Thraco-Macedonian Tribes, Siris or Lete. Stater, circa 540-520, AR 10.04 g. Nude ithyphallic satyr grasping r. arm of nymph, trying to move away from him; in field l. and r. and above, three pellets. Rev. Rough incuse square. AMNG III, pl.14,31. Svoronos, L’Hellénisme Primitif, pl. VII, 21 (this obverse die). Rosen 152. Kunstfreund 39 (this coin). SNG ANS 950.
Estimate: 45'000 CHF
Starting price: 36'000 CHF
Price realized: 46'000 CHF
Very rare. A wonderful specimen of this interesting and desirable issue. Struck in high
relief and with a wonderful old cabinet tone. Extremely fine
Ex Leu-M&M 28 May 1974, Kunstfreund, 39 and Morton & Eden 24 October 2011, 70 sales.
For a coinage that clearly was important in its time, and which today is known in a considerable variety of styles, it is remarkable that the mint identification is still a matter of debate. Even if we do not know where in the Thraco-Macedonian region these coins were struck, in some cases we know where they ended up since they have been found in documented hoards from Thrace, Rhodes, Syria, Jordan, Bactria, Egypt, and Southern Italy (where 18 were amongst the coins of the 1911 Taranto hoard; ICGH 1874). On the rare occasions that inscriptions are present on these coins, they seem to be retrograde and are faintly engraved, and thus are difficult to read. An apparent mis-reading in the 19th Century as ‘Letaion’ led to an enduring attribution to Lete, a Macedonian city about 15 miles north of Thessalonica. That tentative identification has been used by generations of scholars. However, more recently some authorities have come to accept Svoronos’ reading as ‘Sirinon’, the ethnic of Siris, a town in the region of Mt. Pangaeus. Kraay agreed with Svoronos’ reading, and thus associated these coins with the Satrai, a tribe also in the Pangaion region.