ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Melih Arslan

Keywords: Hoard, Lycian, Fethiye Museum, Coin

The hoard consists of 19 silver staters of an unidentifiable Lycian dynast. As such they represent an important group of examples from the early coinage of Lycia. The hoard was acquired by Fethiye Museum in 1992 after it was confiscated by the police during an operation against antiquities' smugglers. This group of coins may have belonged to a larger hoard that was quickly dispersed after discovery. So, for example, another group of 5 similar coins was also acquired by Fethiye Museum as a result of the same operation[1].

The study of Lycian coitrage was iiritiated by Sir Clrarles Fellows in 1855, but tire first comprehensive work on this subject was compiled by Ernest Babeion a ltd published in this Traitéduring the early part of this century[2]. However, despite increasing interest in the early history, language and inscriptions of Lycia over tire past 40 years, tliei'e remain many lacunae in our knowledge of its coinage. Finds suclt as the present Itoard thus provide an important source of new information.

Tlte present coins are all of tile sante type, although it is clear that they come from different dies. Tire coitrs also display a marked variation in weight; for example, the Ireaviest is 9.40 g., while the liglrtest weighs only 0.71 g. On the obverse they depict a smtffiing boar and otr the reverse a tortoise. They are tints attributable to tire secottd set'ies of Lycian dynastic issues, as first established by Babeion. In the British Museum Catalogue Hill dated tilis series to c. 500-460 BC, blit von Alllock later gave it a tiniespan extending as far as c. 440 BC[3].

Tirese coins are not commonly found in western collections; the Cabinet des Medailles in Paris contains only 2 examples, die British Museum lias 4, tile von Alllock collection anotlier 4, wliile a single example lias been published from tlie Boston Museum of Fine Arts[4]. Likewise, die type rarely appears in known lioards; for example, in tlie riglitly famous Elmali Hoard, containing more than 970 Lycian issues, only one example of tliis type has been identified[5]. Auction catalogues very infrequently offer examples for sale; an important group, comprising 5 examples, were presented in tlie Lanz Sale in Municli in 1994, while a single example was recently offered for sale by the Classical Numismatic Group[6]. In effect, tliis means tliat tlie Fetiliye Museum collections contain by the far the largest number of known coins of this type for, in addition to tlie present lioard and tlie other small group of 5 examples already noted, tlie museum also has a number of sucli coins tliat were acquired separately[7]. However, tliis lioard of 19 coins is a very significant addition to our knowledge, since it not only represents the largest single find of diis type but it also allows US to study it in more detail.

Within the second series tlie boar on the obverse generally faces riglit, but on a few examples the animal faces left. Amongst tlie present lioard one example of tlie latter type is to be found (cat. no. 5). Tlie lioard may also be divided into two sections as follows:- cat. nos. 1-7 would appear to be early issues within tlie series, for all come from different dies and weigli over 9.00 g., while tlie remaining coins, cat. nos. 8-19, are generally ligliter and were struck from the same obverse and reverse dies. 1'his group, despite the worn appearance of the coins, would seem to come later in the series when the size of the tortoise on the incuse reverse had become smaller and was placed more centrally.

It is unfortunate that we known nothing of the nature of the deposition or discovery of the hoard to aid us with its dating. However, the Elmah Hoard, which is dated to c. 465-460 BC, contains a large number of Lycian staters with a triskeles on the reverse, a type which is placed after the second series. This e١ddence would suggest that the second series must date to the first quarter of the fifth century BC and that it does not continue, as proposed by von Aulock, until c. 440 BC.

Obv. Snuffling boar r.

Rev. Tortoise; dotted border; square incuse

  1. 1 - 9.10 g.; 19 mm.; 12h. Traite 138; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4072.
  2. 2 - 9.16 g.; 19 mm.; 3h. Traite 138; BMC 18; SNG von Aulock 4072.
  3. 9.26 g.; 20 mm.; 12h. Traite 138; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4072; Lanz 213.
  4. 9.35 g.; 19 mm.; 5h. Traite 138; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4072 ; Lanz 213.

Obv. Snuffling boar 1.

Rev. Tortoise; dotted border; square incuse

  1. 5 - 9.40 g.; 20 mm.; 11h. BMC 20; SNG von Aulock 4071; Pozzi 2743; Lanz 212.
  2. 9.27 g.; 19 mm.; 5h. BMC 18; SNG von Aulock 4072; Lanz 213.
  3. 9.27 g.; 20 mm.; 12h. BMC 18; SNG von Aulock 4072.
  4. 8.61 g.; 20 mm.; lh. Traite 137; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4073; Lanz 214.
  5. 7.72 g.; 19 mm.; 4h. Traite 137; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4073; Lanz 214.
  6. 8.01 g.; 19 mm.; 5h. Traite 137; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4073; Lanz 214.
  7. 8.36 g.; 20 mm.; lh. Traite 137; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4073; Lanz 214.
  8. 8.36 g.; 20 mm.; 3h. Traite 137; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4073; Lanz 214.
  9. 7.65 g.; 19 mm.; 2h. Traite 137; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4073; Lanz 214.
  10. 8.30 g.; 20 mm.; 2h. Traite 137; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4073; Lanz 214.
  11. 7.47 g.; 19 mm.; 3h. Traite 137; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4073; Lanz 214.
  12. 7.16 g.; 19 mm.; lh. Traite 137; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4073; Lanz 214.
  13. 8.70 g.; 19 mm.; 2h. Trane 137; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4073; Lanz 214.
  14. 9.15 g.; 20 mm.; 211. Traite 137; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4073; Lanz 214.
  15. 6.71 g.; 19 mm.; 511. Traite 137; BMC 17; SNG von Aulock 4073; Lanz 214.

* My thanks go first and foremost to Ali Dervişagaoğlu, who brought the hoard to my attention. I am also greatly indebted to özgen Acar and Chris Lightfoot wlio, in different ways, provided much help during the writing of this article. The photographs from casts were expertly taken by Behiç Giinel.


  1. Coin Hoards VIII, ed. U. Wartenberg, M. Jessop Price & K.A. McGregor, London 1994, no. 32: western Lycia/eastern Caria, 1992. M. Arslan &A. Dervişağaoglu, forthcoming
  2. c. Fellows, Coins of Ancient Lycia before the Reign of Alexander, London 1855; E. Babeion, Traite des monnaies grecques et romaines, tom. 1-IV, Paris 1901-1933.
  3. BMC Lycia. p. 4, nos. 17-21; SNG '"Oil Alllock, nos. 4072-4074.
  4. A.B. Brett, Catalogue of Greek Coins, repr. New York 1974, no. 2082. There is also an unpublished example in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara; cf. also s. Pozzi. Catalogue Monnaies Gtecques Antiques. Genesa. 1921. (I'eprinted) no. 2743.
  5. CH VIII. no. 48. The coin is presently to be found in tlie collections of William Kock, Jeffrey Spier and Jonathan H. Kagan; inv. no. 826, weiglit 9.26 g.. axis 811. Tliis information was obtained from the arctiii'es assembled by özgen Acar, who as a researcher and Journalist first revealed the story of the El mall Hoard to the general public.
  6. Numismatik Lanz, Auktion 68. Muiizen der An tike, 6 June 1994, nos. 211-15; CNG Auction 42, May 29-30. New York 1997, lot 520
  7. The collections of Fethiye Museum were studied in 1991-92 by Meliln Arslan. Riclnaid Ashton, John Casey and A. Tolga Tek. Tlie publication of the full catalogue is in preparation, but a number of separate studies pertaining to lioai'ds within the collections Inane already been publislned.

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