AE17 17mm. 5.90g.
Gazelle standing r., in front, symbol (branch?); dotted border around.
Silphium plant; dotted border.
cf. SNG Copenhagen 248-250
Fine. Very rare. Tan-brown patina. Reverse bolder than most examples. Some light roughness. Weak obverse. A few small scrapes on obverse edge. Due to the obverse weakness, it is difficult to tell if there is a magistrate's name above the gazelle. If there is indeed a branch before the gazelle, the magistrate may be the 'ISTIPPOU' cited in Copenhagen, but this is difficult to ascertain due to the paucity of published examples.
The silphium is an unidentified plant that was used as medicine, perfume, aphrodisiac, contraceptive, abortifacient, and seasoning in antiquity, known both to the Greeks and Romans. Today it is believed that silphium was a now-extinct species of fennel. It was critical to the economy of ancient Kyrene and may have gone extinct due to overharvesting. It is said that the last known stalk of silphium was presented to emperor Nero.