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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

 
90041010
Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1010. Estimate CHF5000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF19000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Ainianes. Circa 360s-350s BC. Stater (Silver, 11.61 g 1), Hypata. Laureate and bearded head of Zeus to left. Rev. ΑΙΝΙΑΝΩΝ Athena standing left, helmeted and wearing long robes, holding Nike alighting to left on her right hand and resting her left on her spear and shield at her feet; before her, to left, serpent coiled to left with, above, a spear point to left . Unpublished. Unique, an astonishing coin of the greatest interest and importance. Lightly crystalized and with a minor edge fault, otherwise, about very fine.


Said to have been found in Macedonia, near Amphipolis, in the early 1980s. .

This coin, unique and hitherto unknown, is typical of the kind of surprise that appears in the BCD collection! Staters from Thessalian mints, other than those from Larissa, are rarely encountered and must have been produced only on very special occasions for prestige reasons. Why, in fact, the Ainianes should have issued this stater is unknown, but it was presumably designed as part of the well-known issue of triobols and obols, with the same head of Zeus, which accompanied it. The reverse figure of Athena is virtually the same as the one that appears on the reverse of the rare bronzes struck in the name of the city of Hypata (as Traité IV, 454, pl. CCLXXXVII, 17), the capital of the Ainianes and the site of their mint, and we must assume that Athena must have been worshipped there. When this coin was minted is not certain: the traditional date for the coinage as a whole is from 400 to 344 (when Philip II took over Thessaly and seems to have stopped the issuance of most coinages save those of Larissa), but this time period is surely too broad. In fact, this coinage almost certainly has to be connected to the considerable number of staters that were issued in the aftermath of the Battle of Leuctra in 371 (as those of Argos, Pheneos, Stymphalos, etc. in the Peloponnesos, those struck in nearby Lokroi Opuntii, and in Larissa and Pherai). The very close stylistic links between all the earlier silver issues of the Ainianes makes it clear they were not struck over a long period of time, so it would seem that a date in the 360s-350s must be about right.