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    Rare Seleucus II Portrait Stater

    SELEUCID EMPIRE. Seleucus II Callinicus (246-225 BC). AV stater (18mm, 8.51 gm, 2h). NGC Choice AU 4/5 - 3/5, edge marks. Uncertain western mint. Diademed head right / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣEΛ-EYKOY, nude Apollo standing left, examining arrow held in right hand, holding grounded bow held in left hand; no control marks. SC 720. HGC 9, 299f. CSE 1158. Arthur Houghton, "The Tarik Derreh (Kangavar) Hoard" (ANS Museum Notes 25, 1980), 25-27 and plate 5, 26 (same obverse die as pictured specimen). Extremely rare, with only the three published examples! 

    The reign of Seleucus II was chaotic from its inception. The son of Antiochus II by his first wife, Laodice, Seleucus was proclaimed king upon his father's unexpected death (probably by poisoning) in 246 BC by partisans of his mother at Ephesus, while his infant half-brother Antiochus was proclaimed by Berenice, his father's second wife and sister of Ptolemy III, who supported her claim. When Laodice murdered Berenice and her son, Ptolemy launched a full-scale invasion of the Seleucid Kingdom (the Third Syrian War) that forced Seleucus into a five-year rear-guard action and led to the capture and sack of Antioch by Ptolemaic forces. Even after Ptolemy withdrew in 241 BC, Seleucus had to contend with a rebellion by his younger brother, Antiochus Hierax, that left large portions of the kingdom under Hierax's control for another 14 years. Seleucus dealt with these wars as best as he could given the circumstances forced upon him by his murderous mother and contentious sibling, but his qualities as a ruler and tactician are difficult to assess due to the paucity of sources for the reign. A riding accident cut his rule short in 225 BC.

    His coinage provides few clues, offering only a few minor deviations from his predecessors. He replaced the standard Seleucid reverse type of a seated Apollo examining an arrow with a standing (or leaning) figure of the god, possibly to differentiate his issues from those of his rebel brother Hierax. This extremely rare gold stater, which lacks any identifying mint control symbols or letters, is possibly one of three from the 1974 so-called "Tarik Darreh Hoard" catalogued by Arthur Houghton in ANS Museum Notes 25 (the weight of 8.51 grams is identical to specimen 25, but no photo is provide to confirm this). Houghton assigned the issue to Ecbatana in 1980, but he and Cathy Lorber reversed this attribution in Seleucid Coins Vol. I (2002), assigning it to an unknown Western mint. Aside from another example from the same hoard sold three times in 1990, 1991 and 2016, no further examples of this handsome issue appear to have sold at auction.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    7th-8th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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