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    Description

    Rare Prototype Stater

    LYDIAN KINGDOM. Croesus (ca. 561-546 BC). AV stater (20mm, 10.73 gm). NGC VF 5/5 - 4/5, light scuff. Sardes, "heavy" standard, prototype issue. Confronted foreparts of lion (on left, facing right), with raised right foreleg, and bull (on right, facing left) / Two incuse squares, side-by-side. Berk "100 Greatest Ancient Coins", 9.1. McClean 8635.

    If one were to own only a single gold stater, this would be the type, justifiably termed the "world's first gold coinage." While the Lydian kingdom and several Greek city states of Asia Minor had previously struck coins in electrum, a natural alloy of gold and silver, the accession of Croesus to the Lydian throne circa 561 BC ushered in a revolution in the world economy. The most important reform attributed to Croesus was the introduction of a bimetallic coinage in gold and silver, first augmenting and then replacing the previous electrum issues. The design chosen by Croesus, confronting foreparts of a lion and bull, are thought by Harlan J. Berk to be symbolic of "strength and power" (lion) and "fertility" (bull). The lion had previously been used by Alyattes, and so an alternative theory might be that this is a dynastic type, with the lion representing Alyattes and the bull representing his son and successor. The creation of separate gold and silver denominations ranging from a full stater down to 1/96th of a stater was a visionary move that had a major impact on the ancient economy. Gold staters were initially issued by Croesus on a "heavy" standard of about 10.7 grams, the same weight as the new silver stater denomination (although, since silver is a lighter metal, the gold issues were smaller in size and far more valuable).


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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