Ionian electrum stater highlights Heritage Long Beach sale

Piece could represent first true coin type
Published : 08/29/11
Text Size

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 to $60,000.

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,

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.

Some highlights:

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, Nearly EF.

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 Good VF.”

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,” choice EF.

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.” ■

You are signed in as:null

Please sign in or join to share your thoughts on this story

No comments yet