Featured New arrival - Lysimachos Tetradrachm

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Only a Poor Old Man, May 23, 2020.

  1. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    Something nice came in the post today. After disinfecting the envelope and very carefully emptying the contents on a table, I was able to enjoy the latest addition to my yet small collection. A Lysimachos tetradrachm. Lysimachos was one of Alexander the Great's succesors (diadochoi). His coins are quite interesting and artistic and he wasn't shy to put his name on them. For these reasons they are usually a bit pricey, so when I found this one for the right amount (a bit over £300) I was happy to snatch it as I have seen ones in lesser condition going for double that. I even got it from a retail shop. With the prices that coins fetch nowdays in auctions, I still hope I did well.


    I got this one because it has a decent amount of detail. Alex is well rendered and I particularly like the Athena side where you can see the spear in good detail plus the little Nike that she is holding. Usually these are the bits that are very worn out.

    Going back to the man himself, his life would make a good movie or a TV series. But again, this is true for all of Alexander's succesors. I wish HBO would realise that there is no need for dragons when real history can provide much more interesting storylines.

    His early years sound a bit like a myth, but there could be an element of truth in the stories surrounding him. He was born in Thessaly but due to family connections he was raised alongside Alexander in the court of Philip of Macedon. Apparently one day he pissed off Alexander so much (who was known to have a short fuse - especially when drunk) that he threw him in a pit with a lion. The story goes that Lysimachus defeated the lion bare-handed and by doing that he earned the respect of Alexander who made him his personal bodyguard for the rest of his life. This is according to many why you often find lions depicted on his coins. When Alexander died, Lysimachus was appointed 'General of Thrace' to the dislike of the local king. Eventually he joined the alliance of Cassander, Seleukus and Ptolemy against Antigonus. He declared himself King in 305 BC and that was the time that the famous tetradrachms bearing his name went into production. He was initially busy trying to stop rebellions in his territory and didn't really venture into Asia Minor until the time of the famous battle of Ipsus were Antigonus was slain.

    He knew when to pick his battles and knew how to deal with his allies as effectively as he dealt with his enemies. When Seleukus got too powerful, he got closer to Ptolemy by marrying his daughter Arsinoe II. While he gained some Antigonid territory after the battle of Ipsus, he soon had to negotiate peace with Antigonus' son Demetrios the Besieger who got control of Macedonia. Around that time, Lysimachus tried to expand
    his control to include the regions surrounding Danube, but he was captured. He was released in exchange for the territories he controled in that region.

    He was able to overcome the danger of Demetrios by taking advantage of the Epirote king Pyrrhus' attack on Macedonia. He was allied to him for a short period, but eventually he managed to drive him out.

    His later years were not particularly happy. There was plenty of intrigue and back-stabbing and he had his own son killed for plotting against him. He died in battle at Corupedium when he was triyng to annex Lydian territories. He was almost 80 years old. A true soldier to the end!

    My last coin came within a couple of days from ordering it from Germany, but this one came from France, and it appears that their postal system is more affected by the whole current situation. But it is in my hands now! Post your Lysimachos tets or smaller denominations or any coins from his allies or enemies!
    Pavlos, Kavax, PeteB and 30 others like this.
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  3. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Wonderful Tet, @Only a Poor Old Man . Well done on its capture and a little history.


    Thrace -Lysimachos AR Tet 14.3g 28.7mm 305-281 BCE Alexander head-Ammon horns - rev Lysimachos Athena;
    Ex: Forum Ancient Coins

    Seller's Attribute. I was assured that this was legit. Spoke with Joe when I purchased the Tet (captured another Tet at the same time.):
    Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great
    Silver tetradrachm, 14.309g, maximum diameter 28.7mm, die axis 180o
    Ephesus(?) mint, c. 294 - 281 B.C.;
    Obv: diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon
    Rev: BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) ΛYΣIMAXOY (Lysimachos), Athena enthroned left resting arm on shield, transverse spear resting against right side, Athena holds Nike crowning name with wreath, ΣΠE(?) monogram under her hand
    ex: Roma Numismatics e-auction 5 (23 Feb 2014), lot 353;
    extremely rare
    Ref: Apparently unpublished; Müller -, Thompson -, SNG Cop -, SNG Tübingen -, Armenak Hoard
    Comment: VF, high-relief unusual style portrait, toned, tiny flan crack, light marks
    This coin was previously attributed as Thompson 166, but that type has a bee under Athena's arm and a similar, but not identical, monogram in the exergue. We were unable to find another example of this type.
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  4. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Very nice coin! I think you did very well; coins of his can reach pretty high prices.

    Crazy to think that both Seleucus and Lysimachus were in their late 70’s when they fought their final battle. Though to quote highlander “there can be only one!!”

    I don’t have one of his coins yet, but here is one of his rivals. As a general rule it’s not a good idea to fight a pitched battle with a man who earned a name which literally translates as “The Victor”.

    Seleucus I Nikator
    AR Stater
    15.89 grams
    Babylon mint
    311-281 BCE
  5. TheRed

    TheRed Supporter! Supporter

    Congrats on the great tetradrachm @Only a Poor Old Man it's a really nice example. I think the tetradrachms of Lysimachos are some of the most attractive coins of the Hellenistic period. They are far superior to anything minted by the first generation of diadochi. I couldn't agree more about his life, and the history of the diadochi as a whole, making a wonderful TV series.

    I only have a couple drachms of Lysimachos.
    Lysimachos. 305-281 BC. AR Drachm Magnesia on the Maeander mint. 297-281 BC. 19mm, 4.26 g.
    Obv: Diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon / Athena.
    Rev: Nikephoros seated left, left arm resting on shield, transverse spear in background; maeander pattern to outer left, monogram to inner left.
    Thompson 117

    Lysimachos AR Drachm, Mysia, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, 299 - 296 B.C.; 19.6 mm 4.14g.
    Obv: head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck.
    Rev: ΛYΣIMAXOY, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, dolphin left above lion forepart left on left, torch below throne.
    Ex Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection.
    Thompson 36
  6. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I also really enjoy his Fractionals, too... highlights his early association of killing a lion. He was a few years older than Alexander.

    Thrace Lysimachus AE 14 306 BC Apollo forepart of Lion
    Ex: @Blake Davis (Mortown)

    Thrace - Lysimachos 305-281 BCE AE14 Lysimacheia mint 2.7g Young Male Helmeted - Forepart Lion SNG Cop 1159 var

    Thrace - Lysimachos 305-281 BCE AE20 Sysimachia mint 4.64g 19.5mm Athena - Lion SNG Cop 1153 Muller 76
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  7. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    Nice tet, I couldn't help noticing though that it is over 2 grams lighter than mine. They are also pretty much from the same period give or take a few years so I don't understand the big difference in weight. It is almost a hemidrachm's difference.
    Alegandron likes this.
  8. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Coingrats! Wonderful coin and write up.
    All about that Diadochi collecting life:
    Kings of Thrace. Uncertain mint. 305-281 BC. AE (19mm, 3.75g). Helmeted head of Athena right / Lion leaping right, spearhead below. Müller 61; HGC 3, 1758. B396DF15-E6D1-406D-9BED-6CA98626BB0A.png
    305-281 BCE Ae.
    Obv: Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin.
    Rev: BAΣI ΛYΣI.
    Legend in two lines within wreath of grain ears.
    SNG Copenhagen 1168.
    Condition: Extremely fine.
    Weight: 2.00 g.
    Diameter: 12.6 mm
    As King, 306-281 B.C. AE 23 (22.59 mm, 7.59 g, 1 h). struck 297-281 BC.. Young male head right wearing Phrygian helmet / ΛΥΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ / ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ, legend vertically down to right and left of trophy resembling Athena Promachos standing left, hefting spear. SNG Cop 1164; Müller, plate II, 13. Fine
  9. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    Lots of great examples here! I think you chose well, @Only a Poor Old Man. Here is my one example from Lysimachos.
  10. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Agreed. However, see my edited attribute in my post...
    Only a Poor Old Man likes this.
  11. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Congrats,Old poor man,did you notice the herm far left on the reverse of your coin ?

    Here's my Lampsakos mint tet:

    P1150261 (2).JPG
  12. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    These are all fine examples of coinage from the Hellenistic Period, following Alexander III.

    Here's my only tetradrachm of Lysimachos for this period. I've had this coin since 1991, when I used to walk to the local coin shop, Austin & Co., to see "what's new that's old". This particular dealer sold mostly US coins and jewelry. He did have a box of ancients, including this coin, several Attic tetradrachms (all with hoard patina, profile eye style), plus some Byzantine gold. That shop is still around, but the last time I visited it, virtually all of the stock was jewelry.

    Kings of Thrace, Lysimachos (306-281 BC)
    Amphipolis Mint, circa 288-281 BC
    Obverse: Head of the deified Alexander the Great facing right, wearing the horn of Ammon.
    Reverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ – ΛΥΣΙΜΑXΟΥ, Athena enthroned left, holding Nike, shield decorated with Medusa’s head resting against base of throne, spear resting behind; torch to inner left, bee to outer right.
    (Thompson 187; Müller 445a).
    Cleaned VF
    16.9 grams

    D-Camera Kings of Thrace, Lysimachos tetradrachm, VF, Cleaned, Austin purchase, 1991, 5-23-20.jpg
  13. Agricantus

    Agricantus Allium aflatunense

    @Only a Poor Old Man, congrats, you got it for a good price. Well centered, good strike, sharp eye.

    @TheRed great coins! I am missing Magnesia aM. On tour Lampsakos Interesting how well executed Zeus and the devices are, how the scepter kept the Lysimachus writing aligned, but then Basileus is crooked.

    Here's my tet from Abydos. Img courtesy of cng

    PeteB, Shea19, Andres2 and 7 others like this.
  14. Agricantus

    Agricantus Allium aflatunense

    @robinjojo did you get a discount since it wasn't in the stores specialty?
  15. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    That's a beautiful coin!

    Yes, the Attica tets, Byzantine gold and the Lysimachos tetradrachm were reasonably prices, mostly because the shop owner was not terribly informed about ancients, and he was interested in making sales. His US coins had much heftier prices.

    The Attica coins sold for $150 or so, higher for nicer ones, but never more than $200. I don't recall the price for the Lysimachos coin - I should document my costs, but that would far too practical for me - so I think the price was in the neighborhood of $250 to $300. He also had Roman bronzes and denarii. I remember buying a Caligula As at a good price.

    Now a good portion of the collection was sold in 1992, so my wife and I could buy a house. I was even able to use the collection to qualify for our loan. Life was simpler by then and houses in Cupertino were more "affordable". However, as a transplanted Midwesterner, I was taken aback by housing in California: Where are the bricks? Where's the second story? Where's the basement? You call that a house? You've got to be kidding! For how much? Are you crazy?
  16. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Another interesting note about your coin is that the reverse served as the prototype of the seated Britannia design used on modern British coins.

  17. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

    @jb_depew this is a verhy nice tet. The Alexander side is particularly nice. I love the bridge of the nose. It is safe to say I think that this is what Alexander really looked like. It is quite evident from all the different coins issued by different people that knew him well.

    Initially I thought it was a mint-mark of some kind. It looks like a line in my exampe. Thanks for pointing it out, I didn't know what a herm was. :shame:
    Andres2 likes this.
  18. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I don't follow the prices of this type closely, but my impression from the times I've taken note of them is that they can be all over the place. I bought this one last year for almost exactly $300.

    Lysimachos - Tetradrachm Klazomenai 3403.jpg
    KINGS OF THRACE. Lysimachos
    AR Tetradrachm. 16.78g, 29.1mm. Klazomenai mint, 294-290 BC. Thompson –; Müller 129 var. (monogram); Meydancikkale 2719 var. (same); CNG E-322, lot 114 (same dies). O: Diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon. R: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ – ΛΥΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ, Athena Nikephoros seated left, left arm resting on shield, spear behind; monograms above arm and on throne, ram's head left in exergue.
    Ex William Stancomb Collection
  19. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    That's a nice coin and a very good price - a very good provenance as well.
    zumbly and Only a Poor Old Man like this.
  20. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

    Great coins everyone and thanks for sharing.

    Here are some Lysimachos Tets that I had purchased some time back (I think 2017) in a 'mini binge' and had posted earlier under a thread with that title. Hope you don't mind me posting them again:

    Lysimachos Thrace 288-281 BC Alexander III type Tetradrachm

    Alexander Kingdom of Thrace 288-281 BC Lysimachos.jpg

    Lysimachos 297-281 BC. Athena looking VERY relaxed here. Like she's been partying with Dionysus ;)

    Alexander Kingdom of Thrace 297-281 BC Lysimachos.jpg

    And a tet from Lampsakos

    Alexander Tet Kingdom of Macedon Lampsakos 280-275 BC.jpg
  21. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I have a coin of Lysimachos's wife, Arsinoe II. She was the daughter of Ptolemy I and Berenice. Lysimachos divorced Amastris to marry her and then bequeathed to her all the territories that had belonged to Amastris! She then brought about the murder of her stepson, Agathocles, the elder son of Lysimachus by his first marriage, to secure the succession for her own children!

    In her honor, Lysimachos renamed the city of Ephesus to Arsinoeia! This was struck there.

    Arsinoe II Ephesus Magistrate Melaineus.jpg
    Arsinoe II, wife of Lysimachus, born c. 316 BC.
    Greek Æ 15.5 mm, 4.16 g, 12 h.
    Ionia, Ephesos (as Arsinoeia), c. 290-281 BC.
    Obv: Head of Arsinoe, r., veiled.
    Rev: Stag kneeling l., head r.; ΑΡ-ΣΙ flanking stag's neck; magistrate's name ΜΕΛΑΙΝΕΥΣ before; Astragalus in upper r. field.
    Refs: BMC 14.56, 72 var. (magistrate); SNG Cop 258-59 var. (magistrate); Forrer 14.
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