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Cordoba's Top Coins of 2023


Favorite Coin(s)  

19 members have voted

  1. 1. Favorite Coin(s)

    • Antimachos I Tetradrachm
    • Antimachos I Contemporary Imitation Tetradrachm
    • Datames Stater
    • Agathokles Pedigree Tetradrachm
    • Euthydemos Tetradrachm
    • Mazaios Stater
    • Husam al-Din Timurtash Dirham

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This year, I mainly focused on Baktrian, Cilician, and Turkoman coinage. I picked 7 of my favorites to highlight, and will add a group shot at the end with some honorable mentions.


1. Antimachos Tetradrachm
The first coin on my list is a tetradrachm of Antimachos Theos. As is the case for many Greco-Baktrian kings, there is scant evidence Antimachos existed aside from his coinage. Antimachos's name is also present on a single tax receipt found in Baktria, which makes him more well attested than many other Greek kings in the region. His portraits are my absolute favorite of all ancient coins. With kausias, elephant hats, and helmets, the Greco-Baktrians had some of the coolest hats on ancient coins.

2. Antimachos Contemporary Imitation Tetradrachm
My second coin is another Antimachos tetradrachm. If you’re familiar with typical Antimachos types, then you’ll notice this coin is a bit weird. The style on this tetradrachm is charmingly crude, with bulbous facial features and a clumsily executed Poseidon. According to Simon Glenn, this coin is likely a contemporary imitation, given its stylistic similarities to imitation tetradrachms of Euthydemos and Eukratides. This type is quite rare, with only a few examples coming to auction in the past decade, and I was happy to win it at a relatively reasonable price. 

3. Datames Stater
I'm really happy to pick up this interesting type with nice toning and a 1970’s provenance. The Baaltars is quite crisp, and a lot more detailed than the Baaltars on my other Cilician staters. The reverse depicts a satrap, likely Datames, in satrapal regalia seated on a Persian-style throne. This depiction of the actual satrap is quite unusual in satrapal coinage. Such imagery may be an attempt to assert his legitimacy, which suggests that this issue was minted during the time of the Great Satraps' Revolt against Artaxerxes II. I really recommend reading Moysey’s The Silver Stater Issues of Pharnabazos and Datames from the Mint of Tarsus in Cilicia, which is where I got my information about this Datames type. Many thanks to @Curtisimo for giving me a pic of the auction catalog.
Ex Auctiones 6, 1976, Lot 263




4. Agathokles Dikaios Pedigree Tetradrachm
Agathokles of Baktria is a king only known through his extensive, and unusual emission of coinage. He minted an interesting series of tetradrachms commemorating his predecessors with their name and epithet on the obverse, this one commemorating Euthydemos. The reverse has a legend of ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΟΝΤΟΣ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΥ ΑΓΑΘΟΚΛΕΟΥΣ, which is one of the only uses of a participle in a coin legend, the other being in Antimachos’s pedigree tetradrachms. Curiously enough, this coin supposedly was pierced in antiquity with an iron pin. This is also a plate coin from MPHB, and from the collection of Lloyd Taylor.



5. Euthydemos I Tetradrachm
Euthydemos is one of the more well-attested Baktrian kings, with an actual contemporary source mentioning him. He overthrew the Diodotids, and soon after came in conflict with Antiochos III who wished to reclaim the wayward satrap of Baktria. Euthydemos withstood a three year long siege of Baktria and soon made peace with Antiochos III. He supposedly argued that he deserved to rule in Baktria, as he wasn’t the one who revolted against the Seleukids, but the one who revolted against the usurpers.

Euthydemos’s tetradrachm portraits are strikingly varied, ranging from youthful, middle-aged, and elderly. This portrait of Euthydemos depicts him in an idealized, youthful appearance with oddly large eyes. I’m quite fond of the sharp portrait and the full bead border on the reverse, and was quite happy to get this at Spink for a reasonable price.



6. Mazaios Stater
Next up is a Mazaios stater, minted in Tarsos, depicting Baaltars on the obverse and a lion eating a stag on the reverse. I’m really fond of the lion eating an ungulate imagery on Mazaios’s staters, and was pretty pleased to get this scarcer type.



7. Husam al-Din Timurtash Dirham
The Artuqids issued many types of figural bronze dirhams, which was an oddity in the Islamic world where coinage was typically aniconic. Many of their coins took inspiration from ancient motifs, this one most likely being inspired from Seleucid coins. The style on this is quite exceptional, and captures the Seleucid portrait style quite well. It’s fun to imagine Artuqid celators as ancient coin collectors who drew inspiration from their collection. This is a plate coin in ICV, which was a neat surprise since the auction house did not list that.

2023 was a great year for my collection, and I'm looking forward to refining it more next year! image.jpeg.f8c871fc70199236f950018d72f02293.jpeg

Edited by Cordoba
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  • Cordoba changed the title to Cordoba's Top Coins of 2023

Very nice coins youve acquired this year. It's nice to see coins that I don't collect, but they are nevertheless interesting. I voted for your first coin, because of the impressive obverse. But also doubted to go for the Mazaios stater, because of the action packed reverse. 

Have a great 2024!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great set of coins! I agree that the Baktrians are definite contenders in the Best Hat category. I voted for #4. Agathokles Dikaios Pedigree Tetradrachm, in spite of the lack of hat, because I like thinking about why someone might have chosen to put a nail through this coin in antiquity.

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