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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 54. Estimate CHF6500. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ILLYRO-PAEONIAN REGION, Damastion (Dardania). Circa 365/0-350/45 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 13.57 g 12). Laureate head of Apollo to left Rev. ΗΡΑΚΛΕΙΔΟ Tripod with lion’s feet on broad, inscribed base; to left, vertical knife and ΚΗ. May, Damastion 51 (this obverse die). SNG Ashmolean 3320 (same obverse die). Very rare. A beautifully struck and well centered piece; attractively toned. Extremely fine.

The city of Damastion was located somewhere in what is now present day Serbia and was inhabited by people of Illyrian/Dardanian origin; though there were Greek settlers there as well, at least from the 5th century on. The city’s importance lay in its silver mines, the location of which are as unknown as is the site of the city itself. The coinage, with obverses modeled on those of the Chalkidian League, was designed as a way of exporting the city’s mineral riches. The coins themselves are often very attractive, though there are some that are of rather poor style and many are badly struck; they generally very rare today, probably because they were viewed primarily as bullion and melted down in antiquity. The present piece is an exceptionally nice example. After Damastion’s capture by Philip of Macedon the city lapsed into nearly total obscurity.