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Research Coins: Feature Auction



Triton XV, Lot: 457. Estimate $200.
Sold for $2200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Melitaia (IACP 438)

An Achaian city, Melitaia is primarily known for the sizable traces of a circuit wall and a considerable number of inscriptions. It was somewhat prominent in Roman times and had the epithet Sebaste.

Its silver coinage is only of the first half of the 4th century BC, probably struck in a single episode in the 370s or 360s BC, and is known by two unique pieces, a drachm in Boston and a hemidrachm in Nomos 4, both remarkable for their exceptionally fine style. The bronze is more plentiful and probably dates to somewhat later.

THESSALY, Melitaia. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Chalkous (14.5 mm, 1.89 g, 11h). Laureate and bearded head of Zeus r., thunderbolt behind / M-E above, Λ-I below, bee upwards, with outstretched wings. Rogers 394, fig. 207 (same dies). VF, excellent green patina; a well struck and centred coin of fine style, very rare thus.

Melitaia is another Thessalian polis that was intent on its coins making the best possible impression; the drachm in Boston and the hemidrachm in Nomos 4, 1198, both unique, testify to this. Some of its earliest bronzes are also fine examples of the celator’s act; this coin and the first two coins of the next lot (458.1 and 458.2) certainly stand out when compared to the later bronzes and, although not as exquisite as the bronze in Nomos 4, 1199, display very attractive renderings of both the Zeus portrait and the bee on the reverse.