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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.


Tyre, Phoenicia, 91 - 90 B.C., The Temple Tax Coin

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SH15316. Silver half shekel, Phoenicia 242, 129 var. (beth between legs); Cohen DCA 919-37 (C); Baramki AUB -, gVF, weight 7.082 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, 90 - 89 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 standing left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond behind, date ZΛ (year 37) over club & palm left, ∆ (control) right, Phoenician letter samekh between legs; SOLD


Gebal (Byblos), Phoenicia, c. 450 - 410 B.C.

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The extremely rare first coinage of Byblos, struck with Egyptian types at an Egyptian weight standard (one kite). A beautiful representation of an Egyptian sphinx in the pose of the famous Giza monumental statue graces the obverse.

Head notes, "Herodotus relates (iv. 166) that Aryandes, who had been appointed satrap of Egypt by Cambyses, mortally offended Darius, son of Hystaspes, by issuing silver money which rivalled in purity the gold darics of the great king himself. If the story be true, it probably refers to ordinary Persian sigloi. No coins have come down to us which can be identified as those of Aryandes." Could this coin be the one of those issued by Aryandes?
SH38939. Silver shekel, Betlyon 1, Kraay 1051, SNG Cop -, gVF, toned, weight 8.907 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 0o, Gebal mint, obverse Sphinx seated left, wearing crown of Upper and Lower Egypt; reverse lightning bolt (or double lotus) in dotted circle within incuse square; almost equal in quality to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and American Numismatic Society examples; extremely rare; SOLD


Tyre, Phoenicia, 111 - 110 B.C., Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver

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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
SL86641. Silver shekel, BMC Phoenicia p. 237, 85; Cohen DCA 919-18 (C); Baramki AUB -, NGC Ch AU*, strike 5/5, surface 5/5 (4280576-003), weight 14.20 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, 109 - 108 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, palm frond behind, date HI (year 18) over club and palm frond left, ZB right, Phoenician letter beth between legs; SOLD


Persian Empire, Sidon, Phoenicia, King Strato I (Adb'ashtart I), c. 365 - 352 B.C.

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SH48909. Silver double shekel, Elayi 2004 1345-8; cf. Betlyon 21 & 35; cf. BMC Phoenicia p. 145, 29, gVF, weight 25.428 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, c. 352 B.C.; obverse armed galley with oars, advancing left, standard in stern, small figure as figurehead on bow, Phoenician regnal date year 14 (IIII-) above; reverse King of Persia with charioteer in a biga left, horses waking, Sidonian king walks behind in Asian garb carrying a cultic scepter and votive vase, Phoenician letters BA (90) above; typical weak strike, nicely centered on a full flan, lightly toned, ex Goldberg Auction 55, lot 77, 29 Oct 2009; SOLD


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy IV Philopator, 221 - 204 B.C.

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An apparently unique tetradrachm with the Akko mintmark and the two letters perhaps associated with Sosibius, advisor to Ptolemy IV.

Ptolemy IV's surname Philopator means father lover, ironic since according to some authorities he poisoned his father. Ptolemy IV is a major protagonist of the apocryphal 3 Maccabees, which describes events following the Battle of Raphia, in both Jerusalem and Alexandria. He was a cruel and evil monarch.
SH64462. Silver tetradrachm, unpublished, cf. Svoronos 786 (Ptolemy II, different monogram), SNG Milan -, SNG Cop -; BMC Ptolemies -, Noeske -, Hosking -, VF, weight 13.792 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Galilee, Ake Ptolemais (Acre, Israel) mint, 205 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy right wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY ΣΩTHPOΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, ΠTο monogram at left, retrograde ΣΩ right; perhaps unique; SOLD


Persian Empire, Gebal-Byblos, Phoenicia, King Azba'al, c. 400 - 376 B.C.

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In the Persian period (538 - 332 B.C.), Gebal was a vassal kingdom established by the Persians.

Byblos was famous for its papyrus - the word bible is derived from Byblos.
SH32538. Silver dishekel, SNG Cop 132, SGCV II 6011, Rouvier 639, Dewing 2662, attractive aEF, weight 13.187 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, Byblos (Jbail, Lebanon) mint, obverse galley left, lion-head prow, with three hoplites, each helmeted and holding shield, Phoenician monogram ayin zayin (AZ), hippocamp and murex below; reverse Phoenician legend, "Azbaal, king of Gebal", lion attacking bull; SOLD


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

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SH08321. Gold stater, Price 3471, VF, weight 8.48 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 45o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, obverse head of Athena right in crested Corinthian helmet ornamented with a sphinx; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Nike standing left holding wreath and ship's mast, branch at feet left; SOLD


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

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SH12598. Gold stater, Price 3464, Newell Dated 6, pl.. 1, 9, VF, weight 8.543 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 333 - 305 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right in crested Corinthian helmet; reverse AΛEΞAN∆P−OY, Nike standing left, wreath in right hand, ship's mast in left, barley grain in lower right field; light scratches and dings; SOLD


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

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The ancient city of Byblos stood near the mouth of the Adonis River (called the Abraham River today) and was a site for the veneration of Adonis, the god of love and beauty in Greek mythology. He was said to have been killed near the river by a boar sent by Ares, the god of war (or by Ares himself disguised as a boar, depending on the version). According to the myth, Adonis' blood flowed in the river, making the water reddish for centuries and spawning a carpet of scarlet buttercups along the river's banks. In reality, the river flows red each February due to the volume of soil washed off the mountains by heavy winter rains, making it appear that the water is filled with blood. The river emerges from a huge cavern, the Aqsa Grotto, nearly 5,000 ft (1,500 m) above sea level before it drops steeply through a series of falls and passes through a sheer gorge through the mountains.The river valley contains the remains of numerous temples and shrines. Even today, local people hang out clothes of sick people at a ruined temple near the river's source in the hopes of effecting cures.
SH15299. Gold stater, Price 3423, Müller Alexander 1374, F, weight 8.473 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, Byblos (Jbail, Lebanon) mint, c. 330 - 320 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right wearing crested Corinthian helmet; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Nike standing left holding wreath in right and stylus with left, (AP monogram) left field; ex Coin Galleries 20 Nov 1975, ex Coloseum Coin Exchange; SOLD


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

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The K behind the ear appears on a few tetradrachms from Tyre and Sidon. Perhaps the finest known of this rare variety.
SH32904. Silver tetradrachm, Svoronos 715, cf. SNG Milan 141, BMC Ptolemies p. 27, 32, Hosking 98, SNG Cop -, Malter -, Hosking -, EF, nice high-relief portrait, weight 14.226 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, obverse diademed head of Ptolemy I right wearing aegis, signature K behind ear; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, ΣI left; very rare; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
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Catalog current as of Friday, August 23, 2019.
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Phoenicia