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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 91, Lot: 388. Estimate $750.
Sold for $800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

NABATAEA. Syllaios and Aretas IV. Circa 9-6 BC. AR Hemidrachm (14mm, 2.14 g, 12h). Petra mint. Diademed head of Obodas II right; Nabataean š to left / Eagle standing left; Nabataean (for Aretas) to left, [š (for Syllaeus) to right]. Meshorer, Nabataea 40; Huth 59. VF, toned, edge split, die shift on obverse. Very rare.

This rare hemidrachm belongs to a series, with quarter drachms, that features the first initials of both Syllaios and Aretas IV. As the two were bitter enemies, and never jointly ruled, it is thought that these coins were struck during a time when it was not certain which king was actually in power (it was under contest), and the mint applied both names as a compromise (cf. M. Huth, “Some Nabataean Questions Reconsidered” in CCK, pp. 219-21).