A striated electrum stater from Ionia that could represent the
first true coin type in ancient coinage history highlights the ancient
coin offerings in Heritage Auctions’ Long Beach Coin &
Collectibles Expo auction in September.
The circa 670 to 660 B.C. coin, from an uncertain mint, is one of
12 known examples of the type, all of which feature striations on the
obverse that the auction cataloger suggests represents the cornerstone
of ancient coinage.
Citing Joe Linzalone’s new book, Electrum and the Invention of
Coinage, the lot listing notes that “pre-weighed lumps of electrum,
some marked with a rough punch, had been employed as a medium of
exchange for some years before this issue, but they lacked anything
that could be called an obverse ‘type’ or design.”
Linzalone suggests the marks on these rare electrum issues
represent the ripples of water where electrum was found naturally
occurring in the stream beds of Lydia and Ionia, the epicenter of
early coinage conception.
The example for sale weighs 14.32 grams, making it one of “only 12
striated full-weight staters” known to exist, according to the auction house.
In Good Very Fine condition, it has a pre-sale estimate of $55,000
It is one of many highlights from a catalog of 481 ancient Greek
and Roman coins and antiquities, which includes the Eid Mar silver
denarius of Marcus Junius Brutus (see Coin World, Sept. 5
issue) from the Rubicon Collection of Roman Coins.
According to the firm, the Rubicon Collection is a “small but
significant holding created by an Arizona private collector over a
15-year period.” The collection focuses on Imperatorial and early
Roman Imperial issues.
Full lot details are available in a printed catalog for $50 or a
special page at the firm’s website, www.ha.com/3015.
A 15 percent buyer’s fee will be added to the final closing price
of each lot won.
For more details about the auction, write the firm at 3500 Maple
Ave., 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219-3941; or telephone Heritage either
at 800-872-6467 or 214-528-3500.
Greece, Sicily, Acragas, circa 410 to 406 B.C. silver tetradrachm,
17.2 grams, Lot 23018, Extremely Fine.
Greece, Bosporan Kingdom, Asander, circa 42 to 41 B.C. gold
stater, 8.25 grams, Lot 23099, Nearly Fleur-de-Coin.
Greece, Ionia, circa 670 to 660 B.C. electrum stater, uncertain
mint, 14.32 grams, “should be considered the first true coin type ever
struck,” “one of only 12 known examples,” Lot 23123, Good Very Fine.
Roman Republic, anonymous, circa 240 to 225 B.C. bronze as, Rome
Mint, liberal standard, 296.67 grams, prow left, one of 80 recorded of
type compared to 1,200 pieces with prow facing right, Lot 23231,
Roman Republic, March 44 B.C. silver denarius, Julius Caesar as
dictator, 3.77 grams, moneyer M. Mettius, Lot 23260, Good EF.
Roman Republic, circa 46 to 45 B.C. gold denarius, Gnaeus Pompey
Jr. as Imperator, “perhaps fewer than 10 specimens in existence, of
which this is easily the finest known,” Lot 23263, Fleur-de-Coin.
Roman Republic, summer 42 B.C. silver denarius, C. Cassius
Longinus (assassin of Caesar and Imperator), 3.49 grams, Sardis or
military mint possibly, Lot 23369, Mint State “crisply struck from
fresh dies and beautifully toned.”
Roman Republic, spring-summer 41 B.C., gold aureus, Marc Antony
and Octavian as triumvirs, 8.07 grams, Ephesus Mint, Lot 23270, EF,
“deeply struck on a round flan.”
Roman Republic, 32 B.C. silver denarius, Cleopatra VII of Egypt
and Marc Antony, Alexandria Mint, Lot 23276, Nearly EF, “attractively
toned with two excellent portraits.”
Roman Imperial, 19 B.C. gold aureus, Augustus, Victory rides a
bull on reverse, Pergamum Mint, Lot 23285, Good VF, “a few surface marks.”
Roman Imperial, 19 to 18 B.C. gold aureus, Augustus, seated Sphinx
on reverse, Pergamum Mint, Lot 23286, “A few surface marks, otherwise
Roman Imperial, A.D. 14 to 37, reverse die for denarius from the
Lugdunum Mint, “case-hardened bronze with a silver denarius of
Tiberius (‘Tribute penny’ type) stuck in place,” “the presence of a
silver denarius in the obverse indicates that during the course of
striking, a denarius became lodged in the reverse die and caused the
striking of an indeterminate number of brockages,” Lot 23297, in
custom wood and glass presentation case.
Roman Imperial, A.D. 120 to 122 orichalcum sestertius, Hadrian,
26.76 grams, Rome Mint, Lot 23336, “Exceptionally detailed strike,”
Byzantine Empire, A.D. 797 to 802 gold solidus, Irene as sole
ruler, Constantinople, 4.47 grams, Lot 23426, Mint State, “an
exceptional example, well struck on a broad flan.” ■