INDO-06 Click on image for enlargement.


Greek Coins; Indo-Greek. Menander I Soter, 165-130 BC, Gold Stater (8.38 grams; 17.3 mm.), die-axis 12 o'clock.

Obverse: Draped Bust of Athena right, wearing crested helmet adorned with wing. Surrounded by a border of bead-and-reel.

Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing wings closed, on ground line. At left monogram A . Surrounded by a border of bead-and-reel. Extremely fine.

          King of the Indo-Greek dynasties who ruled part of Afganistan, Pakistan and North India. He is the only Indo-Greek king to be noted in the works of Western Historians, and was also a principal character in a late Buddhist work the Milinda Panha.

          The coin is die-identical with the specimen in the collection of the American Numismatic Society, New York, U.S.A. (1997.9.185)

          They are many variations in design, this extremely rare type is genuine gold coin of the Imperial mints, seldom found outside museum collections. If one does not find the die similarity, one should treat them with caution.

          Refer to Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.
Unlike his silver and bronz issues, the gold coinage of Menander I Soter is very rare (as is the case with Bactrian gold issues in general). The stater with the helmet of Athena on the obverse and an owl on the reverse, is among the rarest, with a total of 13 specimens known (see below). Mitchiner questioned the authenticity of some of the specimens he recorded, but did not doubt the British Museum specimen, which is struck from the same obverse die as the present coin (CNG 102 lot 706). Bopeachchi and P.Flandin in SNR 85 (2006), expressed doubt about a number of the coins in the Miho Museum and suggested that the Miho Menander (which she had not seen) should undergo further examination (pp. 190-1).

The thirteen examples of this issue are known from at least four obverse and five reverse dies.

1. A/a
          a) London, British Museum, inv. 1888,1208.283 [MIG Type 211a (top photo)]
2. A/b
          a) Koka. Miho Museum [Treasure of Ancient Bactria 46a]
          b) CNG 102, lot 706 (reference)
3. B/c
          a) New York, ANS. inv. 1995.51.100 [SNG ANS 882]
          b) Bombay, Prince of Wales Museum [A.S. Altekar, JNSI 11 (1949) pp. 45-6. Pl. 1.2]
          c) Private collection
4. C/d
          a) New York, ANS. inv. 1997.9.185
          b) Oxford. Asmolean Museum [Haughton collection 395 (questioned by Mitchiner)]
          c) London, British Museum. inv. 19390512.1 [R.B. Whitehead. NC 1940,5 (questioned by Mitchiner)]
          d) Private Collection [Haughton collection 396 (questioned by Mitchiner)]
          e) Private Collection
5. D/e
          a) Boston, Museum of Fine Arts [Boston MFA. supp.312; Haughton collection 397]
6. Unseen
          a) Varanasi, Banaras Hindu University [A.S. Altekar, JNSI 11 (1949) p.46]