Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 110   |   24 September 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 65

Estimate: 50'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 40'000 CHF Price realized: 90'000 CHF
Thraco-Macedonian Tribes, Siris or Lete. Stater circa 490, AR 9.83 g. Nude ithyphallic satyr grasping r. arm of nymph, trying to move away from him; in field above, pellet. Rev. Quadripartite incuse square. Svoronos, Hellénisme Primitif 21f (this coin) and pl. VIII, 23 (this coin illustrated). SNG Spencer-Churchill 128 (these dies). Dewing 1025 (these dies).
Very rare and among the finest specimens known of this desirable issue. Of superb
Archaic style, perfectly struck and centred on a very large flan and with an
enchanting old cabinet tone. An absolutely unobtrusive mark
on obverse field, otherwise good extremely fine
Ex Leu 77, 2000, 147 and NAC 88, 2015, 390 sales. From the duplicates of the British Museum.
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.

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