Phrygia, Prymnessus, Pseudo-autonomous. King Midas (of the “Golden Touch”) Very rare.


Phrygia, Prymnessus. Pseudo-autonomous issue. Assarion, 22 mm. 7.0 gm. time of Gallienus, 253-268. Obv: MIΔAC BACIΛЄYC Draped and cuirassed bust of King Midas to right, wearing Phrygian cap decorated with stars. Rev: ΠPYMNHCCЄΩN Dikaiosyne standing front, head to left, holding scales in her right hand and grain ears in her left. SNG von Aulock 3938. Von Aulock, Phrygien II, 955-961. Rare and with an attractive portrait of Midas.

The obverse of this coin shows us the Phrygian King Midas, best known for his ‘Golden Touch’. Midas was offered a reward of his choice by Dionysos for his hospitable treatment of the god’s drunken foster father Silenos, and the greedy King wished for everything he touched to be turned into gold. Midas soon realized that the divine gift was in fact a curse, as he was unable to eat or drink. Starving and dying of thirst, he beseeched Dionysos: ‘Father Lenaios, forgive me! We have sinned. But have pity on me, I beg you, and save me from this costly evil!’ (Ovid met. XI, 133.4). The merciful god forgave the King, and he ordered him to wash himself in the spring of the Paktolos to hand the divine power over to the river, which explains its richness of alluvial gold that was used to strike the early Lydian electrum coinage.

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