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Gem MS Eucratides I Gold Stater, One Of Six Known

GRECO-BACTRIAN KINGDOM. Eucratides I the Great (ca. 171-145 BC). AV stater (20mm, 8.46 gm, 11h).  Diademed and draped bust of Eucratides right, wearing crested and broad-brimmed Bactrian helmet adorned with bull's horn and ear; all within pelleted border / BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛΟΥ EYKPATIΔOY, the Dioscouroi mounted right on rearing horses, holding palm fronds over shoulders and couched spears; monogram in lower right field. Bopearachchi 5 variant (unlisted monogram); cf. 7A (drachm). Al. N. Oikonomedes, The Gold Coinage of the Indo-Greek King Eukratides I (171-155 B.C.), North American Journal of Numismatics 7.6 (1968), Group B.  SNG ANS 163 variant (different monogram). MIG Type 176 variant (unlisted monogram). Very rare! One of only six known Eucratides staters with this monogram, and perhaps the finest known of all gold coins of this king. NGC Gem MS 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

From The Lexington Collection of Jonathan K. Kern. 

Alexander the Great's conquests eventually carried him all the way to the Indian subcontinent and established a Greek presence there that persisted for nearly four centuries. The region was first controlled by Alexander's general Seleucus and his descendants. By 240 BC, the regions encompassing modern Afghanistan and northern India had broken from Seleucid rule and became independent under their own line of kings, which were showcased in a series of coin portraits of astonishing power and realism. Greatest of these was Eucratides, ca. 171-145 BC, whose vast realm was larger than any other Greek-ruled kingdom of the time. Eucratides struck silver coins in vast numbers and many survive today. His gold coins, however, are exceedingly rare, with fewer than 20 specimens known altogether. This magnificent piece depicts Eucratides as a general wearing a broad-brimmed helmet, greatly resembling a modern-day British explorer in a pith helmet. The portrait, rendered in sculptural high relief, is nearly photographic in its realism and exemplifies the virtuosity achieved by the artisans of this far-flung Greek enclave.

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August, 2014
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