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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 104. Estimate CHF15000. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF22000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

IONIA, Miletos. Circa 560-545 BC. Stater (Electrum, 13.87 g). Lion seated left, his head turned back to right; all within ornamental rectangular frame Rev. Three ornamental incuses; 1) on the left, a square punch containing a star of five pellets connected by lines; 2) at the center, a rectangular punch containing a fox running to left (here upwards) and an ornament; 3) on the right, a square punch, containing a stag’s head to right. SNG Kayhan 440 var. Weidauer 126 var. Very rare. An excellent example, unusually well-struck. Extremely fine.

Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 33, 5 April 2006, 158.

These early staters of Miletos go with the vast silver coinage of diobols bearing the protome of a lion looking back. The reverses are technically very old fashioned: instead of using a single punch, the minters used three separate ones, separately struck. This must have been a rather finicky operation and surely resulted in a plethora of varieties since it would be easy to move the punches so that they would have different orientations. Since this technique was also found on older electrum, it might be that each reverse punch was the control mark of a different magistrate and all of them had to be present when the coin was struck to guarantee its fineness.