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495005

Exceptional Pedigreed Akanthos

495005. SOLD $29500

MACEDON, Akanthos. Circa 430-390 BC. AR Tetradrachm (26mm, 14.33 g, 5h). Light ‘Thraco-Macedonian’ standard. Ale–, magistrate. Lion right, attacking bull crouching left, biting into its hindquarter; AΛE above / AKA-N-ΘIO-N in shallow incuse square around quadripartite square in relief, the quarters raised and granulated. Desneux 138 (D131/R124); AMNG III/2, –; HGC 3, 391. Lovely deep toning with light iridescence around the devices. In NGC encapsulation 4284631-001, graded AU, Strike: 5/5, Surface: 5/5, Fine Style. Very rare issue; only one is noted by Desneux (in The Hague), and the present coin is the only example in CoinArchives.


From the Antiquarium Group. Ex Gasvoda Collection; Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza & Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan Joint Collection (Numismatica Genevensis SA IX, 14 December 2015), lot 36; Numismatica Ars Classica 33 (6 April 2006), lot 114; Triton VIII (11 January 2005), lot 110; Leu 65 (21 May 1996), lot 132; Tkalec (23 October 1992), lot 56.

Akanthos was founded on the easternmost "finger" of the Chalcidice in the seventh century BC. Huge silver deposits were discovered in close proximity during the sixth century BC, leading to Akanthos becoming a prolific mint, with its coinage circulating widely in northern and mainland Greece. Of the Archaic Greek coinages, the imagery of Akanthos is one of the most influential, depicting a lion attacking a bull. Lions still prowled the hinterlands of Thrace and Macedon in this era. Herodotus recounts an episode when the army of the Persian King Xerxes was set upon by lions during its march from Asia Minor into Greece proper. This particular rendering is exceptional, with its yin-yang positioning of the animals deeply impressed into a round, medallic flan.