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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 2, Lot: 106. Estimate CHF2250. 
Closing Date: Monday, 17 May 2010. 
Sold For CHF3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PAPHLAGONIA, Kromna. 4th century BC. Tetrobol (Silver, 3.58 g 10), Persic standard, circa 340 BC. Laureate head of Zeus to left, his hair partially rolled at the back of his head but with some locks falling down below the neck truncation on both sides of his head. Rev. ΚΡΩΜΝΑ Head of the City-goddess or, perhaps, Hera to left, wearing turreted stephane adorned with palmette and scrolls, triple-pendant earring, necklace and drapery along the neck line; before, uncertain monogram; behind, star; above, crescent with points downward. Cf. Monnaies et Médailles 54 (26 October 1978), 253 (same monogram and star but no crescent). Cf. SNG BM Black Sea 1323 var. (monogram) and 1332 (= BMC 6, with crescent but no star). A lovely coin of splendid style, very well struck. Nicely toned. Reverse slightly off center, otherwise, extremely fine.

Ex Numismatica Genevensis 4, 11 December 2006, 88, Triton IX, 10 January 2006, 893, and Numismatik Lanz 102, 28 May 2001, 254, and from the collection of the Johns Hopkins University and J. H. Garrett, Bank Leu/Numismatic Fine Arts, 16 October 1984, 248.

The coinage of the minor Paphlagonian city of Kromna dates to around the middle of the 4th century BC and consists solely of silver coins that are often termed drachms (but are more likely to be Persic tetrobols) and a single series of bronzes. Very similar coins were produced by the nearby city of Sesamos (silver tetrobols and diobols,and bronzes, - they bear a very similar head of Zeus and a female head that is probably Demeter) as well as by the more important city of Herakleia Pontica across the border in Bithynia (staters, drachms, tetrobols, diobols and obols - they bear a head of Herakles coupled with a female head that is very similar to the one on the issues of Kromna - variously identified as either Hera or the city-goddess). Since the issues of Herakleia can be dated to the time of the tyrant Satyros (c. 352-345 BC) it seems likely that those of Kromna and Sesamos should be around that period as well (both of these cities were incorporated into the new city of Amastris in c. 300 BC). While some of the coins from Kromna are rather banal in style, some, like this one, are astonishingly good: the heads can be compared to those on the contemporary coinage of Olympia.