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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

380, Lot: 100. Estimate $100.
Sold for $90. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MACEDON, Chalkidian League. Circa 425-390 BC. AR Obol (8mm, 0.30 g). Reduced standard. Olynthos mint. Laureate head of Apollo left / Quadripartite incuse square, each quadrant diagonally divided into four sections, each containing a pellet. Robinson & Clement p. 318, c = pl. XXX, 41, pl. XXXIV, a, and pl. XXXV, 28 (uncertain Macedon); SNG ANS 1007 var. (no pellets, uncertain Thraco-Macedonian). VF, lightly toned, light porosity.

Recently, Selene Psoma persuasively argued for the attribution of the Apollo / Branch fractions marked T-P-I-H to the Chalkidian League. Previously, these coins had been given to a hypothetical mint called “Trierios”, based on the legend, but Psoma argued that no city of that name existed, and that the letters certainly spelled the denomination “trihemiobol” (cf. S. Psoma, “Notes sur la terminologie monétaire en Grèce du Nord” in RN 2006), a theory originally proposed by Percy Garder in 1871 (P. Gardner, “On some coins with the legend TPIH” in NC 1871). Unlike Gardner, who attributed the coins to Corinth, Psoma placed the coins at Olynthos under the Chalkidian League, based on various finds. The present issue has an obverse that is stylistically identical to these trihemiobols, have a weight averaging 0.30, which is correct for the obol denomination struck on the same reduced standard, and three examples were found in the excavations at Olynthos. Interestingly, Robinson & Clement originally attributed this issue to Olynthos, but were perplexed by the light weight standard they were apparently struck on. However, Psoma clearly shows that the later 5th century issues of the mint were struck on a reduced standard, thus allowing the TPIH triehemiobols to be attributed there, and now this issue of obols should also be correctly placed alongside them. Since the reverse of the trihemiobols were marked with their denomination, the reverse type here likely also represents a valuation of some sort. Two possibilities is that the coin is marked as “1/16”, which is the relation of an obol to a didrachm/stater, or it may represent 2 chalkoi, as a silver obol is typically valued at 8 chalkoi.