Cypriot Silver Stater coin from Salamis King ( King Evelthon): Archaic II (530/520-500 BC)

Silver Stater coin from Salamis King ( King Evelthon)

Silver 1 stater coin, issued by King Evelthon (Euelthon)(c 560-535BC or 569-525BC from another source ) King of Salamis, who is mentioned by Herodotus.  Evelthon was the first ruler in Cyprus to issue coins.  The coins continued to be issued in his name for a few years under his successor.  Only silver coins were issued and ranged from 1 Stater (about 11gm weight), through 1/3 and 1/6 to the tiny 1/12 Stater (see my collection).  Since value was by weight the 1/12 stater is about 1/12th the weight of the Stater.   Stater is the Greek name for this type of coin, the Persian name was the Double Siglos. Evelthon's earliest coins had recumbent ram or ram's head with a blank reverse (as in my 1/12 Stater coin).  Later, or perhaps after his death, they were given a reverse with the ancient sign of the Ankh. Salamis was the leading kingdom in Cyprus in the Archaic and Classical periods. Most of the other 8 kingdoms also issued coins slightly later, at the start of the classical period.

Recumbent ram facing to the left; Cypriot script 'e-u-we-le-to-to-se' around it.  On the reverse:  an Ankh, on which is inscribed Cypriot character 'ku'; rose buds(not visible in this example) in each lower corner, spray of three leaves in upper corners; all within incuse square. (References: BMC 14; Traité 934; SNG Copenhagen) -. 11.30g, weight.  21mm, 5h.
Extremely Fine; two minor metal voids; attractive old cabinet tone. Extremely Rare; only one other example on CoinArchives."

The ankh is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that was most commonly used in writing and in Egyptian art to represent the word for "life" and, by extension, as a symbol of life itself. The Eteo-Cypriot writing was syllabic (a letter represented a syllable, not a single sound) and was derived from Cretan Linear A (as was the Mycenaean Linear B).  Later Cyprus changed to using the Greek alphabet (except Kition - now Larnaca - which for a while used the Phoenician characters).  Ancient EteoCypriot was a completely different Language from Greek and has yet to be translated.  During an intermediate period in Cyprus the ancient script was used to write Greek.

Most coins auctioned have no provenance so this is a bit better than usual. Though the previous owner is not named, it was part of a large group of coins from his collection at the auction, so it might be possible for the auction house to relay a message to the sellers to ask more information confidentially.


Size: 21mm, 11.3gm

(From the collection of an antiquarian, Bavaria collected 1960s-1990s)

(Aquired Roma Numismatics Auction XVIII, 29th September 2019 lot 665)

DJ 164