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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Persian Empire||View Options:  |  |  | 

The Persian Achaemenid Empire

The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history, extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya. It was founded by Cyrus the Great, who defeated the Medes, Lydia, and the Neo-Babylonian Empire. In addition to its size, the Achaemenid Empire is notable for its successful centralized, bureaucratic administration (through satraps under the King of Kings), for its multicultural policy, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, for the use of an official language across its territories, and for the development of civil services and a large professional army. The empire had a significant influence on the development of humanity's culture and civilization to this day. Alexander the Great, an avid admirer of Cyrus the Great, conquered most of the empire by 330 B.C. The Achaemenid Empire is noted in Western history as the antagonist of the Greek city-states during the Greco-Persian Wars and for the emancipation of the Jewish exiles in Babylon. Persian Empire

Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Darios I to Xerxes II, c. 485 - 420 B.C.

|Persian| |Lydia|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Lydia,| |Anatolia,| |
Darios| |I| |to| |Xerxes| |II,| |c.| |485| |-| |420| |B.C.||daric|NEW
This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire
SL97378. Gold daric, Carradice Type IIIb, Group A/B (pl. XIII, 27); Meadows Administration 321; BMC Arabia pl. XXIV, 26; Sunrise 24; Lydo-Milesian standard, NGC MS, strike 5/5, surface 3/5, flan flaw (4629125-050), weight 8.30 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 485 - 420 B.C.; obverse kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, bearded, crowned, wearing kidaris and kandys, quiver on shoulder, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand; reverse oblong irregular rectangular incuse punch; ex Heritage auction 231925 (20 Jun 2019), lot 63061; NGC| Lookup; $3500.00 SALE |PRICE| $3150.00
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Xerxes II - Artaxerxes II, c. 420 - 375 B.C.

|Persian| |Lydia|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Lydia,| |Anatolia,| |Xerxes| |II| |-| |Artaxerxes| |II,| |c.| |420| |-| |375| |B.C.||daric|NEW
This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire
SH97377. Gold daric, Carradice Type IIIb, group C (pl. XIV, 42); BMC Arabia pl. XXV, 12; SNG Cop 276; Meadows Administration 323; Sunrise 28, aEF, well centered, edge scrape/damage, weight 8.081 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 420 - 375 B.C.; obverse kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, bearded, crowned, wearing kidaris and kandys, quiver on shoulder, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand; reverse oblong irregular rectangular incuse punch; ex Heritage auction 232040 (30 Sep 2020), lot 61098; $2200.00 SALE |PRICE| $1980.00
 


Persian Empire, Samaria, c. 375 - 333 B.C.

|Persian| |Rule|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Samaria,| |c.| |375| |-| |333| |B.C.||obol|
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 10 418 (R2), VF, typical crude uneven weak strike, weight 0.604 g, maximum diameter 9.3 mm, Samaria (10 km NW of Nablus, West Bank) mint, 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
 


Persian Empire, Samaria, c. 375 - 333 B.C.

|Judaea| |&| |Palestine|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Samaria,| |c.| |375| |-| |333| |B.C.||obol|NEW
Meshorer-Qedar lists Athena on the obverse, but on the three specimens known to FORVM it is clear that Athena is on the reverse. The types copy contemporary Cypriot stater types from Kition (obverse) and Lapethus (reverse).
GS95808. Silver obol, Meshorer-Qedar 102, cf. Sofaer Collection 63 (hemiobol), HGC 10 -, VF, well centered, toned, struck with worn dies (as are all specimens of this type known to FORVM), weight 0.65 g, maximum diameter 8 mm, die axis 10o, Samaria (10 km NW of Nablus, West Bank) mint, c. 375 - 333 B.C.; obverse lion right atop and attacking a stag fallen right, (Aramaic 'šn', abbreviating Samarian) above; reverse head of Athena facing, wearing crested Attic helmet; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 11 (22 Feb 2020), lot 1128; ex Canaan Collection; only three sale of this type recorded on Coin Archives for the last two decades (and one of the three is this coin); very rare; $500.00 SALE |PRICE| $450.00
 


Lesbos, 5th - 4th Century B.C.

|Lesbos|, |Lesbos,| |5th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.||1/3| |stater|
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
 


Persian Cilicia, c. Mid 4th Century B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Persian| |Cilicia,| |c.| |Mid| |4th| |Century| |B.C.||hemiobol|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


Persian Empire, Artaxerxes II - Darius III, c. 375 - 340 B.C., Lydia, Anatolia

|Persian| |Lydia|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Artaxerxes| |II| |-| |Darius| |III,| |c.| |375| |-| |340| |B.C.,| |Lydia,| |Anatolia||1/4| |siglos|NEW
This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire
GA95806. Silver 1/4 siglos, Carradice type IV (late) C; Klein 764; SNG Kayhan 1041; Sunrise 37; cf. Rosen 679; (early - middle, A/B); BMC Arabia p. 167, 143 (middle B), VF, obverse off center, light bumps and marks, edge crack, weight 1.342 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 375 - 340 B.C.; obverse kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, dagger in right, bow in left, bearded, crowned, quiver on shoulder; reverse roughly square punch; ex Leu Numismatik auction 11 (22 Feb 2020), lot 1104; very rare; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00
 


Teos, Ionia, c. 540 - 478 B.C.

|Teos|, |Teos,| |Ionia,| |c.| |540| |-| |478| |B.C.||trihemitartemorion|
Teos was a flourishing seaport until about 540 B.C., when the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great invaded Lydia and Ionia. The town survived but most of the citizens fled to the newly founded colonies of Abdera and Phanagoria. Under the Roman Empire, the town was noted for its wine, a theater and its Temple of Dionysus. The site is now farmland.
GA95885. Silver trihemitartemorion, Balcer group LXXIV, 73 ff.; SNG Tübingen 3250; Rosen 603; SNG Cop supp. 339, VF, toned, tight flan, reverse die wear, weight 0.285 g, maximum diameter 6.4 mm, die axis 0o, Teos (near Sigacik, Turkey) mint, c. 540 - 478 B.C.; obverse griffin head right; reverse quadripartite incuse square, rough; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00
 


Persian Empire, Sidon, Phoenicia, Abdashtart I, c. 365 - 352 B.C.

|Phoenicia|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Sidon,| |Phoenicia,| |Abdashtart| |I,| |c.| |365| |-| |352| |B.C.||AE| |16|NEW
Cyrus the Great conquered Phoenicia in 539 BC. The Persians divided Phoenicia into four vassal kingdoms: Sidon, Tyre, Arwad, and Byblos. It is likely that much of the Phoenician population migrated to Carthage and other colonies following the Persian conquest. In 350 or 345 B.C. a rebellion in Sidon led by Tennes was crushed by Artaxerxes III.
GB96097. Bronze AE 16, Betlyon 29; SNG Cop 203; BMC Phoenicia p. 147, 46 - 51; Lindgren II 2320; HGC 10 248 (S), aF, off center, red earthen deposits, weight 4.507 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, c. 365 - 352 B.C.; obverse pentekonter (fifty-oared war galley) left, two zigzag rows of waves below, linear border, no date; reverse Persian king and driver in slow biga left; scarce; $70.00 SALE |PRICE| $63.00
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Darius II - Artaxerxes II, c. 420 - 375 B.C.

|Persian| |Lydia|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Lydia,| |Anatolia,| |Darius| |II| |-| |Artaxerxes| |II,| |c.| |420| |-| |375| |B.C.||siglos|
This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire
GA88199. Silver siglos, Carradice Type| IV (middle) B; Carradice Price p. 73 and pl. 19, 223; BMC Arabia p. 171, 172 ff., pl. XXVII, 7 ff.; Rosen 678; SGCV II 4683, aF, toned, porous, banker's marks, weight 5.217 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 420 - 375 B.C.; obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, bearded, crowned, dagger in right hand, bow in left hand; reverse irregular oblong punch; $65.00 SALE |PRICE| $58.00
 







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REFERENCES|

Ashton, R., et al. "The Pixodarus Hoard" in Coin Hoards IX (2002).
Babelon, E. Traité des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines. (Paris, 1901-1932).
Betlyon, J.W. The Coinage and Mints of Phoenicia. The Pre-Alexandrine Period. Harvard Semitic Monographs, Vol. 26. (Chico, CA, 1982).
Carradice, I. "The Dinar Hoard of Persian Sigloi" in Studies Price. (London, 1998).
Deutsch, R. & M. Heltzer. "Numismatic Evidence from the Persian Period from the Sharon Plain" Transeuphratene, Vol. 13, 1997, pp. 17-20.
Elayi, J. & A.G. Elayi. Le monnayage de la cité phénicienne de Sidon à l'époque perse (Ve-IVe s. av. J.-C.). (Paris, 2004).
Elayi, J. & A.G. Elayi. The Coinage of the Phoenician City of Tyre in the Persian Period (5th-4th cent. BCE). (Leuven-Paris-Walpole, MA, 2009).
Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins, 5th Edition. (Amphora, 2010).
Meshorer, Y. A Treasury of Jewish Coins from the Persian Period to Bar Kokhba. (Jerusalem, 2001).
Mildenberg, L. "Yehud: A Preliminary Study of the Provincial Coinage of Judaea" in Essays Thompson (1979).
Meshorer, Y. & S. Qedar. The Coinage of Samaria in the 4th Century BCE. (Jerusalem, 1991).
Moysey, R.A. "The Silver Stater Issues of Pharnabazos and Datames from the Mint of Tarsus in Cilicia" in ANSMN 31 (1986).
Noe, S.P. Two Hoards of Persian Sigloi. ANSNNM 136. (New York, 1956).
Price, M.J. & N. Waggoner. Archaic Greek Silver Coinage, The "Asyut" Hoard. (London, 1975).
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. (Copenhagen, 1942-1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock. (Berlin, 1957-1967).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Finland, The Erkki Keckman Collection in the Skopbank, Helsinki, (Helsinki, 1994-1999).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale. (Paris, 1993 - 2001).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum Switzerland I. Levante-Cilicia. (Zurich,1986).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. (Istanbul, 2002).
Troxell, H.A. "Orontes, satrap of Mysia" in SNR 60. (1981).
Vismara, N. Monetazione Arcaica della Lycia. (Milan, 1989 -1996).
Waggoner, N. M. Early Greek Coins from the Collection of Jonathan P. Rosen (ANS ACNAC 5). (New York, 1983).
Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber. (1922 - 1929).

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