Seleucid Empire, Seleucus I Nikator, 312 – 281. Stater, Bactra or Aï Khanoum circa 290/286-281, AV 8.52 g. Laureate head of Apollo r. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩ[Σ] / ΣΕΛΕΥ[ΚΟΥ] Artemis in biga of elephants r.; above and before, control-marks. ESM 331. CSE 1034 (these dies). Jenkins, NC 1959, p. 42, 22. SCB 1.1 (these dies). O. Bopearachchi, in Treasures of Ancient Bactria, The Miho Museum, Japan, July 2002, types 44 I (these dies). SC 257 (these dies).
Of the highest rarity, the seventh specimen known and one of only four in private hands.
An important and fascinating issue with a portrait of fine style. Obverse with minor
traces of double striking and reverse, as usual, slightly off-centre,
otherwise good extremely fine
From a Swiss Private collection and notarised as being in Switzerland prior to 2005.
Unlike most Seleucid kings, Seleucus I struck a very large quantity of gold coins. However, the vast majority was issued in the name of Alexander III, and employed his familiar design that paired the helmeted head of Athena with Nike holding a wreath and stylis. To those we may add a significantly smaller group of staters bearing that same design, but issued in the name of Seleucus. Beyond these, there are three extraordinary rarities: distaters of the Alexandrine type bearing the name of Seleucus, darics and double-darics bearing on their obverse a portrait of Alexander III in elephant's scalp and on their reverse a standing Nike, and staters with the laureate head of Apollo and a biga of elephants driven by Artemis, who draws an arrow in her bow. The latter type, offered here, is currently known by issues from Susa and from an uncertain mint in Bactria. Provenances of coins assigned to this mint argue for a location in Bactria. Kritt offered compelling arguments for Aï Khanoum, a Seleucid colony discovered in the 1960s in the northeastern part of Bactria, near the Afghan-Russian border. In his 1996 work, Seleucid Coins of Bactria, he noted that a variant of a common monogram found on these issues (a Delta within a circle) has been found stamped on bricks at Aï Khanoum. More recently, Houghton and Lorber have embraced the original view of Edward T. Newell, namely that the most important mint in Bactria would be located in the commercial, political and geographical centre of the province, Bactra. While acknowledging there is a lack of evidence to support the case for Bactra due to a shortfall in the archaeological record, Houghton and Lorber conclude it “..remains a compelling candidate for a royal mint on the grounds of historical probability”.
|Price realized||60'000 CHF|
|Starting price||48'000 CHF|