New CNG coin from Arados (Phoenician)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Nathan P, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. Nathan P

    Nathan P Well-Known Member

    I picked up this beautiful Phoenician coin from CNG yesterday. I've wanted one of these for some time, but it's been hard to find one with decent detail and centering.


    PHOENICIA, Arados. Uncertain king. Circa 420-400 BC. AR Shekel (18.5mm, 10.45 g, 3h). Laureate head of Ba'al-Arwad right, with frontal eye / Galley right above waves; M A (in Aramaic) above; E&E-A Group III.1.1; HGC 10, 28.

    Research on these coins seems fairly scant, but I did manage to cobble a few things together (starting in next paragraph below) from various sources. If anyone thinks I got something wrong or wants to add anything, it would be much appreciated! One area I couldn't quite figure is why CNG posts a date for this issue from 420-400 BC. I think it's definitely an earlier issue because it lacks a third initial (likely designating a king). That said, I've seen other anonymous issues dated 400-384 BC, and can't figure out the difference between those and my coin. Anyway,

    Settled in the 2nd millennium BC by the Phoenicians, Arados (Greek name) was located three kilometers off the Syrian shore between Lattaquie and Tripolis. Under Phoenician control, it became an independent kingdom called Arvad or Jazirat (the latter term meaning "island"). The island was a barren rock covered with fortifications and houses several stories in height. Just 800m long by 500m wide, it was surrounded by a massive wall with an artificial harbor constructed on the east toward the mainland.

    Like most of the Phoenician cities on this coast, it developed into a trading city. Arados had a powerful navy, and its ships are mentioned in the monuments of Egypt and Assyria. In ancient times, it was in turn subject to the Egyptians, Assyrians, and then Persians (539 BC). But local dynasts were maintained until Straton, son of Gerostratos, king of Arados, submitted to Alexander the Great in 333 B.C.

    The earliest coins of Arados (430-410 BC) depict a marine deity, human to the waist, bearded with plaited hair, with the lower body of a fish. He is most likely a marine form of Ba’l – the traditional Phoenician storm god and lord over the fertility processes of the land and sea. In later Aradian coinage (like the example above) a Hellenized depiction of the deity’s head replaces the half-man, half-fish figure. The reverse depicts the usual Phoenician galley with rudder astern and a row of shields along the bulwark.

    Most Aradian coins bear the same two Phoenician letters aleph (A or ´) & mem (M). In addition, during the first half of the fourth century (until 333 BCE), the inscription M A was followed by a letter, some eight or nine in total. The most logical option is that this third letter represents different Aradian kings. This, plus parallels with contemporary Salaminian coinage, suggests that M A stands for “King” of Arwad rather than “Kingdom” (the more common interpretation). Because the coin above lacks a third letter designating a specific king, it’s most likely an earlier (pre-4th century) example.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    What a gorgeous example of the type! These and other Phoenician coins of that time are so often badly off center.
    Nathan P likes this.
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    A lovely coin. I really like the portrait and the toning. Bet it will be much nicer in hand.
    Nathan P likes this.
  5. Pishpash

    Pishpash Mater dracones - spero Supporter

    Ask Arados on forvmancientcoins. He helped me out with mind.
  6. Nathan P

    Nathan P Well-Known Member

    Will do, thanks!
  7. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    Woo Hoo.
    Very nice coin that is beautifully centered.

    I just added one to my collection this last weekend. Mine looks very chunky and I just have the feeling that it might be older than the seller's tag indicates. Wadaya think?

    PHOENICIA, Arados
    AR Stater
    380-352 B.C.
    (possibly earlier)
    10.55 grams
    Obv: Bearded head of Ba'al Arwad right.
    Rev: Galley with oarsmen sailing right
    with two letters above & waves below.
    Grade: VF or VF+ with nice strike on an archaic chunky planchet. Stern of galley (and Ba'al Arwad's nose) run off the narrow planchet.
    Other: BMC. 18
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  8. Nathan P

    Nathan P Well-Known Member

    I don't see any lettering other than the A and M, which would indicate it's most likely an older issue like mine. The obverse head is thought to be Ba'al-Arwad not Heracles.
    Collect89 likes this.
  9. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    Thank you very much. I've now made some adjustments to my coin label:

    PHOENICIA, Arados
    AR Stater
    380-352 B.C.
    (possibly earlier)
    10.55 grams
    Obv: Bearded head of Ba'al Arwad right.
    Rev: Galley with oarsmen sailing right
    with two letters above & waves below.
    Grade: VF or VF+ with nice strike on a chunky archaic planchet. Stern of galley (and Ba'al Arwad's nose) run off the narrow planchet.
    Other: BMC.18 according to seller's tag.

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  10. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Very nice! Here's my Arados stater, with a date of Year 15 of King Gerashtart (Gerostratos):
    Arados stater.jpg
  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I consider well centered to be overrated. When I bought mine (oval like the Parthicus example), I considered it special in having both ends of the ship and the full legend. I am in denial about its complete lack of waves.


    IMHO, the Parthicus coin is the second best one that CNG has sold an shows on their site (it appears twice). Mine was from 1990 (McDaniels). The best one on CNG:
    but $3750?
  12. Nathan P

    Nathan P Well-Known Member

    $3,750 was in 2011. In 2014 that CNG coin went for $4,250, and would probably go for more than that today.

    I believe the full vessel is more or less visible on mine. I'm in denial about the lack of the pataikos on the prow. I mean, there are a couple of marks there, so...
    dougsmit likes this.
  13. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    My example looks great if you hold it just right with fat finger(s):

    I did get a 96% discount compared to the CNG coin price. Of course I only got 96% of the boat. :D:)
  14. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Great coin, Nathan! Mine, also from CNG, is more or less a one-sided coin, but I do love the side I paid for. :)

    PHOENICIA, Arados
    AR Shekel. 10.48g, 23.8mm (15.4mm min). Circa 420-400 BC. E&E-A Group III.1.1, C13; HGC 10, 29. O: Laureate head of Ba’al-Arwad right. R: Galley right, Pataikos on prow, above waves; M A (in Aramaic) above.
  15. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  16. Pishpash

    Pishpash Mater dracones - spero Supporter

    Mine. Not as nice as previous posts but I like it. And it probably didn't cost as much either.

    Arados 20140129 obv.jpg
    Arados 20140129 rev.jpg
    State, City: Phoenicia, Arados
    Coin: Silver Stater
    - Laureate head of Baál Arwad with full eye right
    Phoenician letters aleph (´), aleph (´) & mem (M) above - Galley sailing right above waves (three lines) with figure of Pataikos right, all within dotted square border
    Mint: Arados (348/7-339/8 BC)
    Wt./Size/Axis: 9.22g / 17-19mm / -
    • cf. HGC 10, 32-6
    • Cf. Betlyon 26
  17. philologus_1

    philologus_1 Well-Known Member

    Someday I hope to upgrade to a stater, but for now my Arados representative is an obol that weighs a paltry 1/14th (!!!) of the O.P. example.
    Diam.: 7 mm. Weight: .74 gr.
    Attribution: HGC 10, #46 (R1).

    For such a small/tight flan with obviously larger-than-flan dies, this example is about as complete as one could hope to have. Had the flan been just a tad broader the reverse would have been struck so as to show the complete left and right characters above the galley which are each only partially showing. But... @dougsmit least the waves made it on the flan! ;-)

    Lastly, from a biblical coin collection perspective: This mint location is mentioned twice in Ezekiel 27 (Arvad). And some scholars have maintained the Baal portrayed on these coin types is the Dagon mentioned in Judges 16 and in 1. Samuel 5.
    Curtisimo, Parthicus, Bing and 2 others like this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page