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Research Coins: Feature Auction


One of the Great Seleukid Rarities

CNG 91, Lot: 354. Estimate $10000.
Sold for $32500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SELEUKID KINGS of SYRIA. Seleukos I Nikator. 312-281 BC. AR Stater (22mm, 16.88 g, 12h). Susa mint. Struck circa 288/7 BC. Head of Zeus right, wearing laurel wreath / Elephant advancing right; above, spearhead right; K below. SC 187.1b; ESMS ElSt.5 var. (A–/P1 [unlisted obv. die]); ESM 330; HGC 9, –. Good VF for type, lightly toned, minor porosity. Extremely rare, one of only 9 coins known for the type, the third with these control marks (the other two in a public collection - Berlin).

As at the great mint of Babylon, the mint of Susa struck coinage of both royal Seleukid type (on the Attic standard) and local native type (on a local standard). The native types mostly comprise the Ba’al/Lion types similar to those found at Babylon, but also this very rare Zeus/Elephant type. Although the extant examples are well cataloged, very little is known about the circumstances of the issue. As with all the ‘native’ coinage, we can only assume that they were used for a special localized purpose. Newell hypothesized they were a temple or local trade currency.