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Coins of Bithynia


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Some time ago, I decided to start on what I call "bridge" collections - or Hellenistic dynasties that eventually mixed it up with Rome. The goal was to build out these bridges until I had a few, then use it as an excuse to begin collecting Roman Republic coins.

Bithynia was my first choice, primarily because I'd already acquired the toughest one. This week, I finally acquired a missing link in the collection, and it's now (temporarily) complete. Many of you will notice that I'm missing the three final kings - Nikomedes II, Nikomedes III, and Nikomedes IV. While their tets occasionally dip into my level of affordability, I've decided to allocate the funds to other collections, so I don't anticipate picking one up anytime soon.

Therefore, I thought I'd show what I have for now. Feel free to show your own coins of Bithynia!

Nikomedes I - who caused havoc by allying himself with the Celts. He's one of the few people of whom I have two coins. The first is the far rarer and excellent copies are pricy. The second I picked up later when I noticed that no one wanted it.


Nikomedes I
279 - 255 BCE
AE 4.477g, 16.5mm, 0h
Rec Gen I-2 p.


Kings of Bithynia. Nikomedes I
circa 280-250 BCE
AE Bronze, 23 mm, 8.75 g, 6 h
Diademed head of Nikomedes I to right.
Rev. BAΣIΛE - NIKOMH Horse prancing right; above, wreath; below foreleg, spearhead.
RG 7. SNG von Aulock 242
Ex Leu


Ziailas - On the death of Nikomedes, Ziailas - Nikomedes' first-born son, was denied the crown. While Nikomedes' second wife, Etazeta (no known coins) ruled for her infant sons, Ziailas fled to the court of Arsames I in Armenia. He then returned to Bithynia with thousands of "friends" and forced Etazeta to flee to Macedonia, then under Antigonos II Gonatas.

Ziailas is the toughest ruler of Bithynia to obtain. Four coins are listed in ACSearch, with this being the nicest. A 2011 CNG sale mentioned four known specimens, though I'm unsure if any have been dug up since.


Kings of Bithynia. Ziailas, circa 250-230 BCE
AE 18 mm, 4.89 g, 1 h
Diademed head of Ziailas to right. Rev. BAΣIΛE[ΩΣ] / ZIAHΛA Tropy of arms. Mørkholm, Early Hellenistic Coinage, 416. SNG von Aulock 243
Ex Obolos October 2020
Ex Leu

Prusias I

If Instagram were a thing back then, Prusias would have had among the top followers, as he literally mixed it up with many of the top names of his era. He married the daughter of Demetrios II of Macedon, fought against Attalos I of Pergamon, sealed a treaty with Philip V of Macedon, dealt with Antiochos III, Eumenes II, and Rome, and gave sanctuary to Hannibal. 

This is my most recent acquisition. I love the large flan and portrait, and even though this is a common coin it took me some time to find a balance of quality and price.


KINGS OF BITHYNIA. Prusias I Chloros
circa 230-182 BCE
Tetrachalkon (Bronze, 28 mm, 10,27 g)
Laureate head of Apollo to left. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ
ΠΡΟΥΣΙΟΥ Helmeted and winged figure of Athena-Nike standing to left, crowning the king's name with her right hand and resting her left on a shield by her side; in field to left, monogram.
HGC 7, 615. RG 16. SNG von Aulock 6880
Ex Savoca


Prusias II

Prusias the sequel was less adept than his father. He was defeated during an invasion of Pergamon and forced to pay heavy reparations. When he married his second wife, he was convinced to make her children his heirs and ordered the assassination of his first-born son, Nikomedes II. Unfortunately for him, his son caught on and avoided the attempt, then forced his father to abdicate and later had him executed.

This coin was purchased as a souvenir from Paris when I stopped by CGB myself.


Kings of Bithynia. Prusias II
AE Unit 20.5mm 6.41g 12h
c. 180-150 BCE
Laffaille430 var. - Cop.- - Aulock6886 var. - RG.26 - BMC.- - HGCS. 7/629
0avers : Buste imberbe, juvénile et drapé de Dionysos (Bacchus) à droite, couronné de feuilles de vigne.
0revers : Le Centaure Chiron à droite, la tête de face, jouant de la lyre, sa tunique flottant derrière.

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What an interesting subcollection, @kirispupis, and well-illustrating of history! I wish you success as you pursue the few remaining white whales.

Naturally, my Bithynian coins were issued under the Roman Empire, typically from various cities, such as Nicaea, Nicomedia, Apamea, and so on. But here's one from the Koinon of Bithynia.

Sabina, AD 117-137.
Roman provincial Æ 24.5 mm, 8.12 g, 6 h.
Bithynia, Koinon of Bithynia.
Obv: CΑΒЄΙΝΑ ϹЄΒΑϹΤΗ, draped bust of Sabina, right, with hair coiled and piled on top of head above double stephane.
Rev: ΚΟΙ-ΝΟΝ BЄIΘΥΝΙΑϹ, octastyle temple on podium; pellet in pediment; Nikes erecting trophies (?) on raking cornices.
Refs: RPC III, 1016A; SNG von Aulock 291; cf. BMC 13.107,30.

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I once owned a dated Nicomedes iV.

Nicomedes lV Philopator tetradrachm 88/7 BC 

Obv: Diademed head of Nicomedes 11 right
Rev: Zeus Stratios standing in Himeiton holding wreath in LH and Sceptre in other.
Eagle on thunderbolt under Left arm, below monogram, below ΙΣ date Bithynian-Pontic era 210 = 88/7 BC
16.19g 34.4 mm
de Callatay: NEW


The interesting thing is that he had been deposed  by then, hiding in Rome.  It is thought not all of Bithynia was in the enemies hands and a "hold ou"  still minted coins.


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I only have two provincials.



Faustina II
Faustina II (Augusta, 147-175)
Obv: ΦAYCTEINA CEBACTH, Draped bust of Faustina right.
Rev: ΝΙΚΑΙEΩΝ, Nude Herakles reclining left, on lion walking right; Herakles holding club and playing with small Eros.
AE, 14.31 g, 28 mm
Ref.: RPC onine 5530. (double die match with specimen 3)



Severus Alexander
Bithynia, Nicaea
Æ 20
Obv.: M AVP CEV AΛEXANΔPOC A, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Rev.: NIKAIEΩN, three standards
Æ, 20.4mm, 5.17g
Ref.: SNG Tübingen 2122-3; SNG von Aulock 623 var. (obv. legend); RPC VI, 3202 (temporary), SNG Copenhagen 520 var.
ex Dr. P. Vogl collection,
ex Bankhaus Aufhäuser (sold May 1987)

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I love that Prusias II with the centaur reverse, that’s a beauty!  Here is my Prusias II with a Herakles reverse.

62BF38CD-2F46-4659-AD3F-BA03C22C40D6.jpeg.a97c7ff2267bb20ecfb495e64b3aa8a0.jpegKings of Bithynia, Prusias II Cynegos, 182-149 BC, AE Dichalkon (18 mm, 4.28 g). Head of Prusias II to right, wearing winged diadem. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ - ΠΡΟYΣΙΟΥ Herakles standing front, head to left, holding club set on ground in his right hand and lion skin in his left; to lower right, monogram

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