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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 1731. Estimate $750. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $1800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CARIA, Halicarnassus. Gordian III. 238-244 AD. Æ 19mm (5.60 gm). AV[T K M ANT GOPÐIA]NOC [AVG] (or similar), laureate and draped bust of Gordian right / [ALIKAPNA]CCEWN [HPOÐOTOC], bearded and draped bust of Herodotos right. SNG von Aulock -; SNG Copenhagen -; BMC Caria - (but see no. 84, pl. XIX, 3 - Hadrian with similar reverse). Fine, red-brown patina. Extremely rare. ($750)

From the David Simpson Collection. Ex Spink's Numismatic Circular (March 1982), no. 1420; Bank Leu Auktion 3 (25 April 1972, lot 250.

This coin celebrates one of the city’s greatest citizens, Herodotos, whose traditional dates are circa 485-425 BC. His great work, The Histories, is the story of the war between the Persian empire and the Greek city-states. In itself it is an exciting story, but the work is important for a number of reasons. Herodotos was not the first historian, but he was the first to make investigation the key to history (the word ‘history’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘inquiry’ or ‘investigation’). Herodotos wanted to find what actually happened, so he travelled extensively in the eastern Mediterranean, including visits to Egypt and Persia, gathering first-hand accounts from people who had actually witnessed the events he wrote about. While people today might criticise Herodotos for his tendency to include inaccurate and often implausible information, he nevertheless established the notion that history must begin with research.