Featured Sidon Tetradrachm (Saida, Lebanon)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by 1934 Wreath Crown, May 19, 2020.

  1. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

    Sidon (mod. Saida) is situated in modern day Lebanon and was an important commercial center and maritime power located on the coast of Phoenicia (Mediterranean coast of Lebanon). It lies approximately 40 kilometres south of Beirut and north of Tyre.

    Archaeological evidence dates the earliest remains in Sidon to the Paleolithic era. The city of Sidon, like all other Phoenician cities of the coast, was successively part of the territory of Egypt of Ramses II (-1275), then of the Assyrians (-701) with Sargon, then of the Babylonians (- 585) of Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus of Persia (-539), Alexander the Great (-333) and finally under the Roman occupation (-64). Its importance was manifested by the fact that its name was preceded by ‘Cur’ meaning country whereas Tyre, its southern neighbor, was described as ‘Uru’ or city. The relationship with Tyre was never certain with both cities either coming together against a common foe or allying with invaders at the territorial expense of the other.

    In the 10th century BC, the Phoenicians conquered the city from the Egyptians and developed it into a maritime power through trade with other settlements throughout the eastern Mediterranean. During this time, it is thought that Tyre was founded by colonists from Sidon. Over the next five centuries, the city fell under Assyrian, Babylonian, and, eventually, Persian control. In the latter period, Sidon became the most important city of Phoenicia, and it was the first to develop a local coinage.

    These coins were struck under the local Sidonian king, and typically consisted of images representing the king as well as a galley, the source of Sidonian wealth and power. Alexander the Great conquered the city in 333 BC, whereupon the mint was converted to produce Alexander-type coinage. After a short period of Ptolemaic control, the city passed into the hands of the Seleukids, who continued Sidonian mint production for their own royal coinage.

    During this period, Tyre began to overshadow Sidon in importance, and this was reflected in the output of their respective mints. Circa 111 BC, the Seleucids granted autonomy to both Sidon and Tyre.

    Tyre began issuing their new coinage immediately, whereas Sidon's did not begin until 5 years later, in 107/6 BC. The present tetradrachm belongs to this period. While contemporary tetradrachms from other cities, such as Arados and Tyre are relatively plentiful today, the Sidonian Tetradrachms of this period are quite rare/scarce, reflecting the diminished importance of the city. Nevertheless, the quality of the engraving of the dies was not compromised, and these issues are considered among the most beautiful of numismatic art in the 1st century BC.

    Phoenicia, Sidon Year 5 (c.107-106 B.C.) AR Tetradrachm (13.82gms), NGC Ch AU Strike 5/5 Surface 3/5
    Turreted head of Tyche right, wearing single-pendant earring and necklace; Reverse: Eagle standing on prow left, date and monogram in left field, palm frond behind; to left.

    Phoenicia Sidon Tetradrachm Crop Obv.jpg

    Phoenicia Sidon Tetradrachm Rev.jpg Phoenicia Sidon Tetradrachm Obv.jpg

    I have not been able to find too many examples of this coin in my searches and many are replicas for 'educational' purposes. If anyone has coins from Sidon or additional information on this type of tetradrachm, please share:)
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  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  4. Pavlos

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

    Very nice tetradrachm!
    Sidon and Tyre, even during Seleukid times, were already competing eachother, even visible on the coinage.

    This is a Phoenician tetradrachm during the Seleukid empire from the neighbouring city of Tyre (my favorite coin hence my profile picture).

    Alexander I (Balas). 152/1-145 BC. AR Tetradrachm. Tyre mint. Dated SE 167 (146/5 BC).
    Diademed and draped bust of Alexander Balas right.
    Reverse: Eagle standing left on prow of galley, palm-branch over right shoulder; club surmounted by monogram to left, ΙΞΡ (date) and monogram to right.
    Reference: SNG Spaer 1545-1546; Newell, Tyre 79; Houghton 749.
  5. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    That’s a lovely coin, and first time I’ve seen that type from Sidon. Thanks for sharing!
    I only have a really beaten up bronze from the time of Vespasian minted in Sidon. Not too interesting.
    This tetradrachm from Arados, minted in the same period may be a little more interesting to compare with:

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  6. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

    @svessien thanks or sharing. Yes this type from Aradus has the turreted head of Tyche but a different style reverse. The Sidon tetradrachm is a combination of the Aradus Obverse and the Tyre reverse.

    I have found a few in the style of Alexander the Great and even Caracalla but only 3 or 4 examples of the Sidon tet. The best one was listed and sold by CNG for a pretty packet.:)

    I suppose I have reason to be pleased with my purchase, given the condition of the coin:happy:
    svessien likes this.
  7. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

    Great coin. I will need to add it to my Want list:)
  8. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    This is a very special coin. Congratulations and thank you for sharing it. The common coin of Sidon and the only one I have is the 1/8 shekel like this one from year 21? of Artaxerxes III from the 4th century BC.

    Like svessien, I have an Arados from the period (in my case year 175 or 87/6 BC).

    Have you found any information about the silver content of the Sidon issue? The obvious comparison would be the (so popular I won't have one) 'Shekel of Tyre' that was made famous as the coin acceptable in Jerusalem for the Temple Tax. The photo looks like it may have been lesser silver but there should be some mention of the matter in some reference unknown to me.
  9. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    Well, naturally, as it’s situated between them :)

    I have been travelling a bit in Lebanon. Once we were going to take a taxi from Sidon to Beirut, late at night. The state of the taxis in Lebanon at the time left something to be desired; two of the passenger doors wouldn’t fully shut, the old Mercedes was kinda wobbly and I had a feeling the wheels might come off at any time. We asked the driver how long time it would take us to Beirut.
    «Seventeen minutes, insh’Allah»
    «Oh.... That’s fast...», we didn’t seem convinced. I looked around for the safety belt, but there was none.
    He proceeded to tell us that he had been an ambulance driver during the civil war, and that he held the record Saida-Beirut among the ambulance drivers at that time. «You want me to show you, gentlemen?»
    We promptly ensured him we believed every word, and that we had plenty of time but no lives to spare. Lebanon is wonderful. The people there are used to living on the edge.
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
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  10. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

  11. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

    Thanks a ton @dougsmit , coming from you, that compliment means a lot. You've made my day!!!

    I will see what I can out find about the silver content.
  12. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    1934 Wealth Crown, Congratulations on your score :D! You're right about Tets from Sidon being much scarcer than the coins from Arados & Tyre ;). The Tet pictured below I sold long ago.

    Antiochus VIII Tet, obv. (2).jpg Antiochus VIII Tet, obv..jpg Antiochus VIII Tet, rev..jpg
  13. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Here are 2 coins from Sidon. The first is nearly the same of Master Doug's, time of the Persian rule. The second is Seleucid, with Antioch III on obverse, Bronze.

    Pho16 Oscn.jpg Pho16 Rscan.jpg PhoenSidon   Antiochos 3.JPG PhoenShip sc  1080 dolphin.JPG
  14. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  15. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Here's "Mr. Chunky", a dishekel from Sidon.

    I wonder how slot vending machines worked back then. Also, that chariot and driver must have been one of the first Uber drivers ever.

    PHOENICIA Circa 401-365 BC
    AR Dishekel
    Ba`alšillem (Sakton) II
    (27mm, 28.2 g, 12h)
    Phoenician galley left; B (in Phoenician) above, waves below / Persian king and driver in chariot left; behind, king of Sidon, in Egyptian style garments, holding cultic scepter and votive vase, walking left.
    E&E-S Group IV.1.1.a; Rouvier 1096; Betlyon 18; HGC 10, 236.
    VF with dark patina
    Slightly off center reverse
    Very scarce
    Ex Harlan J Berk, 1990

    D-Camera Phoenicia, Sidon, AR Dishekel, c. 401-365 BC, Berk, 5-19-20.jpg
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
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  16. 1934 Wreath Crown

    1934 Wreath Crown Well-Known Member

    Beautiful specimen. Do you miss selling some of these coins? I’m selling some of my older purchases (Moderns) which I bought when I knew even less about coins and converting them into rarer ones, especially ancients.

    The consolation is that most of these are AV and as the price of the metal has increased, so has the value of these early purchases which I bought at near melt. Therefore I don’t feel too bad about selling them and just hope I won’t have reason to regret my decision in future ;)
  17. Alegandron

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


    PHOENICIA TYRE AE20 7g 76 BCE Turret hd Tyche palm branch - Galley prow volute aphlaston at stern Phoenican letters BMC 26
    Ex: @Bing
  18. Alegandron

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

    ANOTHER Tyre

    Tyre 1-16 shekel 10mm 0.47g hippocamp l over waves - owl with crook flail Sear Greek 5916.BMC Tyre 43 5th-4th BCE
    Ex: @Valentinian
  19. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    1934 Wealth Crown, Some of the better coins I do miss, but I always seen to replace them with coins I like better :). My preferences in ancient coins has changed as I age, & that's a good thing. Change expands your base of knowledge. I've sold a lot of gold coins this year too, mostly bullion or coins close to melt, taking advantage of the rising price. I had been sitting on bullion that I bought in the $300-400 range :shame:. I even sold some nice looking gold coins to CT members :happy:. I still have a bullion safety net if we get a currency collapse. With the Fed making trillions of dollars in "digital" currency & the printing presses working overtime the dollar is on very shaky ground :nailbiting:.
    Alegandron likes this.
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