Double Shekel from Phoenicia, Sidon mint, issued by King Ba’Ishallim I c. 420-410 BC
On the obverse is the Galley of a ship with a row of shields along the bulwark, before an embattled city wall with five crenellated towers. There are two lions facing outward in exergue. On the reverse is the King of Persia and driver in a chariot drawn by three galloping horses. Below in an incuse running goat with its head head reverted. This scene is surrounded by a border of double dots, all within an incuse circle.
Exceedingly rare and probably the finest known specimen. Nearly Extremely Fine.
The majestic defensive walls of the great maritime city of Sidon are viewed here as they would have appeared in the late fifth century BC. Probably the oldest of the Phoenician cities and reputedly the mother city of Tyre, Sidon became subject to the overlordship of the Persian kings in the second half of the sixth century. Its celebrated fleet provided the principal naval contingent for Xerxes when he invaded Greece in 480 BC. It has been suggested that the obverse scene could depict the commissioning of a new galley by the king before the walls of the city, while the heraldically disposed lions below are symbolic of the king’s enemies.