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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 91, Lot: 389. Estimate $300.
Sold for $950. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

NABATAEA. Syllaios and Aretas IV. Circa 9-6 BC. AR Hemidrachm (12mm, 2.55 g, 12h). Petra mint. Laureate head of Obodas II or Aretas right; Aramaic below chin / Eagle standing right; Nabataean [] and š across field. Meshorer, Nabataea –; Huth –; Schmitt-Korte II –. VF, toned. Extremely rare, and an apparently unpublished type.

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).