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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Hellenistic Monarchies ▸ Seleucid KingdomView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of the Seleucid Kingdom

Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos III Keraunos, 226 - 223 B.C.

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Seleucus III Soter proved not to be the "Savior" that his official royal epithet advertised; nor did live up to his nickname Keraunos - "Thunder." He failed to reclaim western Asia Minor from his cousin, Attalus of Pergamum, and was assassinated after only a brief reign of only a few years.
GS86617. Silver drachm, Houghton-Lorber I 933, Newell WSM 1327, Weber 7867, Hoover Syrian 418 (R3), gVF, superb portrait, light toning, light bumps and marks, reverse double struck with a worn damaged die, weight 4.056 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Northern Syria or Northern Mesopotamia, uncertain mint, 226 - 223 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Seleukos III with long sideburns; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow, BAΣIΛEWS (downward on right) S (δοωνωαρδ ον ριγητ) Σ</θwnward on right) SEΛEYKOY (downward on left), AP monogram (control) left, monogram (control) right; very rare; $1200.00 (€1020.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus I Soter, 281 - 261 B.C.

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Antiochus faced a formidable task holding the empire together. Revolt broke out in Syria almost immediately after his father's death. He earned the title Soter (savior) for victory over hordes of Gauls that attacked Anatolia. Elsewhere, he had little success. He was forced to abandon Macedonia, Thrace, Bithynia, and Cappadocia and to execute his eldest son for rebellion.
GY85675. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 379.6a, Newell ESM 166, HGC 9 128g, Choice VF, well centered and struck, high relief portrait, attractive toning, bumps and marks, closed edge crack, weight 16.667 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 0o, Seleucia on the Tigris mint, c. 263 - 261 B.C.; obverse diademed head right; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow with right, resting left hand on grounded bow, monogram (primary control symbol) outer left, ∆/ΩP monogram (secondary control symbol) outer right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ANT-IOXOY downward on left; $630.00 (€535.50)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleucus I Nikator, 312 - 280 B.C.

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Seleukos (Seleucus) founded the Seleukid Empire and the Seleukid dynasty which ruled Syria until Pompey made it a Roman province in 63 B.C. Seleukos was never one of Alexander the Great's principal generals but he commanded the royal bodyguard during the Indian campaign. In the division of the empire after Alexander's death Seleukos did not receive a satrapy. Instead, he served under the regent Perdikkas until the latter's murder in 321 or 320. Seleukos was then appointed satrap of Babylonia. Five years later Antigonus Monophthalmus (the One-eyed) forced him to flee, but he returned with support from Ptolemy. He later added Persia and Media to his territory and defeated both Antigonus and Lysimachus. He was succeeded by his son Antiochus I.
SH85790. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 13(1)c, Newell WSM 909, Meydancikkale 2745, HGC 3 16c (R1), VF, struck with fine style high-relief dies, light golden toning, bumps and marks, tight flan, obverse slightly off center, test punch on obverse, weight 17.040 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 300 - 281 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse ΣEΛEYKOΣ BAΣIΛEΩΣ, Zeus Nikephoros on throne, right leg drawn back, feet on footstool, Nike offering wreath in his right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, monogram in left field before knees, ΘE under throne below strut, ΣEΛEYKOΣ downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ in exergue; rare; $350.00 (€297.50)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Achaios, 220 - 214 B.C.

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Achaios was an uncle of Antiochos III. He proclaimed himself King in Anatolia. After a two-year siege of his capital of Sardes, Lydia, he was captured and beheaded.
GY76100. Bronze AE 15, Houghton-Lorber I 956 var. (unlisted control symbol), SNG Spaer 834 var. (same), Newell WSM 1442 var. (same), HGC 9 436 (S-R1), VF, nice green patina, weight 3.314 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 220 - autumn or winter 214 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse eagle standing right, head right, wings closed, wreath in talons, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / AXAIOY in two flanking downward lines, X (control symbol) outer right; unpublished extremely rare variant; $340.00 (€289.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Seleucus I as Satrap, 328 - 311 B.C., Babylon, Babylonia

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After the Persian satrap Mazaios surrendered Babylon to Alexander without a fight, Alexander retained him as governor. Alexander made Babylon his royal seat and established a mint to strike "Alexandrine" coinage, including massive quantities of his tetradrachms with a bust of Herakles on the obverse and Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned on the reverse. Alexandrine coinage was struck at many mints and circulated across Alexander's empire. At the same time, Babylon also struck local civic coinage, some in the name of Mazaeus. After Mazaeus death in 328 B.C., the satrap Seleukos I continued to strike local types in several denominations, all with Baal enthroned on the obverse and a standing lion on the reverse. This variety with a spear head control symbol is attributed to Seleukos.
GS86798. Silver double shekel, Nicolet-Pierre p. 289, 2; BMC Arabia p. 181, 4, pl. XX, 17; Mitchiner IGIS 7b; SNG Cop -; Traité -; Babelon Perses -, aVF, nearly as struck but high points unstruck and flat (common for the type), flan flaw on obv., obv. off center, weight 16.743 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 135o, Babylon mint, c. 328 - 311 B.C.; obverse Baaltarz enthroned left on seat without back, himation over left shoulder and around hips and legs, lotus tipped scepter vertical before him in right hand, left hand rests on his hip; reverse lion standing left, spear head left (control symbol) above; rare; $300.00 (€255.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.

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After his brother Demetrius was captured by the Parthians, Antiochus VII was made king. He married Demetrius' wife Cleopatra Thea. He defeated the usurper Tryphon at Dora and laid siege to Jerusalem in 134. According to Josephus, the Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus opened King David's sepulcher and removed three thousand talents, which he then paid Antiochus to spare the city.
GY85814. Bronze AE 15, Houghton CSE 281, Babelon Rois 1108 (no aphlaston), BMC Seleukid 68 var. (star vice aphlaston), Houghton-Lorber II 2068.4b, HGC 9 1096 (S), VF, attractive desert patina with highlighting red earthen fill, off center on a tight flan, weight 2.965 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 90o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 136 - 135 B.C.; obverse lion head right; reverse vertical club, ∆I monogram over aphlaston (control marks) left; retrograde ZOP (year 177 of the Seleukid Era) below, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY / EYEPΓETOY in three downward lines, first two lines on right, last line on left; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VI Dionysus, 144 - c. 142 B.C.

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After his father was deposed by Demetrius II, the general Diodotus Tryphon nominated Antiochus VI as king. He gained the allegiance of most of the Seleucid domain, including Judaea, but was actually only a puppet of the general. He died after "ruling" for two years. He was likely assassinated under orders from Tryphon, who then made himself king.
GY84863. Bronze serrated AE 21, Houghton-Lorber II 2006b, SNG Spaer 1771, Babelon 1009, Houghton CSE 248 ff. var. (control), SNG Cop 304 var. (same), HGC 9 143 (C-S), VF, dark green patina with buff earthen highlighting, centration dimples, weight 7.602 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 45o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. mid-143 - 142 B.C.; obverse radiate head of Antiochos VI right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse elephant walking left, holding torch in trunk, BAΣIΛEΩS ANTIOXOY above, EΠIΦANOYΣ ∆IONYΣOY in exergue, ΣTA over palm frond (control symbols) to right; scarce; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius II Nikator, 146 - 138 and 129 - 125 B.C.

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Demetrius II ruled for two periods, separated by years of captivity in Parthia. He gained the throne with the help of Egypt, but general Diodotus rebelled, took Antioch and made Antiochus VI Dionysus his puppet king. Demetrius then ruled part of the kingdom from Seleucia. In 38 B.C. he attacked the Parthians but was defeated and captured, ending his first reign. The Parthians released him in 129 B.C. when his brother, Antiochus VII Sidetes, marched against Parthia. They hoped the brothers would fight a civil war but the Parthians soon defeated Sidetes, and Demetrius returned to rule Syria. His second reign portraits show him wearing a Parthian styled beard. His second reign ended when he was defeated and killed by yet another usurper set up by Egypt, Alexander II Zabinas.
GY85817. Bronze AE 21, Mantis ANS 1944.100.77326 (also same countermark on obv.), Houghton-Lorber II 1957, HGC 9 999 (R3),, F, green patina, porous; c/m: F, weight 6.031 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 146 - 138 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Demetrios II right, countermark: war galley prow in round incuse punch; reverse war galley left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ∆HMHTPIOY in two lines above, ΣI∆ΩNIΩN over Phoenician script both reading "of the Sidonians" below; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; extremely rare; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VI Dionysus, 144 - c. 142 B.C.

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After his father was deposed by Demetrius II, the general Diodotus Tryphon nominated Antiochus VI as king. He gained the allegiance of most of the Seleucid domain, including Judaea, but was actually only a puppet of the general. He died after "ruling" for two years. He was likely assassinated under orders from Tryphon, who then made himself king.
GY84865. Bronze serrated AE 22, Houghton-Lorber II 2006a, SNG Spaer 1772, Houghton CSE 248, Babelon Rois 1007; SNG Cop 304 var. (star vice cornucopia), HGC 9 1043 (C-S), VF/F, nice green patina with red earthen highlighting, weight 7.249 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 45o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. mid-143 - 142 B.C.; obverse radiate head of Antiochos VI right, wreathed in ivy; reverse elephant walking left, holding torch in trunk, BAΣIΛEΩS ANTIOXOY above, EΠIΦANOYΣ ∆IONYΣOY in exergue, ΣTA over cornucopia (control symbols) to the right; $105.00 (€89.25)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VI Dionysos, 144 - 142 B.C.

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Apamea is believed to be the Biblical city Shepham (Num. xxxiv. 11). It was fortified and enlarged by Seleucus I Nicator, who renamed it from Pharmake to Apamea, after his Bactrian wife, Apama. The Seleukids' elephant breeding and training camp was at Apamea. The pretender, Diodotus Tryphon, made Apameia the basis of his operations. At a strategic crossroad on the road to Cappadocia, Apamea was an important trade center in Roman Asia and flourished to the extent that its population eventually numbered half a million. The city boasted one of the largest theaters in the Roman world, and a monumental colonnade. The ruins of Apamea, with an enormous and highly ornamental acropolis, are about 55 km (34 mi) to the northwest of Hama, Syria.Great Colonnade at Apamea

GY85851. Bronze AE 21, Houghton-Lorber II 2015(1)c; Lindgren-Kovacs 1836 var. (∆P below), BMC Seleucid p. 65, 27 (IΓ lower left); HGC 9 1044, VF, earthen encrustation, porosity, marks and scratches, edge cracks, beveled obverse edge, weight 8.918 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 0o, Apameia (Qalaat al-Madiq, Syria) mint, 144 - 142 B.C.; obverse radiate head of Antiochos VI right; reverse Kantharos, palm frond inner right, control letter or monogram in exergue (off flan), BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY EΠIΦANOΣ ∆IONYΣOY in four downward lines the first two in the right, the last two on the left; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; $100.00 (€85.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Brett, A. "Seleucid Coins of Ake-Ptolemais in Phoenicia, Seleucus IV to Tryphon" in ANSMN 1 (New York, 1945).
Cohen, E. Dated Coins of Antiquity: A comprehensive catalogue of the coins and how their numbers came about. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Gardner, P. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, The Seleucid Kings of Syria. (Forni reprint, 1963).
Hill, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Phoenicia. (London, 1910).
Hoover, O. Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton, Part II. ACNAC 9. (New York, 2007).
Hoover, O. Handbook of Syrian Coins, Royal and Civic Issues, Fourth to First Centuries BC. HGCS 9. (Lancaster, PA, 2009).
Houghton, A., C. Lorber, & O. Hoover. Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalog. (Lancaster, 2002 - 2008).
Houghton, A. Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton. ACNAC 4. (New York, 1983).
Houghton, A. "The Second Reign of Demetrius II of Syria at Tarsus" in ANSMN 24 (1979).
Kritt, B. Seleucid Coins of Bactria<.i>. CNS 1. (Lancaster, 1996).
Kritt, B. The Seleucid Mint of Aï Khanoum, CNS 9. (Lancaster, PA, 2016).
Levante, E. Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum Switzerland I. Levante-Cilicia. (1986, and supplement).
Lindgren, H. & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coins of Asia Minor and the Levant. (1985).
Lindgren, H. Lindgren III: Ancient Greek Bronze Coins from the Lindgren Collection. (1993).
Nelson, B. "The 2005 'Seleucus I' Hoard" in Coin Hoards X (2010).
Newell, E. Late Seleucid Mints in Ake-Ptolemais and Damascus. ANSNNM 84 (1939).
Newell, E. The Coinage of the Eastern Seleucid Mints. From Seleucus I to Antiochus III. (New York, 1938).
Newell, E. The Coinage of the Western Seleucid Mints, From Seleucus I to Antiochus III. (New York, 1941).
Newell, E. The Seleucid Mint of Antioch. (Chicago, 1978).
Price, M. The Coinage of in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. (London, 1991).
Rogers, E. The Second and Third Seleucid Coinage at Tyre. ANSNNM 34 (New York, 1927).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 7: Cyprus to India. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale. (Paris, 1993 - 2001).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Israel I, The Arnold Spaer Collection of Seleucid Coins. (London, 1998).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum Switzerland I. Levante-Cilicia. (Zurich, 1986; & suppl., 1993).

Catalog current as of Thursday, May 24, 2018.
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Seleucid Kingdom