ANTIOCHUS III SILVER TETRADRACHM – EXCEEDINGLY IMPORTANT ELEPHANT CORPS ISSUE PEDIGREED TO THE 1963 CENTRAL ASIA MINOR HOARD AND PUBLISHED IN 4 DIFFERENT SCHOLARLY WORKS – XF NGC GRADED GREEK SELEUCID SELEUKID COIN (Inv. 14090)
SELEUCID KINGDOM. ANTIOCHUS III, 222-187 BC
Silver tetradrachm, 16.86 g, 29 mm, minted at “Uncertain mint 56,” probably in western Asia Minor (Sardes?), ca. 203 or soon after BC.
Obv. Diademed head of Antiochos right within fillet border.
Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ANTIOXOY, elephant right, control monograms in right an left fields.
ESM 628; SC 985.1.
Ex Arthur Houghton Collection and from the Central Asia Minor 1963 Hoard. First auctioned at Hess-Leu 28, 5/5/1965, lot 272.
Christoph Boehringer. Zur Chronologie mittelhellenistischer Münzserien 220-160 v.Chr (1972), p. 174, 32 (this coin recorded and illustrated as part of the original hoard publication).
Arthur Houghton. Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton (1983), no. 1184 (this coin listed and illustrated).
Arthur Houghton, “The elephants of Nisibis,” in ANSMN 31 (1986), p. 108 no. 3 (this coin listed).
Arthur Houghton & Cathy Lorber. Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalog (2002), 985.1 (this coin listed and illustrated).
NGC graded XF, Strike 3/5, Surface 5/5, with some of the prestigious publication history listed on the label. Among the most spectacular and famous of all Hellenistic coins, Antiochus’ “elephant tetradrachms” honor his elephant corps, the ancient equivalent of tanks, exotic creatures that not only inspired fear in the enemy but were extremely difficult to stop in battle. Houghton and Lorber have the following to say about the early elephant tetradrachms of which the present coin is perhaps the most famous and well published example: “The first two portraits of these elephant tetradrachms are extraordinary works of art, perhaps taken from life. All three portraits are apparently from the same hand. They share a peculiar treatment of the neck truncation, with the front plunging downward to a sharp point….The quality of the portraits and their association with a reverse type honoring the Seleucid elephant corps argue that this coinage was inaugurated in connection with the campaigns of Antiochus III in Asia Minor. The type C portrait on the earliest issues eliminates his first Asia minor campaign and points to that of 203, when Antiochus is believed to have operated in Ionia…” SC, p 377.