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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 8, Lot: 187. Estimate CHF30000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 21 October 2013. 
Sold For CHF25000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

KINGS of LYDIA. Period of Alyattes II. Circa 610-560 BC. Trite (Electrum, 13mm, 4.72 g), so-called “Branch” mint. KUKALI[Ṃ] (in Lydian, retrograde Two confronted lion heads, the one on the right nearly off the flan; between them, inscription. Rev. Double incuse square, made from two separate punches. Cf. Wallace, “KUKALIṂ”, pl. 1, 1-4 = Weidauer Group XVIII (corrected), but this denomination unknown. Extremely rare and beautifully struck with very clear types. Extremely fine.

Ex Triton XV, 3 January 2012, 1241.

This is one of the great rarities of early Lydian coinage and, as the erudite note in Triton XV shows (when this coin first appeared), has been subject to a great deal of scholarly debate. A major question concerns the identity of ‘ Kukaliṃ’, the name that appears on this coin. This name, ‘Kukas’, can be transliterated as ‘Gyges’ and it would be tempting to assign it to the historical king of Lydia of that name; however, he lived at least 60-70 years before this coin could have been minted so that identification is untenable. However, since this coin certainly is related to the usual issues of Alyattes from Sardes, but comes from what is known as the Branch Mint, it is tempting to see this ‘Gyges’ as being a son or other close relative of the king who served as a provincial governor or viceroy within the kingdom of Lydia. It can also be suggested that the Branch Mint would not necessarily have to be located outside of Sardes; rather, it could have been a completely separate workshop, using its own personnel, but still located in the capitol so that it could be carefully controlled by the central authorities. In any case this is a coin of exceptional importance.