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Triton XXIII – Session Two – Greek Coinage Part II through Roman Imperial Coinage Part I

Lot nuber 427

CARIA, Halikarnassos. Circa 400-387 BC. AR Tetradrachm (21.5mm, 15.19 g, 12h).


Triton XXIII – Session Two – Greek Coinage Part II through Roman Imperial Coinage Part I
Lot: 427.
 Estimated: $ 30 000

Greek, Silver

Sold For $ 95 000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

CARIA, Halikarnassos. Circa 400-387 BC. AR Tetradrachm (21.5mm, 15.19 g, 12h). Head of Apollo, wearing laurel wreath, facing slightly right / Eagle standing half-right, wings spread; AΛIKAPNAΣΣ-EΩN around, star to right; all within incuse square. HN Online 637.2 (this coin); Triton XX, lot 303 (same dies); Roma XIII, lot 328 (same dies); otherwise unpublished. Toned. EF. Great metal. Extremely rare, the finest of three known.

From the Jonathan P. Rosen Collection. Ex Gemini XIII (6 April 2017), lot 80 (hammer $65,000).

The Apollo-eagle civic coinage of Halikarnassos has been known for some time, in multiple denominations from hemidrachm to tetradrachm, but all denominations were extremely rare until a modest quantity of drachms appeared in the Hecatomnus hoard in the late 1970s. This coinage was originally thought to have been struck after the Carian satrap Maussollos moved the capital of the satrapy from Mylasa to Halikarnassos, but the dating of the Hecatomnus hoard clearly showed that this was not the case; this coinage must have preceded the event. The implication of this new arrangement now clarified that Maussollos’ new Apollo type coinage was influenced by this civic coinage, and that this coinage, in turn, was influenced by the Rhodian facing-head coinage that had been introduced only a couple decades earlier.

Halkarnassos was well known for its sanctuary of Apollo at the summit of the Zephyrion peninsula, and certainly this deity is the one represented on the obverse of this coinage. Some numismatists have attempted to link the Apollo of Halikarnasos with the Apollo-Helios of Rhodes, but Konuk (in Identities) points out that the assimilation of the two deities did not occur until the Hellenistic period. The consistent use of the laurel wreath on the Apollo heads here also clearly marks this Apollo as being distinct from Apollo-Helios, who is depicted either bare headed or radiate.

All of the coins from this civic issue are rare. In his section on the Halikarnassos coins in the Hecatomnus hoard study, Konuk identified 26 drachms, two hemidrachms, and one tetradrachm, while CoinArchives adds approximately eight drachms. The present piece brings the total census of tetradrachms to two. It should be noted that the subsidiary symbol on this coin is unprecedented, as all of the other coins, in all denominations, have an olive branch. This suggests that this coin is part of a second series (or workshop?), perhaps struck in parallel with the olive branch coins.

The final winners of all Triton XXIII lots will be determined at the live public sale that will be held on 14-15 January 2020. Triton XXIII – Session Two – Greek Coinage Part II through Roman Imperial Coinage Part I will be held Tuesday afternoon, 14 January 2020 beginning at 2:00 PM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and in person at the public auction, 22.50% for all others.