Featured A coin from a mint on the edge of the world

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David@PCC, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. David@PCC

    David@PCC Well-Known Member

    By edge of the world I mean for the areas of interest I collect in the Greek world. I'm trying to collect all rulers of the Seleucid kingdom for which I have 25. I also am interested in getting as many mints as possible for which I have 24 currently. My latest comes from a remote corner of the known Greek world.
    As Alexander was conquering the territories of the former achaemenid empire he renamed as many as 60 or 70 cities after himself. He made it as far as present day India before returning to Babylon. After his death in 323 BC, wars were fought amongst his generals and his territory was eventually divided among them. The furthest reaches to the East went to Seleucus. One mint in particular was established by him around 285 BC now known as AI Khanoum, some also believe it is the site of Alexandria on the Oxus.
    It is a very remote mint indeed being some 2500 miles from Athens. Located in Northern Afganistan near the border of Tajikistan, foreigners are forbidden to enter without permission and the area is near Taliban territory.

    Ai Khanoum is located between Bactra and Alexander Eschate (Alexandria the furthest), believed to be the farthest point Alexander reached.
    The present site was only discovered in the 1960's by a hunting party when Greek columns were seen in the ground. For 14 years French archaeologist excavated the area and came to the conclusion it was built by Seleucus I in the 290's. Built near the Oxus river it had tall walls and Greek style architecture. Prior to excavations no one knew there was a mint there. Only after were found coin blanks as well as a shared symbol found on coins and bricks from the city, of a triangle within a circle.
    Archaeologist were getting down to the earliest parts of the city when the Afgan war broke out. No one has been back since to excavate and the area has since been bulldozed. It was also used a battle site between Taliban and Afgan forces, trenches and all.
    For those interested in coins from this rare mint Brian Kritt has a good book on the subject.

    Seleucid coins from this mint are rare because it was only in operation for 30 years before the Bactrians took control of the area. The only Seleucid rulers to mint there are Seleucus I, Antiochus I/II, and for 2 years under Antiochus III when he briefly took it back.
    AI Khanoum was completely abandoned after 150 BC, burned, and overrun by northern invaders. In the market bronze coins are less plentiful than silver and possibly gold. Mine was minted early on under Antiochus I.
    Antiochus I
    Mint: Ai Khanoum
    281 to 261 BC
    Obvs: Beardless head of Heracles right wearing lion skin headdress.
    Revs: Humped bull walking right.
    16mm, 2.99g
    SC 441.1; HGC 10, 187(R3)

    I believe this mint may tie for the oldest coins ever minted in present day Afganistan, if anyone has an older known coin from within this country's border please share!

    I also have the furthest West Seleucid mint 2300 miles west of Ai Khanoum.
    Antiochus Hierax
    Mint: Alexandria Troas
    AR Tetradrachm
    242 to 227 BC
    Obvs: Diademed head of Antiochus Hierax with prominant cheekbone.
    Revs: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ on r., ANTIOXOY on l., partially nude, with slight drapery on thigh, Apollo seated l. on omphalos, testing arrow and resting l. hand on grounded bow that has pellets that symbolize the handle. Horse symbol in exergue and two control monograms in left field.
    29x30mm, 16.35g
    Sear GCV 6919, SC 877.2

    A great video describing the site over the last 50 years and the cities history.

    Let's see some Seleucid mints!
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  3. Numisnewbiest

    Numisnewbiest Well-Known Member

    Loved the history lesson - thanks for that!
    David@PCC likes this.
  4. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    Interesting coin and a great writeup. I just saw a documentary on this area on the history channel a few weeks ago.
    David@PCC likes this.
  5. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Congrats for this specialized write-up. I'll start with Antiochus I. SNGIs 292. Antiochus 1  O SC  379.6a.JPG Antioch 1 Apo              SNGIs 292.JPG
  6. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Just a guy making his way in the universe

    Very interesting write-up. I hope it can be a featured article...
    galba68 and David@PCC like this.
  7. David@PCC

    David@PCC Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Your coin is Seleukeia on the Tigris.
    7Calbrey likes this.
  8. TheRed

    TheRed Well-Known Member

    Very nice coins David. I have yet to get Seleucid coins from either mint. I have always found Ai Khanoum to be a fascinating. A Greek city so far removed from Greece. When the Tillya Tele treasure was on tour and made a stop in D.C. it was incredible to see all of the Greek objects they had from the city.

    I'll add an Antiochos I Soter tetradrachm, struck in the name of this father, from the city of Pergamon. It is one of my favorite Seleucid coins.

    I'll also add another tet from Ladociea ad Mare struck under Antiochos II.
  9. David@PCC

    David@PCC Well-Known Member

    Those are great @TheRed, I have neither mint. It is an interesting place following the heels of one of the greatest military campaigns in history only to be completely abandoned 150 years later.
    panzerman likes this.
  10. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Great coins/ posts everyone:) I have only one coin from that mint.
    AV Stater ND Ai Khanoum Mint
    diodotos i Soter 255-35BC/ in name of Antiochus II
    This coin has been spared of those awfull test marks, guess there where idiots around in ancients times too. e5063e56180349a09abe886426ea84fc.jpg
  11. Ajax

    Ajax Well-Known Member

    Great coin and read David! Here's one of Antiochos II from Ephesus
    Antiochos II.png
    Jay GT4, Sulla80, Multatuli and 12 others like this.
  12. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Great post David! I just posted the coin a couple of weeks ago, but since nobody's posted this mint yet, here we go: Seleukos I, from Babylon (still in the name of Alexander):
    Seleukos I Babylon.jpg
    Andres2, Jay GT4, Multatuli and 12 others like this.
  13. dadams

    dadams Well-Known Member

    That is indeed an excellent write up and an even more excellent coin from the mint at AI Khanoum. I watched the video from beginning to end and I encourage all of you that enjoyed this post watch it too. It is hard to believe the vast territories covered by Alexander knowing of the difficulties even modern scholars faced in making their way back to AI Khanoum. 5000 km from Greece on horse, camel and beast, imagine that.
    I enjoyed this lesson in true multi-culturism immensely and now another coin (mint) added to the want list.

    Some coin talk is near the end of the vid for those wanting to skip the meat of the documentary.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
    Sulla80, Theodosius, Ryro and 8 others like this.
  14. Deacon Ray

    Deacon Ray Well-Known Member

    Awesome post David@PCC ! I've always thought that the portraits on the Seleucid coins were very beautiful. I've accumulated a modest collection over the past year. There's some repetition of Seleukos I and Demetrius I Soter pieces in the poster.

  15. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Just a guy making his way in the universe

    Now a featured article (was a pretty outstanding write-up)
  16. David@PCC

    David@PCC Well-Known Member

    That is a great transition coin. While gold and silver circulated more widely, there is evidence from find spots that bronze coinage only was used locally from this mint.

    Thanks! Would have liked to see what exactly were in those trays.

    You have a great collection spanning two centuries, looking forward to what else you may be getting.

    Thank you. It's important to educate about these sites. Who knows how many more decades it will take before archaeologist are able to return.
  17. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Mint : Temnos - Heracles ( Alexander) - Rare issue with thin but bigger size.
    Price 1676. Grape Ale O   Temnos.JPG Grape Alex R  Price 1676.JPG
    NLL, TIF, Deacon Ray and 6 others like this.
  18. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Tyre- Phoenicia. Demetrios I - Reverse / Palm Tree. Green patina. Newell 55.

    Demetrios I    TyrePalm.jpg Demetri R       Newell 55.jpg
  19. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    panzerman, that's a wonderful high relief portrait & lively action reverse.
  20. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Deacon Ray, great collection & presentation.
    Deacon Ray likes this.
  21. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    ANTIOCH- Syria
    Seleucus II - Apollo / Tripod. SC 694 Seleuc2Apol         Sc 694.JPG Seleuc2 R       Tripod.JPG
  22. David@PCC

    David@PCC Well-Known Member

    Picked up my second from this elusive mint and wanted to share. Wasn't expecting to see another so soon and makes for a good end of the year.
    Antiochus I
    Mint: Ai Khanoum
    281 to 261 BC
    Obvs: Helmeted head of Athena right, dotted border.
    Revs: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, Nike standing left holding wreath with small wings rising above shoulders.
    AE 19x20mm, 5.45g
    Ref: SC 452 or 453; HGC 10, 164(R2)/190(R3)
    Note: This coin falls right in between the weight of denomination B and C
    TIF, Johndakerftw, TheRed and 3 others like this.
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