Featured WALWET hemihekte and hekte

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by AncientJoe, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Well-Known Member

    The lion head coinage is among the earliest which can be definitively attributed to the Lydian kingdom. Most of these coins are anepigraphic – without a legend – but a small number contain the inscription “WALWET” in ancient Lydian.

    This name is thought to refer to the Memnad king known by Greek sources as Alyattes, who ruled circa 620-564 BC. Through hoard evidence, it is clear that both the inscribed and uninscribed coins were minted at the same time.

    Interestingly, all of the inscribed trites and hektes are struck from obverse dies which have far more detail than could fit on the coins. They contain two facing lion heads surrounding the Lydian inscription and are generally struck off-center so that only one of the lion heads is visible with the inscription.

    While no larger denominations have been found, it is possible that the dies were originally intended for a larger “stater”, or that there was some significance to striking with one particular side of the die.

    I've recently added two coins of this type to my collection - the first a hemihekte, which is exceptional for the presence of both lions and every letter of the inscription:


    Kings of Lydia. temp. Alyattes EL Hemihekte - 1/12 Stater. Sardes, circa 610-560 BC. Lion’s head left with open jaws, solar-disk above forehead, confronting open jaws of lion’s head right; WALWET (in Lydian retrograde script) between / Incuse square punch. Weidauer 111 var; cf. Weidauer 99; lot 225 above (same dies). 1.17g, 7mm. Extremely Rare. Clear and with an exceptionally legible inscription, with parts of both lions. The most complete example known. From an English collection, previously in that of Otto Liman von Sanders. Ex Roma 3, lot 280

    The second is a hekte, featuring a particularly clear inscription and well-centered head of the left side of the die.


    LYDIAN KINGDOM. Alyattes or Walwet (ca. 610-561 BC). EL sixth-stater or hecte (11mm, 2.36 gm). Lydo-Milesian standard. Sardes(?) mint. Confronting lion's heads, only the left visible; WALWET (in Lydian script) between / Two incuse square punches side-by-side. Weidauer Group XVII, 103. Well struck, with a particularly well centered lion's head and clear inscription. Extremely Fine. Among the finest known specimens of this rare early inscribed coinage. From the Providence Collection.

    These coins are among the first in history to carry an inscription as well as a formal type and are exceptionally rare, with only a small number known today across all denominations.
    eparch, dadams, Ryro and 27 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Pretty amazing little coins there, AJ!

    Somewhat relevant, recently there was an interesting example of a hekte struck on two conjoined hemihektes although it was a Miletos electrum, not a WALWET. I had dreams of winning it early on but of course was soon out of the running :(.

    For those who missed it, here is that coin (from CNG 100):

    Ryro, fomovore, Andres2 and 16 others like this.
  4. ancientcoinguru

    ancientcoinguru Supporter! Supporter

    These are OUTSTANDING!!! Very interesting to learn that some of these early coins are inscribed in ancient Lydian. Thanks very much for sharing these extremely rare coins with us:happy:.
  5. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Wow => that's a pretty cool coin, Joe ... I am a total fan of incuse coins, so these trophy-coins of yours are all that!! (amazing => congrats)

    Ummm, usually I'd try to post one or more of my examples, but I'm not really sure what to do (I have deer-in-the-headlights syndrome!!)

    Uh wait, I do know what to do ... I do what I do (I post my closest example)

    Congrats again, AJ .... this is my only Lydia example (it's probably my favourite coin, from the Batman collection)

    Lion & Bull (incuse square)
    liona.jpg lionb.jpg

    Please keep posting your stuff on this site ... we/I love it!!

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
    Ryro, Theodosius, randygeki and 13 others like this.
  6. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Curious though, AJ ... being you (apparently some sort of James-Bondesque-Millionaire) => why, being you, would you buy an example that only showed the "left" lion, rather than waiting for an example that actually showed both of the confronting lions? (ummm, one confronting lion is a bit like one hand clapping, no?)

    I jest ...... I know that you are amazingly awesome at coining ...

    => just curious though, if this is a hole-filler, or if there is zero-chance of you ever finding an example that had "both" confronting lion heads?

    ... is there even a known example of that type?


    => awesome OP-coin
    Cucumbor and ancientcoinguru like this.
  7. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  8. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone!

    My hemihekte is thought to be the only known example with any part of both lions showing, and hektes are equally tough to find in any form of completeness. CNG had a neat offering recently with two coins from the same die, one with the left lion and one with the right.

    Realistically, there won't be a hekte with a broad enough flan to completely show both lions. Mine has a very nicely executed left lion and I may eventually try to find a right lion as well, but I think at this point, any further coins would be new additions rather than upgrades as they would sacrifice some element present on my existing examples to include an additional part.

    The only hekte with both on part of the flan which has appeared on the market in recent years is this example: http://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=1236905 and while I can appreciate it from a technical perspective, I personally don't find it particularly attractive, so I'll continue waiting :)
  9. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    Wonderful and historically-important coins! There is a third possibility when it comes to the analysis of large dies and small flans, purely utilitarian. As long as the coin was struck with some of the design, it would be recognizable as authorized specie, which suffices for commerce. Also, the obverses of both coins were struck on anvil dies. If the anvil die is larger than the flan, it ensures the flan is completely covered with devices, even if it slips a little during striking.
    ancientcoinguru and Alegandron like this.
  10. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Isn't it amazing how the worst centering produced the best coin? Obviously it would be great to find a left/right pair of 'normal' coins from the die. How many dies made the type?
  11. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    man, I actually love that example that you showed with the second lion coming flying-out of the wings!! (but I couldn't tell how much it was going for?)

    anyway => awesome OP-coin (another winner)
  12. Aidan_()

    Aidan_() Numismatic Contributor

    Man, such amazing coins AJ. Thanks for sharing em'!
  13. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago

    Fascinating coin and a wonderful presentation!!
    panzerman likes this.
  14. Alegandron

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

    Outstanding capture of living history! I am thouroghly enjoying the pics... Some of the first examples where humans leap to representative or fiat money, instead of physically trading goods.
    Mikey Zee likes this.
  15. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Great coins AJ
  16. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Speechless !

  17. Daniel Jones

    Daniel Jones Well-Known Member

    ngccoin.com/certlookup4278875-007/NGCAncients/ I just bought this coin earlier today to complete my coin per century set. I always wanted a decent looking coin from every century. Finding decent looking coins from the 6th century B.C. for sale is difficult, so I am privileged to have found this example.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
    DonnaML and Roman Collector like this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page