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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 91, Lot: 329. Estimate $300.
Sold for $800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

LYCIAN LEAGUE. Circa 167-100 BC. AR Drachm (15mm, 3.02 g, 12h). Trebendai mint. Laureate head of Apollo right; bow and quiver over shoulder / Kithara; ΛYKIΩ[N] above, T-P flanking, Isis crown to lower left; all within incuse square. Troxell, Lycian 27.1a (same dies), otherwise unpublished. Good VF. The second and finest known (the other is in the ANS).

The attribution of this extremely rare issue to the mint of Trebendai has been the subject of debate, with the cities of Trebenna and Trysa being other possibilities. Troxell's scholarly analysis of not only this issue, but also the contemporary silver and bronzes at other mints, coin finds, historical literature, and epigraphy, concludes that an assignment to Trebendai – a city close to and in sympolity with Myra – is the most likely (cf. Troxell, Lycian, pp. 55-57). Troxell also noted that the actual full name for the city – Trebendai – can be determined from a sixth century life of St. Nikolaos, Bishop of Myra. Widely venerated in both the Orthodox and Catholic churches for his good deeds and secret gift-giving, his feast day on 6 December included the giving of gifts. In the Netherlands, he was popularly known as Sinterklaas and on his feast day brought candy to good children and this tradition was continued by Dutch immigrants to America in the seventeenth century. The modern image of the Dutch Sinterklaas as the American Santa Claus was the result of the 1823 publication of Clement Clark Moore's, "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" and the 1881 Harper's Weekly illustrattion by Thomas Nast.