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    Description

    Outstanding Croesus Heavy Stater

    LYDIAN KINGDOM. Croesus (ca. 561-546 BC). AV stater (19mm, 10.77 gm). NGC MS ★ 5/5 - 5/5.  Sardes, "heavy" standard, ca. 550 BC. Confronted foreparts of lion (on left, facing right), with extended right foreleg, and bull (on right, facing left) / Two incuse squares, side-by-side. Berk 2. BMC Lydia 30. Boston MFA 2068. Gulbenkian 756. An exemplary specimen of this historic coinage, struck on a large, oblong flan, with the entire design fully struck up and displaying sharp detail, the fields displaying full mint luster and "bloom."

    Here we have an outstanding example of what can justifiably be 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 (see lots 2033-2034), 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 much more valuable). Since they were only struck during the reign of Croesus, "heavy" standard issues are about 3-4 times rarer than the later lightweight issues, and are much more difficult to find in high grade. This example, graded full Mint State with the elusive "star" designation denoting exceptional eye appeal, is one surely among the finest specimens extant. 




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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2017
    3rd Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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