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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 79. Estimate CHF12500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF22000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

AITOLIA, Aitolian League. Tetradrachm (Silver, 17.02 g 11), Circa 239. Head of youthful Herakles to right, wearing lionskin headdress Rev. ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ Zeus, holding eagle in his right hand and scepter with his left, seated left on throne; to left, below his right hand, boar’s jaw bone to right; to left and below throne, monogram. Price -. Cf. D. Tsangari, Corpus des Monnaies d’or, d’argent et de bronze de la Confédération Étolienne (Athens, 2007), Third Series, Issue 16, 460-461 and Issue 17, 462-463, all struck from the same obverse die, D 1, but with an Aetolian League reverse. Walker, “Silvia Hurter: Some Memories and a New Coin from Aetolia,” SNR 88 (2009), pp. 15-22, fig. 1 (this coin). Unique. A spectacular piece of great numismatic interest, beautifully centered and of very fine Hellenistic style. Extremely fine.

From the Collection Z, Switzerland, ex Lanz 146, 25 May 2009, 114 (misidentified).

This coin is a numismatic discovery of great importance. The unusual symbol, the jawbone of a boar, strongly suggested that it had been minted in Aetolia, but it was its superb and highly individual obverse style that allowed it to be more securely identified. Upon comparing it to the well-known tetradrachms struck by the Aetolian League (obverse: head of Herakles in a loinskin headdress; reverse: seated figure of Aetolia) a rather astonishing discovery was made: this obverse die was not only used for the first League tetradrachms (obverse D 1), but it was also then recut (D 2) and continued in use for the immediately following issues! This means that the Aetolians must have decided to produce tetradrachms, probably for military payments in the run up to the war against Macedon, initially of the familiar Alexander type. They then almost immediately decided to change the design for a more patriotic version of their own, especially since using a Macedonian coin type to finance a war against Macedon probably felt most peculiar.