Editor’s Note: A small group of double struck gold staters were discovered in this hoard. I personally sorted through two groups of staters from this hoard which were owned by two of the largest numismatic dealers who dealt in ancient coins. Fortunately there were a group which were double and triple struck. The double struck stater pictured in this article is dramatic and is in choice mint state condition.
88-86 BC Greek Gold Stater - Mithradates VI
Recently a group of Phosthumus Lysimachus gold staters came into the market. They were minted in Callatis, Tomis and Istrus. Those from Istrus were previously thought to be issues of Mithradates VI of Pontus as the unusual portrait bore a resemblance to him. With the discovery of this hoard other coins of Istrus came to light proving them all to be portraits of the deified Alexander the Great. Within the hoard were coins o Asander from the 40’s BC some 20 years after Mithradates and no coins of Mithradates at all were found. Could the coins be issues of Asander? No! He never controlled the three cities where the coins were minted. If not Mithradates or Asander, then who?
Enter Brutus! At this time and place Brutus and Cassius were in the Roman Civil War pitted against Marc Anthony and Octavian, (later Augustus). It was Brutus, assassin of Caesar who controlled the three mint cities. If he didn’t have enough gold he had a local source. The widow Polemocratia came to Brutus to save her assassinated husband’s kingdom for her son, which Brutus did. To reward him, Polemocratia gave Brutus a massive gold treasure. A treasure Brutus had an immediate need for. He had to pay the numerous Thracian mercenaries within his legions. Soldiers in those times were illiterate and payment had to come in a coinage from they were accustomed to. In this case it was the gold stater type that was originated by Lysimachus (335-281 BC) that bora a portrait of the deified Alexander on the obverse and a seated Athena on the reverse. The legend read “King Lysimachus.” This is the coinage Brutus had to produce and that he did. An amazing combination; a coin bearing the protrait of Alexander the Great to defend the assassin of Julius Caesar; Marcus Junius Brutus.
Thrace, Pontic Kings
ICG MS 63
This double struck Greek Gold Stater of Mithradates VI is over 2000 years old and is in choice Mint State condition. The portrait is in very high relief and there is original Mint luster on both sides. It is double struck on both sides with a 10% rotation. A spectacular Mint Error.
Thrace, Pontic Kings 120-63 BC Gold Stater. 8.4 grams. Struck for the first Mithradatic War, 88-86 BC. The obverse depicts the diademed head of the deified Alexander the Great, wearing the horn of Ammon. The reverse depicts Athena holding Nike in an extended right hand.