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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
591323
Sale: Triton V, Lot: 1323. Estimate $25000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $26000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THRACE, Black Sea Area. Pantikapaion. Circa 340 BC. AV Stater (9.11 gm). Bearded head of Pan left, wearing wreath of ivy leaves / P-A-N, griffin standing left on stalk of wheat, head facing, holding spear in mouth. SNG BMC Black Sea 867; Weber 2690; SNG Copenhagen 20; Gulbenkian 588; SNG Lockett 1095. EF, very minor cleaning marks before face, minor marks in fields. ($25,000)

Pantikapaion was founded by Greek colonists from Miletos in the late 7th century BC. Situated on the west side of the Cimmerian Bosporos, in what is now the Crimea, it achieved great prosperity through its exploitation of the abundant fisheries of the Straits and the export of wheat from the Crimea. This wealth is attested by its splendid gold coinage commencing in the mid-4th century and by the magnificently furnished rock tombs of its principal citizens in the 4th and 3rd centuries. Later, it was to become a regional capital of the kingdom of Mithradates VI of Pontos (120-63 BC) and later still the seat of the kings of Bosporos (1st cent. BC — 4th cent. AD).

The coinage of Pantikapaion seems to have commenced with silver issues in the latter part of the 5th century, but it is for its beautiful gold staters that the mint is chiefly noted. They depict a three-quarter facing head of the god Pan (a pun on the name of the city) and on the reverse the griffin which Herodotos describes as being the guardian of the remote sources of gold.