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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Anatolia ▸ IoniaView Options:  |  |  |   

Ionia

Ionia lies in central Western Anatolia (Asia Minor) on the shores of the Aegean Sea. The region is rather small and mountainous unsuited for agriculture but excellent for seafaring. Greek settlement took place in the 11th to 10th Centuries B.C. despite hostilities with the native Luwians (Indo-European people related to the Hittites and Lycians). After resisting fairly well to the Cimmerian invasion, the Ionians were gradually conquered by the Lycian Kingdom, and later by the Persian Empire. Ionia was freed by Alexander but became a contested prize for the Hellenistic kings, until the last king of Pergamum bequeathed his land to Rome. Ionia offered the world countless philosophers and men of science, and a fabulous school of art.


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 550 - 450 B.C.

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Kyzikos, purportedly the first Milesian colony, was located on the southwest shore of the Propontis in ancient Mysia next to the river Aisepos. Its prosperity was due principally to its two fine harbors, which made the city a convenient stopping point for merchant ships trading between the Aegean and Black Seas. Its principal export was the tunny, of which its waters had abundant stock. The prevalence of winged beings in Kyzikene coinage is a reflection of archaic mythological convention that assigned wings to most divine or sacred entities as an immediately visible and understandable symbol of their nature, and in the case of gods, of their power to move at will across great distances. In the case of the winged animals, we should probably understand these to be attributes of or animals sacred to a particular Olympian god.
SH86217. Electrum stater, Von Fritze I (Nomisma VII) 104 & pl. 3, 23; Boston MFA 1433; SNG BnF 245; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; BMC Mysia -, VF, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 16.091 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos mint, c. 550 - 450 B.C.; obverse winged dog seated left, head turned back right, curved archaic wing, wearing collar, tunny fish below to left; reverse quadripartite incuse square; extremely rare; $6500.00 (€5525.00)


Western Anatolia, c. 620 - 600 B.C., Plain Globular Type

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Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

Unpublished! The majority of the earliest electrum issues were struck on the lighter Milesian weight standard, with hectes weighing approximately 2.35 grams. This example, however is on the heavier Phocaic standard that was used at mints such as Cyzicus, Mysia and Phocaea, Ionia.
SH85577. Electrum hekte, Phokaic standard 1/6 stater; unpublished, EF, flan cracks, weight 2.721 g, maximum diameter 8.96 mm, uncertain western Anatolia mint, c. 620 - 600 B.C.; obverse plain globular surface; reverse one small incuse square punch; extremely rare; $2850.00 (€2422.50)


Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia

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The obverse legend abbreviates Consul Designatus, Iterum et Tertium, meaning Consul Elect for the second and third time. The reverse legend abbreviates Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, the title adopted in November of 43 B.C. by the three Caesarian leaders (Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus) when they formed the Second Triumvirate to oppose the tyrannicides Brutus and Cassius.
SH86609. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RPC I 2202, Sydenham 1198, Crawford 263, RSC Octavia and M. Antony 3, Sear CRI 263, BMCRR East 135, SRCV I 1513, Choice gVF, toned, well centered, some die wear and rust, scratches, weight 11.723 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT (Consul Elect for the 2nd and 3rd time), conjoined head of Antony and bust of Octavia right, Antony nearer and wreathed in ivy, Octavia draped; reverse Dionysus standing half left on cista mystica, in his right hand, thyrsus in his left hand, flanked by two interlaced snakes with heads erect, III VIR (triumvir) downward on left, R P C (Reipublicae Constituendae) upward on right; $2700.00 (€2295.00)


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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The cistophorus was first struck by the Pergamene Kingdom was a tetradrachm (four-drachms coin) struck on a reduced Asian standard of about 3 grams per drachm. Its name was derived from the cista, a Dionysian cult snake basket that frequently appeared on the obverse. After the Pergamene Kingdom was bequeathed to Rome in 133 B.C., the Romans continued to strike cistophori for the Asia province, with a value equal to three denarii. The portrait of Augustus and later emperors replaced the cista on the obverse.
SH87855. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RPC I 2214, RIC I 481; BnF I 918; RSC I 32b; BMCRE p. 113, 697; BMCRR East 264, SRCV I 1586, Nice VF, handsome portrait, toned, very light marks and scratches, banker's mark, some die wear, reverse off center, weight 11.867 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesus mint, c. 24 - 20 B.C.; obverse IMP - CAE-SAR (counterclockwise below), bare head right, linear border; reverse six stalks of grain tied in a bundle, AVGV-STVS divided across field; ex Savoca Coins, silver auction 25, lot 465; $1150.00 (€977.50)


Vespasian the Younger, Caesar, 94 - 95 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia

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In 94 A.D., because he had no heir, Domitian adopted his two young great-nephews. He renamed them Vespasian and Domitian. The next year he executed the boys' father, his cousin, Titus Flavius Clemens, and exiled the boys' mother, his niece, Flavia Domitilla. They were charged with Atheism, a charge sometimes applied to condemn converts to Judaism or Christianity. The boys then disappeared from history and their fate is unknown. Smyrna was the only city to strike coins in the name of Vespasian the Younger. No coins were struck for his brother.

Some scholars connect Domitilla with a Roman Matron in the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 10b) and the Deuteronomy Rabbah 2.25. When the emperor had decreed that in 30 days, the Senate would confirm an edict to kill all Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire, the Roman matron convinced her husband to stand up for the Jews. If that identification is correct, her husband Flavius Clemens converted to Judaism, after having contact with the great sage Rabbi Akiva. Flavia Domitilla is a saint in both the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church.
SH83453. Bronze AE 16, Klose p. 244, 3, pl. 31 (V1/R1); RPC II 1028; SNG Cop 1360; SNGvA 2208; BMC Ionia p. 276, 320, gF/F, weight 2.790 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 94 - 95 A.D.; obverse OYOCΠACIANOC NEΩTEPOC, bare head right; reverse ZMYPNAIΩN, Nike standing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand; ex Solidus Numismatik, auction 7, lot 200; rare; $900.00 (€765.00)


Phokaia, Ionia, c. 521 - 478 BC

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Phocaea, or Phokaia, was the northernmost Ionian city, on the boundary with Aeolis. The Phocaeans were the first Greeks to make long sea-voyages, developed a thriving seafaring economy, became a great naval power, and founded the colonies Massalia (Marseille, France), Emporion (Empúries, Spain) and Elea (Velia, Italy). They remained independent until all of mainland Ionia fell to Croesus of Lydia (c. 560-545 B.C.). In 546 B.C., Lydia was conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia. After the Greeks defeated Xerxes I, Phocaea joined the Delian League, but later rebelled with the rest of Ionia. In 387 B.C., Phocaea returned to Persian control. After Alexander, it fell under Seleucid, then Attalid, and finally Roman rule.
SH87862. Electrum 1/24 stater, Bodenstedt 20; SNGvA 7939; BMC Ionia p. 207, 29A; Boston MFA 1897; Traité II 2093; Warren 1679, Choice aEF, weight 0.658 g, maximum diameter 7.4 mm, Phokaia (Foca, Turkey) mint, c. 521 - 478 B.C.; obverse ram's head left, seal swimming left below; reverse incuse quadripartite punch; $900.00 (€765.00)


Ephesos, Ionia, c. 500 - 420 B.C.

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In 479 B.C., the Ionians, allied with Athens and Sparta, were able to oust the Persians from the shores of Asia Minor. In 478 B.C., the Ionian cities entered with Athens and Sparta into the Delian League. Ephesus did not contribute ships but gave financial support.
GS86219. Silver drachm, SNG Kayhan 140, SNGvA 7819, SNG Cop 210, SNG Tübingen 2758, Traité II, p. 1090, 1867 & pl. CLII, 12; BMC Ionia -, SNG München -, Choice gVF, toned, well centered on a tight flan, weight 3.343 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, c. 500 - 420 B.C.; obverse EΦ-EΣI-O-N, bee seen from above; reverse quadripartite incuse square, divided by thin raised bands, incuse quarters rough; rare issue with full ethnic; $720.00 (€612.00)


Ionia, c. 650 - 600 B.C., Plain Globular Type

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Mankind's first coin type! Rare and important. This is an example of the very earliest form of coinage; a type-less (blank) electrum globule, weighed to a specific standard, with a simple square punch mark on one side (two or three punch marks on larger denominations). Nine similar electrum pieces were within the famous "Artemision Find" at Ephesus in 1904.
SH87925. Electrum 1/24 stater, SNG Kayhan 678, Weidauer -, Rosen -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, VF, bumps and scratches, weight 0.526 g, maximum diameter 6.0 mm, uncertain Ionian mint, c. 650 - 600 B.C.; obverse plain globular surface; reverse incuse punch: roughly square pyramid with striated sides; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 47 (9 Oct 2016), lot 160; rare; $700.00 (€595.00)


Ionia, c. 600 - 550 B.C.

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CNG identified their example of the type, from the same dies, as unpublished and unique. This is only the third hemihekte of this type known to Forum (the CNG coin and two we have handled). Similar coins in different denominations are also know from auction listings, some of which fail to notice the two "eyes."
SH87923. Electrum hemihekte, 1/12 stater Samian-Euboeic standard; cf. CNG mail bid sale 72 (14 Jun 2006), lot 774 (same dies); Elektron I -; Weidauer -; Traité I -; SNG Kayhan -, VF, bumps and scratches, tiny edge cracks,, weight 1.087 g, maximum diameter 8.2 mm, uncertain Ionian mint, c. 600 - 550 B.C.; obverse plain with two pellets side-by-side on the edge (crude scarab beetle?); reverse irregular square incuse pattern; extremely rare; $650.00 (€552.50)


Ionia, c. 650 - 600 B.C., Plain Globular Type

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Mankind's first coin type! Rare and important. This is an example of the very earliest form of coinage; a type-less (blank) electrum globule, weighed to a specific standard, with a simple square punch mark on one side (two or three punch marks on larger denominations). Nine similar blank electrum pieces were within the famous "Artemision Find" at Ephesus in 1904.
SH87924. Electrum 1/48 stater, Milesian standard; SNGvA 7764, Weidauer -, Traité I -, Rosen -, SNG Kayhan -, Mitchiner ATEC -, VF, weight 0.285 g, maximum diameter 4.2 mm, uncertain Ionian mint, c. 650 - 600 B.C.; obverse plain globular surface; reverse incuse irregular square punch; very rare; $550.00 (€467.50)




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Wednesday, December 12, 2018.
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Ionia