die, weight 10.805 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Cypriot mint, early 5th century B.C.; obverse ram walking left, ankh symbol superimposed on and above the ram's side and back (the ankh symbol was recut on a heavily worn die); reverse laurel branch with two leaves and three fruits, ankh symbol on left, monogram lower right, all in dotted square within incuse square; rare; $400.00 SALE |PRICE| $360.00
 


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

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Octavian decisively defeated Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in September 31 B.C. He chased them to Egypt in 30 B.C., where Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. Octavian became master of the Roman world. Her reign marks the end of the Hellenistic Era and the beginning of the Roman Era in the eastern Mediterranean. She was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
GP94045. Billon tetradrachm, Svoronos 1835, SNG Cop 417, Hosking 164, Noeske 379, Weiser -, SNG Milan -, Malter -, F, bumps and marks, porosity, weight 13.349 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, 31 - 30 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, LKB (year 22) over crown of Isis left, ΠA right; rare final year; $350.00 SALE |PRICE| $315.00
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra III with sons Ptolemy IX and X, c. 116 - 80 B.C.

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In Paphos I, the issue is attributed to Ptolemy IX, dated 114 - 113 B.C. and it is suggested it might actually be barbarous. Matt Kreuzer believes it belongs to Ptolemy X as "King of Cyprus" and it was minted 111 - 110 B.C. it cannot be after the c. 96 B.C. deposit of the Paphos I hoard, eliminating Ptolemy XII.
GP92392. Silver tetradrachm, Paphos I 401, SNG Cop 632, Svoronos -, VF, toned, tight flan, weight 13.587 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, 111 - 110 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, L∆ (year 4) in left field, ΠA in right field; rare; $300.00 (€264.00) ON RESERVE


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (Physcon), Second Reign, 145 - 116 B.C.

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Both Paphos mints struck during this year. For an example of the mint Paphos-called-Alexandria-by-many see vauctions 241 4/2/10 #24. Most of the others (including this one) listed in recent sales have curlier hair, a longer face, non-linear diadem, lobed ear, less sharp nose, and a broader flan. The date LMT has different M, with the rare type vauctions #24 showing less ?connect the dots? style legend letters. Ptolemy VIII and his older brother Ptolemy VI ruled jointly from 170 to 164 B.C. The brothers disagreed and Ptolemy VIII was forced to withdraw to Kyrenaica, which he ruled. After his brother's death, in 145 B.C., he claimed the throne and married Cleopatra II (his brother's widow and also his sister). Later he married Cleopatra III (his niece and stepdaughter) after which relations with Cleopatra II were strained. Ptolemy VIII was unpopular with the Alexandrians, who nicknamed him Physkon (pot belly). --- Greek Coins and Their Values by David R. Sear
GP92393. Silver tetradrachm, Svoronos 1520, Paphos I 213 - 223, Noeske 246 - 248, SNG Cop 330, Cohen DCA 54, SNG Milan -, Weiser -, Hosking -, gVF, well centered, obverse die wear, light marks, light toning, weight 14.314 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Paphos mint, 122 - 121 B.C.; obverse diademed bust right wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, LMΘ (year 49) left, ΠA right; ex Roma e-sale 57 (30 May 2019), lot 532; scarce; $325.00 SALE |PRICE| $293.00
 


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

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1) Paphos, Æ10 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, Cyprus, c. Late 2nd - Early 1st Century B.C.

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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

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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; $170.00 SALE |PRICE| $153.00
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy VI Philometor, 180 - 145 B.C.

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Ptolemy VI became king in 180 B.C. at the age of about 6 and ruled jointly with his mother, Cleopatra I, until her death in 176 BC. From 170 to 164 B.C., Egypt was ruled by Ptolemy, his sister-queen and his younger brother Ptolemy VIII Physcon. In 170 BC, the Seleukid King Antiochus IV invaded and was even crowned king in 168, but abandoned his claim on the orders from Rome. In 164 Ptolemy VI was driven out by his brother. He went to Rome and received support from Cato, and was restored the following year. In 152 BC, he briefly ruled jointly with his son, Ptolemy Eupator, but his son probably died that same year. In 145 B.C. he died of battle wounds received against Alexander Balas of Syria. Ptolemy VI ruled uneasily, cruelly suppressing frequent rebellions.
GP89281. Bronze quarter obol, Svoronos 1408, Weiser -, SNG Cop -, Noeske -, Hosking -, SNG Milan -, Malter -, Tziambazis -, F, reverse legend unstruck (missing from dies?), obverse edge beveled, tiny edge split, weight 2.488 g, maximum diameter 16.2 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, uncertain mint, c. 176 - 170 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle with wings closed standing half left atop fulmen, lotus flower in left field; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 282 B.C.

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In 305 B.C., Demetrius Poliorcetes besieged Salamis and defeated Ptolemy's navy off the coast. Demetrius offered lenient terms and Ptolemy's brother, Menelaus, surrendered the city. After this victory, Demetrius declared himself a King. Ptolemy also declared himself a King. This coin has the usual Ptolemaic hemiobol types, with the title BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) visible. It is overstruck over a bronze of Demetrios Poliorketes with helmeted head of Demetrios Poliorketes right obverse (under the reverse of our coin) and prow reverse (under our obverse). Ptolemy struck this coin at Salamis after he re-took Cyprus in 294 B.C. Both Ptolemy I and Demetrios died in 283 B.C. Demetrios died in captivity, imprisoned by Seleukos.
GP87139. Bronze hemiobol, SNG Cop 43 (X, also overstruck, perhaps with same undertype); Svoronos 163; BMC Ptolemies 8, 69; under-type: Newell 20; SRCV II 6775, VF, nice green patina, strong undertype effects, weight 4.094 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Salamis mint, c. 294 B.C.; obverse deified head of Alexander the Great right with horn of Ammon, hair long; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left, head left, wings open, X or (AX monogram) over helmet in left field; extremely rare; $140.00 SALE |PRICE| $126.00
 




  






REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Sunday, January 26, 2020.
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