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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Exceptional Amastris Didrachm

Sale: CNG 78, Lot: 751. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 14 May 2008. 
Sold For $8500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PAPHLAGONIA, Amastris. Circa 285-250 BC. AR Didrachm (9.54 g, 12h). Head of Amastris right, wearing Persian headdress with wreath and star / Aphrodite seated left, wearing polos, cradling scepter in left arm, and holding in right hand Nike, who crowns her with wreath; rose bud to left. Callataÿ, Premier 25a (D13/R5 - this coin); RG 5; SNG BM Black Sea 1302; SNG Stancomb 731; SNG Copenhagen 244; SNG von Aulock 152; Dewing 2123 (same obv. die). Near EF, toned. Exceptional for issue.

Ex Sunrise Collection (Triton X, 9 January 2007), lot 263; Robert Schonwalter Collection (Triton V, 15 January 2002), lot 1400; Coin Galleries (18 August 1978), lot 282; Coin Galleries (20 April 1961), lot 132; Ars Classica 14 (2 July 1929), lot 298.

Amastris, a niece of Darios III of Persia, became a pawn in the complex dynastic quarrels that followed the death of Alexander. She had been given as wife to Alexander's general Krateros, but was dismissed when Krateros arranged a marriage for himself with the daughter of Antipater. Amastris then married Dionysos, tyrant of Herakleia, by whom she had three children before his death in 306 BC. In 302 BC she married Lysimachos of Thrace, who soon acquired a more profitable alliance by wedding Arsinoë, the daughter of Ptolemy I Soter of Egypt. Amastris then retired to the territory of Herakleia, where she founded a new city named after herself. She was not destined to find peace, however; in 288 BC her two covetous sons had her drowned and seized her city for themselves.