A New collection of Greek Silver.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by BenSi, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    My first steps into a new collection . The Coins of Seleucid Empire. I descided to start with tetradrachms.

    I chose this time period because of the beautiful portatis. In fact I have chosen that for the main critera of this collection.

    My Alexander the great has a Very attractive obverse but the reverse is a bit worn. It was issues By Seleucis I Nikator. 312-280 BC VF/aF



    My second coin Antichos VIII Epiphanes (Grypos) 121-97BC I was really taken by his portrait.


    16.29 gm

    This is also a new adventure in photography for silver coins, these were done in low light, I will need to experiment a bit more to get them perfect.

    If you have Greek Silver with great portaits please feel free to share them
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  3. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    Great coins, you are defintely on a good start! I like the portrait of Antiochos VIII as well.

    I noticed the two monograms on your Antiochos VIII tetradrachm on the left, and I have no idea how you bought the coin, as Antioch mint? Antioch mint is very common and the bottom monogram is similair as yours. However, yours is in fact a very rare issue from an uncertain mint in North Syria or Cilicia, struck somewhere in 118-113 BC. Reference is SC 2293.1. Very nice, no examples are on SCO even.

    Some of my Antiochos VIII coins:
    Antiochos VIII Epiphanes (Grypos) (121/0-97/6 B.C.) AR Tetradrachm. 2nd reign at Antioch. Antiochia on the Orontes mint, 112-111/10 B.C.
    Diademed head of Antiochos VIII to right.
    Reverse: BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY - EΠIΦANOYΣ Zeus Ouranios standing front, head to left; holding star in his right hand and long scepter in his left; above, crescent; to left, monogram above A; to inner right, Δ; all within laurel wreath.
    Reference: SC 2302.1f.
    16.26g; 27mm

    Antiochos VIII Epiphanes (Grypos) (121/0-97/6 B.C.) AR Drachm. 3rd reign at Antioch. Antiochia on the Orontes mint, 109-96 B.C.
    Diademed head of Antiochos VIII to right.
    Reverse: BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY - EΠIΦANOYΣ. Tripod; monogram over Γ to outer left.
    Reference: SC 2310; HGC 9, 1209.
    Ex Shlomo Moussaieff Collection, London, 1948 - 2000.


    Antiochos VIII Epiphanes (121/0-97/6 B.C.) Æ Denomination E (quarter), struck circa 109-96 B.C.
    Diademed head of Antiochus VIII right.
    Reverse: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY EΠIФANOYΣ (“of King Antiochos the Illustrious”), Rose. Outer left PE control.
    Reference: SC 2316; HGC 9, 1227(R3).
    2.33g; 13mm
  4. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    Okay beginners question. What is SCO? The seller did attribute it correctly, he noted the same info as you did with the mint. He also sold it as very rare type but that's not what attracted me, the face haunted me for a few weeks before I purchased it. He gave a slightly different number than you did 2293.4
    Pavlos likes this.
  5. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Very nice, I really like the Antiochus VIII!
    The Seleucid's produced some fine specimens in their 250 + year history so you won't be disappointed in collecting their coins.
    BenSi likes this.
  6. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I have very few Greek coins, silver or otherwise, but there a few with portraits I like a lot:

    Corinth AR Stater. Circa 375-345 BC. Obv: Pegasos flying left, Q below / Rev: Helmeted head of Athena left. Control-symbols behind head: Retrograde N and Ares standing left holding shield and spear. Pegasi 376 var. [“N” not retrograde”] [Calciati, R., Pegasi Vol. I (Mortara, 1990)]; Ravel 1056 [Ravel, O.E., Les "Poulains" de Corinthe, I - II (Basel, 1936; London, 1948)]; BCD Corinth 121 [Numismatik Lanz, Münzen von Korinth: Sammlung B, Auction 105 (Munich, 26 Nov. 2001)]; SNG Copenhagen 121 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Copenhagen, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Part 15, Corinth (Copenhagen 1944)]. 21mm, 8.46 g., 6h. gVF/VF, Ex Roma Numismatics Ltd. Auction IX 22 March 2015, Lot 168.

    Corinth AR Stater jpg version.jpg

    Macedon, Alexander III (under Philip III Arrhidaeus), AR Drachm, Miletos mint, 323-319 BCE. Obv. Head of beardless Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress / Rev. Zeus seated left on stool-throne, holding long scepter in left hand, with eagle standing right with closed wings on his right hand; KH monogram (Price Monogram 476) in left field; in right field, AΛEXANDPOY. Price 2121 [Price, M., The Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus (London, 1991)]; Pella database at http://numismatics.org/pella/id/price.2121?lang=en; Müller 847 [Müller, L., Numismatique d'Alexandre le Grand; Appendice les monnaies de Philippe II et III, et Lysimaque (Copenhagen, 1855-58)]. 16 mm., 4.21 g. Ex: Harmer Rooke Numismatists, Ltd., 21 Feb. 1986.

    Alexander drachm O2.jpg

    Alexander drachm R2.jpg

    Egypt, Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy VI Philometor [“Mother-loving”] (First reign, 180-164 BCE), ca.180-170 BCE, Alexandria Mint. Obv. Diademed head of Ptolemy I right, wearing aegis / Rev. Eagle with closed wings standing left on thunderbolt, ΠTOΛEMAIOY on left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ on right. Seaby 7895 [Sear, David, Greek Coins & their Values, Vol. II: Asia & Africa (Seaby 1979)]; Svoronos 1489 (ill. Pl. 51a, Nos. 1-5) [Svoronos, J.N., Ta Nomismata tou Kratous ton Ptolemaion (Athens, 1904-08)] (see https://www.coin.com/images/dr/svoronos/svc001p209t.html [incorrectly attributed to Ptolemy VIII]); SNG Copenhagen 262-268 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Copenhagen, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Part 40: Egypt: The Ptolemies (Copenhagen 1977)]; BMC 6 Ptolemaic Egypt 3 (p. 100) (ill. Pl. XXIV No. 5) [Poole, R.S., A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Vol. 6, Ptolemaic Kings of Egypt (London, 1883)]. 26 mm., 12.14 g.

    Ptolemy VI tetradrachm jpg version.jpg

    Syria, Seleucid Empire, Antiochos VIII Epiphanes (Grypon) Tetradrachm, 109-96 BCE Antioch Mint. Obv. Diademed head of Antiochos VIII right / Rev. Zeus Nikephoros seated left on high-backed throne, holding Nike on outstretched right hand and scepter in left; to outer left, E/P monogram above A [Antioch]; ΔI monogram below throne; BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ ANTIOXOY EΠIΦANOYΣ; all within laurel wreath. Seleucid Coins [SC] Pt. 2, 2309; Seleucid Coins Online [same] (see http://numismatics.org/sco/id/sc.1.2309); Seaby 7145 (ill.) [Sear, David, Greek Coins & their Values, Vol. II: Asia & Africa (Seaby 1979)]; Hoover HGC 9, 1200 [Hoover, Oliver, Handbook of Syrian Coins, Royal and Civic Issues, Fourth to First Centuries BC, The Handbook of Greek Coinage Series, Volume 9 (2009)]; Newell SMA 405 [Newell, E.T., The Seleucid Mint of Antioch (1918)], SNG Israel 2554-55 [Spaer, A. & A. Houghton, Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Israel I, The Arnold Spaer Collection of Seleucid Coins (London, 1998)]; BMC 4 Seleucid Syria 2 (p. 98) (ill. Pl. XXVI, No. 3) [erroneously attributed to Antiochos XI] [Gardner, P., A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Vol. 4, The Seleucid Kings of Syria (London, 1878)]. 27 mm., 16.2 g.

    Detail Antiochos VIII tetradrachm.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  7. TheRed

    TheRed Supporter! Supporter

    Those are some really nice tets @BenSi I love the bust of Alexander. The tets of Seleukos I had some great depictions of Alexander.

    SCO is Seleucid Coins Online:

    One of my favorite portraits in my collection is a tetradrachm from Pergamon that was minted to honor Seleukos I after the battle of Corupedium in 281 BC by Philetaerus.
  8. Carl Wilmont

    Carl Wilmont Supporter! Supporter

    Enjoy the new collecting area, @BenSi! Here are a couple of portraits on Seleucid coins that I thought were well done.

    Demetrios I Soter (162-150 BC). AR Drachm.

    Antiochus VII Euergetes (138-129 BC). AR Drachm
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Why do you light the portraits from below opposite of natural lighting direction?

    When I think of 'Greek' coinage, I do not think of portraits. Portraits came on after the highest point of Greek civilization was hardly a memory. There are many people here on Coin Talk who specialize in the Hellenistic period. I have very few really preferring the Archaic and Classical periods from cities rather than from kings.









    Greek silver is great. Don't limit yourself to the portraits.

  10. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    You don't count the portrayals of Athena and Helios that you posted as "portraits"? I posted my Corinth stater above as one of my favorite "portraits" on Greek silver, and in fact it probably is my favorite on any of my ancient coins -- assuming that it counts!
    BenSi and Roman Collector like this.
  11. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    The lighting had to do with the way I rearranged my desk, I see the error that you pointed out. I normally use a flash because I am use to photographing mostly dark bronzes. I used no additional lighting in these photographs. I will improve.

    I make my living selling art and the portraits drew me in, they remind me the journey art has made in the last few thousand years. My specialty now days is masters works form the 16th and 17th century so these tiny pieces of art seem to be the genesis of realistic portrait. I also like structure, goals that are achievable. Many of your coins are fantastic and I would love to have examples as nice in my collections but I require a focus but occasionally I will venture out of my zone.
  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I suggest you avoid flash since it is hard to previsualize the effect even when the flash has modelling lights. I have become quite fond of the what you see is what you get feature of my mirrorless Canon. Some of my darker coins used exposures of four seconds which is not a problem since they don't move around. It is easier that matching needles and all the other ways we used to do it.
    svessien, DonnaML and BenSi like this.
  13. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Some of my favorite Seleucid portraits that I own.
    SELEUCID KINGDOM. Antiochus II Theos (261-246 BC). AR tetradrachm (32mm, 16.99gm, 12h). Phocaea. Diademed head of Antiochus I right, elderly to middle ages, with full hair and aquiline nose; dotted border / BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANT-IOXOY, Apollo seated left on omphalus, testing arrow in right hand, left hand on grounded bow to right behind; forepart of griffin left in upper, outer left field, A(PT) monogram in outer right field. SC 508. Extremely rare - no examples in sales archives. Pleasant medium gray old collection toning. Extreme high relief

    Antiochus III. 223-187 BC. AR Tetradrachm
    16.97 Grams
    Seleucia on the Tigris. First Reign, Before the Revolt of Molon, Ca. 223-221 BC. Diademed head of Antiochus III right / ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ on right, ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ on left, Nude Apollo seated left on omphalos, slight drapery on right thigh, holding arrow in right hand, left hand resting on bow, Control marks in outer left and right fields and in exergue.

    Material: Silver
    Weight: 16.85 g
    Syria, Antiochus II; 261-246 BC, Perhaps Tralles, Tetradrachm, 16.85g. SC-534.2. Obv: Diademed head of Antiochus II r. Rx: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ Apollo, slight drapery on r. thigh, seated l. on omphalos, testing arrow and resting l. hand on bow; control marks in outer l. and r. fields. Obverse somewhat high relief. aVF / Fine

    Seleucus IV AR tetradrachm. 187-175 BC. Antioch mint. 17.1 g. Diademed head right. / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣEΛEYKOY, Apollo seated left on omphalos, holding bow and arrow. Filleted palm branch.

    During the Victorian period most scholars were of the thought that the Hellenistic age was an inferior period than the Classical period that preceded it. I have heard the arguments that the hellenistic age was a period of time were little innovation(literary, art, political) occurred. I can see that argument, but I don't think it holds up well when put to scrutiny. Greek ideas were propagated across Egypt and the Middle East where they fused with the local customs to create some remarkable works of literature(The Argonautica), cities(Seleucia on the Tigris, Ai-Khanoum), and art(the statue of the Dying Gaul, The Farnese Herucles).

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  14. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    The Hellenistic period has some truly incredible portraits on coins, but, for now at least, my coin cash still tends to go elsewhere. Below are two of my favorite Greek silvers... one has a portrait (of a mythological figure), and the other doesn't, but both I think still qualify as great art.

    Lokris Opuntii Stater.jpg
    LOKRIS, Lokri Opuntii
    AR Stater. 12.09g, 24.9mm. LOKRIS, Lokri Opuntii, Opus mint, circa 350-340 BC. BCD Lokris-Phokis 60; McClean 5433; HGC 4, 992 var (control). O: Head of Demeter left, wreathed with grain. R: OΠONTIΩN, Ajax the Lesser advancing right, brandishing sword and holding shield decorated with griffin and palmette; spear on ground behind, Λ between legs.

    CRETE Gortyna - AR Stater Europa Bull 3981 new2.jpg
    CRETE, Gortyna
    AR Stater. 11.68g, 27mm x 24.5mm. CRETE, Gortyna, circa 330-270 BC. BMC Crete pg. 38, 9, pl. IX. 8 (same rev die); SNG Cop 442; Svoronos 59. O: Europa, wearing chiton with short sleeves and peplos over lower limbs, seated right in platanus tree; right hand on tree, heading resting pensively on left arm which is bent and supported by her knee. R: Bull standing right, head reverted, right hind leg lifted.
  15. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    SCO is Seleucid Coins Online: http://numismatics.org/sco/
    BenSi likes this.
  16. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    I really love this piece. Great image.
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  17. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I feel the same way. The obverse is astonishing. If it were perfectly round and the face were a bit more distinct, I might guess that it was an art medal from the late 19th or early 20th century.
  18. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    Thessaly drachm.jpg
    Thessaly, Larissa, AR Drachm365-356 BC

    Late facing head type.

    Obverse: Head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly left, with hair in ampyx

    Reverse: Horse standing right, preparing to lie down; ΛΑΡΙΣ above, AIΩN below

    Reference: SNG COP 121 Herimann VII Pl. V #8

    Myrnia Aiolis b.jpg

    Aeolis, Myrina AR Stephanophoric Tetradrachm. Circa 160-143 BC.

    Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo right /

    Reverse: ΜΥPΙΝΑΙΩΝ, Apollo Grynios standing right, holding phiale in right hand, filleted laurel branch in left; monograms to left, omphalos and amphora at feet; all within laurel wreath.

    Reference: Sacks Issue 30; SNG von Aulock -; SNG Copenhagen -; de Luynes 2530; McClean 7946.

    Weight: 15.89g, Diameter: 34mm, 6h. Conservation: Good Very Fine.

    (Not sure if I’ve got this one right)

    Istros didrachm.jpg

    Thrace/Moesia, Istros. Silver drachm, Istros (near Istria, Romania) mint, c. 340/330 - 313 B.C.;

    Obverse: two facing male heads, left head inverted; (The obverse type has been variously interpreted as representing the Dioscuri, the rising and setting sun, and the two branches of the river Danube.)

    Reverse: IΣTPIH, sea-eagle grasping a dolphin with talons; rare without control letters or monograms on reverse?

    Reference: GCV 1669 (general ID)

    Weight 5.45g, Diameter 20mm Conservation: gVF
  19. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  20. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    A portrait attempts to capture the inner essence or personality of the subject. It is not just a picture with a person in it. Images of animals can be portraits but images made for passport use are generally not. In both cases the definition depends as much on the viewer. People project their feelings on even inanimate objects. When I was younger, people argued over whether their baby photos were showing 'personality' or 'just gas'. Portraits can include more that one person but they need to be relating with one another rather than just pasted together as are 99% of coin images with two rulers on one side of the coin. I suppose an image of a god or personification can have portrait characteristics but most strike me as pretty generic unless they are of a person pretending to be the god.

    All this is as much opinion as fact.
    Only a Poor Old Man and DonnaML like this.
  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I'm not familiar with this narrow a definition of the word "portrait," but apparently you're not the only person to view the concept that way. See, for example, https://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/18566/what-is-the-definition-of-portrait-photography: "A portrait . . . [c]aptures the personality or essence of a subject. Not just a picture with a person in it. A 'clinical' portrait might not attempt to reveal the soul of a person, but it still needs to capture something of that person's uniqueness — or else it's not a portrait." Of course, there are many definitions of the word that are not nearly so narrow.

    Some people might consider my avatar to be a portrait, for example, but in fact under your definition it isn't: it happens to be the picture on my German passport, one of the few times in recent years that I've allowed my photo to be be taken! (I'm not a big fan of how I look in photographs.)
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