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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.


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander the Great, 336 - 323 B.C., Lifetime Issue

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Born a leader, his genius and charisma led the Macedonian army to create an empire covering most of the then-known world, from Greece to India. His reign begins the Hellenistic Age, a time when civilization flourished. He was regarded as a god and his fame grew even greater after his premature death at thirty-two.
GS94444. Silver tetradrachm, Price 3485, Newell Dated 24 (obv. die XII), Cohen DCA 874 (R3), Demanhur 3739, Prokesch-Osten I 34, Newell Reattribution 145, Newell Sidon 24, EF, high relief, grainy porous surfaces, obverse a little off center, reverse double struck, small edge splits, weight 16.544 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, struck under Menes, 326 - 325 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne without back, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward behind, Phoenician letter het (year 8) in left field, ΣI under throne; only one specimen recorded on Coin Archives; very rare date; $950.00 (€855.00)
 


Arados, Phoenicia, Unknown King "S", c. 348 - 339 B.C.

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Early coins of Arados have the Aramaic letters mem aleph (read from right to left) above the galley, abbreviating Melech Arad (meaning King of Arados), sometimes followed by the king's initial, and sometimes by the Phoenician regnal year date.
GS94263. Silver stater, cf. BMC Phoenicia p. 10, 59; Betlyon 26, pl. 7, 6; Rouvier III p. 132, 9; SNG Cop 23; HGC 10 34 (R1), VF, attractive toning, centered on a tight flan, highest points not fully struck, die wear, weight 9.767 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 270o, Arados (Arwad, Syria) mint, c. 348 - 339 B.C.; obverse laureate bearded head of Ba'al Arwad right; reverse galley right, figure of Pataikos right on prow, row of shields on bulwark, Phoenician letters mem aleph samen (Melech Arad S - King of Arados S) from right to left above, three waves below; ex Gorny & Mosch online auction 267 (17 Oct 2019), lot 3298; ex Shlomo Moussaieff Collection (London, 1948 - 1980s); $400.00 (€360.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Demetrios I Poliorketes, 306 - 286 B.C., In the Name of Alexander the Great

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Struck by Demetrius I Poliorketes (The Besieger). Demetrius I, the son of Antigonus I Monophthalmus, was given the title king by his father in 306 B.C. after he defeated Ptolemy I at the Battle of Salamis. In 294 he seized the throne of Macedonia by murdering Alexander V. The combined forces of Pyrrhus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus, forced him out of Macedonia in 288. Abandoned by his troops on the field of battle he surrendered to Seleucus in 286 and died in captivity in 283 B.C.
GS91299. Silver tetradrachm, Price 3546, Newell Tyrus 16, Hersh Tyrus 1, Müller Alexander -, VF, struck with sculptural high-relief dies, flow lines, obv. off center, tight flan, light marks, mild porosity, die wear, die break rev. 5:00, tiny edge splits, weight 16.831 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 0o, Phoenicia, Tyre (Lebanon) mint, c. 301 - 286 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on high-backed throne, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, monogram in circle left, monogram in circle under throne, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ in exergue; $350.00 (€315.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Antigonos I Monophthalmos, Strategos of Asia, 320 - 306 B.C., In the Name and Types of Alexander

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Azemilkos ('zmlk) was the King of Tyre when, in 332 B.C., Alexander had already peacefully taken Byblos and Sidon. Tyre sent envoys to Alexander agreeing to do his bidding. He declared that he wished to enter the city to sacrifice to Melqart. Azemilkos was with the Persian fleet at the time, and the Tyrians, unsure who would win the war, responded that they would obey any other command but that neither Persians nor Macedonians could enter the city. When Alexander captured the city, Azemilkos and other notables, including envoys from Carthage, had taken refuge in the temple of Melqart. Alexander spared their lives. In 331 B.C., Alexander sent his somatophylakes (bodyguard) Menes of Pella to govern Syria, Phoenicia, and Cilicia, entrusting him at the same time with 3000 talents.
SH91738. Silver tetradrachm, Price 3292, Newell Dated Ake 41 (obv. die XXXIV), Cohen DCA 737, HGC 10 3, Müller Alexander -, SNG München -, SNG Saroglos -,, VF, well centered, tight flan, toned, weight 16.957 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 270o, Phoenicia, Tyre (Lebanon) mint, struck under Menes, 309 - 308 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne without back, bare to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, feet on footstool, Phoenician date left: lll lll-= (year 36 of King Azemilkos); $350.00 (€315.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Antigonos I Monophthalmos, Strategos of Asia, 320 - 306 B.C., In the Name and Types of Alexander

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Azemilkos ('zmlk) was the King of Tyre when, in 332 B.C., Alexander had already peacefully taken Byblos and Sidon. Tyre sent envoys to Alexander agreeing to do his bidding. He declared that he wished to enter the city to sacrifice to Melqart. Azemilkos was with the Persian fleet at the time, and the Tyrians, unsure who would win the war, responded that they would obey any other command but that neither Persians nor Macedonians could enter the city. When Alexander captured the city, Azemilkos and other notables, including envoys from Carthage, had taken refuge in the temple of Melqart. Alexander spared their lives. In 331 B.C., Alexander sent his somatophylakes (bodyguard) Menes of Pella to govern Syria, Phoenicia, and Cilicia, entrusting him at the same time with 3000 talents.
GS91739. Silver tetradrachm, Price 3295a (same dies), Müller Alexander 1448, Newell Dated Ake 44, Cohen DCA 737, HGC 10 3, SNG München -, SNG Saroglos -, Choice VF, well centered, nice style Zeus, toned, weight 16.995 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 210o, Phoenicia, Tyre (Lebanon) mint, 309 - 308 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne without back, bare to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, feet on footstool, Phoenician date left: lll lll-= over ll (year 38 of King Azemilkos); $350.00 (€315.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Demetrius I Poliorketes, 306 - 286 B.C.

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Demetrius I Poliorketes (The Besieger), son of Antigonus I Monophthalmus, was given the title king by his father in 306 B.C. after he defeated Ptolemy I at the Battle of Salamis. In 294 he seized the throne of Macedonia by murdering Alexander V. The combined forces of Pyrrhus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus, forced him out of Macedonia in 288. Abandoned by his troops on the field of battle he surrendered to Seleucus in 286 and died in captivity in 283 B.C.
SL87623. Silver tetradrachm, Newell 30, pl. III, 13 (XXXIV/69); Newell Tyrus 32, pl. III, 7 (same dies); Hersh Tyrus 43a; HGC 3 1011; SNG Alpha Bank -, NGC F, strike 4/5, surface 3/5 (2490378-002), weight 16.877 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 180o, Phoenicia, Tyre mint, c. 306 - 295 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, feet on footstool, club left in a circle on left, AP monogram under throne, ∆HMITPIOY downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) below; rare; $300.00 (€270.00)
 


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

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We might expect the K on the reverse right to indicate regnal year 20. BMC Ptolemies notes, however, the title ΣΩTHPOΣ (savior) did not appear on the coinage until Ptolemy II's regnal year 25. On some very similar specimens, it is not just a K but instead a KE ligature (), which has been interpreted to mean year 25. Svoronos describes this type (Sv 723) with a KE ligature but the plate coin actually looks like a plain K. It seems likely that a KE ligature was intended but for some specimens it was not correctly engraved or not fully struck.
SH82655. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Milan 142 (same rev. die); cf. Svoronos 723 (ligate KE); BMC Ptolemies p. 29, 55 (same); SNG Cop 509 (same), Weiser -, Noeske -, aVF, test marks, obverse a little off center, bumps and scratches, graffito on reverse before eagles neck, weight 13.808 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 261 - 260 BC; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY ΣΩTHPOΣ (Ptolemy Savior), eagle standing on thunderbolt left, ΣI over ∆I inner left, K inner right; ex Bertolami Fine Arts e-auction 57 (Mar 2018), lot 46; ex Pavlos Pavlou Collection; rare; $270.00 (€243.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander the Great, 336 - 323 B.C.

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Lifetime or very early posthumous issue struck under Menes or Laomedon.
GS91308. Silver tetradrachm, Price 3332, Müller Alexander 1370, Duyrat series 11, SNG Cop 802, SNG Mün 735, SNG Fitz 2162, SNG Alpha Bank 675, SNG Ash 2991, SNG Saroglos 579, F, high relief, a little off-center, light bumps and marks, encrustations, weight 17.000 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 30o, Phoenicia, Arados (Arwad, Syria) mint, c. 324 - 320 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, long lotus tipped scepter vertical behind in left, kerykeion left, A over P monogram under throne, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ in exergue; $220.00 (€198.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Ptolemy I, as Satrap, 323 - 305 B.C.

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Aradus minted coinage in the name of Alexander during his lifetime and shortly after. When Aradus gained autonomy in 259 B.C., the city again minted coinage in the name of Alexander. After the Ptolemaic victory over the Seleukid Kingdom at Raphia in 217 B.C. Aradus fell under the control of Egypt. In 214, Aradus ceased to issue Alexander coinage and struck regal Ptolemaic issues. In 202 B.C., as Ptolemaic power waned, Aradus returned to issuing coinage of Alexander. The last Alexander coinage of Aradus was struck in 166/165 B.C.
GS89324. Silver obol, unpublished in references but several known from auctions, CNG e-auction 201, lot 34 (same dies), VF, toned, earthen encrustation, porosity, weight 0.649 g, maximum diameter 9.0 mm, die axis 13.5o, Phoenicia, Aradus mint, c. 323 - 315 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style) eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward behind, A/P monogram (control) left; from a New England collector; $160.00 (€144.00)
 


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D., Sidon, Phoenicia

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Zeus was enamored of Europa and decided to seduce or ravish her. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father's herds. While Europa and her female attendants were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete. Zeus gave her a necklace made by Hephaestus and three additional gifts: Talos, Laelaps and a javelin that never missed. Zeus later re-created the shape of the white bull in the stars, which is now known as the constellation Taurus.
RP91511. Bronze AE 23, Rouvier 1457 (no star visible); RPC I 4612 (9 spec.); BMC Phoenicia p. 178, 208, gF, grainy and porous, scratches, weight 10.556 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse laureate head right, star lower right (star not visible, RPC notes the star is often faint but likely all originally had a star); reverse veiled Europa seated on bull left, holding bull's horn with right hand, inflated veil billowing overhead in left hand, ΣI∆ΩNOΣ over L HMP (year 148) below; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $140.00 (€126.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Monday, February 17, 2020.
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Phoenicia