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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 73, Lot: 174. Estimate $2000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 13 September 2006. 
Sold For $2750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MACEDON (Roman Protectorate), Republican period. Roman embassy. Circa 148-147 BC. AR Tetradrachm (16.83 g, 3h). Amphipolis mint. Diademed and draped bust of Artemis right, bow and quiver over shoulder, in boss of a Macedonian shield / club; above, LEG and hand holding olive branch left; monogram below; all within oak wreath, [thunderbolt to left]. MacKay, Macedonian 2 (O1/R2); AMNG III 190; SNG Copenhagen -; Hirsch 945 (same dies). Near EF, gray cabinet tone, obverse struck a little softly, slight die shift. Very rare.

Ex K.L. Chapman Collection, purchased from Spink, November 1962, for £70.

This type was probably issued immediately following the suppression of Philip VI Andriskos' revolt. As the Romans did not think the Macedonian people had supported Andriskos, they sent a peace embassy, instead of an army of occupation, after his defeat. The Latin legend LEG refers to 'legatio’, an embassy, and the hand holding the olive branch an offer of peace.

A.M. Burnett published a hoard ("Aesillas: Two new hoards," CH VII) containing a small number of these tetradrachms along with various Athenian new style tetradrachms, Thasos tetradrachms, and Aesillas tetradrachms. Due to the light wear on the LEG MAKEDONWN tetradrachms, Burnett concluded that they were struck shortly before Aesillas' issues, a downdating of approximately fifty years. Some numismatists have adopted this proposal (see Crawford, CMRR, p. 197). It seems more likely, however, that any apparent anomaly in degree of wear can be explained by the possibility that the hoard was assembled over a period of time, a supposition also supported by the other coinage found in the hoard. For example, the Athenian issues span the years 159/8-137/6 BC, and a number of these are also as well preserved as the Macedonian coins. The evidence of this single find is thus inconclusive, and cannot override MacKay's analysis without further confirmation.