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

Ancient Coins of Cyprus

Lapethos, Cyprus, King Sidqmelek, c. 449 - 420 B.C.

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Excavation finds date Lapithos to as early as 3000 B.C. In the 4th century B.C., Lapithos was one of the nine kingdoms of Cyprus. During the Persian rule, Lapithos was settled by Phoenicians. After Peisistratos, king of Lapithos, along with Nicocreon of Salamis, and Stasanor of Curion helped Alexander the Great capture Tyre, Alexander declared Cyprus free. The last king of Lapethos, Praxippos, was subdued by Ptolemy I in 312 B.C. Under Roman rule, Lapethos had more than 10,000 inhabitants, produced copper, earthenware and produce, and was a port and a shipyard. Lapethos was given the name Lambousa ("shining") perhaps because of its beauty or perhaps because of its lighthouse. The apostles Paul, Barnabas, and Mark passed by Lapethos coming from Tarsus. According to Barnabas, during his second tour with Mark, they stayed outside the walls because they were denied access to the city. In late antiquity, Lapethos enjoyed great prosperity but was heavily damaged by Arab incursions. The population often had to flee and take refuge in the interior. After the Byzantine recovery of Cyprus from the Arabs in 965, Lapithos's refugees returned to rebuild, but chose to stay away from the sea, relocating it at the foot of mountain Pentadactylos.
GS87792. Silver stater, BMC Cyprus p. 30 f., 7-9, pl. VI, 6-8; Traité II p. 823, 1361-1363 and pl. CXXXVI; Bank of Cyprus p. 94 & pl. VII, 2; Tziambazis 48, F, struck with worn damaged dies, weight 10.789 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 180o, Lapethos (Lambousa, Cyprus) mint, c. 449 - 420 B.C.; obverse Phoenician legend: King of Lapethos, head of Athena left, wearing a crested Corinthian helmet; reverse Phoenician legend: of Sidqmelek, head of Athena facing, wearing a double-crested helmet with bull’s horn and ears, all within an incuse square; very rare; $580.00 (€510.40)
 


Cyprus, Early 5th Century B.C.

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The obverse die was used to strike three different issues, with different reverses. This type is from the third issue, when the obverse die was heavily worn and the ankh was engraved over the ram. The published specimens have no symbol or monogram on the reverse. There are other examples of this variant on Coin Archives.
GS87794. Silver stater, Apparently unpublished variant; cf. Zapiti-Michaelidou pl. VIII, 2; Asyut pl. XXXII, N; Troxell-Waggoner p. 35, 8-9; Tziambazis -; Traité -; BMC -, aVF/VF, struck with the worn obverse die (as are all coins from this issue), slightly off center, light bumps and marks, weight 10.662 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 270o, uncertain Cypriot mint, early 5th century B.C.; obverse ram walking left, ankh symbol superimposed on and above the ram's side and back (the ankh symbol was recut on a heavily worn die); reverse laurel branch with two leaves and three fruits, monogram lower left, all in dotted square within incuse square; rare; $540.00 (€475.20)
 


Cyprus, Early 5th Century B.C.

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The obverse die was used to strike three different issues, with different reverses. This type is from the third issue, when the obverse die was heavily worn and the ankh was engraved over the ram. The published specimens have no symbol or monogram on the reverse. There are other examples of this variant on Coin Archives.
GS89724. Silver stater, Apparently unpublished variant; cf. Zapiti-Michaelidou pl. VIII, 2; Asyut pl. XXXII, N; Troxell-Waggoner p. 35, 8-9; Tziambazis -; Traité -; BMC -, F/VF, struck with a worn obverse die, weight 10.805 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Cypriot mint, early 5th century B.C.; obverse ram walking left, ankh symbol superimposed on and above the ram's side and back (the ankh symbol was recut on a heavily worn die); reverse laurel branch with two leaves and three fruits, ankh symbol on left, monogram lower right, all in dotted square within incuse square; rare; $500.00 (€440.00)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy X Alexander I, 109 - 110 B.C., as King in Cyprus

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This coin was struck at Kition when Ptolemy X ruled in Cyprus and Ptolemy IX and Cleopatra III ruled in Egypt. On the death of Ptolemy VIII, Cleopatra was given the option of which son to declare co-ruler. While she would have preferred Ptolemy X, she was pressured by politics to select Ptolemy IX. Her younger son ruled on Cyprus. Later she would depose Ptolemy IX in favor of her favorite, Ptolemy X.

The attribution to Ptolemy X as King in Cyprus is made mostly by process of elimination. The debased silver eliminates Ptolemy I to VI as possibilities. Ptolemy VIII coins have a very different style for Kition Year 5. Serifs are unique to just a few rare Ptolemaic coin types. Perhaps all are the work of a single engraver. Similar tetradrachms in the Paphos I Hoard shows that these must have been minted before the hoard was lost in ~97 B.C. Also, the heavy-set portrait resembles the marble head of Ptolemy X (Boston Museum of Fine Arts 59.51) and differs from the usual images of Ptolemy I.
GP88097. Silver tetradrachm, unpublished, cf. Svoronos 1767 - 1768, VF, porous rough surfaces, flan cracks, weight 12.913 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kition mint, 110 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on a thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, date LE (year 5) before, KI (Kition mintmark) behind, year and mintmark letters with serifs; no other specimen known; $310.00 (€272.80)
 


Kition, Cyprus, Melekiathon, c. 392 - 361 B.C.

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Kition also known by its Latin name Citium, was a city-kingdom on the southern coast of Cyprus (in present-day Larnaca). It was established in the 13th century B.C. Its most famous, and probably only known, resident was Zeno of Citium, born c. 334 B.C. in Citium and founder of the Stoic school of philosophy which he taught in Athens from about 300 B.C.
GS92809. Silver 1/3 stater, Tziambazis 30; Babelon Perses 707; BMC Cyprus p. xxvi, (i), pl. XIX, 7; Zapiti-Michaelidou -, aVF, struck with worn dies, weight 3.669 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, die axis 0o, Kition mint, c. 392 - 361 B.C.; obverse Melqart-Herakles in fighting stance right, lion skin on arm, club overhead in right hand, bow extended before him in left hand; reverse lion attacking stag crouching right, MLK-ML[...] (in Aramaic) above, all in dotted square border; ex CNG e-auction 413 (31 Jan 2018), lot 120; rare ruler; $165.00 (€145.20)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 282 B.C.

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In 305 B.C., Demetrius Poliorcetes besieged Salamis and defeated Ptolemy's navy off the coast. Demetrius offered lenient terms and Ptolemy's brother, Menelaus, surrendered the city. After this victory, Demetrius declared himself a King. Ptolemy also declared himself a King. This coin has the usual Ptolemaic hemiobol types, with the title BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) visible. It is overstruck over a bronze of Demetrios Poliorketes with helmeted head of Demetrios Poliorketes right obverse (under the reverse of our coin) and prow reverse (under our obverse). Ptolemy struck this coin at Salamis after he re-took Cyprus in 294 B.C. Both Ptolemy I and Demetrios died in 283 B.C. Demetrios died in captivity, imprisoned by Seleukos.
GP87139. Bronze hemiobol, SNG Cop 43 (X, also overstruck, perhaps with same undertype); Svoronos 163; BMC Ptolemies 8, 69; under-type: Newell 20; SRCV II 6775, VF, nice green patina, strong undertype effects, weight 4.094 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Salamis mint, c. 294 B.C.; obverse deified head of Alexander the Great right with horn of Ammon, hair long; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left, head left, wings open, X or (AX monogram) over helmet in left field; extremely rare; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II Physcon, Second Reign, 145 - 116 B.C.

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Similar to Svoronos 1424B, and presumably from the same period. This example is, however, overstruck on an older coin, has no visible symbol, and is lighter than normal for Sv 1424B. Perhaps it is an example of Sv 1424B with the double cornucopia on the reverse unstruck due to a filled die. However, the style seems a little different and overstruck examples of 1424B are unknown. Svoronos 1424B was struck at Alexandria. Matt Kreuzer believes this was struck on Cyprus. If this is a Cypriot issue, it is unpublished and possibly unique.
GP88095. Bronze AE 28, cf. Svoronos 1424B (Joint reign of Ptolemy VI and VIII, Alexandria); SNG Cop 308-310 (same), VF, well centered, dark patina, weak strike with flat areas, beveled obverse edge, central cavities, remains of pre-strike casting sprue, weight 17.222 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 0o, Cypriot(?) mint, c. 145 - 88 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus Ammon right with ram's horn, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), two eagles with closed wings standing left on two thunderbolts, no symbols; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


Salamis, Cyprus, c. 322 - 310 B.C.

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Salamis was a maritime town on the east coast of Cyprus, at the end of a fertile plain between two mountains, near the River Pediaeus.
GB86883. Bronze AE 14, Bank of Cyprus 27; Tziambazis 130 (Evagoras II); BMC Cyprus p. 61, 74 (Evagoras II); SNG Cop -, VF, well centered and struck, dark patina, some pitting and corrosion, weight 2.555 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, die axis 0o, Salamis mint, c. 322 - 310 B.C.; obverse helmeted and draped bust of Athena left, wearing crested Attic helmet, earring and necklace; reverse prow left, ΣAΛ upward on left; very rare; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy III Euergetes, 246 - 222 B.C.

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Ptolemy's first wife, Arsinoë I, a daughter of Lysimachus, was the mother of his legitimate children. After her repudiation he married his full sister Arsinoë II, the widow of Lysimachus, which brought him her Aegean possessions.
GP88283. Bronze hemiobol, Lorber CPE B441, Svoronos 842 (1 spec.), Malter 105, SNG Cop -, SNG Milan -, BMC Ptolemies -, Weiser -, Noeske -, Hosking -, F, dark patina, marks, scratches, beveled obverse edge, central cavities, weight 7.811 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Paphos mint, c. 246 - 222 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus right with horn of Ammon, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, head left, lotus flower before; ex Ora Eads Collection; ex CNG Sale 41 (19 Mar 1997), lot 1035 (part of); rare; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Marion, Cyprus, Stasiakos II, c. 330 - 312 B.C.

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Stasiakos II, king of Marion, was deposed in 312 B.C. by Ptolemy I and the city of Marion was destroyed. This extremely rare type was apparently unpublished until 1998. Coin Archives lists only one sale of this type in the past two decades.
GB87141. Bronze AE 20, Destrooper 16; Bank of Cyprus 10; Symeonides 63 ff., cf. Tziambazis 57 (AE16, lion head facing), SNG Cop -, BMC Cyprus -, VF, rough, weight 7.634 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, Marion mint, c. 330 - 312 B.C.; obverse round shield ornamented with laurel wreath; reverse MAPIEYΣ (below), lion head left; extremely rare; $135.00 (€118.80)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Friday, September 20, 2019.
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Cyprus