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

Lot nuber 462

SELEUKID EMPIRE. Antiochos I Soter. 281-261 BC. AR Tetradrachm (29mm, 16.58 g, 12h). Smyrna mint.


Triton XXIII – Session Two – Greek Coinage Part II through Roman Imperial Coinage Part I
Lot: 462.
 Estimated: $ 3 000

Greek, Silver

Sold For $ 2 250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

SELEUKID EMPIRE. Antiochos I Soter. 281-261 BC. AR Tetradrachm (29mm, 16.58 g, 12h). Smyrna mint. Diademed head right / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, Apollo Delphios, nude, testing three arrows in his right hand, left hand holding tip of bow set on ground to right, seated left on omphalos; monogram to inner right, and in exergue. SC 311.2; WSM 1494α–β (same obv. die); HGC 9, 128a; Ward 777 (same obv. die). Lightly toned, a few scratches. Near EF. Attractive style.

From the San Vicente Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Group 40 (with Numismatica Ars Classica, 4 December 1996), lot 1074.

The portrait of Antiochos found on these tetradrachms of Smyrna is renowned among collectors of fine style Hellensitic portraits. For much of his reign, the portraits of Antiochos were highly realistic in their portrayal of the king, exemplifying his deeply sunken eyes and relatively oversized facial features. Later in his reign, though, a number of mints produced idealized portraits, which were more evenly proportional and youthful. The effect was to give his portrait a godlike quality, displaying a perfection that bordered on the divine. No longer did Antiochos appear as a troubled old king, now he was rejuvenated as a young and powerful ruler, with a serene countenance that would inspire confidence in his subjects.

The die that was used for the present coin is particularly remarkable in its beauty, and the engraver's work has been noted on at least three dies, including one in the Houghton collection, albeit from a different issue (CSE 621). Remarking on that coin in the sale of the Houghton Collection, lot 289 in NFA XVIII, Cathy Lorber noted: "[T]he beauty of this portrait lies less in youth than in the refinement and sensitivity that characterize the whole output of Smyrna, reaching their acme here. The engraver, surely an artist of genius, has spiritualized the king in a way that suggests a personal aesthetic vision in revolt against the official iconography." It is no surprise that such a piece was produced from one of the long-standing mints of Ionia, a region where many of the great numismatic masterpieces originated.

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.