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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Anatolia ▸ LydiaView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of Lydia, Antatolia

Lydia lies in east-central Anatolia (Asia Minor) between Ionia and Phrygia. The kingdom of Lydia gradually rose in power in the 7th Century B.C. and by the time of Alyattes and Croesus, it was controlling most of Anatolia after rebuking Medes (the pre-Achaemenid empire). The most important city was Sardis, today Sart, housing impressive ruins. The Lydians were viewed as a merchant people and the kings as extremely wealthy. Croesus gained mythical status and today we still use the expression, "rich as Croesus."


Lydian Kingdom, Alyattes – Kroisos, c. 620 - 539 B.C.

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The knob on the lion's snout is also described as a "wart," and as the radiant Sun.
SH91787. Electrum trite, Weidauer group XVI, 86; SNGvA 2868; SNG Cop 449; SNG Lockett 2977; SNG Ash 749; Rosen 655; Boston MFA 1764; BMC Lydia 2, 7, pl. I, 6, aVF, banker's marks, weight 4.665 g, maximum diameter 12.5 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 620/610-550/539 B.C.; obverse head of roaring lion right, with knob and rays atop snout; reverse irregular divided rectangular incuse; $2300.00 (€2024.00)


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D., Magnesia ad Sipylum, Lydia

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Britannica 1859, Roman History notes: "[Caligula] encircled his own head with the oriental diadem armed with spikes or rays, the well-known symbol of divinity in the East." Prior to this, the radiate crown had been used to indicate the divinity of Divus Augustus achieved after his death. This is the first time that this crown is shown on a coin of a living Roman.
RP90987. Bronze assarion, RPC I 2455 (same dies, 4 spec.); SNG Cop 257 (same dies); BMC Lydia p. 145, 51; SNGvA -, VF, dark patina, scratches, some porosity, small edge split, weight 5.668 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 0o, Magnesia ad Sipylum (Manisa, Turkey) mint, 25 Jan 41 - 13 Oct 54 A.D.; obverse GAION KAICA-P-A - C-E-BACTON, radiate head of Caligula right; reverse MAΓN,HTΩN AΠO CIΠY,ΛOY (first three letters in exergue, continuing counterclockwise on the right, last three letters upward on left), Germanicus (on left) stands facing in toga capite velato, patera in right hand, behind Agrippina as Demeter, grain in right hand, scepter in left hand, [ΓEP/M / AΓ/PI in four lines in center field (not visible on this coin and not visible on the RPC plate coin)]; very rare; $320.00 (€281.60)


Persian Empire, Lydia, Cyrus - Darios I, c. 546 - 520 B.C., Kroiseid Type

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The Lydian King Croesus minted the first silver and gold coins. He was famous for his extraordinary wealth, but after his defeat by Cyrus about 546 B.C. Lydia became a Persian satrapy. The Persian conquerors of Lydia continued to strike the same Croesus' coin types. This coin is a later example issued under Persia. We can tell because under Croesus the lion and the bull were struck separately, with one punch at a time. Later examples, such as this coin, were struck with only one reverse die, simulating two separate square punches.
GS91751. Silver siglos (half-stater), SNG Cop 456; SNGvA 2877; SNG Kayhan 1025; BMC Lydia p. 7, 45; Traité I 409; SGCV II 3424, F, a few bumps, etched surfaces, weight 5.259 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 546 - 520 B.C.; obverse on the left, forepart of a roaring lion right, confronting, on the right, the forepart of a bull left, struck with a single die; reverse two incuse squares, of unequal size, side by side; $300.00 (€264.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Achaios, Usurper in Anatolia, 220 - 214 B.C.

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Achaios (Achaeus) was an uncle of Antiochos III. In 223 B.C., Antiochus III appointed Achaeus to the command of Anatolia on the western side of Mount Taurus. Achaeus recovered all the districts which had been lost; but was falsely accused by Hermeias, the minister to Antiochus, of intending to revolt. In self-defense he assumed the title of king. Antiochus marched against Achaeus after he concluded the war with Ptolemy. After a two-year siege of his capital of Sardes, Lydia, Achaios was captured and beheaded.
GY76100. Bronze AE 15, Houghton-Lorber I 956 corr. (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/winter 214 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse eagle standing right, head right, wings closed, wreath in talons, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, AXAIOY downward on left, X (control symbol) outer right; unpublished extremely rare variant, zero sales recorded on Coin Archives over the last two decades; $220.00 (€193.60)


Seleukid Kingdom, Achaios, Usurper in Anatolia, 220 - 214 B.C.

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Achaios (Achaeus) was an uncle of Antiochos III. In 223 B.C., Antiochus III appointed Achaeus to the command of Anatolia on the western side of Mount Taurus. Achaeus recovered all the districts which had been lost; but was falsely accused by Hermeias, the minister to Antiochus, of intending to revolt. In self-defense he assumed the title of king. Antiochus marched against Achaeus after he concluded the war with Ptolemy. After a two-year siege of his capital of Sardes, Lydia, Achaios was captured and beheaded.
GY89996. Bronze AE 17, Houghton-Lorber I 956 corr. (unlisted control symbol), SNG Spaer 834 var. (same), Newell WSM 1442 var. (same), HGC 9 436 (S-R1), VF, green and garnet patina, off center, light deposits, tiny edge split, weight 3.260 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 0o, Lydia, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 220 - autumn/winter 214 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair in formal (corkscrew) curls; reverse eagle standing right, head right, wings closed, wreath in talons, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, AXAIOY downward on left, A (control symbol) outer right; apparently unpublished and only two sales recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; very rare; $200.00 (€176.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Achaios, Usurper in Anatolia, 220 - 214 B.C.

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Achaios (Achaeus) was an uncle of Antiochos III. In 223 B.C., Antiochus III appointed Achaeus to the command of Anatolia on the western side of Mount Taurus. Achaeus recovered all the districts which had been lost; but was falsely accused by Hermeias, the minister to Antiochus, of intending to revolt. In self-defense he assumed the title of king. Antiochus marched against Achaeus after he concluded the war with Ptolemy. After a two-year siege of his capital of Sardes, Lydia, Achaios was captured and beheaded.
GY89995. Bronze AE 18, Houghton-Lorber I 955(1)c, SNG Spaer 836, HGC 9 435 (R2), cf. Newell WSM 1441ε (same countermark, no control), F, dark patina, scratches, a little rough, light earthen deposits, weight 5.599 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, Lydia, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 220 - autumn/winter 214 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair in formal (corkscrew) curls; reverse eagle standing right, head right, wings closed, transverse palm frond on far side, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, AXAIOY downward on left, X (control) outer right, countermark: horse head right in a 6.5mm round punch; scarce; $160.00 (€140.80)


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

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After the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah, the Jews were taken into the seventy-year Babylonian captivity. When ancient Persia took control of Babylon, Haman, the royal vizier, convinced King Ahasuerus to destroy all the Jews. Esther, Ahasuerus' queen and, unknown to him, a Jew, interceded on behalf of her people. By law the King could not rescind the order to slaughter the Jews, so he issued a second decree that permitted the Jews to defend themselves with armed force. The King replaced Haman with Mordecai, a palace official, cousin and foster parent of Esther. The Jews defeated Haman, killing his ten sons that were leading the attacks, and then hanged Haman. The day after the battle was designated as a day of feasting and rejoicing. Scholars identify King Ahasuerus as the historical king Xerxes I, 485 - 465 B.C. Xerxes is the Greek version of his name but the Babylonians knew him as Khshayarsha. The Hebrew name Ahasuerus, appears to be derived from Khshayarsha, with the letter A added at the beginning.
GA91493. Silver siglos, Carradice type IIIb (early), pl. XII, 16 ff.; Rosen 673; SGCV II 4682; Carradice NC 1998 pl. 7, 155 ff.; Carradice Price p. 67 and pl. 17, 1 ff., VF, no banker's marks, old collection toning, light earthen deposits in punch, weight 5.343 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 485 - 420 B.C.; obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand, bearded, crowned; reverse irregular oblong punch; $160.00 (€140.80)


Sardes, Lydia, c 98 - 117 A.D.

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CTP in the reverse legend identifies the magistrate, Lo. Io. Libonianos, as a strategos. Strategos, plural strategoi, is Greek meaning "general." In the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Empires the term was also used to describe a military governor. In the modern Greek army, it is the highest officer rank.
RP82728. Bronze AE 16, RPC Online III 2393 (18 spec.); SNG Cop 508; SNG Leypold 1201; SNG Tatis 757; Imhoof-Blumer LS p. 139, 13; BMC Lydia p. 246, 75; Winterthur 3917, VF, attractive dark green patina, bumps and marks, earthen deposits, weight 2.366 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, time of Trajan, c. 98 - 117 A.D; obverse CAP∆IA-NΩN, draped youthful bust of Dionysus right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse CTP ΛO IO ΛI-BΩNIANOY, filleted thyrsus, bee to right; ex Numismatic Naumann GmbH auction 60, lot 326; $145.00 (€127.60)


Philadelphia, Lydia, 193 - 211 A.D.

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Philadelphia, located south-east of Sardeis, was founded by Attalos II Philadelphos, King of Pergamon. It was an important and wealthy trade center that retained its importance until late Byzantine times. Saint Paul and Saint John the Theologian, visited, and established the first Christian churches. St. Ignatius of Antioch visited on his trip to his martyrdom in Rome. Philadelphia is among the Seven Churches named in John's Book of Revelation.
RP91392. Bronze AE 22, SNG Cop 364; SNG Righetti 1056; Lindgren I 776; Mionnet Supp. VII p. 399, 377; SNGvA -; BMC Lydia -; Imhoof-Blumer Lydien -, aVF, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, reverse a little off center, scratches on reverse, weight 6.235 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, Lydia, Philadelphia (Alasehir, Turkey) mint, 193 - 211 A.D.; obverse ΦIΛA∆EΛΦIA, turreted, and draped bust of Tyche of Philadelphia right; reverse EΠI ∆OK-IMOVA (Dokimos [magistrate, archon]), Zeus standing slightly left, head left, eagle in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, only one sale recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; extremely rare; $140.00 (€123.20)


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

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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

GA91528. 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, gF, old collection toning, no banker's marks, typical tight flan, weight 5.403 g, maximum diameter 16.2 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; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $140.00 (€123.20)




  






REFERENCES

Berk, H. "Complete Coinage of Croesus" in Harlan J. Berk, Bid or Buy Sale 119. (15 March 2001).
Buresch, K. Aus Lydien. (1898).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Carradice, I. "The Dinar Hoard of Persian Sigloi" in Studies Price. (London, 1998).
Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber, Vol. III, Part 1. (London, 1926).
Head, B. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Lydia. (London, 1901).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Münzen der Kilbianer in Lydien" in NZ 20 (1888).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. Kleinasiatische Münzen. (Vienna, 1901-2).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. Lydische Stadtmünzen, neue Untersuchungen. (Geneva and Leipzig, 1897).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. Zur griechischen und römischen Münzkunde. (Geneva, 1908).
Klein, D. Sammlung von griechischen Kleinsilbermünzen und Bronzen, Nomismata 3. (Milano, 1999).
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Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Lindgren, H & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coinage of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
Noe, S. Two Hoards of Persian Sigloi. ANSNNM 136. (New York, 1956).
Price, M. The Coinage of in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. (London, 1991).
Price, M. & N. Waggoner. Archaic Greek Silver Coinage, The "Asyut" Hoard. (London, 1975).
Radet, G. La Lydie et le Monde grec. (1893).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Spier, J. "Notes on Early Electrum Coinage and a Die-Linked Issue from Lydia" in Studies Price. (London, 1998).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 5: Ionia, Caria, and Lydia. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain VI, Corpus Christi College Cambridge, The Lewis Collection II: The Greek Imperial Coins. (1992).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Österreich, Sammlung Leypold, Kleinasiatische Münzen der Kaiserzeit. Vol. I. Pontus - Lydien. (Vienna, 2000).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Schweiz II. Münzen der Antike. Katalog der Sammlung Jean-Pierre Righetti im Bernischen Historischen Museum. (1993).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. (Istanbul, 2002).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 5: Tire Museum (Izmir), Vol. 1: Roman Provincial Coins From Ionia, Lydia, Phrygia, etc. (Istanbul, 2011).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 7: Odemis Museum, Vol. 1: Roman Provincial Coins of Ionia, Lydia and etc. (Istanbul, 2012).
Waggoner, N. Early Greek Coins from the Collection of Jonathan P. Rosen (ANS ACNAC 5). (New York, 1983).

Catalog current as of Saturday, July 20, 2019.
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Lydia, Anatolia