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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 73, Lot: 112. Estimate $200. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 13 September 2006. 
Sold For $450. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

KINGS of THRACE. Lysimachos. As Satrap, 323-305 BC. AR Tetrobol (2.19 g, 3h). Amphipolis mint. Struck under Kassander, circa 320-315 BC. Diademed head of Apollo right / ALEXANDROU, Rider on horseback right; below, LU and forepart of lion right; uncertain symbol to right, [spearhead in exergue]. Müller p. 39; AMNG II p. 171, 1 var. (Alexander IV; trident); Price 435; Winterthur 1585. VF, toned, porous, cleaning scratches. Very rare.

From the Robert A. Weimer Collection.

H. Müller was the first to recognize that Lysimachos' coinage began with a series of silver tetrobols and bronze coinage based on the types of Philip II of Macedon with an LU and forepart of a lion as control marks. This coinage began with Philip's name on the reverse and the control marks below the horseman, but die links confirm that eventually the LU was moved above the horseman, replacing Philip's name. At some point in this process there was also an issue where the name of Alexander replaced that of Philip, but as yet no evidence has confirmed when this occurred or why. Although these coins have traditionally been attributed to the beginning of Lysimachos' reign as king of Thrace, more recent scholarship has persuasively placed them early in the period of his satrapy. Price, in his study of the coinage of Alexander the Great and Philip III, discounts the prior dating (circa 306/5 BC) and mint attribution (Lysimacheia), and places the issue at Amphipolis, circa 320-315 BC. During this time, Lysimachos was constantly waging war against the Thracian tribes and likely needed coinage for troop payments. The only source for him, at that time, was his close friend Kassander, who controlled the mint at Amphipolis. This placement and dating conform well to the current scholarship regarding the minting of Philip II-type tetrobols (1/5th tetradrachms). For further background, see, e.g., Price, pp. 130 and 197; AMNG III, p. 171; and H. Lund, Lysimachus: A Study in Early Hellenistic Kingship (Routledge, 1992), p. 57.