SELEUKID KINGS OF SYRIA. Antiochos V Eupator, 164-162 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 31 mm, 16.70 g, 12 h), Ake-Ptolemais. Struck under Lysias, 165-164. Diademed head of Antiochos V to right; behind, monogram of ΛY. Rev. BAΣIΛEΩΣ - ANTIOΧOY Apollo seated left on omphalos, holding arrow in his right hand and resting his left on grounded bow; to outer left, monogram of ΛY; to outer right, monogram of NE; in exergue, monogram of ΛB on the left and AΓ on the right. CSE 773 = Houghton & Le Rider 7 (D1/R3) = SC 1581b (this coin). Very rare and of great historical interest. A beautiful coin with a lovely portrait of the child king. Struck somewhat off center as usual, otherwise, good very fine.
From the collection of Regierungsrat Dr. iur. Hans Krähenbühl, privately acquired from Bank Leu on 15 March 1984 (with a photocopy of the original invoice enclosed), and from the collection of A. Houghton.
When Antiochos IV departed on his great eastern campaign in the spring of 165 to recover the territories lost to the Armenians, Parthians and Baktrians, he left his infant son Antiochos V under the guardianship of his trusted general and advisor Lysias, whom he also tasked with suppressing the recently erupted Maccabean Revolt. After the sudden death of Antiochos IV in Babylon in 164, Lysias acted as a regent for the child king, now crowned Antiochos V Eupator, until he and his ward were handed over by the army to Demetrios I in 162, who had them both executed.
The particularly juvenile portrait and the absence of the epithet Eupator on this issue of Antiochos V from Ake-Ptolemais have led Houghton and Le Rider to suggest an otherwise unattested coregency between Antiochos IV and Antiochos V during the former's eastern campaign. Such an arrangement would surely have strengthened Lysias' authority among the troops during the absence of the senior king. If this supposition holds, our coin was not part of the coinage struck in connection with the second Seleukid invasion of Judaea under Lysias in 162 (SC 1582-1583), but issued in the early phases of the Maccabean Revolt in 165-164. At this time, Lysias unsuccessfully campaigned in Judaea, suffering a defeat against Judah Maccabee in 164, resulting in a temporary Seleukid retreat from the area.
In this regard, it is worth noting that the unusual monogram on the obverse and on the outer left of the reverse can be read as the first two letters of Lysias' own name. This would have been an elegant way of having the issue signed by the true power holder of the campaign without questioning the authority of the Seleukid dynasty, which was represented much more prominently by the royal image of the heir to the throne on the obverse, just as Tryphon would later sign the coins of Antiochos VI with an unobtrusive TPY on the reverse (see lot 148 below).