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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XXI, Lot: 533. Estimate $1500.
Sold for $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PERSIA, Alexandrine Empire. temp. Mazakes – Bleitor. Satraps of Mesopotamia, circa 331-316 BC. AR Tetradrachm (20.5mm, 17.16 g, 11h). Imitating Athens. Head of Athena right, with profile eye, wearing earring and crested Attic helmet decorated with three olive leaves over visor and a spiral palmette on the bowl / Owl standing right, head facing; olive sprig and crescent to left, AIΓ to right. Van Alfen, Mechanisms, Group III.E.2, fig. 24 (same obv. die); BMC Attica 271; MIG Type 13 c. VF, toned. Exceptional for issue, perhaps the finest known. Very rare.

This issue was once thought to originate in northwest India, but more recent studies have conclusively placed it at an uncertain mint in Mesopotamia/northern Babylonia. The style and fabric of the coins are identical to the numerous imitations of Athens tetradrachms found in the latter region, as well as the imitations of Cilician staters found there that are attributed to the early Alexandrine period in Persia.