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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 2, Lot: 107. Estimate CHF37500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 17 May 2010. 
Sold For CHF56000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BITHYNIA, Kios. Circa 340-330. Stater (Gold, 8.59 g 11), signed by the magistrate Agasikles. Laureate head of Apollo to right. Rev. ΑΓΑΣΙΚΛΗΣ Prow of war galley to left, ornamented with a star; above, club to right; to left, traces of eagle (?, mostly off the flan) standing to left. Rec. Gén. p. 311. Extremely rare, one of perhaps ten known staters of Kios, almost all of which are in museums. Traces of double-striking on the reverse and a few insignificant marks, otherwise, lustrous, sharp and, virtually as struck.

Not surprisingly, the head of Apollo on this coin seems to hark back to those on the coinage of Olynthos and on the gold staters of Philip II: we have to assume that the rare issues of Kios had to have been influenced by those of Philip’s. In any case, they have to have been produced prior to c. 324/3 (Mørkholm) or c. 323-320 (Westermark) when the great Saida Hoard (IGCH 1508) was buried, since that hoard contained virtually all of the known gold staters of Kios, including other examples struck by Agasikles. Whether the gold staters were struck to pay mercenaries by the Persians or whether the city was already in Alexander’s hands when they were minted is uncertain: the city had been under direct Persian rule in the early 4th century but was officially independent by mid-century. Nevertheless, it seems more likely that the coins were struck prior to Alexander’s invasion, especially since they were accompanied by large numbers of silver hemidrachms that would also have been ideal for mercenary pay. The gold staters are extremely rare, with only around 10 being known, apparently struck by five magistrates: Agasikles, Agnonides, Hierokles, Poseidonios and Proxenos. This is certainly one of the finest examples in existence.