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Scarcer Black Sea Coin Acquisitions...


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Tyra ~ Тира




Tyra is in the SE corner of what is now Ukraine - near the city of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, and is one of the oldest known continously occupied cities in the world. It is believed that the original settlement of the area at the mouth of the Dnestr river began in the 6th century BC, it's prominence at the end of the river where it empties into the Black Sea gives it an advantage in trade. Coins from Tyra date into the 3rd century BC, but curiously they are difficult to find as they are never found in any quantity. As the Roman Empire expanded eastward and absorbed Thrace their client states in the region began minting coins in the names of the Roman Emperors.


This coin was minted in the reign of Antoninus Pius(138-161 AD) and bears his portrait and name. The reverse of the coin has Hercules standing with a club and lion skin and the legend "TYPANWN" for the city name. Even during the Roman era there doesn't appear to have been a large output of coinage from Tyra, and this example is only the third one I have seen in ten years of searching for one.


The city of Bilhorod-Dnestrovskyi is one of those places that has changed hands many many times over the years, it has been a part of the Greek Empire, then Roman, Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Bulgaria, then the Ottoman Empire, part of Moldavia in the 18th century, then absorbed into the Russian Empire, then in 1918 was awarded to Romania and became "Cetatae Alba" - literally meaning White City, then in 1940 was taken by the USSR and became a part of Ukraine. There are historical excavations going on in the vicinity of the Fortress of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi - a fortress that dates into Byzantine times.


Phanagoria ~ Фанагория




Phanagoria was founded in the 6th century BC by colonists fleeing Asia Minor in the wake of the expansion of the Persian Empire. The city was located on what is now the Taman Peninsula in Russia, directly across and east from the Crimean Peninsula in what is now Ukraine. Phanagoria was a strategically located centre of trade and commerce and had a long lineage of rulers that continued to reign until ca. 108 BC when the ruler Paerisades V lost his kingdom to the Skythians.


This coin was one of the last issued under the original kingdom that flourished in that region, the King Paerisades V and is a dimunitive AE11 that has a portrait of a bearded Satyr on the obverse and a bow and arrow and the legend "ФА". In the first century Phanagoria became part of a client state of the Roman Empire under their Bosporan Kingdom.



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After the opening of the "iron curtain" the main types of these cities became more abundant on the market. But the scarcer issues - like the types you showed - are still hard to find.


One of the scarcer issues from Olbia. An error coin?

The lambda of their label is missing - an alternative name for Olbia, a slip of the engraver or limited space on the die?




Olbia in Sarmatia, 370-360 BC.,

Chalkus / Æ13 (12-14 mm / 2,12 g),

Obv.: turreted head of Tyche wearing corn wreath left.

Rev.: OBIO, archer kneeling to shoot l.

SNGuk_0901_0543 (SNG Vol: IX 543 British Museum) ; cf. Nieczitajlo 154 .



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