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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 61, Lot: 717. Estimate $1000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 25 September 2002. 
Sold For $800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

IONIA, Persian Satraps. Ephesos(?). Circa 350-340 BC. AR Tetradrachm (14.77 gm). Persian king kneeling right, holding bow in left hand, spear in right / Incuse relief map of the hinterland of Ephesos(?). A.E.M. Johnston, "The Earliest Preserved Greek Map: A New Ionian Coin Type," JHS (1967), 25 (dies not listed); Leo Mildenberg, "Money Supply under Artaxerxes III Ochus," in Studies in Memory of Martin Price, pl. 61, 81; BMC Ionia pg. 324, 3; Traité pl. 89, 8. Fine. Very rare. ($1000)

Johnston has interpreted this remarkable reverse design as a relief map of the hinterland of Ephesos, which would make it the earliest Greek map and first physical relief map known. On the right (north) are the mountains Tmolos and Messogis between the river valleys of the Caÿster and Maeander, to the left of which are three mountain ridges (Madranbaba Dagi, Karincali Dagi, and Akaba Tepesi). Johnston follows Six in suggesting that the coins were probably struck under the Persian general Memnon at Ephesos, circa 336-334 BC, in order to pay his army after he had captured the city, but before his defeat by Alexander at the Battle of Granicus in 334. However, Johnston’s theory has been the subject of some doubt, most recently by Leo Mildenberg.