Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich
Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich, Auction 117

Greek, Roman and Gupta Empire gold coins

Tu, 01.10.2019, from 04:45 PM CEST
The auction is closed.


Kings of Lydia, time of Cyrus II and Darios I. Stater light series, Sardes circa 505-500, AV 8.05 g. Foreparts of confronted lion and bull. Rev. Two incuse squares of unequal size. Traité I 401-403. Carradice pl. XI, 8. Boston 2077. SNG von Aulock 2875. Dewing 2431. SNG Oxford 761.
Rare. About extremely fine

Ex NAC sale 53, 2009, 181. The coin will be featured in the upcoming book: “Apollo to Apollo, The hunt for the divine and eternal beauty”. From the AMA (Ancient Miniature Art) collection.By the time Croesus succeeded his father Alyattes as king of Lydia in 561 B.C., electrum coinage already had been used in Asia Minor for decades. Herodotus (1.94.1) states that the Lydians were the first to produce coins of gold and silver, an innovation now confidently attributed to Croesus, seemingly in about 550. Though the motivation for this advancement is nowhere recorded, it is generally assumed that it was meant to make it easier to determine the intrinsic value of the coins. All of Croesus' new coins portrayed on their obverse the confronted foreparts of a lion and a bull, a design steeped in the royal and cosmic imagery of the Near East. The reverse was a simple, two-part punch on which one segment was larger than the other. This corresponded to the dimensions of the planchets and the obverse die, on which the lion was noticeably larger than the bull. In both gold and silver the principal denomination was a 'stater' that originally weighed about 10.70 grams. The silver stater remained at that weight, but the gold soon was reduced to about 8 grams, requiring that a distinction is made between Croesus' 'heavy' and 'light' staters. The main denominations were supplemented with fractional denominations, following the established pattern of many older electrum coinages. Croesus had been issuing his new coins for only about four years when, in 546, his powerful and prosperous kingdom was sacked by the Achaemenid King Cyrus. Instead of executing Croesus, Cyrus embraced him as an advisor, as he admired Croesus despite his defeat. Cyrus also recognised the value of Croesus' coinage to the regional economy, and he continued to strike coins of the same design, purity and weight. The differences between the last issues of Croesus and the first of Cyrus are not perfectly or universally understood, as the only indications are often-subtle aspects of style and fabric. By about 500, if not earlier, the next Persian king, Darius I (522- 486), abandoned Croesus' lion-and-bull type and transformed the Lydian coinage into one that was distinctively Persian. The obverse now showed an archer who usually is described as the Great King, but who may be a hero, and the reverse was struck with a single, oblong punch. Though Darius kept the light-weight stater as his main gold denomination, he chose the silver half-stater (c. 5.35 grams), valued at 1/20th of the gold piece, as his principal silver coin. The new gold piece came to be known as a daric, after King Darius, and the silver piece a siglos, the Greek form of the Semitic shekel.

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Price realized 20'000 CHF
Starting price 12'000 CHF
Estimate 15'000 CHF
The auction is closed.
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