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    A New Bactrian King?

    GRECO-BACTRIAN KINGDOM. Diodotus I as Satrap or Antiochus Nicator (ca. 255-230 BC). AV stater (18mm, 8.39 gm, 6h). (If Diodotus), in the name of Antiochus II. Mint B, ca. 240 BC. Diademed head of Diodotus or Antiochus right / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, Zeus advancing left, brandishing thunderbolt and aegis, eagle at feet; wreath to left. HGC 12, 20. SC 630. Holt Series A, Group 8. Well struck from dies of fine style and devoid of the usual test cut. NGC MS? 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style. 

    The traditional attribution of this well-known stater holds it depicts Diodotus I, satrap of Bactria, but gives the name of the concurrent Seleucid King, Antiochus II Theos. Under this interpretation, the coin represents the Bactrian Kingdom's transition from being the largest and furthest-flung province of the Seleucid Kingdom to full independence under Diodotus, who later (after about 235 BC) struck coins naming himself as king, or Basileus. A new and attractive theory put forth by historian Jens Jakobsson in Numismatic Chronicle (2010) posits that "Antiochus Nicator" was an entirely different ruler of Bactria, probably a son of Diodotus I, who ruled alongside his father and brother Diodotus II, perhaps ca. 235-220 BC. This theory eliminates the "transitional" coinage and holds that Diodotus' breakaway regime proclaimed its independence from the beginning. It explains the rather puzzling phenomenon observed in the large group of gold staters that reached the market in the early 2000s, from which many examples of this type derive, that the gold staters in the name of Antiochus are generally far less worn than the few that bore both the portrait and name of Diodotus. 




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    13th Thursday
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