Hellenistic Coin Set To Fetch £200000

Posted by admin on Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The market for ancient coins is particularly strong at the present time. Perhaps this is because of the buoyant gold and silver prices, and the fact that many ancient coins were minted in the precious metals. Or perhaps it is because of the increased interest in numismatics that the rising prices of gold and silver have initiated. Whatever the reason, there is a real gem of a coin coming for auction in London at the beginning of October.

London based Roma Numismatics Limited, who specialise in the sale of ancient coins, are holding an auction on the 2nd of October at the Cavendish Hotel in London, and one of the star lots will be a gold coin which was minted after the collapse of Alexander The Great’s empire. The coin in question was issued by little known Greco-Baktrian ruler, Sophytes, and is thought to be the first gold coin of the Hellenistic period.

It has been exhibited at the Henri-Prades Museum in France, and this will be the first time it has been offered for sale. It will be available for viewing at the offices of Roma Numismatics in Hanover Square, London, on October 1st.

The first coin bearing Sophytes’s name was discovered in 1866, and it is thought that he was a Greco Indian king with a capital at Baktra, which is now in Afghanistan. When Alexander died, his empire split apart rapidly as his generals and provincial rulers sought to gain power and riches. It is thought that Sphytes was one of these men, and the coinage bearing his name was struck before Seleukid’s campaign against the Indian King, Chandragupta.

There are no records regarding Baktra during the period of 316 to 305 BC, and it is thought that this is the time when Sophytes attempted to gain power in the region and struck his coins as validation of his personal empire.

The true facts surrounding this period of turmoil, and the part that Sophytes played in it, may never be fully known, but this coin is a pointer to historic facts and a rare artefact that is not likely to be resold for many more years after the Roma Numismatics auction.

For this reason it is thought that its sale will receive bids from around the world, and it is estimated to fetch around £200,000.

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