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SELEUKID EMPIRE. Antiochos I Soter. 281-261 BC. Æ (14mm, 2.30 g, 6h). Aï Khanoum mint. Helmeted head of Athena right / Nike standing left, holding wreath. Beveled edge. SC 454; SMAK Type 9; HGC 9, 214. Dark green patina, light cleaning marks. VF. Rare.

Ex Classical Numismatic Group Electronic Auction 388 (14 December 2016), lot 157.

Aï Khanoum (from a modern Uzbek term meaning “lady moon”) was probably founded as Alexandria on the Oxus circa 280 BC by the Seleukid King Antiochos I Soter. Located in the shadow of the Hindu Kush mountains, at the confluence of the Panj and Kocha Rivers, it soon grew into the largest and most important Hellenistic city in the ancient Baktria, with a triangular circuit of walls measuring several miles. Artifacts and structures found at the site show an mix of classical Greek motifs with local influences, including numerous Corinthian columns, mosaics, sculptures, and a large theater capable of seating 6,000 people. Also located at the city was a mint that produced gold, silver and bronze coins; the bronze issue of Aï Khanoum is probably one of the first coins struck at the new mint. After Baktria broke away from Seleukid rule in circa 246 BC, the city became one of the capitals of the Greco-Baktrian Kingdom. It might have been renamed Eukratidia during the second century BC after Eukratides I the Great (circa 170-145 BC), but it was overrun and destroyed by nomadic invaders a short time after his death. The city was never reoccupied and remained forgotten until its rediscovery by archaeologists in the 1960s.