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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Struck Under Philetairos of Pergamon

CNG 109, Lot: 214. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $12000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SELEUKID EMPIRE. Antiochos I Soter. 281-261 BC. AR Tetradrachm (29.5mm, 16.63 g, 11h). In the name of Philetairos of Pergamon, as Seleukid vassal. Pergamon mint. Struck circa 269/8-263 BC. Diademed head of Seleukos I right / ΦIΛETAIPOY, Athena, wearing crested Corinthian helmet and long chiton, enthroned left, extending right hand to hold shield decorated with gorgoneion to left, left arm cradling long scepter and resting on throne back in the form of a small sphinx seated right; ivy leaf above arm, bow to outer right. SC 309.5a; Ingvaldsen, Philetaerus 7, dies IVc/14; Newell, Pergamene 14, dies XVb/33; HGC 9, –; BMC Mysia p. 114, 28 (same dies). Good VF, lightly toned.

From the MNL Collection. Ex Freeman & Sear Inventory G5587 (February 2005).

When Lysimachos established the mint of Pergamon, he entrusted its treasury to the eunuch Philetairos. Philetairos changed his allegiance to Seleukos I, probably shortly before the Battle of Korupedion in 281 BC, where Seleukos defeated Lysimachos. Although Seleukos was assassinated the following year, Philetairos struck a series of Alexander-type issues in the name of Seleukos. Philetairos continued to acknowledge Seleukid primacy for some time, but soon struck a coinage in his own name. This coinage featured Athena Nikephoros on the reverse, similar to the reverses of Lysimachos. Perhaps because this move might have been viewed as a threat by his Seleukid overlord, the obverse of the first issues of these coins featured the portrait of Seleukos I. Houghton & Lorber (SC), citing Le Rider and Newell, assign this coinage to the aftermath of Antiochos I's victory over the Galatians, circa 269/8 BC. Near the end of Philetairos’ reign, in the mid-late 260s, the portrait of Seleukos was replaced with the portrait of the Pergamene king, noting a final break from Seleukid authority.