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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

356, Lot: 235. Estimate $100.
Sold for $170. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PERSIA, Achaemenid Empire. temp. Artaxerxes II to Artaxerxes III. Early-mid 4th cenutry BC. AR Tetartemorion(?) (5mm, 0.10 g). Mylasa mint(?). Head of the Persian Great King left / Stellate pattern of Milesian style. Cf. CNG E-343, lot 191; otherwise unpublished in the standard references. Near VF, toned, light porosity. Extremely rare.

The stellate pattern on this issue is undoubtedly that which was used on various coins struck at Miletos from the 6th-4th centuries BC. It is most often seen on the city’s ubiquitous archaic silver fractions that featured a lion forepart on the obverse. In 494 BC, Miletos was destroyed and subsequently occupied by the Persians, in response to their participation in the Ionian Revolt. This event seems to mark the end of the massive archaic coinage, although it may have been revived for very limited issues in the 5th century (cf. SNG Kayhan 483–7). Nonetheless, there probably was no civic coinage during the few years that the Persians controlled the city before losing it to the Delian League in 478 BC. With the exception of the limited silver issues of the 5th century, and an emission of bronze with the same lion forepart/stellate pattern type in the early 4th century (cf. SNG Kayhan 488–9), there was no major output of coinage from the city until mid 4th century when the city debuted it’s new reverse type featuring a lion standing left, with its head reverted. Thus, it is unlikely that this coin was part of a Persian-related issue at Miletos. In the early 4th century, however, the Milesian stellate pattern reverse was revived in the fractional coinage of the Hekatomnid satraps of Caria that were struck at Mylasa (some references place these issues at Miletos, but that is likely incorrect; see Konuk, Identities, p. 103). These coins used the Milesian weight standard, which is likely the reason for their revival of that particular stellate type. There are a variety of issues from Caria during the Persian period that used Persian iconography, so it is likely that this coin belongs among these issues, and perhaps was struck under the Hekatomnids at Mylasa.