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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Phoenicia||View Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Coins of Phoenicia

Phoenicia, from the Greek Phoiníkē meaning either "land of palm trees" or "purple country," was located on the Mediterranean coastline of what is now Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, Syria, and southwest Turkey, though some colonies later reached the Western Mediterranean and even the Atlantic Ocean, the most famous being Carthage. The enterprising, sea-based Phoenicians spread across the Mediterranean from 1500 to 300 B.C. Their civilization was organized in city-states, similar to those of ancient Greece, perhaps the most notable of which were Tyre, Sidon, Arados, Berytus and Carthage. Each city-state was politically independent and it is uncertain to what extent the Phoenicians viewed themselves as a single nationality. In terms of archaeology, language, lifestyle, and religion there was little to set the Phoenicians apart as markedly different from other Semitic Canaanites. The Phoenician alphabet is an ancestor of all modern alphabets. By their maritime trade, the Phoenicians spread the use of the alphabet to Anatolia, North Africa, and Europe, where it was adopted by the Greeks, who in turn transmitted it to the Romans.

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|
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.
GY98123. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2195(3)a; Newell Tyre 165; SNG Spaer 2239; DCA 230; HGC 9 1122; BMC Seleucids p. 76, 6 var. (control), EF, nicely toned, excellent portrait, bold strike, light bumps and scratches, a little off center, weight 13.648 g, maximum diameter 29.3 mm, die axis 45o, Tyre (Lebanon) mint, 128 - 127 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust right; reverse ∆HMHTPIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on ship's ram, palm frond under wing, A/PE above (Tyre monogram) over club left, AVΣ monogram over EΠP (year 185) right, ZB monogram (control) between eagles legs; $700.00 (€574.00)
 


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

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IX| |Cyzicenus,| |113| |-| |95| |B.C||tetradrachm|
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; $630.00 (€516.60)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia

|Phoenicia|, |Valerian| |I,| |October| |253| |-| |c.| |June| |260| |A.D.,| |Tyre,| |Phoenicia||dichalkon|
Romans refounded Tyre as a colony in 64 B.C., when Pompey annexed Phoenicia to the Roman Empire. Tyre flourished under the Rome and remained a Roman port city, even under the Byzantine Empire, until the 7th century when it was taken by Muslim conquest.
RP96396. Bronze dichalkon, BMC Phoenicia p. 289, 465 var. (murex shell on right); Rouvier -; Baramki AUB -; SNG Hunt -; SNG Cop -, F, rough dark green patina, earthen deposits, weight 16.345 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre (Lebanon) mint, Oct 253 - Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, laureate bust right; reverse COL TVRO METR, river-god (Adonis?) standing facing, head left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, right hand dropping incense on flaming altar at her feet on left, long grounded reed vertical in left hand, murex shell on left; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection, 1971 Caesarea Maritima surface find; Coin Archives records only one specimen of the type at auction in the last two decades; extremely rare; $400.00 (€328.00)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Akko-Ptolemais, Phoenicia

|Phoenicia|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Akko-Ptolemais,| |Phoenicia||AE| |27|
Akko was refounded as a Roman colony, colonia Ptolemais, probably in 53 or 54 A.D., the last year of Claudius' reign or the first year of Nero’s. Akko was one of hundreds of cities in the Roman provinces that minted civic coins. In the mid 3rd century cities stopped producing their own coins. The last city coins were struck under Gallienus, and Akko was among the very last cities to strike its own coins.
JD96394. Bronze AE 27, BMC Phoenicia p. 138, 50 var. (obv. leg.); Rosenberger 86 var. (same); Kadman Akko 256 var. (same, draped); Sofaer 293 ff. (draped, etc.); SNG Cop -, aF, rough green patina, light earthen deposits, a little off center, weight 13.158 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 0o, Ake Ptolemais (Acre, Israel) mint, 253 - 268 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES LIC GALLIEN[VS AVG], laureate head right; reverse COL P-TOL, portable shrine containing a statue of Zeus Heliopolites, shrine consisting of a frame within two pillars supporting a architrave with hatched decoration, two carrying poles projecting from bottom, figure of deity within standing facing on rock or base, wearing short chiton, double axe in right hand, harpe(?) in left hand; an unpublished variant of a very rare type; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection, 1977 surface find at Caesarea Maritima, Israel; $390.00 (€319.80)
 


Lot of 4 Silver Fractions From Phoenicia, c. 425 - 300 B.C.

|Phoenicia|, |Lot| |of| |4| |Silver| |Fractions| |From| |Phoenicia,| |c.| |425| |-| |300| |B.C.||Lot|
 
GA97055. Silver Lot, 4 silver fractions, c. 0.6g - 0.8g, c. 9mm, $160.00 (€131.20)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |II| |Philadelphos,| |285| |-| |246| |B.C.||pentadrachm|
Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

Ptolemy II encouraged education, commerce, industry, immigration and trade resulting in a prosperous growing economy. He was the richest monarch of his age.
SH24850. Gold pentadrachm, Svoronos 636 (8 specimens); BMC Ptolemies p. 9, 74 and pl. II, 2 (same obv die, Ptolemy I), Choice aEF, weight 17.823 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 0o, Phoenicia, Tyre mint, c. 270 - 267 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, date H and club left; superb strike, lustrous, beautiful!; rare; SOLD


Jerusalem or Tyre, 12 - 11 B.C., Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver

|30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver|, |Jerusalem| |or| |Tyre,| |12| |-| |11| |B.C.,| |Judas'| |30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver||shekel|
Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver
"Then one of the 12, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, 'What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?' And they covenanted with him for 30 pieces of silver." - Matthew 26:14-15. Shekels of Tyre were the only currency accepted at the Jerusalem Temple and are the most likely coinage with which Judas was paid for the betrayal of Christ.

After the coinage of Tyre was debased under Roman control, some experts believe Herod the Great began to strike "Tyre" shekels in Jerusalem. These coins were of cruder fabric and style, but maintained the silver purity required to pay the temple tax. The Jerusalem shekels have the letters KP or KAP to the right of the eagle and dates range from PH (18/17 B.C.) to PKE (69/70 A.D.). The Greek letters KP or KAP are probably an abbreviation for KAICAP, Greek for Caesar.
GP94922. Silver shekel, RPC I 4645; BMC Phoenicia p. 248, 192 var. (beth vice aleph); Baramki 79 var. (same); Rouvier 2088 var. (same); Cohen DCA 920/115; HGC 10 357, VF, attractive style, centered on tight flan, toned, slight porosity, light marks and scratches, weight 13.619 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, die axis 45o, Tyre or Jerusalem mint, 12 - 11 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle left, right foot on ship's ram, transverse palm frond on far side, PIE (year 115) over club left, KP (Caesar) over BN (control) right, Phoenician letter aleph (control) between legs; from the Ray Nouri Collection; SOLD


Jerusalem or Tyre, 20 - 21 A.D., Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver

|30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver|, |Jerusalem| |or| |Tyre,| |20| |-| |21| |A.D.,| |Judas'| |30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver||shekel|
Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver
"Then one of the 12, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, 'What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?' And they covenanted with him for 30 pieces of silver." Matthew 26:14-15. Shekels of Tyre were the only currency accepted at the Jerusalem Temple and are the most likely coinage with which Judas was paid for the betrayal of Christ.

The Temple Tax Coin
"..go to the sea and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou has opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them [the temple tax collectors] for me and thee." Since the tax was one half shekel per man the coin would have to be a shekel to pay the tax for both Jesus and Peter. Matthew 17:24-27
SH86527. Silver shekel, RPC I 4659; Prieur 1419 (3 spec.); Cohen DCA 920; HGC 10 357; BMC Phoenicia p. 248, 200 - 201 var. (different monogram right), VF, toned, tight flan as typical for this issue, bumps and marks, weight 14.180 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem or Tyre mint, 20 - 21 A.D.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle left, right foot on ship's ram, transverse palm frond on far side, letter between legs, PMς (year 146) and club left, KP over monogram right, uncertain Aramaic letter between eagle's legs; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; SOLD


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

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Cleopatra| |VII| |Thea| |Philopator,| |51| |-| |30| |B.C.,| |Orthosias,| |Phoenicia||AE| |23|
This is an extremely rare issue known only from a few specimens.
SH03585. Bronze AE 23, RPC I 4502, SNG Cop 176, aF, weight 6.68 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, Orthosias (Bordj Hakmon al-Yahoudi, Lebanon) mint, 35 - 34 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Cleopatra right, star behind; reverse Baal of Orthosia in chariot pulled by to griffins to right, LΓ (Phoenician regnal year 3) in left field, OPΘΩCIEΩN in exergue; extremely rare; SOLD


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D., Dora, Phoenicia

|Roman| |Phoenicia|, |Titus,| |24| |June| |79| |-| |13| |September| |81| |A.D.,| |Dora,| |Phoenicia||AE| |22|
Dora, on the coast eight miles north of Caesarea, was a Canaanite city. It fell to the Philistines early in the 12th century B.C. Solomon appointed the son of Abinadab as overseer of Dor (I Kings 4:11). In the Persian period Dor was a Sidonian colony. In Hellenistic times it was a Ptolemaic seaport and royal fortress, once besieged by Antiochus VII, (1 Macc. 15. 11-14). Under the Romans, Dora was a free city. See also Josh 11:2, 17:11; and Judg 1:27.
RP98117. Bronze AE 22, RPC Online II 2089 (15 spec.); Sofaer 25 (same obv. die); Meshorer Dora 32; BMC Phoenicia p. 116, 27; Rosenberger II 24 corr. (wrong obv. photo), nice gVF, excellent portrait, attractive patina, tight flan, rev. off center, light marks, light earthen deposits, scattered porosity, weight 9.551 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, Dora (Tel Dor, Israel) mint, as caesar, c. 69 - 70 A.D; obverse T ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠ KAIC ETOY IEP, laureate head right; reverse ∆WPITWN (Dora), Tyche-Astarte standing facing, head right, wearing turreted crown, standard in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, BΛP ([year] 132) in outer left field; very attractive in hand; scarce; SOLD







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REFERENCES|

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