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LOCAL ISSUES, Uncertain. Circa 1st century BC or slightly later. AV Medal (26mm, 13.46 g, 12h). Zeus Nikephoros seated slightly left; pseudo-legend and monograms around / Male driving oxen left; below, additional pair of oxen left; above, facing half-length bust with arms raised in benedictional gesture, or holding uncertain objects (possibly grain ears); pseudo-legend around. Unpublished in the standard references. Evidence of prior mounting. VF.

Ex Gorny & Mosch 121 (10 March 2003), lot 284.

This medal raises a number of challenges toward a more specific attribution. The weight of of 13.46 may represent an unkown local weight approaching a Baktrian double stater or Kushan double dinar (each of which would be 16.00g theoretical full weight). Based on the obverse figure of enthroned Zeus, it appears to have derived its model from the coinage of the later Indo-Greeks (for a comparison, see the posthumous coinage of Hermaios struck by the Indo-Skythians). Unlike that coinage, however, the figure here is holding an eagle in his right hand, which is reminiscent of the Tarsan issues of Mazaios (361/0-334 BC), or the plentiful coinage of Alexander III of Macedon. It is possible that these Greek issues continued to circulate alongside contemporary Indo-Greek coins in Central Asia long after they were struck, thereby forming the basis for such a hybrid obverse. The reverse is more of a mystery, with no known issue providing the exact model of the design. While the man driving oxen is reminiscent of pomerium issues for the founding of provincial cities in the Greco-Roman world, there is nothing like it known on the coinage of Central Asia. Furthermore, the enigmatic bust above, raising both hands in a benedictional gesture, or holding uncertain objects (possibly grain ears), suggests a local version of a grain/agricultural deity. A truly enigmatic piece.