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Cyprus, Paphos AR Stater. Onasioikos, circa 450-440 BC. Bull standing left on beaded double line; [winged solar disk above, ankh to left]; all within dotted circular border / Eagle standing left; ankh to left, 'pa-si o-na' in Cypriot script around; all within dotted square border in incuse square. Tziambazis -; BMC -; Destrooper-Georgiades, p. 196, 13 = Gulbenkian 809 = NFA II, 1976, 275; Roma XIII, 405. 11.12g, 22mm, 2h.

Very Fine. The third known example. Of great numismatic and historical importance.

From the collection of an antiquarian, Bavaria c. 1960s-1990s.

The existence of this issue in the name of 'Ona' in the style of the coinage struck in the name of Stasandros illustrates the many problems of attribution in early Cypriot numismatics. We know of coins attributed to a king 'Onasioikos' which utilise the same obverse type of a bull with ankh and solar disk, but with a flying eagle as the reverse design (BMC pl. XXI, 14 = Traité II 1306). This in itself is not unusual, since Cypriot cities often continued the same obverse type under different rulers much as other Greek city-states did. The present coin however, which bears the name of 'Ona'(sioikos), utilises the same reverse type as the staters of King Stasandros with the only difference being the legend, suggesting a more direct link between the two rulers than has hitherto been widely assumed.

Indeed, the style of the reverse is so similar to archaic style issues of Stasandros (see following lot, certainly the work of the same hand), that it appears to conclusively demonstrate that this king Onasioikos was the immediate predecessor of Stasandros, since the latter retained the same types as seen on this issue for his first coinage. This theory is supported by the difference in style between the issues of Stasandros - the following lot, the 'earlier' issue, being distinctly archaic in appearance, while the 'later' issue is more classical in style.

In a thorough analysis of this mint and inscriptions, A. Destrooper-Georgiades (Le monnaies frappées à Paphos (Chypre) durant la deuxième moitié du Ve siècle et leur apport à l'histoire de l'île" in Proceedings of the 12th International Numismatic Congress, Berlin 2000, pp. 194-8), proposes a sequence of kings based on the available numismatic evidence which securely places Onasioikos prior to the reign of Stasandros, who is in turn succeeded by at least two other kings, Mineos and Zoalios, who are known to history only from their inscriptions on re-engraved coins of Stasandros.

The evidence presented by Destrooper-Georgiades demonstrates with a high degree of probability that the issues attributed to Onasioikos bearing the flying eagle reverse (generally dated to 400 BC without supporting evidence) are in fact an earlier issue of the same king named on the present type, and that his flying-eagle coinage should clearly be re-dated to before the reign of Stasandros. The archaistic appearance of the flying-eagle type weighs heavily in favour of this, since a backwards step from classical style to archaic is counter-intuitive. Destrooper-Georgiades proposes a revised dating of circa 450 BC for the flying-eagle type of Onasioikos, and a period from the mid-fifth century to the first decades of the fourth century for the standing-eagle coinage of Onasioikos, Stasandros, Mineos and Zoalios.

Cyprus, Paphos AR Stater. (rxiv281)

Price: £4,912.00

  • US $6,479.91
  • EUR €5,498.00
  • AUD $8,289.00
  • CHF 6,378.23
  • CAD $8,181.43
  • (Rates for 22/10/2017)
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