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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 106. Estimate CHF12500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF11000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CYCLADES or NORTHERN GREECE, Tenos (?). Circa 520-500 BC. Hemidrachm (Silver, 2.43 g). Bunch of grapes. Rev. Quadripartite incuse square. Artemis-Gyselen class 2. BMFA 1295. Ward 581 (this coin). A beautifully toned, very attractive example of this enigmatic coin. Extremely fine.

From the Spina collection, ex Leu 81, 16 May 2001, 230, ex Bank Leu 48, 10 May 1989, 204 and from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and John Ward, Sotheby Zurich, 4 April 1973, 488.

These lovely coins are quite annoying, and show that advancing scholarship sometimes makes things more difficult than one would expect! Long attributed to Tenos, though none seem ever to have been found on that island, Sheedy, in his magisterial study of 2006 on the archaic coinage of the Cyclades, pointed out that the weight standard is completely wrong for the Cyclades (it can be neither Aeginetan or Attic), but it does fit in with the Thraco-Macedonian standard used in places like Akanthos. But, of course, these coins are not from Akanthos...though our erudite Antipodean friend is, alas, unable to ascribe an actual mint to them, other than ‘uncertain’. So, for the moment we have to leave them marooned on Tenos.