CYPRUS. Uncertain kings. Circa 480-460 BC. Stater (Silver, 23 mm, 11.35 g, 6 h). Land tortoise. Rev. He-goat standing left; above, ankh with double crossbar; all within dotted square within incuse square. Babelon -. BMC -. NAC 106 (2018), 325 (same dies). Naumann 70 (2018), 133 (same dies). SNG Copenhagen -. Traité II -. Tziambazis -. Weber -. Of the highest rarity, the best of very few known examples. Well struck on sound metal, a very interesting issue of wonderful early Cypriotic style. The obverse struck from a worn die, otherwise, nearly extremely fine.
From a European collection, formed before 2005.
The emergence of a new, hitherto unpublished early Cypriot issue is quite remarkable. Unlike the pieces in NAC 106 (2018), 325 and in Naumann 70 (2018), 133, which are both either heavily corroded or struck from badly worn and broken dies, ours is actually remarkably fresh and very attractive. Exactly where on Cyprus these coins were struck is unclear: while the ankh with a double crossbar does appear on a coin of Nikodamos of Salamis (circa 460-450 BC), the types of a land tortoise and a he-goat are unprecedented in the early coinage of the island. It is worth noting that the double crossbar ankh of Nikodamos appears to be a derivative from earlier coins from Salamis incorporating the syllable 𐠞 ('pa-', for 'pasilewose' = basileos, king) in the upper circle of the ankh. If this is true, the authority behind the present issue must have been one of the early, unnamed Cypriotic Kings, who ruled Salamis or, rather, one of the other Cypriotic Kingdoms sometime in circa 480-460 BC.