The collecting of international numismatic items (coins, currency and exonumia) can be a fun and interesting hobby. Anyone with a desire to learn of the history of civilizations and countries can learn what was considered to be so important that their money proudly displayed it. Others wish to learn or teach finer details of unique coins. Education and the sharing of knowledge is a primary focus of NI, with the scholarly NI Bulletin, the library and the publications. In addition, the semi-annual Bid Sale allows members to acquire items of interest or to sell excess numismatic items. This is done in a spirit of friendship with members who have similar interests.
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Numismatics International’s Coin Spotlight:
PHOENICIA - Tyre Shekel - 400 to 332 B.C.E.
Phoenicia, Tyre AR Stater (Shekel). Circa 400-332 BC. Melkart, holding bow in extended left hand and reins in right, riding hippocamp to right; below, waves above dolphin swimming to right / Owl standing to right, head facing; crook and flail diagonally in background. Betlyon 37; SNG Cop. 301.
Very Fine. and Scarce, and in nice condition for the type. Beautiful, lustrous metal.
G. Markoe (Phoenicians, 2000) offers a succinct description of the early Tyrian coinage: “On its earliest issues, dateable c.450 BC, Tyre chose, for its obverse, a flying dolphin and a murex shell, both obvious references to the city’s maritime greatness (the latter was subsequently replaced by the figure of a marine deity riding on a hippocamp). Equally revealing is the motif chosen by the city as the reverse emblem: an owl with a crook and flail. These implements, venerable symbols of Egyptian royal power and authority, were closely associated with the falcon god Horus, a subject widely adopted in Phoenician art. The Tyrian diemaker, however, chose to replace the falcon with an owl, an image unattested to in the ancient Near East, but closely connected with the city of Athens. As the symbol of its tutelary goddess Athena, the owl appears prominently on the reverse of Athenian coinage, beginning in the late sixth century BC. Like its Athenian precursor, the Tyrian owl exhibits the same frontal head pose with staring eyes.”
The adoption of the owl on the reverse of the coin attests to the importance of commercial relations between Tyre and its great Greek rival, Athens, on the one hand, and Egypt on the other. A similar influence is felt on early Palestinian coins, as strikingly shown by the coins of Gaza, which imitate not only the type and legend of the Athenian coinage, but are also struck on the Attic standard. Tyre too would eventually adopt the Attic standard shortly before the mid-fourth century.
The NI Bulletin:
The March/April 2018 edition of the NI Bulletin is now available on this website for members to download. The March/April 2018 NI Bulletin includes the following articles:
- A Short Monetary History of Belgium by Jean Elsen
- A Brandenburg Taler with a 26-Field Coat of Arms by Robert Ronus
- The Eldorado Collection of Colombian and Ecuadorian Coins, by Herman Blanton
If you are not an Numismatics International member, and you wish to view a sample of the NI Bulletin, please visit the "NI Bulletin Sample" page on this website.