Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Rare Silphium Tetradrachm

    CYRENAICA. Cyrene. Ca. 480-435 BC. AR tetradrachm (25mm, 17.16 gm, 5h). NGC Choice AU 4/5 - 4/5, Fine Style. Silphium plant / KVPA, head of Zeus Ammon right in all within prominent dotted border, outline of round die visible. Jameson 1350 (this obverse die). Weber 8425. SNG Copenhagen 1174. A choice example with choice detail and of good quality silver.

    Silphium, a rather mysterious plant that grew wild in the environs of Cyrene, was widely used as an all-purpose seasoning and medicament in the classical ancient world. Important to the local economy, it was frequently shown on the coins of Cyrene, including this splendid tetradrachm. It was said to be something of a wonder drug, used to treat cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion, and other maladies, in addition to its alleged use as a contraceptive (or abortifacient), or perhaps even an aphrodisiac. Its heart-shaped seed pod or fruit may have originated the attachment of that shape to love and romance. Modern herbalists suspect it was a type of giant fennel belonging to the gens ferula. Ancient writers were convinced silphium had gone extinct due to over-harvesting and over-grazing by animals. Pliny the Elder reported that the last known stalk of silphium found in Cyrenaica was given to the Emperor Nero "as a curiosity."


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 545

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 April 22 - 27 Central States World Coins Signature Auction - Chicago.

    Learn about consigning with us

    It was a long, nerve-wracking process but Heritage was competent, professional and responsive at all points.
    Jeff O.,
    Pompton Plains, NJ
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 December 5-7 US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 December 5-7 US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $9,491,556
    2019 December 5 - 6 HKINF World & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    2019 December 5 - 6 HKINF World & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    REALIZED SO FAR $3,848,428
    2019 December 4 - 6 HKINF World Paper Money Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    2019 December 4 - 6 HKINF World Paper Money Signature Auction - Hong Kong
    REALIZED SO FAR $1,667,425