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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Very Rare Monogram (of Aesillas?)

CNG 91, Lot: 95. Estimate $300.
Sold for $450. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ISLANDS off THRACE, Thasos. Circa 148-90/80 BC. AR Tetradrachm (32mm, 16.64 g, 12h). Wreathed head of young Dionysos right / Herakles standing left, holding club, lion skin on arm; monogram to inner left. Prokopov, Silberprägung 580 (V AA6/R 477); Lukanc 1927 (same obv. die); SNG Copenhagen –; HGC 6, 359. Good VF, toned, area of minor roughness on reverse, some light scuffs and cleaning scratches. Very rare with this monogram, Prokopov records only 16 examples, 15 of which are in museums.

Ex Gorny & Mosch 196 (7 March 2011), lot 1309.

Traditionally, this monogram has been thought to represent the first four letters of Aesillas' name (in Greek form), similar to the Thasian tetradrachms that bear the monogram of Sura (see Bauslaugh p. 23). Aesillas was Roman quaestor in Macedon, circa 95-70 BC. Prokopov, however, places the issues with this monogram early in her "Thasian type" coinage, which began circa 148 BC. This placement, however, is contradicted by her own hoard evidence. According to Prokopov, coins from dies tied to this monogram have been found in the following hoards: Mezek, Municipiului Bucureşti (CH II 104), Şieu Odorhei (CH VIII 300), and Sînpetru (IGCH 637). Two of these are unhelpful in dating, as the Mezek hoard publication is still forthcoming, and the date of c. 250-200 BC reported for Şieu Odorhei is impossible, as it predates the majority of the coinage in the hoard (Thasian spread-flan tetradrachms and Macedonian First Meris tetradrachms). The remaining two, Municipiului Bucureşti and Sînpetru, however, are dated to circa 94 BC and the early 1st century BC, respectively. If these dates of deposit are correct, then the assumption that the monogram represents Aesillas is probably correct.