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A COIN OF GYGES

No. 2 in Buy or Bid Sale 112, which the catalogue describes as bearing the inscription KIKALIL, in fact reads KUKALIM "I am of Kukash". This is also thelegend on two specimens in Weidauer's Probleme der frühen Elektronprägung (Nos. 114 and 115) as well as No. 95 in Numismatic Fine Arts International, Inc., Auction 30 (8 December 1992); on these coins, however, the legend is damaged or abraded, and it is only the Berk specimen that permits proper decipherment.

Kukash is probably Gyges, king of Lydia ca. 680-644 BC, a predecessor of Alyattes, whose appearance on coins I have documented in Kadmos 35 (1996) 50-52.

If the attribution is correct, this coin supports Head's view (Historia Numorum 643) that the earliest Lydian coins belong to the early seventh century. For the past fifty years numismatists have tended to lower that date to the last third of the seventh century, and their belief has hardened into orthodoxy. The Berk coin challenges the orthodoxy and makes a very important contribution to the study of early coinage.

The above note summarizes my article, "A New Lydian Text", forthcoming in Kadmos.


View Lot No. 2 of  the 112th Buy or Bid Sale

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