King Croesus (c.561-547/6 BC). is
a noteworthy figure in ancient numismatics, as he is believed to have pioneered
the idea of a bi-metallic coinage system that contained both gold and silver
coins of high purity. These coins featured on the obverse the confronted
foreparts of a lion and a bull, and a simple incuse punch on the reverse.
King Croesus reigned in the sixth century B.C. over the flourishing
empire of Lydia. The Lydians were dreaded warriors on horse and chariot,
controlling the middle ground between the Greeks to the west and marauding
nomads and surging empires, notably the Persians, in the east. They were
enterprising in commerce, and their streams seemed to run with gold.
Greek literature for generations held up Croesus as a symbol of enormous
wealth but one whose gold could not assure him happiness or ultimate success.
His golden reputation, if little else of Lydia, survives to this day.
This example of a gold stater, thought to have been issued around c.550
BC at the Sardes mint, is in exceptionally fine condition and is struck to the
“light” weight standard of c.8.06 grams. Mint State are highly coveted by
Ancient Coin collector in US and European markets. Over the last 18 month, high
grade rarities have been take off the market at an accelerated pace.