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Coin Detail
Click here to see enlarged image.
ID:     74000389
Type:     Greek
Issuer:     Seleucus I Nicator
Date Ruled:     312-281 BC
Metal:     Gold
Denomination:     Stater
Date Struck:     BC circa 290/86-281
Weight:     8.51 g
Die Axis:     10 h
Obverse Description:     Head of Apollo right, wearing laurel wreath
Reverse Description:     BASILEWS SELEUKOU, Artemis driving biga of elephants right, holding reins in both hands while arming bow with arrow; monogram above [and to right]
Primary Reference:     SC 257 (this coin mentioned)
Reference2:     SCB 1.1, 4 (A1/P1
Reference3:     this coin)
Reference4:     ESM 331; Houghton 1034 = NFA XVIII, 279; Treasures of Ancient Bactria (Miho Museum, 2002), 44 i and j (both ex Mir Zakah II deposit) (all from the same dies)
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Grade:     EF, reverse slightly off center
Notes:     Sale: Triton X, Lot: 389 Extremely rare, one of six known (all from one pair of dies), of which four are in museums (London, Berlin, and two in Miho). The extraordinary types on this inaugural gold coinage for Seleukid Baktria have particular dynastic and historical importance to the Seleukids. Apollo, who appears on the obverse of this issue, was the patron god of the royal house, and the official ancestor of Seleukos. His representation in the form of Apollo Delphios became the primary reverse type for the Seleukid precious metal coinage over the next century. The elephant chariot reverse type was introduced in the Seleukid coinage at Seleukeia on the Tigris and Susa around the tenth anniversary of the conclusion of Seleukos’ Indian campaign in 305 BC, and the type was assimilated at most mints thereafter. In the settlement with Chandragupta, Seleukos was given 500 war elephants which directly contributed to his success over the Antigonids at the battle of Ipsos in 301 BC. The elephant biga type was therefore an important representation of Seleukid power, but it was also a link to Seleukos’ predecessor in the east, Alexander the Great, whose exploits in India were often commemorated in coinage by elephant biga types.